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SSD

Discussion in 'Hardware' started by andylad9, Jun 23, 2012.

  1. andylad9

    andylad9 Byte Poster

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    Hi guys - I'm planning on treating myself to a SSD for my PC.

    What are peoples experiences using them? I know some of the earlier ones weren't all that reliable (BSoD etc), but hopefully they've ironed at the kinks.

    My mobo is only SATAII but I still hope for a performance increase. This is what I'm looking at OCZ Agility 3 120GB 2.5" SATA-III Solid State Hard Drive - Aria Technology - 120Gb SSD for £75...bargin!

    What do people think?
     
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  2. dmarsh

    dmarsh Terabyte Poster

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    I've got a 3 year old Crucial M225 SSD, used it in a desktop and now in my laptop. Never had one issue with it.

    The drives with the most issues tend to have been those with sandforce controllers, two generations of sandforce controllers have been dodgy.

    The OCZ Agility has a sandforce controller.

    If you want to be on the safe side buy a new Marvel based drive, the Marvel controllers have always been rock solid. Take synthetic benchmark transfer rates with a pinch of salt.

    The new series of Marvel controller drives is now out like the Corsair Performance Pro.

    Bigger drives will perform better, maybe consider 256 GB if you can afford it.

    The Samsung 830 Series is also supposed to be good and has non Sandforce controller.

    Toggle nand or synchronous nand performs better also if you can afford a higher end drive with it.

    If you want a Sandforce based drive there are better ones about than the Agility, your drive is a critical system component and the main bottleneck in most systems, sometimes its worth paying a little extra...

    Mushkin Chronos Deluxe and Kingston Hyper X 3K use sandforce controllers and perform better than the Agility.
     
    Last edited: Jun 23, 2012
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  3. BraderzTheDog

    BraderzTheDog Kilobyte Poster

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    Thats a good price for a 120GB Andy, however I would probs say if you could pick up the Intel ones they are the best.

    They are one of the most expensive, but they are very reliable and have amazing R/WR speeds even over SATA2.

    I managed to find a little loop hole if this is of any interest to you, when I was over in Vegas I went to Microcentre (PC world equivalent but miles better) and found Dane Elec SSD's they are manufactured by Intel but don't have the huge price tag to go with it. I'd probs check them out on ebay. To cut a long story short I bought 3 80GB SSD's was probs about $700 back then for the three but if you RAID 0 them... No word of a lie from windows screen to desktop your talking 5 seconds.

    Works a treat if you have your hand in any sort of video rendering etc, where your working with huge AVI files.

    Just so I don't sound like an Intel fanboy, I have had an OCZ agility II 80GB SSD before and didn't rate it that much. Hope this helps, you can probs find the tech info on Toms hardware :)

    Keep us posted on what you get
     
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  4. dmarsh

    dmarsh Terabyte Poster

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    The current generation in Intel SSD's really are not that good and are overpriced. They had issues developing their new controller and also went with Sandforce and Marvel controllers. No point paying Intel prices for a device with a Sandforce controller.

    You are probably better off with one bigger drive than RAID, the bigger drives perform better as they spread the memory access across the NAND chips internally. The SSD controller performs parallel access anyway without the need for RAID 0.

    Only sequential access will typically benefit from a budget SSD RAID 0 set up, random access will be worse, power consumption will be worse, reliability will be worse in RAID 0 (treble the risk in your example).

    The new Corsair Neutron SSDs also look good but little too early to tell.

    All the info is out there on AnandTech, TomsHardware, etc.

    When comparing SSD's I look at uncompressed random writes first, this is where the budget drives under perform and most closely resembles real world use for most people.
     
    Last edited: Jun 23, 2012
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  5. BraderzTheDog

    BraderzTheDog Kilobyte Poster

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    Well i suppose you have a point about the price but the dane-elec series are deffinately worth checking out. I'm not up on what chipset is used to be honest for me it doesnt matter as long as its reliable, these have been in my system for 3 years with no hickups.

    If your looking for reliability id check out the MTBF (mean time between faults) number, the higher the better and then i suppose it doesnt matter whom you buy from
     
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  6. Shinigami

    Shinigami Megabyte Poster

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    Two years ago I bought an 80gig Intel (M25?) SSD for my work laptop as a second disk. The Dell M6500 I got has space for two harddisks and I put Windows 2008 R2 with Hyper-V on the original 500gig 'normal' disk to run VM's, whilst I installed Windows 7 on the SSD for standard office work (documentation and the like).

    And 6 month ago I got two SSD's (256gig each, total space now 500gigs for games) which I installed on my home gaming machine in RAID0 (stripe) for fast loading times (a solid 7.9 in the Windows performance marks, even though the motherboard is only SATA II).

    None of the disks have failed yet (knock on wood) and the speeds I get are a definitive plus, even if the price initially was kind of high (I think I paid $600-800 for the SSD's?). But once Windows 8 release is final, I'll swap out the two disks in my M6500 and install two SSD's, once again in RAID0 with ~500gigs (or more) of space to run all my VM's. Should help quite a bit as the original 500gig disk is rather slow when I try to run stuff on more than two VM's at a time :\ (say, patching 2 VM's simultaneously hits an IOPS limit on that disk). Should have no such problems once I move to SSD's :)

    What can I say, if you can afford it, SSD's are definitely a nice thing to have. Not crucial, but definitely nice.
     
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  7. dmarsh

    dmarsh Terabyte Poster

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    I'd say they are now essential kit for any serious computer user, speeds up my compiles no end.

    However they may not last much longer than 5 years, so I'd plumb for one drive for most people rather than spending extra on multiple drives. If you need more space for a data volume on a desktop then consider adding a decent HDD as a second volume and using the SSD as the boot, OS and program drive.

    Also as mentioned RAID 0 is unlikely to add much real world performance and will potentially make data recovery hard if something does go wrong.
     
    Last edited: Jun 25, 2012
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  8. Shinigami

    Shinigami Megabyte Poster

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    I just like the convenience of having a single drive letter with say 500gigs of storage space, than splitting it up into two drives of 250gigs each. The price of drives also go up on a bell curve which seems to show 500gig drives as being considerably more expensive than two smaller drives with the same amount of disk space.

    But everything is relative of course. I do also have backups of everything, so if I were to lose a disk, it's not cause for (major) worry. The biggest issue would be using two fast SSD's on a slower SATA controller. I know I'm not getting everything from those drives due to SATA II, but I'm not upgrading the mobo yet.

    However, from what I've read (mind you, I have not done the benchmarking myself), RAID0 on two mechanical drives may only yield about a 60% extra boost in speed versus a single drive, while the same done on SSD's is supposed to yield twice the performance figures due to the way the technology works. But in that case I'd be more worried that my application or CPU would become the bottleneck before the drives do :)
     
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  9. SimonD

    SimonD Terabyte Poster Moderator

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    I love SSD's but I would steer clear of OCZ who have a real problem with reliability (I have replaced both of my OCZ SSD's since purchase, the second one was only 10 days old when I RMA'd it to OCZ and infact they replaced it with a different model because there were so many problems with them.

    I would look at Samsung, Corsair or Kingston. I am never going to buy another OCZ SSD ever!.
     
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  10. dmarsh

    dmarsh Terabyte Poster

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    This is twice the performance of a single drive in some limited scenarios (sustained sequential access), its unlikely to match the general performance of a single SSD with similar capacity as the RAID array.

    "However, we should keep it in mind that modern SSDs have a tendency to get faster as their capacity grows even within the same product series, so a two-disk RAID0 may turn out to be slower than a single large-capacity SSD. More importantly, SATA RAID controllers, including those in modern chipsets, do not support the TRIM command. As a result, the array’s writing performance degrades over time whereas single SSDs are less susceptible to this problem."

    In general a RAID0 array for SSD's :-

    1. Improves LARGE sequential read/write performance. Least important matrix for OS + Program drive, Most important for LARGE files.
    2. Does NOT improve access time
    3. Very little boost to 4K random read/writes - Most important matrix for a OS + Program drive.
    4. Possible Loss of TRIM - While most newer drives have improved Garbage Collection it still works better with TRIM.
    5. Can not update firmware while in RAID config.
    6. Within a given SSD family, a larger SSD performs better than the smaller sibling. This is largely due to the same sort of parallelism a RAID controller provides but without the need for RAID.
    7. Possible increased reliability and maintenance issues due to RAID0 (striping only), which lacks redundancy.
     
    Last edited: Jun 25, 2012
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  11. Shinigami

    Shinigami Megabyte Poster

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    Indeed, the lack of Trim can be an issue. Thank you for reminding me about this one :)

    All your points are very valid and brought something new to my attention, thank you!

    If 3 months from now, SSD prices drop even further, I may just plop for a 500gig SSD instead of two 256's... I guess at that point in time, the price difference will be negligeable. It used to be a big a year ago (massive difference in price).
     
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  12. andylad9

    andylad9 Byte Poster

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    Thanks for all the advice guys.

    You've changed my mind and I think I'll go for the more reliable Crucial M4.

    £90 for 128Gb with cable + 3.5" bracket. (well it does in the picture). What do you think?
     
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  13. dmarsh

    dmarsh Terabyte Poster

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    Last edited: Jun 25, 2012
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