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Does a SSD speed up a "slave" Mechanical Hard Drive?

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March 30, 2011 5:34:29 AM

Should i installed a SSD (somewhere from 60 to 256GB size) as a Master Drive 0 and load it with a Windows 7 OS, and i also kept a "slave" 2 TB drive -a Mechanical 7200 rpm one, as Drive 1-,
how would the SSD affect native speed of the mechanical one (if it does at all!). Could anyonw please explain how the drives would interact? and how would that interaction affect the overall speed of the PC?

I dont do video games at all.. most of my time is spent web surfing. on e-mail and live TV viewing and recording TV shows via the Windows Media Center. Start-up time is not an issue cause i start the PC once every 2 days at most.


My system is a Dell Studio 540 with Intel Q9550 2.83 Mhtz Quad Core, Windows Home Premium 64-bit, 6 GB RAM DDR2 dual channel PC 6400 800 Mhz, nVidia GTS 240 1Gb Video Card and Haupagge 1250 single TV tuner card. Western Digital Black Caviar 2TB 2001FASS. Comes with space for two 3.5" hard drives

I guess the grand question would be is it worth spending the big bucks on a SSD when most of the data you would be accessing still resides on a mechanical drive?


I would like to hear views and opinions on this issue of speeding up access to data , if you were in my situation what route would you go and why?

Thank you kindly.
a c 311 G Storage
March 30, 2011 2:39:58 PM

Simple answer: attaching an SSD to the system doesn't affect the speed of your hard drive.

Slightly more complex answer: these are almost certainly SATA drives, not IDE drives. The concept of master / slave only applies to IDE drives and certain clubs in the downtown area.

The use patterns that you name will not benefit from an SSD. Web surfing, downloading Email, and watching TV (either web-based, cable, or broadcast) will not be affected by the speed of your OS disk or data disk. Startup speed and program-load speed would be improved by putting the OS on an SSD, but you don't care about those. The mechanical drive is already fast enough for the data rate of recording TV in Media Center.

So I wouldn't buy an SSD. Putting your OS on it would give you a benefit that you don't care about. Putting your data on it would give not improve your video performance; the hard drive is fast enough for that application.

Maybe put the money into upgrading the speed of your internet connection?
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a c 307 G Storage
March 30, 2011 4:29:04 PM

I pretty much agree with WyomingKnott.

An ssd will not affect the speed of a hard drive.

An ssd will not do anything for your Internet activities. You are totally at the mercy of your Internet Service Provider, web hosts, and lots of other service providers and connection points around the world.

You mentioned recording television shows. Again you are at the mercy of the Internet.
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March 30, 2011 9:16:41 PM

Thank you Knottt and Johhny for your prompt responses.
Given all the hoopla and talk about SSD in the last year or so, im quite surprised about the effect (or lack of it) that SSD have over a computer performance.
So then given all the things it wont do for me, I want to understand what it could do in general. Seems that the computer start up is quite faster with a SSD drive. Any effect on upload or downlads times?
What are the main reasons for people to have upgraded to SSD from mechanical drives? Which speeds do they dramatically increase then? They manage to do what in much less time? With the price they command (about 3x times the cost per GB) and lots of users turning in droves to them, what is it i am missing?

I do know that the lack of moving parts -in theory at least, as SSd have not been around long enough to have real time history yet- makes them less prone to failure (premature death) than mechanical drives, giving users a more comforting feel regarding the safekeeping of their valued files.


Thank you again
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a b G Storage
March 30, 2011 10:14:08 PM

WyomingKnott said:
The concept of master / slave only applies to IDE drives and certain clubs in the downtown area.


Can you provide a list of those clubs?
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March 30, 2011 10:29:59 PM

When I built my win7 machine last year I installed windows on a 1tb sata2 hard drive, then I install all of my applications, databases, and run swap files from a 32gb patriot ssd. This setup works great for me. I also don't do any gaming on this machine. It's my office workstation that I run two 22in monitors from runnig tons of applications and browser windows all the time.
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a c 307 G Storage
March 30, 2011 10:45:20 PM

Yes, starting a computer, MS Windows, and software applications is much faster. There is definitely a difference and you will notice it right away. After that things get a little murky. We do know that some processes will be completed much more efficiently but it is difficult to explain in some sort of practical, easy to understand terms that someone can relate to. For example, the general opinion is that a person's computer will feel a more "snappy". What is snappy?

Typically gamers and enthusists like to rely on artificial benchmark tests in order to form an opinion as to how a component might perform. The bigger the numbers, the better gamers and enthusiasts like it. After all, who wants a component that does 5,000 thingies per second when they can have a component that can do 50,000 thingies per second. Nobody asks how many thingies do I really need?

Personally I am interested in finding out what an ssd can do for photo and video editing applications. I am very interested in Adobe PhotoShop products. So far I know CS5 will load in 3 or 4 seconds. That's about all I can find out. Information is just starting to trickle in over at the Adobe forums.
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March 30, 2011 10:51:08 PM

MSwhip said:
Thank you Knottt and Johhny for your prompt responses.
Given all the hoopla and talk about SSD in the last year or so, im quite surprised about the effect (or lack of it) that SSD have over a computer performance.
So then given all the things it wont do for me, I want to understand what it could do in general. Seems that the computer start up is quite faster with a SSD drive. Any effect on upload or downlads times?
What are the main reasons for people to have upgraded to SSD from mechanical drives? Which speeds do they dramatically increase then? They manage to do what in much less time? With the price they command (about 3x times the cost per GB) and lots of users turning in droves to them, what is it i am missing?

I do know that the lack of moving parts -in theory at least, as SSd have not been around long enough to have real time history yet- makes them less prone to failure (premature death) than mechanical drives, giving users a more comforting feel regarding the safekeeping of their valued files.


Thank you again


Benefits of an SSD;
-Size - they are typically tiny 2.5 inch laptop sized - Enterprise versions come in 3.5 inch sizes too.
-Power consumption - they use almost no power
-Heat - they produce little heat
-Weight - they are feather lite - When I got my first SSD I thought the box was empty.
-Speed - they read very fast, this makes boot and program load times much faster. Write times are not as fast as the read times.
-Reliability - any drive's circuits can burn up... but SSD's won't 'crash' due to mechanical failure
-Scalability - Raid configurations can give back performance at almost 100% - 2 drives are nearly twice as fast as 1 and 3 drives are nearly 3x as fast as 1. HDDs give back about 75% performance in comparison
Drawbacks of an SSD;
-Storage - Affordable models don't hold near as much as an HDD can
-Limited Writes - you can only write so many times on a drive before you just can't write on it again.

These factors make SSDs great for laptops where size, power, consumption, heat, and weight increase the portability of your system. The speed gains of an SSD make these drives great for installing operating systems and programs that benefit from fast starts. Windows 7 starts in half the time with an SSD. Games will load faster too from an SSD.

SSDs are not ideal for storing large amounts of data for long periods of time.... yet.
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a c 307 G Storage
March 30, 2011 11:02:51 PM

pacioli - Add price as a drawback. That is the most common complaint I see in all of the forms I visit.
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March 31, 2011 5:44:19 AM

Thank you again for the contributions. I have 2 comments:

A. to Knott. When i added a second Sata II hard drive which i purchased to Dell itself, their Indian Tech that was supporting me -ver the phone- to install called them Master and Slave respectively. This means one of 2 things. Dell's manuals are wrong, and/or the training of those techs is very defficient. With respects to your downtown clubs are they just BDSM or do their members swing too?

B. to pacioli: I don't do games and mine is a Desktop, so all the issues around weight are of no importance to me.


And now an open questions to all :
Given the reduced formal capacity of the SSD. does anyone know if they also have 'shrinkage' ?. And by that i mean that a 1 TB mechanical drive ends up after formatting and paritioning with just 930 GB of usable disk space.
Does this also happen with say a 60 GB SSD? Cause.. if Windows 7 is about 18 GB in itself, and additionally it then saves system space for its own needs. How much is really left to install applications?


Thank you again.


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a c 307 G Storage
March 31, 2011 9:23:49 AM

The answer to you question is yes. There is some shrinkage as you call it.

For example, the actual useable space in an Intel X25-M 80GB ssd is 74.4GB. The actual useable space in a Crucial C300 256GB ssd is 238.5GB.

I should point out that there is no real shrinkage. No useable space disappears. The real problem is creative advertising. The idiots in advertising departments are not capable of correctly calculating drive capacity. The mentally deficient insist on rounding down 1024 bytes to 1000 bytes. As a result they incorrectly advertise 80,000,000,000 bytes as 80 GB instead of 74.4 GB.

The problem is compounded by consumers who are not well informed.

BTW - Don't forget overprovisioning. In the Crucial C300 256GB ssd it is 17.5GB. The amount reserved for overprovisioning varies depending on the drive capacity.
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March 31, 2011 10:14:16 AM

Thanks again Johnny.

I had that concept covered. 1Mb =1024 bytes, But even in that scenario 80 divided by 1.024 results in 78.125GB and 256GB divided by 1.024 is 250Gb. Why just 74.4GB and 238.5GB only then?

Is that where that 'overprovisioning' comes into play? What is the meaning of that 'overprovisioning'? How does it work?
What is that 'reservation' saved for?

Back to you now. Smile
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a b G Storage
March 31, 2011 12:44:27 PM

MSwhip said:
Thanks again Johnny.

I had that concept covered. 1Mb =1024 bytes, But even in that scenario 80 divided by 1.024 results in 78.125GB and 256GB divided by 1.024 is 250Gb. Why just 74.4GB and 238.5GB only then?

Is that where that 'overprovisioning' comes into play? What is the meaning of that 'overprovisioning'? How does it work?
What is that 'reservation' saved for?

Back to you now. Smile

Nope..1 KB=1024 bytes. 1MB is 1024KB 1GB is 1024MB so 1GB is 1073741824 bytes. 80,000,000,000 divided by 1,073,741,824 is approx. 74.506 GB. :D 
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a c 307 G Storage
March 31, 2011 1:14:44 PM

Overprovisioning refers to a portion of the flash memory that is reserved for use by the ssd controller. A user cannot access the reserved flash memory. The ssd controller uses to reserved flash memory to create pre-erased blocks that are ready for use when needed. By having the blocks ready for use blocks that go bad can be easily replaced and the write IOPS are improved.
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March 31, 2011 7:35:35 PM

Nope..1 KB=1024 bytes. 1MB is 1024KB 1GB is 1024MB so 1GB is 1073741824 bytes. 80,000,000,000 divided by 1,073,741,824 is approx. 74.506 GB. :D 



Point well taken.

Thank you
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March 31, 2011 7:52:09 PM

JohnnyLucky said:
Overprovisioning refers to a portion of the flash memory that is reserved for use by the ssd controller. A user cannot access the reserved flash memory. The ssd controller uses to reserved flash memory to create pre-erased blocks that are ready for use when needed. By having the blocks ready for use blocks that go bad can be easily replaced and the write IOPS are improved.


* Question: Is that reserved portion of the flash memory by the SSD controller unique to SSD or is it also happening with my current mechanical hard disk drives?


And, on a separate note:
I have tried to insert my PC tech specifications as most of you have showing and I cant find the way to do it and moreover how do you insert on your identity that cute avatar image cause I want to personalize my identity with my own image. Any help with that too?

Thanks again
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a c 307 G Storage
March 31, 2011 9:12:33 PM

Overprovisioning is unique to ssd's.

At the very top right hand side of this page you should see a white form field that says MSwhip's profile | Log Out. Click on MSWhip's Profile to access and modify your member info. When your member profile page opens You should see a column on the left had side with numerous options for things you want to update.

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March 31, 2011 10:51:46 PM

Best answer selected by MSwhip.
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March 31, 2011 11:23:44 PM

JohnnyLucky said:
Overprovisioning is unique to ssd's.

At the very top right hand side of this page you should see a white form field that says MSwhip's profile | Log Out. Click on MSWhip's Profile to access and modify your member info. When your member profile page opens You should see a column on the left had side with numerous options for things you want to update.



Thanks very much for your patience and good will. I am now much better educated to make an informed decision. I see that your computer specs show no SSD. So you must be researching the issue yourself too.

I am now inclined after reading all was said on this thread plus reading other threads in other Hardware Forums I will look at buying either a 120/128 GB or a 200/256GB Intel 25...or Intel 510's or the very new Intel 320 series. Reviews seem to favor them over the Vertex Crucial and rest of the competition.
If and when the price comes down to around 75 cents per GB and by the time this happens both the 125'ish and the 200'ish keep the same 75 cents a GB ratio.. I would buy the larger one. In the meantime I will enjoy all my old reliable WD Black Caviar Sata II and III which have more than 4 years left on their solid warranty. If they warranty them for 5 years is cause they know they would probably last a bit (or much) longer than that.

Thank you again.

I enjoyed your clarity and succint explanations.
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a c 307 G Storage
April 1, 2011 12:05:09 AM

I have been researching ssd's for several months. I have not yet decided which brand, model, or capacity I will purchase but I am leaning toward Intel. There are still a lot of unanswered questions.

Intel has released 3 different ssd series in three months - 310, 510, and 320. We know two more series are in the works. One will definitely be for enterprise/business. No word yet on what the second one might be - just lots of unsubstantiated rumors and wishful thinking.
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