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Useful SSD Articles

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a b G Storage
December 10, 2009 11:36:06 PM

A look at the NAND itself. How an SSD works at the lowest levels:

http://www.lostcircuits.com/mambo//index.php?option=com...
http://www.ocztechnologyforum.com/forum/showthread.php?...

Write caching, wear levelling and the importance of partition alignment:


http://www.lostcircuits.com/mambo//index.php?option=com...

A broad overview of everything SSD (including TRIM):

http://www.anandtech.com/storage/showdoc.aspx?i=3531

http://anandtech.com/storage/showdoc.aspx?i=3631 (A follow-up of the previous Anandtech article. Touches on a few more details, but it's more of a review of OCZ drives than a good overview of SSDs. Worth reading if your SSD has an Indillinx controller.)

More links will be added when I find them or when somebody else points me to them :) 

More about : ssd articles

December 15, 2009 1:34:09 AM

The last one is a good read
a b G Storage
December 15, 2009 2:00:47 AM

I decided to add the follow-up for the Anandtech SSD Anthology. It's more specific to SSDs with Indillinx controllers though.
Related resources
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December 15, 2009 2:50:48 AM

After reading those I really think I will spend the extra money on the Intel X25-M or E. That drive kicks some ass. I would also consider looking into the OCZ Vertex. The rest are not worth looking at for now.
a b G Storage
December 15, 2009 3:56:41 AM

The OCZ Agility is definitely worth considering if you decide against an Intel drive. The newer Agilities are a bit faster than the Vertices/Vertexes (choose your plural) of the same capacity thanks to a change of NAND.
December 26, 2009 5:43:36 PM

Fantastic read. Intel or OCZ Vertex for sure.
January 5, 2010 8:08:28 PM

Great post tons of useful information on basically anything you could think of that involves SSD's!
a c 415 G Storage
January 13, 2010 11:23:49 AM

If a picture is worth 1,000 words, then a movie must be worth 30,000 words per second, right? ;) 

Here's a ~1-minute clip I put together showing the difference between booting Windows 7 and starting Firefox from a WD Green drive vs. a 160GB Intel X25-M drive. The hardware and Windows 7 installation is identical in the two scenarios (I did an image backup/restore from one drive to the other):

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cTHX0MqVMss
January 18, 2010 7:34:19 AM

LOL

Small World

Good going, had seen that vid before already, nice to know who made it ;) 
January 22, 2010 11:05:51 PM

thanks for the article. pretty much made me deside against an SSD at this time until technology improves and TRIM gets implemented. Yea it's faster, but sounds like there are issues to work out before sinking a bunch of cash into an SSD.
a b G Storage
January 23, 2010 12:06:30 AM

anachronite said:
thanks for the article. pretty much made me deside against an SSD at this time until technology improves and TRIM gets implemented. Yea it's faster, but sounds like there are issues to work out before sinking a bunch of cash into an SSD.

Remember that some of these articles are relatively old now. TRIM works for most drives, but not if you go with RAID. Alot of the doom and gloom that some of the articles go on about is unimportant to the average user. When was the last time you worried about how many writes your HDD can do? You don't, because you haven't read a recent article saying anything along the lines of "write amplification" or read thousands of forum threads where people are trying to reduce their writes. These are all pointless tweaks. HDDs can only sustain a certain number of writes as well, and reads also lower their lifespan, unlike with SSDs. Mechanical drives wear out the more they are used, and they go out with a bang (not literally). SSDs will die slowly, and will still be readable even when they are no longer writeable. As long as you don't benchmark an SSD every day, it will not wear out before it becomes obsolete.
January 23, 2010 10:48:22 PM

randomizer said:
Remember that some of these articles are relatively old now. TRIM works for most drives, but not if you go with RAID. Alot of the doom and gloom that some of the articles go on about is unimportant to the average user. When was the last time you worried about how many writes your HDD can do? You don't, because you haven't read a recent article saying anything along the lines of "write amplification" or read thousands of forum threads where people are trying to reduce their writes. These are all pointless tweaks. HDDs can only sustain a certain number of writes as well, and reads also lower their lifespan, unlike with SSDs. Mechanical drives wear out the more they are used, and they go out with a bang (not literally). SSDs will die slowly, and will still be readable even when they are no longer writeable. As long as you don't benchmark an SSD every day, it will not wear out before it becomes obsolete.




So TRIM is implemented by Windows 7 now? Is this passive or something you have to set up once you install the drive?

Should one keep their browser installed on a storage drive to reduce the constant writing of files to the SDD you will get while browsing all day?

Guess I am just paranoid after reading those articles. If they are outdated are there some new articles to read that discuss where technology is now?

thanks
a b G Storage
January 23, 2010 11:46:39 PM

From a technological standpoint the articles are still correct most of the time. But any that talk about constant speed degradation without any fixes are behind the times. It's mostly in the details. SSD (flash) technology still has a limited amount of program/erase cycles just as it did before those articles were written, but while the articles speak from a technical perspective, they don't speak practically or real-world. It's like how LGA1366 has a monstrous amount of memory bandwidth compared to AM3, and the memory benchmarks show it, but in real world apps the difference is barely noticeable most times (a few exceptions exist). Sure, it technically is faster, but you probably won't ever notice it. In the same way SSDs do slowly die over time, but too slow for most people to notice without absolutely hammering the drive with writes, something that would also kill a HDD.

Anyway, on to your questions. Windows 7 supports TRIM but not all SSDs do. The older ones still lack support, mostly by the manufacturer's choice. There's no reason to buy the older SSDs. TRIM should work out of the box, although there are a few odd occasions where it hasn't. Unfortunately Microsoft in their infinite wisdom have decided that implementing the TRIM standard completely was unnecessary so like IE they've made their own "standard" which is a bit quirky and not exactly ideal. However, it's only exceptional cases where TRIM is actually a problem. Newer firmware revisions have reduced this as well, and some have implemented an algorithm that "defrags" the drive when there's no activity independent of the OS to maintain performance (Garbage Collection).

I certainly wouldn't keep my browser or page file off the SSD. I like having my browser start up almost instantly :)  This is the kind of typical usage that isn't going to harm an SSD at all. The drive will be well and truly obsolete before regular usage wears it out. If it can't be used for everyday tasks, it's not a very useful technology is it? ;)  The Garbage Collection I mentioned before adds to the erase count, and it is implemented at the firmware level by the SSD controller manufacturer, so obviously you shouldn't worry about writes that much.

SSDs all have extra NAND that is visible only to the controller that replaces bad blocks when they can no longer be erased. The larger the SSD, the more "over-provisioned" NAND you have. This will sustain the drive for even longer as the erase count increases. Obviously the manufacturers don't want to sell a 60GB drive that after 2 years of usage starts to decrease in capacity because someone has written lots of data and expired many blocks ;) 

What you want to avoid is the urge to get a warm fuzzy feeling from high benchmark numbers. Benchmarks hammer the drive when done in excess and can significantly reduce its life. Also, avoid filling the drive beyond 80-85% capacity, as you would with a HDD, because slowdown is inevitable then and no amount of wear levelling, GC or TRIM will help until you free up space.

HDDs are so old that you'd never expect them to have problems now. SSDs are not truly plug-and-play as HDDs are because they are still a new technology only really designed for enthusiasts (this will change over the next 2 years) or for netbooks (but those ones are slow). However, for most people there won't be any significant issues. There's always official support forums if you do have problems.
January 24, 2010 4:45:07 AM

wow that is fantastic reply. thanks for taking the time to share your thoughts. I'll go back to considering an SSD again. It will just depend on the price. Couple more questions. Tried to get these answered in another forum but have not gotten a response. Maybe it's ok to ask here since we are discussing drives?

1. What's a good size partition to put on the SSD or HDD for Windows 7?
2. Should the remainder to the drive be just one partition for apps like photoshop, office, video editing software, etc?
3. does it do any good to put games on this drive or should they remain on the storage drive because of size and writing/deleting new and old games?

sorry if this is sort of off topic, just can't get an answer in my other thread. If this is too off topic please feel free to delete this post.

thanks again for your time and input.
a b G Storage
January 24, 2010 5:17:52 AM

1. Well it depends on the capacity of the drive. A 32GB drive is probably only good for 1 partition, and a 64GB drive is probably the same. ** 80GB and above you may consider a second partition, but it's entirely up to you. Unlike HDDs, the speed time is (for all intents and purposes) identical at all areas of the drive for blocks that have not been written to or have been pre-erased. Partitioning is more for organisation of data than anything else. I find it good when putting the page file on a HDD though, because having a partition dedicated to the page file keeps fragmentation of it to a minimum. For SSDs it does not matter if a file is in 1 contiguous area, or if it is split into 100 different places. I'm not sure about SSDs, but I know that HDDs transfer very slowly between partitions, so if you think you'll be moving large amounts of data between partitions regularly, consider just using folders instead and keeping all data in the same partition.

2. That or keep everything in the one partition, it doesn't really matter for an SSD.

3. You'll decrease loading times but you won't get any other benefits. Regularly accessed games or games with long loading times might be worth putting on there if you have space, but otherwise just leave them on a HDD for now until SSD capacities go up and prices go way down.


**Note that some manufacturers specify the formatted capacity, while most don't (as with HDDs). So a 30GB drive is identical in capacity to a 32GB drive, it just depends on whether you assume 1MB is 1000kB or 1024kB, the former is what most HDDs and SSDs are rated at while the latter is what you'll see in Windows (it will be smaller).
January 24, 2010 6:59:19 AM

ahh makes sense. normally on an HDD I like to partition the OS on it's own partition to keep it clean and easily defragable, but it sounds like with the SSD that won't be a big deal. Only concern left is price.

Thanks again for your help
January 24, 2010 10:32:28 PM

randomizer said:
A look at the NAND itself. How an SSD works at the lowest levels:

http://www.lostcircuits.com/mambo//index.php?option=com...
http://www.ocztechnologyforum.com/forum/showthread.php?...

Write caching, wear levelling and the importance of partition alignment:


http://www.lostcircuits.com/mambo//index.php?option=com...

A broad overview of everything SSD (including TRIM):

http://www.anandtech.com/storage/showdoc.aspx?i=3531

http://anandtech.com/storage/showdoc.aspx?i=3631 (A follow-up of the previous Anandtech article. Touches on a few more details, but it's more of a review of OCZ drives than a good overview of SSDs. Worth reading if your SSD has an Indillinx controller.)

More links will be added when I find them or when somebody else points me to them :) 





I found a new 3rd follow up article to the 2 original anadtech articles posted. Thought it would be good to add the link here. The author is great and has me drooling over an SSD now. lol.

http://www.anandtech.com/storage/showdoc.aspx?i=3702


thanks



a b G Storage
January 24, 2010 10:39:16 PM

The only problem with that is it's basically a review of a specific drive rather than a general look at SSDs. I might have to re-organise the OP into general articles and model-specific articles.
January 24, 2010 10:41:46 PM

ahh true. my bad, as it is not a true followup to the SSD market overview in the other articles. I get the feeling from the author he dreads doing the 3rd followup overview. he certainly put a lot of work into those first two articles.
a b G Storage
January 24, 2010 10:43:29 PM

I'm not sure what else he can do :D 
January 24, 2010 11:08:40 PM

probably not much until Intel's next gen SSD comes out Q3 or Q4 and then he'll have to do it all over again. The good thing is it looks like now there are 2 really nice options to go with, the Intel X25-M G2 and the new OCZ Vertex 2 Pro. it's nice to have a choice and maybe save some cash.
January 24, 2010 11:15:49 PM

except now that I look on Newegg it doesnt look like OCZ's Vertex 2 Pro is for sale yet. He did mention in the article that they should be out soon though. Hope we dont have to wait long as they should challenge intel in pricing and we can all save some cash!
February 13, 2010 8:45:41 PM

I've seen the OCZ core series, the solid 2 series for sale. There are reviews on the Vertex 2 Pro but i can't find a seller for it. Tiger direct has a broader base for SSD's but prices are higher.
Carl2
February 14, 2010 8:04:48 PM

Hello,
I just bought 2 OCZ Colossus Series SATA II 256Gb 3.5" SSD. The one that I put on an ASUS 775 mb gave a score of 7.1 on the Windows Experience Index and the other one installed on a Gigabyte P55 gave a score of 6.9 (both computers have Windows 7 Ultimate 64bit). Then I decided to include both drives as Raid 0 array in the Gigabyte p55a-ud5 thinking that the performance will get even better with higher scores however now I only get a disappoing 5.9! Can anyone kindly advise what went wrong and suggest any solutions?
Anonymous
a b G Storage
April 3, 2010 6:28:44 PM

Any links on tomshardware you could include with benchmarks?
a b G Storage
April 4, 2010 1:18:21 AM

I was not looking to post links to benchmarks, just information about SSD technology.
a c 143 G Storage
April 16, 2010 1:30:57 AM

Justin just made a new SSD Section, so you might want to move this to that section's, as a sticky :
a b G Storage
April 16, 2010 7:35:18 AM

Done and done :) 
April 25, 2010 7:11:58 PM

I know that the drive defrag should be turned off but I was wondering Should I Defrag My Registry?
April 28, 2010 4:09:29 AM

I have a pair of IntelX25s on my laptop in RAID0 (SAGER P9280, two of them). I also have a pair on a desktop raid0... and on another laptop. why would someone spend that amount of cash for HDDs? These are all for work purposes (the desktop/laptop are mine). They have paid themselves back long ago. There are reviews around the net regarding Intel SSDs stating productivity increased to the point an 8 hr day can be 7hrs when using an SSD. Open a 10mb photoshop file in 2-3 seconds and not 20, believe it... boot/startups of computers in fractions of the time, yup... 200mb+ transfer rates, google hdtach for SSDs. A little overpriced? yes. But thats the price for newer technology... the point is that its cost efficient. much faster reboots, much faster file transfers... only catch other than price is the size... but thats why you run the OS on the fast drives and backups on the slower/larger drives.

Laptops are/were dying for SSDs (majority of them are slow 5400rpm) are they horribly slow compared to a modern quad/6 core desktop. Not talking about the "toy" laptops or netbooks junk, talking about work/productivity (did I mention IO on these things are rediculous?). generate much less heat, use less power (more battery life), run circles around stockOEM laptopHDDS, shutdown/boot times are rediculously fast (compared to typical laptops). been running them over 6 months so im over the "concerns" / "immaturity" of SSDs. Ive done the research, Ive done the testing, verification, theyre the way to go (make sure youre on Win7/Server2008 and latest chipsets to take advantage of latest ICH10+/trim technologies). good stuff...
June 9, 2010 5:01:18 AM

LAMINI said:
I have a pair of IntelX25s on my laptop in RAID0 (SAGER P9280, two of them). I also have a pair on a desktop raid0... and on another laptop. why would someone spend that amount of cash for HDDs? These are all for work purposes (the desktop/laptop are mine). They have paid themselves back long ago. There are reviews around the net regarding Intel SSDs stating productivity increased to the point an 8 hr day can be 7hrs when using an SSD. Open a 10mb photoshop file in 2-3 seconds and not 20, believe it... boot/startups of computers in fractions of the time, yup... 200mb+ transfer rates, google hdtach for SSDs. A little overpriced? yes. But thats the price for newer technology... the point is that its cost efficient. much faster reboots, much faster file transfers... only catch other than price is the size... but thats why you run the OS on the fast drives and backups on the slower/larger drives.

Laptops are/were dying for SSDs (majority of them are slow 5400rpm) are they horribly slow compared to a modern quad/6 core desktop. Not talking about the "toy" laptops or netbooks junk, talking about work/productivity (did I mention IO on these things are rediculous?). generate much less heat, use less power (more battery life), run circles around stockOEM laptopHDDS, shutdown/boot times are rediculously fast (compared to typical laptops). been running them over 6 months so im over the "concerns" / "immaturity" of SSDs. Ive done the research, Ive done the testing, verification, theyre the way to go (make sure youre on Win7/Server2008 and latest chipsets to take advantage of latest ICH10+/trim technologies). good stuff...


LAMINI,
I also have a laptop with two SSDs in a RAID 0 Config (all important fils are backed up to a server w/ RAID 5) and was wondering how you got Windows to recognize the logical raid volume as a SSD? Mine simply states "unknown" and did not automatically turn off defrag..etc.

OCZ DIY 17" Laptop
Intel Core 2 Quad Q9100
Intel® GM45 Chipset +ICH9M
NVIDIA® Geforce™ 130M GT w/512MB GDDR3
4 GB DDR3 RAM
Two OCZ 30GB SSD's in RAID 0
a b G Storage
June 9, 2010 8:30:24 AM

For me SSD still not the storage to choose.
a b G Storage
July 8, 2010 4:25:32 AM

This next topics has been merged by Buwish
  • Intel Solid-State Drive Toolbox -- User Guide
    July 13, 2010 2:07:53 PM

    It will be interesting to see how SSD's develop over the coming months/years. I bet in a few years time when everyone has them, we won't believe how slow hdd's were! Even if it's only a few seconds faster, once you get used to that extra snappiness you probably wouldn't want to go back.

    xdantespardax
    July 14, 2010 3:48:31 AM

    I didn't see this link in the list, but I think it's really helpful to anybody doing an install of windows 7.

    Tweeks to make to windows 7 when running an SSD:
    http://www.ocztechnologyforum.com/forum/showthread.php?...*-Windows-7-Ultimate-Tweaks-Utilities-*&p=442158&viewfull=1#post442158
    http://thessdreview.blogspot.com/p/windows-7-ssd-perfor...

    PS: Just saw a post by randomizer talking about how these tweaks are pointless. I think the writeups explain well why these tweaks aren't pointless. Also, although writes reduce the life of HDDs as well, i would say the damage to SSDs is much more severe, especially if you consider that many of these writes can be very small and may cause pages of data to be deleted to modify only a few bits (something I leard by reading the links you posted - I know that things like queuing are suppose to help this, but better to stop it from happening all together). Just my 2c.
    August 2, 2010 6:12:18 AM

    alphanode said:
    I didn't see this link in the list, but I think it's really helpful to anybody doing an install of windows 7.

    Tweeks to make to windows 7 when running an SSD:
    http://www.ocztechnologyforum.com/forum/showthread.php?...*-Windows-7-Ultimate-Tweaks-Utilities-*&p=442158&viewfull=1#post442158
    http://thessdreview.blogspot.com/p/windows-7-ssd-perfor...

    PS: Just saw a post by randomizer talking about how these tweaks are pointless. I think the writeups explain well why these tweaks aren't pointless. Also, although writes reduce the life of HDDs as well, i would say the damage to SSDs is much more severe, especially if you consider that many of these writes can be very small and may cause pages of data to be deleted to modify only a few bits (something I leard by reading the links you posted - I know that things like queuing are suppose to help this, but better to stop it from happening all together). Just my 2c.


    I'm a bit of a noob to SSD's, so can someone knowledgable verify this with a learned answer :-)
    August 2, 2010 6:13:18 AM

    P.S I think this article is in need for an update by the moderators to remove all of the obselete information!!
    August 9, 2010 4:48:44 AM

    What specifically is obsolete? I like a good history lesson.

    I wasn't concerned about SSD, but, got one in a build I'm working on as part of package deal. Thought I'd use the drive for the OS and swap files, but now I know swap files wouldn't be a good idea.
    August 20, 2010 6:54:53 PM

    randomizer said:
    A look at the NAND itself. How an SSD works at the lowest levels:

    http://www.lostcircuits.com/mambo//index.php?option=com...
    http://www.ocztechnologyforum.com/forum/showthread.php?...

    Write caching, wear levelling and the importance of partition alignment:


    http://www.lostcircuits.com/mambo//index.php?option=com...

    A broad overview of everything SSD (including TRIM):

    http://www.anandtech.com/storage/showdoc.aspx?i=3531

    http://anandtech.com/storage/showdoc.aspx?i=3631 (A follow-up of the previous Anandtech article. Touches on a few more details, but it's more of a review of OCZ drives than a good overview of SSDs. Worth reading if your SSD has an Indillinx controller.)

    More links will be added when I find them or when somebody else points me to them :) 


    Here is a guide to setting a SSD up in Win7. If you don't mind going to TweakTown for the info.

    http://www.tweaktown.com/articles/3116/tweaktown_s_soli...

    September 14, 2010 7:10:56 PM

    ^ That toms hardware article, it shows how power saving features slow down SSDs. That is pretty incredible. I wonder how C states C3 vs C6 will affect it?

    Looks like Active State Power Management for PCI Express is easily the worst offender of bottlenecking SSD speeds. I'm not even sure how/where to disable this... must be a BIOS option.

    I'm very curious about something else, though, and that is in regards to file paging... The same article mentions it's not so good to use on SSDs, which has been covered and makes sense that it can prematurely wear it. Now, I'm currently running with 8GB RAM... the article mentions a RAM disk, which I've heard about, but how could you put file paging on that and how could it even help?? I always thought FP was for when you didn't have enough RAM, and also in the case of a BSOD type event or you run out of memory, it was like a "back up" RAM option... if you put FP on a RAM disk isn't it basically just like having no file paging?
    October 21, 2010 12:42:44 PM

    xdantespardax said:
    It will be interesting to see how SSD's develop over the coming months/years. I bet in a few years time when everyone has them, we won't believe how slow hdd's were! Even if it's only a few seconds faster, once you get used to that extra snappiness you probably wouldn't want to go back.

    xdantespardax

    very true x -and with the PCI-E interface SSDs and fiber optics replacing SATA cables for conventional SSDs,I believe we are in for another quantum leap in personal computers. And to everyone contributing-GREAT collection of SSD info here-I'm just getting into them now and its great being able to get all this intel in one place-Thanks to all
    November 13, 2010 2:54:59 PM

    Is there any good FAQ or write-up on the subject "do I need an SSD for my mid-range gaming box"? Actually I'm surprised it's not a sticky on the forum already ;)  Would suppose this to be a hot topic, but is the technology just changing too fast for sensible and re-usable answers to be given?

    randomizer said:
    I'm not sure about SSDs, but I know that HDDs transfer very slowly between partitions, so if you think you'll be moving large amounts of data between partitions regularly, consider just using folders instead and keeping all data in the same partition.


    I don't think this is a physical media issue, it is an issue with how filesystems work. A partition basically holds a filesystem - which is an OS-level concept, on the physical drive there's just blocks, and the concept of a file doesn't exist there. Files are logically separate from the directory (folder for you windows users) tree organization of a file system - when you move file X from directory A to directory B, just the directory structure needs to be changed, and the file itself can remain intact (so no need to read or write the file -> very nice for performance). If you want your file X on a different partition, that partition's filesystem will need to create a new file Y, which will get its contents copied from file X.
    November 13, 2010 5:15:33 PM

    SSDs are always an improvement over HDD, but generally only in terms of loading and saving times. If you're looking for gameplay performance an SSD won't really do much.

    While there's some truth to what you say on the reasons HDDs are slow, it definitely is a physical limitation. The HDD has to copy information on one part of the platter, and then move the head and write it, back and forth, again and again. There's a limit to how much it can read at a time. Not sure exactly, but I think it can only store the info in the cache so for a lot of people that's like 8 or 16mb.
    November 13, 2010 8:36:24 PM

    wolfram23 said:
    While there's some truth to what you say on the reasons HDDs are slow, it definitely is a physical limitation. The HDD has to copy information on one part of the platter, and then move the head and write it, back and forth, again and again. There's a limit to how much it can read at a time. Not sure exactly, but I think it can only store the info in the cache so for a lot of people that's like 8 or 16mb.


    The way I've understood it, filesystems/OSes work around the HDD physical limitations somewhat. The filesystem actually lives in RAM for a part and is cached there to the maximum extent possible, for performance reasons. Why wouldn't the OS first read say 64 MB from disk in one go, cache it in RAM, then write it in one go, to avoid moving the head? Depends on the OS of course - I suppose this wouldn't happen in Windows 98, but there's been optimizations like this in Linux for a long time and something similar must be in today's Windows 7 too. But if you want to know how it really works, you should be talking to a filesystem expert and not me ;) 
    February 7, 2011 1:56:31 AM

    So I've noticed that PCIe x4 SSD's are on the market, but Mobo support is iffy... Does anyone have a resource listing wiki/FAQ on how to make one work, or how to "tell" if my mobo will boot successfully off a PCIe SSD?

    Sorry if this is in the wrong place, and thanks in advance.

    If this has been posted elsewhere, link me?
    !