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What Brand/Series SSD do you prefer?

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July 22, 2011 2:51:05 AM

Hey all,

I'm looking to get a couple new SSD's to replace my old Intel X-25 M. While the one I have was great when it came out, it's aged considerably, and pretty much any new SSD available today can outperform it. Does anybody have suggestions on what brand/series of MLC-based Solid States are currently the top performers?
a b å Intel
a c 143 G Storage
July 22, 2011 4:18:41 PM

Performance: OCZ Sandforce 2200
Reliability: Intel (All models... even the Intel 320 with it's resent bug)
Balance: Crucial m4 or C300 models

I lean toward OCZ or Intel from my builds but the Crucial m4 is an excellent alternative for it's price and performance.
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July 22, 2011 4:42:10 PM

Alright! Thanks for the article, and the general summary! I think I'll probably go with the Crucial M4, as their ratings on newegg are fantastic, and they should be reliable enough that I could trust them to operate in a 3 drive RAID 0 configuration.
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a b å Intel
a c 353 G Storage
July 22, 2011 5:04:36 PM

If considering raid0 for the SSds:
(1) You lose Trim and have to rely on internal CG.
(2) The C300 had a rather poor CG, I believe the M4 has improved, but you may need to "sit" at the log-in screen occassionally to Clean the drive. The Intel also uses the same mavel controller as the M4, BUT they have their own firmware so not sure on CG.
(3) SF controllers have a better CG, but i DO NOT recommend OCZ SF22xx based SSDs (1) the worst in terms of "Dissatifaction" and (2) companies management concept.

(4) Also keep in mind that raid0 really only significantly improves Sequencial read/writes while only slightly improves small file access.
Seq's are most important for working with large data files (and that is if the files resides on the SSD, Small file access most important for Boot/program load times.
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a b G Storage
July 22, 2011 5:31:33 PM

I got interested in buying SSD's for a couple of laptops that we have, but upon shopping newegg I found that some of the models in my size range had really bad customer feedback, worse than I've seen on newegg for any other product I've researched. Well a hard drive is pretty important to how your machine runs, and real important to the integrity of your data, so I searched to try to find brands with reasonable feedback. Intel and Crucial seemed to have the best, although they have had glitches too. I don't care what controller it has or how fast it is in theoretical benchmarks, if it fails a week after you install it you aren't going to be happy.

It's pretty hard to tell from the benchmarks how it is going to run in real life. I've noticed that for most tests the SSD will test very many times faster than a mechanical hard drive, but in real world stuff they are a lot closer together. This leads me to believe that one SSD being a little faster than another one really doesn't matter a bit in real world performance.
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July 22, 2011 9:32:18 PM

RetiredChief said:
If considering raid0 for the SSds:
(1) You lose Trim and have to rely on internal CG.
(2) The C300 had a rather poor CG, I believe the M4 has improved, but you may need to "sit" at the log-in screen occassionally to Clean the drive. The Intel also uses the same mavel controller as the M4, BUT they have their own firmware so not sure on CG.
(3) SF controllers have a better CG, but i DO NOT recommend OCZ SF22xx based SSDs (1) the worst in terms of "Dissatifaction" and (2) companies management concept.

(4) Also keep in mind that raid0 really only significantly improves Sequencial read/writes while only slightly improves small file access.
Seq's are most important for working with large data files (and that is if the files resides on the SSD, Small file access most important for Boot/program load times.



I'm not necessarily going RAID 0 for highest performance, though it is a plus. What I honestly need right now, is a signficant chunk of space - preferably 500-1000GB, which is why I'm looking to RAID 2-3 drives together.

I've managed to narrow down my requirements quite a bit though.

1. The drives in question will need an excellent native Garbage Collector, seeing as I won't have access to TRIM in a RAID array.

2. The drives need to perform fairly high in terms of random 4k writes and reads. Like RetiredChief said, RAID0 will not improve them much, so I'll be "bottlenecked" by them.

3. Sequential reads/writes won't be very important, as having a RAID array should give me a fairly staggering value as far as they're concerned.

4. The drives need to be extremely reliable. A three-drive RAID 0 array means I'm three times as likely to experience a complete failure.

5. SATA III is preferred, as these drives will be a significant investment, and I'd like to be able to reuse them next time I build a computer from scratch.

Were it not for the fact that Intel's 510 SSD series has absolutely atrocious random 4k reads/writes, I'd have selected their drives in a heartbeat. High reliability, good Garbage Collection, and a SATA III interface let them almost hit the mark.
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July 22, 2011 9:57:45 PM

I prefer the OCZ brand... but only because my OCZ Vertex 2 60 GB has ran great and I have never had a single problem with it since purchase.

Now, after reading all the problems with the Vertex 3... I probably won't purchase another OCZ again, which is a shame. I may go with a Corsair, or Intel drive.
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a b å Intel
a c 353 G Storage
July 22, 2011 11:25:26 PM

@ Gene O. The lack of trim and reling sole on CG is highly dependent on usage. Back at the introduction of the C300 several reviews hit it on the CG. Agree that the CG was improved with the M4. Seams that a review I read indicated that under certain workloads the M4 had some problems. Also seem to remember comments to the effect, that if this was experienced that you just need to let set idle for a short time for cg to work it's magic. However not paid much attention as all my SSD utilize trim.

PS, I like my M4 sofar, One heck of a lot more that that agility III I got.
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July 23, 2011 12:10:11 AM

After some research based on everyone's advice, I've actually decided to go with Corsair's Performance 3 Series drives. While they don't have the greatest ability when it comes to randrom 4k reads/writes, or the most sequential read/write speed, they're known to be quite reliable, and have the most aggressive Garbage Collection system available for consumer SSD's.

All in all, I'd rather have reliable long term performance than a system which I need to wipe every 6-12 months to keep it running at full speed.

Thanks to everyone for the help/advice!
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July 23, 2011 3:33:06 AM

Thanks! Oddly enough, the only reviews I've found that actually demonstrate the incredible Garbage Collector in the P3 series are reviews of other SSD's. Every time, these disks are brought to their knees with TRIM disabled, while the Corsair Drives chug along as if it was day one - with, or without TRIM.

I may wait around for the upcoming Force Series GT, just to see if those feature their promised performance, and the same GC ability. If they pull it off, they would definitely be drives worth waiting for.
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a b G Storage
July 23, 2011 12:09:37 PM

If all you need is a large chunk of space, how about ignoring RAID 0? It depends exactly how you want to use the space, but you can use mount points or junction points to "join" hard drives together. The advantage is that each drive is separate, and thus you get TRIM support. It also means you can add a fourth drive (or more) later if you want to. And if a drive fails, you only lose the files on the drive (with RAID 0, a single drive failure means losing everything).
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July 23, 2011 9:04:29 PM

Junction points? I've never heard of this. As far as losing files go, that's more of an inconvenience than a concern to me. I've got a backup RAID 1 array that I use to store bulk data on my computer. Everything on my boot drive is replaceable, with the exception of gamesaves. And I've only got room for three additional drives anyways.
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