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Current best solid state disks?

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October 2, 2008 9:43:54 AM

Xie xie ni, greetings, and all that.

We're getting ready to evaluate solid state hard disks so I thought it may not be a bad idea to get some opinions from the hardware Cicada Killers here at THG.

I'm wondering if you can offer insight as to the best drives from the price-performance perspective as well as the pure performance perspectives or point me to any articles that you'd be willing to share. Sizes can be anything between 32GB-128GB.

Usage? Potential replacement for mechanical drive replacements for our Lenovo T/X-61's used by our power-users and VIP staffers. We're looking to reduce mechanical failures w/out negatively impacting battery life too much. Obviously, performance improvements are welcome.

Thanks for any considerations/recommendations you can render.

- Bradford D.
a b G Storage
October 2, 2008 3:03:56 PM

Pure performance:
Intel X25-M
Samsung SLC SSD
October 2, 2008 9:55:01 PM

I'm with cjl. I have 3 of the Samsung 64GB SLC SSDs from Newegg and love them all! I gave it rave reviews on Newegg's website and continue to do so when the opportunity presents itself. Even though the Intel drive is a top notch performer, it is still based on MLC flash tech.
Related resources
October 2, 2008 10:04:59 PM

Cool, thx for the recommendations.
a c 353 G Storage
October 3, 2008 4:05:29 AM

Check out "Flash Flood" artical in Nov issue of Maximumpc.
Samsung (64GB) and OCZ SataII (64 GB) get a 7 rating while the Memright MR25.2 (64GB) get's a 8 rating (at almost DOUBLE the price of Samsung/OCZ). Benches are on pg 50 and compared to WD Velociraptor.
From a price/performance standpoint, Flash drives need to improve.
October 3, 2008 4:08:05 AM

No idea how long you are willing to wait or how much you want to spend, but the X25-E supposed to be quite a bit more stable (in terms of performance, not lifetime) and have 100mb/s more write speed, which is important in almost every application. It is an SLC NAND flash based drive.

The specs are 230 read, 170 write versus the X25-M which is 230 read
and 70 write.

MLC based SSDs are way over-rated and WAY over-priced. SLC are also WAY overpriced, but are much better performers typically.
a b G Storage
October 3, 2008 4:08:17 AM

pbrigido said:
I'm with cjl. I have 3 of the Samsung 64GB SLC SSDs from Newegg and love them all! I gave it rave reviews on Newegg's website and continue to do so when the opportunity presents itself. Even though the Intel drive is a top notch performer, it is still based on MLC flash tech.

It may be MLC, but the Intel flattens even the Samsung in reads, and IIRC is only just slightly behind the Samsung in writes. It's the better buy right now by far. The samsung is still good though, unlike many of the cheap MLC SSDs like the OCZ Core series.
a b G Storage
October 3, 2008 4:09:45 AM

descendency said:
No idea how long you are willing to wait or how much you want to spend, but the X25-E supposed to be quite a bit more stable (in terms of performance, not lifetime) and have 100mb/s more write speed, which is important in almost every application. It is an SLC NAND flash based drive.

The specs are 230 read, 170 write versus the X25-M which is 230 read
and 70 write.

MLC based SSDs are way over-rated and WAY over-priced. SLC are also WAY overpriced, but are much better performers typically.

The X25-M is not bad though - it doesn't have the problem that most MLC drives do with random reads, and as a result, it in most ways is much closer to SLC than MLC drives in performance. It's the only MLC drive I would recommend right now though - all of the others are rather miserable.
October 3, 2008 4:28:54 AM

Intel also has a server version of the X25-M that is supposed to be faster again its the X25-E
October 3, 2008 4:35:12 AM

cjl said:
The X25-M is not bad though - it doesn't have the problem that most MLC drives do with random reads, and as a result, it in most ways is much closer to SLC than MLC drives in performance. It's the only MLC drive I would recommend right now though - all of the others are rather miserable.


the X25-E is an SLC i think, thats prolly why its quicker again.
a b G Storage
October 3, 2008 4:45:43 AM

chookman said:
the X25-E is an SLC i think, thats prolly why its quicker again.

Yep - and lower capacity. The M is available in 80GB, and will soon be out in a 160GB version, while the E will launch at 32 and 64GB capacities.
October 3, 2008 11:23:07 AM

Great feedback. I'm going to do some reading but it looks like we may want to look towards Intel...something management will surely welcome. :sarcastic: 
October 3, 2008 12:12:12 PM

+1 for the Intel SSDs. In the words of Anand Lal Shimpi:
http://www.anandtech.com/cpuchipsets/intel/showdoc.aspx...
Quote:
"I think Intel just Conroe’d the HDD market."


Apparently the Intel drives are the only ones worth buying 'cause of the random read problem with the Jmicron controllers:
http://www.anandtech.com/cpuchipsets/intel/showdoc.aspx...
Quote:
The symptoms are pretty obvious: horrible stuttering/pausing/lagging during the use of the drive. The drive still works, it's just that certain accesses can take a long time to complete. It's a lot like using a slow laptop hard drive and trying to multitask, everything just comes to a halt.


^That pretty much defeats the entire purpose of having a SSD if you ask me.
a b G Storage
October 6, 2008 7:33:30 PM

homerdog said:
+1 for the Intel SSDs. In the words of Anand Lal Shimpi:
http://www.anandtech.com/cpuchipsets/intel/showdoc.aspx...
Quote:
"I think Intel just Conroe’d the HDD market."


Apparently the Intel drives are the only ones worth buying 'cause of the random read problem with the Jmicron controllers

Keep in mind that there aren't any problems with current SLC drives aside from price. The problems that are described in that anandtech article are only existent for the cheap MLC drives.
October 6, 2008 8:16:11 PM

cjl said:
Keep in mind that there aren't any problems with current SLC drives aside from price. The problems that are described in that anandtech article are only existent for the cheap MLC drives.

Yes, but price is a big deal. SLC drives are very expensive, especially in terms of cost/GB. For most of us normal users even MLC drives are out of the question.
a b G Storage
October 7, 2008 2:14:41 PM

I'm fully with you there - I won't be buying a SSD until the prices drop significantly.
October 8, 2008 9:53:41 AM

Fortunately, I work with the public sector and we can invest in testing out new technologies.
October 8, 2008 12:24:19 PM

Cool, but MLC drives are *always* going to be cheaper than SLC drives since you get twice the density per cell. If this article is mostly targeted at enthusiasts and laptop users I think you should focus on MLC drives with maybe one really high end SLC drive thrown in for comparison.
!