I feel the need … the need for speed-part 1

I love SSDs. As do others. Currently all of my SSDs are from Intel except for one. I’ll have to count them up at some point but needless to say from my first 80 GB generation one X-25, I’ve been hooked.

Recently, one of my generation 2 Intel 160 GB drives was acting up. Now unlike old mechanical drives, you don’t get much warning. Generally they just die. I quickly copied off all the data and then put it aside.

Today while working on other things, I did some testing on it with the Intel Solid-State Drive Toolbox as well as HD Tune Pro. I had been using the drive in an external case over eSATA (more on that later). In order to use the Intel tools, I needed to direct connect it to my laptop using the ultra bay in one of my Lenovo W510s.

The Intel tools all reported all was well. I then ran all the tests in HD Tune Pro both with and without a partition (you can only run the write tests without one). The health report did in fact show an issue. It doesn’t look too bad so with regular backups, I think I can continue to use the drive.















One down side to SSDs is that their performance can degrade over time (especially if you have a drive without TRIM support or like me, you put the drive in a case that prevents regular use of TRIM).

I was interested then in how the drive was doing performance wise.

Here’s the raw Benchmark Read results in the ultra bay:















Here’s the raw Benchmark Write results in the ultra bay:















Overall, not bad for a drive that’s almost two years old and has been used extensively to host VHDs for Hyper-V.

As I had mentioned, I had been using the drive in an external case. So I put it back in the case and ran the same HD Tune Pro. The results, depressing.

Here’s the raw Benchmark Read results in the external case over eSATA:















Here’s the raw Benchmark Write results in the external case over eSATA:















As you can see the read is down about 100 MB/s (!) and the write is down about 25 MB/s.

What’s going on? I’m not quite sure.

Is it the eSATA port on Lenovo? The external case?

I’ll investigate more in part 2 as well as do some tests with a brand new Generation 3 Intel 160 GB drive.

Comments (2) -

Jeff Hadfield
Jeff Hadfield
1/2/2012 10:12:16 PM #

I'll be interested to see the results of your tests! I have an SSD in an external case and have been disappointed with the results as well ... enough that it's sitting in my desk drawer waiting for me to rebuild my desktop and use it as a boot/OS drive only. Now I think I'll test the speed before I commit. (It'll still be faster than the mechanical drive.)

Brian Randell
Brian Randell
1/4/2012 2:38:46 PM #

Yeah, as things get faster, I thought I'd review all my external devices, especially with USB 3 available.

More to come. I've got a wide range of things to test including a 6 GBps Express Card and Thunderbolt.

Comments are closed

About the author

Brian A. Randell is a Partner with MCW Technologies, LLC. Brian is also currently a Visual Studio ALM MVP.

Month List