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I'm getting an SSD, but I'm really new to the technology

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June 16, 2012 5:59:39 PM

Hi, as the title says, I'm thinking of getting the Intel 520 Series 60Gb SSD:
http://ark.intel.com/products/66247/Intel-SSD-520-Serie...(60GB-2_5in-SATA-6Gbs-25nm-MLC)
I know, it's really low on space. But I need the performance for gaming.

I have several questions regarding this:
1. Is it compatible with my current system? Here is my rig:
- Motherboard, ASUS M4A77TD.
- GPU, Nvidia GeForce GTX570.
- Processor, AMD Phenom II X6 1100T.
- RAM, Corsair 8GB.
- PSU, Corsair CX600.
- HDD, I forgot what's my current HDD. Probably a WD. But VERY old (2008).
- Casing, Fractal Design 3000.
2. Is installing SSD is the same as installing any HDD device? Just put the two related plugs on the SSD?
3. Still related to #2, once I installed the SSD, will I have to set anything? Or just boot up, and goes walaa? Do keep in mind, I'm not planning to partition the SSD.
4. Will I enjoy a performance boost even if I don't set the SSD as the system drive? I'm planning to fill the SSD full of heavy games only.
5. Still related to #4, is it safe to use my old HDD as the system drive, and the new SSD as the data drive with only games files in it?

I really appreciate any help. Thanks in advance. :) 

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a c 154 G Storage
June 16, 2012 6:27:15 PM
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1. Yes, it is compatible.
2. Yes, just like any sata hard drive.
3. Some posters will list a number of ssd tweaks, but I say ignore them. Just install the ssd and enjoy; it is much simpler.
4. Maybe. A ssd will be 2-3x faster in sequential i/o, and 50x faster in random. Game startup and level loads will be a bit quicker. Really, though, the best use for a ssd is for the os which does lots of random i/o.
5. Yes, safe and reasonable.

Some other things:

The ssd works best if you enable "trim". Trim makes deleted nand blocks available without needing a read/rewrite sequence.
That means you need to set the sata mode in the bios as ahci.
a c 105 G Storage
June 16, 2012 6:48:59 PM

Yes it is small and ya not likely to get ya games on it. If the game isn't on the SSD, there will be no change in performance. I think you'd see more effect from a HD upgrade. Here's a hybrid SSD / HD for just $70

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
$20 off w/ promo code FBSTXHD20, limited time

The newer one boots to windows in just 17 seconds....1 second slower than a current generation SSD

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
http://benchmarkreviews.com/index.php?option=com_conten...

Related resources
June 16, 2012 6:58:28 PM

@geofelt
Thank you very much for replying. Is it difficult to trim? Any useful tutorial? :) 

@JackNaylorPE
Thanks for replying. Actually, before reading about SSD, I was about to get a WD Caviar Black 1TB which is at 7200 rpm and 64mb. So, isn't it more or less the same as the Seagate products you recommend me to? Or is it very different? :o 
a c 154 G Storage
June 16, 2012 7:32:00 PM

Trim support comes with any modern ssd. Windows 7 default drivers support it. Nothing special is required to implement it.

If you have specified the sata mode on your motherboard as ide or raid, the trim connand will not be passed to the ssd.
That is not the end of the worls, the ssd still works well. But, as the drive gets filled, updates will take longer as the drive will need to do more work.

Old sata drives are OK for speed. If you have old IDE drives, then certainly it is worth replacing.

June 17, 2012 9:36:16 AM

So I need to change my bios to ahci? Will it have any impact on my old HDD?

Also, one more thing; earlier this day I went to a computer shop, and then I ask to the clerk there of how to install SSD. She said that it is different from an ordinary HDD. Is it true? I haven't see an SSD physically myself, but I don't see any connector on it. Do I install it by placing it in one of the slot on the motherboard? Thanks.

Edit: Ignore the second part of this reply. I just searched the images of SSDs and I saw the connector. Teehee.
a c 154 G Storage
June 17, 2012 3:22:44 PM

It is not essential to change to ahci. Performance will not be optimal, but much better than a hard drive, at least until the ssd is filled to 80% or so. There is no impact with other drives.

One difference is that ssd's are 2.5" devices, hard drives are usually 3.5. So mounting may be a question. Many ssd's now come with a 2.5" to 3.5" adapter, a $5 part. Actually, a ssd can be just left laying on the bottom of the case and secured with duct tape if nned be.
June 17, 2012 6:11:32 PM

Duct tape? You mean...just wrap it with duct tape and left it laying at the bottom of the case?
a c 154 G Storage
June 17, 2012 6:21:57 PM

gmahadhika said:
Duct tape? You mean...just wrap it with duct tape and left it laying at the bottom of the case?

Yes, tape it to a flat surface so it doesn't move. Ghetto mount if you really have to.

But, many cases now have holes to mount 2.5" drives, and adapters are preferable.
June 17, 2012 8:50:53 PM

Just a quick question, where abouts do you live?

In you live in the UK - scan.co.uk are selling 120GB Kingston HyperX 3k SSD's for only £65 - thats likes £40 cheaper than anywhere else.

That makes it a cheaper, larger and faster drive than the one you linked!
June 17, 2012 10:53:53 PM

@geofelt
Okay, thanks a lot. You really are helpful. :D 

@Gallarian
I live in Indonesia. I've just searched the product you mentioned, but no luck. Really, there is not much choice of SSD here. The most reliable ones available in my country are Intel's SSD.
June 18, 2012 8:58:21 AM

Ah right - ok then, good luck with it all :) 
June 18, 2012 9:13:41 PM

Best answer selected by gmahadhika.
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