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SSD as a boot drive?

Last response: in Storage
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September 27, 2009 4:14:58 AM

So this may be a ridiculous idea, but I figured I'd run it past the forums anyway.

Is it feasible for an operating system to be installed on a small (~10GB) SSD that plugs straight into the SATA port? In other words, the drive would only be big enough to hold the OS, a couple service packs, and maybe a very small number of other applications. This limited storage would make it relatively more affordable, and should make it small enough to plug straight into the SATA port without interfering with other components.

Does this seem reasonable? And if so, why hasn't anyone started manufacturing it?

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a c 415 G Storage
September 27, 2009 7:14:06 AM

I suspect there are a few issues preventing this from being viable:

1) 10GB is very marginal for a system disk. Most people who want the best performance would also want a system that's reasonably capable in other respects as well.

2) There's no standard for clearance around a SATA port. Many motherboards have SATA ports in clusters which would make it very difficult to plug an actual device directly into the port.

3) The device would also require a power connection, since the SATA port itself provides no power. That would make the device bulkier and more problematic in terms of clearance.

4) A device designed to plug directly into a SATA port would have to be very small, similar to a small USB key. That pretty much precludes the use of a multi-channel controller driving several flash chips in parallel, and that's where SSDs get most of their performance. You'd probably end up with something that wasn't any faster than a flash memory card, which really isn't very compelling for a system disk.
September 27, 2009 3:32:55 PM

sminlal said:
I suspect there are a few issues preventing this from being viable:

1) 10GB is very marginal for a system disk. Most people who want the best performance would also want a system that's reasonably capable in other respects as well.

2) There's no standard for clearance around a SATA port. Many motherboards have SATA ports in clusters which would make it very difficult to plug an actual device directly into the port.

3) The device would also require a power connection, since the SATA port itself provides no power. That would make the device bulkier and more problematic in terms of clearance.

4) A device designed to plug directly into a SATA port would have to be very small, similar to a small USB key. That pretty much precludes the use of a multi-channel controller driving several flash chips in parallel, and that's where SSDs get most of their performance. You'd probably end up with something that wasn't any faster than a flash memory card, which really isn't very compelling for a system disk.


Very interesting, thanks for the descriptive response. I hadn't really considered those things, but I figured there was something preventing this as a legitimate option that I hadn't considered, so thank you for enlightening me!
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