I just got my brand new Samsung 830 128gb SSD. It's already improved my performance over my old HDD, but not as much as I expected after seeing my buddies' SSD-upgraded computers. Here's the benchmarks I'm getting back
Test : 1000 MB [C: 31.9% (38.1/119.2 GB)] (x5)
Date : 2012/11/12 16:17:32
OS : Windows 7 Home Premium Edition SP1 [6.1 Build 7601] (x64)
My computer still runs most things I want it to run pretty competitively (Intel core 2 duo e8400 has some staying power), but those benchmark numbers seem a lot lower than I see elsewhere. Now, I know my controllers on the board (nForce 650i SLI) don't work with AHCI, is that why my numbers are so low?
The old Intel Socket 775 motherboards do not play nice with modern 3rd generation SATA 3 6Gb/s solid state drives like the Samsung 830. The ssd's are backwards compatible but there is a reduction in performance.
What is the brand and model number of your motherboard?
Replacing a motherboard sounds costly when things are running fine (if sub-par) now. I still have a considerable speed boost from my upgrades to win7 and the SSD. New motherboard+new processor and we're a chunk of the way into just a new computer, (which would allow me to pass down mine and turn my wife's into a media PC)
That add-in card and other cheap cards of questionable performance and value are definitely an example of you get what you pay for. The problem with the cheap add-in cards is the interface. Those cards use a PCI-Express 2.0 x1 interface. The x1 means the card only uses one channel. For optimal performance an ssd requires an add-in card that uses four channels - x4.
There are some good consumer cards but they are expensive. They will set you back several hundred dollars. Prices for the really excellent cards start at about $1,600.00. They are designed for the enterprise market.
The older motherboard will not significantly decrease the lifespan of the ssd. The board just slows down overall performance. The older boards, chipsets, and controllers were never designed for modern 3rd generation ssd's.
The PCI cards are nice if your looking for extra connections (great if your the type that wants to continue using IDE) but not ideal for speed. You could look into getting a whole new machine or to find a new motherboard with possibly needing a new case, processor & RAM cards. Your still getting better performance then a HDD. It's really up to you if you want the best performance from your SSD. If i were you i'd save up to build a new machine that way you'll get what you want/need & you'll gain some experience in computer hardware.
You guys already 100% nailed the issue with the motherboard. Just wanted to add some food for thought that might make the OP feel less like he is receiving sub-par performance from his newly purchased SSD.
The numbers that stand out as not much better than what a good HDD might yield are the sequential read and sequential write numbers. I know that probably was discouraging to see compared to what you had been expecting. However, the most critical performance gain with SSD's is the random 4k speed. That provides the best indicator of how much improvement you are actually going to perceive while using the system. Those numbers are still fantastic.
Random Read 4KB: 18.211 MB/s
Random Write 4KB: 39.778 MB/s
Western Digital 1TB Caviar Black:
Random Read 4KB: 0.481 MB/s
Random Write 4KB: 1.383 MB/s
So, even if you do decide to stick with the SATA II motherboard, the vast majority of the performance gain from a spinning disk is still not being lost.