SSD Noob Requesting Help!

Hello all forum-goers,

I'm terribly sorry to bother y'all like this, but I'd like to get some information and some opinions on getting an SSD.

Currently, I use a Toshiba Qosmio X505-Q870 as my primary PC. It has 2 hard drive bays in it, as most Qosmio models do; the one that is there is a 500GB HDD, 7200RPM. Running Windows 7 Ultimate (have the "upgrade to Ultimate" CD, not the original installation CD). Funny thing is, I'm not sure what mobo I have, or if the mobo can handle the highest speed SSDs available. I believe it'd be the Intel PM55 Chipset, which on Wikipedia says it should handle SATA III.

I have been having some issues with boot speed, and SSD's seem to be the way to go when it comes to booting up to the quickly.

I have looked at many models, really looking at the lower-cost models. What I'm aiming for is this:

- Low-cost (rebates or not)
- Enough space on the SSD for the OS and a couple higher-priority programs

Of course, that doesn't narrow it down... I read into SSDs a little, and learned a little more. However, I'd like clarification on some ideas I read over:

- What is the difference between "asynchronous" and "synchronous"? I heard "synchronous" was better, and can be expensive (but for some models, not that much)
- How much space is 60GB really worth to the rest of y'all? Will 120GB be too much to run most programs?
- What brand would be the best these days?
- For my laptop, would it be wise to get a SATA III (I'm worried if it's not compatible with my mobo) or SATA II would suffice?

I appreciate anyone's help in this matter. I'm a busy person, but I'm a very amateur enthusiast. I think this is the right step in improving my laptop's performance (as far as booting goes). I'd really appreciate positive comments, not negative ones. Thank you all.

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  1. Starting off with the laptop. The Intel® Core™ i7-720QM is a 1st generation Intel Core processor so you would be using an HM55, HM57, PM55, or QM55 chipset which really isnt important except for one thing these chipsets don't support SATA III. So don't worry about a SATA III in an SSD since you can't tap into the performance from it.

    As far as the question on asynchronous vs. synchronous I would advise that you take a few minutes and read this article as it helps clear up this issue for you

    My experience is that something between 60GB and 80GB is really a sweet spot for most people in a boot drive. When it comes down to performance there are a lot of SATA III drive that are very fast but since your laptop wont support them I would focus on a good fast drive that is also reliable. Look at the Intel® SSD 320 80GB drive. This drive has good performance but also it has great reliability and comes with a 5 year warranty. Setting it up as a boot drive with your OS and a couple standard applications will work well for this drive.

    Christian Wood
    Intel Enthusiast Team
  2. Actually I have a Intel 320 80GB SSD. It performs admirably. Boots before the windows logo shows up on the screen. Best part is got it with a $80 MIR so it was just over 1$/GB. It has plenty of space for OS+Programs.
  3. I appreciate the help from both of y'all.

    I'm glad I double-checked what you said, Christian, and you're right, that the PM55 can only handle 3GB/s. I don't know which Wiki page I saw that the PM55 could handle 6GB/s, but this makes things a little easier. Sad I can't get the SATA III, but now I know I can spend less money, which is fine with me (poor college student here, heh).

    I think I did check up on the Intel 320 80GB SSD, Jamie, and it was on NewEgg for $70 after MIR, which I wish I would have gotten. While I would prefer Intel, I have looked around and saw that Samsung has some of the best SSDs (but I'm probably referring to the newer 830 SATA III drives). I see OCZ, Patriot, and Kingston are also viable competitors in the market. I'm still looking around, reading as many reviews as I can.

    To all forum-goers: any particular brands of SATA II SSD's I should lean towards? Thanks!

  4. here:,3115.html
    It's a little outdated (just under a month) but should do the trick.
  5. I got a question for all those out there who could clarify:

    I've been reading reviews on Amazon and NewEgg, and OCZ (esp. Vertex SSDs) gets some low reviews. Looking closely, they all say that the drives die out within weeks. What's up with OCZ quality? Thought they were good.
  6. ^ I have not gotten a response to my last question. I'd like anyone's opinions on that.

    Also, another question - if a SATA III SSD says it's "backwards-compatible to 3Gb/s", will it comply with a PM55 chipset?
  7. Yes, you can use a SATA-3 (6Gbps) drive in a SATA-2 (3Gbps) connector on a PM55 chipset. Your performance will be limited to SATA-2 performance, but there should be no other downside.

    In fact, you could use a SATA-3 SSD in a "SATA-1" channel if you didn't mind a 1.5Gbps restriction.

    As far as OCZ's reputation, you are likely to spark a Holy War if you keep prodding that question. :D
  8. Thanks wpcoe, I feel a lot better knowing I'm not too hindered if I buy a SATA III... there are more rebates and better deal from those than SATA II these days anyway.

    And, thanks for the warning... I guess I'll do some research here and elsewhere about OCZ's quality.
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