Firstly, I do have to say that this is a review about a particular product but, a little like me in the mornings, it does take a bit to get going, (no..! not that way..!). I want to tell you about the bases of this product before getting to the product itself. So please forgive me if you feel that your getting bored before getting to the actual product.
Anyway, the story begins...
A few months ago a chap I was doing a little work for asked me if I wanted to try out something called an SSD which, luckily for me, I knew exactly what an SSD was: I mean, if I had no idea what he was on about I'm sure I would not be doing work for him now due to the fact I'm supposed to know what I'm talking about in my work.
Firstly though, for people who have never heard of an SSD then I will tell you that it is an abbreviation for Solid State Drive, which is technically a more up to date version of the standard computer Hard Disk Drive, or HDD.
To be perfectly honest SSD's have not had that much publicity and it's only the fact that I have come across a few of them in my time that I know something about them. So when I was given this one, I think more to try out than as a gift, although I have kept hold of it since installing the device into a laptop, I was intrigued as to whether the things I had read about them were actually true.
Now I shall say something about an SSD and what the difference is between them and a normal HDD...
The HDD system has been in operation since, well, since dinosaurs ruled the world, even as far back as to when John Craven used to read the news.
The discs, or platters, have a magnetic coating on them which, as the magnetic heads pass over them either reads or writes the data on or writes onto the discs. But to find the data the head has to search through the discs as they spin around, which takes a little bit of time depending on the rpm's.
These HDD's can be a little noisy as the platters spins around and the heads make there moves, plus, due to the speed of the spin, they can get a little warm at times.
This method has been both reliable and sometimes a total disaster due to the fact that the spinning discs or heads can become damaged, sometimes with the slightest of knocks, rendering the HDD totally useless, which makes anything that was stored on it lost forever.
Now then, these new fangled SSD are something different; although new isn't quite the right word as they have been around since the mid 1990's, but it's only in the last couple of years that big improvements have been made so that they can be marketed as a good alternative to the HDD without needed a bank loan to get one, (although who can get a bank loan these days?).
SSD's have no moving parts such as discs and heads, so that there's nothing that can break, snap or crack, and can therefore stand up to more 'hassle' than an HDD.
The data is stored on what is called an integrated circuit instead of a platter which makes the SSD very fast indeed, locating the information that is stored on it in a fraction of the time that it takes a standard HDD due to the fact that it goes straight to where that information is stored and doesn't have to go looking for it on spinning discs.
And, as there are no moving parts this is not only silent when running it manages to stay a lot cooler than a standard HDD.
So what about this SSD that I have been using..?
The SSD that I have slotted into a laptop, although not my regular one as yet, is an SSD from a well known company called 'iomega' who happen to be a leading name when it comes to technology, with such things as desktop hard drives, smartphones, and more, including network storage and even data recovery.
This particular SSD having a storage capacity of 128GB, although there are various GB sizes on sale from iomega and other well known companies too, with some good bargains out there at the moment.
Anyway, this iomega SSD looks very similar to your standard HDD, being the same size and looking a little like one of those old fashioned cigarette cases: you know the ones, the ones that the likes of Humphry Bogart would pull out of his suit pocket, flicking open the lid of the metal casing, then offering a lady one of his finest tobacco filled tubes of paper to seductively smoke, (in the black and white movie days seductive way that is).
The SSD is hidden within this casing being well protected and, as there are no parts that move, it can be man handled without fear of things rattling around inside.
There are the connected ports on one end, which, when the drive is slid into the PC, should click into place. Then, to give this one the characteristics that it deserves, or more to promote the good name of iomega, the name is gently branded onto the front together with the words SSD Flash
That's basically what it looks like, although once it's inside the PC what it looks like is irrelevant as it shouldn't be seen again... it's how it handles that more important.
What about fitting this into my laptop then..?
If you think that exchanging the HDD in your laptop for this SDD is going to be tricky then think again, it's as easy as replacing an HDD with another HDD as the fittings are exactly the same, with the casing on both looking alike.
If you've ever changed a HDD then you know exactly what you're doing, and the time it may take to re-install everything back onto the new drive.
But if you've never done it before don't panic, there's plenty of info on the web to find out how to do it and you'll be amazed how simple it actually is to do.
But as all computers are different it's pretty pointless me telling you how to do it as telling you to take out a screw at the top left of the underside would no doubt be wrong, and you may actually take out the wrong screw, leaving you motherboard splattering on your laminate flooring.
Once it's slotted into you laptop it's ready to run: or, if you want to add it to a desk top, there are several brackets on the market that can help you do this as well, technically turning this 2.5inch into a 3.5inch.
Some interesting bits...(using the word interesting very loosely)
It does state that it's a USB 3.0 drive, but as it is backward compatible there's no danger about using and it is compatible with PC and Mac, running most modern OS.
It also makes claims of having a maximum read speed of 191MB/s and a maximum write speeds of 130MB/s, which sounds good in itself, but I wanted to know more before I invested in any more SSD's for my main laptop.
So I spent a bit of time testing the speeds of this SSD drive, compared with another laptop which has the old fashioned HDD. Those simple speed tests involved booting up/down, opening several programs at once and even
Comparing this SSD to a WD HDD running at 7200rpm.
I have to admit that I tried to have the same programs/software loading up on both I can't promise I managed to do so, so do not take these tests as 100%... more 98% with a bit of trial and error, but the idea's there.
The boot time for the SSD was just over 20 seconds, whilst the HDD ran a little later, coming in at around 45 seconds. (This is from pressing the on button to having all necessary programs such as the OS, drivers, firewalls, antivirus, anti malware, anti spam, anti biotic and even anti Marge from Margate. Basically from press to having the PC in a working state).
Installation of a basic antivirus took about 32 seconds on the SSD whilst the HDD took three times that.
Then it came down to a more 'tricky' installation, shall we say, installing a 'video creator software which took just over 110 seconds on the SDD but struggled badly on the HDD, limping through in just short of four and a half minutes.
Another test that I did, more from boredom than anything else, was fully opening as many programs as I could in the space of 30 seconds, with the SSD managing to open 17 programs, (although this probably could have been more if I could press the buttons quicker), whilst the HDD only managed to open a measly 5, which really is an eye opener indeed.
Then, finally, I did a true speed test on a single program, opening the same 'large' program on both laptops at the same time, just to see the difference in the opening times. The file I opened was a 'Roxio video creator' piece of software which normally takes a while to fully open enough to begin using it.
On the SSD laptop Roxio was up and running in 26 seconds, with everything open ready to be used.
I then had to wait a while for the HDD laptop to finally catch up, (I actually thought that the stop watch was going to run out at one point...kidding). Roxio finally opened up fully after about 74 seconds, which is not bad really but when you see them side by side you realise just how slow a HDD truly is.
I'm not a 'gamer' so I haven't tested this on any games so I can't comment on that but I have spoken to a few gamers who have tried SSD gaming and have raved about how great the future of gaming is going to be...what ever that means.
As I said, I'd heard of SSD before but had never really ahd the chance to see what all the fuss was about, so when given this chance I thought I'd really go to town on testing it out, mainly due to the fact that if they were as good as they claim I'd end up installing them in place of any HDD's that I cam e across over time.
And to be honest, going off this iomega experience, I can say that I feel that SSD are certainly the way to go, speeding up your PC, making reading and writing to the drive a lot quicker than an everyday HDD.
You may think that 128GB is not much storage space, especially this day and age, and this is why I've not installed this on my main laptop. But if you just use a laptop for browsing, writing, reading, and general day to day stuff then 128GB should be enough; and with this drive it's the speed of the device that makes it well worth thinking about investing in.
If it's more storage you're after then stick with the HDD's for now as the larger SSD's, especially iomega, are a bit on the pricey side. But on the other hand, if it's less storage you want, maybe you like to have things stored on external drives, then there are many SSD sizes at some good prices, 60GB, 64GB... then it goes upwards.
But if you do decide to go for an SSD then give this one a go as it offers speed, reliability, good size and above all speed, (I know I said speed twice but even I'm impressed with how fast this one gets there... just a shame my wife doesn't feel the same, but that's a different story, and my problem).
The only thing that puts me off replacing my HDD's is the price of the SSD these days, although I have noticed that over the passed couple of years the prices have come down somewhat, making them a bit more of a positive proposition.
This particular SSD in fact sells for the high price of around £200, which, for only 128GB sound pretty terrible value for money, and I agree, it is a lot of money for little space. But if it's speed you want and you don't use your PC for storing 'large' files, more for work related, writing, browsing or the like, then the price per space may not be so bad, considering the speed you get and the fact that the SSD is less likely to achieve the dreaded 'click of death' that the HDD's can achieve without warning.
But, to be honest, there is a cloud on every horizon, a monkey in every bush, good news maketh the man... or how ever the saying goes.., as it does look as if the boffins are trying to get the SSD's to take over the HDD's as there are some great bargains at the moment, especially from the likes of amazon, where they seem to be almost giving them away, (no... not really, they're not actually 'giving them away', so don't be telling them I said so); what I mean is that they are selling SSD's under such names as Samsung, sandisk, crucail and other for less than half price at the moment, although this one is still at the higher price of around the £180 mark.
The best bargain one, according to amazon, is the Sandisk 120GB version SSD which usually sells for nearly £250 but is going for £73.00 at the moment.
In all, SSD is no doubt the future of storage on your PC and this iomega 128GB is a good start to seeing into that future.
This deserves a five star rating but as I think the price is a bit much at the moment I have dropped a star. Once the price comes down, say below the £110 region, than five stars it is.
© Blissman70 2012
Solid State Disk drives are becoming very common as an internal component to laptops, however you may feel the need to have a small backup device that you can carry in your pocket. This indeed is an extraln solid sate drive and is also small, but to be honest, it isn't worth it.
First of all let me tell you that this is essentially eight 16GB USB pen drives. If you calculate the cost, it is roughly around £160 for eight of them. The Iomega SSD retails at around £300 and you can immediately guess where I am going with this.
128GB isn't a huge amount of disk space and especially for a product that is geared towards the backup market. However what it does support is USB 3 and should your motherboard also suppoer USB 3 then you will get a very decent read/write exprience.
As I've said my main concern is the hard drive space and the price. For comparisons sake, you can easily buy a 128GB SSD from makes such as PNY, Corsair or OCZ (very well established SSD brands) for around £120. Some of these SSDS are also equipped with portable kits thus allowing you to use them as external devices.
With that said, Iomega have made a very robust SSD here. It feels really well built with the metal casing. As there are no moving parts involved, you shouldn't have many problems if you manage to have an accident or two - dropping it for example.
In summary, this SSD as a storage solution does not really compare well with external protable hard disks. There simply isn't enough space but moreso there really isn't a great speed advantage compared to conventional 5900RPM external hard disk drives.
Give this a miss if you need a portable storage solution.