Hard drive performance in the HP ENVY dv6-7247cl

08 Dec

The Windows Experience Index(WEI) is a tool built into Windows that will test the core components of your computer. I like this tool a lot because it’s easy and takes into account the idea of a bottleneck. Windows 7 had a WEI scale from 1.0-7.9 which didn’t make much sense to me. Windows 8 WEI has a new scale from 1.0-9.9. I’m not sure the thinking here but I hope they eventually update the WEI for Windows 7 to use a 1-10 scale instead of the weird 1-7.9 scale.

My Windows 7 desktop got an outstanding score of 7.1. Even with a solid state drive, the primary hard disk transfer rate was the limiting factor. I was frustrated for years because processors, graphics and memory had made huge performance gains but the old HDD was still slow as molasses. I rejoiced as this issue was address with solid state drives. Even with the roll-out of SSDs, that primary hard disk component is still the bottleneck. Attempts to mask this bottleneck with lots of RAM and more efficient use of storage can only go so far. On my new SSDless HP laptop this bottleneck is noticeable.

5.9... booooo

5.9… booooo

I want to dive a bit deeper into that bottleneck so see how bad it really is. No, we’re not going to be doing this: – Shouting at JBODs We’re just going to be runing SQLIO.

It’s difficult to simulate real user activity and get some kind of measurable result that is comparable across systems. I’m going to take an easier route and use a program called SQLIO to let me know how fast my HP ENVY’s HDD really is. WEI thought it was kind of slow (5.9 out of 10) so lets see what SQLIO has to say.

My desktop’s SSD got some excellent marks. These SQLIO parameters test writing small IOs, randomly which is similar to normal user activity.

C:\SQLIO>sqlio -kW -t24 -s20 -o10 -frandom -b4 -BH -LS -F1file1drive1th.txt
IOs/sec: 24349.23
MBs/sec: 95.11

24K+ iops on a test like that is impressive. As a reminder, this hardware got a 7.1 out of 7.9 on WEI.

Now for the feature, the results from my HP ENVY.

C:\SQLIO>sqlio -kW -t24 -s20 -o10 -frandom -b4 -BH -LS -F1file1drive1th.txt
IOs/sec: 1140.55
MBs/sec: 4.45

So for you people who don’t like math, my SSD is ~20X faster than the new HDD in my laptop. My start up time, application load time, context switching(which causes paging) and my virtualization is suffering because of this old fashion technology in my shiny new laptop. After several other tests I was only able to peak at 100MBs/sec with a large sequential style of disk activity that most users just won’t do.

Even thought I have pointed out a very slow component in this laptop I don’t think it should be too concerning. HDDs are still used today because they are more durable and more reliable, not to mention a lot cheaper per GB of storage. The 8GB of RAM does help compensate for this shortcoming.

If you happened to budget $100-$200 more you can still upgrade. Keep an eye on I’ve seen good SSDs near $0.60/GB. I would suggest 120GB or more for a Windows 8 machine. Maybe spend an additional $30 and get an external hard drive enclosure for the old HDD so you can store backups or larger files on it.

The hardware part of the upgrade is easy. First power down the laptop, remove the battery and then press the power button again to deplete any stored power. Be careful when you set the laptop on it’s top because the material is actually plastic and not metal like I had originally thought. With 3 screws you can have the HDD partially removed.


Once you get the new drive put in the easy part is over. Now you will have to re-install the OS. HP might be able to send you an operating system install disk but I’m not sure how they are handling that these days. I’m not going to find out because, for now, I’m perfectly happy with the old HDD.

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Posted by on December 8, 2012 in Hardware


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