updated 03:50 pm EDT, Wed October 29, 2008
Intel on SSDs and Battery
Intel today hoped to drive home the secondary advantages of its solid-state line by presenting a case for the battery life of the new storage. Although speed has already been cited as an example for an incentive versus notebook drives, company storage director Knut Grimsrud argues that the flash-based technology is also better for notebook batteries and uses an example data transfer test where rotating hard drives and a slower, competing SSD lasted for four hours. An Intel SSD, however, lasted for four hours and 32 minutes performing the same task.
The executive accounts for the difference by the average power levels of each technology. An SSD spends 96 percent of its time in a low-power state while handling data, as it has no moving parts; rotating hard drives typically spend just 10 percent of their time in that state as they spool up to access data.
It's also a question of speed in performing the same task, Grimsrud says. Both the spinning drive and the rival SSD negate are hurt by having to take longer to read or write data than a faster drive like Intel's, which can return to its low-power state more quickly. The same guiding principle is what often lets 7,200RPM hard drives consume roughly the same power as 5,400RPM models.
Solid-state drives aren't uniformly faster or more efficient and are primarily advantageous for random access to data that hasn't already been cached, such as during a computer's startup time. They sometimes lose performance in reading back-to-back data, where rotating hard drives more quickly pick up information in order and waste less time searching their platters.