SSD experiment

After some of my recent blogs on SSDs, I was excited to have in my hand an OCZ Vertex 60GB SSD. However I neglected to remember that in my other hand I needed to have both SATA data and SATA power cables.  After a trip to the local store, I come back with the required cables!

Rather than dive straight in – as is my normal process, I knew I should do some planning and put some thought into the installation/upgrade process:

  • Remove old/unwanted programs files.
  • Schedule the required downtime for installation and re-installation copying of files and applications
  • Read the manuals for the SSD, BIOS and HDD.

So after the required planning I was ready to go:

  1. Open up workstation and replace SATA cables to HDD to SSD.
  2. Added new SATA cables and connect HDD.
  3. Power up workstation and enter BIOS menu, turn off auto detection of HDD (This means the workstation will no longer boot from the HDD but rather choose the SSD.
  4. Install Windows:  20 minutes for install and 5 reboots later I had a working machine to download the required updates.
  5. Install OpenSolaris: 20 minutes and 1 reboot later I had a working machine, as I pulled the latest /dev image there were no updates I was ready to work.

First Impressions:

  • Wow, this is fast!  No really I mean this SSD is REALLY fast.
  • Boot times are now significantly faster:  Windows = 30 seconds, OpenSolaris = 35 seconds
  • Applications are 30% to 80% faster to open.
  • Benchmarking results to follow, it seems there’s lots to consider from a Solaris perspective. Thanks to Lisa for her post.

UPDATE:Just a note to say that Windows automatically recognised the HDD and created drive letters E: and F:.  On OpenSolaris as I had previously created pools, it was a simple matter of entering the command:

zpool import -R /mnt tank

This mounted the pool and I was able to copy and use as required.  I love it when a plan comes together.  You can also just enter the command “zpool import” without any options to discover all pools available.

These are very noticeable differences, although given the age of the workstation (October 2005) and components users with newer machines should expect more performance increases:

Given the old nature of components, the workstation is also limited to SATA v1, so 150MB or in reality 130MB. So I’m not really reaching the capacity from the OCZ Vertex SSD, which has potential Read: Up to 230 MB/s and Write: Up to 135MB/s.

If you think SSDs could help your desktops, servers or applications look at the following sites for more info:

As with everything in the computing world, SSDs are not standing still. OCZ announced at CES that their Vertex 2 Pro SSDs (2nd generation) are on schedule for Q110, with the new SandForce controller and have preliminary specs of: Read and Write of 270 MB/s.  AnandTech have a preview here.

OCZ have also produced the first 1TB SSD, under the “Colossus” moniker.  Other manufacturers are sure to push the limits too.

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