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SSD for Gaming

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November 20, 2012 12:15:39 PM

Samsung is doing this new Black Friday deals on one of their 250gb SSDs, giving a free copy of Far Cry 3 with it and talking about the boost in performance.
This just nudged me to ask the question that I know has been asked a lot, and there are conflicting answers floating out there, but will something like FC3 or GTAV see any noticeable benefit from a SSD? Or is it true that as long as its not installed on anything lower than 7200rpm you will not notice anything on a system like mine(specs should be below). Right now I'm only using a SSD for my OS.

More about : ssd gaming

November 20, 2012 12:25:25 PM

Faster load times. Nothing else.
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a b G Storage
November 20, 2012 12:30:46 PM

Yep, loading the game for the first time, and loading levels will be greatly improved.

However the FPS ingame will be the exact same.
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November 20, 2012 12:39:30 PM

Gotcha...makes sense, Thats not going to bother me. I already saw a huge reduction in load times when I just went from 8 - 16gb of RAM. Thanks guys.
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November 20, 2012 12:57:55 PM

IMHO, the differences in boot/load times for SSDs is GREATLY exaggerated as are the published specs. There is a difference, however within a few days the improvement becomes "normal" for you. The real reason to invest in an SSD is improved reliability.
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a b G Storage
November 20, 2012 1:25:00 PM

The boot times are nice, and using it for boot + apps greatly increases responsiveness of the computer in general.

You will not see better FPS, generally speaking; however, games like GTA load a lot of content on the fly, having an SSD would reduce the amount of texture pop-in and hiccuping you may see when traveling across the 'seams' in the world (in theory).

Games with long and/or frequent load screens (like Dragon Age or Skyrim for example) are nice to have on an SSD because you end up saving a significant amount of time in load screens.

SSDs are nice, but not worth the cost for everybody. It's worth noting that the SSDs that qualified for the free game (the 250GB 840 series) is a new product, and is not well vetted; they have shrunk the process and gone from 2 to 3 bits per cell, these things reduce the reliability of the NAND (but improve cost), and are worth considering before getting that particular drive.

I personally, would sooner go for the Samsung 830 or Crucial M4, since they've got an established track record, and their 128GB drives can be found dipping well below 100$ (I picked up an 830 for 70$ a few weeks ago).

If you have concerns about space, keep in mind that there are ways to move applications (without reinstalling) using the mklink command (or the SteamMover application if you play in steam), so you don't necessarily have to buy a drive big enough for all of your games and apps. (edit: I personally use a 60GB drive on my desktop, and I am able to manage this space well enough that I don't feel I need larger drive any time soon.)
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November 20, 2012 1:40:45 PM

Thanks for the input guys.
I've already pre ordered FC3, I don't buy new products just because there are going to give me something for free. Just seeing the ad just raised the question in my head.
Yes I already did the research to warrant getting my 120gb OCZ SSD for my OS(Had a 8 yr old 75Gb Raptor that I was using for OS and it just took a shizz). I just wasn't sure about for games though. and like I said my load times already improved significantly once I added another 8gb of Vengeance memory. I did hear about some reliability issues with some newer SSDs. Cant remember if it was a controller issue or things just being DOA. I dont even remember the brand, but a lot of people were bitching about it.
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a b 4 Gaming
a c 177 G Storage
November 20, 2012 2:10:35 PM

Windows will keep code in ram in anticipation of reuse.
The more ram, the more it can keep.
I think your improved load times was because of this.
A good reason for 16gb, even if a game will only use 2-3gb of it.

On the SSD, 120gb(probably 110gb useable) be careful not to fill it up.
A ssd will slow down doing updates if it has to read/rewrite nand blocks.
A larger ssd will insulate you from that.

I read Anandtech review of the Samsung 840 Pro. The drive was clearly superior from a performance point of view.
The caveat is that two samples failed, and the cause is currently unknown.
I suspect some issue from benchmark stress loads.
I also saw the newegg promotion for a discount and asassin III. I couldn't resist.
My thought is that the drive has a 5 year warranty and Samsung knows what they are doing.
I might wait a bit to install it in case it might need a destructive firmware update.
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November 20, 2012 2:41:42 PM

geofelt said:
Windows will keep code in ram in anticipation of reuse.
The more ram, the more it can keep.
I think your improved load times was because of this.
A good reason for 16gb, even if a game will only use 2-3gb of it.

On the SSD, 120gb(probably 110gb useable) be careful not to fill it up.
A ssd will slow down doing updates if it has to read/rewrite nand blocks.
A larger ssd will insulate you from that.

I read Anandtech review of the Samsung 840 Pro. The drive was clearly superior from a performance point of view.
The caveat is that two samples failed, and the cause is currently unknown.
I suspect some issue from benchmark stress loads.
I also saw the newegg promotion for a discount and asassin III. I couldn't resist.
My thought is that the drive has a 5 year warranty and Samsung knows what they are doing.
I might wait a bit to install it in case it might need a destructive firmware update.



Gotcha. Yeah after format and windows install, and installation I'm down to like 72Gb on the SSD. What would be too low as far as space on a 120Gb SSD?
The lowest I got my old Raptor 75 Gb OS HDD was around 8Gb Free. And do SSDs not get fragmented?
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a b G Storage
November 20, 2012 2:45:40 PM

Sandforce drives (such as OCZ drives pre Vertex/Agility 4) have suffered a lot of quality issues due to the firmware (though there could be other factors as well).

For reliability, the Crucial M4 and Samsung 830 are the most often recommended for improved reliability. I believe the OCZ Vertex4 has received some attention due to it's indilinx (non-sandforce) controller, however it's still fairly new, not sure how it's done on reliability.
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November 20, 2012 4:04:08 PM

volcom4c said:
Gotcha. Yeah after format and windows install, and installation I'm down to like 72Gb on the SSD. What would be too low as far as space on a 120Gb SSD?
The lowest I got my old Raptor 75 Gb OS HDD was around 8Gb Free. And do SSDs not get fragmented?


Usually you want to leave 10% free at least, to allow working space for garbage collection (TRIM). SSDs do become fragmented in a sense. They have literal file fragmentation, however, with no seek time this is not a factor in performance at all, and should not be defragged (especially since the controller already manages the nand space itself, and hides the physical NAND utilization from the OS, unlike an hdd, defragging does not actual do what the OS would expect anyway).
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November 20, 2012 6:43:04 PM

djscribbles said:
Sandforce drives (such as OCZ drives pre Vertex/Agility 4) have suffered a lot of quality issues due to the firmware (though there could be other factors as well).

For reliability, the Crucial M4 and Samsung 830 are the most often recommended for improved reliability. I believe the OCZ Vertex4 has received some attention due to it's indilinx (non-sandforce) controller, however it's still fairly new, not sure how it's done on reliability.


I actually got the Vertex 3 OCZ SSD because I heard something similar with the 4s, with the newer ones, I read that the Vertex 3s had most of the issues ironed out now...Could be wrong..
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a b G Storage
November 20, 2012 6:53:07 PM

I was upgraded to a vertex3 (for free by OCZ support) after I had issues with a vertex2 and they 'forgot' to ship my drive back for a few weeks. (I have another Vertex2 that has been running for 2 years now)

They are not awful SSDs, they just have a bad reputation for higher failure rates than most. Even so, a high percentage of people don't have problems, and no matter what brand you get, there is a possibility for it to fail. Just depends on your luck :) 
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November 20, 2012 7:11:25 PM

Roger that..thanks
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November 20, 2012 8:17:34 PM

I have vertex 3 128 for my operating system and vertex 4 256 for steam and games only had the vertex 3 for sometime with no issues but had they both not been on sale I would have done the m4 or Samsung.
I notices a big difference in load times on games had steam installed on older 160 gb seagate hd, Skyrim and such
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a b 4 Gaming
a c 177 G Storage
November 20, 2012 8:18:31 PM

volcom4c said:
Gotcha. Yeah after format and windows install, and installation I'm down to like 72Gb on the SSD. What would be too low as far as space on a 120Gb SSD?
The lowest I got my old Raptor 75 Gb OS HDD was around 8Gb Free. And do SSDs not get fragmented?


I think that once you are full to 80% of useable capacity, it is time to think about a larger drive. Reads will not be impacted, but writes will.

Once windows detects a ssd, it will turn off defragmentation on the ssd.

Defrag collects parts of a file that might reside on different parts of a hard drive and puts them together.
That is so the mechanical access arm has less distance to travel.
Since a ssd is solid state, there is no mechanical motion to optimize.
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November 20, 2012 8:30:35 PM

SSD are more relable
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November 20, 2012 9:03:41 PM

are ssds really more reliable? I've heard that they fail really easily and often (maybe they've gotten better).
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November 20, 2012 11:45:11 PM

they have no moving parts.
I would recommend a 128 gb for OS and a few games.
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November 22, 2012 5:37:36 AM

I saw both those bundle deals. IMO a Plextor m5s 256gb ssd for 199.00 and buy whatever game you like for 50 bucks and it is a push. Except you get 512mb for a cache in the Plextor as well as a less then 5% fail rate coupled with a better Nand MLC instead of TLC, or whatever it is. The other specs are so tedious you wont feel them unless you are benchmarking. From ALL the articles I read. C'mon Cyber Monday, so I can finish my build.
256gb ssd c drive
128gb ssd d drive scratch file
Just scored a 3tb 7200 hdd by seagate for 89.00
Will burn Discs for back ups until ssd's come down in price for storage and put that 3tb into a back-up position and no need to burn discs. Although burning a Bluray disc is cheaper then a drive. computer runs cooler, and the disc will survive forever.
Just sayin...
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