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Is an SSD worth it???

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  • SSD
  • Switch
  • Hard Drives
  • Storage
Last response: in Storage
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May 14, 2010 2:12:45 PM

Hello
I've been thinking about switch out my old harddrive for an SSD drive. I don't need a TB of storage so I am willing to sacrifice space for speed.

While doing some research on SSD drives, it seems it can be a little bit complicated. I've read about needing to update your bios, then doing updates to the firmwire to the SSD drive, etc...

I would like to be able to install the drive once and be done with the process. I have my own business and do not want to get involved with a never ending project.

Does anyone have any opinions on switching to an SSD drive??

When switching drives in general, is it easiest to install the drive as a slave, clone the old to the new and then switch them out?

I haven't played around with hardware in years and I am probably way out of date on my thinking.

Thanks for any input!

More about : ssd worth

a b G Storage
May 14, 2010 5:36:05 PM

An SSD is significantly faster than a traditional hard drive, especially for things like random access. How much faster things will be for you, day to day, is a big open question. For example, for a work computer you may spend most of your time typing or reading, and maybe opening a document once in a while.

There's a bunch of things you can spend money on, for an older computer (I'm assuming that's what you have, if you would need to update the BIOS, drivers, etc). RAM is a big one, HD is another. I wouldn't go so far as to call it a "never ending project" though. It would take some time to:

1) compare/shop for drive
2) back up all your data
3) install/update drivers/bios as needed
4) clone HD (or reinstall OS/apps from scratch)

Does your PC have SATA ports?
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May 14, 2010 5:46:49 PM

I would not clone the SSD unless you have to. Much better to install the OS new, and use Windows 7 for Trim, to ensure the SSD is aligned or you will see a performance hit.
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May 14, 2010 8:18:12 PM

Storage is indeed lacking but im sure most people who have SSDs would use conventional hard drives for storage.

I install to my SSD while store files on my RAID 0 drives. Its a good system, windows and programs are much more responsive (im talking seconds here) but quite expensive on a $/GB level. A cheap SSD would be miles ahead of the best hard drive in random read, while is what is important to make windows faster.
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a b G Storage
May 14, 2010 8:32:20 PM

I've read about SSD's and I also built a computer with one.

In what I read there was a big difference in a computer's boot time, and a big difference if you have your computer load a bunch of apps at boot time.

In my case we could not tell that much difference. I built CAD workstations using fast processors, one with an SSD and 3 others using velociraptors. I can't tell that much difference between them. Maybe they are overall so fast that the improvement from the SSD doesn't amount to that much.

OTOH my wife's small laptop takes a long time to boot. I'm considering putting an SSD into it to make it boot faster. I think in a laptop you could possibly see more advantage to an SSD since laptop hard drives are usually the slowest ones.

SSD's are still very fast though, so you have to decide if they will benefit your system more than making other changes would. I still think that first you need a fast processor and plenty of ram, then the last step would be the SSD.
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a c 99 G Storage
May 14, 2010 10:49:20 PM

IMHO, YES. SSDs are worth it! :bounce: 

I recommend the Intel X25-M 80GB model ($229.99) :D 

The trend is to get a SSD for OS and Programs ONLY, and have a second (regular) Hard Drive for data & media. (And maybe a third for storage & backups.) You'd only need larger in you had alot of games, apps, or CAD.

My reasons:

1) As an OS drive ONLY, because the more read/writes to the drive, and more "corrupt" it gets, degrading the drive after time. BUT, TRIM takes care of most of this issue. (See other threads about TRIM)

2) No hard drives on the market can saturate the SATA II bandwidth (3.0Gbps, much less SATA III of 6.0Gbps). Best case I've seen (copying from 2-HDD in RAID 0 to a clean HHD for backup) were 150Mbps, far cry from the specs. BUT, SSD can come very close, up to 285Mbps (Yes, almost twice as fast, that's why SATA III is coming, because SSD will only get faster, larger, and cheaper!)

3) The biggest bottleneck of any system is the hard drive(s). That being said, first processor, then RAM, but a SSD would be a huge change.

So, I wouldn't clone the hard drive to a SSD, then remove. Keep the drive for at least backups. But, I'd do a fresh install of the OS, to get the full benefits of a SSD (The OS wih recognize it, and optimize for it, at least Windows 7 does).

That's my $0.02! :pt1cable: 
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a c 99 G Storage
May 15, 2010 12:05:22 AM

His video rocks! U GO sminlal!
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May 15, 2010 2:22:12 PM

The computer that I was thinking about installing the SSD drive into is not old. It is only about two or three years old. I didn't like the way the harddrive drive was sounding. I figure I would do a little research and install a new drive before this one died.

My computer is a Dell Inspiron 530 with Intel Core 2 Quad Q6600@2.40, 3 GB Ram, Intel G33/G31 Express Chipset Family. Running Vista SP1. It has a 500 GB WD harddrive (WD5000AAKS-75A7B0 ATA). I belive this is SATA????

My primary concern is to install a harddrive that is going to last. Since the SSD do not have any moving parts, I was hoping to get a longer life out of it.

I've read there have been some problems with SSD's and running Vista. I do not want to upgrade this computer to Windows 7. I have a laptop with 7 that gives me too many problems with my older software.

Has anyone had any experience with installing an SSD with Vista. Do you need to have Windows 7 to have "Trim"?

Thanks for all the responses

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May 15, 2010 2:38:08 PM

Yes you do need windows 7 for trim, otherwise your write operations would take a hit. Without trim, the SSD must perform a delete and then a write operation in used sectors. Otherwise you need to format the drive to binary zeros to regain write performance.
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a c 415 G Storage
May 15, 2010 10:12:27 PM

Intel has a utility called the "SSD Toolbox" which you can use to flag unused sectors for TRIMing. So while Vista won't TRIM things automatically, you can still use it just fine with an SSD as long as you use the Toolbox utility every once in a while. Think of it like defragmenting your disk - something you should do every month or so.
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a b G Storage
May 16, 2010 3:26:19 AM

sminlal said:
Here's a video I put together comparing the time to boot Windows 7 and launch some applications using an SSD versus a hard drive:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cTHX0MqVMss

that was with a green HD - any chance of doing it with a black, or some other competing 7200 rpm?
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May 16, 2010 3:40:08 AM

huntersupply said:
Hello
I've been thinking about switch out my old harddrive for an SSD drive. I don't need a TB of storage so I am willing to sacrifice space for speed.

While doing some research on SSD drives, it seems it can be a little bit complicated. I've read about needing to update your bios, then doing updates to the firmwire to the SSD drive, etc...

I would like to be able to install the drive once and be done with the process. I have my own business and do not want to get involved with a never ending project.

Does anyone have any opinions on switching to an SSD drive??

When switching drives in general, is it easiest to install the drive as a slave, clone the old to the new and then switch them out?

I haven't played around with hardware in years and I am probably way out of date on my thinking.

Thanks for any input!


Easy answer: No, an SSD is NOT worth the price difference. However, as more people buy them the price comes down, so go ahead and waste your money. Really, we all appreciate your sacrifice.
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a c 415 G Storage
May 16, 2010 1:01:01 PM

gtvr said:
that was with a green HD - any chance of doing it with a black, or some other competing 7200 rpm?
Sorry, my system is now all set up and in constant use and I'm past the point at which I'm running those kinds of tests. But you can expect a black drive to perform MUCH more like the green drive than the SSD.
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May 28, 2010 7:47:05 AM

rofl_my_waffle said:
Yes you do need windows 7 for trim, otherwise your write operations would take a hit. Without trim, the SSD must perform a delete and then a write operation in used sectors. Otherwise you need to format the drive to binary zeros to regain write performance.



Ya but be sure to get a 3rd generation SSD with Sandforce SF 1200 controller which has built in Trim and wear leveling and should work fine with Vista like:

http://www.newegg.ca/Product/Produ [...] 6820231362

http://www.newegg.ca/Product/Produ [...] 6820226136

http://www.newegg.ca/Product/Produ [...] 6820227528

These drives all have the SF 1200 controller but apparently the OCZ Vertex 2 has the best firmware because of an inside deal with Sandforce

http://www.newegg.ca/Product/Produ [...] 6820227526

This OCZ Vertex LE has the SF1500 which is supposedly an even better controller and comes with 28% over-provisioning and is designed for enterprise systems. It shows very well against it's more expensive brother as can be seen in this review

http://www.legitreviews.com/article/1307/7/
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