Eee PC 1000H Much Faster With SSD Upgrade

A few weeks ago, we took the 5,400 rpm Western Digital Scorpio hard drive out of the MSI Wind and replaced it with a SanDisk SATA 5000 SSD. We hoped the boot time would be better and that applications would load more quickly, but in a day or two of anecdotal use with the SanDisk SSD, we didn’t notice any performance improvement. At the time, we noted that the SanDisk SATA 5000 is not a very fast SSD and that we regretted we had not had time to do any firm testing before we had to return our review model Wind to MSI. This week, when our friends at DV Nation lent us a blazing-fast 64GB Samsung SATA II SSD, we couldn’t wait to install it in our Eee PC 1000H and this time run a complete battery of real-world tests to see how much a difference a high speed SSD can make in a mini-notebook. With the easily accessible upgrade panel on the Eee PC 1000H, we were able to swap out the system’s default 5,400 rpm hard drive, a Seagate Momentus, with the Samsung SATA II in minutes. After installing a fresh copy of Windows XP Home SP2 with all the ASUS drivers and utilities, we were ready to put the system through some tests. We opted to test the high-speed SSD-enhanced Eee PC 1000H not only against the Eee PC 1000H with its default hard drive, but also against the Eee PC 901, which has the same RAM and CPU as the 1000H but sports a smaller 9-inch screen and a pair of SSD chips as its hard drive. We wanted to see not only how much an SSD could improve the performance of the 1000H, but also how the aftermarket Samsung SATA II SSD compares to the built-in SSD chips ASUS uses on every Eee PC model except the 1000H. We won’t bore you with too many details about ASUS’s SSD chips, but it’s important to note that all Eee PCs with more than 4GB of storage space (900, 901, 1000) actually come with two different SSDs, with the first 4GB on one chip and the remaining storage on a slower, higher-capacity chip. We ran our tests on the primary 4GB chip to get the best performance possible. HD Tach Tests To get a rough idea of each hard drive’s capability, we ran the quick bench test in HD Tach 3.0.4.0. Looking at the results, we were not surprised to see that the Samsung SATA II, which is rated at 100MB/s read and 80MB/s write speeds, gave transfer rates that were double that of the Seagate Momentus 5,400 rpm drive and the ASUS 4GB SSD which HD Tach detected as an “ASUS-PHISON SSD TST2.04P.” After all, the Samsung SATA II 64GB costs anywhere between $800 and $1,000 online and the 32GB version is in the $400 – $600 range, depending on where you find it. The entire Eee PC 901 computer costs $599 so we expected a huge performance gap between ASUS’s SSD and a top-of-the-line drive like the Samsung. Nevertheless, we were surprised to see that the random access time was exactly the same on both SSDs.

System Burst Average Read Random Access
Eee PC 1000H (Samsung SATA II SSD) 121.6MB/s 93.5MB/s 0.4 ms
Eee PC 1000H (default hard drive) 126.4MB/s 35.2MB/s 15.8 ms
Eee PC 901 45.1MB/s 41.1MB/s 0.4 ms

The real question is not how these drives look in HD Tach, but whether they make the Eee PC faster and more pleasant to use in the real world. In everyday computer use, system boot time and application launch times are extremely important to users, because the last thing anyone wants to do is sit there and wait while the hard drive light flickers. Boot Time We measured boot time on all three Eee PCs, by pointing a camera at the screen and filming the entire start up process from the moment our finger touched the power button to the appearance of the last tray icon. We then went back to the video and determined the time down to the tenth of the second. There was a huge, nearly 8-second difference between the HD and both SSDs. However, the two SSDs offered nearly identical times, proving that boot time is more dependent on random access than transfer rate.

It’s worth noting that there’s very little one can do to make the boot time faster than 31 seconds. First of all, part of the boot process involves waiting for the system to post before Windows even starts loading and then we have to wait for all the little tray icons that the Eee PC needs like its video driver, power management application, and touchpad software.

At one point, we tried turning off a whole bunch of Windows services, disabling the WIndows splash screen, and setting our paging file to a static size, and we were able to lower the time from 31.3 to 29.7 seconds.

Application Launch Times

We used the camera again to capture application launch times for a few popular programs. All launch times were measured the first time an application was opened after booting to prevent Windows from caching parts of the program in memory.

As expected, the high-end Samsung SATA II blew away both the 901′s ASUS-Phison SSD and the 1000H’s Seagate Momentus. The battle for second place was more heated, with the 901′s SSD opening more applications more quickly than the 1000H’s hard drive, but in a few noteworthy cases, the 5,400 rpm hard drive was significantly faster.

Microsoft Word 2007

In Word 2007, the Samsung SSD was twice as fast (1.3 seconds) as the 901′s ASUS-Phison SSD (2.5 seconds), but both really blew away the 1000H’s hard drive. In the 9.5 seconds, it took for the Seagate Momentus to open everyone’s favorite word processor, we could win a bull riding contest.

Adobe Premiere Elements 4.0

As we expected, the Samsung SSD blew away the other drives by opening the resource-heavy Premiere in only 12.2 seconds, but we were shocked to see that the Eee PC 901 (25 seconds) took almost exactly the same amount of time as the 1000H with default hard drive (24.7 seconds).

Adobe Photoshop Elements 6.0

Like Premiere Elements, Photoshop Elements is a resource-intensive program that is fairly slow to load. And just as we saw with Premiere, the Samsung SSD opened the program fastest (10 seconds). However, this time the Seagate Momentus hard drive actually beat the pants off the Eee PC 901′s SSD by launching the program six seconds sooner (17.7 to 23.8).

Adobe Reader 8.1.2

Our Adobe Reader launch test was slightly different than our other tests in that we chose to open a large document, the 585-page 9/11 Comission Report, rather than starting the program by itself. We figure that absolutely nobody is going to launch Adobe Reader unless they’re using it to open a PDF. Here you can see that the difference between the Samsung (2.5 seconds) and the ASUS-Phison (2.3 seconds) is negligible, but the hard drive is way behind them both (6.1 seconds).

Next Page: More Application Launches, Battery Life >>

AUTHOR BIO
Avram Piltch
Avram Piltch
The official Geeks Geek, as his weekly column is titled, Avram Piltch has guided the editorial and production of Laptopmag.com since 2007. With his technical knowledge and passion for testing, Avram programmed several of LAPTOP's real-world benchmarks, including the LAPTOP Battery Test. He holds a master’s degree in English from NYU.
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  1. Tina Edwards Says:

    This is FALSE…Tom’s Hardware just proved that SSDs use much more energy than hard drives….the SSD Power Consumption Hoax http://www.tomshardware.com/reviews/ssd-hdd-battery,1955.html

  2. Nova Says:

    Interesting.

    Too bad these SSD’s are still priced higher than the computers we might use them in.

    Until I can get ~80GB SSD with good performance for around $100 – $150, I’ll stick to HDD.

  3. Joe Says:

    Tina… it depends on which SSD.

  4. Robert Says:

    Did you even read the article? This has nothing to do with power consumption. This article is about performance.

  5. Tina Edwards Says:

    Robert,

    Can YOU read ?? There is an entire section with the title “Battery Life” and here is a quote “Using our Web surfing battery rundown (a macro that surfs the Web continuously on Wi-Fi) on all three systems, you can see that the Samsung SSD improves the Eee PC 1000H’s battery life by 20 minutes, but the Eee PC 901 still gets nearly an hour more.”

    That looks like it has something to do with power consumption to me.

  6. UMPCFever Says:

    Dear Avram,
    I was just run some benchmark on 901 and 1000H
    http://www.umpcfever.com/news/?postid=1008

    What we found the SSD of 901 is not expecting as good as 900 and even 1000H.
    Do you know what type of SSD (SLC or MLC) on your testing 901?

    Cheers

  7. Avram Piltch Says:

    Hi UMPCFever,

    The 901′s primary SSD chip is detected by HD Tach as an ASUS-PHISON SSD TST2.04P. The secondary SSD is also detected as ASUS-PHISON SSD TST2.04P.

    The primary SSD gets an average read of 41MB/s and a Random access of 0.4ms in HD Tach.

  8. Avram Piltch Says:

    Tina / Robert,

    Using our test method (a web surfing macro that visits 60 popular web sites one at a time and then starts over again), we got a battery life of 4:48 with the Samsung SSD and 4:28 with the Seagate Momentus hard drive that comes with the 1000H by default. We also got 5:30 for the Eee PC 901.

    Is the Seagate Momentus power of a power-gulper than most 5,400 rpm hard drives? I don’t know. I’m skeptical of the Tom’s Hardware findings and eager to try our test with several other SSD vs. HDD comparisons on notebooks.

  9. rayw Says:

    Tina,

    Read the comments at the article you just quoted. The testing is flawed, and the conclusion is pretty much meaningless. Normally I trust TH, but this article has more sensationalism than sense.

    Cheers.

  10. Jerry Says:

    Tina sounds like a misguided bimbo acting like a tech geek

    The work per mAH done with SSDs are higher than a regular HDD in Tom’s reviews. Obviously, if my car could complete 3 rounds round the track in 1 hour, while tina’s does only 1 in that time, obviously i’ll run rings round her. However, though i’ll run out of gas earlier than her, i still complete more laps with the same amount of gas, because i’m faster

  11. Peter Says:

    Jerry, I fully agree with your concepts however your analogy doesnt hold true:

    A fast car say something with alot of speed does maybe 20 miles to the gallon where I as could drive sensibly in a normal family car to maybe 60 miles to the gallon, obviously with the same amount of fuel, the car travelling slower would far surpass the distance of the fast car.

  12. elwing Says:

    “This is FALSE…Tom’s Hardware just proved that SSDs use much more energy than hard drives….the SSD Power Consumption Hoax http://www.tomshardware.com/reviews/ssd-hdd-battery,1955.html

    and have you read in detail tom’s hardware article? they test high performance single cell SDD disk, and these disk are more power hungry than HDD, but that’s not true for all SDD, cheap low perf multicell SDD have lower power consumtion…

  13. LeFrog1310 Says:

    OCZ SATA II 2.5” SSD is the best … check out the specs updated :

    http://www.tomshardware.co.uk/ssd-hard-drive,review-31086-12.html

    This time we get there …. I am not speaking of the price.

  14. Witling Says:

    Tom’s Hardware has done a little “whoops” on the article cited above. See subsequent much more favorable articles, which includes an apology for the testing method used in the first article at

    http://www.tomshardware.com/reviews/ssd-hard-drive,1968.html

    and

    http://www.tomshardware.com/reviews/enterprise-flash-ssd,1971.html

  15. Drano Says:

    I currenty own an EEE 900 XP

    Aside from any performance, or battery life issues. I purchased it for two very simple reasons.

    1: it fits in a standard issue webbing puch, and

    2: solid state – meaning, when I run around and have to land on my face, it is far likely to get damaged.

    Personally, this little thing beats my desktop by far, granted my desktop is a year or so old.

    SSD’s have to be the best invention since sliced bread, so many more things are possible now as a consequence. Like for instance, a laptop that weighs less than 1kg, or, the cameras that go in my model rockets.

    In short, it’s not all just about performance and battery life.

    Different application, different system.

    This is like having an argument over wether a peach would beat a watermelon down a steep incline.

    My question would be: Which one floats?

  16. Mikeusan Says:

    Drano: The tests conducted in this atricle are very important for users (such as myself) who have already decided to buy an EEE pc but are tossing up between which one to get and the upgrades they will undertake.

    It may not be “all” just about performance and battery life, but it mostly is.

  17. Gary Says:

    The problem is not SSD but that fact that if you choose to test using Vista then
    you are not getting the benefit of the read speed increases because
    of known problems with Vista and IO where block size is not that
    used on standard HDD blocks. Read up below.

    http://www.neowin.net/news/main/08/08/07/samsung-and-microsoft-work-to-speed-up-ssds
    hardware.slashdot.org/hardware/08/07/23/0029227.shtml
    http://gizmodo.com/5027778/sandisk-blames-vista-for-slow-deployment-in-ssds
    http://www.engadget.com/2008/07/22/sandisk-ceo-says-vista-not-optimized-for-ssds/

    Or simply web search for vista ssd block size problem

    It is unfair to blame SSD for your flawed test. Load mac osx or Linux up and
    browse the web on one of these ultramobiles based on SSD – then you will
    get some genuine results about response times and battery life.
    SSD battery life cannot be judged using Vista as it stands today as Vista
    not capable of dealing with the different block sizes well.

  18. Joe Says:

    Interesting article, especially because I just purchased Eee PC 1000H AND Samsung 64GB SATA II SSD from Newegg.com with the intent of replacing the Seagate Momentus HDD inside the 1000H. Is this an efficient use of $$$? Probably not. But I have the $$$ and am looking to spiff up the 1000H. Glad to see the results of the comparison between the Samsung SSD and the Seagate HDD.

  19. Maha Says:

    Having a solid state hard drive in my opinion will not mean your computer is less likely to get damaged. First off, there’s more than just a hard drive to your computer. Second of all, the hard drives currently used in laptops automatically park the heads when you shut the computer down. If you read about hard drives in general nobody ever talks about potentially crashing your hard drive because you dropped it on the floor.

    http://compreviews.about.com/od/storage/a/HardDriveCrash.htm

    If I did drop my laptop I’d be leary because chances are, something will break, but I’m not going to sit here and say I’m going to go get a SSD drive because if I drop my computer it’s less likely to break. If you drop your computer it’s going to break. You might not break the hard drive but chances are something will be amiss.

  20. rcfa Says:

    Maha: if the computer breaks or not is the least of your issue. The data is what’s valuable. If you fall and your $500 eeePC is in pieces, but you can pull the SSD out of it, plug it into another computer, and keep going that’s what’s valuable. If your PC falls, and your disk drive is damaged, you can kiss your data goodbye, or invest a few thousand dollars into a data recovery service, where they may try to take the platters out in a clean room and insert them into an equivalent, working drive mechanism.
    When it comes to computers, it’s never the hardware that’s valuable, but the information, the software, the data. If that can survive a calamity, everything else is secondary.

  21. Drano Says:

    I can see that rcfa understands my point a little more clearly.
    I had not intended to stir up such a debate, rather I was speaking up in support of these tests somewhat.

    However for the benefits of my critics I’ll claify my point a little more.

    Data is valuable yes – ssd’s provide far greater data security from physical damage.

    I run around in rough terrain with a RUNNING laptop, all be it with the lid closed. This is certainly no task for a platter type HDD.

    I don’t often drop a laptop, but mine is sbject to some fairly rough handling, usually not enough to damage the screen or peripherals, but a definite risk of leaving a footprint on a disk.

    Also, less weight means less G force, and that equates to less succeptability to physical damage, ssd’s walk all over HDD’s in that department.

    In summary:

    I beleive that HDD’s still have their place and are still paramount for their application, but I also beleive that SSD’s (being in a whole different category) have made some things possible that just simply were not viable in the past.

    My opinion on their speed:

    I have seen many reviews stating conflicting information on the speeds of different drives. When treated optimally, it seems that an SSD “CAN be”, but is not neccesarily faster than a HDD, it all depends what you want to do with it.

    Different application, different technology.

    lastly, I would encourage people to re-read my posts before jumping to the defence of something that was not being attacked. This seems to be a regular occurence.

  22. Greggo Says:

    aw come on….

    Jerry Says:
    July 10th, 2008 at 3:20 am

    Tina sounds like a misguided bimbo acting like a tech geek

    I’m a bit late to comment, but Jerry sounds like a misogynist. Furthermore, his analogy is COMPLETELY flawed to boot (fast car does fewer MPGs, so overall distance would be smaller than slower car doing more MPG.) What an embarrassment. Ditch the bimbo-bashing speak, it’s not needed.

  23. D Says:

    Use these tips to get the stock eee pc 1000 SSD to work well with XP and Outlook 2003

    http://forum.eeeuser.com/viewtopic.php?id=44736

    http://forum.eeeuser.com/viewtopic.php?id=44928

  24. ALJ-1108 Says:

    What I would like to know is if you could swap a HDD for SSD in the silly machines ((ASUS Eee PC 900))

  25. IcDude Says:

    You asked:

    …Finally, would replacing the 5,400 rpm Seagate Momentus on the 1000H with a faster hard drive, perhaps a 7,200 rpm drive, make a tangible difference in performance at a much lower cost?

    The 5,400 RPM Momentus is among the slowest/cheapest mobile HDDs available.

    According to a benchmark commissioned by IDC, a good 7,200 RPM HDD is actually SUBSTANTIALLY FASTER than Flash SSD in several application benchmarks that perform >>concurrent<< read and write operations.

    http://www.bit-tech.net/news/2008/07/17/ssd-performance-gap-small/1

    “The main complaint the firm has with the SSD makers is that their comparisons are always between the latest and greatest SSD devices and old/slow 4,200 RPM mechanical drives. These comparisons don’t make sense in a world where 5,400 RPM mechanical drives are the norm, and top-end laptops are shipped with 7,200 RPM drives.”

    “IDC compared 7,200 RPM drives with SSD drives and, perhaps most importantly, took the performance of the entire system into account when compiling his results. The conclusion of the research is that previous comparisons against low-end HDDs have been misleading…”

    One test where 7,200 RPM HDD blew SSD away was (surprisingly) boot-up time, where the 7,200 RPM HDD was faster than ANY SSD they tested!

    Tell me again…why am I going to buy an SSD that costs 8x as much per gigabyte as a 7,200RPM HDD and dosn’t make my system go faster?

  26. meee Says:

    @IcDude,

    Yes, HDD is generally faster if you are doing a lot of small writes. Vista, even XP, does not work well on SSD. It all depends on what you want to do with it.

  27. WhiteSites Says:

    Excellent Article! I myself have been toying with the thought of buying an 901 EEE. Its good to see the performance differences between the two models and drives. My big question is what is faster, the 20GB SSD in the linux model, or the 12 GB SSD in the windows model? Trying to determine if its better to buy a linux one and just upgrade it to XP Pro.

  28. Al Baston b Says:

    What a crack up…so many buy the SSD because if one drops it, it’s less likely to do damage to the computer…get real the real damage to either computer will be the LCD, the LCD will be shattered and the cost to replace the LCD (and it’s a pain in the ass to replace it) is half the price of the Eee….personally I like the SSD in my 901 as opposed to using my 1000H with an HD (both with XP)…I get better performance from my 901….Just don’t drop either one, again, replacing the LCD is a real pain as well as the cost which of course is the most expensive piece on either mini Eee.

  29. Alex G Says:

    good article, i wouldn’t touch a SSD till there prices drop and performance improves. jsut get your hands on some 2.5″ 7200rpm drives. you will not be disappointed.

  30. Dan D Says:

    I have tried a SSD and a 7200 rpm drive on 2 eee pc 1000he netbooks, I must recommend the 7200 rpm it runs much faster and is much cheaper, however if you use your netbook in extremes like airplanes, camping, offroading, etc perhaps the ssd is the right choice, it is virtually shock proof. but if its for a home netbook, I would only get the 7200 HDD.

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