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SSDs = Overpriced & Substandard

Last response: in Storage
June 28, 2011 5:38:15 PM

Let me start of by saying I do not own and have had zero practical experience using an SSD. I am in the process of building a new system and have been reading extensively on them. My impression was they were New, cutting edge, more stable & expensive and thus better than traditional HDD's. From what I've read so far thats a mostly incorrect.

SSD Pros

Faster Boot time
Father Load time

Shorter lifespan
Very expensive in relation to size
smaller sizes over all

My main concern is that Im spending more money on something for a speed boost increase, I am told that I shouldn't write to the drive excessively, because that is "bad" and will damage the drive long term. The drives benefits being, speed, which is reduced because of the size of the drive and its limits in the number of programs I can load onto it, so Im forced to install/remove and reinstall programs that I am using and desire the speed increase with. All this re-installing and rewriting to my drive is damaging to it and helps to shorten its lifespan. None of which are issues I'd have to deal with using a regular large HDD.

So with the exception of getting into windows faster, and programs initially loading faster, Im not seeing much of a reason to justify the smaller size of SSDs or the increase cost of purchasing them.

Im really looking for people to correct my thinking here if its in error rather than start a flame war with SSD fanboys.

a b G Storage
June 28, 2011 5:59:40 PM

SSDs are not signifcantly more expensive when compared to performance oriented drives (SAS 15k drives or even vraptors) on a per GB basis. SSDs are significantly faster than HDs in all respects along with lower power consumption and no moving parts. I think it's yet to be how SSDs hold up long term on average. Take a look at the caching with the Z68 chipset, its a decent compromise....
June 28, 2011 6:31:00 PM

Not sure what SSDs your looking at but WD black caviar 1tb is around 85 bucks, 200g ssd is close to 500, 500g is over @700, at least on newegg.

Could you show me where you've seen that they are faster in all respects? everything I have read so far shows only faster load and read times. I know about no moving parts but that hardy seems a benefit when Im limited in the number of times I can write to the disc, at least compared to a traditional HDD. Espically when you consider the price premium you pay for SSD's
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a b G Storage
June 28, 2011 6:38:47 PM

Transfer rates and access times are FAR better on a good SSD. Its true you pay far more per GB, but you're paying for performance. A good quality SSD will blow away a WD Black cavier. If you want both space and performance, using a Z68 chipset and chaching to a smaller SSD (say 64GB) for a larger 2TB disk will give you a good balance of price, performance and capacity. A standalone SSD is still far faster in all respects. A good 7200RPM HD might have a seek time of 4ms, an SSD is almost instant. Some SSDs can do 10k+ iops a sec with transfer rates over 200MB/sec, far faster than any standalone 7200 or even 2 drives in RAID 0.

The best solution is tierded storage, SSD where you need performance, HDs where you need space.
a b G Storage
June 28, 2011 6:41:48 PM

Not to mention the power/heat advantages. I'm sure there is some cost savings in power over a 3 year life span, especially comparing multiple HDs to SSD.
June 28, 2011 7:27:30 PM

SSD should have comparable lifespan to HDD as long as you don't abuse it and have TRIM enabled. --- I can't remember the exact article I read but the guy mentioned that he writes about 5GB/day to his drive and overwrites often it should still last 10-20 years.
true your OS will load faster, but it also installs programs faster, loads programs faster, etc , your system will feel much snappier than before and it enhances your overall PC experience - that being said if you are more worried about just pure storage, don't buy one, just get yourself a 7200 RPM drive and you should still be satisfied,, just don't go from a system with a SSD to a system without one, you'll be disappointed
my SSD SMART data says it has never gotten above 30 degrees --- and it sits in the middle of my case right below a HDD and above 2 others with no airflow directly on it.
June 28, 2011 7:42:17 PM


This is the point Im trying to make.

"The best solution is tierded storage, SSD where you need performance, HDs where you need space. "

Your only going to see speed boots from files directly loaded onto your SSD. Files on tiered storage will not benifit. So that falls out of the cost benefit equation. I agree with you that a good SSD will blow away a WD caviar at load times, and boot times. but then what have you got? Due to the smaller size your limited in what you can load, your also limited in how often you can install and remove said programs. Reliability trumps speed, easy of use and practically also trumps speed.

is SSD a superior lvl of tech, absolutely
is it ready to replace standard HDD? absolutely not.
June 28, 2011 7:43:35 PM

Monkey what type of SSD are you using?
a b G Storage
June 28, 2011 7:49:42 PM

I wouldn't dream of going back to HDD based OS volumes. You can do so much more all at once with SSD compared to HDD.

So, in the end it all boils down to.. speed cost's money.. how fast do you want to go?

Whether it's ready to replace HDD is entirely subjective based on that "need for speed".

I do know that for business purposes?.. there is time to be saved and extra money to be made with them.
June 28, 2011 7:52:40 PM

The SSD won't speed up game performance, or allow you to multitask better. The key benefit of an SSD OS drive is that programs will _load_ faster, and the boot sequence will go faster. Once the program is running, unless you are swap-bound and the swap file is on the SSD, it has no effect on how things run.

if I have enough memory, multitasking doesn't require paging so the speed of my page file doesn't matter.

If you are multitasking and all the tasks are reading from disk and the reads are to the SSD you will see an improvement, but the multitasking that I generally do is not heavily dependent on disk reads.
a b G Storage
June 28, 2011 8:48:50 PM

I would argue that your storage speed drasitcally affects your overall computer experience, even though your FPS might be the same once you're finally done with your load screen...
Its like the car problem.. Choose any 2

Cars Drives
Fast Fast
Reliable Large
Cheap Cheap

a c 415 G Storage
June 28, 2011 11:35:25 PM

I've spent my money on a premium CPU (Core i7 920) and plenty of RAM (12GB). Without an SSD, all that high-powered hardware just sits around and waits for a pokey slow disk drive when its forced to do file I/O.

If you're the kind of person who's willing to pay a premium for a fast CPU and plenty of RAM, then IMHO it doesn't make sense to scrimp on the disk drive. Mechanical hard drives have access times that are literally a million times slower than RAM. SSDs improve that by a factor of 100X.

My experience is that an SSD makes the system appear to respond pretty much instantly to anything I do. I don't have to fidget and wait for programs to load, and in some cases the work I do within a program (such as documentation lookups inside Visual Studio 2008) are virtually instant compared to what I had to put up with on a hard drive.

It's a hard thing to quantify, but every time I go back to using another system with a hard drive I cringe and silently thank myself for ponying up for an SSD.
a b G Storage
June 29, 2011 12:01:08 AM

I came from a 6 drive R0/HDD before I moved to SSD and there is no comparison to the multitasking ability of just one single SSD. And 6 SSD's in raid 0 are even better in that regard if you really like to push/pull data fast and hard. Sure transfers to the OS drive move faster to an HDD array as it would to a single SSD(if you have fast enough storage to take advantage of it and I do). But as Porky Pig would say.. tha..tha..that's all folks!

As sminlal already pretty much said.. HDD is not even in the same catagory for multitasking ability due to low latency/seek times and random small file perfomance of SSD.
a c 415 G Storage
June 29, 2011 1:13:42 AM

The other thing I should mention is that most folk's fears about the longevity of SSDs are greatly exaggerated. My 160GB Intel X-25M G2 drive is rated for "at least" 5 years of life if I write 20GB of data to it every day. After 18 months of operation I'm averaging 5GB/day of writes (that's without a pagefile but with an occasionally used hibernation file and with my profile, and therefore my temporary internet files, etc. on the SSD). At that rate, it will take me 20 years to "wear out" the drive.

The drive will, of course, be long obsolete well before then.
July 2, 2011 9:43:01 PM

"If you're the kind of person who's willing to pay a premium for a fast CPU and plenty of RAM, then IMHO it doesn't make sense to scrimp on the disk drive."

This sentence perfectly sums up the whole debate...

After a few days of using my new Cosair Force-A SSD I don't think I will ever go back to using a platter disk for windows.

a c 258 G Storage
July 3, 2011 7:14:21 AM

lieutenantfrost - Solid stat drives are not new. They've been arround for quite a few years over in the business enterprise side of the market. The vast majority of the enterprise drives are PCI-e based. I've read enough articles, reports, and white papers to know their performance with big business, financial, scientific, and other professional applications can be pretty amazing. Take for example VMware and compiling using a variety of databases. The time it takes to compile the data is typically cut in half. Compiling that used to take 4 hours now only takes 2 hours. Pretty darn good.

How does that translate into consumer/home use? Unfortunately not very well because of one very very important factor - PRICE! We simply can't afford state of the art PCI-e based ssd's. Prices for state of the art ssd's start at about $10,000.00 and go up from there. We simply can't affford them. Another problem is the datalink between a consumer grade motherboard and the ssd. Consumers typically use SATA datalinks instead of PCI-e datalinks so manufacturers dummied down the consumer ssd's and restricted performance down to SATA and USB levels. The consumer migration to PCI-e based ssd's is just beginning. I think the official adoption of PCI-e 3.0 last year; the appearance of the first motherboards with PCIe 3.0 slots last week; OCZ's PCI-e offerings; and Intel's announcement that the company will be offering PCI-e based ssd's before the end of this year might help the migration. As soon as video card manufacturers join in things will get really interesting. The implications and evolution are enormous.

A few weeks ago I decided to purchase an entry level ssd that was on sale for $1.04/GB. The main reason I purchased it was so I could do a little experimenting and find out how a ssd could benefit photo editing. I wasn't satisfied with the usual aswers about "feeling snappy and more responsive". How do you quantify that in practical terms that are easy to understand?

When I retired from military service I went to work as a digital imaging editor for a large nationwide company. I did a lot of high end stuff for clients. I am semi-retired now but I still do some semi-professional work. Here's what I can tell you from my own personal experience. With one notable exception the time it takes for batch processing, image rendering, and file conversions has been greatly reduced. No more sitting around waiting for things to happen.

There are other things I do that are not improved by an ssd. I am totally dependent on my Internet Service Provider for access to the web. The level of service is inconsistent. I create PHP scripts, web pages, email, and documents. Performance is totally dependent on my typing and mousing skills. The fastest ssd in the world will not help me type or cut and paste faster.

It all boils down to usage. SSD Performance depends on the task to be completed.

Now, about reliability, dependability, and longevity - The first consumer grade ssd was a Samsung unit reviewed by Tom's Hardware and another web site in 2007. It was a prototype. If memory serves it was not called a ssd and it never made it to market. Things didn't start happening until 18 months ago. It is simply too early to tell anything about reliability, dependability, and longevity. Ask again in 5 years.
July 4, 2011 10:43:19 AM

lieutenantfrost said:

Could you show me where you've seen that they are faster in all respects? everything I have read so far shows only faster load and read times. I know about no moving parts but that hardy seems a benefit when Im limited in the number of times I can write to the disc, at least compared to a traditional HDD. Espically when you consider the price premium you pay for SSD's

...Wait can anyone find a place that shoes that they AREN'T faster in all aspects? Any time the HD has to be accessed there's a benefit.

As someone said the way to use an SSD is for tiered storage. Storage goes on platters, OS and frequently used programs go on the SSD. 500GB SSD, 250, and maybe even 120GB is way too much for most people. The idea isn't to put everything on it. Trying to put an entire mp3 collection on it, so music comes up fast would be stupid, but putting Windows 7 on it so it boots up in less than 20 seconds is a good idea. Any MS Office program from a cold boot comes up reasonably fast, but with an SSD it's instant. Another thing I never see anyone mention are virus scans, and anti-spyware checks. How many times have people run a boot-time scan, or even one in Windows, but quit it because they wanted to get into their computer, or because it was slowing down some other task? With an SSD this time goes by much faster, and you don't have to hear the "grinding" sound of an HD in motion, something that applies at all times.

They're also also good for professional presentation. Though it's not yet part of my career I've had to give quite a few professional presentations. I always like to make sure that what I need is queued up so what I need comes up instantly, but it's a bit unprofessional (though understandable) when clicking on something and having to wait through the awkward pause when the computer has to load up a file. In the case of someone wanting to pull up a large file it's just so much smoother when it's ready to go instantly.

Finally over the life of a computer things just add up. Not in a the-seconds-I've-saved-add-up-to-minutes-and-hours-I-could-have-been-doing-something-else-sort-of-way, but just a smoother experience. People (like me) who like to format their computer now and then, don't have to put it off or schedule doing so. Then there's all the times when I've put off a restart because I didn't want to deal with the reboot time, Windows updates etc.
July 5, 2011 4:54:35 PM

Many thanks Jonnylucky I appreciate the depth of your response. really helped.