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CHOOSING AN SSD

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March 12, 2010 5:51:46 PM

Hi guys, I am going to buy a new SSD but I am not sure which one to choose... Here are some of my choices, which one do you think will be the best? I mainly game and benchmark.
1. Intel X25-E
2. OCZ Vertex Limited Edition
3. Crucial RealSSD C300 SATA 3
4. Corsair Force Series (Im not sure if its out yet)

I also heard that the new OCZ Vertex II Pro is coming out soon. There are quite a few good previews too. Do anyone think I should wait for that?
Last thing. If I am right, only the Intel X25-E uses SCL. Others above use MCL. So, is it true that SCL have longer lifespan or better performance?
Thanks!

More about : choosing ssd

a c 127 G Storage
March 12, 2010 6:18:25 PM

SLC - Single Level Cell - MLC is Multi Level Cell.

2-bit MLC has double the storage capacity of SLC memory
3-bit MLC has three times the storage capacity of SLC memory
4-bit MLC has four times the storage capacity of SLC memory

SLC memory doesn't wear as quickly as MLC; it has more write cycles. But it also has less flash cells. A big MLC SSD would be capable of more write cycles than a small SLC.

As for performance, yes in theory is slighty faster. In reality its slower, because MLC memory is produced on newer (smaller) production methods; 34nm versus 50nm if i recall correctly. Also, SSD performance is 99.9% dependant on the controller chip, not really the physical NAND memory. The controller will use several channels to utilize parallel I/O.

So, in short, you don't need SLC. SLC is kinda outdated. Modern SSD's, including the successor of the Intel X25-E "Extreme" SSD, will have MLC memory instead. It makes more sense, but needs an intelligent controller more so than SLC memory.

What a GPU means to a videocard, the controller is to an SSD; the most important component. And the one most crucial to performance.
a c 127 G Storage
March 12, 2010 6:19:44 PM

By the way, Intel X25-M 80GB is still one of the fastest drives; many SSDs can beat the intel in sequential I/O; but not random I/O. Only the best 6Gbps SATA (micron-controller) SSDs come close or exceed the Intel in terms of random IOps. That's most important for your system drive.

So the Intel SSDs are still my prefered choice.
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March 12, 2010 7:15:34 PM

Why is the random I/O is the most important?
March 12, 2010 7:21:53 PM

Also, the Intel X25-E 64G version costs around $799, where other like OCZ Vertex Limited Edition 100G cost $429. Why is there such big difference in price?
Also, who is the successor of the Intel X25-E "Extreme" SSD as you said above?
a c 127 G Storage
March 12, 2010 7:27:05 PM

Because SSD's are typically used as system drives, not as data drives to store large bulky files on like Movies, Music and Archives.

Generally, storage is accessed in two ways:
- random-like unpredictable I/O: booting, application-launch, general system drive activity
- sequential I/O: reading or writing large files, large being 1 megabyte.

HDDs are good at sequential I/O (100MB/s+) but suck at random I/O (not even 100 IOps)

SSDs are both good at sequential I/O (100-200MB/s) but really excel at random I/O, Intel gets about 40.000 random read IOps.

So SSDs are perhaps twice as fast with sequential I/O, but hundreds of times faster than in random I/O. Since your system drive is mainly accessed randomly, meaning non-contiguous, it would benefit a lot from an SSD.

But large files don't really get that much benefit by being stored on an SSD. The write speed of SSDs is generally not significantly higher than modern HDDs, and for example playing a movie doesn't require that much speed at all.

So, you use an SSD for your System drive, and use HDDs to store your mass-storage data (big files). Your system drive contains your operating system(s), your installed programs and games. Your personal documents (text docs, photos, movies, whatever) should be stored on large HDDs instead - preferably 5400rpm ones.
a c 127 G Storage
March 12, 2010 7:28:49 PM



This image from Anandtech kind of illustrates what i'm saying. Here you can see why SSDs are so much faster - note that this has no relation to sequential speeds in MB/s; those are actually not that important at all - at least not for your system drive.

The complete article is here, if you want to take a look. It's a bit dated, though. But at least the Velociraptor is there, still one of the fastest desktop HDDs.
http://www.anandtech.com/storage/showdoc.aspx?i=3607&p=...
a b G Storage
March 12, 2010 8:36:01 PM

overclocker said:
Hi guys, I am going to buy a new SSD but I am not sure which one to choose... Here are some of my choices, which one do you think will be the best? I mainly game and benchmark.
1. Intel X25-E
2. OCZ Vertex Limited Edition
3. Crucial RealSSD C300 SATA 3
4. Corsair Force Series (Im not sure if its out yet)

I also heard that the new OCZ Vertex II Pro is coming out soon. There are quite a few good previews too. Do anyone think I should wait for that?
Last thing. If I am right, only the Intel X25-E uses SCL. Others above use MCL. So, is it true that SCL have longer lifespan or better performance?
Thanks!


SLC (Single-Level Cell) based Solid State Drives will perform much better in terms of access times and will last much longer then the inferior MLC (Multi-Level Cell) based Solid State Drives. SLC technology is more expensive in Price per GB ratio then MLC. Out of the four SSD drives you listed, I would recommend getting the Intel X25-E Extreme Edition if you have the budget for it. This is because it is SLC based and comes from "Intel". In another post you asked why Random are more important then sequential reads/writes. This is because the Operating System of the computer is very large...many GB's. However the far majority of files it utilizes are very small being several KB usually. Therefore the sequential read the drive can produce doesn't matter, what matters is how fast the SSD can find the file on itself when given the instruction to by the Operating System. Random access times bring Hard Disk Drives down to thier knees because the magnetic plate spinning at thousands of rpm will take a while for the reading head to find the files on it. Access times on a non-mechanical storage device aka SSD are fractions of fractions of miliseconds compared to anywhere from 3-20ms on an average hard disk drive. Infact most files on the OS benefit far greater from increased access times so therefore access times are the most important when refering to the OS. Large files doesn't matter...they can be on an HDD.
March 12, 2010 9:26:00 PM

Thx for the awesome replies, looks like I'm going for Intel.
And, something kinda off topic, what size should I need? I'm using windows 7 64bit.
a b G Storage
March 12, 2010 11:08:15 PM

overclocker said:
Thx for the awesome replies, looks like I'm going for Intel.
And, something kinda off topic, what size should I need? I'm using windows 7 64bit.


Windows 7 64-Bit Home Premium is under 8GB when installed. Depending on the amount of Ram you have, you hibernation file and page file will be the size of the ram if not bigger. If you had the option to exclude the windows pagefile and hibernation file from installation then i'd say a 16GB which is the smallest SSD i could find on newegg would be more then enough. Since you don't have that option i think, if you have 4GB ram on average that would be 8GB minimum just for your Pagefile and Hibernation file if not more which can be turned off but are there initially during the install process. If you have 4GB of Ram then i'd say go with a 24GB SSD, because its the next step from 16GB if i am not mistaken. If you have 6GB get something just a little bigger, you always want some free space, even if its just for the OS.
!