Kingston SSD Revives a Frankenputer


Imagine you had a really old PC; one that you forgot even existed, and are pretty much afraid to even try and turn on, because you’re worried that it might just blow up or something. For a lot of us this isn’t much of an imagination, but rather more of a reality, as it was for me only until recently. A few months back, I got my hands on one of Kingston’s SSDNow V+200 drives, and decided I want to put it up to the test, first to make a point, and second to see what this bad boy is really made of and let’s just say that I was not disappointed… not in the least bit.

If you’ve been to my blog before, then you may have stumbled on a couple of my older posts “All for One and One for All” and “You Don’t Need All That Speed!“, which mainly cover the topic of how a lot of the times, when people invest in increasing the performance of certain systems they tend to be misguided and often lead to unsatisfactory results, when they could have spent less in other places and got a much bigger bang for their buck. So I set up a little challenge experiment, putting up a workstation that comes in at a hefty price, up against what I’ve come to refer to as my Frankenputer; here are the specs for each:

The Workstation (HP Z200 Workstation) Frankenputer (DIY PC)
Processor Intel® Xeon® X3460 Intel® Pentium® D Processor 820
Memory 8GB DDR3-1333 2GB DDR2-667
Main Disk Western Digital VelociRaptor SATA-II 10,000RPM (WD3000HLFS-60G6U2) 300GB 16MB Cache Kingston SSDNow V+200 90GB (SVP200S3/90G) SATA-III
Chipset Intel® 3450 Chipset Intel® 945G Chipset
Operating System Microsoft Windows 7 Enterprise 64-bit SP1 Microsoft Windows 7 Ultimate 64-bit SP1
Graphics NVIDIA Quadro FX 1800 ATI Radeon HD 2600 Pro
Estimated Retail Price $1,000 – $1,500 $330 – $350

It is worth noting that the Pentium D 820 from the Frankenputer is a first generation dual-core processor (the first of its kind) based on the NetBurst microarchitecture and does not really hold up to a present-day dual-core processor after the newly refined Core microarchitecture took over the processor market Also, the motherboard being used in the Frankenputer, based on the Intel 945G chipset uses an ICH7 Southbridge as a controller hub, which only supports up to SATA-II speeds, so the speeds of the Kingston SSD were actually limited by the SATA data channel that it was using for communication.

Anyways, enough tech spec talk, the main point’s that the Frankenputer is an archaic grandfather when compared to the HP Z200, but now with the addition of the Kingston SSDNow V+200, the Frankenputer may have just found its fountain of youth.

First Impressions

I currently work on the Z200 workstation on a daily basis, and as you can see from the specs above, it’s quite an impressive machine, relatively snappy and quick to respond and of course things look “pretty” with the slick Windows 7 UI. Not to forget mentioning that it’s all running on a quad-core processor and an ocean of 8 full gigabytes of RAM as well as a BLAZING fast 10,000 RPM hard drive… so I don’t see any reason for it to fall back on regular desktop performance, right? Makes the Frankenputer appear rather puny, wouldn’t you agree?

Well you’re WRONG!!!

Having sat and worked on both machines extensively over the past couple of months, I must say that the Frankenputer, which previously had trouble running Windows XP smoothly approximately half a decade ago, actually feels snappier now with its new guns.

As far as boot up times are concerned, the Frankenputer’s been on par with the Z200, but then you have yourself some applications such as Microsoft Word, Excel, PowerPoint, Outlook, AutoCAD, as well as a hand-full of Adobe CS5.5 applications that load up to 20% to 30% faster on the Frankenputer. And just to make a note that when I say an application starts, I mean that it starts up and is ready to go, and not that its interface loaded up while it’s still loading modules in the background and is unresponsive for the first few seconds.

The Numbers

How is this possible you ask? Well let the numbers speak for themselves.

I ran HD Tune on both systems, a number of times and behold the mind blowing results below:

Disk Transfer Rates (Higher is better, much higher is kick ass)
Data Access Times (Less is better, much less is kick ass)

Not only are these numbers absolutely insane, but when you compare to your real-life experience on the machine you will sense the differences, because there’s nothing I can say that these numbers don’t say for themselves.

Moral of the Story

Think smart before your next investment decision. 😉

If you have any mind blowing performance stories like this one, feel free to share them as well. 🙂

P.S. imagine what this machine would be capable of if I were to run Ubuntu on it.

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2 thoughts on “Kingston SSD Revives a Frankenputer

  1. the results are indeed impressive, but how does the ssd actual transfer speeds compare with the theoretical promised ones?

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    1. Good question Ashraf.

      Well, considering that we are running on a SATA II bus in this specific case, with the Intel ICH7 I/O controller, this SSD is expected to max out at a theoretical speed of 260 MB/sec for writes and 280 MB/sec for reads, while in our tests results above, we see that we hit an average of 207 MB/sec. This comes out to approximately 75% of the max theoretical speed for the disk on a SATA II bus.

      However, it does have a theoretical speed of 480 MB/sec for writes and 535 MB/sec for reads, when used on a SATA III bus. So we can safely conclude that one of the major limiting factors for the drive in my Frankenputer in this experiment is the use of the SATA II bus, and we also have to factor in that the whole motherboard is rather well-aged, as are all the components (capacitors, transistors, etc.) on it.

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