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SSD without HDD (low level storage)

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April 21, 2011 12:41:41 PM

I am upgrading my computer and was about to purchase an SSD.

I have very little stored on my current HDD (40GB) so could I say purchase a 120GB SSD and use it for both reading and writing?

I know most people set an SSD up for OS and apps with most writing and large storage on a mechanical HDD but in my case I only use the computer for MS Office and have some photos and short video clips stored on my computer.

I could use my old HDD for temporary files and cache if that's recommended but have all other things on the SSD (e.g. MS word files).

What do you guy think? Could I get away with this and do you have any tips?

Which SSD would be most suitable for the job (I'm on SATA II)? I have the Crucial M4 in mind and might benefit from the high speeds if I upgrade to SATA III but then again it has lower write speeds than others?

Thanks!
a c 289 G Storage
April 21, 2011 1:36:12 PM

As long as you are following the rules for SSDs (Win7, AHCI controller mode, latest Wintel drivers), you can put any blessed thing you want on the SSD. It will last years and years, and everything will run snappily.

There are varying schools of thought, but I personally put my "temporary files and cache" on the SSD. That's because these are active; I'm reading and writing them now. So why not let them be on the fastest device possible?

While others will disagree with me, I say ensure that you have plenty of memory (which will reduce paging), put everything on the SSD, and use the hard drive for backups. Especially important, have an image backup of your system partition to make recovery after a failure or an infection simple.

I have no opinion on the-best-SSD-of-the-minute.

Have fun.
a b G Storage
April 21, 2011 4:01:55 PM

not to be a big copy cat here... but I fully agree with everything the "smart dude" said there. lol

SSD is intended to save time and everyone is getting too caught up on making them last into the next decade. In 5 years that thing will seem like a small overpriced USB stick you may not even want to put in your netbook for fear of slowing it down over the drive that it came with. We're reaching diminishing returns at this point with SSD but new tech will still emerge as we go along here so it's hardly worth marrying these new drives. If you do?.. I'm betting you'll be getting a divorce later on.

The big thing people don't understand is that capacity is not only a concern for how much data you can store/install, but moreso about how much you can write during any one data session. Keeping the stored/installed data lower can increase stamina in the same way as moving to a larger drive can since stamina and lifespan goes up due to larger free space reserves.

Personally, I write to my drive whenever possible if it can save time over scratching it to my HDD's. Most of the time it can.. so I do.

My motto with SSD is to "buy em'.. use em'.. burn em'". Then just hand them down after an upgrade later on. Pretty hard to write tens of thousands of GB's that most drives are capable of unless you're really trying hard to do it.

I like Sandforce drives(Vertex 2 and 3) but they can be finicky for compatibility/sleep issues on some systems so care and research should be done before traveling that road. Generally speaking, any 6G SSD will be stronger even on 3G ports and you will not be buying last gen tech which you'll be sorry for when you swap to a 6G mobo later on. Good Luck with it
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April 21, 2011 6:21:26 PM

Excellent!

Thanks for the help, everything will go on the SSD! The old HDD can be used for back-ups.

I am considering the new Crucial M4 (faster read) or this new edition Mushkin Callisto 128GB 25nm (faster write speed and considering I am on SATA II might be same as M4 for read speed, it has a great price too!)

http://www.aria.co.uk/Products/Components/Solid+State+D...

The vertex 3 seems fastest (and useful for future possibility of SATA III upgrade) but is considerably more expensive. What happens if I put two smaller drives together to get 120GB in RAID0, I could get 500MB/s like a Vertex 3 that way and save some money!?

Oh this is not easy...
a c 289 G Storage
April 21, 2011 6:25:02 PM

1850936,4,859536 said:
EWhat happens if I put two smaller drives together to get 120GB in RAID0, I could get 500MB/s like a Vertex 3 that way and save some money!?/quotemsg]
What happens is that you get more than twice the chance of losing your OS and data, plus the TRIM command is disabled so the drive performance degrades over time.

IMHO, RAID with SSDs is currently an art reserved to those who really, really understand the hardware, firmware, drivers, and phases of the moon. It's beyond my level to do this well.

a b G Storage
April 21, 2011 6:37:50 PM

Consider that there are a lot of upper end laptop computers sold that only have an SSD, no mechanical hard drive, so the SSD has to do everything.
a b G Storage
April 21, 2011 7:19:15 PM

With Sandforce controlled drives the lack of trim command is NOT an issue for performance degradation. That would only be relavent to those others who make immediate use of the trimmed blocks and can recover speeds. Sandfocrce uses what's called "Durawrite" and throttles into a typical use state which still exceeds many others even if they are completely fresh in comparison.

And while raid 0 is risky.. I tell people that they are often getting caught up in all the hysteria when they are overly concerned of corruption/data loss. I've been running raid 0 for years(as have many of my tech buddies) and when used correctly on decent hardware with relaible power supplies?.. it can run for extended lengths without issue.

Everyone should be using a solid backup strategy anyways and the recovery process is not a whole lot more difficult with R0 than with single drives.

In the end, if speed and multitasking ability is important?.. go with raided SSD's as they will far surpass single drives. 2 Vertex 2's will have 16 channels and 2 controllers versus 1 Vertex 2 having half that. Benchmarks aside.. more is better.
April 21, 2011 11:26:55 PM

Being a complete novice I do worry that I will not be able to set up raid0 properly so I think I'm better off going with a 120GB drive.

There is so much difference between the drives so I am bit clueless right now.

There is the Castillo 2nd edition 25nm that is coming in at a bargain or it's the Crucial M4 that's due soon also; otherwise it's a Vertex 2E. Any ideas what I should do??
a b G Storage
April 21, 2011 11:28:22 PM

Sandforce drives raid well. However, with 25nm nand we have miniumum wafers of 8gb each. A 64gb drive potentially has only one nand per channel. A 128gb drive can have 2 nand chips in parallel for every channel (like raid 0 for wafers). For this reason a 120ish GB vertex ii based on 25nm nand will operate much faster than a 60gb vertex ii

The following is stollen from the controller section of wikipedia's ssd article... *

The performance of the SSD can scale with the number of parallel NAND flash chips used in the device. A single NAND chip is relatively slow, due to narrow (8/16 bit) asynchronous IO interface, and additional high latency of basic IO operations


So raiding 60gb drives WILL BE FASTER than having one 120gb drive.. but no where near double. Me, I'd buy the 120... Now.. if you were raiding 240gb drives.. hmmmm

a b G Storage
April 21, 2011 11:37:02 PM

Wait for a sale..

http://ncix.com/promo/promosale.php?webid=EasterSale201...

when you see it.. grab it. Vert 2 180gb for $250. (ie $1.39/gb) I would stick with one of the following and take the lowest price/gb as any of them will perform just fine.

sandforce 1200 controller drives (ie ocz vert2 agil2, corsair force, gskill pheonix, etc.)
c300, c400, intel 510 (marvel controller)
intel 320
of course. vert 3 or anything based on sandforce 2xxx

If sata 3 is important to you stick with the c300,c400,510, intel 320, sandforce 2000 series. Otherwise, grab a 'lesser' drive and enjoy it for a year or two. Then relegate it to the ole server and upgrade.
April 22, 2011 1:17:46 AM

Great advice. The Vertex 2 180GB on that link you sent works out to be £150 - that's £100 cheaper than anywhere in the UK! It's no less than £250 here otherwise I'd snap it up at that price.

For the price I can get the 2nd edition Mushkin Callisto: http://forums.aria.co.uk/showthread.php?t=59237&highlig...

£30 more for the Crucial M4
!