View Full Version : Would an SSD warrant the investemnt?

08-03-2012, 06:57 AM

Iīm thinking of getting an SSD, mainly for the OS and some game I have installed. So I think of going for a 64GB+ size drive. My mobo does support only SATA 3Gb/s so I wonīt be getting the maximum in terms of speed, but probably still enough to notice a difference from a 7200rpm HDD, right?
So, basically Iīm asking whether the upgrade would be worth it. I have an semi-open case, the Coolermaster 690 II, so the acoustic gain would be nice too.
Some tips and pointers on which drives to get would also be welcome (y)

Thank you in advance!

08-03-2012, 07:50 AM
SATA2 isn't a huge bottleneck, I doubt you'd notice any difference in practice (as opposed to the difference from an SATA2 SSD to a regular HDD, which is huge). As for size, I wouldn't necessarily recommend getting a 64GB, your Windows install alone will grow to take-up most of that (and 64GB SSDs don't give you 64GB of useable space after you've formatted them).

Reliability is a bit of an issue though, there's been a lot of firmware issues that have caused a lot of probems for a lot of people. In particular a lot of the Cheap Sandforce-based drives from the likes of OCZ and Corsair are ridiculously unreliable, so steer clear of those. The brands which seem to be most known for reliability are Intel, Samsung, and Crucial, although they've all had a few slip-ups at one time or another. I was going to buy an Intel 320 but it seems there's still a firmware issue that may or may not have been resolved completely, and the new 520s use a Sandforce controller and have yet to be proven so I wasn't all that keen (although they have spent over a year on validation, so maybe I'm just being paranoid). Samsung have had a few issues here and the but on the whole seem pretty reliable, and the same goes for Crucial (same NAND as in the Intel drives). In the end I went for a 128GB Crucial M4, which didn't cost too much and so far has been great.

Don't expect it to improve the performance of games much though, beyond loading times of course. It does make the system feel a lot more responsive in use though, and of course there's the noise and heat gains - I paired mine with a 2TB Samsung "Eco" drive and got rid of the noisy old drives all together.

08-03-2012, 08:08 AM
Good to know. I wasnīt expecting a gain in terms of performance in games.

Havenīt had much luck with regular HDDs when it comes to reliability either. Had to send in my Samsung HDD which was supposed to be one of the more silent of the drives available at that time, but turned out to be noisier than hell. WD Caviar Green was a good silent one, but it died along with the Sammy in a couple of months. I think at some point Iīm going to swap my replacement Samsung for something more discrete, donīt really need the storage disk to be too fast when I have it running along with an SSD.
Maybe Iīll hold of on the storage change until Win 8 releases, unless itīs utter disaster.

08-03-2012, 08:22 AM
I'm very happy with my upgrade to an SSD, I went for a ~90GB one to install Win7 & a few games and it has served me excellently so far.

08-03-2012, 08:26 AM
I will be getting a new hdd when I get a modern OS(7 or 8) just for convenience but I need to decide whether to go ssd or not.

08-03-2012, 09:40 AM
I've got a 120GB SSD, best investment ever. Like Mistabashi said above it doesn't help games save for loading times (or maybe where texture streaming is a big issue), but putting your OS and most-used apps on it makes a significant difference to boot times and general responsiveness. I'd strongly recommend it for pretty much anybody, really.

08-03-2012, 10:08 AM
I put my first SSD in the new build I made a couple of weeks ago and it's a pretty phenominal change if you're putting the the OS on there. Windows loads in like 5 seconds, compared to the 15-20 of old and everything feels a bit quicker. It'll be the most noticable upgrade available to most Pc owners without one.

08-03-2012, 12:40 PM
@renholder as you cooling your hard drives? If they are breaking so fast there is a good chance they are cooking out.

The lots of medium-high end cases have fans that blow on the drives, but adding one yourself is easy.

08-03-2012, 12:58 PM
@renholder as you cooling your hard drives? If they are breaking so fast there is a good chance they are cooking out.

The lots of medium-high end cases have fans that blow on the drives, but adding one yourself is easy.

Nah, I donīt itīs cooling, maybe just a defective batch I stumbled upon, since the case I have is semi-open and the case has a big 14inch fan that blows directly onto the HDD bay. Plus the whole front and top are mesh, with holes for fans on both access doors.
Checking with various programs I donīt think the drives ever went above 40 degrees celcius, which should be ok

08-03-2012, 01:09 PM
On my antec 120 the drives are actually below ambient because of the wind tunnel effect of the drive cage and power supply area. But yeah, 40 should be okay.

08-03-2012, 06:12 PM
I've been having a yacht-load of trouble with my PC over the past year or so and after far too much troubleshooting I thought I'd narrowed the problems down to my old 80GB SATA I HDD. So when my tax refund came in, I picked up a 64GB Corsair M4 SSD, a new Rosewill Future case with better air flow and more fans than my old case, and a new SATA DVD-R drive to replace my dying IDE drive. I haven't tried the DVD-R drive yet, but I really like the case and the SSD. I bought all three through NewEgg and will be writing reviews of each item, but so far I've only written one about the case so far.

The SSD's full model number is CT064M4SSD2 and there are several very similar models at NewEgg. I just found out that the 2 at the end means it's 9.5mm thick compared to 7mm thick for the model with the 1 at the end, but both models are 6Gb/s drives. This one has 570 NewEgg reviews with an overall rating of 5 eggs, it's currently $94 (no promo code needed) with free shipping and is one of the cheapest 64GB SSDs around besides the flaky OCZ Agility parts. I bought it on Feb 27th and it came with the latest firmware update from Jan 09 already installed. So far it's been great and has reduced my restart and cold boot times by at least half. I no longer see any of the Win7 messages between the Starting Windows animation and my login prompt for my account and I actually hear the startup music before I see the prompt. As soon as I hear the music I can start typing in my password and can be logged in and have the desktop fully loaded within about 10 seconds, maybe less. My mobo only has 3Gb/s SATA ports too, but by getting a 6Gb/s drive, I won't have to buy a new SSD when I finally upgrade to a mobo with 6GB/s ports.

As with all drives, you don't get the full storage space listed because what is listed is the un-formatted drive size. After formatting for NTFS my SSD has a total of 59.63GB of usable space. Win7 reserves 100MB for reasons I can't recall and that don't really matter right now, but that leaves 59.53GB of usable space for Win7 and applications. I have Win7 Ultimate 64-bit installed along with a couple of smaller games (1.45GB of space between them), Office 2010 Enterprise with all programs and all available features (except for a couple of tiny language tools), Google Chrome, a number of utilities, and all hardware drivers (with NVIDIA drivers unpacked to the SSD as well) and I've got 38.5GB of free space left. I would have bought a smaller drive to save money, but I didn't want to end up with a full SSD and have seen many people say that 60GB is the minimum for Win7. I've only had everything set up for a short time and I know that I will be installing more programs and games and such, but my 64GB SSD will be plenty of room for the foreseeable future.

Time will tell how reliable this SSD will be, but with all of the reported problems, I've got a spare 80GB HDD that I will be using for backup images in case it goes out. It's hard to guess exactly how often to make a new image, but once everything that I know I need is installed and everything is configured the way I like it, I'll only need to make new images every month or so at most. Until then, I'll do them at least every other week. Like most people, there's been no better way to drive home the need to make regular backups than having system problems that require fresh installs of my OS!

08-03-2012, 07:54 PM
I got a refurbed Crucial M4 64GB which is SATA 6GB and upgraded from a SATA II chipest mobo after a little while of use to a SATA 6 board and you do see a difference. I had already fast windows load times (20 seconds to a usable desktop from POST) and they have reduced even more (13 seconds to usable desktop from POST).

09-03-2012, 06:27 PM
Cool, thanks for confirming my silent hopes! 8-)

01-07-2012, 10:05 AM
Hello, sorry for hijacking thread, but was hoping someone could clear up my confusion. I was hoping to get a Samsung 830 SSD. However, I am not sure about the differences between the notebook and desktop versions, apart from the fact that the notebook version has a far more attractive price.
The notebook version is Ģ140 compared to Ģ170. Is this the same SSD, could I use the notebook version in my desktop PC, or do I have to purchase the desktop version? This is probably a ridiculous question but I would hate to either, buy the wrong hard drive, or waste my hard earned money!

01-07-2012, 10:16 AM
A quick glance at the links shows that the desktop version comes with the cables, screws and mounting bracket. A little search tells me you can get a mounting bracket for Ģ7, cba to search for cables.

01-07-2012, 11:25 AM
Thank you for your help, I thought that would be the case, and was hoping so. If you have any links to post, I would be very grateful.

03-07-2012, 01:42 PM
I would like to raise a concern. I heard that most SSDs in the market contain some sort of flaw that their data R/W speed would gradually fall to eventually the same speed of a conventional drive. Is this a truth?

03-07-2012, 02:01 PM
My existing motherboard gave up the ghost last week so I had get a new one in and decided it was probably worth getting a SSD at the same time as well. I just opted for a Sata II 120 GB as I principally wanted to put the OS and standard applications on it (CCleaner, word, VLC, etc, etc) on and keep the big boys like Steam & Origin on a separate larger HDD. Have to say I'm really impressed with the change up. Before my boot time was around 4 minutes (I've a lot of peripherals and HDDs), now it's about 40 seconds with almost all my existing apps installed, and the system definitely feels a lot more responsive. Definitely worthwhile. I do wish I'd sprung for a Sata III, however I'm not sure the gains would be that significant.

03-07-2012, 03:55 PM
I would like to raise a concern. I heard that most SSDs in the market contain some sort of flaw that their data R/W speed would gradually fall to eventually the same speed of a conventional drive. Is this a truth?

Utterly false. This was true years ago, when TRIM wasn't implemented, but now SSDs automatically clean themselves up thanks to the TRIM command actively saying to the SSD "this bit of data isn't needed, don't bother shuffling it around anymore", which is what ended up slowing down SSDs previously.

Worth noting though: I don't believe XP has TRIM, but if you're using an SSD with XP you're doing it wrong.

Alex Bakke
03-07-2012, 04:20 PM
TRIM means that an SSD will last around 6 years, which is the life you'd expect out of a conventional drive.

03-07-2012, 07:01 PM
Even that is a bit of a simplification to make. An SSD has a limited number of write cycles, so depending on usage you might get a lot more than that (ie if you rarely write data, just read it).

An SSD failing should also theoretically be a lot less catastrophic than a HDD failing; the drive should just become read-only. Note that this is for failures caused by wear and tear, not by faulty firmware or NAND cells.

03-07-2012, 08:23 PM
There are lots of reasons for SSD performance to vary, due to compression, wear leveling, garbage collection and TRIM, write throttling, over provisioning, power management, and so on. A modern SSD is less like a simple disk and more along the lines of a storage processor. They've improved rapidly, and you can now get a modern SSD for OS & programs with some room to spare and not worry about the details unless you run into technical issues or strange performance hiccups. A big HDD for backups, media and games is still recommended.

Under typical daily use, a recent SSD is likely to outlast the rest of your system. If you do a lot of high volume writes, like video recording, regular benchmarks, secure erasing and such, there can be performance and lifetime costs. See this discussion (http://www.ocztechnologyforum.com/forum/showthread.php?85029-Understanding-SF1200-drives-TRIM-OP-area-use-and-Life-write-throttle) for example.

Windows 7 does not allow moving the hibernation file off the system drive (you can still move the paging file), and while you could disable it if your SSD is small and you need the space, this isn't as big of an issue on SSDs as it would seem. When a system is idle most of what's in memory is disk cache and thus doesn't need redundant writing to the disk, and empty memory pages waiting for allocation are all zeros, which of course would compress perfectly, but they also don't need writing to disk (being 0's implicitly).

Here are some back-of-the-envelope numbers based on my system. I have 16GB of RAM, and almost always suspend to hybrid sleep instead of shutting down, but it doesn't naively write 16GB to the SSD every time (in fact the hibernation file is only 12GB, so it must rely on the page file as well, which is 16GB, but kept on the HDD). Actual in-use memory when hibernating is more like 1-2GB or less, and even several times a day on a half empty 120GB SSD, that's not enough to worry about. My box is just over 1 year old, and CrystalDiskInfo reports 1.44TB of writes on the SSD, or about 4GB per day. That's roughly 12 full write cycles (and not accounting for compression by the SSD) for the first year of use. The disk is rated for 3000 write cycles, so lets estimate 3000/12 = 250 years.

TLDR: Your new SSD could outlive you, but it'll be obsolete and replaced long before then.

06-07-2012, 12:16 AM
Would recommend anyone interested in SSD's read this: http://www.codinghorror.com/blog/2011/05/the-hot-crazy-solid-state-drive-scale.html

Having said that I own 3 SSDs and would buy more if I could, they are that awesome!
Mine are:
(Pc is always on 24/7 with pretty heavy use as it's also my home server)
OCZ Vertex 2 120Gb <- Over 5Tb of R/W and still going strong. (used to be OS drive now used for games)
OCZ Vertex 3 240Gb <- Over 20Tb of R/W. OS drive. Has slowed down a tiny bit but it is over a year old and it's still blazing fast. R/W are both about 500MB/s.
Samsung 830 256Gb <- New, as fast as the Vertex 3 and less than half the price. Reportedly really reliable.

My advice: BUY! \o/

06-07-2012, 12:37 AM
Would recommend anyone interested in SSD's read this: http://www.codinghorror.com/blog/2011/05/the-hot-crazy-solid-state-drive-scale.html

Those are all really old drives (the articles was posted more than a year ago), so it's not all that relevant today, although reliability is still an issue with some drives still available. The OCZ Agility 3 is one of the worst offenders, they've had huge amounts of problems and as far as I can tell are still rather problematic even after multiple firmware updates (although AFAIK the Vertex 3s were never that bad).

The Samsung 830s seem to be good though, as do most of the Intel drives and of course the Crucial M4s. Some of the newer Corsair and Kingston units seem ok also, but steer clear of the older models.

06-07-2012, 02:53 AM
Had a faulty windows 7 installl in my Crucial. (blue screen, freaking out after a week with no problems)

After a reinstall of windows 7 has been great since. Not sure what happened before. Had some corrupt windows file.

06-07-2012, 04:54 AM
That article is very vague, and when one guy buys 8 SSDs of various manufacture and they all fail within 2 years, I am liable to suspect that SSD reliability is not his only issue.

07-07-2012, 04:11 PM
He is very much an early adopter but his enthusiasm for SSDs is very much the point, even his 2 drives failing and his friends eight SSD horror story he still recommends them.

Also your correct that this blog post is from March 2011 and they state of SSD reliability has dramatically improved since then.

Personally I have not had any drives fail on me and have only known one of my friends who had a problem with one failing.

07-07-2012, 04:14 PM
Had a faulty windows 7 installl in my Crucial. (blue screen, freaking out after a week with no problems)

After a reinstall of windows 7 has been great since. Not sure what happened before. Had some corrupt windows file.

You might want to check to see if there is a firmware update for your SSD as I have seen the same issue with a few drives that has been solved by an update to the firmware, then again as it's your OS drive that might be a problem to update and if it's all working fine now just leave it alone! ;-)