Ever since Solid State Disk technology was announced, we’ve all been going on the assumption that the flash-based drives would save battery life. It’s a fair leap to make since there are no moving parts to power up and down. However, it really hasn’t been clear what the actual battery impact is until recently. The most comprehensive independent test I’ve seen was done by Tom’s Hardware with the conclusion that SSD drives might reduce your battery run-time. The site later posted a semi-retraction by re-doing some tests and also adding one SSD drive that did prove their original point.
Intel decided to take matters in their own hands by testing their own SSD product and sharing the obviously positive results. I say obviously because any company that did their own product testing wouldn’t like publish the bad news. ;)
Here’s the thing: run-time is going to vary depending on a overwhelmingly large number of factors. Things like: computing activities, host device architecture, operating system, etc…. I don’t think you can globally make an statement like "Using this brand of SSD in a computer will yield 18% more run-time". Note: that’s just an example statement, not something Intel said…
Ironically, just today the folks at Samsung reached out to me because their SSD is in the Lenovo X301 that I’ve been using. They asked if I’d be interested in a standalone 64GB SSD drive for testing and I’ve said yes. I may end up placing it in the MSI Wind to compare between the standard 5400 RPM drive. If Intel wants to send over their notebook SSD drive for a head-to-head, I’m all for it. If nothing else, perhaps we can get an independent comparison between two comparable SSD drives. And while general power efficiency (say watts per MB of bandwidth) is useful info, at the end of the day consumers want to know how much longer, or how much less, they can get on a single device charge. That’s a much more tangble measurement to most people as opposed to power efficiency and productivity.