One of the most common upgrades after purchasing a new phone is an extended battery. Most of us also choose high capacity batteries for our notebooks when ordering as well. In a series of articles starting here, then here, it's possible to extend battery life of your new notebook as well. For many of us on the constant move, extending battery life is just as important as extending frames per second for gaming on desktop systems.
With our Lenovo W530 mobile workstation, we've increased battery life from 248 minutes with a Western Digital Caviar Blue to 301 minutes with the early prototype Kingston B02 stepping mSATA SSD drive. That's a difference of 53 minutes or just shy of an hour on a notebook not designed for long battery life. We're also using a six-cell standard battery and not the extended nine-cell. With a nine-cell battery the difference between a mechanical drive and a B02 stepping SSD would be well over an hour in our test.
We started measuring SSD current draw so we could eventually start to divide SSDs into two categories - those best for desktop performance, and those best for notebook performance. So far no company has built a notebook specific SSD and taken the design to the most power efficient levels. As notebooks and ultrabooks replace desktops further, we think companies will shift from making SSDs to targeted market SSDs.
LSI SandForce announced the new B02 stepping back in July of 2012, and the new controller as tested here at TweakTown today, even when paired with previous generation 24nm NAND, delivers the best battery life we've tested to date. Kingston has taken that part and worked an early sample together for us to take an early look at. The part we used today is not the final production model. 24nm Toggle Flash has been replaced by 19nm so we expect the final retail Kingston B02 products to increase battery life a little more. The difference between 24nm and 19nm might not be as great as 32nm to 24nm, but when it comes to battery life, we'll take as much as we can get.
I expect to get a little blow back for not publishing a full preview with performance measurements in the article today. Let's just tackle that issue real fast. The unit we have is already two generations old from what R&D has now. It's early hardware programmed with early firmware and does not represent final release hardware. The PCMark Vantage HDD Suite runs eight tests and if you look at the power trace, you can see that all three drives are nearly in sync from start to finish. The Kingston B02 sample even finishes the last test before the other two SF based drives. That says our B02 completes the test just a little faster than the other two. I made the chart extra wide so you can go over it in detail.
We really want to thank Kingston for giving us the opportunity to evaluate the new B02 stepping and allowing us to publish an editorial showing the future of SSD technology. We always have early samples in the lab, but it's very rare to publish anything with R&D hardware. Kingston produces some of the best SSD's on the market today and we've yet to hear of a major issue associated with their drives.
The Kingston B02 stepping products should hit the market in the coming months. Given the amount of battery life extended in our early sample, we expect these products to be a big hit with mobile device users.
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