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christ87
01-10-2012, 01:50 PM
I know their different but i need an upgrade in my system - do i get a new HDD (cheaper) or upgrade and get myself a SATA2 or 3 SSD?, apart from an SSD having a less failure rate, can any PC experts give me any pros and cons?

Thanks guys,
Chris

mashakos
01-10-2012, 02:19 PM
If you're only thinking of using the machine for games and day-to-day stuff, I honestly don't feel that an SSD is worth the premium. I myself bought the Intel X-25 160gb SSD when it cost $570. As a scratch disk for video and graphic design work it's fantastic. Waking from sleep is instantaneous when windows is installed on an SSD since there is no wait time for the disk to wake up. That is actually pretty cool, having your PC switch on like a regular cd player.
For everything else the performance of SSD was cancelled out by other factors:
1)
Booting to windows is only fast if you have nothing hooked up to your machine. Once you plug in controllers, hard disks and other usb/eSATA/firewire peripherals, windows boot can take up to 120 seconds EDIT: more like 70 seconds, 120 seconds is way too much.
2)
Only a marginal improvement i felt with the only significant speed boost coming in the initial game loading screens. A lot of games uncompress packed data to memory when loading - or procedurally generate content. These are two things that have very little to do with disk speeds and more to do with cpu speed.

Danny252
01-10-2012, 02:52 PM
SSDs are pretty generally accepted to be excellent for your OS, but pretty much useless for games (there is a slight decrease in load times if your game really is reading a lot of data, but they're so small in size that you'd forever be swapping games in and out depending on what you want to play).

If your Windows is taking 120s to boot up, even on a HDD, I think you've done something wrong - with Mouse/Keyboard/HDD/External HDD over USB/Joystick/Mobile Internet Dongle all plugged in, I'm sub-30 seconds on an SSD.

mashakos
01-10-2012, 03:05 PM
If your Windows is taking 120s to boot up, even on a HDD, I think you've done something wrong - with Mouse/Keyboard/HDD/External HDD over USB/Joystick/Mobile Internet Dongle all plugged in, I'm sub-30 seconds on an SSD.
You're right! I just came across a note I made a while back when I timed the boot time of my system: 47.7secs with 2 eSATA drives, a sound card, various usb input devices. The most delays are when the external hard disks start spinning. In any case, my point was that the more things you have connected to your machine the longer it will take to boot. Raid cards delay booting significantly because they usually come with 15 second timeout periods.
Wake from sleep on the other hand: 1.3 secs, so boot time is pointless imo.

rider
03-10-2012, 04:38 PM
Yeah, mine is near-instantaneous from sleep as well on a SSD. That SSD is for a laptop and recently changed a HDD with the idea that a laptop might see a bit of a rougher time and a SSD might preserve itself a bit better in said conditions. Fortunately, I haven't really needed to test this thought so I've left it at that. If the technology were more readily available (i.e., cheaper) why not though...

Big_Z
03-10-2012, 06:37 PM
I think SSD is the future but there is still work to be done. Speed it good but I worry about reliability and durability (maximum read/write counts). And of course price is still a factor although they ahve come down a lot recently.

MiniMatt
05-10-2012, 09:56 AM
Price has gone way down lately. The 128gb Samsung 830 that Mr Laird raved about in April http://www.rockpapershotgun.com/2012/04/30/which-ssd/#more-106304 is now available for 79 (was 130 in April).

Depends what you use your 'puter for. If it's a pure gaming machine then yeah, it's not going to do much for you, sure it'll boot up quicker and you may find levels load into RAM a bit quicker but zero FPS benefit. But if you use your PC, well, as a PC, doing a bit of everything, then I can't rate them highly enough. Quicker boot sure, but quicker general operation, browser responsiveness, frequently opened and closed apps like mail / office / tools of your trade etc are just so much *much* quicker to load and it's a real quality of life improvement.

Plus they use next to no power in operation, which means (a) you save the polar bears, and (b) they generate very little heat which means the rest of your system fans can run slower and quieter and the drives themselves are utterly silent.

Durability I really have ceased to worry about now. For one thing the current generation really is fine, for another - the probability of any storage drive failing, whatever the medium, eventually reaches 100% - no excuse not to backup regardless of SSD/HDD. Three year warranty on that Samsung 830, you can find some models with five year warranty if you're really concerned.

In five years time we'll probably be storing data in parallel dimensions whilst travelling to work in our hover boots, so in the meantime, may as well go SSD :o)

SSD system drive, stick games on the old one as a secondary app drive. Sata3 SSDs will work on a Sata2 motherboard just fine if your mobo is limited - and they work just fine - speed benefit of Sata3 is only really realised in sustained reads, most usual OS functions are rapid random reads and Sata2 remains fine for that.

Alex Bakke
05-10-2012, 12:57 PM
I think people don't appreciate just how great they can be for games. If you have a game that streams textures/content quite a lot, then SSDs are amazing. Games like Arma2, Batman Arkham City or Skyrim have an incredible decrease in load times. If you get an SSD you'll definitely want to store a few of your most played games on there alongside the OS.

mashakos
05-10-2012, 02:47 PM
I think people don't appreciate just how great they can be for games. If you have a game that streams textures/content quite a lot, then SSDs are amazing. Games like Arma2, Batman Arkham City or Skyrim have an incredible decrease in load times. If you get an SSD you'll definitely want to store a few of your most played games on there alongside the OS.
I have GTA 4 with icenhancer + hd texture pack + hd car models installed on my SSD. Load times are still long and the real impact was from upgrading from 4GB ram to 16GB ram. I think the game really shines with 6GB ram and up.
Does it make a difference? Kind of. As much as an overclocked CPU or 6GB ram? No.

MiniMatt
05-10-2012, 02:55 PM
I think people don't appreciate just how great they can be for games.

Interesting point, I keep toying with the idea of a hybrid drive like the Seagate Momentus XT 750gb (http://www.anandtech.com/show/5160/seagate-2nd-generation-momentus-xt-750gb-hybrid-hdd-review) for game/app storage. Theory being that a copy of whatever you're currently playing with any regularity makes it's way automagically to the onboard 8gb SSD storage.

Alex Bakke
05-10-2012, 04:04 PM
I have GTA 4 with icenhancer + hd texture pack + hd car models installed on my SSD. Load times are still long and the real impact was from upgrading from 4GB ram to 16GB ram. I think the game really shines with 6GB ram and up.
Does it make a difference? Kind of. As much as an overclocked CPU or 6GB ram? No.

On its own, of course it's not going to be as great as maxing out your other components - But when in tandem with increased boot times, increased responsiveness in general, and OCed components, it all adds up. It's a definite benefit and not one to be ignored when considering an upgrade.

mashakos
05-10-2012, 04:09 PM
On its own, of course it's not going to be as great as maxing out your other components - But when in tandem with increased boot times, increased responsiveness in general, and OCed components, it all adds up. It's a definite benefit and not one to be ignored when considering an upgrade.

I just replied because you mentioned games with streaming content, and I wanted to point out that for games that have really demanding requirements (after mods and texture packs) it ceases to become a factor.

In the end, if you have the budget you would obviously go for a nice big SSD (I did). For those who don't it's not worth cutting out a nice cpu, gpu or ram upgrade for the sake of a fast SSD.

Alex Bakke
05-10-2012, 04:22 PM
I just replied because you mentioned games with streaming content, and I wanted to point out that for games that have really demanding requirements (after mods and texture packs) it ceases to become a factor.

In the end, if you have the budget you would obviously go for a nice big SSD (I did). For those who don't it's not worth cutting out a nice cpu, gpu or ram upgrade for the sake of a fast SSD.

Sure - But that's not what I'm saying. I could have made myself clearer - Minimatt was saying that you should stick the OS on the SSD, and games on a seperate drive - but I was saying that for select games that need to load in textures, it can, and does make a significant difference if you put them on the SSD. Not all games, but the ones you'll be playing a lot.

Moraven
06-10-2012, 07:11 AM
Use a 128gb SSD, windows and a few games that a play a lot are on it. Love the quick load into windows.

Sidian
06-10-2012, 07:20 AM
I have GTA 4 with icenhancer + hd texture pack + hd car models installed on my SSD. Load times are still long and the real impact was from upgrading from 4GB ram to 16GB ram. I think the game really shines with 6GB ram and up.
Does it make a difference? Kind of. As much as an overclocked CPU or 6GB ram? No.

What is your PC's specs exactly? What is needed to run all those mods for GTA4 at a decent FPS?

RogerMellie
06-10-2012, 10:58 AM
Is there a simple way to explain to simple people which games benefit from being on an SSD and which can as easily be installed on an HDD?


If you have a game that streams textures/content quite a lot, then SSDs are amazing.

Is there a simple way of figuring that out?

Any help would be appreciated :)

soldant
06-10-2012, 12:09 PM
Does the game have really long load times?
Do textures pop in quite a bit or does the game hitch when moving between areas, despite having lots of RAM/VRAM available?
Do you just want to reduce loading times?

If you said "Yes" to any of those questions, an SSD might be the way to go.

Generally the games that make extensive use of texture streaming are open-world games, like Skyrim, where loading screens shouldn't interrupt gameplay. You might also notice the HDD thrashing away quite a bit with those games, another indicator that an SSD might be helpful.

Bobtree
06-10-2012, 05:44 PM
Is there a simple way to explain to simple people which games benefit from being on an SSD and which can as easily be installed on an HDD?

Not really. A basic rule of thumb is whether the game loads files in long linear reads or lots of short ones. HDDs are plenty fast when the drive heads don't have to seek much, SSDs are faster for random access to a database or loading lots of small files.

Console games have heavily optimized disc-filesystem layouts because optical drives are relatively very slow, and console ports are generally fine on an HDD as a result. Games that load all at once, or once per level or map, or have a few huge packaged install files are usually in this category for loading behavior.

PC games sometimes lack this kind of attention to loading optimization and may have a lot of small files (sometimes tens of thousands), or one big database file (like Guild Wars 2), or other unoptimized formats, or stream in data from multiple files during play. These are more likely to benefit by running from an SSD.

Data heavy games also rely on compression, so CPU speed is a load time factor too. If your disk-access light isn't always on during the load, odds are it's decompression or data format mangling or something else like networking synch in multiplayer that it's waiting for. Having extra RAM can also help because the OS will use spare memory as a disk cache.

The only way to know for sure is to benchmark a game and gather some data in various configurations. Often you can guess based on the install files, or the game engine, or the developer, or various performance characteristics, but these are only likely indicators. There are also utilities that can report things like numbers of open file handles and volumes of filesystem reads and writes and caching behavior. Developers may use them to profile and optimize loading times.

RogerMellie
07-10-2012, 02:48 AM
Soldant & Bobtree - thanks for the info & apologies for the slight thread hijack.

Finicky
11-10-2012, 05:55 PM
People who buy SSDs to boost gaming performance (as in they think it'll help their framerates or some shit) are equivalent to those dumb chavs who buy mufflers for their cars.

As in they have no idea what they are doing and just want to chav up their car and waste their money (since a big muffler actually limits your engine's ability to "breathe" and decreases torque unless the rest of the engine is modified)

SSD's for gaming are and remain a 'I have exhausted every single other performance enhancing option there is but still want to spend more money' thing.

Long seek times and poor random read still don't cause issues in games with texture streaming (rage being the single only exception since it's a broken mess).
The only benifit is literally slightly faster level load times in a limited amount of games.

I'm absolutely allergic to long load times (can't play my ps3 they drive me insane, spend more time loading than playing), but they are already negligable on PC

Sakkura
11-10-2012, 06:11 PM
Load times are not negligible on PC. Negligible would be a second or two, tops. They're often shorter than on consoles, but that's because you're comparing to a frigging optical drive. Optical drives are made of slow and bad, with some noisy on the side. Which brings me to another point where SSDs are a nice upgrade - they're essentially dead silent, even during the most intense activity. A HDD clacking away can be at least a minor annoyance.

Finicky
12-10-2012, 06:18 AM
And knocking a second or two off a negligable load time in some games or avoiding 2seconds of hdd clicking when it streams new content during area transitions for the mere price of 100-300 euros is still a massive waste of money.

I bet 99.9 percent of SSD 'gamers' use a samsung TN panel monitor or shitty logitech headphones.
They could have spent their budget in those places and gotten a tangible benifit for gaming.

Hell even buying a decent desk chair is 100x more gaming value than not having hdd clicking during load times.

Alex Bakke
12-10-2012, 10:40 AM
Finicky: Load up ArmA2 on a 7200RPM HDD and then on an SSD, jump in a jet/vehicle and drive around for a bit, and the difference is staggeringly obvious. Texture streaming is a huge issue in Arma, and the difference on an SSD is massive.

I think you're also attacking a group of people that don't exist. I haven't run into anyone who buys an SSD solely for games. Everyone boots the OS via the SSD as well. If there *are* people that only run games on the SSD, then I submit that it's a negligable sample size.

frightlever
18-10-2012, 08:09 AM
I'm in the process of going all SSD (128gb + 256gb) because I wanted a micro-itx near-as-silent-as-possible build, and I saw what an SSD did to GW2 load times. On my HDD I could fix a cup of tea while waiting for levels to load. And I don't even drink tea so that was a complete waste of time.

However, if I could stick a muffler on my PC I probably would as well, so he may have a point.

Vicious
22-10-2012, 03:57 PM
And knocking a second or two off a negligable load time in some games or avoiding 2seconds of hdd clicking when it streams new content during area transitions for the mere price of 100-300 euros is still a massive waste of money.

I bet 99.9 percent of SSD 'gamers' use a samsung TN panel monitor or shitty logitech headphones.
They could have spent their budget in those places and gotten a tangible benifit for gaming.

Hell even buying a decent desk chair is 100x more gaming value than not having hdd clicking during load times.
Have you played Shogun 2? It has horrific loading times for every battle which leads the majority of players to just auto resolve every battle.
See here for examples of how much faster level loading is: http://www.gamersnexus.net/guides/818-kingston-hyperx-3k-ssd-gaming-benchmarks?start=2

Also, I have a 27" 2560x1440 IPS monitor and creative 7.1 speakers, so I guess I must be that 1 in a 1000.

SSD makes everything to do with a computer (whether starting it, opening chrome, editing an excel sheet, loading a movie, playing a game) noticeably snappier and for a fraction of the cost of a new system.

mashakos
22-10-2012, 05:01 PM
Have you played Shogun 2? It has horrific loading times for every battle which leads the majority of players to just auto resolve every battle.
See here for examples of how much faster level loading is: http://www.gamersnexus.net/guides/818-kingston-hyperx-3k-ssd-gaming-benchmarks?start=2
SSD makes everything to do with a computer (whether starting it, opening chrome, editing an excel sheet, loading a movie, playing a game) noticeably snappier and for a fraction of the cost of a new system.
load time for a Shogun 2 game is about 29secs on a standard seagate HDD for me. It's not worth moving Shogun 2's gigantic folder to my extremely precious SSD when it only has 19GB left after junctioning Adobe's cache folders to it and setting the virtual memory page file there.
Buying an SSD with the expectation of using all your media on it is ludicrous, unless you have the money for it. The minute I become rich enough to not feel faint at the $11,000 price tag of a 700GB Micron RealSSD P320h, I'm getting one!
There are advantages, but they are not immediate unless you use a computer professionally (not emails and excel).



Also, I have a 27" 2560x1440 IPS monitor and creative 7.1 speakers, so I guess I must be that 1 in a 1000.
no you're not *raises nose at the unwashed masses*

Vicious
22-10-2012, 05:17 PM
*sigh* Haven't you learned your lessons about comparing statistics? You either compare like with like, or you don't bother comparing at all. That's the whole point of hardware sites benchmarking, they benchmark ceteris paribus.

My SSD has 154GB free, my HDD has 836GB free. When I'm finished with a game or movie, it's uninstalled/archived to the 2TB HDD. I will never run out of space for my media on the SSD because when I'm finished with something, it gets removed. It's like complaining that your bin is small because you expect to never have to remove rubbish from it.

There are advantages. They are immediate. There are hundreds of articles and reviews spread around the most reputable hardware sites clearly and unequivocally showing this.

mashakos
22-10-2012, 05:41 PM
My SSD has 154GB free, my HDD has 836GB free. When I'm finished with a game or movie, it's uninstalled/archived to the 2TB HDD.
While you waste the rest of your life juggling files out of your SSD, the
rest of us buy large HDD's and shell out for an SSD just for apps/caching
performance.

I'm curious, how much time would it take you to move the contents of this drive:
http://mashakos.com/pers/img/sizehdd.jpg
into 150GB increments to and from your SSD?

Alex Bakke
23-10-2012, 01:12 PM
While you waste the rest of your life juggling files out of your SSD, the
rest of us buy large HDD's and shell out for an SSD just for apps/caching
performance.

That's... A really poor argument. You're not going to be spending the rest of your life juggling files. It's really easy to do. You install a game, play it for X amount of time until you feel the space isn't worth it, then you transfer the game over whilst playing another game/watching a film/wanking in the meanwhile. If you want you can transfer it back if you have a change of heart.




I'm curious, how much time would it take you to move the contents of this drive:

[Picture]

into 150GB increments to and from your SSD?

Irrelevant, as you're not going to be transferring 150GB chunks at a time, and certainly not 1.8 TB of stuff at a time. This is something you're really blowing out of proportion.

mashakos
25-10-2012, 03:45 AM
That's... A really poor argument. You're not going to be spending the rest of your life juggling files. It's really easy to do. You install a game, play it for X amount of time until you feel the space isn't worth it, then you transfer the game over whilst playing another game/watching a film/wanking in the meanwhile. If you want you can transfer it back if you have a change of heart.

It definitely make sense to have your games and applications on your SSD if it results in a performance improvement. Why would you want to store movies and PDF files in an SSD though? Even a straight 50GB Bluray rip won't max out a standard HDD's throughput.

There is one snag in the whole copying scenario: you're copying from a standard hdd to an ssd, so the transfer speed will be limited to the hdd's. It's fine for a few GB's but when you go into 100's of gigs it can become a nuisance. Not only that, install times generally don't improve with SSD's since the install process can involve the addition of registry entries or new windows services.

Speaking from personal experience: I've tried out about 50 games over the past three years on SSD (including the Witcher which I heard had notoriously long load times) and found that with the exception of FSX and GTA IV all the titles I've tried had a miniscule decrease in load times. I'd rather have a drive that can house my 300+ steam games in one place rather than be forced to separate my steam folder for a 0.5 second decrease in load times. It's common sense really.

Sakkura
25-10-2012, 04:25 AM
It definitely make sense to have your games and applications on your SSD if it results in a performance improvement. Why would you want to store movies and PDF files in an SSD though? Even a straight 50GB Bluray rip won't max out a standard HDD's throughput.
Are we talking just movies or PDFs in general, or just the ones that tend to go with installed games? You're right that they don't really benefit from being on an SSD, but the rest of the game can. It's inefficient in a way, but if you have the extra space for it you might as well make use of it (with an aber dabei in some cases, where leaving part of the SSD empty can boost performance). Unless you can't be bothered, in which case sticking every game on a HDD isn't going to ruin your day, and would still leave you with the SSD benefits in terms of boot time and snappiness with desktop programs (assuming they're on the SSD).

Doing that leaves you with some modest benefits from the SSD. And it's true that you do pay a fairly high price for those relatively limited benefits. So it's an optional extra in my book, but one that's just very easy to get used to.

trjp
26-10-2012, 03:35 PM
I have to join the chorus of doubt which surrounds SSDs - but only because my experience of them is "failure failure failure".

I spend enough time replacing failed HDDs (3 this week alone including one of my own) without having something which is far more likely to bork. I don't think I could run an SSD now, I've seen so many fail - I'd be palpitating the whole time my PC was on.

SSDs DO offer MUCH improved Windows loading times - but then so does using 'Sleep' or even 'Hibernate' which almost every PC on earth can do. I 'load' my PC about once a month (barring problems) so that's not a big sell to me.

If you can afford a bigger SSD (and they're quite cheap these days) then you can see other improvements. If you work with "big" software like Adobe stuff you'll see much benefit and so on - but games are not something SSDs really help - they are, as someone said, something you buy when you've exhausted every other game-improving option.

The clinical example of SSD ownership is my old WoW Guild Master who's goal in life was to get his PC from "cold to raid" as fast as possible - he ran silly hardware, SSDs, customised Windows with almost no services or startup items - all in the name of shouting at us for 3 hours ;)

p.s. and laptops - make HUGE sense in laptops of course - battery life muchos greater and all that

Finicky
31-10-2012, 03:19 PM
*sigh* Haven't you learned your lessons about comparing statistics? You either compare like with like, or you don't bother comparing at all. That's the whole point of hardware sites benchmarking, they benchmark ceteris paribus.

My SSD has 154GB free, my HDD has 836GB free. When I'm finished with a game or movie, it's uninstalled/archived to the 2TB HDD. I will never run out of space for my media on the SSD because when I'm finished with something, it gets removed. It's like complaining that your bin is small because you expect to never have to remove rubbish from it.

There are advantages. They are immediate. There are hundreds of articles and reviews spread around the most reputable hardware sites clearly and unequivocally showing this.
I'll gladly admit that I did not know about the shogun 2 loading times , you have a point there if you play it.

You can't complain about loading times for one game (or two or three or whatever) if you are wasting your time moving files around and uninstalling games every time you play something new... that is one of the big downsides to me that just totally negate any benificial effect an ssd might have.

And yes, if you have a 1440p IPS monitor and good hardware you are now in the realm of diminishing returns ,and an SSD becomes a valid "why the hell not" option.
I stand by my point that the vast vast majority of people will not have a good (or even halfway decent) monitor or a chair with some lumbar support, and probably never will have, so I question their reasoning for throwing away money on an SSD instead.

SSD prices keep dropping, perhaps they will eventually be affordable with decent amounts of storage space so you can store your steam folder on them.

I want to remind you that i'm still discussing the merits of SSDs for gaming, not 'snappy desktop'.
This is a gaming forum, people have limited budgets where spending the money from an SSD on other parts like GPU/cpu/silent aftermarket cooling/monitor has far larger returns for gaming.

I cringe every time I see someone post a build on a site like neogaf and they are buying a hd7850 (with stock cooler as cherry on the cake), a non-k sandy bridge cpu and some crappy 60hz 1080p tn panel monitor from samsung, but look at that shiney ssd in it.

I'm not even going to go into the scam of ssd brackets from samsung that cost 20 euros...

ianjones
02-11-2012, 04:25 PM
this is very informative, the price still puts me off but installing an SSD for an OS does seem to be a big advatage especially some blogs ive seen on windows8, i did see a seated SSD 2tb for 14k recently though....no joke