Solidata SSD Review

by Reads (20,063)

by Kevin O’Brien

Solid state drives (SSDs) are becoming very popular these days for upgrades in notebooks, especially now that flash-based drives are coming very close to the capacity of standard hard drives. DV Nation sells 256GB Solidata SSDs, in both SATA and PATA formats for upgrading your notebook, claiming speeds up to 240MB/s read and 210MB/s write. In this review we checkout how well the SATA drive performs with or without the operating system installed on the drive and what impact it has on the notebook.

Solidata X2-256 Specifications:

X2-256 SATA Version:

  • Capacity 256GB MLC Flash
  • Form Factor 2.5″
  • Dimensions Standard 2.5″, 100.3(L) x 69.85(W) x 9.5(H)mm
  • Interface SATA-2 3.0Gbps
  • Weight 74.5g
  • Rated Performance 240MB/S read, 190MB/S write, 300MB/S host interface
  • Operating Temp range: 0 -70C
  • Current Price: $999

X2-256 PATA Version:

  • Capacity 256GB MLC Flash
  • Form Factor 2.5″
  • Dimensions Standard 2.5″, 100.3(L) x 69.85(W) x 9.5(H)mm
  • Interface PATA
  • Rated Performance 110MB/S read, 80MB/S write
  • Operating Temp range: 0 -70C
  • Current Price: $924

Upgrading a notebook with a SSD is a great way to increase the performance and durability of your notebook if you can afford it. Read and write speeds are faster, access times drop to almost nothing, and best of all flash-based drives are not susceptible to impacts or vibrations like a spinning medium might be. The main disadvantage is price if you are shopping for an SSD in the same capacity range of the hard drive that came in your notebook. These 256GB drives costs roughly 10 times more than a 7200rpm 250GB notebook hard drive.

Performance
One of the main reasons to upgrade to an SSD is the dramatic boost in drive speed over a 5400rpm or 7200rpm notebook drive. For this review we tested the drive’s performance in a hard drive expansion bay inside a HP Pavilion dv4t. The manufacturer rates the disk transfer speed at 240MB/s where HDTune showed a peak of 138MB/s and an average of 128MB/s. Installing the drive inside a Lenovo ThinkPad T400 with a basic Windows Vista Business OS the speeds lowered the peak speed to 124MB/s and the average to 112MB/s.


Solidata 256GB SSD without OS

Solidata 256GB SSD with OS

Western Digital Scorpio Blue 500GB

Western Digital Scorpio Black 320GB

The Atto benchmark showed speeds more in-line with the manufacturer claims, with speeds upwards of  233MB/s read and 230MB/s without an OS and 210+MB/s read and 207+MB/s write with an OS. To see how this SSD performs compared to a new 5400 or 7200rpm drive we include performance benchmarks from our recent Western Digital Black and Scorpio Blue drive review.


Solidata 256GB SSD with OS

Solidata 256GB SSD without OS

Western Digital Scorpio Blue 500GB

Western Digital Scorpio Black 320GB

Heat and Noise
If you get annoyed by the constant hum of a spinning storage medium or the occasional seeking click, SSDs might be for you. They have no moving parts meaning in theory you could have a completely silent notebook barring some noisy power regulator. Thermal performance of an SSD is sometimes better than a standard notebook hard drive, but we have found in most circumstances high-performance SSDs throw out way more heat even compared to 7200rpm drives. In our Lenovo ThinkPad T400 with Windows Vista installed we noted that the notebook spiked in temperature around the drive bay during the OS installation and basic Vista setup. After a few drive benchmarks and writing large files to the drive we took temperature readings of the notebook to compare against readings from the notebook review. As you can see below the notebook as a whole warmed up considerably and the area around the SSD was the hottest area on the notebook.


Temperatures with standard HDD

Temperatures with standard HDD

Temperatures with Solidata SSD

Temperatures with Solidata SSD

Inside without any airflow the SSD temperature went to an incredible 144F as measured on the drive surface. The hottest section on the T400 was the surface facing the lap, making it honestly the hottest notebook that has ever been placed on my lap. Under heavy use the notebook became uncomfortable to use, with my leg burning and my right hand and palm sweating like crazy. In a desktop environment this would never be a problem. You normally don’t have a desktop resting on your lap during use and most desktop case designs allow for airflow over the hard drive bays. Most notebooks don’t account for heavy thermal output from the hard drive and thus airflow is limited in that part of the chassis. Larger gaming notebooks with dual hard drive bays with RAID configurations might not have this problem since they are designed to cope with heat from that section.

Conclusion
The Solidata 256GB SATA SSD was very quick in our testing, well above standard drive performance. Clocking in at an average transfer speed of 128MB/s, it soared above the Western Digital Scorpio Black which only got an average of 62MB/s. The capacity of the Solidata SSD was within range of most standard drives, so you wouldn’t take a hit in storage space. Heat output was way above a spinning drive under use, which may be a concern for some notebook users. I personally wouldn’t use this drive in my ThinkPad, since it doesn’t offer any airflow for cooling in or around the hard drive bay. If you have a wallet that can support the hefty $999 price tag for the SATA model of this SSD, you can head over the DV Nation website which currently has this drive in stock and ready to ship.

Pros:

  • High storage capacity
  • Very Fast

Cons:

  • More expensive than most average notebooks
  • Very hot under heavy disk acitivity


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