Performance Showdown - SSDs vs. HDDs
"Computerworld compared four disks, two popular solid state drives and two Seagate mechanical drives, for read/write performance, bootup speed, CPU utilization and other metrics. The question asked by the reviewer is whether it's worth spending an additional $550 for a SSD in your PC/laptop or to plunk down the extra $1,300 for an SSD-equipped MacBook Air? The answer is a resounding No.
Surprising performance results
“I used HD Tach to test the drives' performance -- and got some interesting results. It was the mechanical Momentus drive (non-SSD) that scored the highest burst speed at 214.3MB/sec. The Crucial SSD came in second at 137.3MB/sec., but the desktop Barracuda (non-SSD) and its 135MB/sec. clung to its heels. Advanced Media's Ridata drive trailed the pack at a leisurely 71.2MB/sec. While the two mechanical drives and the Ridata SSD posted average reads in the 54MB-to-55MB/sec. range, Crucial forged ahead at 120.7MB/sec.
SSDs are highly praised for their boot speed, so I would have been remiss had I relied solely on a standardized test. The results were a bit surprising. Crucial's SSD and the two Seagate devices all required 39 to 40 seconds to cold boot to the desktop. (There are a few minutes of behind-the-scenes activity during a Vista boot, but I determined that the boot was complete once the Windows sidebar appeared.) Ridata did best of them all, with a boot time of 32.1 seconds, although that's hardly the blazing speed you might expect from an electronic versus a mechanical device.”
“Finally, because these SSDs have a comparatively small capacity, it's most likely that you will be transferring data from your laptop after a day's work. So I took 4,666 files and folders (a total of 8.05GB) and copied them to the drives and then copied them from those drives. I used the same secondary drive as source and destination in all cases.
Neither of the SSDs fared very well when having data copied to them. Crucial needed 243 seconds and Ridata took 264.5 seconds. That's over four minutes. The Momentus and Barracuda hard drives shaved nearly a full minute from those times at 185 seconds. In the other direction, copying the data from the drives, Crucial sprinted ahead at 130.7 seconds, but the mechanical Momentus drive wasn't far behind at 144.7 seconds. Ridata and the Barracuda were third and fourth at 156.8 and 166 seconds, respectively.”
More details here.