It seems that today when almost all laptops you can buy can go to the specifications that we desire, like having an Intel Core i7 or AMD A10 processor, dedicated graphics and even go up to an ample 4GB to a hefty 8GB RAM, still all major laptop manufacturers sacrifice performance by providing a standard 5200rpm Hard disk drive (Booo!). Perhaps it’s their way to cut cost, position better pricing or even simply avoid being expensive, but I just can’t bare a good system not being utilized to its potential because of one component being the backlog.
For the past three years of computer technology in the Philippines, I can honestly say that nothing much changed to hard drive technology but being thinner and being stable in the 500GB storage space. Even though SSD has been around in the market for years now, it’s just recently that they are picking up popularity due to more brands are investing, slowly making them more affordable.
Which comes to my experience last March 2013 when I upgraded to a SSHD on for my laptop, it was 750GB and cost me Php8,900 pesos. Aiming to make my Core i7 laptop perform faster, I decided to upgrade the experience of my laptop to feel more like an Ultrabook. To be honest loading up my Windows 7 in less than 22 seconds was already an achievement for me. But being able to load up my files faster and not even mentioning rendering Team Tech Squad episodes were a lot easier.
Fast forwarding to 2014, our good friends from Crucial lend us the M500 SSD (120GB Capacity), to compare the experience between our current system to the new one.
Packaging and Installation
The Crucial M500 SSD is really light compared to a 2.5mm HDD, also being thin at only 7mm it fits to mostly all notebooks these days, but just in case you will use it on an earlier dated notebook there’s an included spacer to make transform it to a 9.5mm.
Installing the Crucial M500 SSD is really easy, just simply remove the screws at the back of your laptop to access the bottom part, once opened you can simply remove the current HDD and transfer the tray to the SSD and install everything back to its place. Just remember that you can void the warranty of your notebook if you do this by yourself; so be sure to contact the service of your notebook / desktop provider to avoid voiding your warranty.
Just in case you ask “How about the files in my hard disk?”, you can simply insert the SSD first to an external HDD to transfer your essential files. You can copy your current OS into the drive by cloning but make sure the size can accommodate the SSD’s space provided. Also we have a great suggestion for you guys which I did for my notebook to keep all of my files still in place.
Of course this SSD can also work in Desktop PCs, but we opted to install this SSD in our work laptop.
We chose to do a fresh installation of Windows 8 OS so we can also utilize 100% the SSD since windows 8 fully compatible to SSDs unlike previous operating systems. Installing Windows 8 usually takes 45 minutes on a hard drive but thanks to the SSD our experience was less than 18 minutes and we we’re done in the setup.
Loading up Windows 8 from pressing the start button only takes 8 seconds, watch this video below if you don’t believe.
Plus performance wise, compared to my SSHD the difference is really big. Here is a comparison of my SSHD vs the Crucial M500 SSD using Crystal Mark Disk benchmark.
Crucial M500 120GB SSD
750GB Seagate Momentous XT SSHD
Comparison wise the difference is really big, but to relate this to our readers, basically everything loads a lot faster. One situation where everyone can relate is when you are waiting for your OS to load then you enter your password. Upon seeing the desktop you have to wait a bit more for the applications like your Yahoo Messenger, Skype or even background applications like your Dropbox to startup which is kind of frustrating for a lot of us, especially when you need to access something in a hurry. In using the Crucial M500 SSD, we’ve managed to immediately open Facebook right after entering desktop.
Also switching applications is really flawless, from 40 tabs of google chrome to multiple excel files, MS Word and Outlook opened, not to mention I was also playing high resolution videos as background entertainment.
Lastly besides the fluent experience of your notebook, perhaps the major benefit I got from switching to SSD is that, I was able to render Team Tech Squad episodes a lot faster.
How about my files? I love having a big storage!
Don’t worry you’re not alone, being from 750GB going down to 120GB was a big decision to make, in my 1st week I opted to connect my old HDD to an enclosure drive to quickly access my files. But still having some hassle of managing with transferring files over and over, I researched and found out that the DVD-ROM drive can be converted to an SATA bay!
These devices are called Caddy where the size mimics the form of standard DVD-ROM drives and acts as a enclosure for laptops, I decided to replace my DVD-ROM drive to a caddy to install my 750GB SSHD. Honestly the last time I used the DVD-Drive was more than a year and that was just to burn a friend’s file in my laptop.
We bought this Caddy device for Php750 pesos at a store in Gilmore where it’s mostly available, most IT shops in malls don’t have this, so if you are planning to buy one, head straight for Gilmore area. Thanks to this I still have my Windows 7 OS in my laptop, ready anytime for dual boot system and it also gives me free access to all of my files!
Also available in other storage sizes!
What we’re try out here is the 120GB version, just in case you’re not satisfied. Crucial also has storage sizes that goes up to a whooping 960GB. Of course there are slight differences in performances for each SSD size, so please refer to this chart for the whole specifications of the M500 series SSDs
|Interface||SATA 6Gb/s (SATA 3GB/s compatible)||SATA 6Gb/s (SATA 3GB/s compatible)||SATA 6Gb/s (SATA 3GB/s compatible)||SATA 6Gb/s (SATA 3GB/s compatible)|
|Sustained Sequential Read up to (128k transfer)||500MB/s||500MB/s||500MB/s||500MB/s|
|Sustained Sequential Write up to (128k transfer)||130MB/s||250MB/s||400MB/s||400MB/s|
|Random Read up to (4k transfer)||62,000 IOPS||72,000 IOPS||80,000 IOPS||80,000 IOPS|
|Random Write up to (4k transfer)||35,000 IOPS||60,000 IOPS||80,000 IOPS||80,000 IOPS|
|Form Factor||2.5-inch m-SATA, and M.2||2.5-inch m-SATA, and M.2||2.5-inch m-SATA, and M.2||2.5-inch|
|NAND||20nm Micron MLC NND|
|Life Expectancy||1.2 million hours mean time to failure (MTTF)|
|Warranty||Limited three year warranty|
|Endurance||72TB total bytes written (TBW), equal to 40GB per day for 5 years|
|Operating Temperature||0°C to 70°C|
|Compliance||RoHS, CE, FCC, UL, BSMI, C-TICK, KCC RRL, W.E.E.E., TUV VCCI, IC|
|Firmware||FIeld upgradable firmware|
|Product Health Monitoring||Self-Monitoring, Analysis and Reporting Technology (SMART) commands|
Source : http://www.crucial.com/store/ProductMarketing_m500.aspx
Price-wise the M500 series of Crucial is aggressively priced against its competitors, it’s around 800-1200 pesos cheaper than most competitors. It may not be the fastest against other similarly priced SSD in the market but the M500 provides the best balance between price and performance.
Switching to an SSD will definitely have more advantages than disadvantages, despite having smaller storage and investing a lot more. We definitely assure you that you will be glad that you switched to SSD because of its ridiculous jump in performance.