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Upgrading to SSD, need to make decision

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February 27, 2012 11:11:06 AM

Hello there,

few days ago I've decided to upgrade some of my stuff, and I've decided to get a SSD.
First of all, I use my PC for games, and I've encountered several questions, when I was trying to pick the right SSD for me.

Seems there is large number of brands out there offering large amount of many products , which vary in price, performance, size etc. I'd like to ask some questions, that will be hopefully answered, thanks in advance.

At this moment I am using the Intel Socket 1366 Intel X58 Rampage III Extreme motherboard(chipset ver.13, BIOS verison 1102, 9/23/2010) and i plan to use the PC for gaming mostly , and I plan to have SSD for OS and games, so the other HDD will be used as storage. I am planning to buy only 1 SSD within price range 150 - 230 Euro.

What should be the most suitable size of SSD for me?
I've read that my mobo delivers up to 6.0Gb/s data transfer rates. Should i get a SSD that can profit with that?
Are there any specials "moves" in Bios /on board/in Win needed after SSD installation on that specific mobo?
Is the BIOS flash needed aswell?

Are there any products that should be avioded exactly for that type of Mobo?
Are there any products that should be avioded ,because of the bad reputation/bad tech.?
What brand 'd u reccomend, and why?


I am really appreciate the help, and thanks again :ange:  .
February 27, 2012 11:15:11 AM

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a c 289 G Storage
February 27, 2012 12:45:14 PM

Bump not, lest ye be bumped.

A recent Tom's article agrees with my outlook: SSDs are so great compared to HDDs that you will be happy with the one you get. See http://www.tomshardware.com/reviews/sata-6gbps-performa...

Tom's publishes a periodic "Best SSD for the money" article. You should look up the most recent one and check out your price range. See http://www.tomshardware.com/reviews/ssd-review-benchmar...

I think that all current SSDs are built with the SATA III interface, 6.0 Gb/s, so that should not be an issue.

For installation tips, look through the stickies at the top of this forum. There are many. The key ones are to set your controller out of IDE mode to AHCI mode (or RAID if you are raiding other drives) for the install, disconnect all HDDs for the install, and one other that slips my mind.

Have fun.
Related resources
a c 353 G Storage
February 27, 2012 12:49:14 PM

1) DO NOT use the “advertized” performance.
… Reason. Advertized performs is generally for Sequential read/writes. (A) This is the least important matrix for an OS + Program drive. (B) Most advertized performance is based on a Benchmark that uses highly compressible data, Not typical for an OS + Program drive.
.. For benchmarks, look for PCMark vantage which is more realistic of day-to-day performance. These are normally broken out by application (in your case look at gaming. AS SSD is the only other alternative. AS SSD uses data that is not readily compressible, closer to real life.

2) Buy a SATA III SSD BUT Do NOT use your MB marvel based Sata III (6) controller, use the Intel Sata II (3) controller.
.. The Marvel based controller is an early generation controller and does not perform well. There is only a slight Real life difference using a sata III SSD on SATA II vs using it on SATA III. This is primarily due to the fact that With SATA III the Sequential read/writes are the only matrix to exceed SATA II Bandwidth, and as stated this is not an important matrix.
.. Why buy a Sata III then – For when you upgrade the MB.

3) Buy the largest size you can afford. Min is 60/64 Gig. Recommended is the 120/128 gig. If you can afford a 240/256 go for it.
.. A typical installation of windows + programs (excluding games) will use 35->45 gigs.
.. using 128 gig as Ex. Don’t forget you lose About 7 gigs due to the Decimal to Power of 2’s conversion (128 gig really = 111 Gigs. You also lose an additional 10 % -> 15% as you DO NOT want to fill the SSD to more than 85->90%.

4) My preference:
.. Crucial M4 (Marvel based), Samsung 830 (Samsung based), Intel 510 (marvel based). Not listed in order – Go for the Best Price/gigs. If Price is very close, then Intel -> Samsung -> M4
.. The Intel 520 May be considered with the above, It uses the SF based controller and I’ve not seen enough USER feedback on it. Based on Intel’s track record it should be a good choice.
.. Avoid SF22xx based SSDs (easy to identify as normally 120 gig vs 128 Gig for marvel based. My primary reason is they seem to have the Highest DISSATISFACTION quotient.
.. Avoid the Agility III. It is generally the lowest priced And is for Good reason. Advertized Seq performance looks great – NOT. If you run AS SSD bench mark on it you will find that the Sequential performance drops off considerably – In fact SATA III vs Sata II connection, NO difference.

I have installed on My systems:
.. I5-2500k. 1 Samsung 830 for OS (replaced the crappy Agility 3) and a 120 gig agility 3 for a scratch disk.
.. I5-2410M RF-711 laptop. 2 Crucial M4s
.. I5-750. A pair of Sata II SSDs...
..Older laptop. Two Sata II SSDs (both are a OS + Program drive, Only one HDD bay, so I swap in/out depending on what I want to do).

Recommend you read reviews at Newegg, even though you will not buy from. Pay attention to the 1/2 egg comments and percentages of negative reviews.
http://www.newegg.com/Product/ProductList.aspx?Submit=E...
a c 353 G Storage
February 27, 2012 1:13:44 PM

Added:
For “After purchase” tips.
Emphasize what WyomingKnott stated:
.. Make sure Bios is set to AHCI
.. Disconnect HDD until AFTER windows 7 have been installed on the SSD.

Some of the Tweaks I do:
.. Disable Hibernation. Saves an amount of space equal to your Ram. Not really need for an SSD, and in some cases has created a problem waking up.
.. Page file. Set Min and max to the same value. I normally recommend setting to 1024 mb. This saves about 5 gigs. You can set “C” drive to none and place on the HDD – Only a SMALL performance hit.
.. Move C drive My Documents to the HDD.
.. Set internet temp file to HDD.
.. ADDED: Limit the size of restore point, Or disable. Restore point over time can eat up a considerable amount of disk space. END ADDED

Important. Once you have the SSD all set up (Windows installed, all windows updates, Drivers installed and your programs installed) Connect HDD then test system. If system is great then: use windows backup (in control panel) and do a backup of the System drive (Your SSD). Place this image on the HDD root directory. I also copy the image file to an external HDD just in case.
Reason: Should you need to wipe/restore windows 7, you can do it in 10 to 15 minutes using the Repair, repair using image file. No going thru a Re-install, Do windows Update, load drivers, load programs. Walla - The repair from image will have you back up and running in as stated about 15 min!!!
a b G Storage
February 27, 2012 1:36:10 PM

RetiredChief said:
Added:
For “After purchase” tips.
Emphasize what WyomingKnott stated:
.. Make sure Bios is set to AHCI
.. Disconnect HDD until AFTER windows 7 have been installed on the SSD.

Some of the Tweaks I do:
.. Disable Hibernation. Saves an amount of space equal to your Ram. Not really need for an SSD, and in some cases has created a problem waking up.
.. Page file. Set Min and max to the same value. I normally recommend setting to 1024 mb. This saves about 5 gigs. You can set “C” drive to none and place on the HDD – Only a SMALL performance hit.
.. Move C drive My Documents to the HDD.
.. Set internet temp file to HDD.

Important. Once you have the SSD all set up (Windows installed, all windows updates, Drivers installed and your programs installed) Connect HDD then test system. If system is great then: use windows backup (in control panel) and do a backup of the System drive (Your SSD). Place this image on the HDD root directory. I also copy the image file to an external HDD just in case.
Reason: Should you need to wipe/restore windows 7, you can do it in 10 to 15 minutes using the Repair, repair using image file. No going thru a Re-install, Do windows Update, load drivers, load programs. Walla - The repair from image will have you back up and running in as stated about 15 min!!!



Great comments!
February 27, 2012 2:41:47 PM

And sorry for that early bump, but i just wanted to edit the original message, and quoted whole wall of text unfortunately and it turned into unneeded bump :p 

Anyways thanks for tips provided!
February 29, 2012 2:58:38 PM

So after some research , i ve decided for Intel 520 240Gb, even the price might be high, was looking forward the 5yr warranty.
Even am little bit scared coz SF-2281 controller used, really believe they ve fixed it somehow:p 
a c 353 G Storage
February 29, 2012 3:21:51 PM

I think the Intel, even with the SF controller, will mostly prove to be a good choice.
From what I've read The controller has been tuned and the frimware is INTEL's (I trust more than OCZ). My only hesitation would be the lenght of time on the market to obtain user experience with.

I learned my lesson on SSD, I do NOT buy untill the model has been on the market for at least 6 Months.
IE Buoght 2 Agillity 3's - big mistake, should have waited. Then Intel with there 8 mb bug (the 320's)

One thing for sure, Intel will fix their problems much quiker than most.
!