Friday, October 1, 2010

Mushkin 240GB SSD Drive for the W510

Hi everybody,

time for another first: my first notebook without mechanical drives!
The Lenovo W510 was delivered with an 160GB Intel Postville SSD drive built-in for the Windows Server 2008 system and program files, and a second 500GB Seagate Momentus 7200.4 SATA hard disk in the UltraBay (where usually a DVD or BD drive is installed). The Intel SSD got me pretty excited already as it's the first time I have ever seen Windows Server 2008 boot up in less than a minute from powering on until the desktop is ready to use. No more need for hibernation, yippieeh!
My idea was to use the larger disk for hosting VirtualBox hard drive images which I need for working on different platforms, and thus its performance was kind of vital.
As I'll soon work with a Microsoft Office Project Server 2010 Hyper-V development system soon that contains Windows Server 2008, SharePoint 2010, and Microsoft Visual Studio 2010, I believe you cannot have enough performance, this monstrum will still bring any system to its knees.
The Momentus disk is fast but I just wanted to find out if an SSD could go beyond that.
Well, it's gone impressively beyond the speed index I knew so far!

Package

Unlike earlier Mushkin metal case packages, the one I got is rather simple:



The package reveals a kind of "book" filled up with solid rubber foam to keep the valuable SSD safe.


Some screws (8 pieces), that's it. Not even a manual, a cable or anything. I'm a little disappointed that no 5,25-inch mounting frame was delivered. It seems there is some space reserved in the box to keep one. Well, I won't need it anyway now.


Okay, here's the protagonist:




Sorry, no "inside" pictures as I want to keep the warranty intact. If you want to see the innards though, look here, it's a review of the 60GB version: Legit Reviews - Mushkin Callisto 60GB.
The SSD replaces the Seagate Momentus disk in the UltraBay frame:


Ready to go. Here are some first test results. Please note that I used the notebook during the test, and the partition on which the test(s) ran were everything but empty. That drops results considerably I think. What counts for me is that the perceived speed is much higher now, especially when working with my VirtualBox machines.

Iometer 2006.07.27 results (1 Worker active, results after approx. 2 minutes)
More speed measurements by DiskTT:

DiskTT with 4kB block size - expectedly bad results

DiskTT with 64kB block size - now we're getting somewhere!

DiskTT on ecstasy! Excellent performance at 512kB block size
Iometer is a rather old tool, and reported the "worst" results. Well, I'm not too familiar with the program. A constant transfer of nearly 80MB/sec (reading and writing) is not too bad for a start. Well, there values are of course rather theoretical ones, and I have caused some impact by using the machine a little during the tests. Nonetheless, all this is way better than the previous classic hard disk.
Now let's hope it stays that way. There is a lot to read about performance dropping once the SSD needs to overwrite blocks that are not empty. Windows 2008 is TRIM-enabled and will hopefully keep the performance up. If there will be problems, there will be a blog :)

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