KingSpec 32GB 2.5 PATA SSD
Author: Zahn Funk
Editor: Shawn Knight
Date: 06-03-2009
Provided by: KingSpec

Installation of the KingSpec SSD begins with first removing the current drive from the test IBM T40 laptop. Other notebook manufacturers procedures may be different, but for our T40 we need only remove one screw and then the drive caddy can be pulled out of the chassis. There are four screws attaching the drive to the caddy, which must be removed using a fine tip Phillips screwdriver. Once the old drive is set aside, installation of the KingSpec SSD involves merely performing the steps in reverse.

The relevant specifications on the IBM ThinkPad T40 and the original Hitachi hard drive that the KingSpec SSD replaces are listed here for comparison. Since the primary goal for this review is to see if a modern low-cost SSD made for the PATA interface will increase the performance of the laptop, I'll be directly comparing the two drives head-to-head in a series of benchmarks and related tests to follow. While the T40 originally shipped with Windows XP Professional, Microsoft has coincidentally just released it's RC build 7100 of Windows 7, which will be used as the operating system for these tests. Windows 7 is purported to incorporate several new features specifically for solid state drives.

IBM ThinkPad T40 2374-72U
Pentium M 1.5GHz Banias Core
1MB L2 Cache, 400MHz FSB
Intel RG82855PM SL6TJ Northbridge
2x512MB AMPO PC-2700 DDR333 CL2.5
ATI 32MB Radeon Mobility 7500 *
Intel FW82801DBM SL6DN Southbridge
60GB Hitachi Travelstar 7200RPM 8MB ATA100

The minimum system requirements for 32bit Windows 7 as published by Microsoft in April 2009 are basically identical to those for all versions of Windows Vista other than Home Basic.

1GHz processor
1GB memory
16GB disk space
DirectX 9 with WDDM driver support *

* The ATI Radeon Mobility 7500 is not officially supported in either Windows Vista or 7 as it is only a DirectX 7 graphics chipset with no shader support. It also only has 32MB of memory instead of the 128MB that Microsoft recommends for the Aero interface.

The Windows 7 RC build 7100 was installed fresh and then Windows Update was performed online. All hardware other than the Radeon Mobility 7500 was identified and appropriate drivers automatically installed. Since the video card device is relegated to the Standard VGA Graphics Adapter by default, I have manually installed an unsupported Radeon 7500 XDDM driver from Microsoft as no Vista or 7 compatible WDDM drivers exist. Although the graphics score very low on the Windows Experience rating, and we're stuck using the Windows Basic visual theme, most 3D applications as well as DVD playback do work correctly.

Now let's run through some benchmarks.

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