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Help with choosing SSD? The guides are outdated...

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January 17, 2011 5:41:31 PM

Tom's has the summer roundup article comparing 17 SSDs. But that's from half a year ago, and, from what I understand, quite a number of new drives have been released since then. So any recommendations on how to make my choice? Anyone know of any recent SSD roundup from other sites, so that I can compare? Or do you recommend any specific drive?

I am looking for roughly 128 GB capacity. I don't really play games, except a little bit occasionally, so that's not a big concern. I just want great performance in applications and loading and boot times. Low(er) power consumption is also a plus. I do not plan on doing RAID. And I can afford to spend a decent amount of $, so I do want something better than entry-level for sure, just not anything really high end. I'm building a Sandy Bridge-based system, so I will be able to use any drive with SATA 6 Gb/s interface.

Also, when is the next generation of SandForce controller coming out? In the summer roundup it was the 1200. I read somewhere some time ago that SandForce 1800 or 2000 or some other number -- something newer at any rate -- was coming out soon.

Thanks!
January 17, 2011 7:15:22 PM

Sounds like I'm in the same boat as you. I have roughly 4.5 TB of storage space now but no SSDs... At first I though I'd get 2 64GB drives and go RAID 0 but it seems to be frowned upon by the tech community so now I'm looking at 128GB drives...I've heard good things about Samsung's 470 Series but the performance really seems to depend mostly on the controller...so if someone could just tell us which controllers are fastest or most bang for the buck and then where to actually find what controller each SSD uses, that would be super helpful...
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a b G Storage
January 17, 2011 8:09:51 PM

For your budget, I'd go with a C300 128GB or 256GB. Or wait a little more for C400 series that comes in February or the next Intel SSD generation.
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a c 283 G Storage
January 17, 2011 9:58:29 PM

SSD's have been around since 2008. There have been quite a few technical advancements especially with controllers so it is no surprise that a lot of the reviews are out of date. As the matter now stands the newest drives for consumers are the Crucial RealSSD C300 SATA III MLC solid state drives.

newegg.com has 9 models for sale:

http://www.newegg.com/Product/ProductList.aspx?Submit=E...

OCZ is also a strong contender with their SATA II drives and PCI-e drives. The PCI- based drives are interesting. They installed one or more ssd's on a card that fits in a PCIe x 4 slot on a motherboard.

newegg.com has 96 OCZ models for sale:

http://www.newegg.com/Product/ProductList.aspx?Submit=E...

However, I recommend you do as saint19 suggested and wait until next month. Based on industry news and press releases several brand new drives and controllers are just around the corner. Personally, I am going to wait to see what Intel will be introducing.

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a c 114 G Storage
January 17, 2011 11:34:24 PM

The C400's are expected end of this month ... Sandforce 2000 is expected in May.

Right now the C300 is the fastest read @ a claimed 355 Mb/s but write is down to 75 - 140 Mb/s

Vertex 2 claims 285 MB/s read, 275 write; that's what I been putting in recent builds.
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January 18, 2011 12:05:26 AM

Thanks. One thing that is bothering me is how different the C300 models are in some tests for different sizes. For instance, the 64GB model is far slower in writing than the 256GB model. See this page:
http://www.tomshardware.com/reviews/samsung-470-sandforce-best-ssd,2783-11.html
How does the 128GB model fare? If it's similar to the 256 one then that would be nice.


Also, how important is the IOPS? In that same review the C300s don't fare nearly as well in IOPS as many other drives. Would the read speed be the most important factor for my intended usage?


Lastly, so which is it for the C400? February or end of this month for its debut?
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January 18, 2011 12:13:49 AM

Oh, actually, here's a bench for C300 128GB:
http://www.xtremesystems.org/forums/showthread.php?t=261789

Write speed is about 2x better than the 64GB model but still quite a bit worse than the majority of other drives' ~200ish MB/s speed. That's pretty annoying ... I want the performance of C300 256 but I don't need that much SSD space and don't want to spend that much :pfff: 
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January 18, 2011 8:12:16 AM

Note from a C300 owner (64g):
I mistakenly put my browser (Firefox) on the SSD with OS, drivers, etc.
The slow write speed is a killer. The reads/ load times is fantastic though.
Moved it out, now all is fine. Just got to be aware of what apps. get loaded on it.
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a c 168 G Storage
January 18, 2011 1:18:43 PM

I gave my Intel X25-M 160gb drive to my son, and I miss it terribly:( 
I am waiting for the first gen3 drives to launch. As best as I can tell from rumors:
Corsair, and micron C400 are due this month or Feb.
Intel is ramping up, and I expect feb also. Early tests do not impress with Intel, but I suspect that the tests are missing the important metrics.
SF 200 based drives in May.

Larger drives usually do better in sequential access because they can access more nand chips in parallel. Sort of an internal raid-0.

Do not be seduced by the big sequential transfer numbers that are touted.
90% of what we do is small (4k-8k) reads and writes.
Look for a drive with 50k I/O on small reads and writes.
There are some good drives out there now, and there are inventory reduction sales going on. If you can't wait, get one.

Performance of the gen3 drives will be somewhat better, but there should be much better $/gb pricing because they will use cheaper 25nm chips.
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January 19, 2011 4:01:44 PM

jockey said:
Note from a C300 owner (64g):
I mistakenly put my browser (Firefox) on the SSD with OS, drivers, etc.
The slow write speed is a killer. The reads/ load times is fantastic though.
Moved it out, now all is fine. Just got to be aware of what apps. get loaded on it.


Wait what? Wouldn't the "slower" write speeds still be leaps and bounds better than a mechanical drive? I've never read not to put your browser on an SSD until this.

Can anyone else comment on this?
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a b G Storage
January 19, 2011 4:24:16 PM

Right, are better that a mechanical drive. My navigator run pretty fast (Google Chrome).
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a c 283 G Storage
January 19, 2011 11:17:25 PM

jockey - That's an interesting comment. Just about every current article and review that I've looked at this past week definitely mentions installing a web browser on ssd.
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January 20, 2011 2:22:04 AM

It seemed to lag on me quite a bit with several tabs open. Moving it to a sata 7200 seemed to help. Could just be me though. I figured constant opening and closing tabs get slowed by low write speeds.
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January 20, 2011 2:57:27 AM

geofelt said:

Do not be seduced by the big sequential transfer numbers that are touted.
90% of what we do is small (4k-8k) reads and writes.
Look for a drive with 50k I/O on small reads and writes.
There are some good drives out there now, and there are inventory reduction sales going on. If you can't wait, get one.


So are you saying that this page, with 4kb random reads and random writes benchmarks, is the most important one? Should I rely on these results more than on throughput benchmarks? There's also 512kb random reads/writes benchmarks. Which one is most relevant?

Btw, none of them even come close to 50k I/O...

Also, I don't quite understand what these benchmarks mean. What exactly are they measuring in 4k random reads/writes? Why are they "random"? And exactly how is this different from measuring sequential transfer?
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January 20, 2011 6:24:56 PM

I ended up getting a 240GB Vertex 2...it's rated at 50,000 IOPS and I use it as my main system drive (OS & Software installed on it, Music, Docs, Pics, etc.. on HDD's) and EVERYTHING runs faster on it with no exceptions...so I'm not sure about Jockey's browser issues...
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a c 283 G Storage
January 20, 2011 10:49:57 PM

Yesterday while researching ssd's I discovered that Intel, Micron, Marvel, Crucial, OCZ and other companies involved with ssd technology agreed to push PCI-e based ssd's as the new standard. The PCI-e standard will allow the transmission of data at a much higher rate than SATA III. It is very similar to DisplayPort replacing vga and dvi.
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a b G Storage
January 21, 2011 12:03:16 AM

AFAIK Micron is the Crucial's owner.
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a c 283 G Storage
January 21, 2011 12:41:04 AM

saint19 - Yes, that is correct. Crucial and Lexar are spinoffs/subsidiaries. They recently acquired Numonyx and they have numerous other business ventures.
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a b G Storage
January 21, 2011 12:47:40 AM

Yeah, I forgot Lexar.

btw, congratulations for your years in the Army, enjoy your free time now.
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January 21, 2011 1:59:21 AM

saint19 said:
Yeah, I forgot Lexar.

btw, congratulations for your years in the Army, enjoy your free time now.


Years in the army? I know this has nothing to do with the current thread but I just reread this whole thread start to finish twice now looking for some reference to the army and found nothing...and now I'm like "wtf does being in the army have to do with an ssd...?"
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a c 283 G Storage
January 21, 2011 3:23:01 AM

bikeracer4487 - saint19 got his threads mixed up. He was responding a different ssd thread in which I mentioned to Retired Chief, who is a US Air Force retiree, that I was a US Army retiree with 30 years of service. His handle probably refers to the Air Force rank of Chief Master Sergeant of which there are 3 degrees. That would have placed him one or two steps below God Almighty.
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January 21, 2011 4:06:38 AM

Hey there, I'd wait til next month definitely before buying. With the release of the newer hardware by Intel (possibly), Crucial and OCZ, it may drive down prices for ssd's released over the past month. Or you can go big and test out the new stuff when it comes out for a premium :) 

I just picked up an OCZ Vertex 2 160gb last week for $219 and it flies. I see many threads and reviews questioning the reliability of these OCZ vertex line which made me weary but I'm holding faith, this is something to think about. Three year warranty will hopefully hold strong.

Benchmark-wise the Vertex 2 does well with compressed data reads and writes due to the SandForce controller, and decent with other data.

With 0-Fill test data:



Quite fast but obviously you won't see this scenario with everything you do. Stick it out and see what the future brings. Pretty much any SSD you get will definitely not disappoint when it comes to boot times and application loading, I'm loving it so far!
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January 21, 2011 11:37:01 AM

There are a few articles here in Toms. Most charts I've seen score Crucials Real SSD 300, Samsung's new 470 and Intel drives as the top performers. I think between the 3 you cant go wrong.
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a c 168 G Storage
January 21, 2011 5:28:05 PM

darussiaman16 said:
So are you saying that this page, with 4kb random reads and random writes benchmarks, is the most important one? Should I rely on these results more than on throughput benchmarks? There's also 512kb random reads/writes benchmarks. Which one is most relevant?

Btw, none of them even come close to 50k I/O...

Also, I don't quite understand what these benchmarks mean. What exactly are they measuring in 4k random reads/writes? Why are they "random"? And exactly how is this different from measuring sequential transfer?


The most relevant benchmark is YOUR workload.
Everything else is synthetic and may or may not be representative of what you will experience. Likely not.
ANY current SSD will likely perform decently for you.

The most authoratative series of articles on SSD's comes from anandtech. Start way back when they analyze the first drives out and the issues.
Start with their bench tables:
http://www.anandtech.com/bench/SSD/65
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January 21, 2011 8:03:13 PM

Yeah, I started looking at Anandtech even before you said that, as I kept looking around for more answers on my own. I read through a couple reviews on a few models, and I found those articles to be more helpful than the Tom's roundup I linked. He says specifically that small (around 4k) random reads and writes are the most relevant metrics and explains why. Sequential throughput numbers is just marketing. It is relevant when moving large files around, but I don't care about that; I won't even store large files like movies on my SSD -- that's what big HDDs are for.

I found articles like these two to be some of the most instructive (linking to specific pages):
http://www.anandtech.com/show/3812/the-ssd-diaries-crucials-realssd-c300/2
http://www.anandtech.com/show/3681/oczs-vertex-2-special-sauce-sf1200-reviewed/8

I have pretty much decided to get the Vertex 2, probably 120GB. Either that or if I am forced to wait long enough that the next gen Intel comes out, maybe I'll consider that too if it's not too expensive. Just need to get my $$ together.
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January 30, 2011 3:10:58 AM

Best answer selected by darussiaman16.
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a b G Storage
January 30, 2011 7:34:16 PM

This topic has been closed by Saint19
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