Fastest Netbook Disk Ever? (Runcore Pro IV SSD in Gigabyte Touchnote.)

Posted on 04 May 2009 by

I’ve just installed the new Runcore Pro IV SATA-2 SSD drive into my Gigabyte Touchnote. I think we’re looking at one of the fastest disks ever to be seen in a netbook and one of the best CrystalMark scores we’ve ever seen here. (*1)

crystaldisk-ssd crystalmark-ssd
22864 is about 4x what we normally see on a netbook or ultra mobile PC with an HDD.

127MB/s read speed is twice as fast as the original 160GB SATA disk.

Theoretical figures don’t translate one-to-one to changes in user experience though and as the SATA drive in the Touchnote was already fast at 60MB/s read, real-world differences won’t be as extreme. Booting up was quicker (at about 30 seconds, 40 seconds including POST for this heavily loaded, 1 month-old installation is 20-seconds quicker than normal) and applications are starting almost instantaneously.  IE7, Movie Maker, Adobe Reader, Windows Live Gallery, Chrome, Paint Shop Pro all start (first run after boot) in 1 second or less. Hibernation wasn’t noticeably quicker and standby is, understandably, the same. As far as battery life and heat are concerned, I’ll have to do some more testing.

There were a few issues with duplicating the disk but none of these can be attributed to Runcore. I have a pre-release prototype drive without the USB port so I had to use True Image to copy the original 160GB and squash the partitions into 64GB. The second problem is that the Gigabyte install uses a Grub (or Lilo, I’m not sure which) boot loader which allows access to the restore partition. On copying the disk, the boot loader didn’t work so as a fix, I tried an XP and Linux CD image in order to re-write the MBR. Unfortunately FixMBR on XP didnt work and my CDROM isn’t playing well as a boot drive with the BIOS on the Touchnote so after messing around for a few hours I had to download Ubuntu Netbook for USB installation and install Ubuntu just to fix the boot loader. It fixed the boot loader but the recovery partition is now inaccessible. I’ll have a play around with Ubuntu 9.04 for a while and then clean it up next week. I’m sure other netbooks are going to much simpler than this one!

The question now is, is it worth it? I’ve lost about 80GB of drive space that I was using to carry around some media and as the SATA drive was already fast, the end-user difference isn’t that great. The 64GB drive costs around 50% of the cost of this, already high-end netbook, and with such a low-powered platform, there are obviously other bottlenecks that will come into play so at the end of the day, its a tough call. I’ll run with it for a week and report back then but with the Gigabyte Touchnote performing so well with it’s 3G, Draft-N, multi-touch pad, BT2.1, ExpressCard/34 slot and touchscreen, it’s tempting to keep it installed just to highlight how far the netbook platform can be pushed.

In the meantime, I can definitely say that if you if you have a year-old laptop that needs a refresh (this drive is going to work well with HDD-happy Vista) or if you simply want one of the fastest drives available, the RunCore Pro IV is fantastic value.

Stay tuned for a video over the next few days. Check out the Runcore press Release and if you want to be early in line, pre-order form here. The Pro IV will be shipping in just a few weeks.

(*1) A fast 1.8” SSD in the Everun Note ultra mobile PC beats this by a big margin due to the relatively powerful CPU. and GPU [See an example here.]

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  • Fastest Netbook Disk Ever? I’ve been testing the Runcore Pro IV. Wow! http://cli.gs/nSa35z

  • Liked “Fastest Netbook Disk Ever? I’ve been testing the Runcore Pro IV. Wow! http://cli.gs/nSa35zhttp://ff.im/-2zOGU

  • peter

    hey chippy,

    jkk said, we will see a livestream. Don´t forget to post the date as early as possible, please.

    No more “Flaschenhals”, yeah. A realy great device. (sorry about my English)

  • Anon

    Chippy,
    This is a HOT SSD… if you are missing data, that is mission critical (then get a bigger RunCore OR get one of those external RAID 1 drives that do scatter gather (faster) and put old HD into this.
    http://www.addonics.com/products/enclosures/AE25RDESU.asp
    OR stuff one of these with 4 SSDs (spanning into a huge volume of fast SSDs instead).

  • Cherimoya

    Interesting. Any idea why you are getting such a poor 4k write speed compared to JKK? He got over 16 on all three devices he tested it on.

  • Fastest ever???

    Well, is it any faster than any other Indilinx based SSD (http://www.anandtech.com/storage/showdoc.aspx?i=3535) or the Intel X-25 based SSD’s for that matter?

    It is surely fast, but fastest ever may be somewhat of a stretch?

  • Sokonomi

    Im not sure what disksize the e-king i1 is housing, but its probably an 1.8″one. I wish drives like this would come out on that formfactor, it would make the little UMPC’s fire up like lightning, since most 1.8″drives are a sluggish 42000rpm @ approx. 30mb\s..

  • cheefy

    @sokonomi

    The Eking i1 is housing a 1,8″ 60GB Disk(should be SATA) with really slow 4200rpm.

    if you want to speed up look at this one:
    http://www.transcendusa.com/Products/ModDetail.asp?ModNo=227
    comes with 32Gb at around 90$ and 64gb at 150$. and should reach about 90-100MB/s.

    but as chippy said there will be other bottlenecks so that more than 100MB/s don’t effect the user performance as we expect it. in the eking even much more than in the touchnote.

    • Sokonomi

      Hmm well thats quite a considderable speedboost/reliability boost for a surprisingly low price.64gb for only 150usd? Really? And all Id have to do is clone the e-kings drive with acronis, then swap it out? Hmm, Thanks fo the tip.

      I know theres other bottlenecks, but a speedier disk might give the e-king that little push it needs to comfortably play the bigger video formats, or handle some comressed files a little quicker.

      Still though, this runcore disk sounds pretty good for my notebook aswell. I dont see any mention of price on this disk though.

  • i have a big smile on my face, the runcore ssd´s are best. but what makes me thinking is the write speed in your device. at the 4 k it is 6.841 at jkk in the dell it is 16.11. you know why?

    • I’m running the 4K tests again under a fresh OS install and i’m getting 13MB/s read, 4.4MB.s write. JKK’s version was an earlier prototype, I wonder if anything changed. We need someone to test the full retail version.

      Steve.

      • That was a fresh W7 install BTW.

        • thats what i thought that the ssd are the same type but different productiontime. i hope runcore didnt change anything. if you can contact jkk may he has a answer.

        • I’m going to contact Runcore.

  • Fastest Netbook Disk Ever? (Runcore Pro IV SSD in Gigabyte …: Theoretical figures don’t translate one-to-o.. http://bit.ly/18LAeR

  • <cool> Fastest Netbook Disk Ever? (Runcore Pro IV SSD in Gigabyte Touchnote.) http://tr.im/kyal

  • furyagain

    when compare to my N10J with ocz vertex ssd 120mb

    your read score is faster , but slower on write score.
    i just did one using the crystaldiskmark2.2
    ( battery power)
    the score are

    118.5 112.5
    97.44 99.98
    9.188 9.749

    • Thanks. under Windows 7, my scores drop below 100Mb/s read max. Obviously OS and system build make a difference.

      Thanks for putting up your test result Furyagain.

      Steve

      • furyagain

        Mine does run on window7 RC
        using my N10J with battery) no overclocking ( on

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