Michael Kleef ::: MSFT

http://twitter.com/mkleef

Its arrived! The Lenovo T61p is here...with a hybrid drive!

Its arrived! The Lenovo T61p is here...with a hybrid drive!

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Well after a few issues in finding out where it was after I ordered it which were subsequently (and rapidly!!) resolved...its time. It arrived yesterday! Yay!

Lenovo Day 019

I was curious to see if the hype really was all it was cracked up to be on this unit - initial thoughts have me pretty impressed. Keith had gushed about its performance as had Jeff - though Jeff recently has had some pretty severe issues with his just cutting out. I don't mean bluescreens - I mean it just powers itself off. Dead. So he has a service call in for that one....:)

I had also been hearing a bit of hype on the new hybrid drive technology - you know the ones - they have a chunk of NVRAM as part of the drive itself and promise all sorts of things ranging from super fast app opening times to super fast boot times, less battery consumption and it probably even could feed the neighbours cat the hype is so huge on it. So I bought one. Its a 120GB Samsung (5400RPM) HDD (HM12HII) with 256MB NVRAM. The device properties tab of the HDD gets a new addition - an NV Cache tab to indicate its "hybrity" if that's a word....

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So that said - I reinstall the OS on this new drive. I put on Vista x64 edition like Keith and Jeff and begin configuring. Now I had heard from the Lenovo blogs that they have some doubts over the first gen hybrid drives so its with keen interest that I look at the posted numbers to compare this drive with the numbers Keith posted.

Here's my Vista hardware assessment numbers - note the score it gives to the drive.

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As a comparison I checked Keiths numbers - again note the difference in HDD performance:

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Wow - so I'm practically identical to him except the HDD. I'm using the "superfast hybrid" and he's probably not - he's probably using a quick 7200rpm HDD. On the face of it you'd have to say that hybrid is not all its cracked up to be.

On the initial measure of lightning quick boot ups have I noticed anything different? Nope.

Have I noticed apps start faster? Not yet but time will tell.

Vista measures this over time so I'm interested to see if the performance will be one of those things that you wouldn't see on a benchmark test but day to day launching and caching of commonly used apps results in a more responsive OS. The tests that benchmarks make really look at random reads and writes and makes an assessment based on that rather than day to day use.

That said - I'm definitely looking forward to the next generation of these drives where we can have a fast transfer rate on random reads and writes plus predictive caching on things we know the user is likely to start day in day out.

So what do I think of the Lenovo unit? Its quick, very responsive and graphically fantastic with a 256MB nVidia graphics card on board. Its based on the Santa Cruz chipset which means it sees the full 4Gb and apparently these units can go to even 8GB of RAM. What's not to like?? :)

More to come!

Comments
  • Hi Michael,

    Sorry to hear the Hybrid didn't deliver the expected performance. My T61P is due in the next couple of days and I have the same hybrid ready to run. I agree that the difference in pure transfer speed is likely due to the 7200rpm HDD against the 5400rpm Hybrid. I guess the Hybrid might be best used in a system where longer battery life is more important then pure performance.

    I also purchased the extra HDD adapter for the Lenovo so the Hybrid might end up being used in place of the DVD-RW.

    Cheers

    Anthony

  • You don't have a hybrid hard drive.  You have the Intel "Robson" hard drive cache.  See http://www.intel.com/design/flash/nand/turbomemory/index.htm.  Everything I've read about it is that it doesn't work.  I hope you can prove otherwise but it looks like so far my Hitachi 200GB 7200rpm drive is doing pretty well.

  • Actually Keith :) - it isnt Robson. Thats not on drive whereas this is. Heres the model details of my drive...

    http://www.samsung.com/global/business/hdd/productmodel.do?group=72&type=73&subtype=74&model_cd=260&tab=fea

    Robson is usually slot into one of the PCMCIA slots - this isnt that.

    Yeah - your 7200 RPM is mucho quicker though Id love to do a compare on the battery life now...

  • Duh!  If I was paying attention to the post instead of looking at the config screens on lenovo.com I would have seen that.  I do know this, there is a pretty big difference in the throughput of the 7200 vs 5400rpm drives.  That and the 16meg cache on my Hitachi seems to help.

    Let us know how much battery life you get on Balanced and Power Saver.  I haven't really tested my machine much because I am usually plugged in running on Performance.

    Looks like you have a fun toy...  Now the real question...  With a decent eSATA ExpressCard and external 3.5" hard drive enclosure, would you rather travel with the T61p or those custom servers for demos?

  • Hmmm - tough call. Well for light work I will probably use this Lenovo. For heavy work Ill still use the AMD Server as its live on the internet so I dont need to lug it on planes much anymore and it runs 7 VM's at a time :)

  • I thought these were to save power as opposed to faster? The docs I read said it was to keep things spun down more often.

  • Its funny you mention that as I thought it was both performance and battery savings. Today I thought Id run on battery power to see how it goes. The drive spun down straight away and for most of the time while I type it stays spun down, working off the nvram. Its spins up and down every so often as it needs too. Ive so far been running for and hour and a quarter. It claims it has another 3 hours and 10 mins left (onboard battery only too). We'll see if the claim is correct on battery life! :)

  • So last night I was pretty scathing of the hybrid drive performance on my new Lenovo T61p . Today's a

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