James Governor's Monkchips

My Windows laptop is a tablet: all about SSD

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Microsoft recently offered to loan me a high spec Lenovo X220 laptop. Given I am planning to buy a Thinkpad sometime in the near future I thought why not. There are many things I like about the machine. For one thing it makes pretty much everything a little snappier – the Intel Core i7 chip is a beast frankly.

In performance terms an obvious long ass job is video rendering and encoding: on that score it absolutely screams. A job that took about ten hours now takes about 30 minutes! I suspect the GPU is something to do with it.

But personal performance is something else, and the charm here is the SSD. Its easy to forget that in many respects Apple’s core competence is packaging the latest awesome components into great user experiences. Apple always buys up the stock of the latest awesome components – before anyone else. It practices high end volume purchasing very cleverly.

It strikes me that one of the things about the iPad is its sheer availability, which is to my mind more about snappiness than form factor. Why didn’t I usually whip out of my laptop on a Tube train or whatever? Mostly because by the time it booted up and so on it was time to get off. Having a laptop with an SSD drive is just SO AWESOME. I find myself reaching into my bag a lot more often to use the machine now. It plays the role of a tablet.

Of course there is all kinds of IoS awesome with the iPad – I use one at home all the time. But great “tabletness” doesn’t mean not having a keyboard; it means being ready to go, on the go, whenever. I have spoken before about power consumption as a differentiator and while the X220 isn’t tablet-class it gives me a good real four hours or so of work.

The x220 is acting like a tablet. I am finding that interesting.

disclosure: I still use Windows, Microsoft is a client, and as stated above… the machine is a loaner.


  1. Lenovo and Samsung are so far the only OEMs who understand that not making me wait for Windows is a selling point (SSD+no crapware+ good driver setup=fast start/resume)

  2. I agree, SSDs are great. Why is boot time a factor, though? I probably only reboot once a month; the rest of the time is suspend/resume, and that just takes a few seconds.

    1. correct Donnie. suspend resume is normal for daily use and really crispy with SSD, but if you’ve ever been on a 15 minute train journey (the heathrow express) with a crufty windows machine that needed a restart and it took nearly as long as the travel to get working … 😉

  3. I’ve been meaning to dive into SSD for ages now. Reading this and speaking to @ollierelph earlier has pushed me over the edge. I already get 6+ hours out of my toshiba. Looking forward to tabletising it further.

  4. Ah, Windows — that explains everything. =) My Linux has always resumed in a few seconds, SSD or 5400 rpm rotating disk n

  5. I have to say that on my Macbook, fast suspend/resume seems to be the norm. It’s the first time I’ve ever found that on a “normal” laptop as opposed to a tablet or my old Jornada. Not *quite* instant but pretty close. (Frankly the major pain is that I often have to re-establish my VPN but that’s a separate issue.) Never quite got there with Windows. So it’s definitely a combo of the hardware and the OS.

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