Laptop feels like new with a Crucial Force SSD

Today my Solid State Drive arrived so I rebuilt my main development laptop, the difference is amazing.

After64bitSSD2

The drive I’ve chosen after some research was Crucial’s newest 240GB SandForce drive, rated at 285MB/s read and 275MB/s write. My real world results were significantly less but a serious improvement over my previous 500GB 7200rpm drive.

BeforeSSD2

So on the flat out sequential reads and writes it is well over twice as fast, while on the hard crunching 4K random blocks the conventional drive looked like taking 30min to complete the test (so I cancelled) while the new SSD did it in 30 seconds. I didn’t have the patience to run all the tests on the old drive.

On the Windows Experience Index side of things my DELL XPS 16 got a good boost with the new drive getting a 7.6 rating, as it was the thing holding my system back before I now get an overall score of 6.3, not too bad for a 1 year old laptop prior to mobile i7 cpus (I’m running a Core2 9550 with 4GB DDR2 RAM).

BeforeSSD

WEI64bitSSD

Installation of Windows7 Ultimate x64 was a breeze, I spent most of the day installing the core software I use:

  • Windows 7 Ultimate x64
  • Windows Live Essentials Beta
    • Messenger
    • Photo Gallery
    • Writer
    • Movie Maker
  • Microsoft Security Essentials
  • SQL 2008 R2
  • Visual Studio 2010
  • Office 2010 Ultimate
    • Word
    • Powerpoint
    • Excel
    • Outlook
    • OneNote
  • Resharper 5
  • Photoshop CS5
  • Expression Studio 4 Ultimate
    • Blend with Sketchflow
    • Design
    • Encoder with Screen Capture
  • Microsoft Image Composite Editor
  • Photosynth
  • Fiddler
  • Firefox 3.6
  • Outlook Hotmail Connector 14
  • Tortoise HG
  • Silverlight 4 tools
  • MapCruncher
  • DeepZoom Composer

The drive formatted as 223GB, with all of this installed I still have a healthy 176GB. Strangely Windows7 hadn’t disabled scheduled defragmentation, a must for SSDs, and I also took the advice on the net to disable superfetch and not use readyboost.

The computer hums along, startup and shutdown is blistering quick. Photoshop take 2s to fully open, Visual Studio is 3.5s. I look forward to putting the machine through its paces this week with a mixture of tasks including the usual coding, building solutions through to Bing Maps tile production.

If you’re looking at giving your development machine a boost do consider a SSD upgrade, I doubt I’ll ever look back from here.

*update* I also found the command to double check that Trim is enabled (default), run this command from an Admin command prompt, should get 0:

fsutil behavior query DisableDeleteNotify

*update 2* Although the real world performance was great I was a little concerned the drive wasn’t setup properly since the benchmark wasn’t hitting the spec of the drive. However I found that benchmark scores low, compared to other drives in the same test these are awesome results. ATTO provide a benchmark that can really push the drive to the limit, here we hit a max of 281/268 Smile

atto