Solid State Drives and Microsoft Office

Are there any advantages to getting an Solid State Drive (SSD) when running Microsoft Office? We have some advice from actual use.

Solid State Drives are faster and power saving drives that are now less expensive and more available, but are they worth the trouble for Office users?

YES — absolutely and definitely YES.

We’ve been trying some SSD’s and have some advice for anyone considering the change.

Solid State Drives are much faster to read and write data than standard drives. That’s because they have no moving parts, unlike traditional hard drives with spinning platters. SSD’s are at least double the speed of normal drives for regular (random access) uses.

SSD’s also use less power and are more resilient to sharp movements and knocks than a regular drive.

The price of SSD has dropped from the original high rates and capacities are reasonable (1TB or more is common).

Office benefits with Solid State Drives

Outlook is the main beneficiary of a solid state drive. That’s to be expected since Outlook is really a large database application which runs better if it can get information from the hard drive faster.

The ‘instant’ search option in Outlook still isn’t ‘instant’ but it’s a lot faster than on a regular drive. Switching between Outlook folders is also more responsive.

For Word, Excel and PowerPoint there’s less direct speed improvements. The speed of loading and saving documents is faster but most of the time the improvement isn’t noticeable. It is only for very large documents (or large Access databases) that you may notice the SSD speed advantage.

We definitely noticed a vast speed up in Windows Explorer display including Open and Save dialogs in Office. Instead of waiting for files and folders to appear, a file list appears in a flash – just like it’s supposed to . Navigating around folders is much faster and easier. This SSD advantage is worth the extra price in our view.

Of course there are also the general advantages of a Solid State Drive. Windows startup is faster and transition to/from hibernation or sleep modes is a lot faster with SSD.

For regular Outlook users or people with large documents/databases, there’s a case for switching to Solid State Drives on portable computers.

The downside is the high price and lower capacity. But that difference with traditional drives is closing.  The advantages of SSD makes the higher price well worth paying.

Some cheaper computers have an enticingly low price, partly because the makers are using slower hard drives instead of SSD’s.  It’s a false economy, any new computer should have a Solid State Drive.  ‘Hybrid’ drives don’t cut it either, it’s SSD or nothing.

It doesn’t matter which version of Office you use with an SSD, they’ll all benefit from the much faster hard drive.