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Experience with TC1100 and Solid State Drive

 
 
Robert M. Lincoln
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      08-17-2008, 06:39 PM
I recently purchased a 64 GB Transcend 2.5" IDE solid state drive
(TS64GSSD25-M) to replace my Hitachi Travelstar 60 GB 7200 rpm drive in my
HP tablet TC1100.

The drive works flawlessly. However, it is only slightly faster than the
physical 7200 rpm drive. It's better, but I have to admit it is a big
disappointment. The rate limiting feature seems to be the speed of the
TC1100 processor (1.1 GHz).

The OS (XP and then service pak 3) installed without incident. Formatting
the disk only took 40 secs! I recall it took several minutes for the 60GB
physical 7200 drive. I've reinstalled all my applications - no errors. The
drive is seductively silent. I've performed numerous defrags (not that this
needs to be done on a solid state drive), all without problems. The drive
stays cooler than the 7200 rpm drive, and uses battery power a little less.

However, it is nowhere near as fast as I thought it would be. Everything is
a little snappier than my 7200 rpm physical drive: installations are
quicker, some programs load a little faster. But it doesn't blow your mind
away. Hibernation takes as much time as with my 7200 rpm drive, a big
disappointment. It takes my TC1100 about 30 secs to close down in
hibernation (from the tap on the Q menu), and about 25 - 30 seconds to wake
up from hibernation (from pressing the on switch to the beginning screen,
10 - 15 seconds just to go through the "resuming windows" progress bar). It
uses battery power less, but not dramatically so. It's also not all that
light - may scale says 90 grams for the solid state drive, 115 grams for the
Hitachi 60GB 7200 rpm drive. I guess I was expecting something very light
weight. The solid state drive is supposed to have much greater shock
resistance, but I've never dropped a laptop or experienced a broken 2.5"
drive.

Overall, a good product. But having used the product, I'm not sure it is
worth the cost when compared to physical drives. You can get this drive
from Amazon or NewEgg for $250 - $300. It's better than the physical drive,
but I was expecting really short times to place the PC in hibernation mode.
That is not the case. Defrags also still take a lot of time. So, some
things work very fast, others show no difference. Movies are not jerky, but
they weren't with my 7200 drive.

I once had a 5400 rpm drive on my TC1100. I found a noticeable difference
in speed between it and the 7200. Upgrading memory from 512k to 1GB RAM
also made a noticeable difference. In comparison, the noticeable difference
in speed using the solid state drive is not that great when compared to a
7200 rpm physical drive.

It seems, for the TC1100, the rate limiting feature is the speed of the CPU.

 
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Beverly Howard [Ms-MVP/MobileDev]
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      08-17-2008, 07:52 PM
Thanks for the review...

one question which might be relevant;

While the shutdown into hibernation time difference does not surprise
me, is there a noticable difference in the time needed to come out of
hibernation?

Flash memory always takes longer to write than to read, so, I would have
expected that restarts would have been significantly faster.

Think where you will see a time difference would be in the "ladder" that
appears... if the total recovery time is not much difference, would
expect that the time factor is related to other issues.

On some tests I made years ago on flash speeds, in general, writes took
about three times as long as reads did.

One other request, keep us posted on battery life. Would expect that
you would see some advantages here as well.

One other thought from pocketpc experience, on the move, you shouldn't
have any concerns about the time needed going into hibernation... just
start the process, shut the box and put it away, perhaps taking a peek
at the led a few minutes later to make sure it completed.

Don't forget to turn off the hd shock protection software if you have it
running ;-)

Beverly Howard [MS MVP-Mobile Devices]
 
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Robert M. Lincoln
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      08-17-2008, 09:37 PM
> While the shutdown into hibernation time difference does not surprise me,
> is there a noticable difference in the time needed to come out of
> hibernation?


No, there is not much difference. Both take about 30 secs. Perhaps
the solid state drive is 1 or 2 secs faster, but wake up time seems to
vary a little from time to time.

> Think where you will see a time difference would be in the "ladder" that


What is the "ladder"? Is that the horizontal scrolling progress-type bar
underneath the Windows logo? If so, on my machine, it is always
around 10 or 11 scrolls for physical drive and flash drive - no
significant difference.

> One other request, keep us posted on battery life. Would expect that you
> would see some advantages here as well.


It will take a while to get a good feel for this. I'm getting a new battery
and will see if it gives me any more than the usual expectation of
around 2 - 2.5 hrs.

> One other thought from pocketpc experience, on the move, you shouldn't
> have any concerns about the time needed going into hibernation... just
> start the process, shut the box and put it away, perhaps taking a peek at
> the led a few minutes later to make sure it completed.


Right, I am mostly concerned about wake-up. I just view hibernating
and wake-up pretty much as reverse processes, and expect them to
be the same time.

> Don't forget to turn off the hd shock protection software if you have it
> running ;-)


I didn't know it existed. How do I check that and turn it off?

Thanks



 
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Beverly Howard [Ms-MVP/MobileDev]
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      08-17-2008, 10:22 PM
>> hd shock protection <<

Varies with oem and model... (was more a joke than a real need to
disable it) but the process essentially parks the heads when shock is
detected to avoid a head crash... check your docs, don't know your model
at all.

>> "ladder" <<


Yep... you answered my question.

Thanks for the info... very educational.

Beverly Howard [MS MVP-Mobile Devices]


 
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Robert M. Lincoln
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      08-28-2008, 01:59 AM
Latest update: the drive died after a few weeks of use.

I got the message on booting up: "Operating System Not Found". This
happened after I ran the Windows XP disk defragmenter. Too bad, as I was
starting to really enjoy the drive.


 
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Beverly Howard [Ms-MVP/MobileDev]
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      08-28-2008, 01:58 PM
>> died <<

groannnnnnnnnn!

Thanks for saving me some bucks by posting this!

Beverly Howard [MS MVP-Mobile Devices]
 
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Rainald Taesler
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      08-28-2008, 05:20 PM
Robert M. Lincoln wrote:

> Latest update: the drive died after a few weeks of use.
>
> I got the message on booting up: "Operating System Not Found".
> This happened after I ran the Windows XP disk defragmenter. Too
> bad, as I was starting to really enjoy the drive.


Sounds very sad. :-( :-(

No way to revitalize the thing?
It should be covered by warranty anyway.

All the best
Rainald
 
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Marvin Hlavac
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      08-28-2008, 08:56 PM
> >> died <<
>
> groannnnnnnnnn!
>
> Thanks for saving me some bucks by posting this!


Yes, thanks for saving me some $$$, too. Hmm, beside the better speed, my
main reason for considering a solid state hard drive was my perceived
improvement in the reliability of solid state hard drives. Do they fail a
lot? Or is this a very rare occurrence? Is there something you can do to fix
it, or retrieve your data?

---
Marvin Hlavac
Laptop GPS World
http://www.laptopgpsworld.com/




..


 
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Robert M. Lincoln
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      08-29-2008, 05:18 PM
I could not "repair" the installation. I tried to repair the OS
installation using the Windows XP OS CD, but it wouldn't do it. Apparantly
the partition was gone.

Here's exactly what happened.

I installed MS Encarta, without problems.
I then ran XP's disk defrag utility. No problems.
I then put the machine into hibernate mode - and that's
where it failed. It couldn't write the file. My desktop
was still visible. I rebooted - and that's when I got the
message of "Operating System not found".

Since then, I have reinstalled the XP operating system and Service Pak 3.
The disk still works, but I have to start all over. This shakes my
confidence.

I called Transcend. The technician couldn't really help me, he said he
hadn't heard of the problem before. He confirmed my suspicion that you
really don't have to defrag a solid state disk. I did it just to test the
drive, and, I suppose, because I just like knowing everything is
"organized". I don't think I will try to defrag again. However, I don't
really know if that was the problem. Did the drive just short? Who knows.

I have to say, since going back to my physical 7200 rpm drive, the system
seems to be slower. It's somewhat bothersome. Funny how you get used to
minor performance improvements and don't want to go back.

How does this relate to tablets? - My ideal tablet would be able to turn on
instantly, have a long battery life, and be very lightweight. I was hoping
the solid state drive would address those issues. The more a tablet meets
those criteria, the more they will be used.



 
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Rainald Taesler
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      08-29-2008, 07:19 PM
Robert M. Lincoln wrote:

> How does this relate to tablets? - My ideal tablet would be able to
> turn on instantly, have a long battery life, and be very
> lightweight. I was hoping the solid state drive would address
> those issues. The more a tablet meets those criteria, the more
> they will be used.


I fully agree. Honestly speaking: I can't see why TabletPCs come with
legacy HDDs ...

Rainald

 
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