Underwhelmed by Intel X25-M

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tim851
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Underwhelmed by Intel X25-M

Post by tim851 » Fri Jul 09, 2010 11:27 am

I received an Intel X25-M yesterday and having used it for one day, I must say, I'm a bit disappointed.

I had a Caviar Black before it, which is just about the fastest HDD you can get (save for 10k rpm models), maybe it's that. But I have to say, I don't notice a quicker boot up (yes, counting from the first time the windows 7 logo appears) and FF doesn't appear to load that much quicker.

Did I miss something? Do I have to make any particular settings in the BIOS. I've looked through it, I couldn't find a lot of options pertaining to S-ATA modes or anything anyways (Gigabyte EG41F-S2H, F2 Bios).

Yes, it is quiet and cool and all, but it's also frickin' expensive and holds just 80 gigs, so now I'm seriously considering returning it.

faugusztin
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Post by faugusztin » Fri Jul 09, 2010 11:59 am

No, you didn't miss anything. Well, except one thing - try to return the HDD back to your computer and boot from it. Then you will notice the difference - you don't feel it that much when you switch from HDD to SSD, but when you are forced to return to HDD.

plympton
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Post by plympton » Fri Jul 09, 2010 1:26 pm

faugusztin wrote:No, you didn't miss anything. Well, except one thing - try to return the HDD back to your computer and boot from it. Then you will notice the difference - you don't feel it that much when you switch from HDD to SSD, but when you are forced to return to HDD.
That's true - you get used to Speed pretty quick. I updated my wife's iPhone 2G today. Ouch. Slow.

Strid
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Post by Strid » Fri Jul 09, 2010 2:02 pm

Well, I went from a Raptor150 HDD to MTRON 32 GB SDD, and I really notice the speed. Even the workstation I use at work with two RAID 0+1 HDD@15K RPM is noticeable slower when opening programs like openoffice and such. I usually don't reboot linux, so I can't say anything much boot times, but when I boot my current PC up in Windows XP, the difference is immense to say the least.

Vicotnik
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Re: Underwhelmed by Intel X25-M

Post by Vicotnik » Fri Jul 09, 2010 2:29 pm

tim851 wrote:I had a Caviar Black before it, which is just about the fastest HDD you can get (save for 10k rpm models), maybe it's that. But I have to say, I don't notice a quicker boot up (yes, counting from the first time the windows 7 logo appears) and FF doesn't appear to load that much quicker.
Try to boot into the system and then start Firefox, Photoshop, Open Office and any other big application, all at the same time. And then do the same with the HDD. Low seek time baby. 8)

It's possible that you use your computer in a way that you have little need for an SSD. Like Strid I went from a Raptor 150 to an Mtron SSD and the difference was huge. I didn't notice any significant improvement changing to my current Intel X25-M though, nor did I expect to.

Extremely low seek time is the main thing with an SSD. As long as the HDD has a single task it's pretty quick, but try a few things all at once and the performance hit is huge. So the main thing you'll get with an SSD is responsiveness. And also speed, but as you have discovered the bottleneck is sometime somewhere else, so in some cases that gives only a little extra performance. Also you get a small box, with zero moving parts (that means quiet) and low power consumption. Man, I love SSDs. :)

tim851
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Post by tim851 » Fri Jul 09, 2010 2:58 pm

Hm. I will definitely try the before/after test before I make up my mind. I still have the Caviar Black with the OS on it. I'll get a week of work on the X25-M and then we'll see. What I do like is the carelessness involved. In my current SFF rig I just nudged it in a little cove above between optical drive and case cover. Not meant for that, wouldn't put a hard disk in there, but an SSD is perfect for it.

Speed-wise, it's just that FF seems to not really eat up disk performance. And foobar or MPC really load quickly, but they then have to retrieve the data from the ol' Green Power 1 TB disk, which kind of negates the whole thing. Because loading an 8 gig video file or quick checking the MP3 folder sure does take time. It's like I just shaved 50% of the already quick part of the opening process.
Oh well, one day we'll all have TB SSDs and that's that.

frenchie
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Post by frenchie » Fri Jul 09, 2010 3:33 pm

With an SSD, you can put all the apps you use often (email foftware, internet browser, open office app and photo editor) in the start up folder. They'll be up and running in seconds.
Now do that with your HDD, you'll notice the difference !

ntavlas
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Post by ntavlas » Fri Jul 09, 2010 3:37 pm

I did notice a big improvement in firefox (3.5) when I upgraded to an ssd (vertex 32gb), later versions could be different though. Try google chrome if you want faster startup times, ssd or not. Some programs benefit more than other with the biggest improvement felt in open office in my case. Boot times benefit the least and I think this is mostly because of system drivers that need a minimum of time to load, the more devices hooked up to the system the greater the effect.

washu
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Post by washu » Fri Jul 09, 2010 6:23 pm

Did you install fresh or just image your HD? If you imaged then there is a good chance your partitions are not aligned and that will really hurt performance on an SSD.

Backup, do a secure erase of the SSD, then install Windows. 7 will automatically align your partitions when it creates them.

Eunos
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Post by Eunos » Fri Jul 09, 2010 9:40 pm

As much as WEI has its limitations, what is your score for the drive? This may indicate issues with setup, be it partition alignment, non-AHCI mode issues or similar.

Some tasks like virus scans still take quite a while with an SSD, whilst other performance bottlenecks become more noticable. It's not unlike computer silencing, where huge improvements can be made, but we still notice whatever is the loudest component of the day.

The other benefits of SSD such as silence, on the other hand, cannot really be questioned. Casting aside the hype, I think a well-researched SSD purchase will still bring much satisfaction in the long run.

Syzygies
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Post by Syzygies » Sat Jul 10, 2010 7:51 pm

On a Mac, I find logging in and launching applications to be much faster with my 160 GB X25-M. Rebooting measures faster, but it is less noticeable.

mkk
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Post by mkk » Sun Jul 11, 2010 5:29 am

If on the other hand the user is the kind that tend to leave the system on all day then the experienced difference will be less. A system with a decent amount of RAM will keep a lot of program files in the RAM diskcache which is always much faster than any type of drive. Even if this effect was far more visible on Vista than Windows 7. Not downtalking SSD's, just adding a factor on the scale.

With Windows 7 I'm just as much interested in getting my favorite games onto an SSD disk as I am the system, precisely because of the slimmed down precaching routine. Which has me waiting for the next manufacturing process to up the affordable level of storage space.

Also note that for most SSD's like Intel's, for the more advanced functions like TRIM (which in short keeps the SSD performance from deteriorating noticeably over time) to become enabled the interface needs to be running in AHCI mode (BIOS setting). Which oddly enough isn't available with some i5/i7 platform motherboards.

Edit: It appears Intel has fixed their driver limitation on TRIM so that it should now also work in IDE mode.
Last edited by mkk on Fri Jul 16, 2010 6:50 pm, edited 2 times in total.

m0002a
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Post by m0002a » Sun Jul 11, 2010 8:37 am

mkk wrote:Also note that for most SSD's like Intel's, for the more advanced functions like TRIM (which in short keeps the SSD performance from deteriorating noticeably over time) to become enabled the interface needs to be running in AHCI mode (BIOS setting). Which oddly enough isn't available with some i5/i7 platform motherboards.
Could you recommend some specific motherboards that are optimized for Intel SSD?

Also, is their a difference in what motherboard would be optimal if one used the Intel Extreme SSD (SLC architecture) rather than the Intel Mainstream SSD (MLC architecture)?

Also, what about AMD boards?

Eunos
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Post by Eunos » Sun Jul 11, 2010 6:13 pm

If it has SATA it will work, the model of SSD makes no difference. To be fully optimised, you want AHCI mode. I don't have it on my main computer but performance is still excellent in IDE mode. The Crucial C300 is a bit different, gaining in sequential performance when connected through a SATA 6Gb interface.

A bit more discussion on ACHI here (though I disagree with the comment about needing AHCI for TRIM support):
viewtopic.php?p=482994

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