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14 replies to this topic

#1
Octopuss

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I recently started thinking about buying one, but apparently there is so much I don't know about the subject, so I better ask :)
I did read an article some months ago about SSDs, stating that most are pretty slow and suffer from slow write speeds, and that pretty much only Intel got it right. Is it still so? First I thought about getting single-cell drive, but then saw the prices. Ouch. Anyway, performance comes at a cost... What would you recommend then?
I started to dig in some more articles and what caught my attention was statement that SATA2 is not quite enough, and a brief notice about new PCI-e drives. I couldn't find any. What's the deal?

Thanks for all possible info.


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#2
dencorso

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RunCore rocks! :yes:

#3
prathapml

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From what I've seen in my tests, the Intel X25-M drives have gone downwards in the charts, even though they still rock.
The best performance (at an acceptable price) today is with the Kingston SSDNow V+ 128GB
(google for product reviews, too lazy to link any at the moment :P ). Note the V-plus in the model name there, do not go for non-plus series drives, their performance versus price just might make a grown man cry. Of course, as you said you are not interested in paying extortionist prices for the lower-capacity SLC-based SSD drives, so I leave those out of the picture. An Intel X25-M 80GB costs close to the same as a Kingston SSDNow V+ 128GB - the Kingston offers better write speeds and more capacity, so guess which one is the obvious choice?

For what its worth, the speed benefit of an SSD may not be that noticeable for a wide range of folks. Not to mention, the problem with writing small file-sizes. If raw drive speed is what you are after, then just put together two or four 1TB Seagate Barracuda 7200.12 drives in RAID0. The low access times with an SSD is tempting, but not quite as awesome, you stop noticing the positives in a few days after seeing the negatives, and depending on your financial situation the SSD prices may not be worth it yet.

Why you say? Look at it this way. The good thing about an SSD is speed of access to data and how fast the drive reads it and serves it up. With current prices and SSD capacities being what they are, a lot of us can afford only (relatively) smaller-sized SSDs. Now if you thought it worth spending the cash for an SSD, it can also be assumed that you do a lot of gaming or some other time-limited data-intensive application. Such people need more storage than the meagre capacity that an SSD affords. Thus more often than not, I see people using an SSD for their OS and primary applications, and an (or multiple) additional normal spinning drive to store their data files. Result - yes OS is speeded up, apps start fast, but actual game/work does not get much benefit - because those are "data files" kept outside of the SSD!

But yes, there are specific people and usage patterns, that could benefit from an SSD.
To address your other questions, SATA2 is alright for now with current SSDs. Yes SATA3 and PCI-E SSDs do exist but the prices make me want to gouge my eyes out... :P

Edited by prathapml, 30 April 2010 - 08:04 AM.

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#4
Octopuss

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Well, I must point out I am not after capacity at all. I was just looking for viable alternative for system drive :)
I am aware of theoretical disadvantages, I assume mainly the lower speeds when the drive fills up, but isn't that mostly solved by the TRIM command and generally newer controllers the drives have nowadays?

#5
allen2

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I don't really see what's so great to be able to boot windows in 0.1ms (if there is a ssd providing theese kind of speed) because after boot (and most people doesn't boot more twice a day) you will have to launch a game or an apps and only some of them will benefit of the increase in speed and only if you tweak your windows. So if you need to tweak your system, why not tweaking it a little more to be able to use a normal drive.
As i see it, ssd would be great for hosting virtual machines (to speed up the disk access) or to host games which read a lot or simply to host the windows swap. Another use would be to store data because ssd's mtbf are higher than hard drive's. It could avoid using 2 drives for mirroring.
Old ssd generation (about one year old) wasn't performing so well in real life application and game: an optimised velociraptor could easily beat it in every way.

#6
Octopuss

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Well, the way I see it, SSD is perfect for system drive. It is so fast, and like you said - swap is good example (although that file is owerwritten so much I am not sure if it wouldn't have big impact on drive's performance over time, and lifetime of course), and just to have the system on separate drive when the data partition (the way I have it now) is busy working with torrents or loading something else. You could argue I could get another TB drive for less, but SSD can't have bad sectors, right? :)

#7
prathapml

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Not bad sectors, but an SSD can have bad flash cells.
Plus the slow write speed for small+multiple write situations gets to be annoying and worse than a normal HDD, within 2 days.
I'm not talking of theoretical dis-advantages, you clearly know your stuff :) - having tested a number of current-gen SSDs, I'm talking about how the practical benefits fail to keep pace with the expectations and price. If your data is still located on a different spinning drive, then you've divorced yourself from atleast some of the benefits. And the write speed thing can suck real bad even with the newer drives. TRIM will keep up your read/write speeds but has no relation with the other issues, and newer controllers have speeded up the drives, yes. I'm tiring of the "pagefile is faster on SSD" argument - such people should just ensure they have enough RAM for their needs and disable pagefile, SSD or no SSD. If you can afford an SSD, then you can afford a RAM upgrade as well before it. An SSD is nice if you have a laptop sipping low-power and want to reduce power consumption to extract further battery life, it is nice if you want a silent drive, it is nice if most of your PC work involves "read" operations (as in, reading data from SSD), it is nice to reduce vibration or shock-proof a portable computer... If you are captivated by the reviews and simply must get one, the best value is provided by the particular SSD drive/brand and model number variant I mentioned earlier.

In brief, I guess what I really meant to say was this - if you've already beefed up the rest of your PC to the maximum point you can afford to, and if you have money to spare, only then is an SSD worth it. Even today.
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#8
prathapml

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The "SATA2 is not enough" thing applies to only the costliest drives with amazing read speeds, so you can safely ignore that for now (unless you want to gladly spend a few thousands of dollars on "fast storage").
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#9
Octopuss

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Interesting points there. Are the slower speeds with small files really THAT noticeable? I mean, I find it hard to believe it could get worse than standard HDD! I am not expecting miracles of course, and same speeds (still talking about the problematic type of data) as HDD - when things finally goes "bad" - would be pretty acceptable for me.
For some reason I hate the idea of having two HDDs in my PC :) (and I don't need more than roughly 30GB of space for system anyway)

#10
Octopuss

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How comes that two years old Intel X-25E still beats new SSDs that just or recently were released? I know SLC drives are quite faster, but so much? Or does Intel use some very specific controllers?

#11
prathapml

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SLC drives (not only Intel, but also other brands like OCZ) are indeed faster. Think of SATA3 if you'll be getting one of those.

Are the slower speeds with small files really THAT noticeable?

Yep. Especially since most content is small files (example, 10 saved webpages with associated files, totaling up to 2 MB with 600 files in all, or file operations in a different context like a browser's cache folder). On a normal HDD (Seagate 7200.12 1TB) sweetspot, speed for writing small files drops from (for example) 130 MBps to 104 MBps. The same write operation on an SSD (in a best case scenario of the best SSD) can drop from 140 MBps to 2 MBps. Note the single digit number, and decide for yourself, how noticeable it is.

Admittedly newer drives are covering this weakness and working out a solution, plus you'll rarely reach such an extreme situation. But it is worth considering. If you do buy an SSD, get one which is relatively well-covered and is sufficiently better than a HDD (those 30-40GB "boot drives" suck with write speeds of 30 MBps under normal conditions). The Kingston V+ drive mentioned earlier is a great buy, try to get hold of the 128GB version or higher.
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#12
Octopuss

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I am really considering Intel X-25E. It cost a LOT, but hell it gotta be worth it. It kicks a** of new generation MLCs according to tests. And it is 2 years old already. OR perhaps wait a few months in case Intel pulls out updated version?...

#13
Octopuss

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****, how do I delete posts?

Edited by TheWalrus, 05 May 2010 - 03:10 AM.


#14
MrJinje

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****, how do I delete posts?

Use the "Report" button on the post, and ask the mods to delete it.

FYI, I bought an SSD and returned it for being a crappy over-priced product (OCZ Vertrx 30Gb). For the same price I got two 1TB drives.

Also, SSD still suffer limitations of SATA3GB/SATA6GB - Look how fast PCIe-SSDs are

Sequential Access - Read up to 1.4GB/s
Sequential Access - Write up to 1.4GB/s

Only $4400 per TB

Edited by MrJinje, 05 May 2010 - 03:55 AM.


#15
Octopuss

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I think I will try to wait a few months after all. In fact I am gonna waste money on switching from Samsung Spinpoint F1 to F3 :) Plus new CPU cooler, so... No more extra moneyflow out from the wallet :P




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