This is a fast drive. The benchmark tool I ran showed I was able to read/write large files at over 500 MEGABYTES (8 bits) per second. On a small file (ie 4k), the performace is not as good. I did a clean install of Win7 Home premium, and it took no more than 20 minutes from beginning to end. I highly recommend this drive.
Recommend this product?
I ordered this drive on black friday of 2011; received the item the following monday. After 10 days of quite heavy usage, I would highly recommend this drive.
I install the drive in a HP DV7-6163US laptop (i7-2630QM, 6GB, Insyde motherboard, BIOS version F.1B).
Installation : As recommended by reviews and discussions on various forums, check the firmware version and update if needed. My drive came with the latest firmware. For me, I just slap this drive inside the laptop. This laptop has 2 drive "bays", so I kept the original one inside as my "data" drive. The ssd becomes my primary/system drive. Installing a fresh copy of win7 Home premium with SP1 on it took about 20 minutes (via a flash drive). There's nothing unusal during installation.
Boot up time : After updating all the Windows update, norton 360, drivers, photoshop, microsoft office 2010, and all the applications, utilities that I need, I timed the boot up. From powering up to "usability", it took about 25 seconds. The 25 seconds includes any BIOS check at the beginning, and all the icons show up in the "notification" (clock area). On the old HDD, it would take at least 3 minutes.
Benchmark test : Agility 3 meets SATA3 sepcification. It means you can transfer data at 6Gbits/s or roughly 600 MBytes/s. Using Atto disk benchmark tool, the drive achieved 520 MB on large file write, and 550 MB on large file read. Small files (4K - 1 MB) read/write was about the same as a normal HDD drive.
My other observations : no scientific number, but more of a user (my) feel. Typically, firefox would take 20-30 seconds (I have 9 add-ons) to load on a HDD. On this SSD, Firefox appears within 5 second. Outlook 2010 takes about 10 seconds. Win7 boot up takes about 25 second as mentioned before. Photoshop, WOW, loads in 10 seconds - usually it takes at least 1 minute on the old drive. Norton 360 V5.0 does not perform disk defragmentation on this drive, so it seems to recognize the drive as SSD, thus no need to check for file fragmentation.