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Thursday, 10 January 2013

A Tale of 2 Disks

I'm sorry if you were waiting for part 2 of the LVM saga, it will come, but in the meantime, I've something else to talk about.

I had a normal 500GB hard drive in my work laptop and I was reasonably happy with the performance, with Ubuntu 12.04 booting to an xmonad Window Manager, it took about 55-60 seconds from power button to login window.

However, some of my work colleagues have put SSDs into their computers, both desktop and laptop, and that gave me the idea to try that too.

Because I do a lot of work on my XenDesktop at work, and I also extensively use ShareFile and Dropbox, the size of the SSD was less important to me than the reviews it received. I store a lot of the non sensitive stuff I use on some form of cloud service, so a smaller, faster disk was fine by me.

I got a 128GB Crucial M4 SSD and installed Ubuntu 12.04 on it, again using xmonad as my WM. And boy, does it make a difference! Boot from power on to login screen now takes 19 seconds. Copying some large files from my backups to the new system was way faster than I'd dared hope, in fact copying about 6GB of files, assorted between large and small files, took around 3 minutes. I can tell you that I was very happy.

In general use I find things are faster too, opening 500MB+ files in Wireshark is so much quicker, file transfers from anywhere are so much quicker and generally the whole system feels more responsive.

So, if you've been thinking about SSDs, stop it! Get yourself one and see what a difference it really makes. With prices down so low now, there is no real reason to not use one for the OS of a computer. Even if the data is stored elsewhere, having the OS and some programmes you use a lot on an SSD really does make a difference. Just remember to enable the TRIM feature....

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