Win 7 RTM on an Intel X25-M (2nd gen) SSD

Back in July as Win 7 RTM’d, I got a new Dell Studio 14z notebook and at the same time, ordered an Intel X25-M 80GB 2nd gen drive – SSDSA2MH080G2C1.

Despite the back-order status on the SSD, the supplier assured me they would be coming into stock on the date indicated on their website.  My delivery date came and went and the supplier was none-the-wiser.  I eventually discovered that there had been a recall on the drives.  Don’t you hate it when you know more about this stuff than the supplier?  Where’s the value add?

Out of the blue, I received the drive last week, about 10 weeks late…

I didn’t think I’d have time to install it before next week, but waiting for a furnace service and testing some long-running workflow code provided the opportunity, because… using an SSD (especially this one) makes everything fast!

Here are the immediately noticeable benefits:

  • Windows 7 Pro 64 installed in about 12 minutes (excluding interaction)!
  • Windows 7 boots in under 15 seconds!
  • There is no HDD noise.
  • Hibernate and resume is super fast.
  • Applications launch very very quickly.
  • Installs are very quick.
  • The Win 7 WEI data transfer sub-score if 7.8, just 0.1 below the max.

The only bad part of the experience was the slight moment of panic when I thought I’d broken a motherboard connector (but hadn’t) for the keyboard (which had to be out of the way to swap the hard drive easily).  The drive has a SATA interface and a 2.5” drive form factor (including an extra layer of plastic to fill out its size to match regular drive depth).

Of course there’s the cost.  This drive was ~CDN$250 for 80GB.  I use 10,000RPM Raptors in RAID 0 on my desktop (yes I know its risky – that’s what back up for).  Despite the SSD cost, I may go for 2xSSD in RAID 0 for when I move from Vista to Win 7 on there.  I may also build a 4xSSD RAID10 setup for my hyper-v server’s VHD storage – should be interesting.  The price of these things can only come down.

There are no fancy benchmarks here – just a happy customer.  I have not had a chance to try any serious application use yet.  I use the machine for couch-development and presentations and will be installing Visual Studio and SQL Server (64-bit).  I will also try the new Virtual PC.  Perhaps more on that later.