The most common way to use an SSD is to install the OS on it along with as many applications as it will comfortably hold, then to use a separate hard disk to store all your data.
Whether or not it's worth it is a highly subjective question. I created a video that shows the difference between an SSD and a WD Green drive for booting Windows 7 and starting Firefox - that may give you an idea of what you can expect. You can see the video at: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cTHX0MqVMss
Is there a reason for so many different partitions?
If not, then consolidate and use the SSD on the most frequently used set.
I would avoid most of the early SSD's. The controllers were immature, and the device slowed down as it was filled and used.
Do look for a SSD with trim capability. That will filter out most of the poorer devices. One possible exception is the Intel X25-M gen1 devices which are quite good.
Still, the gen2 devices are better.
The reasons for the seperate partitions is that I had XP and Vista dual boot, then got Win7, but wanted 2 different partitions 1 for applications (web design, Visual studio, etc..) and 1 for Games. The biggest difference is that I didn't want to have to switch crossfire and Eyefinity profiles all the time (and mess up my icons on the desktop). I def like the XP partition as there are still some things that will only run under XP (or run a lot better under XP), I could probably get rid of the Vista partition though
One of the things I did was to put my home directory on the SSD. I think most people put the OS and applications on the SSD and everything else on a hard drive. But I felt that having the profile folders on the SSD would be good because programs like Firefox store a lot of data in the profile and having it on the SSD would speed things up.
Although the home folder is on the SSD, I don't actually store any of my own documents or folders there - I store them in separate directory trees on the hard drives and use links from the home folder to access them.
I have no idea if that would account for a 20-second or so difference in logon times, though.
I've had two SSD's and although the technology is great and they are useful for laptops because of their low power consumption and speed for booting.
However, in real world use - i.e. using your programs, checking emails and surfing the Net - they're not that much better than spinning drives when the cost of them is taken into consideration. Yes, your computer will boot faster and 'some' programs will load faster (we're talking a few seconds) but the actual execution of the programs will 'feel' no different. The only area I would say that going to the expense of buying an SSD would prove useful is where 'fast' hard drive access is required on a powerful system that can keep up - we're talking about serious computing power in time/mission critical situations. If your needs don't fall into that category then you would be better off (financially) sticking to spinning drives.
You also have a lot of tweaking to do to your OS in order to minimise unwanted write's to the drive; performance degradation is caused by a lot of writing to the dive - firmware with G/C or TRIM will help ease the problem of maintaining performance, but the bottom line is that SSD's don't like being written to enmass.
If you have the cash to flash and the time to spare nursing an SSD then go ahead and dive in - it was an interesting experience for me (although an expensive one) but I have since returned to spinning drives ... less expensive and less bother.
Yes...It just take at least 25 seconds to load before you see your desktop after login. BTW, sminlal, I didn't really see your POST during boot up, my POST takes about another 20 - 25 sec before the window logo appears. ]
Is it you create the directory on the SSD that makes your boot so fast? I counted it, it did really take about 5 - 6 secs for you to get into the desktop after login. That's damn awesome.
I don't know if having the home directory on the SSD is responsible for all the speed difference. There may be some other issues at play. One thing to try is to create a new user account and sign on to it - if you can sign on to it faster then you may have some issues in your account profile.