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Installing an Intel SSD on a HP Mini-Note 2133
Posted on 22-Dec-2008 20:37 | Tags Filed under: Reviews


I have managed to put my hands on an Intel X25-M SATA solid state drive (80GB SSD) and tried it in a couple of different machines around here.

The first machine I tried it on was my Windows Home Server. The drive was automatically recognized, as you would expect from a standard hard drive. But I wanted more - the Windows Home Server is already loaded with more than 3TB storage, so testing on it wouldn't make much difference.

So I decided to go for a laptop. I looked around here and of three laptops, the only one with standard SATA interface was the HP Mini-Note 2133.

Replacing the original drive with the Intel X25-M SSD was faily simple. The memory and hard drive are just underneath the keyboard. Remove a couple of screws from inside the battery compartment and you will be able to (gently) lift the keyboard from the top.



You then remove anothe three screws to remove the actual HDD and replace it with the Intel SSD.





Once this is done I had an empty HP Mini-Note. I had to install the OS on it. My first attemp was to restore the recovery partition from daily backup stored on my Windows Home Server. To do this you plug an external CD drive and boot from the Windows Home Server recovery disc.

The restore worked ok, but the recovery procedure didn't like the different drives. So my option was really install a new OS from the scratch. In this case I decided to install the Windows 7 preview with Windows Vista drivers.

Installation didn't seem much faster than normal. Probably because writing to a SSD is not much faster really.

However the drive shines when it comes to battery life and read operations.



With the original HDD and standard battery the HP Mini-Note had a battery life of approximately 60 minutes (including Wi-Fi on) and using the Balanced power profile. Using the Intel SSD I managed to get up to 100 minutes battery life with the same conditions.

Another area the Intel SSD performs well is obviously read operations. I've used HD Tune to measure read on these drives to report here. The original Hitachi HTS542512K9SA00 had the following results:

Transfer Rate Minimum : 1.3 MB/sec
Transfer Rate Maximum : 53.3 MB/sec
Transfer Rate Average : 33.6 MB/sec
Access Time : 17.6 ms
Burst Rate : 73.4 MB/sec

And these are the results shown by the Intel SSDSA2MH080G15E:

Transfer Rate Minimum : 111.6 MB/sec
Transfer Rate Maximum : 158.7 MB/sec
Transfer Rate Average : 149.8 MB/sec
Access Time : 0.2 ms
Burst Rate : 75.9 MB/sec

It's easy to see where improved performance comes from in these cases. Even on a PC with limited memory (1GB RAM) I was able to actually use it pretty well - including Microsoft Outlook, Internet Explorer, FeedDemon all open at the same time.

You can see another example performance when you look at the Windows Experience Index and find out the Intel SSD returns a 7.8 result.



Alas the time has come for me to send this HP Mini-Note back, so I had to remove the Intel SSD from it. My next step will be to install this SSD on a server grade box for further testing.


Pros:
- Fast read times
- Low power consumption

Cons:
- Beware of current SSD costs


More information: http://www.intel.com/design/flash/nand/index....

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