Saturday, July 04, 2009

Upgrading the SSD in a Netbook Makes a Difference [Storage]

Upgrading the SSD in a Netbook Makes a Difference [Storage]

Netbooks are netbooks. Usually based on Intel's Atom chipset, and generally not that fast. What you gonna do? Well, I upgraded the SSD in my Hackintosh. Not just to bump the drive from 32 to 128GB, but for SPEED.

The drive is one of few things easily upgradable on these devices. On the Dell Mini 9, its a matter of removing two screws on the back plate, and two screws that hold the drive in place (which, if you've never seen a netbook SSD drive before, looks more like a RAM module.) The 64 and 128MB modules take up the space reserved for the WWAN card, so don't go that route if you have WWAN.

While I was able to restore my Mac OS X Time Capsule backup, it wouldn't boot til I used the DellEFIbootmaker (allows you to boot into the drive you just restored) and then ran DellEFI to restore the partition to a bootable condition. Oh, the Leopard install process which you use to restore won't read off of a Time Capsule, so you have to copy the restore file to a USB drive before hand. Anyhow, none of this is the point.

Look at how much faster the writes are, especially the random ones. The only sacrifice you end up with is a bit of big block read performance.

It's a bit of a shame the stock SSDs h! ad these compromises in the first place, though. If you're buying a netbook, its worth checking the forums for results like these on the models you're interested in, and perhaps buying a low capacity stock model, and upgrading to an aftermarket drive later. (The Super Talent drive I tested wasn't cheap, though, at $200 for the 64GB model and $380 for 128GBs.) Kind of ridiculous next to the cost of a $200-$300 netbook, I admit. *shame*

One other thing to consider: The runcore SSD upgrades for netbooks have little microUSB ports on them, so you can load up and back up files/images from another machine. Handy for Hackintoshing, for sure, but I think they top out at 64GB, taking up only a single wide form factor.
[Super Talent Dell Mini 9 SSD]