For laptop--SSD 160Gb or big HDD? HEeeelp!

I’m thinking of pulling the trigger on the HP dv6tse (proposed config below) but I can’t make up my mind between an SSD or, say, a 750GB 5200RPM hard drive (at first I thought 5200 was a typo and they meant 7200, but I guess such beasts exist). Or I could get a 500GB 7200 rpm drive. Obviously the hard drive will run hotter and probably use more energy, and will be slower, but 160GB just seems kinda dinky (plus who knows how much space will be left after all the crapware that HP will surely install). On the other hand it wouldn’t be my main system (a desktop), and it has an e-SATA port, so I could hook up a big ol’ external drive to it at any time.

One consideration–do older games (more than 5 years) have any issues with SSD drives, or does the OS make them invisible to said games?

* • Genuine Windows 7 Home Premium 64-bit
* • Intel(R) Core(TM) i5-450M Dual Core processor (2.40GHz, 3MB L3 Cache)with Turbo Boost up to 2.66 GHz
* • FREE Upgrade to 6GB DDR3 System Memory (2 Dimm)
* • 750GB 5200RPM SATA Hard Drive with HP ProtectSmart Hard Drive Protection
* • 1GB ATI Mobility Radeon(TM) HD 5650 switchable graphics
* • 15.6" diagonal High Definition LED HP Brightview Widescreen Display (1366x768)
* • No TouchScreen (includes HP TrueVision Webcam)
* • LightScribe SuperMulti 8X DVD+/-RW with Double Layer Support
* • Intel Wireless-N Card with Bluetooth
* • Full-size island-style backlit keyboard with HP TrueVision Webcam + Fingerprint Reader
* • High Capacity 6 Cell Lithium Ion Battery (standard)
* • Microsoft(R) Office Starter 2010

SSD, of course. You really have no idea how sluggish an actual spinny hard drive makes your laptop. If you did, you wouldn’t be asking this question. If you have the means, get the SSD.

160GB is not dinky. You just can’t put all your porn on it at once. and let’s be honest, you only watch the same 3-4 mins of a couple of your “favorites” anyway.

Everything else fits.

I reformat and reinstall OS and drivers for any laptop I get. If HP gives you actual Windows disks and not some ‘system restore’ disc that already contains their preloaded crap, I would recommend you consider doing the same.

It’s just a storage device like any other.

I went with the SSD, figuring that A) it’s my secondary system and B) I can always hook up an external e-SATA drive.

As to reinstalling the OS and all that, I seriously doubt that HP is sending out full-on copies of Windows 7 with their systems. More likely it’ll be that “system restore” crap. I’ll probably have to de-crappify it manually.

Aren’t SSDs still pretty squirrely?

Well, I guess I’ll find out.

I have 3 laptops right now (don’t ask, long story) each with 500GB 7200’s. They work fine. As fast as a desktop and not a huge noticeable dip in battery compared to a 5400. I run plugged in a fair amount though.

I’ve really only considered an SSD for my work machine, that’s the only environment when fast booting and fast application response bother me. The other two are home/game use and really, how fast does a hard drive have to be to play a game? Not that fast it turns out. The same goes for web browsing and watching movies, hard drive speed isn’t really an issue at 5400 even for those purposes.

You already got the SSD so I want to hear how it works out for gaming. What kind of upkeep do you have to do on the drive?

Beats me–now you’ve got me second-guessing myself. Maybe I should change the order.

No.

Well, mostly no. If you buy a cheap no-name brand SSD, it may be squirrely. If you buy an SSD from the likes of Intel, the SSD will be totally awesome.

If you second guess the order then we can’t use you as a giunea pig. I mean come on, one of us has to take one for the team, right? :)

Seriously, let me know how well you game on it. I’m interested but haven’t gone that route yet.

Yes, take one for the team, and back up often. :)

I don’t do much PC gaming but I’ve been using an SSD for about 6 months now and it is totally awesome. It makes basically everything you do feel zippier and more responsive even compared to desktop magnetic HDDs.

I have two laptops with SSDs in them. I would never consider putting a non-SSD drive in any of my laptops ever again. Once you go black you never go back and all that. It’s phenomenal.

I got a far better and more noticeable performance boost putting SSDs in my laptops then I ever got putting an SSD into my desktop.

That’s because 2.5" drives tend to be lower RPM and have less cache than desktop 3.5" drives. But it’s a pretty huge improvement for both, really. Getting the SSD was my biggest upgrade ever. Bigger than moving from a 386sx-33 to a 486dx4-100 back in the day, and that was a 3x clockspeed and FPU!

SSDs are great, fullstop. At this point, I wouldn’t buy a personal machine that didn’t have one as its primary drive.

Should I take special steps to maintain the drive? BTW is there any way to find out what kind of SSDs HP uses?

If anything, there’s less maintenance. You don’t ever have to defrag an SSD. You can drop the computer while its on without fear of catastrophic hard drive failure.

As to what HP uses, if it’s not obvious from the web site, I would call or email or livechat their sales reps and ask.

After nearly a year with mine, I’ll vouch for this. It’s almost painful going into work with it’s non-SSD drive. I really think within 5 years, assuming the typical tech curve, SSD will have wiped out the traditional drive for anything except massive storage needs, like backups.

SSDs rock. I just swapped out the hard drive in my nearly 3 year old Thinkpad for an SSD. It’s like having a new machine. Since I upgraded to SSD in my desktop, I just can’t go back to using a machine that doesn’t have the OS and primary applications on one.

A nice compromise for notebooks if you do need more space – and one that costs less than a 160GB+ SSD – is the new Seagate Momentus XT. It’s basically a traditional 7200 RPM laptop drive with 4GB of fast SLC solid-state memory to cache frequently used OS and application files. I have the 320GB version, but there’s a 500GB version as well.

Overall, an SSD is faster. But the Momentus makes OS/application/game loads feel as fast as a true SSD, with tons of storage, for under $150. It’s a darn nice compromise. I loved the 80GB Intel SSD I had in the notebook before, but it was too cramped.

Windows startup in seconds:
Original stock 5200 RPM drive: 33
Intel X-25M 80GB: 15
Seagate Momentus XT: 19

That said, on my desktop, I have RAID SSDs for OS and apps, and big platter drives for data. But I think the Momentus is a great idea for notebooks, where you don’t have the option to add additional internal drives except in the behemoths.

Hmm, I’ll keep that option in mind too.