Consumer SSD Battle: WD, Kingston, OCZ, Intel

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POWER CONSUMPTION

Switching from a typical 7200rpm 3.5" HDD to a SSD could save you up to 7~8W in active use, and perhaps 5~6W in idle. The thermal savings is not much for the typical desktop system, which will have cooling good enough that such a small power reduction has no impact on noise or heat. Swapping in an SSD has more practical impact in laptops, boosting performance and possibly increasing unterthered run time. The typical 5400 RPM notebook hard drive uses just under 1W when idle and over 2W when seeking. If you could cut that in half, you might gain a 5~10% boost in operating time in an energy efficient laptop.

POWER CONSUMPTION
Drive
Idle Power
Seek Power
OCZ Vertex 2 60GB
0.64 W
0.89 W
Kingston SSDNow V
30GB
0.20 W
1.40 W
OCZ Vertex 30GB
0.40 W
1.26 W
Intel X25-V G2 40GB
0.72 W
1.60 W
Intel X25-M G1 80GB
0.56 W
2.15 W
WD Scorpio Blue 640GB
0.87 W
1.95 W
Hitachi Travelstar 5K500.B 500GB
0.70 W
2.20 W
WD SiliconEdge Blue 64GB
0.51 W
2.45 W
Kingston SSDNow V G2
64GB
1.03 W
2.95 W
NOTE: We added data on some earlier SSDs that came through the lab but were not fully tested.

Excelpt for the Kingston, the SSDs used well under 1W when idle. During seek the SiliconEdge and Kingston consumed 2.5W and nearly 3W, respectively. Assuming a 50/50 split between idle and seek time, the overall energy efficiency of the WD and Kingston SSDs is less than the Scorpio Blue 640GB and Travelstar 5K500.B, the two most frugal notebook drives we've tested. The Vertex 2 was fairly efficient, besting all the drives of equal or higher capacity except the Intel X25-M, while the X25-V fell somewhere in the middle.

In regards to laptop battery life, of the four SSDs, only the Vertex 2 provides any significant improvement, though it may still be too small to notice depending on how often the drive is actively used and how much power the rest of the system draws.

WHAT NOISE?

In our opinion the biggest advantage of solid state drives is their complete lack of noise. The quietest notebook drives measure 3~4 dB louder than the noise floor in our anechoic chamber (10~11 dBA@1m). SSDs also don't produce any vibration, so that's two fewer things we here at SPCR have to worry about. Below is a vibration/noise/power reference table comparing the various SSDs and notebook hard drives we've tested.

ALL DRIVES TESTED IN ANECHOIC CHAMBER
Drive
Mfg date
firmware version
Vibration
1-10
(10 = no vibration)
Activity State
Airborne Acoustics
(dBA@1m)
Measured
Power
SOLID STATE DRIVES
OCZ Vertex 2 60GB OCZSSD2-2VTXE60G
10
Idle
n.m.
0.64 W
Seek
0.89 W
Kingston SSDNow V 30GB SNV125-S2/30GB
10
Idle
n.m.
0.20 W
Seek
1.40 W
OCZ Vertex 30GB OCZSSD2-1VTX30G
10
Idle
n.m.
0.40 W
Seek
1.26 W
Intel X25-V G2 40GB
SSDSA2M040G2GC
10
Idle
n.m.
0.72 W
Seek
1.60 W
Intel X25-M G1 80GB
SSDSA2MH080G1GC
10
Idle
n.m.
0.56 W
Seek
2.15 W
WD SiliconEdge 64GB
SSC-D0064SC-2100
10
Idle
n.m.
0.51 W
Seek
2.45 W
Kingston SSDNow V G2 64GB
SNV425-S2/64GB
10
Idle
n.m.
1.03 W
Seek
2.95 W
n.m. = Not measurable. It's possible that there could be a tiny bit of electronic noise (typically a high pitched squeal) being emitted by any of these SSDs, either intermittently depending on task, or continuously, but we never heard a thing, even in the anechoic chamber with ear pressed right up against the drives.
HYBRID HARD DRIVES
Seagate Momentus
XT 500GB
ST95005620AS
June 2010
firmware SD22
7
Idle
13~14
1.34 W (1.16 W heads unloaded)
Seek
14~15
2.08 W
NOTEBOOK HARD DRIVES
Hitachi Travelstar 5K320-250 250GB
May 2009
firmware FBE0C40C
8
Idle
13
1.08 W (0.85 W heads unloaded)
Seek
13~14
2.15 W
Hitachi Travelstar 5K500.B 500GB
February 2009
firmware PB4OC60G
8
Idle
14
0.7 W (0.6 W heads unloaded)
Seek
15
2.2 W
Seagate Momentus 7200.4 500GB ST9500420AS
March 2009
firmware 0002SDM1
7
Idle
14
1.1 W (0.9 W heads unloaded)
Seek
15
2.35 W
Seagate Momentus 5400.6 500GB ST9500325ASG
February 2009
firmware 0001SDM1
8
Idle
16
0.8 W (0.65 W heads unloaded)
Seek
18
2.2 W
WD Scorpio Blue 500GB WD5000BEVT
September 2008
firmware 01.01A01
7
Idle
15
0.95 W (0.8 W heads unloaded)
Seek
16
2.5 W
WD Scorpio Blue 640GB WD6400BEVT
September 2009
firmware 01.01A01
7
Idle
15~16
0.87 W (0.74 W heads unloaded)
Seek
16
1.95 W

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