I have been wanting one to, but the life span and finite read / write cycles concern me.
Or have they fixed all that in the newest genreations. Everything I read shows how mucn faster your system will be with one, and I want to build an new system around the Sandy-Bridge E chip.
Does not answer your question I am sorry, but this is a great topic.
I got a fairly early one (Kingston 64GB) on my i7 6GB system and it was the single biggest performance improvement change I have ever experienced. Nowadays' I'd recommend an Intel 128GB SSD, although there are good alternatives out there too (OCZ is one.)
Comments about SSD useful lifespan are pretty much nonsense. By most any measure the SSD will last longer than the fans in your PC or its power supply and I don't know anyone who pays any attention to this matter.
Be sure to do a clean install if Win7 on the SSD; do NOT clone an existing installation from a spinning disk.
I can definitely understand the reason for using SSD in a laptop or portable (quiet, rugged, low power consumption), but I am less certain I understand the advantages in a desktop computer. In fact, it seems like a poor idea to me, especially since hard drives are so reliable, fast, large, and just plain work most of the time.
But, to be fair, I've never built a system with one, so perhaps I'm missing out on a great thing.
I've been delighted with my Corsair 120 GB SSD for approaching a year, now. Not to be a contrarian (huh), but I bought a recertified SSD and I cloned it from a hard drive image. At less than two hundred dollars, I'm already ahead on the SSD over the value proposition of a cup of Starbucks Pike Place Roast. The coffee costs $1.65 (typically five days per week). You do the math.
I'm also using a NetDISK 351UNE Network Drive which got terrible reviews in some quarters. I use it as playback storage, USB attached to my Blu-ray player and network attached to my systems. Some times I wonder about reviews...
I built my current system with a 160GB solid state drive for OS and applications, with two separate 2TB drives for capturing, rendering, etc. The computer (running Windows 7 64-bit) boots up in less than 30 seconds from a cold start and applications load incredibly fast. Seriously, apps like Photoshop and After Effects that used to give me time to refill my coffee cup while loading...are now opening in two or three seconds. I am very happy with the SSD drive, although it really hasn't affected the quantity of my overall coffee consumption. ;)
The most notable improvements for speed that I've experienced are 64-bit OS with as much RAM as you can throw at it and going to a SSD. GPU rendering also makes the list of the top 3, in no particular order. Anyway, the drive is very quiet, runs cool, and there are no moving parts so I'm not as concerned about mechanical failure. As always, be prepared with backups of important files and a backup of a stable image--especially when you do any upgrade.
If you decide to upgrade or build a new system with a SSD, I recommend you use a separate high speed drive for your paging file. It's not a good idea to having the paging file on the SSD.
The biggest complaint I've seen with SSD is people that took the plunge but decided to be conservative with their wallet and installed a smaller capacity SSD to keep the cost down. If you do it, get the biggest one you can afford. It's not fun when you've invested money in an upgrade only to find out that you're running out of space. Even with my 160GB drive, I'm always keeping an eye on the remaining capacity and have been thinking about an upgrade to a 256 or 512GB, keeping the original drive as an extra "just-in-case" backup.
Check out the Samsung 830 Series SSD Upgrade kits. The 256GB kit at newegg is getting really good reviews. Samsung has built a good upgrade kit with a solid performer, there.
I wouldn't think of doing anything less than 128GB, and the prices are coming down on the larger capacity drives.
JohnMeyer said: "I can definitely understand the reason for using SSD in a laptop or portable (quiet, rugged, low power consumption), but I am less certain I understand the advantages in a desktop computer. In fact, it seems like a poor idea to me, especially since hard drives are so reliable, fast, large, and just plain work most of the time."
I just put together my PC and one of the best moves I made was to install an SSD drive. Even the fastest old fashioned hard drives don't compare. Most programs boot nearly as fast as you click them. Vegas 11 takes 3 seconds from the time I click on the icon until the time I can start working with it.
I have a Corsair Force 3 GT 120GB. I benchmarked it using ATTO and it can read and write large sequential files at 500MB per second.
As for brands, OCZ got a real bad rap since the new controller software came out last year. When I searched for a drive for my computer, I found countless horror stories regarding OCZ. However, its Vertex 3 is supposed to be blindingly fast.
I went with Corsair because people seemed to find it reliable. It's Force 3 is supposed to be faster than the Force 3 GT with small files but the GT is faster with sequential files. That's what I went for.
I use my SSD as the system drive where all programs are installed. I keep my data on large normal hard drives.
There are 2 fundamental reasons: if you clone a version of Win7 that has been installed on a hard disk you will not have a system that (1) supports Trim, and (2) is properly aligned on SSD sectors.
Before the Win7 installer actually performs the install of Win7 it checks to see what kind of device it is working with. If the device reports a 0 rotational delay, which all SSD's do, Win7 will be installed properly aligned on the SSD's physical sectors (which are really memory chip boundaries) and will also set up the Trim function.
On the other hand, if the device reports a positive rotational delay, which all hard disks do, neither of these things happen. So if you clone such a version of Win7 onto an SSD you won't have Trim, and your installation may be mis-aligned on the drive which can substantially increase its wear due to excessive memory block movements.
SSD write speed rarely reaches 100MB/s, let alone 500. If you have write caching turned on, you will achieve fast write speeds, until the cache is full.
As stated before, you never want to clone Windows to an SSD because windows is constantly writing data to temp files, and more significantly, log files.
On a clean install, Windows knows to put the frequently written O/S files on an HDD.
Last, on lifetime of SSD's - while true, there is a finite limit to write cycles, the number is about equal to five years of infrequent use. Maximum PC Magazine, dedicated to gaming computers, claim that they are still using first-gen SSD's in their labs that are frequently getting new O/S and games installed on them.
So, chances are that SSD capacity will increase and the prices will drop by the time your current SSD starts to wear out.
Steve Mann wrote:
"SSD write speed rarely reaches 100MB/s, let alone 500"
Please note that I was careful to say large sequential files. That is where you get the fastest transfer rates. However, even the slowest speed reading and writing half a K files is still 17 megs per second write and 18 megs per second read.
Take a look at how big the files have to be before I hit 300 megs, 400 megs and 500 megs. And I believe a lowly 247 megs write and 148 megs read for 4K files far outdoes any hard drive.
I've had nothing but trouble with the Kingston SSD; Great luck with Crucial in my personal machine, and the turnkey's we're shipping all have Intels.
For boot and access, it's speedy. I don't ever render to an SSD, mostly based on the hassles and habits picked up from the Kingston.
I have 15,000 rpm Seagate SAS Cheetah drives for my two boot drives. I don't think any application I own -- on this, or on my much less exotic other computers -- takes more than three seconds. Except for Vegas. I just timed it (I hadn't yet run Vegas since booting) and it took fifteen seconds before it showed up on screen.
That would actually be a mildly interesting thread: if you first re-boot your computer and wait for it to "settle down" (all disk activity ceases), how long does it take, from the time you double-click on the Vegas icon until Vegas first appears on screen? I just tried it with Vegas 10.0e on Windows XP Pro SP3 32-bit (you have to specify the O/S, including whether it is 32 or 64 bit), and it took exactly fifteen seconds. By contrast, I just tried Vegas 7.0d and it took three seconds.
I don't have media manager turned on with any version of Vegas (it used to make the start time much slower). I also don't open the last project when opening. Both these options would have to be set the same, and I guess all external plugins would have to be enabled.
Never mind, there are too many variables, and the reported results wouldn't tell us much. Still, it is interesting to hear these reports of faster app loading time with SSD. I do remember playing around with RAM disks back in the late 1980s and they certainly made program loading unbelievably fast. So, that part of the SSD definitely seems like it is for real. I'm still wondering about the slower write speeds and other issues associated with writing (I guess most of the write issues have been solved with clever software that manages where stuff gets written).
John, I am jealous of your 15,000 RPM drives. I just did a cold boot and loaded Vegas 11 in 6 seconds. That included fully loading a small 12 minutes, 9 tracks, project.
Out of curiosity, I'd love to see the kind of speeds you can get from 15,000 RPM drives. It is free. Download it and try it on your machine. I have old 7,200 rpm data drives and would like to see how they compare - poorly, I am sure.