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SSD now, or wait for 32nm + Jet Stream?

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October 15, 2009 6:13:45 AM

First: I don't need an SSD today. $300-$500 is a lot for me to spend, and I know tech is always getting better, but I want to do it at the right time.

SO....

Should I spring for the highly rated Crucial M225 128gb ($360) http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168... this Christmas?

OR...

Should I scratch that off my list and for the Indilinx jet stream SSDs that will do 500mbs+, along with 32nm flash which should bring prices down and capacity up? It looks like it's coming next year... but is that the case? Anyone have info on this?


Basically, I want to get an SSD because they are fun and cool, but I don't want to jump the gun before big tech improvements and lower prices, especially since it is a non urgent issue and if potential big changes are around the corner...

Advice appreciated!!
a b G Storage
October 15, 2009 10:07:15 AM

If you're getting an SSD right now, I'd go for the Intel X25-M G2. It's basically the fastest all around drive available, and cheaper than that M225 you're looking at.
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a b G Storage
October 15, 2009 11:00:44 AM

+1 For the Intel SSD.
At the moment however, only the 80Gb Intel G2 SSD is less expensive than the above linked.
Another option would be the OCZ Agility 120Gb SSD.
It is a little cheaper at $315 after MIR and still offers the same excellent Indilinx controller.

There is a lot more to SSD's besides them being 'fun and cool'.
Using a SSD for your boot/application drive will make your system feel massively faster and more responsive.

Also, there will always be something better on the horizon, that is just the tech industry for you.
If you are always waiting for the next latest and greatest thing, you will never buy anything.
The current Indilinx based SSD drives are very powerful and the Intel SSD's are even better.
Why wait another few years for something a little faster when you can get great performance now?
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a c 127 G Storage
October 15, 2009 1:34:45 PM

I do not consider any other SSD than Intel to be an 'option' really. The intel drive is only slightly more expensive, while providing huge performance, feature, reliability and lifespan benefits.

Right now Intel is comfortable; they have the best SSD out there and are making nice profits. They dont have any competition, because they wont let others use their controller; and competitors don't understand I/O enough to make a great controller that easily surpases Intel.

Remember, this is not a "oh next year we'll get 22nm NAND chips!" product -- the product could quadrouple in performance simply by changing the controller. The controller is THE component of an SSD that sets the performance level.

Sadly, Intel is calling the shots right now and competition is still far from keeping up with Intel. So i don't see this situation change very rapidly.
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a b G Storage
October 15, 2009 2:42:36 PM

Yes, Intel SSD's are the best.
However, Indilinx controlled SSD's are also excellent and offer some serious performance for their price ($610 for a 160Gb Intel SSD, $290 for an 80Gb Intel SSD -VS- $315 for a 120Gb Indilinx SSD).
Seeing as Indilix SSD's Support Trim and have a similar feature for non-trim supporting OS' where Intel does not, their value and long term performance is further increased.
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a c 127 G Storage
October 15, 2009 3:02:13 PM

Indilinx doesn't come close in random write though. The Intel SSDs are so great because they don't have any particular weakness; they are just great in ANY I/O.

Wear leveling and write-amplification is also much better on the Intel compared to Indilinx. But Indilinx SSDs are not 'bad' at all. Its just that for $20 more you'll get the BEST ssd, and with such a minor difference i cannot see a reason to not buy the Intel SSD instead.
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a b G Storage
October 15, 2009 6:19:26 PM

Again, yes, Intel's SSD's are the best currently available.
I do believe you are underestimating the Indilinx based SSD though.

Looking at Anandtech's SSD Anthology, and supplementing with benchmarks from their SSD Relapse, we can see just how 'weak' they are.

With 4k random reads both cards perform massivly better than the fastest conventional hard drive, 32MB/s Indilinx and 54.2MB/s Intel vs well under 1MB/s for a VelociRaptor.
With 4k random wrights, the Indilinx pushes 12.9MB/s, with the latest firmware, and Intel is at 23.1MB/s.
Compare that to the VelociRaptor's paltry 1.63MB/s helps put those results into context.

In Real World Usage, even with pre-release and very slow firmware, the Indilinx based drive is virtually tied with the much more expensive Intel SSD.
When you compare the synthetic results, real world performance, Trim/Automatic GC support and relative costs of these drives ($3.81/Gb Intel 160Gb, $3.63/Gb Intel 80Gb and $2.63/Gb Indilinx) it is probably more competitive than you think.
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a c 415 G Storage
October 15, 2009 6:20:06 PM

I'm with sub mesa on this one. Folks who buy SSDs are paying a premium for performance. In that market, paying a little extra for the best possible performance just makes a lot of sense.

It's nothing like the ridiculous price premiums on high-end Intel CPUs where going from an i7 920 to a 975 costs 3 to 4 times as much.
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a c 127 G Storage
October 15, 2009 6:26:32 PM

Yeah, although firmware may alter the performance of the SSD. For example, this graph is pretty clear:



But if the indilinx controllers can perform twice as fast with newer firmware; that's very nice. Ofcourse the Intel controller may become faster due to newer firmware as well. And Intel has other benefits than performance: write amplification factor is very low unlike other SSDs and they have just excellent wear leveling.

Many products both have weaknesses and strong points. But the Intel SSD is one product which appears to not have any particular weakness. Assuming the price difference is negligible, the Intel SSD is the best choice by far. You'll have a wonderful SSD that's just very fast. The only 'but' would be the limited capacity.
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a b G Storage
October 15, 2009 7:33:41 PM

sminlal said:
Folks who buy SSDs are paying a premium for performance.

As Indilinx bases SSD's start at $140, I would have to disagree.
It can be pretty darn affordable, especially compared against Intel's least expensive $290 80Gb SSD, and is large enough for the OS and at least some software (the best usage for a SSD anyways).
Add an $80 1Tb storage/app drive and you have excellent performance and a large amount of storage for less than Intel's least expensive SSD.
sub mesa said:
...if the indilinx controllers can perform twice as fast with newer firmware; that's very nice. Of course the Intel controller may become faster due to newer firmware as well. And Intel has other benefits than performance: write amplification factor is very low unlike other SSDs and they have just excellent wear leveling.

Many products both have weaknesses and strong points. But the Intel SSD is one product which appears to not have any particular weakness. Assuming the price difference is negligible, the Intel SSD is the best choice by far. You'll have a wonderful SSD that's just very fast. The only 'but' would be the limited capacity.


The new firmware does not so much make the Indilinx drives faster so much as keep them running at full speed the entire time.
As you probably know (but perhaps not other readers), as a SSD fills up, even if it is only full of deleted data, Performance Drops.
This is universal and simply a fact of life for SSD drives.
All of Anandtech's SSD benchmarks show the drives in used condition where as the new firmware keeps the drives performing 'like new' their entire life.
This is done either by supporting Trim (Firmware v1.4) or, in operating systems that do not support Trim, supporting automated 'Garbage Collection' (Firmware v1.41) which performs essentially the same task.

My understanding it that Intel intends to support only Trim support and then only for the newer 'G2' SSD's.
The earlier 'G1' SSD's will not get said support.

Unfortunately, I have not been able to locate any solid write amplification numbers and Indilinx's Website is rather vague on the specs of the controller.
I have heard, however, that the Indilinx controller also has excellent wear leveling.
As Intel keeps more 'free area', non reported space used to minimize wright amplification and maximize wear leveling, I would assume it is better suited here.

As good as the Intel SSD's are, their cost is their greatest weakness.
At $3.81/Gb for an Intel 160Gb or $3.63/Gb for an Intel 80Gb the Intel drives are substantially more expensive than the Indilinx's $2.63/Gb.
Whilst I agree their drives offer the highest performance, I highly doubt many can seriously consider their $610 160Gb Drive and the $290 80Gb may be to small.
With this in mind, I still believe an Indilinx based SSD, which offers nearly all the real world performance of it's Intel counterparts and is priced much lower is a serious competitor.
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October 15, 2009 8:15:02 PM

Wow, this thread took off!

From my research the Indilinix controllers are nearly as good as Intel's in real world use. They support Trim and lifetime extending features, and most of the time are on Par with Intel except in some tests, which are important, but not as critical as the other areas. Anandtech gives them a thumbs up and sees the capacity points as complimentary.

I don't want anything less than 120gb as I need the space for my system files, Adobe CS install, and my other key games and apps, and I want to have some free space left as is recommended for SSDs. So actually, the price jump to an Intel is about $300 to move up the 160gb drive.

Outlaw - I've been in tech for A LONG time and I know there is always something new around the corner. Trust me, I've bought plenty of stuff. I know the massive speed performance they give, and I only put them in the category of "cool and fun" for me right now because I simply do not *need* that. Trust me, I *want* it, but it's a toy for me.

There ARE better times to wait and better times to buy. Believe me, I know when the next model comes out another one will be coming next. However, from what I've heard, the Indilinix Jet stream was supposed to be out late this year or early next year, and 32nm SSDs from Intel aren't far off. These two upgrades would bring prices down and capacities up, significantly, and over double the performance. If this is coming in spring 2010 I simply don't want to spend the same in December. I can wait.

But here is what I have heard:

Quote:

SATA600 will soon be here, so look out for a host of new SSD supporting this new technology.
Intel have already produced MLC based SSD drives with 34nm NAND.
Indilinx will soon release their Jet Stream SSD controller with SATA600 support, and also support for DDR2 32nm/34nm NAND.
Samsung will soon release 32nm/34nm DDR2 NAND.
Toshiba is reported to be readying 128GB NAND on a single chip package.


There's always updates coming. When big updates are around the corner and you can wait, you should. When minor updates are a bit further away and you need or really want the benefits of said product sooner, than buy. For me personally, this falls into the former category.

Once other OEMs get 32/34nm SSDs they will charge even less for capacity, plus the benefits of a die shrink. With the Indilinix Jet Stream controller than can do 500-600mb/s and SATA 3 to support it, it seems to me that speed, capacity, and price improvements are right on the horizon. If nothing else, once OEMs get 34nm they will be able to be even more competitve in price/capacity than now... quite possibly equating to a 256gb SSD for the price I'd pay for a 128gb, just by waiting a couple more months. That's a 50% savings.

If 34nm Jet Stream SSDs aren't coming until 2011, that's different. But if they are here in 6 months, I'll hold off. Anyone know any more info on this? It's hard to come by on the net right now. Can't seem to find reports that say if OEMs are producing 34nm soon or not, and the status on Indilinix's 3rd gen (Jet Stream) controller... this was all originally scheduled for Q3-Q4 '09 but that has obviously been pushed back, just not sure how far...

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a b G Storage
October 15, 2009 9:22:41 PM

outlw6669 said:
As Indilinx bases SSD's start at $140, I would have to disagree.
It can be pretty darn affordable, especially compared against Intel's least expensive $290 80Gb SSD, and is large enough for the OS and at least some software (the best usage for a SSD anyways).
Add an $80 1Tb storage/app drive and you have excellent performance and a large amount of storage for less than Intel's least expensive SSD.

I won't go into everything else right now, but that drive you linked to is $140 for 30 GB, a cost of $4.66 per GB. The Intel 80GB is $235 for 80GB, a cost of $2.94 per GB - a heck of a lot less than the drive you linked to. Even at the inflated cost that many retailers are selling it for, the X25-M is still under $3.60 per GB in most cases, and even at those costs, it still healthily beats many indilinx drives.

The intel drives are among the cheaper ones on the market (in a cost per GB comparison, which is far more valid than a straight cost comparison is), and they are also among the fastest. There really is no good reason to go with a different drive.

As for 32nm Intel SSDs? The X25-m G2 is 34nm. There won't be another shrink for quite some time.
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a b G Storage
October 16, 2009 9:56:52 AM

@cjl

I understand where you are coming from but I think you are missing the point I was trying to make there.
Quite simply put, good SSD's are not just for the über high end any more.
There are affordable options for system builders who do not have a massive budget.

Even at $235 for an 80Gb Intel SSD (great deal BTW), the average user will still need to spend extra on a storage drive.
A setup with a $235 for a SSD + $80 for a storage drive that only gives you minimal performance gains over a $140 SSD + $80 storage drive ($315 vs $220) may not make financial sense for everyone.
It is like saying everyone needs a Core i7 because the Phenom II benchmarks slower.
Defiantly the Intel SSD will give slightly better performance but, in day to day usage, the less expensive and fairly affordable alternatives perform nearly on par.

(BTW, I used newegg for all my price comparisons. If you cherry pick through all the parts sites you can defiantly locate better deals on all of these drives [as you did with the 80Gb Intel]. In my experience though, newegg gives a fairly accurate overview of the current pricing structures.)

@dannya

Yeah, Indilinx's Jet Stream looks like it could give a very healthy boost in performance!
Unfortunately, there is very limited information to be found about it.
So little even that this thread is on the first page of results when you Search Google :??: 

The little information I have found points to Indilinx prototyping a Jet Stream SSD in Q3 '09 but no date of availability.
My best guess would be that it will not be available before the middle of next year and, when it is released, it will probably be quite expensive.

As you do not really need it, you could defiantly wait and see what it looks like when it comes out.
At the least, it should help push the price down on their current offerings.
Myself, I would probably get a current generation SSD, as they are plenty fast enough for what you are looking at doing, and look at upgrading when the price of the new drives drop.
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October 16, 2009 11:10:09 AM

Save your money for a PCI HDD if you are willing to pay for the price of SSD.
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October 16, 2009 12:18:24 PM

andy5174 said:
Save your money for a PCI HDD if you are willing to pay for the price of SSD.


Problem with PCI-e hdd is that either they are not available yet, or they cost your arm, leg and kidney with price well over 1k $ for cheapest models.

I am currently thinking between
Cruicial 128GB M225 (5years warranty) 220/190MB/s
Patriot Torqx 128GB (little confused about warranty here as patriot list 10 years but shop usually just 2) 260/180MB/s
Patriot Torqx M28 128GB (10years warranty) 220/200 MB/s
vs
Intel X-258-M 80GB (2 years warranty) 250/70MB/s

http://www.pureoverclock.com/review.php?id=810&page=11

They are not that much expensive then intel, have 48GB more capacity , comparable read and much higher write speed.
Plus 5 or 10 years warranty looks interesting.
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October 16, 2009 3:49:15 PM

Very helpful info. And good points Outlaw. Evidently Indilinix missed Q3 '09 for the prototype on Jet Stream as there'd be more news... and if I can't expect them until H2 next year and for a premium... and then I just realized my current rig has Sata2 which caps at 300mb/s as it is... I might as well spring now.

The Intel SSD is great but again, to justify SUCH a premium, when there is big new stuff on the horizon in the next 2 years along with massive price cuts, the SSD I get today will be relegated to a secondary rig or drive within 3 years. That is more than enough life span even if it doesn't fair quite as well as Intel.

And don't you do sequential read/writes much more often than random writes? For booting, loading apps, transferring files, playing large bitrate videos, and playing games?

Anyway, from what I've heard/read the Crucial M225 128gb is an excellent Indilinix based SSD - perhaps the best. Does anyone second this, or have I missed another product?

If I could get the Intel G2 160gb within $100 of the 128gb Crucial M225 I would go for the Intel. But it's $300 more as of today.
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a c 415 G Storage
October 16, 2009 5:51:48 PM

dannyaa said:
to justify SUCH a premium, when there is big new stuff on the horizon in the next 2 years along with massive price cuts, the SSD I get today will be relegated to a secondary rig or drive within 3 years.
You could make exactly the same statement about the CPU, the RAM the graphics card.... IMHO in this industry there's not much value in making today's buying decisions based on what's going to be available a year from now, let alone 2 years.
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a b G Storage
October 16, 2009 6:35:18 PM

You also need to factor in the marginal cost of a SATA/6G or SAS/6G controller.

The latest ASUS solution for the P55 chipset is NOT QUITE 6G;
see this block diagram developed by the folks at pcper.com
from specs for the P7P55D Premium motherboard:



http://www.pcper.com/article.php?aid=769


Another, future-proof solution is a genuine 6G controller,
like Intel's RS2BL080 and RS2BL040 models:

http://www.intel.com/Products/Server/RAID-controllers/R...

http://www.intel.com/Products/Server/RAID-controllers/R...


MRFS
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a c 127 G Storage
October 16, 2009 7:50:37 PM

That's one ugly solution for a chipset that just doesn't support SATA 6Gbps.

I'd much rather have a real PCI-express SSD. It would not only be higher bandwidth but also lower latency. While everyone looks at bandwidth, latency is becoming much more important depending on application. Even a PCIe addon SATA 6Gbps controller without bridge chip will have lower latency.
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October 16, 2009 7:58:07 PM

sminlal said:
You could make exactly the same statement about the CPU, the RAM the graphics card.... IMHO in this industry there's not much value in making today's buying decisions based on what's going to be available a year from now, let alone 2 years.


And I do make the same statement, and I disagree - it very much makes sense basing buying decisions on what will be available a year from now.

Years ago, I knew the 7800gtx would be a bad buy. It was just a slightly updated 6-series card (which was revolutionary), and the 8-series was coming out in only months. It was a MUCH better decision to wait a few extra months and spring for the 8-series, which has had a MUCH longer life span.

Today, it would be nonsensical to buy 2 cards in SLI unless you are using Eyefinity or 30" or REALLY want to play Crysis maxed on a big display. I know that next gen consoles aren't coming until 2012. Since game graphics are based on this nowadays, it's safe to say for a 22" monitor user, a 5850 would hold them off for the next 3 years for most games. Anyone in the know also would have known it would have made no sense to pick up a GTX 285 or 4870 X2 in July/August with all the rumors flying around about the 5800-series, and most of the year's main games not launching until around the same time (unless, of course, you needed/really wanted a new GPU then for whatever reason).

In 2005 an Athlon X2 was the king of dual core for $900, but I got a $200-something Athlon single core chip. It made no sense because I knew Conroe was launching in a year, and it would take more time for dual core to really get traction. I saved hundreds of dollars and got a much better product by waiting. And Conroe architecture has had a MUCH longer lifespan - a dual core Core2 is STILL a good chip today. An Athlon X2 socket 939? Not so much!

There are certainly better times to buy and to hold off.

SSDs are still in their infant stages. It would be different if price/GB was predicted to stay the same for the next 2 years, and no major improvements were coming soon. But massive enhancements and price drops are not far off. I can see the value in upgrading now to an Indilinix controller (for me), but to pay such a large premium per/GB for a product that, in real world use, is VERY similar to the Indilinix, and that will see huge improvements in the near future, doesn't make sense - for me.

I know I will want to upgrade to larger boot drives - 256gb/512gb in 2 years or so, that may be 2x as fast. If I pay $350 now, that is easier to justify than if I pay $610 now. That $260 I saved will probably get me a 256gb 500mb/s drive with better lifespan, etc... possibly as early as next Christmas. And at that point, now I have 2 SSDs, one much better than yours and one almost as good... for the same price.

Like I said, it would be different if the large price premium would be something that would maintain it's value for longer. It's the same as buying 2x high end cards in SLI. Pay $1000 for that, or upgrade every 12 months to the new $250 midrange card. In 4 years time, you will spend the same and excluding that first year alone, you will consistently be further ahead of the tech curve. On the flip, if the new generation launched every 24-30 months, that's another story and a different set of considerations.
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a c 415 G Storage
October 16, 2009 9:48:07 PM

dannyaa said:
It was a MUCH better decision to wait a few extra months and spring for the 8-series, which has had a MUCH longer life span.
Months? Sure. Years? I don't think so...
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October 17, 2009 9:53:57 PM

sminlal said:
Months? Sure. Years? I don't think so...


The point with that was that a decision to hold off for a few months impacted the GPU longevity by YEARS.

And if you read the whole post, the next point mentions the very wise decision to wait an entire year to get a processor that lasted MUCH longer and at a MUCH lower price point.

So yes, years.
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October 18, 2009 4:13:43 AM

The graph from Anandtech may be pretty clear but it's pretty false as well...

My X25E writes random 4kB at 70MB/s with queue depth =1, measured with IOMeter.

Also, be VERY careful that many Ssd are simply bad. It seems that only one model at Ocz is good, and it's not the Agility.

About capacity: I combine an Ssd with a bigger mechanical disk, because downloads and programme installers don't need speed. Everything I want to start quickly fits easily in 10GB. So why choose >32GB?
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a b G Storage
October 18, 2009 1:16:30 PM

If people want really fast I/O, as long as you can live with
a partition <=12GB, we recently succeeded in building a
P45 workstation with 4 x 4GB of Corsair XMS2:

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

... and installed the 32-bit copy of RamDisk Plus from
www.superspeed.com. This inexpensive software
now supports ramdisks in "unmanaged Windows memory"
and it created an 8GB ramdisk on our new workstation
without any difficulties.

Granted, there is a price premium for that particular RAM.
And, there are some less expensive alternatives now e.g.:

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

But, we prefer Corsair, because it has worked so well for us
with our ASUS motherboards and Intel chipsets.

In fact, the Corsair 16GB matched quad worked perfectly
the first time, without any changes to voltages.
And, it comes with a lifetime warranty, which is
simply not available with any SSDs or HDDs.

With 16GB of RAM, all of the memory above the 4GB barrier
is available for a very fast memory-resident file system ("MRFS").

The speed is incredible to experience. In a minute,
I'll post a link to a review of RamDisk Plus which we
recently wrote and forwarded to SuperSpeed LLC
in Sudbury, Massachusetts.


MRFS
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