Making the leap to SSD...

The Intel SSDs were on sale around Thanksgiving, so I picked up one for my Thinkpad.

There is little that was remarkable in getting it set up. I swapped out the old spinning rust device. (The X201, unlike any other laptop I've opened up, has rubber shock absorbers that fit between the drive and the chassis. Not that the thing they're guarding is particularly susceptible to mechanical damage any longer.) Everything just worked.

Boot times and application load times are dramatically improved. Though, the way I work, my laptop is essentially just a device for running Emacs, Chrome, and gnome-terminal, all of which I just open and keep open. All of those apps load fairly quickly, so the speed improvement from the SSD, while nice, is not by any means life-changing. (And, how often do you reboot a computer, anyway? But, for the record, my Thinkpad goes from LUKS password prompt to login screen in 10 seconds, and to a ready-to-use desktop in about 3 more.)

What's really nice about the SSD is that my laptop is now nearly silent, or at least quieter than ambient noise. Perhaps I just have unusually low noise tolerance, but I find the steady-noise of a HDD to be somewhat annoying, and the sound of a HDD spinning up to be even more annoying. Unfortunately, I actually didn't correctly attribute those noises to the HDD until recently. If this sounds like you, it's time to pay a visit to the computer store.

One caveat is that if you use LUKS full disk encryption (and if you're using a laptop, you really ought to; no, I mean, you really ought to), then Ubuntu (10.10) doesn't issue TRIM commands to the device. Which will eventually lead to decreased throughput, but I believe that may just be the price of security. (IANA security expert...) LUKS goes to great lengths by default to foil cryptanalysis, including initializing encrypted partitions with random data to obscure which sectors of the device are actually being filled with interesting data. This would all be for naught if the OS was periodically telling the device exactly which sectors were no longer being used.

No comments:

Post a Comment