3 questions from SSD newbie

1. How do I find out if my laptop has SATA 2 or 3? It's an Asus UL50-VT, and I've scoured the Asus website, no luck. Just spent the last +30 minutes googling, again no luck. Surely there must be an easier way to do this!

2. I'm a non-gamer, use my Win7-HP(64bit) laptop for Web browsing, Office apps, occasional torrenting, audio/video playback. How big of an SSD should I get? All my storage is on external HDDs. I have a 40GB Intel SSD which I'll soon put in my +2 year old Ubuntu netbook. For Win7 would 64GB suffice, or is 128GB a much safer bet? I've heard that an SSD's performance suffers as it fills up...true? Am deciding between a 128GB Sandisk vs. a 64GB Crucial M4, the Sandisk on sale is only about $25 more...both seem to get very good user reviews, though I get the impression Crucial might be a somewhat better brand? Reliability is my #1 priority.

3. My Asus currently has a 7200rpm WD Caviar Black, 500GB. Aside from much faster booting up and opening of apps, would I really see any other significant real-world performance improvements with an SSD? Remember, I do zero gaming. Zero video editing. Very occasional and very basic photo editing. (Am reasonably happy with the ULV processor performance, though I have been lusting after the new Sandy Bridge laptops recently!)

Thanks for your help...
12 answers Last reply Best Answer
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  1. 1. Chances are it's SATA II. That doesn't really matter, though: few SSDs can actually max out a SATA II connection. You'll be fine. If you're intent on knowing, call them.
    2. How much data do you have on it right now?
    I'd go 120-128. You could be fine on 64gb with judicious space-scrimping, but it might not be worth the trouble.
    SSD performance decreases as it's used, yes, but not linearly. There's a drop early in its lifetime, and then it sits at that speed. It doesn't significantly depreciate over time, I believe.
    Crucial generally means reliability, but Samsung has come out as an extremely reliable option. Its drives are expensive, but you might want to go that way.
    3. That about sums it up. Fast boots and fast app launching. Oh, and searches'll be fast too. Make sure you turn off indexing; the drive's so fast that it's unnecessary, and those kinds of continuous, sweeping reads wear it out.
    I'd like to emphasize the boot, though, having just got myself a 120gb. Power-button-to-desktop time, the usual benchmark of boot performance, doesn't cover the time that my old HDD sat around after reaching the desktop, slowly starting utilities and unable to do anything useful for whole minutes. Now I'm ready to go within two or three seconds of hitting the desktop.
  2. 1) It really does not matter. The value of a SSD is for random times which are 50x faster than a hard drive, and that is what the OS and usual desktop activity does. Even with sata2, you are looking at 2x hard drive speeds in sequential.

    2) 40gb is possible, just for the os and a bit, but 60gb would be better. 80gb sounds about right, but see how much you are using now and get enough for that.

    3) Everything on your laptop will feel much quicker. Files will open instantly, and windows updates will install much quicker. INternet browsing does do some i/o too. A antivirus scan will be much faster.
    Bottom line, it will transform your laptop.

    4) My first choice for ssd reliability would be intel, or samsung. Read this:
  3. 1. How old is the laptop , it has Windows 7 so it can't be that old. But I think that it is sata2 , and it would be a good idea to get a sata3 SSD since it would be backwards compatable and in the off chance the laptop is sata3 then you would have the better SSD.
    2. The laptops used to come with a regular HDD that had a capacity of 160gb or 250gb so if you got a 120gb oreven a 180gb all you have to do is just be aware to not load everything and anything on to it. The Corsair Force GT 180gb is a good option , although I don't know what your budget is so I can't really recomend something too expensive. All of these have very good feedback.

    Corsair Force Series GT CSSD-F180GBGT-BK 2.5" 180GB SATA III Internal Solid State Drive (SSD)

    Corsair Force Series GT CSSD-F120GBGT-BK 2.5" 120GB SATA III Internal Solid State Drive (SSD

    Corsair Force Series GT CSSD-F240GBGT-BK 2.5" 240GB SATA III MLC Internal Solid State Drive (SSD)

    3. With a SSD for your HDD you will notice that everything about your computer will be faster and snapier , no more waiting for page loads. You will think that you have a brand new computer all the time.
  4. 1) Have two desktops and two laptops all with a 120/128 gig SSD for the OS + program drive - NO going back to a slow HDD.
    2) performance - all disk read/writes are lightning fast. No performance boost for CPU operations, nor are internet activity performance improve - download speed is controlled by connection speed. Your opening and saving of a speadsheet is very fast, but recaluclating the cells is not improved. Encoding, the same - reading and writing the file is great, but no increase for the cpu operation.
    3) Size: My recomendation for a single disk system such as a laptop is 120/128 gig.
    4) Brand - Samsung 830 or Curcial M4. DO NOT recommend OCZ. Note Newegg currently has both the samsung and the M4 128 gig on sale for about $210.
  5. i have 120 gb drive, just boot and some programs, and its easily takeing up 50gb of it already, go 120. it will give you head room and in all likely ness will extend the life of the drive.

    and for the sata 2 or 3, id say it doesnt matter, 3 gives you faster reads, 2 has a read cap, but does 2 cap io operations?

    you will see faster boot, longer battery life (by how much im not sure) and you honestly have no idea how much is read off the harddrive at all... the ssd doesnt just make booting things up faster, it also makes the random accesses faster too, on my 1.5tb 7200 drives, they were getting 120mbps in idea conditions. my boot only got 60mbps, and was constantly getting pushed so hard it would go in to the 2mbps and less range, and i broke down and got an ssd boot the day it read at 700kbps.

    keep in mind the ssd i have is purely a boot drive, but everything else is running faster and more responsive too. when people say an ssd is the single biggest upgrade most people can make, they are not kidding.
  6. Wow, thanks for all the responses. You've all been very helpful!

    Will try to answer all of your questions in one place:

    1. The Asus is about 1.5 years it summer 2010.

    2. Have filled up about 41GB on the C drive (OS & apps partition). I have about 210GB of docs and media on another partition, but that can easily be moved to an external HDD. So a $110 Crucial 64GB M4 should suffice...but would it run noticeably slower than the 128GB version due to the latter's extra headroom?

    I would feel a bit silly to blow $200 or more for the 128GB size, considering that right now a brand new i3 Asus laptop is only $380-400 and I think that the i3 alone would run circles around my current ULV processor.

    Geofelt: thanks for the link, that's a very useful article. I'll definitely stay away from OCZ, heh!

    I have to say, the prospect of dramatically faster boot-up and wake-up times is very appealing...I just realized that I do put my computer to sleep quite often each day, and waiting for it regain full functionality can be really tiresome.
  7. In actual usage, you would see little difference in performance among all of them. Laptop hard drives are usually slower than desktop to save energy. You will be very pleased by the rejuvination of your laptop.

    I might suggest the Intel 320 80gb drive as a good compromise between 64gb and 120gb @$140:
  8. Best answer
    ^ Yes the Intel 320 would be a good compromise on size.
    Zenrunner 92, Don't forget that 64 gigs is NOT the formatted size, you loose some due to the difference between decimial and power of 2's. I think it is about 4 gigs (my 128 gig M4 is really 119 Gigs). Also for SSDs you want to leave about 10% free - SSDs do NOT like running near 100% full.
    Bottom line is that that 64 gig drive becomes closer to 55 gigs.

    On hybernation. With an SSD this is not as big a factor. With a small SSD most disable hibernation for 2 reasons. (A) It takes up an amount of disk space equal to your RAM, so with 4 gigs Ram you loose 4 gigs of disk space (it's a hidden file normally stuck at the end of the disk). (B) Some combinations of SSD/MBs have a problem with waking up from Hybernation.

    Also take control of your page file (Virtual memory). As A minuium set the Min and Max to the same size. this prevents windows from increasing/decreasing the size on the fly. With a small SSD you can also move to a HDD. Performance hit is dependent on how often read/writes to the swap file occur. With 8 gigs of ram I set min/max to to 1024 Mb. If you get an out of memory error, just go in and increase the min/max values. For a 4 gig ram system windows sets the max size to about 6 gigs.
  9. OK, have just ordered the Intel 80GB 320ssd...about $30 more than the Crucial M4 but seems to be worth it.

    Will keep my fingers crossed that I don't get one of the ones with the 8MB bricking problem a few of the reviewers on Amazon were talking about (strangely enough didn't find any mention of it in the Newegg reviews), hopefully Intel's latest firmware update will take care of that.

    Thanks again for your input! :)
  10. I think you will find that Intel pretty much solved the 8 mb bug with a firmware update. Your's should already have that fireware version. Still recommend disabling hybernation.
  11. RetiredChief said:
    I think you will find that Intel pretty much solved the 8 mb bug with a firmware update. Your's should already have that fireware version. Still recommend disabling hybernation.

    Hope you're right about the bug.

    I actually don't use hibernation, just normal sleep mode. Hibernation always caused way too many problems on any machines I tried it on, and could never see any real advantage it had over sleep mode.
  12. Best answer selected by zenrunner92.
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