Small ones are more juicy...
I was back home in Kelowna last weekend; it was great to see Jenny and Judge again. One of the things I wanted to do while there (and therefore had access to my tools) was to perform disk upgrade surgery on my Ferrari 3400.
The Acer Ferrari 3400 is a fine laptop, but it is hampered by its slow 4200 RPM disk (I guess Acer's marketing department figured that most people would think that bigger is better...). So I replaced it with an Hitachi E7K60: a 60 GB, 7200 RPM drive. I'm quite happy to trade off 20 GB for increased performance (hint to Acer's marketroids: it would have been nice to be able to pick this drive as a purchse option; it would have saved me some cash, no doubt).
The smaller drive draws more juice (power), hence the title of this entry, but how does the performance compare to the stock model? To answer this question, I ran two tests on each drive. For both tests the host OS was Solaris Express 2/05 (what else?!), and I rebooted the machine prior to each test to eliminate the effects of file caching. The first test was to run catman, and the second was to perform a recursive ls -l from the root directory. Both tests were run as root in multiuser mode, and the machine was otherwise quiescent throughout. (Incidentally, the extra power drain seems to have had negligible effect on battery life.)
With no further ado, here are the results. Take with as much salt as is deemed appropriate. :-)
Here are the times for the stock 4200 RPM drive:
root@orac3269# time catman
root@orac3270# time ls -lR > /tmp/foo
And here are the times for the new 7200 RPM drive:
root@orac3271# time catman
root@orac3272# time ls -lR > /tmp/foo
Essentially, the difference between the real time and the sum of the user and sys times is the time spent waiting for I/O (in this case, the disk). The catman test was only six seconds, but the recursive ls test was significantly faster: the 7200 RPM drive bested the 4200 RPM one by about 20 seconds!
A slightly less scientific observation: the Ferrari 3400 "feels" noticeably faster with the new drive in it. I'm glad I upgraded. Next on my Ferrari shopping list is a pair of 1 GB soDIMMs, so that I can max this baby out to 2 GB. To be honest, 2 GB in a laptop is kinda overkill in my case, but what the hell?! :-)
Oh, and a side note to fellow Brits: yes, the title of this entry is an allusion to the classic Spartan orange TV adverts of yesteryear. :-)