Proving that SSDs perform better than hard disks is not a difficult task, so we resorted to practical measures and used MSI’s GX620 laptop where we replaced the MSI’s supplied WD 320GB disk with OCZ’s Apex 120GB SSD. We used a couple of standard disk-testing apps, and then checked how it performs when writing data, meaning copying files on disk.
First up are PCMark Vantage results, which prove beyond doubt that SSD is superior.
However, results are not favoring SSD disks in all the tests, and one of those is Windows Movie Maker ones. You can see the differences in the following two slides.
The HDD Windows Vista Start Up measures disk performance (measured in MB/s) during Vista Ultimate startup. Our MSI GX620 laptop with Vista Business edition didn’t show significant speed advantage, but 4 seconds can sometimes mean a lot. We installed the system on both disks and measured the time needed for the system to boot up and become fully operational.
Now we’ll show results we’ve measured by testing both disks on the GX620 laptop, where we’ve seen that our today’s OCZ Apex 120GB SSD scores 83MB/s better than its mechanical test-mate. The SSD disk did run at higher temperatures, but only slightly.
In ideal scenarios, the Apex series can get to 230MB/s, but such scenarios are a rare occurrence. Still, the difference is evident when using a different OS or another chipset. A Vista Ultimate desktop system running on MSI’s P45D3 Platinum motherboard resulted in OCZ’s better scores, most notably in much better minimum thresholds.
WD's 320GB HDD on the other hand, didn't benefit much from a better system, and only the burst rate went up from 73MB/s to 110MB/s.
Atto disk benchmark also recognizes SSD's better performance compared to regular hard disk. Results are not that great in reading and writing very small files, but later on we see the Apex 120GB SSD scoring as much as 221MB/s read speed.
Up to 160MB/s write speeds at least with files bigger than 4MB are also possible while generally the drive likes bigger files and can write ultra small ones sometimes much slower than WD mechanical hard drive.
Our write tests are quite straightforward. We measured write speeds in seconds, while copying video and other files onto OCZ's SSD disk and then on WD's HDD. Note that we did this on a desktop system, where the two tested disks were used exclusively for data storage.
Motherboard: MSI P45D3 Platinum ( Provided by: MSI );
Processor: Intel Core 2 QX9770 Extreme edition na 3.6GHz ( Provided by: Intel );
Memory: Corsair Dominator 12800 7-7-7-24 ( Provided by: Corsair);
HDD: WD VelociRaptor 300G 10,000RPM ( Provided by: SmoothCreation );
Finally, we show you how Vista rated the disks we've tested today.
The SSD technology is still pricey, but the prices are coming down at a reasonable pace. An Apex 120GB SSD will set you back about $300 in USA or €330, which is still a lot, but note that this money buys a disk that’s almost three times faster than a traditional HDD.
The future favors the SSD and we, as well as some people from the memory industry, think that super advanced users will, apart from a couple of TB on traditional mechanical disks, have an SSD of 100 or more GB where they’ll store their OS, a couple of games and their favorite programs. The rest can always take the cheap path – a much cheaper and slower, but larger HD.
With realtime read and write speeds three times better than traditional HDDs, such an investment starts making sense. If you decide on a 30GB Apex, it will set you back about €100 but will provide instant and noticeable benefit.
Apart from the stunning speed, we were quite happy to find that the SSD technology brought the “golden silence” to the table. We often found ourselves working in the university library and thinking that our crackling traditional HDD surely must bother someone. SSD thankfully changed that.
The third reason as to why you should go with SSD is data security. While mechanical drives stand a fair chance of corrupting your data if your laptop drops from your hands, SSD keep them safe.
The technology is still expensive and while we’re aware of other 120GB SSD disks priced at about €230, we’d still choose this one for its far superior speed. So, with speeds in mind and 120GB for a reasonable buck, we’ve no choice but to dub this a “Fudzilla Recommended” device.