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Thinking about SSD for new Build

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September 3, 2010 11:27:45 PM

Hello all,

I'm looking at putting together a new computer in early October, and I am considering buying an SSD drive as the primary. Any mobo I buy would have SATA 3 GB ports, so I should see pretty good performance over a standard HD.

My usage basically consists of browsing the web, streaming music, gaming, and writing C++/C# code ( with occasional text docs or image editing thrown in ). In general, my plan would be to install Windows 7 and any games or appliations on the SSD, but possibly have a stanard HD for file creation. I use the computer an average of 3-4 hours per day.

However, I am totally new to SSD and I am hoping somebody could help answer a few questions:

- Considering my usage, does anybody know how long an MLC drive would last before performance starts to degrade? I am considering at the Intel X25-M Mainstream 80GB as a point of reference.

- I might not even need a secondary disk HD, as I have another computer with plenty of space for long term storage. Is it a bad idea to rely solely on an SSD drive? For example, when writing code I make tons of small edits to a large number of text files, which I have heard can be hard on the SSD. Would I save myself a lot of wear if I kept all volatile files on a standard HD?

- Are there any good lists of tips and things to avoid regarding SSD usage?

Thanks much for any advice!

More about : thinking ssd build

a b G Storage
September 3, 2010 11:42:57 PM

1. Current generation MLC drives will last you a while... about the same as a normal HDD imo. My X25-G2 is still kicking after all this time.

2. It depends. If you think you will never need more than 80GB on that PC, then you can just have an SSD.

3. Turn off defrag, prefetching, indexing,etc on the SSD.

Quote:
For example, when writing code I make tons of small edits to a large number of text files, which I have heard can be hard on the SSD.

Not true any more. This was a problem with older cr@ppy controllers. For SandForce/Intel based drives, this is no longer a big problem.

Read:
http://www.tomshardware.com/reviews/windows-7-ssd-trim,...
http://www.anandtech.com/show/2738
http://www.anandtech.com/show/2829
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a c 415 G Storage
September 4, 2010 12:35:41 AM

> Considering my usage, does anybody know how long an MLC drive would last before performance starts to degrade?

The Intel G2 drives are rated to last "at least" 5 years if you write 20GByte of data to them every day - so in terms of durability they have a similar useful lifespan to a hard drive (which, after 5 years, is typically obsolete due to the availability of newer, larger, cheaper drives).

In terms of performance, the Intel drives and most other new SSDs support TRIM, and if you use Windows 7 then it will use this automatically to tell the drive which blocks are unused so that the drive can do garbage collection - this keeps write performance from degrading significantly.


> Is it a bad idea to rely solely on an SSD drive?

A single SSD is often used in a laptop because of the single drive bay, so the concept is certainly sound. Most typical desktops require something larger than an SSD for bulk storage because that usage typically doesn't require high performance and the cost/byte of SSDs is prohibitive. But if you don't require that much storage then it may not be an issue.

I personally like to separate the OS/program drive from the data drive just for ease of maintenance. It means it's a lot easier to migrate your data to a new OS and you can also run image backups of the OS itself without dragging all your data along for the ride. Conversely, when you perform incremental backups of your data you don't have to worry about the OS.

You could still do that on an SSD if you create an OS and Data partition on it.


> Would I save myself a lot of wear if I kept all volatile files on a standard HD?

Well you'd save yourself SOME wear, but it wouldn't be all that much relative to what the OS itself does. My system writes about 5GB/day to the OS drive, so you'd have to re-write an awful lot of small files to get close to what's happening in the background anyway.


> Are there any good lists of tips and things to avoid regarding SSD usage?

Here's something I found via Google:
http://www.tweaktown.com/guides/3116/tweaktown_s_solid_...

But in reality Windows 7 does most of the stuff for you automatically. I just hooked up my SSD, installed Windows, and used it. It's working great.
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a c 99 G Storage
September 4, 2010 2:14:22 AM

Quote:
"Any mobo I buy would have SATA 3 GB ports, so I should see pretty good performance over a standard HD."

Only if you get a SATA III SSD. Right now, there is only 1 out there, the Crucial C300.

Just putting drives on the SATA III ports doens't make the drive any faster. Don't waste any money on a SATA III hard drive. They don't even come close to the bandwidth. SATA III is for SSDs coming out. The new Intel Gen3 might/should be SATA III.

But yes, go for an SSD! And I would recommend a large fast HDD for data/media. Put the OS and Programs on the SSD, and Libraries on the HDD (i.e. My Document, Downloads, Music, Pitures, Videos, etc.). I would even recommend a 3rd drive (larger) for backups.

The Intel X25-M 80GB would be my choice, right now. But the OCZ Vertex 2 is good too. For SATA II drives. As you said you're gonna wait until October, more SATA III drive should be on the market.

As for a HDD, a Seagate 7200.12 1TB or Samsung SpinPoint F3 1TB. For back ups, same drives, only 1.5-2TB. That's a ton of storage!

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September 7, 2010 2:41:24 PM

foscooter said:
Quote:
"Any mobo I buy would have SATA 3 GB ports, so I should see pretty good performance over a standard HD."

Only if you get a SATA III SSD. Right now, there is only 1 out there, the Crucial C300.

Just putting drives on the SATA III ports doens't make the drive any faster. Don't waste any money on a SATA III hard drive. They don't even come close to the bandwidth. SATA III is for SSDs coming out. The new Intel Gen3 might/should be SATA III.

...

The Intel X25-M 80GB would be my choice, right now. But the OCZ Vertex 2 is good too. For SATA II drives. As you said you're gonna wait until October, more SATA III drive should be on the market.


How could you recommend the Intel drive over the C300? The C300 has 355 MB/s vs that Intel's 250, and a 128GB C300 is currently $280 at newegg... Personally, I am waiting for more SATA III options, but if I were buying today, I wouldn't consider anything but the Crucial C300.

http://www.tomshardware.com/reviews/windows-7-ssd-trim,...

performance/cost/gigabyte comparisons.
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September 7, 2010 3:18:34 PM

You are correct. If you were to buy today get the C300 128 or larger. Why would you get anyting else?
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a c 353 G Storage
September 7, 2010 6:22:25 PM

$310 for C300-128 Gig vs $270 for Votex-2 (Today price @ newegg. Only about 10% performance diff which most users would not notice the diff.

C300-256 Gig, Yes - BUT Hefty price tag (true for any good 256 Gig SSD.

For the C300, you need SATA 6 to get the bennies. (would NOT get the C300-64) and for less than 256 gig not that great of a diff. For MB w/o Sata 6, you would need a host card such as the Asus U3S6 which adds $25 - worth it as it also provides USB 3.

For C300-256 gig, it is configured with 2 x 128 gig in raid 0. So must rely on internal "garbage collection" as win 7 trim Cmd will not pass thru.

Bottom Line, I'd probably go for the Vortex-2 even though I could "Blow" the cost of the C300-256 (have better things to blow $600 on). Hopefully there will be a new batch of SATA 6 SSDs which will drive the cost for Sata II (3) SSDs Down as the SATA 6 SSDs take the price point of current drives.

Added:
http://www.anandtech.com/show/3812/the-ssd-diaries-cruc...
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a c 353 G Storage
September 7, 2010 8:55:39 PM

^ Missed that $276 C300. I think that has been updated to the one I referenced (sligthly higher 4k random reads for the newer one @ $310). The vortex-2 has a MIR dropping the price to $270. They also show a 2nd vortex-2 for $270.

The faster read speed for Sequencial reads is less important than the Random 4k - this is were the action is and Yes the C300 - 128 Gig is faster on 4k random reads and the vortex-2 is faster on the writes. But overall they are very close (see link below). Sequencial only helps in two cases (1) when small files are "laid" end to end and CALLED in that order. and (2) when large files are requested, ie video files which for DVD are normally 1 G and Blue-ray video files where the Main file is from 13 G -> 35 Gigs.

Overall performance
http://www.anandtech.com/show/3812/the-ssd-diaries-cruc...

As I said, myself I will wait untill Sata 6 SSDs are more seasoned, and their are more choices. (PS crucial is just another name for Micron which is a PLUS - I even own 200 shares of them!)

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September 9, 2010 2:47:34 AM

I'm trying to fully understand before I make an ssd purchase. I'm building a computer with I-7 950 and I'm considering the Asus P6X58D-E motherboard. If I choose this board with the I-7 950 which SSD drive would you select for this build?

Would this board be my best choice for the future?


Thanks
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September 9, 2010 12:01:01 PM

That's a really nice MOBO and would be one that I would pick If I needed to get one now.
Look at the Crucual C300 128 or larger SSD they will use the SATA 6Gb that is on your MOBO or wait for a few months a see whats comming out as new SATA 6gb SSD's
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