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What exactly is an SSD?

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December 2, 2010 6:56:39 PM

Hello all,

I'll probably be seen as a super lazy douche to not read the stickied articles, however I don't have the time too. I have only glanced at them and the articles have all these sorts of #'s and jargon that I just don't understand.

From what I gathered basically its a hard-drive that's a lot faster at accessing and opening up programs etc? But how come it has a life-span, cant you just delete things off the ssd and have open space forever? Can you have both a hard-drive and a SSD? How do programs load faster with an SSD, does it save the data in it or something? So would zoning in and out of a game like WoW be super quick?

More about : ssd

a b G Storage
December 3, 2010 9:23:20 AM

Two different technologies altogether.
SSD:
Basically a bunch of RAM chips put together in a PCB and casing to store data.
Since electronic wear and tear is a possibility, that is not repairable due to degrading circuits over time, thus they have a life span.
Much faster than a standard 7200RPM drive because the data does not need to be picked up from moving discs (Platters) it's picked up from cells(Like an Ice Tray) where it is resident, ever tried taking Ice out of a stationary tray and compared it with trying to take ice out of the yellow tray rotating with a 100 other trays at 7200 RPM :) . As good a no seek time.
It has no moving part in it so mechanical wear and tear is zero, it's only electronic wear and tear.
HDD:
Revolving disc require seek time for the needles(Heads) to be able to locate and pick up the data needed.
Revolving disc also need to spin up and spin down so that adds to seek times.
Moving so mechanical failure is a high probability.
Requires more power to turn the spindle on/of plus the pickup of data....

You can just delete all the data and free up space, but , due to irreparable electronic circuit wear out some portions will slowly loose the capacity to store and keep data thus adding clutter and degrading the drive. To extend this life they now have TRIM function which see to it that all part or chips or cells on the SSD wear out or are used evenly so as to have a longer life span and reduce clutter collection of the drive.

Yes you can have both, a SSD and a HDD. Advisable SSD for OS and Programs and standard HDD high storage capacity for Data.

Yes, programs do load faster because the read time for an SSD is really low as compared to a HDD. It's basically RAM so it's got to be a lot faster than the HDD.

Yes loading times of games do see a tremendous boost with a SSD. and games with Large Maps are also highly benefited.
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December 3, 2010 1:00:36 PM

alyoshka said:
Two different technologies altogether.
SSD:
Basically a bunch of RAM chips put together in a PCB and casing to store data.
Since electronic wear and tear is a possibility, that is not repairable due to degrading circuits over time, thus they have a life span.
Much faster than a standard 7200RPM drive because the data does not need to be picked up from moving discs (Platters) it's picked up from cells(Like an Ice Tray) where it is resident, ever tried taking Ice out of a stationary tray and compared it with trying to take ice out of the yellow tray rotating with a 100 other trays at 7200 RPM :) . As good a no seek time.
It has no moving part in it so mechanical wear and tear is zero, it's only electronic wear and tear.
HDD:
Revolving disc require seek time for the needles(Heads) to be able to locate and pick up the data needed.
Revolving disc also need to spin up and spin down so that adds to seek times.
Moving so mechanical failure is a high probability.
Requires more power to turn the spindle on/of plus the pickup of data....

You can just delete all the data and free up space, but , due to irreparable electronic circuit wear out some portions will slowly loose the capacity to store and keep data thus adding clutter and degrading the drive. To extend this life they now have TRIM function which see to it that all part or chips or cells on the SSD wear out or are used evenly so as to have a longer life span and reduce clutter collection of the drive.

Yes you can have both, a SSD and a HDD. Advisable SSD for OS and Programs and standard HDD high storage capacity for Data.

Yes, programs do load faster because the read time for an SSD is really low as compared to a HDD. It's basically RAM so it's got to be a lot faster than the HDD.

Yes loading times of games do see a tremendous boost with a SSD. and games with Large Maps are also highly benefited.


Thank you so much. I always thought though that it was the ram that dictated how fast certain load times for games were.

I've looked at some SSD's and some say they have a 2 million hour lifespan which is pretty much forever, so is it the write/read speeds that start to decay slowly? And even after say 3-5 years of use are the write/read speeds still relatively pretty fast, or are they reduced dramatically?

Also when an SSD boats a 50,000 IOP, what exactly does that mean? Whats an IOP? Should I only be worried about the read/write speeds when shopping for an ssd? I've seen in reviews people talking about raid0 and now I know what trim is, but whats the difference and which is better?
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a b G Storage
December 3, 2010 3:58:17 PM

RAM has a big impact on performance too and a good ssd will not mask the impact of too little or too slow ram. But the game has to load from some storage media in the first place.

As you say the 'lifespan' of the nand can be estimated fairly accurately as it is not new technology in itself. My ssds will be replaced before their lifespan is used up. And even when they 'die' they should still be readable unlike some mechanical disk failures.

Read and write will be optimum on a new drive and almost immediately degrade a little from the specs. This is due to the way the controller keeps track of used and empty cells. However, seek time is still basically immediate (<.1ms rather than >3.5ms for the best spinners). Read speeds are great. Write speeds and technology for keeping the controller from bottle-necking are getting better.

IOPS are I/O Operations Per Second. And refers to the speed at which a drive can read or write. Google iops and wikipaedia will help give you some understanding. Usually the ssd manufacturers will quote their 4k random read iops because this is the highest number and 50000 is a good number for that metric. I think a raptor can supply around 300 iops but I'm not sure whether that's random read or write or both or whatever.
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