Hi, I've been wanting an SSD for a while but find it hard to justify the price. I've been wanting a SSD because i have most games, programs etc. installed on separate hard drives and waiting for the hard drive to spin up is getting annoying especially when programs start not responding because of this.
The command line command mklink /d is very useful for keeping programs portable between SSD and HDD.
The program SteamMover is nice for automating mklink commands for steam, though steam has implemented multiple library locations for games, partially removing the need (still handy for temporarily moving games).
You can move individual libraries within your windows 7 user profile by going to their properties (such as my documents->properties), to help reduce the files kept on your SSD.
You can also go all out and move your C:\Users and C:\ProgramData folders off the C drive, however the process is rather complex and must be done at install time. If you are interested I can provide details.
I can also recommend moving to a SSD, if you go with a 256GB model you can also leave users on the SSD. I have a Samsung 830 256GB ssd and am very happy with it, fast, reliable and cool.
But moving it to a harddrive is not really complex.
First you need to alter following two entries:
HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows NT\CurrentVersion\ProfileList ProfilesDirectory d:\Users
HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows NT\CurrentVersion\ProfileList Public d:\Users\Public
Second step is creating a new user, which is created on d or the partition/drive you enter in the both entries above.
After modifying the registry keys back to default values, system updates will work properly. This also lets you move the ProgramData folder, which can get quite bulky, and links the path C:\Users to your D:\Users for any programs that try to write to C:\Users without checking the proper path.
You could try and wait for another deal on the 830's, the 256gb was cheap on sale but I have seen the 128gb for like 70 bucks, 2 of those in raid will be pretty damn fast and probably about the same price/performance as a 256gb new model SSD.
The Plextor M5 Pro received a lot of praise recently due to its new Marvell controller which seems more stable and to perform better than SandForce in real life scenarios (better sustained read & write performance). The 256GB version recently dropped to 219$ on Newegg and it's backed up by a 5 year warranty I am really tempted to get one myself:
the m5 pro and the 840 pro are the fastest, however, they speed difference isn't worth the price premium over the 830 or any toggle NAND second-gen sandforce drive (the previous speed-kings). Even at that sale price, the m5 is still $0.855 / gb
For example, the sandisk extreme 240gb (toggle NAND second gen sandforce) is $162 on amazon right now ($0.675 / gb)
I'd advise any toggle-nand second gen sandforce from a reputable company, as they're only marginally slower than the 5m pro/840 pro and are a lot cheaper per gb.
The 830 price has actually gone *up* a little bit in the last couple months, but if you can find one around the same price as the toggle sandforce drives, that's worth it as well.