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Firefox on an SSD = short life?

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May 21, 2011 9:32:18 AM

I am buying components to build a desktop and am considering an SSD for the OS (Win7). I multitask while booting the PC and don't mind 2 minutes vs 30 seconds too much, but my main motivation for SSD is low noise/power... I don't think I'll be able to tolerate the supposed loudness of the WD Black Caviar drive!

I don't want to worry constantly about over-writing and lifespan of an SSD, though.

Should I put all my programs on there, as well?
I've gotten mixed feedback from salespeople... some say due to heavy interfacing b/w the OS and programs, it's best to have them on the same drive. Others say it doesn't matter if your Mobo has to access 2 drives. What's the truth on this?

I'd like to have Firefox start and browse faster, but one concern is the amount of writing to the SSD. I've read that it's best to move the cache to the HDD... will the slowdown due to accessing 2 drives be noticeable? Would a Caviar Green suffice, if it has SATA-3 with 64MB cache?

But will moving Firefox cache actually prevent ALL or at least most of its crazy-high amount of writing* from going on the SSD? I'm skeptical because according to the Task Manager's Resource Monitor (disk tab), Firefox appears to be writing directly to a Windows folder (C:\Users\Name\AppData\Roaming) on the computer (SSD not installed yet)... can this be redirected, and should it be, since Firefox then slows back to HD speed? The oxymoron here is that the SSD was supposed to help performance!

* Firefox is writing at speeds as high as 4 MB/sec sometimes! I'm not even surfing the web right now, although I do have about 30 tabs open (in 3 windows/exe files of Firefox), but wow... at that rate, I'm estimating as high as 300-400 GB/day of writing! Is this accurate... if so, I'd suspect the pundits' estimates of SSD life are obsolete, as now flash is used so much more heavily on web sites, even when idle.

Any suggestions?? Thanks much.

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a c 115 G Storage
May 21, 2011 1:35:09 PM

Quote:
I don't think I'll be able to tolerate the supposed loudness of the WD Black Caviar drive!


Then get the Seagates

Seagate 7200.12 = 44.24 dB
WD Black = 52.60 dB

With each 3 dB meaning a doubling of sound pressure ... the Black is almost 8 times loader. I have 4 of them in an NAS 2 feet from my ears and they are dead silent. If you want the fastest, get the Barracuda XT.

http://benchmarkreviews.com/index.php?option=com_conten...

Quote:
For a hard drive, the Barracuda XT series offers the best performance available from a 7200 RPM mechanical storage device.


Quote:
I've gotten mixed feedback from salespeople... some say due to heavy interfacing b/w the OS and programs, it's best to have them on the same drive. Others say it doesn't matter if your Mobo has to access 2 drives. What's the truth on this?


Don't expect a life changing experience with an SSD ..... here's my test results on same box - equipped to boot either of SSD or HD

Boot to desktop (log in screen) - Barracuda XP - 21.2 seconds
Boot to desktop (log in screen) - Vertex 3 SSD - 15.6 seconds

The SSD should be reserved for programs that actually will have a tangible benefit. AutoCAD, PhotoShop kinda thing. This wouldn't include browsers and office apps. gaming is a mixed bag, Starcraft 2 loads in 2/3 the time on an SSD but tests I have done on one other MMO showed no difference ..... both ways loaded in 42-46 seconds with the HD winning in 2 outta the 5 tests, SSD in the other 3.

Quote:
I'd like to have Firefox start and browse faster,


It will start a fraction of a second faster ... it won't run faster as this is mostly dependent on temp file location

Quote:
Firefox appears to be writing directly to a Windows folder (C:\Users\Name\AppData\Roaming) on the computer (SSD not installed yet)... can this be redirected, and should it be, since Firefox then slows back to HD speed? The oxymoron here is that the SSD was supposed to help performance!


You can change your user files / temp files location

http://www.sevenforums.com/tutorials/18629-user-folders...
http://www.sevenforums.com/customization/145896-how-cha...



You will start maybe a fraction of a second faster, the browsing experience wont change. This is mostly dependent on temp file location.
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a c 415 G Storage
May 21, 2011 6:07:05 PM

I've been using an SSD on my system for about a year and a half now. I've installed all of my programs on the SSD and I also left my account profile there as well, which includes all the temporary folders and files. But all of my regular documents, photos, movies etc. are on separate hard drives.

I configured my system that way specifically to improve program startup performance and to minimize the time needed for web browsers to deal with history, cached pages & files, etc. I use Firefox, and occasionally resort to IE for the very few sites that seem to require it. I use my computer 8-10 hours each day and spend as much as half of that web surfing.

Going by the SMART data in my SSD (a 160GB Intel X-25M G2), over the past 18 months or so my average rate of writes to the SSD has been less than 5GB / day. Since Intel claimed that my SSD would last "at least" 5 years at a write rate of 20GB/day, I'd expect my SSD to last for 20 years or more. Of course it will be obsolete long before then.

I've had no regrets about leaving my temporary files on the SSD.
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May 21, 2011 6:55:04 PM

Disable prefetching:

type about:config in URL bar

change "network.prefetch-next" to false
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May 23, 2011 8:48:08 PM

Thanks for everyone's input. In addition to the SSD, I'll consider the Seagate (thanks) for my docs/data, as the Caviar Green may be too slow.

For those of you who are running Firefox, can you check your Task Manager's Resource Monitor and let me know where Firefox is writing to (SSD or HD), and where have you set the cache? I'm trying to figure out if all the writing will also get moved to the hard drive if one moves the cache there.

Also how much bytes/sec it's writing? I'm not sure if I should be counting both the top and middle sections.

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So my understanding is an SSD helps bootup and initial launching of apps, but how much difference will there be for intraday performance? Is there a lot of usage of Win7 (and thus the SSD)? The maker of my stocktrading program says most of the interfacing is with RAM.

I suppose if the SSD adds only minimal performance to an i7 desktop, I can just move it to my i7 laptop or a netbook... SSD should make a big difference for those, correct? Thanks.
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a c 415 G Storage
May 23, 2011 9:33:46 PM

In my case I've left Firefox's cache settings at the default so the files are placed into subfolders in my Windows profile folder (C:\Users\<username>\AppData\Local\Mozilla\Firefox\Profiles\<profile>.default\Cache), which is on the SSD. My experience is that clicking on a new, non-cached page generates a write rate of about 0.2 to 0.5MB/sec for anywhere from 1 to a few seconds, depending on the complexity of the page.

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November 15, 2011 6:59:40 AM

Best answer selected by joshuatree.
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