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SSD as boot HD

Discussion in 'Hardware' started by jk2447, Aug 16, 2009.

  1. jk2447

    jk2447 Petabyte Poster Moderator

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    Hi All,

    Has anyone here installed their OS on a SSD? Obviously I'd have a fast SATA HD for the paging file and my apps etc.

    How do you find the performance? I'm interested in hearing peoples experiences who have used one personally rather than read some website on how they should perform.

    Thanks

    Jim
     
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  2. westernkings

    westernkings Gigabyte Poster

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    I'm using it currently. Corsair 64GB SSD. What exactly do you want to know? :)
     
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  3. jk2447

    jk2447 Petabyte Poster Moderator

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    Do you think its worth the extra cash (per Gb) to boot off a SSD? Is everything exactly the same as your average HD?
     
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  4. westernkings

    westernkings Gigabyte Poster

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    I'll be honest, I haven't actually been able to run a proper comparison from my old HDD. however, and this isn't a proper scientific FACT test, I had an 80GB HD with my old vista installation, I attached it and then ran defrag on both the 80GB HDD and my full to the brim SSD (Which has windows 7 x64 and various other bits on)

    it took about 2 minutes to completely defrag from 34% fragged down to 0 on my solid state.

    it took nearly 20 to rearrange 26% frag down to 0 on my HDD.

    In terms of games loading, I'm not too sure. But it does seem pretty swift, copying 6GB of files took about 8 seconds before.

    In terms of installing OS etc, yes it is exactly the same as a HDD, it shows up just the same, you can;t tell a difference through windows or through bios. Acts just the same as a normal hard disk.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eUJ5Lka2aHE

    Pretty good tube vid comparing the two. That pretty much highlights the benefits square on. Windows 7 x64 on my PC shuts down in about 5 seconds. That's with me leaving programs running and windows having to close them (things like Itunes etc.)
     
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  5. jk2447

    jk2447 Petabyte Poster Moderator

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    Thanks mate, thats exactly the kinda stuff I was after. No problems using it daily?
     
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  6. westernkings

    westernkings Gigabyte Poster

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    Nope, not a single issue. All smooth sailing really. I would of just forked out for a bigger size in hind sight though. So you may wanna get one bigger than 64GB really just to be safe. It is mostly starting programs etc that does it. Company of heroes loads in about 7 seconds (first time after shut down, so not getting any help from stuff stored in ram)

    shuts down in about 5/6/7 seconds.

    Boots up in about 20.

    All in all, i'm impressed. You notice it most when you get to the "welcome" screen right before your desktop appears.
     
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  7. jk2447

    jk2447 Petabyte Poster Moderator

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    Cheers mate, you've convinced me to make a bigger dent in my bank account :D
     
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  8. westernkings

    westernkings Gigabyte Poster

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    Just did something for you mate.

    Boot up Video

    http://tinypic.com/r/25hirzr/3

    Shut Down Video (I pressed shut down and the record button at the same time (minus a few milliseconds)

    http://tinypic.com/r/nmhhdz/3


    Let me know what ya think.
     
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  9. jk2447

    jk2447 Petabyte Poster Moderator

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    The 3 vids are spot on mate, thanks for your help :biggrin
     
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  10. Modey

    Modey Terabyte Poster

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    From what I have heard some mates say, Windows 7 is a must with SSD's as boot drives, as it is optimised for them. They also said it was mega quick. 7secs boot time (to desktop) and a very noticable difference when it comes to general usage.
     
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  11. Raffaz

    Raffaz Kebab Lover Gold Member

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    Do you realise you are shortening the life of your SSD by defragging? there is no need to do this and your just creating more writes on the drive mate :).

    Just made the change myself to a OCZ vertex2 60gb SSD, gotta say that its impressive! Boot times are awesome, if the animation on windows 7 wasnt so long it would boot quicker, i get the animation instantly and as soon as that finishes the logon screen pops up :D

    There's quite a bit to learn such as HDD erase, TRIM command (if your system supports it) there are also loads of tweaks to help with performance etc, im still reading up on it but very happy so far.
    Ive got a 7.7 rating on windows index, just need to update the rest of my system to match it :D
     
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  12. SimonD

    SimonD Terabyte Poster Moderator

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    Actually that depends on the defrag program you're using, if you use something like Raxco Perfect Disk which supports SSD's (and TRIM) then defraging a drive isn't an issue.
     
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  13. Josiahb

    Josiahb Gigabyte Poster

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    We've just stuck a mirrored pair of 128gb Vertex2s in one of our virtual hosts in the office, they are stonkingly fast. The difference its made to the VMs running on them (were on mirrored 300gb 15k SAS) is incredible.
     
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  14. moondas

    moondas Bit Poster

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    I reinstalled my Win7 from HDD to Vertex 40gb SSD recently and it boots about 4-5 times faster now, also any application install takes much less time. You just need to remember to disable indexing and prefetch on your SSD, defragmenting is also not recommended. Overall it was worth it.
     
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  15. SimonD

    SimonD Terabyte Poster Moderator

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    Windows 7 is SSD aware and 'should' already install the OS with SSD tweaks already carried out.
     
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  16. Raffaz

    Raffaz Kebab Lover Gold Member

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    I dont agree mate, it doesnt matter what program your using, ya basically writing to the drive when its not needed when you defrag and that shortening the life of the drive. SSDs are extremely fast and can read multiple locations so defragging just isnt needed. Heres a little bit of info i read, taken from OCZ forums:

    There seems to be some debate over the use of defragging utilities on your SSD drive. The purpose of this post is to try to clear this up a bit. In order to do this, we must look at where the opinions are comming from, and how an SSD actually works.

    The main proponents that say that you DO need to defrag your SSD also sell defrag programs, which I am SURE is a coincidence (NOT![​IMG]).

    The opponents of defragging your SSD are pretty much all the makers of SSD drives, virtually every expert on the subject of SSDs, and of course the biggest experts on Windows and how it operates at the high and low levels with the hardware, MICROSOFT, who created (or bought) the operating system[​IMG]. They all say the same thing: You do not need to defrag your SSD. Defragging it like a hard drive WILL lower its life expectancy without increasing performance.

    So, just looking at who says not to do it, I would think that there should not be too much debate, but as with a lot of things, a lack of understanding (or a simple plain english explanation) of a new technology tends to cause some to hold on to long held beliefs left over from similar hardware (spinning hard drives).

    Lets look at the hardware aspect of what an SSD must do to work and be widely accepted by the users: Imagine where SSD technology (and prices) would be today if you had to buy a new motherboard (or computer) just to use an SSD. In addition to the motherboard, you would need to purchase a new 'magic' operating system that could utilize the features of the SSD. The expense alone of all these 'upgrades' would have prevented the mass sales of SSDs, keeping the prices extremely high, and the number of manufacturers low, since it would remain as a high-end only item that only the richest users could afford.

    So How does the SSD work with current and past hardware and operating systems without the need for 'magic' expensive upgrades?
    Simply put, the first job of the SSD controller is to lie its butt off[​IMG]! Really! Here are the lies the controller must tell in order to work:
    1: It has to tell your BIOS and motherboard "Don't mind me, I'm just a plain old fast hard drive. you can boot from me and use me!"
    2: After the hardware accepts the SSD, the SSD controller has to tell the same lie to the operating system which is used to performing input and output to specific blocks on a hard drive. Basically, the operating system is fooled into thinking it is in full control of where on the SSD the data is going, since it has always had control in the past on normal hard drives. There is a lot of logic inviolved in this, so the controller has its own processor and basic operating system (firmware).

    So, what does this have to do with defragging? Lots...
    On a normal hard drive, you want all your most used data in the fastest area all together, since it has to move the drive head around if the data is not all in one place. Once you write the data to a location, it is up to the operating system to know where it is and to maintain the pointers to it on the physical location on the platters. The data stays there until it is told to move it. Defragging software does this for you through the operating system. Your Spinning disk drive can write and overwrite to any location the operating system says to ("write this data from x through y, read the data to me from x through y).

    The SSD does things a little differently. There are no platters or heads to move. Data comes from several places at once instead of from one sequential location. Due to the limited number of writes to any one location (cell) of the SSD, the controller must be in control of where things are written to, or the SSD would wear out very quickly. When the operating system tells the SSD to write something to a specific location, the controller tells the operating system that it did (lies). It then spreads the data out in the unused areas of the SSD. This is called 'wear leveling'. When the operating system asks for it back, the controller takes the location that the OS asked for and converts it to the actual cells where it is stored and sends the data to the OS. The SSD controller also likes to move things around when it is idle to keep as many free cells as possible, but does not need to tell the OS that it is moved. The changes are done in the location conversion table (this is not the actual name, just description of what it does).

    Bottom line, there is no need to defragment the SSD, since the operating system has absolutely NO CONTROL at all where the data is actually (physically) stored on your SSD. The SSD will put the data where it pleases, even during a defrag operation![​IMG]
    Personally, I would love it if the firmware could somehow block the defrag operation, but it is allowed to happen simply to maintain compatibility with your operating system and drivers.

    Hope this clears this one up for some of you (us)
     
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  17. Raffaz

    Raffaz Kebab Lover Gold Member

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    There are other tweaks that win7 doesnt pickup tho, wouldnt say they speed the system up but they prevent unneeded writes to the drive
     
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  18. SimonD

    SimonD Terabyte Poster Moderator

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    Actually, the Raxco product I mentioned (Perfect Disk 11) doesn't actually defrag the disk as such (even tho it's a defrag program), all it does is consolidate the free space on the drive, now considering that Tony from OCZ has advised that this is a good idea (even from the command line with a defrag c: /x) then using something like PD11 where it won't damage the drive because you can't actually 'defrag' the drive because it's recognised as an SSD won't harm the drive or reduce the life of it.

    Consolidating the free space on the SSD is a GOOD thing because it actually speeds up future writes (doing a consolidation now means that GC erases the blocks that need erasing after the data has been moved off it and that's why it will speed up the future writes of data to the blocks).

    It's no good consolidating an SSD that doesn't have Trim and GC because then you're not really reaping the benefits of the GC.

    Using a Defrag program to clean up your SSD isn't a 'requirement' but it certainly won't hurt your performance if you do so.
     
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  19. Raffaz

    Raffaz Kebab Lover Gold Member

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    When you say consolidate the free space, do you mean the TRIM command or are they different? If it is just TRIM then why fork out the extra cash mate.
     
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