Very brief first SSD impressions

My OCZ Vertex SSD arrived yesterday. I don’t have it working yet–not completely. In retrospect, I should have just installed the drive and rebuilt the system from scratch. I’d be time ahead by now. But I can tell you a few things.It’s fast. I booted Windows XP in 20 seconds off the Vertex. Not a fresh install either–this was my existing installation I’ve been using for 18 months. Granted, off my factory Seagate Barracuda 7200.7, it booted in about a minute. (I’m still pretty good at optimizing a PC.)

It’s eerily quiet. You see the disk activity light but you don’t hear anything. On those rare occasions when the disk does grind, it’s weird to see the disk light going crazy without hearing anything.

The OCZ Vertex will work with an IDE-SATA bridge, such as the Rosewill RC-203. I think a better option is to put a new SATA card in the system, even if all your system will take is a SATA-150 card rather than SATA-300, and rebuild. You’ll get ever-so-slightly better performance, both from the SATA interface’s greater bandwidth, and from the fresh installation.

An older system like my Compaq Evo D510 can’t take full advantage of a Vertex’s capabilities. But the drive will keep the IDE bus saturated much of the time, longer than any conventional drive, including a 10,000 RPM drive like the legendary (in some circles) Western Digital Raptor.

I still haven’t figured out what went wrong with my installation, but I have an idea. The first time I booted with the new drive after cloning the system to it, I still had the old drive in the system and it decided to load my user profile off the old drive for some reason. Now it doesn’t seem to know to look for the profile on the new drive.

Maybe copying my profile over to the new drive will do the trick. Maybe I need to re-image and not boot until I’ve removed the old drive. I’m not sure. Copying the profile is fastest and easiest. Imaging takes about an hour, plus the time it takes to route cables and move things around in this small form factor case.

I’d hoped this upgrade would be a two-hour project, and back when I routinely did disk swaps, I probably could have done it that quickly. But I think it’s been six years since I’ve done one of these, and I found myself second-guessing things I used to just fly through.

But I’ll get it. I always do.

So I can’t verify yet that a six-year-old Compaq Evo with an OCZ Vertex can launch multiple memory-hogging apps simultaneously in less than a minute. But once I have the system running on that drive, and only that drive, it’s a test I intend to undertake. I believe it will, but of course I want the proof to back it up.

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