Prices for SSDs (solid-state drives) are falling and capacity is rising, so much so that fitting one now looks eminently sensible if you value performance and can manage with a bit less space than a hard drive offers – though note that you should really run Windows 7, or on the Mac OSX Snow Leopard or later, as these operating systems support SSD TRIM, improving performance by telling the drive which blocks of data are no longer in use and can be safely deleted.
The primary benefit of SSD is performance, but you also get silent running and lower power consumption.
This Kingston kit is a generous bundle, suitable for converting a laptop or desktop. It includes a USB-powered external disk caddy which assists with the transfer of your existing data as well as enabling you to continue using your old laptop drive for external storage if you wish. There are also brackets and cables so you can fit the drive into a desktop PC, and a CD containing an Acronis disk clone tool.
The recommended method for installation depends on whether you are upgrading a laptop or a desktop. The first step is the same for both and may be the hardest: reduce the size of the data on your existing drive to less than 240GB. Next, if you are on a laptop, you remove the existing drive install the SSD, fit the existing drive to the caddy and connect it with USB, reboot using the CD, boot into Acronis and clone the existing drive to the SSD.
If you are on a desktop, your existing 3.5” drive will not fit into the caddy, so you fit the SSD to the caddy, connect, reboot into Acronis, clone the existing drive to the SSD, and then switch off and replace the existing desktop drive with the SSD using the brackets provided.
For this review I used the former approach but either should work well. On a three-year old laptop running Windows 7 64-bit I was rewarded with a Windows Experience Index for the hard drive of 7.7.
However, this laptop only has SATA 2, whereas the drive supports SATA 3 and would work faster if this were available.
Kingston quotes 480 MB/s for sequential writes and power consumption of 0.565w idle rising to 2.065w for writes.
If you do not need the kit you can get the SSD a little cheaper on its own.
An excellent kit though, and the Acronis cloning solution is cleaner than others I have seen which require software to be installed in Windows.