Would an ssd benifit me?

I have been reading about ssd drives and got very technical to the point; I thought it was a foreign language. I am in the first stages of building a new rig for myself.

I have seen that ssd prices have came down a lot and I was thinking about buying one. Even after going through the suggested reading and reading Anandtech, I am still left with this question.

Are SSDs just really good at opening programs and multi-tasking, or is there a huge benefit over normal 7,200rpm HDDs while running a program?

I am not really interested in boot up times, I can wait, I am not interested in making a program launching 15-30 secs faster. I want to know if the games or programs I am running will run faster or better, because I am still looking at cost/benefit. Any help with this question would be much appreciated.
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  1. Excellent question and the subject of a few spirited discussions in other forums.

    As you have already found out software applications and games will load faster. After that things can become very confusing. The typical response is something along the lines of "My pc feels snappy and applications seem to respond better". It is something that is difficult to quantify.

    A game installed in a solid state drive will load faster. If maps or charts need to be called up they will load faster. After that it is a crapshoot. There may or may not be some sort of performance boost. The ssd will not improve FPS.

    Software applications are a mixed bag. The biggest improvements I have seen are with certain professional/business scenarios. Some of the results are quite spectacular. For example I have read reports indicating that the time it takes for some types of compiling were cut in half. For example a job that used to take 4 hours now only takes 2 hours. Unfortunately those professional scenarios do not apply to gamers and enthusiasts. We're in a totally different niche market.
  2. I have a computer plugged to my 52" TV in the living room, where we watch movies. It's a high performance PC so I bought an SSD for it. But recently I upgraded my office PC to play games so I can enjoy the more violent ones without exposing my kids to it. Needless to say, I took my SSD and put it in the office, replacing the home theater PC's system drive for a single 7200rpm, 32mb cache, HDD. In order to keep things nice and tidy, here are some bullet points to my observations:

    1- Windows: Even my wife, who normally doesn't give a damn about computer parts, has expressed how much she misses the SSD that we used to have in our HTPC. The boot time on the SSD versus my harddrive is a HUGE difference. My HDD, WD Caviar Black 1TB, takes a couple of minutes to boot windows, and then another couple of minutes to finish loading up all the start-up software and etc. My SSD, Corsair P256, takes 30seconds to load up windows, and the desktop is usable as soon as it pops up on the screen.

    2- Games: They load up much faster, if it's a game that uses the storage drive a lot. But like JohnnyLucky said: it won't affect your FPS or anything like that. I guess the SSD creates very little heat, which can help with performance in the long run. But don't quote me on that, I could be wrong.

    3- Editing/multitasking software: When I set my Adobe Premier Pro to render my project file and export it into .avi, I would get out of my office and go wash the dishes or do some other chore around the house, while waiting for my PC to finish the task. But with this SSD, I can sit and wait for 30seconds or so, and it's done.

    If money is a big factor, the SSD is the least necessary component inside your PC. Buy a single 1TB harddrive and you'll never regret your decision. Later, if you have the money, turn that 1TB drive into a secondary back up drive, and buy a modest 120gb SSD to use as a system drive. I'm sure you'll enjoy the benefits.
  3. senvae - good to read that Adobe rendering processes are faster with a solid state drive. The other day I purchased an entry level Kingston SSDNow V+100 SATA II 96GB ssd that is on sale at newegg for $99.99 after mail in rebate. I bought it so I could experiment with Adobe CS5 photo editing as well as some video editing.

    Do you use an autosave feature with your Adobe products? Does the ssd speed up the autosave?
  4. First off I have never really done anything fancy with my hard drives like raid or using an ssd, so I am a complete noob when it comes to this kind of stuff, but I have decided that in my new build I would like to work on this area. I have a budget of around 1,200-1,500, and I am going to go with a 15-2500k build.

    Like I said before I am not too worried about load times as I am a patient person. But after going over the cost/benefit. Would two 6.0 sata WD black 500 or 1tb in raid 0 be a significant increase in performance?

    I see the price difference very easily.

    2 WD 500g black 6.0 sata @ $60X2= $120/500g= 0.24 c/gb
    2 WD 1tb black 6.0 sata @ $90x2= $180/1tb= 0.18 c/gb
    1 OCZ Vertex 2 120gb @ $209= 1.74 c/gb

    So after looking at those prices and I know that an ssd for 1.74 c/gb ratio is not that bad, but could raid 0 give me anything close to an ssd? I mean for me a simple improvement from my usual 1 hdd 7,200rpm on sata 3 to a raid 0 using sata 6.0 should give me real world benefit right?

    Or would a single WD VelociRaptor 600gb 6.0 sata @ $209= 0.35 c/gb a better solution.

    I am sorry but I am getting confused there are three options here for me and I am having a hard time trying to decide.

    I also should mention that I am going to use my computer mostly for gaming and school, but I do use my computer for some research and the program does do some number crunching.

    Or would you recommend this kind of setup?

    1 120gb or 128gb SSD for C drive and just install the os
    1 wd black 1tb for D drive and install all program files and games
    1 wd blue 1.5tb for E drive for movies, photos, backup
  5. I did some similar research last year. Here is what I was told repeatedly through forums and reviews. SSD, no matter which one, is MUCH faster than any HDD solution. That includes RAID configurations, 10,000+ RPM HDDs, or HDDs with high cache. The problem with HDDs, is that it's a needle scratching over a disc. You can only go so fast with a mechanical process like that. SSD uses instant technology like RAM of Flash Drives.

    A RAID solution could work for you but that's 2 HDDs creating heat inside your case, and 2 SATA ports taken for one system drive solution... for some people, the motherboard's SATA ports are needed for other things, and some of them can get covered by a fat video card's tail. Which was my probem for years, with my old GTX280, and 2 storage drives, and 2 optical drives... It was a harder decision to make just a year ago, since HDDs were so much cheaper, they would allow you to budget for bigger video cards or etc. But now, one SSD (if you catch a good online special) is about the same price as 2 HDDs. Since the SSD is smaller, it's almost mandatory to buy one HDD for storage. I usually put movies/mp3s/important .exe files in there, while I install windows on the SSD as well as games, to make everything faster.

    One problem you might not have forseen: maintenance of an SSD is different than HDDs. You'll need to learn how to clean up a drive using something like "Parted Magic" instead of using the Windows installation "format" solution. I've of some people who killed their SSD with the format. Also, the speed of an SSD can deteriorate fast as you use it, but from my exprience, it's not very noticeable. A clean wipe once a year should keep it in peak performance. If you're using Windows 7, you'll probably want to learn how to test if TRIM was enabled for the harddrive, and how to set up your motherboard for proper SSD handling. So if you're not willing to read up on all those things, the HDD solution will be easier for you.

    I think the whole experience was worth it, but your impression might be different. It's very satisfying to see how quickly your cpu/ram can start up programs if they are not bottlenecked by an ancient technology like HDD.
  6. thank you senvae for your time and your response. I have a month or so before I my build so I have the time to do the research, but at current prices I will only be able to purchase a 120gb or 128gb ssd and since I play many games I am afraid my ssd would fill up to quickly. So I think I will have to buy a second hard drive for just games and programs, like office, my research program etc. I plan on buying this motherboard.

    ASUS P8P67 DELUXE (REV 3.0) LGA 1155 Intel P67 SATA 6Gb/s USB 3.0 ATX Intel Motherboard

    So I think it should be fine. I just hope that if I install my games on the D drive that they will still be able to run quickly.

    P.S. I use windows 7 ultimate.
  7. @JohnnyLucky - I haven't even noticed the autosave happening most of the time, so I imagine it's fast. The project's sequence timeline rendering seems incredibly faster, but sometimes it's hard to compare one video project against another.
  8. Well Coryjm, you could save a lot of money by buying a OCZ Vetex 2, which had excellent reviews. Since the new Vertex 3 series are coming out, I've noticed NCIX.com has had the Vertex 2 on special for pretty cheap. I think my SSD on SATA 2 is still much faster than any HDD. Obviously my Corsair Performance 256gb is only half the price I paid for, but it is still 400$ roughly, so size does matter. It might actually be cheaper to buy two 120gb SSDs and install them in RAID, than to buy one 256gb like I did.

    Maybe what you could do is intall only the games you are currently playing on day to day basis, and use a storage HDD to save old save files on games you aren't using currently. OR install the game files of some older games on the HDD, the ones that wouldn't bug you too much if they were slower.

    Right now I have Starcraft 2, Just Cause 2, Darksiders, Batman Arkham Asylum, Metro 2033, Audiosurf, all installed on Windows 7, with Adobe Premier Pro CS4 (HUGE software) with saved project files, and I have about 138gb used. So one single 120gb might actually do the trick for you.
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