A while back, my wife’s PC decided to throw up a couple of ATA errors. ATA errors are usually associated with disk issues so I took them very seriously. A series of disk checks reveal a couple of bad sectors. For me, a bad sector is a indicator to replace the disk ASAP. As this was the boot drive, my first priority is to update the backup image. I use Acronis TruImage to create backup images of my boot drives. Data drives are backed up to my NAS (1st level backup) which automatically replicates to my Storage Server that houses 6x2TB of disks.
After updating the image, and had chkdsk mark up the bad sectors, the problem went a away. Now this is a temporary solution as a bad sector usually indicates something is wrong or is going to go wrong on the disk. It usually never goes away. It’s like a tumor that even though you’ve beaten it into remission, it can always potentially rear its ugly head. Of course, if you cut the tumor out, it’s a different story. So, the analogy was to swap the drive.
I contemplated swapping with Seagate’s hybrid drive but decided to try out Corsair’s F60 SSD instead. It’s a Sandforce powered drive that’s been reviewed to be among the quickest at the time of writing. I went with 60Gb as it was an affordable size. SSDs are faster in larger sizes but any SSD will beat most mechanical disks anyway so…
The result, well, cold boot to usable desktop (i.e. I can launch Firefox or Photoshop) went down from about 119 seconds to about 31. This is Vista 64 by the way. Application launches went from 21 seconds down to 4 seconds for Photoshop CS4, Firefox takes about a second to pop out. Outlook took about 6 seconds (not too bad considering all the offline and email folders are on a mechanical disk).
Overall, definitely very, very snappy which is the main point about SSDs. It makes my other systems boot time feel like forever. Even shutdown times are under the five second mark.
Well, my next SSD upgrade will probably be a Sandforce 2 powered drive. I can’t wait!