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I have an ultraportable ThinkPad X200s, which I am very happy with (it's my sixth ThinkPad), which has a fast 7,200rpm 160GB Hitachi hard drive.

I have not upgraded it with an SSD as I am waiting for the third generation drives, which will not only be faster, but also a lot cheaper, for the high capacities that I need (160GB or above).

Intel Turbo Memory is an option on the X200s (which I have not got). I was wondering if it was worthwhile me getting a card in the mean time? They are just under £40 for 4GB on eBay.

Any personal experience?

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up vote 3 down vote accepted

We ordered T410's for our work, and did some exhaustive testing.. the Intel Turbo memory helps a little with boot speed.

However, We put the Intel SSD's in the laptops, and have measured about 5 times the speed of the 160GB, 7200RPM drives we used to use in our T400's. With AV, encryption, and tons of other software running in the background, that made the biggest improvement possible to boot speed. (we also upped to 8GB of ram, but that is a bit overkill) (at the time, the Samsung SSD Lenovo offered was about 3 times the speed of the 7200RPM drives, newer ones might be faster)

Our boot times went from 8-10 minutes to be fully loaded up, to about 2 min, if you also count opening outlook 2007 with >1GB mail files.. We have had people track us down to thank us for getting them the new faster machines.. and in my years in IT, when customers track you down, it is NEVER to thank you... its pretty shocking how different the systems are.

However, that said, we didn't get much of a boost out of the X300, and x301, because the speed limitation was the chipset, not the drive, and it would not push enough data. You might want to check and see which system your components are based off of on a X200s..

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First thing I'd do is max out the RAM. I upgraded my X200 from 2GB to 4GB and it gave a noticeable speed boost. Since you already have a fast HDD (compared to 5400rpm) I doubt you'll gain much from Turbo Memory. I'd rather buy a nice fast SD card and experiment with ReadyBoost - if there's no meaningful improvement then it's always possible to stick it in a camera instead :)

Here's also a good and thorough article from Anandtech: Investigating Intel's Turbo Memory: Does it really work?

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