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I'm considering upgrading my notebook's HDD to an SSD.

I'm doing a lot of research and some people are saying it makes a world of a difference, where as some people are saying that it is negligible compared to the heat that the processor and videocard are producing.

My question:
Performance will drastically improve, but will I notice any significant gains in the heat and noise from my laptop?

If it matters, my system is an HP Envy 14:

  • Intel(R) Core(TM) i5-520M Dual Core processor (2.40GHz, 3MB L3 Cache)
  • 1GB ATI Mobility Radeon(TM) HD 5650
  • 320GB 7200RPM Hard Drive
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3 Answers 3

An SSD should be considerably quieter than any mechanical HDD - they have no mechanical parts, which are what generate the sound.

An SSD should produce less heat as well; there are no mechanical parts, so no heat from friction, and typically SSDs consume less power than their mechanical counterparts, so should produce less heat that way as well.


Whether this will make a difference overall in your laptop or not is another matter entirely, based on far to many factors to give you a simple answer. I'll try, and here it is: Probably.

In a desktop (I have little experience of laptops in this regard) a (healthy, well cooled) HDD typically runs at about 40-50°C, CPU about 50-60°C and a strong GPU typically even higher. So the HDD is hardly the hottest part of the machine.

So changing it with an SSD probably will not help with heat a lot, but obviously with less heat from the drive the other components may be easier to cool because there's less thermal energy in the machine overall.

Conversely, I'd say a not-brand-new HDD can often be the most heard component of a desktop. However, they do tend to be placed near the front of a case, so it's hard to say they are really the loudest. Simple question - can you hear your hard drive when it's working? If yes, then an SSD will help by removing that noise entirely.

And, potentially, there's also a side-effect from having (potentially) less heat in your laptop from a cooler drive; the cooling system (with its probably loud fans) has less work to do and so may be quieter.

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The heat from your CPU and GPU will be more significant then the drive's output, especially when the machine is under load (i.e. running anything CPU and/or GPU intensive). An SSD will produce less waste heat than the motors of a spinning-disk drive, but whether this will be noticeable depends how efficient your current drive is and how much power the rest of the system is pumping around.

In terms of noise, if you notice the current drive's noise then the move to an SSD will remove that. But if our laptops drive is very quiet (or just drowned out by other sound sources like fans) you won't notice that difference. The external 1.8" drive I use with my netbook is only audible if I do something that really rattles the drive heads (i.e. a large amount of fairly random access) if I put my ear less than a foot or so away from it - it makes no noticeable noise when spinning up or simply idlely spinning waiting for work to do. If you current drive is that quiet than an SSD won't make much difference to your noise levels unless it putting out less heat makes enough difference to the whole machine that it can power up the cooling fans less often or less aggressively.

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I bought a 60 gb ocz agility2 ssd and replaced my hd in my laptop. Oh my gosh what a difference in speed and performance! It is the single best upgrade I have ever made for making my machine scream!! Boots super fast, loads any application almost instantly. I will never go back to hdd. Loaded windows 7 64bit off of a usb drive and it took 11 minutes from start to finish. Cool.

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