SSD System Drives

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Re: SSD System Drives

Postby Rofladin » Fri Mar 04, 2011 11:08 am

Sabindeus wrote:
rodos wrote:
masterpoobaa wrote:SSD vs 2xHDD?
Depending on the drives i would say the transfer rates would be comparable (maybe better for the HDD's), but seek times would always win out on the SSD.

That's what I reckon, and given WoW does a lot of random reads and not many writes, it should be better, but it's always nice to see real-world results from the apps you're using.

Side note: A lot of people complained about bad performance in Cata, especially on Mac. Some of this was down to what Blizzard did with the GFX quality sliders (what was maximum before is now about the middle of some sliders). However, what I think killed things for me was the new streaming downloader causing internal fragmentation of the MPQ databases. The problem was rotating the camera in a crowded city causing massive fps loss. I'm convinced this was due to slow texture loading, and WoW being too aggressive in pushing off-screen textures out of the cache (particularly problematic with low GFX memory on a lot of Macs). SSD provides a huge boost in that department.

Short version: My old Macbook Pro (Radeon X1300 gfx) became almost unplayable in Dalaran after the pre-Cata patch, but after I put a SSD in it things were fine again.


If you let the launcher sit on "apply non-critical updates" what it's actually doing is defragging the MPQs.


Defragging as in swapping around chunks of data, using up writes on my limited-use NAND memory? Ugh...

I run two OCZ Vertex (the original model) SSDs in RAID0 for Windows and games. I originally purchased a 60GB drive, and quickly ran out of space, so I decided to get an identical drive and debated between RAIDing them and using them as separate drives. In my experience, this decision greatly depends on your SATA/RAID controller card/chip. In my case, the controller on my motherboard is not particularly fast when it comes to SSD RAID, and I don't see a huge difference in real world performance between the single drive and the RAID0. If I were using an Intel board, RAID0 would probably give me a more noticeable boost. Combined with the fact that the Indilinx controllers on the original Vertex drives do not support the trim operation in RAID mode (only idle GC), it would probably smarter for me to go with two separate drives. Boot time into Windows is also significantly longer with RAID0 compared to a single drive.

If I were to buy a new SSD right now, and this information is given with the caveat that I haven't looked at these in a couple months, I would purchase one with a Sandforce controller, no smaller than 120 GB for a system/application drive. Prices for SSDs are approaching half of what they were a year ago. While they're still expensive compared to mechanical hard disks, they're rapidly becoming an affordable option. And swapping your hard drive for a solid state is hands down the most significant improvement you will ever make to your system.
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Re: SSD System Drives

Postby fuzzygeek » Fri Mar 04, 2011 11:14 am

Anandtech has a look at the new SSDs here http://www.anandtech.com/show/4159/ocz- ... 2500-ssd/1

Rofladin wrote:Defragging as in swapping around chunks of data, using up writes on my limited-use NAND memory? Ugh...


This isn't really that big a deal, assuming you don't have a really cheapo drive. The second page of his article talks about NAND mortality.
In eight months I only used 1/300th of the lifespan of the drive.

The other drives we had deployed internally are even healthier. It turns out I'm a bit of a write hog.


So in general, I wouldn't worry about it. In specific, I make damn sure I have backups of data I care about.
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Re: SSD System Drives

Postby cerwillis » Fri Mar 04, 2011 12:07 pm

I wonder if you guys may have dated info with your loyalty to Sandforce controllers. The one that I am looking at is a Marvell controller, and search results on newegg seem to agree:

Sandforce

Marvell
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Re: SSD System Drives

Postby laterna » Fri Mar 04, 2011 12:32 pm

theckhd wrote:
laterna wrote:Its not necessarily a bad one, but its not the best. I have a crucial one too, but mine is the C300 series

The best SSD is currently considered the C300. It does an extremely smart trick, where it sacrifices write speed, for read speed(at small capacities. at larger capacities it recovers write speeds). Which is an 100% good thing. You'll only ever put your OS, WoW and whatever game you want on it, so essentially, your write speed is insignifigant. You read speed being even faster than normal SSD's, makes it awesome.


How does this compare to SandForce drives, like the Corsair Force F-120? I've been thinking about buying a second SSD for my system drive, in the ~120GB range. I already have WoW on a separate SSD, which seemed to help with texture load times. I'm not sure if putting the system drive on an SSD will make much difference for WoW, but it might significantly speed up boot times.


I'm not the most knowledgeable of people in regards to SSD's, but atleast from the "comparison" topic on OCN, C300's are still the predominant choice around. The sandforce controller is infact pretty good, but I'll point you towards the records on r/w speeds around the globe, in non RAID configs. Usually the top 3 are still the C300 series drives.

In regards to life expectancy, you can't really tell, due to the large amount of skew going around from bad experiences. Remember that as in with every computer component, you only hear about the bad experiences and very rarely the good ones. You're most likely to hear about the SSD that exploded and took the owners legs with him, rather than the ssd that is busy under my PC crunching away ;)
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Re: SSD System Drives

Postby tankadin » Fri Mar 04, 2011 1:43 pm

Ok, here's the skinny and info, and personal experiences i've had with SSD's over the last few years.

Firstly, read this article (Link to the conclusion for convinience) http://www.anandtech.com/show/3812/the- ... ssd-c300/9

Secondly, If you're using a Mac, dont buy the Crucial C300 drives as they have no native support for TRIM and rely on using windows 7 to use its built in TRIM feature. It will only die that much faster.

Thirdly, If you want reliability in a SSD over omglightninguberfast performance, buy an Intel X25-M. I have yet to see any major catastrophic failures using them for work, and play. They seem to be THE end all to reliable SSD's. If you have ANY doubts about using an SSD for just basic use, buy that. If you want blistering speed in windows 7, the Crucial C300 256Gb is the fastest on the market right now (for less than $1000's of dollars)

Fourthly, (And I'm not sure thats a proper word) Make sure you follow that tweak guide that was listed earlier in the thread. It is 100% imperative to longevity, and proper performance on your SSD and computer itself. Some of the most important are disabling defrag, removing the Page file entirely (or to a regular hard drive), and also disabling any sleep options for power saving the hard drive. The sleep options cause stuttering and freezing randomly which is the #1 issue people have with that Corsair C300 256Gb, and I havent had the issue once since I disabled these options.

Lastly, If you raid a SSD, there is NO Support for TRIM. Be aware of that. It will eventually degrade performance and you'll hate your SSD even in raid form.

Hope these help!
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Re: SSD System Drives

Postby Vrimmel » Fri Mar 04, 2011 3:41 pm

I would check out ocz vertex 3 pro, if you want one of the best.

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Re: SSD System Drives

Postby theckhd » Fri Mar 04, 2011 4:02 pm

Thanks for the Anandtech link. The last time I looked at SSDs, anandtech was gushing about the SandForce controller. It looks like they still are to some degree; in overall performance, it certainly seems strong. Especially the unreleased OCZ V3P.

Just to make sure I'm following, the reason that you all favor the C300 is its immense advantage in random read performance, which is important for WoW, right? The reason I'm asking is that in my case, the drive will be the generic system drive holding Windows 7 and a couple programs, but not a lot else. I already have WoW on a separate SSD, and have several large traditional hard drives for media/documents/backups/etc. I'm not sure if that changes the priorities; I could see random writes being fairly important for a system drive.
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Re: SSD System Drives

Postby 99sitr » Mon Mar 07, 2011 4:33 pm

I'm running a RAID 0 setup with SSD's for my primary drive which has the OS and a few games. I have been out of the loop for some bit but my setup is a great performer out of the box. It consists of 2 Intel X25M's 60GB versions in RAID 0, here is the initial testing I did on them.

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For reference here is the other array in the rig (2 WD Caviar Black 7200RPM 640GB drives)

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Re: SSD System Drives

Postby Treck » Tue Mar 08, 2011 6:03 pm

Got myself a Corsair SSD Force 120gig.
Was thinking of "only" getting a 60gig, but with win7 taking about 18gig, and wow about 25gig, i didnt feel like running with 17gig of "free" space to be "free" enough (actually only 13gig, as 60gig on paper, is about 55gig on a drive).
One game and some programs, and your maxed out on thatone.
120gig might be a bit on the other side, beeing a bit more than you actually need.
I guess 80 would have worked for me, but i didnt find a good one at a good price tbh, and corsair's SSD are really solid in performance.

I did some testing with starting wow from different drives, and what i really noticed was that the SSD was really only superior in loading stuff the first time.
2nd time you logg into a place youve been at before, a lot of the neccesary data is stored in the RAM, making the 2nd loadingscreen very fast with a regular HDD, and not really much improovement from an SSD.
SSD and RAM are practicly the same thing, thus SSD makes it as load as fast as if the data was allready stored in the RAM.

Optimal is obviously to have wow on your SSD, but running your OS on your SSD and wow on a regular HDD wont be that bad (if you dont have a big enough SSD to have wow on it).
First time loading screens were faster with SSD/HDD (OS on SSD, wow on HDD) combo, than only HDD, but it was still a lot slower than only SSD.
SSD/HDD combo takes away maybe 1/4th of the loading time, pure SSD removes 3/4ths.
If you would have wow on your SSD and your OS on a regular HDD, wow WILL load pretty much as fast as if they were both on the SSD (give or take 10-20% time, thats about 1-2sec more).
So if you cant have both OS and WOW on the same drive, having wow on your SSD will give it the fastest loading times, BUT id strongly suggest having your OS on your SSD, since even if your using wow A LOT, your not gonna load that ofthen, but your going to feel a differance EVERY time you do anything with your OS if its located at the SSD.

From startup pressing the "power on" button on my computer, to me beeing logged in on wow, it took me 5min and 34sec (334sec) with my old WinXP x64 that I installed in november 2009, so the computer is pretty loaded with useless crap that for sure slows it down a lot more than it has to (about 3min of those were between clicking the wow logo, and untill the login screen actually showed up).
With a newly formated ssd drive with win7 and only wow on it, it took 63sec from pressing "power on", and me beeing online in wow.

Dunno if this is helpfull for anyone, but i personally felt it was worth the testing.
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Re: SSD System Drives

Postby 99sitr » Tue Mar 08, 2011 9:17 pm

SSD's are great for the OS and other routinely accessed programs. I keep everything but mass media on my main array. This summer I will probably pull the ASUS MB out of my system and get a newer one that supports 6gbs SATA, then move to a slightly larger array of SSD's that support 6gbs.

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Re: SSD System Drives

Postby theckhd » Wed Mar 09, 2011 6:59 am

In my case, I'm looking to make the system a little snappier. My WoW SSD is too small to be a very functional system drive, so I can't easily swap them. The plan is to put the system on the new 6GB/s SSD and keep WoW on the 3GB/s SSD. I have more than enough larger HDDs for storage and other programs. I think I'll still put some of the slower-loading ones on the system drive though (Adobe, for example, maybe MATLAB).
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Re: SSD System Drives

Postby laterna » Wed Mar 09, 2011 8:11 am

The only problem with SSD's, on the SB UD7 board from gigabyte the boot is so fast, I can't always make it to boot menu :/

In any way, theck, keep in mind as with any new tech wait for proper reviews to come out before buying anything! If you want my suggestion, TimeToLiveCustoms on youtube makes the best reviews (man never lies), anandtech is also good although they have a record of exaggerating stuff for more views (The whole "board melting" on SB thing)

Also, make sure whatever you buy has TRIM support (Look for it, and make sure its there, its not always present) otherwise you're looking for a exponential decay graph in regards to your perfomance
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Re: SSD System Drives

Postby Rachmaninoff » Fri Mar 11, 2011 1:41 pm

man I feel like an idiot buying a raptor drive 6-8 months ago :(

I've heard that SSD's have batteries or limited times you can write to it but its like 10mil times or something, thus why people are just using them as boot drives, but are either of those true?
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Re: SSD System Drives

Postby gibborim » Sun Mar 13, 2011 11:49 am

Rachmaninoff wrote:man I feel like an idiot buying a raptor drive 6-8 months ago :(

I've heard that SSD's have batteries or limited times you can write to it but its like 10mil times or something, thus why people are just using them as boot drives, but are either of those true?



The limited write 'issue' is not really relevant. When individual bits (or 2/4/8-bit blocks, depending on the drive architecture) go bad (edit: by bad, I mean you can no longer write to that spot, not that you have lost any data whatsoever), the SSD notes that and ignores them. It would take literally years of 24/7, full speed writing to bring the drive to anything comparable to a failure point.

Also, there isn't a specific write limit. A cell doesn't get to (for example) 10,000 writes and just die, write limits are statistical estimations of how long it will take something like 5% of a batch of cells to go bad.
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Re: SSD System Drives

Postby gibborim » Sun Mar 13, 2011 11:54 am

cerwillis wrote:Yeah, but the newer crucials are great apparently, like This One. Funny enough, I browsed drives for about an hour yesterday, and newegg sent me a special "shopping helper" email today with an ad for exactly the drive I wanted.


That is the drive you want, or the 256gb version the same company makes.

Benchmarks on high-end Hard Drives: http://www.harddrivebenchmark.net/high_end_drives.html

I assume you know this, but for the love of god, make sure you have a SATA III connection on your motherboard and you hook your SSD up to it.
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Re: SSD System Drives

Postby cerwillis » Tue Mar 15, 2011 7:44 am

I tried, but I couldn't tell what CCA referred to on the 2nd of these, so I bought the one with CCA for $5 more.

Crucial RealSSD C300 CTFDDAC128MAG-1G1 $264.99
and
Crucial RealSSD C300 CTFDDAC128MAG-1G1CCA $269.99

I don't currently have a SATA III port, so I'll have to settle for 3GB/s until I replace my mobo and chip, which are next on the list. Cards are $35 and I'd just as soon put that towards the new board.
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Re: SSD System Drives

Postby Fridmarr » Tue Mar 15, 2011 7:06 pm

Treck wrote:
I did some testing with starting wow from different drives, and what i really noticed was that the SSD was really only superior in loading stuff the first time.
2nd time you logg into a place youve been at before, a lot of the neccesary data is stored in the RAM, making the 2nd loadingscreen very fast with a regular HDD, and not really much improovement from an SSD.
SSD and RAM are practicly the same thing, thus SSD makes it as load as fast as if the data was allready stored in the RAM.

Well no, SSDs and RAM aren't really even close, RAM is way faster. However, you are correct that when stuff is already in memory the type of hard drive you have won't really matter that much.
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Re: SSD System Drives

Postby gibborim » Tue Mar 15, 2011 11:20 pm

cerwillis wrote:I tried, but I couldn't tell what CCA referred to on the 2nd of these, so I bought the one with CCA for $5 more.

Crucial RealSSD C300 CTFDDAC128MAG-1G1 $264.99
and
Crucial RealSSD C300 CTFDDAC128MAG-1G1CCA $269.99

I don't currently have a SATA III port, so I'll have to settle for 3GB/s until I replace my mobo and chip, which are next on the list. Cards are $35 and I'd just as soon put that towards the new board.


From a cursory examination of the listings, the one with CCA at the end seems to come with the SATA to USB interface and HDD cloning software to make replacing the system HDD easier. Without a SATA III connection, it almost doesn't matter what you get today, more storage will always be cheaper tomorrow.
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Re: SSD System Drives

Postby cerwillis » Wed Mar 16, 2011 4:38 pm

Well, I got the drive in one day from the Egg, and it's a total success! I used the cloning software and cable included and it was imaged in one hour. I got only 1 read error, but the software still claimed that it failed. I put the drive in and it booted up fine and everything works.

After doing the tweaks that are on the guide from the first page, It boots to desktop in 46 seconds, though most of that is my old board's POST, and includes me logging in. That is roughly 1 minute off of the boot time on the standard drive. I can then get to SW in 1 minute 7 seconds after that. I don't have a time from the old drive, and it also includes login and authenticator use.

I would totally encourage people that have even basic hardware knowledge to try this if its in your budget. The best thing is, you don't mess up your old drive, so it's pretty idiot-proof.

Cheers,
Willis
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Re: SSD System Drives

Postby laterna » Wed Mar 16, 2011 5:31 pm

cerwillis wrote:Success


Good to see you migrated everything properly. Personally, I'd reckomend you format everything, do a fresh instand and just measure everything then... I kinda love formating everything its a nice process :)

Although, I did kinda download 200gb worth of games and updates for everything last time I formatted...

Anyway, grats on your SSD, now on to your motherboard/CPU upgrade!
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Re: SSD System Drives

Postby cerwillis » Wed Mar 16, 2011 6:07 pm

laterna wrote:Good to see you migrated everything properly. Personally, I'd reckomend you format everything, do a fresh instand and just measure everything then... I kinda love formating everything its a nice process :)


I normally would have formatted, and I may still, but I was intrigued by the live cloning software and I wanted to see what it could do.
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Re: SSD System Drives

Postby theckhd » Thu Mar 17, 2011 7:32 am

I would like to clone to a new SSD, but now that I've swapped this Win7 installation to two new motherboards (nForce->SandyBridge r1 -> SandyBridge r3), it's clearly "having issues." It hasn't properly cleared out the old hardware, so much of it has extraneous labeling (examples: "Local Area Connection 2" on a board with only 1 network port, similar "2-" appendages on several other pieces of hardware).

It sounds like a fresh install on the SSD would make sense anyway, since it would let Win7 configure itself properly for such a drive. I usually format every 2-3 years or so anyway, so it's about due.

Aside: the biggest gripe I have about re-installing Win7 is shortcuts. There's no (or wasn't a year ago, anyway) easy way to make a shortcut run in administrative mode. Some things (Vent in particular) need this to function. So you have to go through a series of illogical steps to make it work (in short, go through Task Manager to create a task and make a shortcut to the task). The fact that such a loophole even exists makes it all the more ridiculous, because it means there would be absolutely no harm in having a "run as administrator" checkbox when creating the shortcut that requires the admin user/pass to activate. I don't look forward to re-creating the 2 or 3 shortcuts like this that I have, not because they're difficult, but because the illogical process irritates me.
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Re: SSD System Drives

Postby cerwillis » Thu Mar 17, 2011 7:43 am

I've never had to do any special configuration for Vent. Is your "everyday" user profile an admin account?
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Re: SSD System Drives

Postby theckhd » Thu Mar 17, 2011 7:57 am

Yes, but I believe it's because I have some of the User Access Control stuff enabled. If I remember correctly (this was over a year ago, so my memory is fuzzy) shortcuts worked fine if I turned off the UAC stuff. But from a security standpoint, I like the fact that things have to ask permission to perform potentially-system-altering modifications. It's the windows version of "sudo."

Admittedly, I ran XP and 2000 under an admin-level account for years without any virus or malware problems, so I doubt I'd be opening myself up to much by turning off UAC. It just felt silly not to take advantage of the extra security since I had it.
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Re: SSD System Drives

Postby cerwillis » Thu Mar 17, 2011 9:20 am

Even with UAC turned off, you get warnings when software wants to make changes to your computer, it may be slightly less protection, but it beats having to enter your password all the time.
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