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 Post subject: Advice for choosing SSD
PostPosted: Thu Jul 26, 2012 9:04 am 
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Hey, I've been hearing a lot about SSD's recently and want some info.

If I'm looking for an SSD, what specifications do I want/am I looking for besides size? I really wouldn't need a large one since I'm only going to put programs on it to run, right?

Thanks in advance.

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 Post subject: Re: Advice for choosing SSD
PostPosted: Thu Jul 26, 2012 11:31 am 
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I installed my first SSD yesterday in a new Win7 Pro system. The SSD is a Samsung 830 128GB. After installing the OS and maybe about 1/4th of the programs that I'll eventually have installed, there are 51 GB used, 68 GB free.

I was hoping to use part of the SSD for a fast work space for audio and video file editing. I'm not so sure I'm going to be able to do that now, but we'll see after I'm finished installing everything. I'm thinking that a 256GB drive might have been smarter, although I suppose I can always add another 128GB SSD.

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 Post subject: Re: Advice for choosing SSD
PostPosted: Thu Jul 26, 2012 1:00 pm 
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Yeah with todays prices a "system drive" at the 120/128GB level is a sweetspot. The smaller 60/64GB drives may work fine too, but don't cost that much less and come with the downside of lower performance plus theoretically a shorter lifespan as well. Intel's 330 series have a 180GB model that might fit well with those that may want a little extra space for games or content creation, though most desktops shouldn't have a problem fitting one 120 first and if necessary another SSD later as prices have dropped further. I think really only laptop users might to well to look for a 240/256GB sized drive already today.

Having butted my head against bugs of both the previous and current generation of Sandforce controllers, I'm still not turned off by them (both have remained stable over the course of this year) and would consider most any depending on price and the quality of the support tools. My main drive is an A-DATA S510 that's been trouble free all its life, with a OCZ Agility 3 for games. My first SSD, a 60GB Corsair was moved off to my HTPC where it fits its role well enough. A-DATA certainly has the nicer update software of the three, and OCZ has a poor reputation on overall reliability as well apart from the Sandforce-specific issues. Though reputations aren't always fair. The Intel 330 series uses a cheaper type of memory but I can't imagine the performance difference can be felt in real life. Samsung has their own seemingly very reliable controller and good performance, but I feel that the reduced write wear of the Sandforce chip just might be a good bonus for long term use of a drive. A 120GB drive should be able to last many years performance wise as long as write wear is kept reasonable.


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 Post subject: Re: Advice for choosing SSD
PostPosted: Thu Jul 26, 2012 1:25 pm 
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The four big specs are random read/write and sequential read/write. All of the mfgrs like to blather on about their incredibly fast sequential speeds, but the only time that matters is when you are doing a big-assed file copy or disk backup. More important are the random read/write speeds. The bottom line is most of the current generation SSDs have similar enough performance in real world conditions where you don't really have to focus on these four specs.

The thing to focus on is: how reliable is the product? You can wander Newegg ratings and look at the 1 and 2 star ratings and get a feel for which SSDs are crap. Lately, I've been pushing Crucial's m4 and the Samsung 830 as they seems to have decent reliability and because they aren't using a Sandforce controller (my personal bias).

Two additional things to look for:
- Does your OS support TRIM (eg: Win7)? If not, be sure to get an SSD with a manually triggerable garbage collection utility or one that just doesn't degrade much w/o TRIM.
- Are you on a Mac? Then only buy SSDs that are known to work on a Mac.

Also a +1 for getting at least 128GB. Smaller SSDs have less memory chips and read/write channels. so, performance can be noticably slower. If you want numbers, take a look at Anandtech's SSD Bench for comparisions.

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 Post subject: Re: Advice for choosing SSD
PostPosted: Thu Jul 26, 2012 2:40 pm 
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When you jump to an SSD, even the slow ones are fast.

I trust Intel because of its reliability, which has been documented to be 4 to 5 times greater than that of other SSDs. See:
http://www.macobserver.com/tmo/article/ ... ure_rates/

Intel just dropped their prices. They put there good Nand in the 520 series and it doesn't cost that much more than their 330 series. That is whey I would recommend an Intel 520 SSD.

I have heard that Samsung SSDs are also reliable, but have yet to see the data supporting this.

See Generally:
viewtopic.php?f=1&t=61485&start=120

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 Post subject: Re: Advice for choosing SSD
PostPosted: Mon Jul 30, 2012 8:37 am 
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Go for Intel if you find it cheap, Samsung 830 may be a little faster, but it suffers from really high latency and as a result slowing down inconsistently.


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 Post subject: Re: Advice for choosing SSD
PostPosted: Mon Jul 30, 2012 3:20 pm 
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In short.

As for size, that depends. Windows takes up less than 20 GB. Then you'll need to see how much your programs take up. Games tend to take up much space. How much do your programs and Windows occupy in your C drive?

In the real world the difference in performance between SSD's has no impact on standard usage, i.e. web-browsing, games etc. All modern SSD's perform virtually the same. Therefore, pick a reliable SSD. Intel, Samsung, and Crucial are known for their reliability. Sandforce has, unfortunately, had too many errors in the past. I wouldn't recommend one.

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 Post subject: Re: Advice for choosing SSD
PostPosted: Mon Jul 30, 2012 3:29 pm 
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Newegg has the Samsung 830 128 GB for $84.99 right now. $99.99 - $15 with promo code EMCYTZT1974. Wow.

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 Post subject: Re: Advice for choosing SSD
PostPosted: Mon Jul 30, 2012 3:36 pm 
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Games do take up a lot of space has to be said agree there.
I could get away with a 120Gb SSD, but I prefer to sit this one out and wait for price drops and improvments.


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 Post subject: Re: Advice for choosing SSD
PostPosted: Mon Jul 30, 2012 5:03 pm 
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Mr Spocko wrote:
Games do take up a lot of space has to be said agree there.
Put the games on a separate drive.

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 Post subject: Re: Advice for choosing SSD
PostPosted: Tue Jul 31, 2012 1:03 am 
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JJ wrote:
Newegg has the Samsung 830 128 GB for $84.99 right now. $99.99 - $15 with promo code EMCYTZT1974. Wow.


This deal is really good! You should get that one if possible.

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 Post subject: Re: Advice for choosing SSD
PostPosted: Sat Oct 27, 2012 11:46 am 
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With regards to SSD lifespan - until recently I worried a bit about it. Now, I don't. I'm still looking for more evidence, and I'm willing to be shown that I should worry, but two articles stand out right now:
http://www.storagesearch.com/ssdmyths-endurance.html and
http://www.corsair.com/blog/force-series-ssd-life-testing/

These (and other) technically complete and reasonably argued articles have convinced me that worrying about SSD endurance at the "user" level - even the "heavy" user, is a mugs game. By the numbers presented in that article, lifespan for SSDs is now at about 25 to 50 YEARS if you're over-writing the disk 3 times per day, every day. Longer if you're not - and most people aren't.

I personally intend to just get the ones I can afford and stop worrying about it. Looks to me like SSD has come of age, but as usual it will take a while for the tech to live down its early problems of "low lifespan". Even though it seems it was just that - early problems with a new technology that have now been mostly resolved. Lack of reliability seems to be mostly due to build quality by certain manufacturers rather than any inherent problems with the technology itself.

The only issue I can imagine is if you're over-writing small part of the storage thousands of times per day, such as some sort of log, tmp or swap file on a very full SSD. So the only precaution I'd have is to make sure any SSD I use for such heavily written files isn't full and the SSD controller can then spread the bits around a little.

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