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Which SSD to buy?

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February 26, 2010 9:15:14 AM

Hi

I'm in the market for a SSD drive. I have about £400 to spend on a 160GB+ drive that supports TRIM.

1. I am completely lost in all the drives, and would like some suggestions as to which perform the best for the price.

2. I was under the impression that the Intel drives perform the best, but looking at their continous write stats they seem to be pretty low (and might even be lower than a hdd when the drive degrades):
http://www.legitreviews.com/article/1022/5/
Is this a bad drive compared to the others that appear (to my newb eyes) to do better?

3. I watch a lot of movies. Since I won't have a lot of space compared to an HDD, i am planning on copying my blue-ray backups to my sdd to watch them. Obviously, they won't all fit, so I plan to transfer one, watch it, then delete it and transfer the next.
Is this bad for the performance of the drive (due to performance degradation over time?)

Thanks!

Zach

More about : ssd buy

February 26, 2010 9:37:30 AM

I should add that this is the only drive that will be in my Dell Studio XPS 16 Laptop, and I would like to store my photos on it, and about 40GB of documents on it.
a c 126 G Storage
February 26, 2010 10:25:22 AM

I would still suggest Intel; its still the fastest (consumer-level) SSD for the function of the system disk. It doesn' t have very high sequential speeds; especially the sequential write is low. Nonetheless, the Intel X25-M G2 spits out some very high random I/O numbers; and those are most important when using the drive as system disk. Intel also has excellent wear leveling and write amplification.

I should add that SSDs offer very little benefit to sequentially access data like photos and documents. Typically, an SSD is used as system drive, meaning it holds the operating system and all installed applications/games; that's where they can be 100 times faster than HDDs. But for sequentially accessed data (large files) the speed benefit ranges from 1.0 to 2.0 - not a real benefit over HDDs.

To prevent strong performance degradation over time, please use an OS that supports TRIM; and directly after buying partition the drive shorter than its full capacity; making sure that the last 10-20GB are never in its lifetime written to. If you do this, it will help keep performance degradation to a minimum; and the SSD would actually use this space to accelerate random writes. Once it runs out of free flash cells; the random I/O performance can drop considerably (think a factor of 50x to 100x).
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February 26, 2010 11:50:56 AM

I'm thinking that with such a small capacity (160GB), free flash cells would run out very quickly. I expect to fill up the drive to 80% capacity on day 1, as I move all my files to it. Would I notice a 50x to 100x decrease in performance right then on the first day?

Also, one of the major problems that I have is reading large videos (any backup over 8GB). It just makes the video freeze every second. Since video is sequential, would an ssd not help at all to prevent this?
a c 126 G Storage
February 26, 2010 1:53:09 PM

Using an SSD for sequential access is a bad idea. You've got little to gain, and everything to lose.

SSDs are suitable as system drive (C-drive) containing your OS + installed applications and games. No user-created file should ever end up on the SSD. So all your personal files, videos, whatever; should be on HDD instead.

Filling up the SSD without using partitions to guarantee a portion of the drive is never been written to, will yield is much lower lifetime and performance. You would cripple your own product.
a c 415 G Storage
February 26, 2010 4:48:08 PM

> I'm thinking that with such a small capacity (160GB), free flash cells would run out very quickly. I expect to fill up the drive to 80% capacity on day 1, as I move all my files to it.
The best way to use an SSD is in combination with a standard hard drive (unless you have a laptop that only holds 1 drive). The OS and your applications need a fast drive - store them on the SSD. Your data files (documents, music, videos, etc.) really don't need a fast drive at all, they need a big drive - so store them on the standard hard drive.

> Would I notice a 50x to 100x decrease in performance right then on the first day?
The disk will perform that way, but you won't see 100X faster boot times. My experience is that my system boots in about half the time and starts programs up about 2-5X faster. Here's a video I made that compares the time to boot Windows 7 and start Firefox on a WD Green drive vs. an 160GB Intel X25-M G2 drive: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cTHX0MqVMss

> Also, one of the major problems that I have is reading large videos (any backup over 8GB). It just makes the video freeze every second.
Unless your video file is very, very badly fragmented, connected via a very slow connection (USB 1.1, for example), or if your disk is busy doing something else at the same time then it's pretty unlikely that the freezing is related to the drive speed.
!