HP ProBook 4525s SSD Vs HDD

I already posted this video via twitter but i wanted to follow up with a brief over view of what we were doing and demonstrate we dont just sit about the office timing computers to boot up. Well, most days we don’t, the rest of the time we are playing Halo.

Last week the MD of one of our biggest customers said ‘Im going on holiday, and when i come back i want a new laptop’ Of course we said, well thats fine but um, you might wanna buy one?

He then dissapeard off to some exclusive destination for Uber Rich Managing Directors, and left us to ponder what laptop to purchase for him.

We had a budget of £550.00 (+VAT) and looked through our suppliers list of laptops for that price. We decided that the list was totally uninspiring, and in actual fact the difference in quality between the lower range, £300 laptops to the £600 laptops was negligible.

Because of that, i thought, well, why don’t we get a more conservative laptop, and beef it up with an SSD HD?

My boss was aghast, “do you know how much they cost?” I replied that i did, but with a cheaper laptop, the overall cost would be the same and the performance would be increased.

He took some convincing, and with the help of Philip Elder and Tim Barrett, i was armed with enough ‘expert opinion’ to sway him to pay up.

So we settled on the HP ProBook 4525s.(Model XX800EA)

HP ProBook 4525s XX800 The specs of the laptop are as follows:

AMD Turion II 2.5ghz Dual Core (2mb Cache)
3GB Ram (DDR3 1333) (Max 8GB)
320GB 7200rpm SATA300 HD
15.6" LCD (16:9 WXGA 1366×768 LED)
Mobility Radeon HD 4250
Win 7 Pro x64
Plus all the usual USB & Network Interfaces, Card Reader and Webcam

We decided to install an Intel SSD following previous research and glowing recommendations, we settled on a 160GB 320 Series Intel SSD. We picked one of these up for under £200.00

The intel 320 Series SSD

Installing the drive was a little trickier than we had assumed it would be, unlike laptops we are accustomed to, these ProBooks have a totally solid base – with no vents or access to components. We had to strip the laptop down (after carefully reviewing the manual) by first removing some screws from the battery bay, then removing the keyboard bezel, then the keyboard, then the palm rest.

Installing the drive itself was easy and don’t be fooled by the black ‘bumper’ on the Intel drive it fits perfectly with that still attached. In fact if you take that off as we did, the drive will fall apart LOL.

We also used Acronis to image the HP shipped drive to the SSD drives (which was incredibly quick) before we installed the drive.

Intel SSD 320 Series 160gbIntel SSD & Standard HDD

We powered up the SSD laptop and followed the usual setup requirements, we roughly timed it at 9 minutes. We lost interest in timing the non SSD laptop.

The real test came when both laptops had been ‘configured’ to a point where we had a user account with a password, and we were no longer prompted to do any setup when powering on.

The video below shows the results of a cold boot, with more or less simultaneous power on.

HP Probook 4525s SSD vs 4525s SATA HDD


You can see that the SSD (On the Left) boots much quicker than the standard HDD, not only that, but once we type the password (we gave the HDD time to catch up) you will notice that the HP Security software logo in the top left on the screen is the last app to load at logon, this appears almost instantly on the SSD but takes some time to appear on the HDD.

Of course adding the SSD makes the laptop a little more expensive but we think it is a massive improvement, even considering we traded off 1GB of ram to go to a lower model laptop than those retailing at the £550 mark. 

A good test would be to fire it up against a £550.00 laptop, which if we had one we would do. However i imagine the SSD would still beat it without breaking sweat.

The real test of course will be when we present this laptop to the client, and gauge their reaction.

About Robert Pearman
Robert Pearman is a UK based Small Business Server enthusiast. He has been working within the SMB IT Industry for what feels like forever. Robert likes Piña colada and taking walks in the rain, on occasion he also enjoys writing about Small Business Technology like Windows Server Essentials or more recently writing PowerShell Scripts. If you're in trouble, and you can find him, maybe you can ask him a question.

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