Initially we added each drive as an unformatted slave then ran HD Tach to gauge raw performance. Then we loaded Windows Vista onto each and tested boot up times. Finally, we copied a 1.05GB video file and a 178MB folder containing 671 files of various sizes to each drive then duplicated them.
Using HD Tach, we can see all this theory represented in graph form. The SSD maintains a completely consistent but overall slower read speed than the desktop HDD, which unsurprisingly leads by a significant margin, the 2.5in HDD puts in a very poor show and only at its peak can it compete with the SSD. Looking at access times, the SSD really pulls ahead, as expected, and wipes the floor with both the HDDs.
Testing boot times the SSD comes out with a decent lead over the two HDDs however our file transfer tests had the SSD coming out last. This is fairly easily explained by the fact that booting a computer requires lots of very small files to be loaded – something fast access times are best for – whereas transferring large files is far more dependent on sustained read/write speeds. The only discrepancy is that the folder transfer was also slower on the SSD, which would suggest the image files and Word documents that make up the majority of the folders contents are large enough that the HDD superior sustained write speeds are enough to make it faster than the SSD.
Using the SSD for everyday tasks, it definitely feels faster than any HDD I’ve used. Windows pop up instantly, flicking between programs is instantaneous, and ATI’s Catalyst Control Center loads almost instantly – it’s worth having an SSD for that alone!
So, connection limitations notwithstanding, everyone should go out and buy one of these, right? Well, no. At over £300 for 32GB, the cost per megabyte is nearly 40 times that of HDDs. So you’d have to seriously want that SSD goodness to justify the cost.
Being limited to EIDE, the Samsung MCAQE32G5APP-0XA is not going to be a viable upgrade for the vast majority of notebook owners. However, if you own an older machine, that does use this connection, then its super fast access times are going to give you a nice boost in performance. Also, if robustness is a concern then an SSD is the clear winner.
As for replacing a desktop hard drive, the MCAQE32G5APP-0XA is still not offering enough overall performance to be worth the money. Setting up a RAID-0 would give you truly great performance but as you would need to buy a dedicated RAID controller the cost is again massively prohibitive.
Overall, it’s best to wait until the SATA version of these drives arrives later in the year.