Why you should install a Solid State Drive (SSD) if you haven’t already

Recently I installed a SSD hard drive in my 2012 MacBook Pro.  It has made an astonishing transformation to my laptop’s capabilities.  Tasks that would take minutes are now measured in seconds.  It has been a pleasure to behold.  It has enabled me to be able to consider turning my laptop on just for a short time to perform a few simple tasks, whereas in the past I might have put those tasks off until I had enough to do to warrant waiting for the laptop to boot up.
Before installing the new drive I decided to perform a small range of tasks so that I could compare performance of the SSD with my old drive.  These results are therefore somewhat anecdotal, but perhaps they are more meaningful to the average user than the accurate yet abstract benchmarking tests that are published.
My tests were performed under three main categories: booting or restarting the laptop, copying files and loading large applications.  So here is some data with an brief introduction.

Boot / Restart

I don’t have automatic login enabled on my laptop so booting and restarting always takes me to the login screen first.  For these tests I paused the time during login.  There are two values, one is booting to the login screen and the second is the total time for a boot to the desktop.  For the first two tests below I had no applications open, in the third I booted up with my frequently used apps open (Omnifocus, Safari, Mailbox, Evernote, Dropbox, Tresorit, smc fan control and a couple of others).

Fresh boot with no apps open

  • Boot to login: 1m23s (83 s)
    • SSD value: 17 s (80% reduction)
  • Boot to desktop: 1m52s (112 s)
    • SSD value: 26 s (77% reduction)

Restart with no applications open

  • Restart to login: 1m12s (72 s)
    • SSD value: 14 s (81% reduction)
  • Restart to desktop: 1m35s (95 s)
    • SSD value: 26 s (73% reduction)

Boot with apps open

  • Boot to login: 1m29s (89 s)
    • SSD value: 15 s (83% reduction)
  • Boot to desktop: 4m29s (269 s)
    • SSD value: 1m29s (89 s, 77% reduction)

Copy Files

  • Duplicate video file (1.1 GB): average = 37 s
    • SSD value: average = 5 s (86% reduction)
  • Duplicate OS X Lion Installer (4.74 GB): average = 2m35s (155 s)
    • SSD value: average = 20 s (87% reduction)

Load Large Apps

iMovie and iPhoto have large libraries so they take a while to load, I timed the first launch of each app – timer stopped at the point that previews of events or videos started displaying.
  • Launch iMovie (44 GB library size): 35 s
    • SSD value: 8 s (77% reduction)
  • Launch iPhoto (52 GB library size): 17 s
    • SSD value:  6 s (65% reduction)

Is that data enough to persuade you to install a SSD, if you haven’t already?

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