View Full Version : Should I be in a rush to replace HDD with SSD?
25-06-2012, 09:04 PM
Solid State drives are becoming very reasonably priced lately. Last year they were as much as $2\GB and today they're approaching $0.50\GB. $70 for a 120GB SSD is very enticing.
My wife and I are running, happily enough, off of 7200 RPM SATA2 HDDs, each with a 64GB cache. They're hardly lightning but at peak can transfer single large files at about 110MB\s. Seek and random access times can be slow, of course. To my untrained senses I kind of expect a SSD would only improve the boot times as it's rare we have to sit there waiting for the HDD to churn away before we can be productive.
Both our PCs are a few years old and only have a SATA2 bus. I've been thinking of buying a SATA3 SSD (at least 500MB read and write) because I believe it's backward-compatible and will work at a slower speed for now. It's kinda like filling a sippy cup with a firehose.
So how worthwhile is a SSD? Should we be breaking down our computer store's door to buy the first one possible? It should be said that we're both uberdorks and are effectively glued to our PCs all the time. Should this be a no-brainer that would give a significant quality-of-life improvement or should we wait until we build our next PCs?
25-06-2012, 09:07 PM
Replace? No, supplement, yes. HDD's for your masses of content, SDD for things that actually benefit. Or, yunno, be more patient with load times.
25-06-2012, 11:31 PM
^ What Heliocentric said.
The only benefit of SSDs is to make loading-intensive programs and files load a hell of a lot faster - so you should be plonking stuff on there that takes a while to start up, like your OS, or texture-heavy games like ArmA2.
For files such as videos, music, general documents etc, there's no benefit to having it on an SSD; an HDD will suffice.
As for what size of SSD to get - I recently purchased a 128GB SSD because realistically you're going to be looking at 30GB for the OS, and then enough space for a few largish games (So Skyrim would be great if you've modded the hell out of it with HD texture packs etc.)
25-06-2012, 11:55 PM
One other thing to bear in mind is that the larger the SSD the slower they get in terms of read speed compared to smaller SSDs (based on my fairly brief research at least) so aiming for the 128gb Alex mentions is pretty optimal. No point splurging for a massive one just yet, although I've been sorely tempted
26-06-2012, 08:27 AM
One other thing to bear in mind is that the larger the SSD the slower they get in terms of read speed compared to smaller SSDs (based on my fairly brief research at least) so aiming for the 128gb Alex mentions is pretty optimal. No point splurging for a massive one just yet, although I've been sorely temptednot true as a rule of thumb. Some of the specific controllers, like the Intel drives, have slower read and write speeds the smaller the drive.
26-06-2012, 09:15 AM
I recently got a 120Gb SSD and I too have a SATAII motherboard. The most noticable difference was booting and getting to a usable desktop very quickly. I keep the 2 OS there, while using 2 other older HDDs for data and most of my games. As Alex said, ArmaII loading times were halved and I think the framerate is better but that might just be me fooling myself. Keep the older HDD as you will quickly run out of space without it.
In the end, it's not something that you can't live without, I would say it's more of a luxury improvement but if you can afford it, why not.
26-06-2012, 08:31 PM
Thanks guys. I would definitely be supplementing and not replacing my HDD. SSD is too expensive for static storage. I should have been more clear.
I did some research and to my surprise I found that nowadays larger drives tend to be significantly faster than smaller ones. I don't understand this entirely but it seems to be in part because of the controller and also because of the number and distribution of memory chips on the PCB.
Kataras gave me the most direct answer to my question, so thanks for that. Would anyone else like to give their opinion whether this is a must-have or just a luxury?
26-06-2012, 09:56 PM
Its a luxury when you haven't got one, and a necessity when you have.
As soon as you take the plunge, you won't be able to go back. I started out with a 40GB intel V series, which isn't particularly fast, but still much faster than a mechanical disk, and now i'm on a Crucial C300 64GB using SATA 6Gbp/s and I get to a usable desktop in ~15 seconds.
this is a pretty good drive, and less than a $ per gigabyte.
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