Pros:Affordable, solid construction, easy to install
Cons:Nowhere near state of the art performance
The Bottom Line: SSD performance for well under $2/GB. Upgrade your laptop and still have enough disk space to do what you need to do.
The Kingston SSDNow SNV425-S2 128GB SATA 2 SSD is a entry level model in Kingston’s extensive line of solid state drives. While this model is currently (Jan '11) widely available, it is listed as a legacy model on Kingston’s web site and is probably being phased out. With a before rebate street price of $200 to $240, its has recently been available for $150 after a $50 rebate at a online stores like Woot (where I bought mine), Buy.com and Newegg, the lowest price I’ve seen ($1.18/GB) for a decent SSD.
Recommend this product?
Installation in a Macbook
I purchased this drive to install in a 3 year old Macbook (2.4ghz core 2 duo cpu, 2gb ram, 160gb 5400rpm hard drive). Replacing the drive was fairly easy:
- temporarily installed the Kingston SSD in a USB drive case
- downloaded and installed Carbon Copy Cloner on the Macbook
- Plugged the USB drive case into the Macbook
- Ran Carbon Copy Cloner and copied the data from the old drive to the new drive
- Replaced the old drive in the Macbook with the new SSD (the drive is accessed from the battery compartment)
The first thing we noticed was quicker boot times. With old drive, the macbook booted in about 65 seconds. With the SSD, boot times are under 28 seconds. Applications like Powerpoint, iTunes, Firefox, and Pages open noticeably faster (2-3X), particularly the first time after booting. Your computer won't "calculate" any faster, but it "feel" faster because it will respond more quickly to your inputs, and most file operations will be much faster.
Xbench 1.3, an OS/X benchmarking utility, also provides an indication of SSD performance:
Overall Xbench Disk “rating” for the Macbook/Kingston SSD system: 167
For comparison, with the old drive, the Macbook’s Xbench rating was 42 (more detail in italics below), while my daughter’s new 13“ Macbook Air, which has a much faster SSD, gets a Xbench rating of 233 (bold italics below). My daughter’s Macbook Air also boots in half the time required by the Macbook w/Kingston SSD, confirming Xbench does help predict real world performance.
Sequential (5400 rpm drive), Kingston SSD, (Macbook Air)
Write (4k blocks): (43 mb/sec), 111 mb/sec, (135 mb/sec)
Write (256k):(50 mb/sec), 88 mb/sec, (159 mb/sec)
Read (4k):(18.5 mb/sec), 20.5 mb/sec, (19 mb/sec)
Read (256k):(51 mb/sec), 113 mb/sec, (168 mb/sec)
Write (4k blocks):(1 mb/sec), 12 mb/sec, (30 mb/sec)
Write (256k):(23 mb/sec), 75 mb/sec, (134 mb/sec)
Read (4k):(0.5 mb/sec), 5.8 mb/sec, (7.8 mb/sec)
Read (256k):(20.4 mb/sec), 65.5 mb/sec, (126 mb/sec)
The data above shows how the Kingston SSD compares with a 5400 rpm drive, and the faster SSD in a 13“ Macbook Air. The Kingston SNV425-S2 is clearly a step below enthusiast level SSD’s, which typically cost over $2.50/gb. But, if you want to give a boost to an older laptop, this SSD will provide a big performance boost (and a bit better battery life) at a very reasonable price.
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