SDD (Solid State Drives) Performance Pros & Cons?

Soniclight wrote on 12/29/2010, 1:16 AM
The following is a slight re-edited migration of a question that was part of my recent "Q: XP 32-bit > Win7 32-bit or 64-bit?" thread wherein the 64-bit issue was pretty much dealt with, but LReavis suggested also considering going SSD.

Due to budget constraints, I am only considering getting a 60Gb. max for my to-be-purchased Win7. I always run my OS on its own drive for leaner performance (not even My Documents, etc). Just OS and apps with some minor text files and other miscellaneous stuff

And I'm also having to do things incrementally:

--- I still have an old but reliable Pentium D dual core system running XP Home SP3, but my XP is showing its age and it's time to move on.

--- Eventually I'll upgrade the mobo, etc. but for now, I'll only be replacing the hard drive and temporarily do a dual boot or SATA hotwire until I've set up Win7 as I want it, then retire the XP drive or partition.

Next year, maybe mobo/etc.

OK, that should do it in terms of context.


I was all fired up about going in that direction but I'm now a bit ambivalent -- perhaps for the wrong reasons. The reviews overall seem to point to what you have all said. And I've somewhat narrowed my choice one in particular due to price and overall quality:

Your thoughts, experience, advice, etc. appreciated.


farss wrote on 12/29/2010, 3:08 AM
I'm trying to understand what you want to achieve.

An SSD will not make an application run faster, all it will do is make it load faster. For me Vegas may take 10 seconds to load and then 30 seconds to open a project. Unless the project and media files reside on a SSD the best a faster disk can do is reduce those 10 seconds. Of those 30 seconds I'd guess a lot of it is taken up by the CPU running code rather than the CPU waiting for the disk system.

Even if it reduced the 10 seconds to 1 second all thats saved is 9 seconds out of 40 seconds, doesn't seem like a good way to spend money unless you've got a lot of it to throw around.

Perhaps even more to the point once I have Vegas and the project open then CPU speed and amount of RAM is the thing limiting how much or how fast I can work, again the SSD gains you nothing.

All of that assumes a SSD is a perfect panacea and as you're well aware they are not. Unlike a mechanical disk they do have a finite life and by the very nature of how they work. SSDs do have their place in the grand scheme of things, mostly in mobile devices where the lower power consumption and mechanical robustness justifies the cost.

My advice, save your money for a new Mobo, CPU and RAM.

Bill Ravens wrote on 12/29/2010, 7:16 AM
I recently updated my system HDD to a OCZ Vertex2 SSD. My computer boot times, as well as program load times are significantly faster. But, as Bob pointed out, programs do not execute any faster. The advantages of an SSD are lower heat output, lower power required, noiseless and faster boot time.

Having said this,the use of an SSD requires a different tactical approach that a HDD.
1-Pagefile can be kept on the SSD instead of using a different drive for the pagefile
2-System TEMP directories have to be moved to a seperate drive
3-ACPI is needed to realize the full speed potential of an SSD
4-SSD "TRIM" is an optional requirement, altho', there are other approaches that result in the same thing. NCQ is part of what you get with ACPI.
5-Defragging an SSD is not recommended nor necessary

The strategy is that SSD's have a lifetime limited amount of ERASE/REWRITE operations. To prolong their life, one wants to minimize read/write operations, therefore, all routine I/O should be moved off of the SSD.

Likewise, TRIM is designed to prevent data fragments from being left in blank spaces on the SSD. It takes a finite amount of time to erase data fragments before a write operation when writing new data.
john_dennis wrote on 12/29/2010, 7:16 AM
If I had your hardware configration:

Windows Version: XP

I would table the SSD idea for now. The steps I would take as incremental moves toward a better system are:

1. Add memory to at least 4 GB. 6GB would be the max I would throw at this system.

2. Buy and install Windows 7 Professional (oem) 64 bit, even if you run 32 bit versions of all your applications.

The memory is a "throw-away", WIndows 7 can be moved to the next system if you abandon this one or reuse the Windows XP license if you keep it running.

Soniclight wrote on 12/29/2010, 8:19 AM
Thanks to everyone for essentially confirming the "all that glitters is not gold" sense I had taking everything into consideration for my particular situation and budget.

On an aside, once again and even though my coming here has become more sporadic due to other priories, I'm very grateful for the level of thoughtful and informed feedback I've received throughout the years here of which this has been another example.

End-of-year waxing poetic perhaps, yet nonetheless true.
Happy Holidays to all,

~ Philip
LReavis wrote on 12/29/2010, 12:29 PM
probably for your needs, an SSD is a bit much. I can't hardly stand to work on my computer when my SSD is not the boot drive, but I'm constantly opening and closing programs. I have over 100 installed, and typically have a half-dozen or dozen open; and they constantly are getting closed down and another opened (my videos are documentaries, in essence, so I need text files, web references, animation programs, Gspot and other video/codec ID identifiers, etc.). The SSD cuts the time required for such operations to a fraction of what it is with a 7200 RPM disk.

However, the SSD is not robust. I always keep a recent backup image so that I can reconstitute it when it won't boot (about once every, say, 6 months). And once a lightning bolt killed it even though nothing else in any of my computers was affected (Intel replaced it fast, no questions asked).

Moreover, SSDs work best with Win7 - XP requires additional applets for best performance with SSDs.

Regarding limited life, yup; but it's a long life if you keep the pagefile on another disk (the pagefile is constantly getting written-to and re-written).

If you get one, 60 gb probably is enough for you. Right now, I have 51+ gb used. It would be 18 gb more if pagefile were on it; and another 9 gb or so if hyberfil.sys were on it. But you probably won't have as many programs installed as I'm (unfortunately) stuck witih.
Tattoo wrote on 12/29/2010, 5:18 PM
Before you spend money on memory, make sure your motherboard will support the extra RAM. I think my Core 2 3.0Ghz (Wolfdale) chip/board is newer than yours and my board only supports 8GB. Could be your board only supports 4GB, which would really blow to find out after you order 6GB!

Once you've verified that, I'd definitely agree that if you've got less than 4GB this is your best & cheapest upgrade.
LReavis wrote on 12/29/2010, 5:22 PM
and if it does support only 4gb, probably it would be best to stick with XP, for there would be few advantages to moving to win7-64 bits.
Spectralis wrote on 12/29/2010, 8:08 PM
If you upgrade to Win7 on your present system won't that slow things down even more? I wouldn't buy Win 7 32bit either. For the price of an SSD you could get a new mobo. I know you'll have to buy new ram and a cpu for the new mobo but 4GB will do and AMD AM2+ mobo's allow quite a range of cpu's from dual to 6 core so you can start off with a cheaper cpu and upgrade the ram and cpu at a later date. Perhaps you can get a mobo, cpu and ram bundle much cheaper depending on your budget?

It's a tricky thing upgrading on a budget but usually it's better to overhaul the whole thing in one go rather than try to soup up an old mobo.

Soniclight wrote on 12/30/2010, 11:06 PM
As updated in my parallel thread "Q: XP 32-bit > Win7 32-bit or 64-bit?" I just ordered Win7 32-bit -- I can always eventually go to 64-bit once I have the money to upgrade the mobo, etc.

I also dropped the SDD idea for now. I'd rather wait a couple of years as the technology improves. It's still a relatively new one and does have its quirks and limitations, IMO. I can wait a few more seconds for bootup too, I'm impatient guy at times, but not that impatient :o)

Besides, I don't need to have tons of applications going, and as stated earlier, I've never maxed out my RAM in XP Home (even rendering millions of polygons for a large still image in e-on Vue 8 for hours at a time with all other apps closed).

When I work in Vegas I tend to streamline everything else: maybe Firefox, Windows Media for my quickie test renders and Windows Explorer as I manually backup my .veg files periodically, but that's about it.

Sure, my dual core Pentium D is a dinosaur but it does its job -- I can't render animations beyond a thumbnail size in Vue, period. But part of using any computer is knowing how to work as efficiently as one can within the limitations one has.

I was there when Windows 3.1 was the big "wow" even though I knew Macs better then.
I'm just grateful for what I can do with Vegas as-is at all.

So going to Win7 even in 32-bit is still a treat to me :o)