Using: Samsung Electronics 840 EVO-Series 250GB 2.5-Inch SATA III. Part of this is from my review of that drive and I thought it relevant to this conversation.
Was running Windows 7 Pro and had a copy of Windows 8 Pro that I was waiting to install until I upgraded to a SSD drive. Got this drive for a great price and was finally ready to pull the trigger. Did a clean install on this drive of Win 8 Pro and then moved my documents, photos, music and movies to a 1 TB drive. Optimized this drive for the operating system and did all the SSD stuff you are supposed to do when using a SSD with Windows 8 to optimize it. Did the stuff in this article; Fresh Clean install with this SSD as my only drive, AHCI, 6GBs controller, checked trim etc.
Install was great. Took all of 7-8 minutes to install Win 8. The reboots for updates are very fast. Boot time is exceptional. I know this drive saved me hours when doing all of the upgrades to Win 8.1 Pro and installing Office, software games etc. When you first install software cleanly, including the operating system, it can take forever with all of the rebooting etc. So again, I figure I probably saved 5-6 hours conservatively using this drive. Threw my games, online games, and steam games (only keep 4-5 games installed at a time) on this drive and those installs also were blazing fast. The Samsung Magician software is nice and reports that my sequential read/write in rapid mode is 1154/1106 MB/sec. Certainly seems fast on the benchmarks but real world application seems a bit different.
1)Fast installs, OS and programs
2)Really fast OS upgrades requiring reboots
3)Boot times are unreal - under 10 secs.
The OK (cause there is nothing really bad to report)
Real world use for me is not quite as impressive as I thought it would be. My computer is also attached to my big-screen as a second monitor when needed for movies, steam etc and this system stays on all the time. Because it is on all the time then the fast boot times don't really matter so much, which would probably be the same for lots of others in the same boat. This drive probably shaved off a couple of seconds for Firefox opening, but what is 2 seconds from 9 down to 7? Made sure my cache for Firefox is on the SSD in case that was slowing it. Thought programs would open instantaneously. That is what I keep hearing and was alluded to in your latest article. They do not! Browsers do open a bit quicker, but as I already had a fast system (using 2 drives with swap file at the beginning of my fast second drive - all caches, temps and working directories on 2nd drive first smaller partition), I have not really noticed anything that is eye-opening blazing fast.
Games seem to load a bit faster, but as I mostly do online games, I am still waiting for the server and the other people to join, and so much of gaming is based on your internet connection and ping time. So while it seems a bit snappier, it still is not the speed demon that I had expected and waited on for all this time. Not much difference noticed. I don't have the fastest gaming system anyway, but it sure wasn't and isn't slow.
Real world use does shave a couple seconds off some programs loading. 2 secs or so off Firefox, IE (my wife uses) was already almost instant opening. Office programs a tad snappier, maybe more-so with a big document. Gaming levels for local games like Farcry, Skyrim etc. did load faster, but were not that slow to begin with. The most boost was in Skyrim but I use the hi-res packs to make it look better. Of course when I ran my games off of a ram drive they loaded faster than now with the SSD - but alas - was too much trouble with a ram drive for the times I did have to reboot and all the transferring back and forth in and out of the ram drive. But this is the 1 place other than boot time I saw a significant speed boost that really mattered.
Working with graphic files, converting movies for Media Players and Tablet, and loading things in general seem to be a bit snappier. Shaved some time off .mkv and .mp4 converting for sure but only a couple minutes per movie. Smaller movies and videos don't seem to notice much difference. Zipping and un-zipping seem a tad quicker. Archiving and syncing - no difference.
If you have an older system OR you plan on using this as your only drive in a laptop, then it would probably be a breath of fresh air. If you already have a fast optimized system that is set up properly for speed, then you probably will only notice much difference when you are rebooting.
Have to say, this is a great drive and if everything was on it and if I also did my mirror image of it or backups to another fast SSD instead of a flash drive or mechanical hard drive, then I am sure it would be impressive. Real world using regular hard drives in addition to this SSD and not rebooting often and having a speedy system already, I am not nearly as impressed as I had hoped to be. Thought I would be blown away, but after a month and a half or so of real world use, I am still waiting to be impressed. I am sure I will be waiting until the huge SSDs are affordable and will be the only type of drives in desktops. Then the full speed will probably be realized. Actually quite a bit disappointed in the way the speed has been touted for these drives in every single article and review. In this hybrid world of mechanical and SSD and cloud and so much on the internet, Impressed..... not so much.