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SOLID STATE DRIVES... ARE THEY WORTH IT ?

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July 21, 2011 11:46:24 AM

Hi guys
ive been looking at the "OCZ 30GB Agility SSD"( http://www.ebuyer.com/product/167827 ) ... which i would use as a boot/windows drive .... however what kind of improvement in performance would i see ?
ive read numerous articles and reviews on ssd,s and some guys have considered them the best upgrade they have ever made ... however whats your opinions
1) is there a way you can set windows to use your larger sata drive as the default installation drive for programs/games... in other words so you dont need to change the installation directory every time you install a game or program
2) is there anything you need to do to the ssd prior to reinstalling windows 7 ..... i have seen some guys having to use gparted ... but why .... cant you simply format the ssd using the windows 7 installation utility that appears just before the installation begins (below )

im lucky enough to have a 2.5" adapter which i got with my excellent NZXT M59 case... so its just a case of fitting the drive to this and sliding into a spare 3.5" bay ......
ive also found the "OCZ 30GB Vertex SSD"( http://www.ebuyer.com/product/160730 ) ... would this be better than the OCZ 30GB Agility SSD ?
many thanks guys
a c 415 G Storage
July 21, 2011 3:45:23 PM

The difference between having an SSD for the operating system and a hard drive is like the difference between driving a sports car and a minivan. The sports car doesn't carry as much, and on a trip across town it won't really get you there that much faster than a minivan. But it sure feels a lot faster and nobody will be able to beat you away from a traffic light.

To the best of my knowledge there's no way to change Windows' default program installation directory - you have to manually choose the directory you want when you install each program the first time. IMHO it's really not a big deal since you only have to install the programs once (upgrades and patches are usually smart enough to go into the same directory that the program was originally installed in).

If you boot from the Windows 7 install disk you can use it to delete all the partitions and create new ones. This will issue TRIM commands to the drive to let it know that all of the blocks are free, and as long as your drive understands TRIM commands this will allow the wear leveling algorithms to perform optimally.

IMHO its best to buy an SSD with plenty of space so that you can place at least your most-frequently used applications on it as well as the OS itself.
a c 307 G Storage
July 21, 2011 8:26:01 PM

2. There are four scenarios for designating the installation drive

1. An installation Wizard will have a "browse" button you can click on and choose which drive and/or folder to install a program.

2. Another Installation Wizard gives you a choice of either a "recommended install" or "custom install" Choosing custom install usually lets you specify which drive and/or folder.

3. Third Installation Wizard just has a form field showing the installation path and nothing else. Usually you can change the installation path in the form field by simply replacing the C with a D or other drive letter.

4. Fourth Installation Wizard was poorly designed and does not have any method for changing the installation path. The author incorrectly assumed an indivdual would want to install the software on the default drive. In Windows the default drive is C:.

There is a Windows solution for the 4th scenario!

You can change the Windows default drive from C: to D: or any other letter

Open the Windows registry and go to:

[HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion]

there is a string called ProgramFilesDir

The default value is C:\ProgramFiles.

Change the value to D:\ProgramFiles.

Save the change.

Reboot your computer.

Install your software.

In Scenario #4 the software will be installed on the D: drive. The other scenarios will suggest the D: drive

After the software is installed you'll probably want to go back into the Registry and change the default drive back to C: just in case.

2. Nothing ineeds to be done to the ssd itself prior to installing it or prior to installing Windows 7. It is the system BIOS which must be checked to make sure ACHI mode is enabled.
Related resources
a c 415 G Storage
July 22, 2011 1:37:00 AM

JohnnyLucky said:
Open the Windows registry and go to:
[HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion]
there is a string called ProgramFilesDir
Wow, this is very useful! Now I no longer have to tell people that there's no way to change this.

Thanks for passing this tidbit along!
a b G Storage
July 22, 2011 2:00:17 AM

Yeah that is awesome indeed! Thanks for sharing that!
July 22, 2011 9:15:09 PM

sminlal said:
The difference between having an SSD for the operating system and a hard drive is like the difference between driving a sports car and a minivan.


No, it's more like the difference between a minivan and a Smart car with a rocket on the back that runs for five seconds before it burns out. SSDs will improve boot time and program loading time, but they generally won't improve performance in normal use once your programs are running.

One place where they are a big benefit is software compilation, which can be very disk intensive; but I've heard from some people using cheap SSDs for software development that they have to replace disks after a few months as they wear out. Similarly databases which require a lot of random disk writes, but then you'd better be using expensive disks that can handle a lot of write cycles.

I have them as boot drives in the machines where I care about boot performance, and have HDDs in the rest.
a c 415 G Storage
July 23, 2011 12:01:16 AM

MarkG said:
No, it's more like the difference between a minivan and a Smart car with a rocket on the back that runs for five seconds before it burns out. SSDs will improve boot time and program loading time, but they generally won't improve performance in normal use once your programs are running.
That was why I pointed out that the "sports car" wouldn't make that much of a difference in a drive across town, but it does get you away from the traffic lights a lot faster. I think it's a pretty apt analogy, if I do say so myself.
a c 307 G Storage
July 23, 2011 12:49:26 AM

I forgot to mention something.

In Windows 7 64 versons there are two default strings - C:\ProgramFiles and C:\ProgramFiles (x86).
a b G Storage
July 23, 2011 1:19:54 AM

Just search the registry for the old string and do a replace....
!