The King is Dead - Long Live the King!
Mechanical hard drives have been the predominate form of long-term storage used by PCs for decades. Although other forms of long-term memory, including solid state drives, have existed during most of that time, only mechanical drives could provide reliable, affordable storage with enough space to hold a modern operating system.
That is beginning to change. Solid state drives, which have no moving parts, are starting to gain steam. Prices are about half of what they were a year ago, and prices will continue to go down.
It is now price, however, which is the reason to convert to an SSD. Converting to an SSD as your main hard drive is a question of performance. There are already many reviews which examine synthetic benchmarks, and they show that even the slowest SSDs tend to outperform the fastest mechanical drives. This article, however, will example real-world performance to explain why buying an SSD can result in a much better computing experience.
The data listed in this article was gathered by a direct comparison between a Western Digital Caviar Black 500GB drive and an OCZ Vertex Agility 60GB drive. Both were tested on the same system with clean installs of Windows Vista Home Premium. Only the drivers that would normally be installed (video, motherboard, etc.) and the software being benchmarked were installed on the system.