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Old 20th Jun 2012, 07:45 AM   #1
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Sold State HD's

I'm thinking of getting two for my next rig, or one + a regular HD for storage. Does anyone here have any experience with these things? Run into any unique problems? I'm interested in having a Fedora partition on the side, so anything regarding Linux & SSD's is welcome too.
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Old 20th Jun 2012, 08:00 AM   #2
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I'd do one + regular for storage. With 4TB drives out now you can find really good deals on 3 or 2TB ones. I'd recommend a 128GB or higher SSD, the 64GB one I have keeps filling up with temp files. Also make sure it has TRIM support.
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Old 20th Jun 2012, 08:53 AM   #3
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the biggest "problem" with SSDs is the fact that if you fill it up too much, you'll feel a performance decrease + it will wear quicker. (IIRC)
so yeah, try to get a big enough SSD, especially if you want to have a linux partition on it too.

Alternatives are cache SSDs or hybrid HDDs if you're tight on money.

otherwise, SSDs are blazing fast, and completely silent ! (you'd be amazed by the difference in sound when changing from a HDD to SSD in a laptop)
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Old 20th Jun 2012, 10:20 AM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Angel_Mapper View Post
I'd recommend a 128GB or higher SSD, the 64GB one I have keeps filling up with temp files. Also make sure it has TRIM support.
Thanks, hadn't read up about TRIM yet. Will be on the lookout for it.


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the biggest "problem" with SSDs is the fact that if you fill it up too much, you'll feel a performance decrease + it will wear quicker. (IIRC)
Interesting. I didn't know wear was an issue at all. To give me some idea, how does the performance decrease & wear compare to a regular drive?

If wear is a big enough issue, would it be a good idea to just get a small SSD drive and let Windows use it as a page file? //EDIT: on the other hand, since the pagefile is in use constantly, maybe I should keep that to the normal drive.. hm.. but I guess only if wear really is a notable issue.
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Old 21st Jun 2012, 03:11 AM   #5
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Found this recent article on SSD myths: http://www.storagesearch.com/ssdmyths-endurance.html

SSD indeed suffered from serious wear problems not too long ago, but in the past few years their write endurance has increased about twenty fold. It varies a bit on how the data is actually used and which chipset manufacturers are involved, but it is believed they can already outlast normal HD's. It still shouldn't really form a problem, unless you're using a program that specifically wants to write to the same location, continuously.

So it really does seem like a good idea to plan the exact usage of an SSD drive, figure out my own needs and see which manufactures are producing the most reliable drives.

Another interesting thing seems to be the size of SSD drives. I imagine it depends a bit on the manufacturer, but generally speaking bigger isn't always better. Higher data density translates to smaller cell geometry on the drive's surface. Small cells hold less charge and will eventually 'leak' current sooner, becoming unreliable faster than a drive with lower storage density. I imagine that, so long as an SSD drive is properly maintained, it won't factor in as a serious issue. Still, depending on the exact purpose of the drive it could still become an issue.
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Old 22nd Jun 2012, 12:17 AM   #6
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Very useful question to post, as this will come up more often as prices drop.

The issue of the lifespan is why the 64bit filesystem "exFAT" was created for Windows.
Default Windows settings and NTFS never damn stop with the OCD reading and writing.
Windows users are supposed to use it for large USB sticks etc.

Standard in Windows7, available for XP/2003/Vista/CE as a hotfix.
http://support.microsoft.com/kb/955704
Filesystem Comparison
http://msdn.microsoft.com/library/ee681827.aspx

It is available for Linux but... http://www.phoronix.com/scan.php?pag...tem&px=MTAzOTE
and Mac OSX, from Snow Leopard 10.6.5+

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Old 22nd Jun 2012, 04:04 AM   #7
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Interesting, Dr. Flay. It is bothering me a little that this is only available for additional drives. Unless there is some way to install it with a new copy of Windows on a newly formatted drive that I'm not aware of.

... maybe one could format the disc to exFAT as a slave to another computer, then set it up as a master and install windows on it without formatting the drive? Is that even possible?
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Old 22nd Jun 2012, 04:53 AM   #8
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I wouldn't use them for the OS anyway, just for the apps (larger drives).
Windows 7 boots fast enough with SATA 600 and a traditional mechanical drive.

I'm not sold on SSD reliability in general. I've seen enough SSDs (MLC) fail to conclude that they can't be more reliable than traditional drives, though for different reasons. Some put the blame on the SATA controllers, but without any proof, it's just a blame game.
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Old 22nd Jun 2012, 05:02 AM   #9
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I see. My brother actually just suggested to keep the OS on a bootable usb stick. Not a bad idea. The problem is, where to let Windows put it's pagefile? It's written to a lot so it would wear the integrity down, but you'd want to have fast access at the same time, ideally..

Has anyone done tests with that?
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Old 22nd Jun 2012, 05:46 AM   #10
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It's possible to boot an OS from an external port or device, but not officially supported:
Support Policy for Windows booting from external drives

Page file: Due to caching, the page file probably won't see much swapping to the physical disk, if there's enough system memory available. The general rule so far has been to move the page file to a different drive. It does eat a lot of storage space, so I'd probably refrain from storing it on an SSD.

(You can get hard data on page file usage through the Performance Monitor (perfmon); just find some guide on what counters to add, and let it collect data for a typical day.)

Hibernation file:
How to disable and re-enable hibernation on a computer that is running Windows

(You probably have to show protected OS files and delete hiberfil.sys yourself).
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Old 22nd Jun 2012, 07:29 AM   #11
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This is great stuff, thanks again. I'm starting to get a pretty clear picture on what to do. I should have a good look at all the manufacturers next.
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Old 22nd Jun 2012, 07:50 AM   #12
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Something else just occurred to me. When you install Windows (7, ideally, don't have it yet), do you get to decides where the Documents and Settings folder ends up? Lots of programs write to it constantly. Firefox plants its cache there and and Windows tend to relocate saves from computer games to it for some obscure reason. I'd like to avoid writes like that to the SSD.
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Old 22nd Jun 2012, 07:54 AM   #13
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They've made that pretty easy: http://www.ghacks.net/2010/04/17/how...-in-windows-7/
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Old 22nd Jun 2012, 08:29 AM   #14
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Cool, then that's covered too. I can't really think of anything else that would have to be moved.

I think I might yet choose to install Windows on the SSD drive itself, provided I can get the right filesystem on it. Not a lot of writing should happen to it after installation, except for updates. Stability is a concern, but it's being addressed to by all manufacturers, I just have to find the best. Several already claim to be more stable than consumer market HD's.
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Old 22nd Jun 2012, 11:18 PM   #15
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This is the same problem that happened when FAT32 was introduced.
So you put Win95 or DOS on a smaller 16Bit partition, and formatted the rest to 32.
Similarly Windows 7 will not let you boot from exFAT (I bet this will change, but it would be v2). It was only intended for external drives.
Short-sighted as ever, not thinking about when solid-state is standard !

I should point out that no matter how fast the potential speed of whatever USB stick you use, you will be limited by the speed of the USB port, and also lacking DMA transfers will hammer the CPU with interrupts, thereby slowing everything during heavy file accessing.

I always partition my drives, and format depending on their usage.
Windows has a lot of small files in it. Data partitions tend to have larger files.
I always make a dedicated partition for TEMP data (ideal on a 2nd drive).
Here is a common setup I install on customers PCs;
C: System / Windows
D: Programs (and games)
E: DATA (Documents folder)
F: TEMP

If you point all Temp output to a separate partition, you will massively reduce the fragmentation of windows, and reduce the main wear on the drive to one partition (which is easier to map-out).
Things to redirect like;
Swap file, Widows temp, User temp, Internet browser temp, WinRAR/ZIP/ACE..etc, video/audio creation/conversion progs, streaming media progs and browser plugins, Steam, and anything that doesn't clean up after itself!

This also gives a little more security, as any potential malware threat will arrive in a partition you don't mind immediately quick formatting
If Windows becomes irreparable, again you can pretty much get away with a quick format and re-install.
Games and game-saves safe in D: and music and videos safe in E:

You can disable indexing on the drives that do not contain your documents folder (or switch the service off completely).
It is also worthwhile switching off "System Restore" for drives you do not need monitoring.
The boot drive is the only important one. This will save space and reduce disk usage.

On drives containing lots of large data files, it can be worth over-riding Windows default block/cluster size during format.
Larger blocks equals faster sustained transfer rates, as the PC has to ask for data less often.
Another benefit is less space is required to keep track of the contents of the partition, so leaving more for you to use.
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Old 24th Jun 2012, 09:10 AM   #16
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Thanks, Dr. Flay. Good to have it laid out, in particular temp output. I think I have all my bases covered.
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Old 25th Jun 2012, 06:52 AM   #17
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A chat with CHRYSt revealed a very important point to me, one that everyone should consider.

Apparently most consumer grade motherboards aren't really suitable for SSD drives. He told me they tend to saturate the mobo's backpane, so you'll never be able to take full advantage of their phenomenal transfer speeds.

Since the backpane acts as a limiter, SSD's can still end up being just as fast as the current fastest generation of 'normal' HD's. It ultimately depends on the mobo used, but it is very likely not cost effective enough to warrant the price tag.

Does anyone here know what to pay attention to when trying to determine what load a mobo's backpane can handle? It seems to be one of those slightly unadvertised figures.
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Old 25th Jun 2012, 04:20 PM   #18
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?

Nothing you just said makes any sense whatsoever. There are no motherboards that anyone on this forum would even consider that have any problems with SSDs, or that would limit their transfer speed to that of a 7,200RPM HDD.

Also, do you mean backplane? I see no reason why any motherboard would be limited re: SSDs with their backplanes.
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WW1 I think it was more like "Hey allies! We'll lend you a hand" and Europe was like, "Pfff, whatever. Okay, like stand over there and do stuff", and America was all like, "Oh really!? You mean it! Oh Boy!", and after awhile the European allies were like, "Hey they're actually not bad. Fair play to the Yanks" and the French Allies were like, "Oh wee wee, they held their own", and the Americans were like, "Hey, what did you say France?" and France was all like, "Nothing. Go **** yourself."
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Old 26th Jun 2012, 07:15 AM   #19
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Backplane, yes. Sorry. I guess I didn't even notice that Google corrected my searches there. Also the term limiter was kind of incorrect now, I see. I'll just quote him directly to avoid misexplaining myself further.

Quote:
A pair of striped SSDs will outperform most SAS cards you plug it into, which makes the high IOPS somewhat irrelevant. Until you're spreading those IOPS across a sufficiently distributed fabric, you can't access enough performance benefits to make SSD worth the cost in a desktop environment. You have a similar problem with the 15k spindles, but most midrange SAS boards and the motherboard bus can usually keep up with a couple disks.

Yes, you'll see performance benefits on the desktop because you're using the max capabilities of your backplane with an SSD. However, you're leaving a lot of the SSD performance unused. It's the cost/benefit ratio that doesn't work.
He wrote more, but I think this is the core of it.
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Old 26th Jun 2012, 12:01 PM   #20
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Don't you worry your pretty little head about running into limits with striped SSDs. A single SSD will perform on par with striped 10,000 RPM HDDs, so what you're going to see is an INCREDIBLE improvement over what most people have (non-striped 7,200 RPM HDD). If you then decided to buy two SSDs and run them in RAID 0, sure, you may run out of headroom, but 1) it will still be much faster than a single SSD (and a billion times faster than a HDD, even in RAID 0) and 2) while you won't be getting EVERYTHING out of it, you will still get amazing performance 3) Do you really have so much extra money that you're able to go full on striped RAID? I could use some of that.
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WW1 I think it was more like "Hey allies! We'll lend you a hand" and Europe was like, "Pfff, whatever. Okay, like stand over there and do stuff", and America was all like, "Oh really!? You mean it! Oh Boy!", and after awhile the European allies were like, "Hey they're actually not bad. Fair play to the Yanks" and the French Allies were like, "Oh wee wee, they held their own", and the Americans were like, "Hey, what did you say France?" and France was all like, "Nothing. Go **** yourself."
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