In this related post, I made the argument that if you wanted to see a noticeable difference in the speed of your Mac or PC you should opt for an SSD drive over a conventional hard drive. If you care about performance there is currently no better value upgrade you can perform on your system.
I’m talking here about a ‘real-world’ difference to everything done on a machine. Because of this, I don’t need to talk about benchmark results, I can write (and show) you a difference that is obvious.
These figures and the videos below were recorded on a mid-2009 13″ MacBook Pro (2.2 processor model). I was interested in noting the difference in boot times, application launching and application switching as these are the kind of things every user does on a daily basis, the sort of activities that can save you time. Every single time you use your system.
The test was simple but demonstrative of the benefits of SSD: time the boot up into OSX and then, once OSX had loaded to the desktop, time the launch of Mail, then Adobe Fireworks and finally Mozilla Firefox 3.5.
All the applications ran concurrently. Once one had loaded, the next application was launched.
I ran the test 3 times. Each with a different hardware configuration:
Config 1: the standard 5400RPM hard drive the MacBook shipped with and 2GB memory.
Config 2: the standard 5400RPM hard drive but with 4GB memory.
Config 3: 4GB memory and a 128GB Crucial M225 SSD drive.
Config 1 (5400RPM HDD, 2GB memory)
Boot Time: 49 seconds. Launch of Mail: 5.6 seconds. Launch of Fireworks CS4: 44 seconds. Launch of Firefox 3.5 to google home page: 20.2 seconds
Config 2 (5400RPM HDD, 4GB memory)
Boot Time: 49 seconds. Launch of Mail: 5.6 seconds. Launch of Fireworks CS4: 44 seconds. Launch of Firefox 3.5 to google home page: 17.7 seconds
Note: the only significant performance difference here was when many apps were open. Switching between apps is also a little quicker with 4GB.
Config 3 (M225 SSD, 4GB memory)
Boot Time: 23.5 seconds. Launch of Mail: 0.9 seconds. Launch of Fireworks CS4: 8.7 seconds. Launch of Firefox 3.5 to google home page: 5 seconds
As you can see by those numbers. The SSD configuration absolutely trounces over the other configurations. To further exemplify, here are two crude videos; one with the SSD and one with the standard 5400RPM hard drive (taken on iPhone 3GS so apologies for quality). Each video lasts around a minute. With the SSD I had booted into OSX, launched Mail, Safari, Filezilla, Fireworks and Dreamweaver. In the same time-frame, with the standard HDD I’d only just got to the desktop…
|First the standard HDD:||Now with the Crucial M225 SSD:|
|[hana-flv-player video=”http://www.benfrain.com/downloads/NONSSDsmall.flv” width=”270″ height=”360″ player=”4″ autoload=”true” autoplay=”false” loop=”false” autorewind=”true” /]||[hana-flv-player video=”http://www.benfrain.com/downloads/SSDsmall.flv” width=”270″ height=”360″ player=”4″ autoload=”true” autoplay=”false” loop=”false” autorewind=”true” /]|
Hopefully this gives an illustration of the kind of performance increase you can see from a decent quality SSD drive over a conventional hard drive.