After much gnashing of teeth I had settled on the Intel X25-M 80 GB as a system and general apps drive, with my collection of games to be kept on my existing Velociraptor, and an extra drive for data. The price for the OCZ Vertex 2 50 GB is about the same.
Based on the benchmarks I've seen, the Vertex 2's random read score is almost equivalent to the X25-M while the sequential read/write and random write scores blow the X25-M away. So, keeping this in mind, which is more practical as a systems/apps drive?
Also, as an unrelated question, I understand it's advisable not to fill the SSD more than 80% - 85% of capacity. But is that 80% - 85% of the formatted space or of the rated space (including the spare area set aside)?
Vertex 2 is based on Sandforce, a decent competitor to Intel. Likely also more expensive than Intel; Intel though great quality is actually one of the cheapest SSDs. So depending on the pricing, get the one that sounds like the best deal.
My own personal preference would still be the Intel, as i know its sold alot, i know Intel has quality assurance and no firmware mockups. OCZ is a budget retailer, and had some firmware issues with SSDs in the past, bricking them. Not only during a firmware upgrade, also without prior notice some just drop dead. That makes me kind of reluctant to trust OCZ SSD products, i believe their quality assurance is not on par with Intel's QA department yet.
But both are good SSDs.
It is advisable to reserve 20% space meaning you C: is 40GB instead of 50GB in case of the Vertex 2. The 10GB is then not used at all by you, only by the drive internally. However, the Vertex 2 already have a decent margin of reserved space. If you can TRIM, i would reduce the extra reserved space to 5% or a few gigs.
Will be using Win 7 64 bit., so I'll have TRIM. Newegg currently lists the X25-M 80 GB for $214 while the Vertex 2 50 GB is $199. I believe the formatted capacity of the Vertex 2 is 46.6 GB - not sure about the X25-M.
That means the Intel is cheaper since for about the same price you get almost double the capacity.
I would opt for the Intel instead, though the Vertex can write big files faster. But a 50GB system drive hardly stores any large files which needs to be written to. I think the Intel would be an excellent choice still.
It seems the formatted capacity of the X25-M is 74.4 GB, so I would have to save another 20% for free space and keep my usage below 60 GB?
Based on my impression that the random read speed is the most important attribute (at least for a system/apps drive), I'm still leaning towards the X25-M (not to mention the larger size). Just wanted to make sure that the significantly higher sequential throughput of the Vertec 2 didn't outweigh the X25-M's advantages.
Well, when something like a 600GB SSD becomes affordable, the sequential speeds would gain more importance, as the SSD could then be used to write and read large sequential files. In other words, you can use it for other functions than just the system disk holding OS + applications. You can use it to store user-created or downloaded files, or stuff like Photoshop, or store lots of games.
In this context, the sequential speeds become more important. But for smaller SSDs which only fit the OS, applications and perhaps one big game, then the random IOps scores are really the only thing you have to look at. The Intel is fairly slow with sequential write, but very fast at random write; so Intel still makes a great system disk for little money. The Intel SSDs do pretty well in terms of GB-per-dollar.
By the way, reserving space like 10 or 20% on your SSD only works properly if it is NEVER used; meaning you create a C-partition on the SSD that only covers 80% of the SSD visible capacity.
It is not strictly required with TRIM functionality; still it helps the Intel fight internal fragmentation if it has a dedicated chunk of spare area; if 20% is too much consider 10% or even 5%. 20% would be the ideal balance between performance and storage space i feel. Note that Intel SSDs already have 7% space reserved:
So the idea here is increasing that 7% to about 15-25% spare area would be an excellent protection against heavy erase block fragmentation.
Yes indeed; the unpartitioned space will be used by the SSD internally. You would be making the default 7% spare area bigger; which is highly recommended as 7% is quite low and may lead to erase block fragmentation when used over some time.