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Thread: So who's went over to using SSD drives in their computers?

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    Moderator Kestrel's Avatar
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    Default So who's went over to using SSD drives in their computers?

    Well, after some hard drive issues in my Dell laptop earlier this year (a slow but certain HD death), I decided to try out an SSD drive. I'm not as computer-savvy as I used to be, so I had a local computer shop source a relatively less-common EIDE SSD for my older Dell, as well as install & configure it (I undertook the WinXP reinstall ).

    The cost was $190 for a 64GB Super Talent EIDE (MLC), ~110 MB/sec transfer rate IIRC. I might have been able to find something cheaper and/or faster but I'd rather have the local shop take responsibility for the upgrade & making sure everything is functional - fewer folks able to point their finger at others if something isn't working, you know how that goes ...

    So I'm pretty happy with it so far, a low-level format took ~30 seconds, and WinXP boots up in something like half the time as previously.

    --------------------------

    The other thing I've just accomplished with this laptop is that I picked up a Lexar 32-bit CardBus PCMCIA -> Compact Flash adaptor, as I've always wanted significant secondary flash drive capacity that is completely internal to my laptop. Furthermore, it's nice to use the commodity-type cards such as CF & SD - with so many companies competing, it's easier to get high-performance upgrades at a lower cost. Now when I need more capacity in my 'second hard drive', I can just pop out the CF card and insert one with greater capacity as the costs come down.

    The other advantage that I see with this strategy is that since MLC flash memory is only good for ~3000 write cycles (albeit not as significant an issue with wear leveling algorithms), I can 'offload' a lot of the more-intensive read-write use (such as the My Documents & Settings folder, Temporary Internet Files, and virtual memory/swap) to the CF drive, saving my expensive & harder to replace internal SSD HD for the OS and various applications.

    And it is still fast enough, a 32GB low-level format of this card took only 20 seconds, and since the 32-bit (CardBus) bus is most definitely not the data bottleneck in this configuration, I'm only limited by the quite-respectable ~60MB/sec transfer rate of this particular line of Sandisk CF cards.



    BTW, do any of the computer gurus here know of a way to turn off last-fileaccess-time stamping with removable media using WinXP & Fat32? I'm tempted to convert the CF card from Fat32 to NTFS and/or make it a 'fixed' volume to facilitate this, but I'm wondering if there is a more straightforward approach ... ? I also want to enable write-cacheing for this drive, so I'm inclined to make it a fixed volume...


    --------------------------


    So anyway, I'd be curious as to who here has been using SSD's in place of traditional hard disks for their computers, and what experiences they've had? It sounds like there were a lot of failures in the first ones to come out, but I'm hoping that the more recent SSD's have been more reliable ...

    Your thoughts?
    Last edited by Kestrel; 12-29-2011 at 05:30 PM.
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    Default Re: So who's went over to using SSD drives in their computers?

    I got one for Christmas! The Intel 320. It is so far serving me well, very fast. No problems so far, but it's only been running for a little less than a week..

  3. #3

    Default Re: So who's went over to using SSD drives in their computers?

    *raises hand*

    320gb intel in the HD bay, 1 TB in the Optical bay. All my Programs and OS reside on the SSD, everything else on the 1tb.

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    Flashaholic It01Firefox's Avatar
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    Default Re: So who's went over to using SSD drives in their computers?

    My Notebook, Netbook and General Use Desktop are all running SSDs. My gaming rig plus my HTPCs haven't gotten an upgrade, yet.

    The laptop has been converted for about a year now, without any problems.

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    Default Re: So who's went over to using SSD drives in their computers?

    I Have Been Thinking About Upgrading An Old Dell 2350 To SSD. The Computer Crawls Like A Snail Right Now. Its Currently Running An Old 40GB 4200rpm Seagate With 256 Ram. Will Definitely Add Ram When Funds Allow. Man, You Should See The Paging File On This Thing.

    Is Anyone Concerned About The Limited Read/Write Cycles When Going To SSD?

  6. #6

    Default Re: So who's went over to using SSD drives in their computers?

    Quote Originally Posted by ~Deicide~ View Post
    Is Anyone Concerned About The Limited Read/Write Cycles When Going To SSD?
    No.

  7. #7

    Default Re: So who's went over to using SSD drives in their computers?

    Been using a SSD for probably a year now. Had a 40GB Intel for a while and upgraded to a 120 GB Intel a few months ago. Would never use anything else. It's the single best upgrade you can make for your desktop or laptop.
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    Flashaholic* LEDAdd1ct's Avatar
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    Default Re: So who's went over to using SSD drives in their computers?

    I have a super lightweight Scrabble/Google laptop which I installed an 8GB SSD drive into. That drive makes the browser / other applications load quickly The CPU/chipset aren't new, but with the SSD drive, it is a small, guilt free computer.

    Many laptops that are otherwise headed for the trash could be saved with a simple SSD swap and heavily nLited XP install.
    Last edited by LEDAdd1ct; 01-01-2012 at 09:18 PM.
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    Thread Killer Illum's Avatar
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    Default Re: So who's went over to using SSD drives in their computers?

    Quote Originally Posted by Kestrel View Post

    Where can I buy this PCMCIA adapter? I could use such a internal removable flash drive to store data... writing speed be damned, if reading speed is good, I'm ballin

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    Flashaholic* LEDAdd1ct's Avatar
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    Default Re: So who's went over to using SSD drives in their computers?

    Good News:

    1) Go to http://google.com

    2) Type "PCMCIA to flash adapter"

    3) You will get tons of hits

    Bad News:

    Not all of them provide maximum throughput. I am sure one of them is a good one, but many are most likely quite slow.

    Kestrel seems quite satisfied with his Lexar 32-bit CardBus PCMCIA adapter, so that might be a brand worth pursuing.

    EDIT: Illum, I would get Lexar RW021-001. Purchase from the most affordable dealer you can.

    @Kestrel, I'm not sure if this helps you or not:

    Link

    Link 2

    Link 3
    Last edited by LEDAdd1ct; 01-02-2012 at 09:39 AM.
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    Moderator Kestrel's Avatar
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    Default Re: So who's went over to using SSD drives in their computers?

    Regarding that Compact Flash adaptor card, there all sorts of cheapies out there (@~$6-$10), but the 32-bit CardBus ones run about $40-$50 IIRC. SanDisk makes one, I would imagine it has pretty good performance. The Lexar unit I posted about was discontinued, although it did very well on test benchmarks.

    One thing to watch out for is that some of them place a significantly greater load on the computers' CPU compared to others, the Lexar unit I found places only a ~10% load on my CPU during data transfer IIRC.
    Last edited by Kestrel; 01-02-2012 at 12:37 PM.
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    Flashaholic* Lite_me's Avatar
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    Default Re: So who's went over to using SSD drives in their computers?

    There was and interesting segment on today's Tekzilla podcast about cloning an SSD. Some here may find it interesting. Here's a link to just that particular segment from podcast #283.
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=duW_jYVCYEg
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  13. #13

    Default Re: So who's went over to using SSD drives in their computers?

    happy with my Plextor px-128m2s 128gb sata III ssd, lowered the boot time on my 15" macbook pro

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    Default Re: So who's went over to using SSD drives in their computers?

    You will probably not be happy with the performance of your Super Talent IDE SSD over the long run. Unlike SATA, IDE interrupts the entire PCI bus when it's transferring data, including when it's waiting for the hard drive to give it the data it needs to transfer, and that old Super Talent SSD will slow way down once it gets loaded with data. The upshot is that the computer will stall and not respond to any input for seconds at a time, getting steadily worse as the SSD ages. I know this because I have the exact same one. The only "good" upgrade for an IDE disk is the fastest IDE disk you can find, or if you're unusually lucky and you have lots of space to work with, a new SATA disk with an SATA-to-IDE adapter added on.

    SSDs are only effective when they are SATA-compatible, support the TRIM command to clear unused space when the SSD is idle, and when used with a new TRIM-compatible operating system like OSX or Windows 7.

    Regarding your other questions:

    To disable last-file-access timestamping: http://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/l.../cc938627.aspx

    You DO NOT want to enable write-caching on flash memory. There is no benefit because flash memory has no moving parts that need to be aligned before data can be written. Also, write-caching will clump a bunch of write operations together during times when data isn't being read from the disk, making the stalling problem I mentioned infinitely more aggravating because the computer will stall when it isn't actually doing anything CPU-intensive. You want to disable all write-caching on all your flash drives including your main SSD. This is well-trodden ground among people who did the SSD upgrade years ago.

    If you want to mount the CF card as a permanent, internal disk, you need to manually install the Hitachi MicroDrive driver in place of the standard CF driver, using Device Manager. (MicroDrives are CompactFlash-sized hard drives, formerly used in portable electronics back when flash memory was still expensive; there is a special driver available from Hitachi, their manufacturer, to allow them to function as permanent internal disks.)
    Last edited by fyrstormer; 01-10-2012 at 11:46 AM.

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    Default Re: So who's went over to using SSD drives in their computers?

    Yes, fyrstormer is correct that the SSD drive needs software support (the "trim" command"), available in Windows 7 but not WinXP.

    Note also that only certain SSD drives support the trim command, so you need compatibility both on the software and the hardware sides. There is an intel utility you can download free designed to measure specs for intel SSD drives, which can also be used with other drives to check them out for compatibility with the trim command.

    The trim command disables defragmentation of the HD (which is not helpful for SSD drives) and tries to minimize delete/write cycles, since SSD HD's have an upper limit and their performance degrades over time as these cycles increase. Operating systems have an unfortunate tendency to keep writing/deleting info. on the HD, and the availability of the trim command indicates some effort to reduce these cycles.

    Of course, if you are using an old computer and a new SSD revitalizes it, why not? You may not run up the cycles to the point where it becomes a problem and, in the limit, you could put in yet another SSD (kind of like replacing incan bulbs!) if necessary.

    The disadvantage of the SSDs is capacity. I put in one as my main bootup device and then found I was running out of space, even though it was 128GB.

    So you need a secondary standard HD with the large capacity if this is an issue with you. Put the minimum software necessary on the bootup SSD drive, and everything else on the large standard one.

    One interesting middle solution is to use a flashdrive which can be used together with an existing standard (magnetic) HD to speed up the bootup process. USB flashdrives that are compatible are labeled readyboost or something like it. It has software support in Windows Vista.

    Of course, one can also work to eliminate problems that are slowing up the bootup process, including cleaning up temporary files, defragmenting (standard) HDs, eliminating unnecessary programs and processes... regardless of the HD used.

    Probably the biggest bottleneck for old computers is actually graphics performance, with the internet and youtube and what have you throwing graphics challenges every day, not to mention games.

    Probably a good discrete graphics card, plus enough memory, are upgrades that can help revitalize a computer the most in today's environment.
    Last edited by flashy bazook; 01-10-2012 at 11:50 AM.

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    *Flashaholic* fyrstormer's Avatar
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    Default Re: So who's went over to using SSD drives in their computers?

    Readyboost only caches the table of contents for a hard drive, so files can be located on the hard drive more quickly. It does nothing to speed up the transfer of file data once the necessary files have been located.

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    Default Re: So who's went over to using SSD drives in their computers?

    I upgraded my new laptop with an 128GB Samsung SSD and the first one died within 30 minutes.

    This and the report of a colleague that his OCZ SSD quit after 11 months, cooled off my enthusiasm quite a bit.

    I'll stick with regular HDDs for anything backup worthy, but I immensely enjoy the fast, consistent and noiseless operation of my laptop otherwise.

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    *Flashaholic* fyrstormer's Avatar
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    Default Re: So who's went over to using SSD drives in their computers?

    Anything worthy of backups is worthy of multiple backups. It doesn't matter if you use SSDs or HDDs. If you trust your backup data to a single piece of hardware, you're asking for the data to become corrupted.

    Buy an external hard drive case that accepts two hard drives inside it, in a RAID-1 configuration, so each hard drive will maintain a separate and identical copy of all the data. If one of the drives fails, the other will still work, and unlike other versions of RAID arrays, RAID-1 disks can be used individually in case the array-management hardware (e.g. the external enclosure) fails. With a two-disk RAID-1 in an external enclosure, there is no single failure point that can make your backup data go poof.

    My configuration consists of the following:
    1 Desktop
    1 Laptop
    1 TV Computer
    4-disk network file server, 6000GB
    2-disk backup drive, 3000GB

    My important documents, music collection, movies, etc., are stored on the 4-disk network file server so I can access them from any computer in my apartment. The network file server uses 4 disks in a RAID-5 setup, so data is split between the disks, and checksum data is calculated and stored as well, so if one disk fails its contents can be reconstituted automatically. Once a month I back up the network file server onto the 2-disk backup drive, so if my apartment burns down I can grab whichever device isn't on fire yet. Then, if I drop the backup drive on the ground, there are 2 disks inside with identical data on them, so as long as one of them still works I still have all my important data.
    Last edited by fyrstormer; 01-10-2012 at 01:40 PM.

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    Default Re: So who's went over to using SSD drives in their computers?

    Ive got a 128GB SSD as my "Main" HD in this computer - it has Windows loaded on it and other system files. Bootup is awesome - like within 10 seconds. Read/write speeds are excellent. I think I got it for right at $100 during some insane online doorbuster sale during last Black Friday. Well worth it IMO!

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    Default Re: So who's went over to using SSD drives in their computers?

    I run an i7 with 6gb ddr3 and a raid 1 setup with 2 x 512 ssd corsair drives. Quite fast. And yeah, I said raid 1 on ssd. Wickedly expensive. Wickedly fast.
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    Default Re: So who's went over to using SSD drives in their computers?

    I've been replacing the optical drive in my MacBook Pro's for 3-4 years now. I boot from the SSD and keep the OS and other select bits there. I also replace the fixed disk with a slightly faster 7200PRM Seagate. I partition it into 3 partitions. first is a mirror of the SSD volume that clones every 2 hours using SuperDuper!. I hardly ever notice it running because it just syncs changes each time. I create another volume with the unused space and use that for 'storage'.

    This gives me dramatically fast boot times and system responsiveness. It also gives me a full time hot spare that I can boot off of (the fixed disk system mirror) built into the box. Of course I use time machine to do incremental backups of the entire system. The extra benefit here of course is the revision tracking that allows me to go back in time on any file.

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    Default Re: So who's went over to using SSD drives in their computers?

    Quote Originally Posted by egrep View Post
    I've been replacing the optical drive in my MacBook Pro's for 3-4 years now. I boot from the SSD and keep the OS and other select bits there. I also replace the fixed disk with a slightly faster 7200PRM Seagate. I partition it into 3 partitions. first is a mirror of the SSD volume that clones every 2 hours using SuperDuper!. I hardly ever notice it running because it just syncs changes each time. I create another volume with the unused space and use that for 'storage'.

    This gives me dramatically fast boot times and system responsiveness. It also gives me a full time hot spare that I can boot off of (the fixed disk system mirror) built into the box. Of course I use time machine to do incremental backups of the entire system. The extra benefit here of course is the revision tracking that allows me to go back in time on any file.
    I'd just like to say thanks for this, I've got two SSDs in my desktop at the moment and have been ticking over the reliability issue for some time now. This sounds like a great solution!
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    Default Re: So who's went over to using SSD drives in their computers?

    They aren't worth it quite yet IMO. I will wait another year or two until I can get a 500GB one for a reasonable price.

  24. #24

    Default Re: So who's went over to using SSD drives in their computers?

    Quote Originally Posted by turbodog View Post
    ...raid 1 ... Wickedly fast.
    Don't you mean RAID 0 ? RAID 1 is the same speed or less as one drive.

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    Default Re: So who's went over to using SSD drives in their computers?

    [QUOTE=Kestrel;3831097]Well, after some hard drive issues in my Dell laptop earlier this year (a slow but certain HD death), I decided to try out an SSD drive. I'm not as computer-savvy as I used to be, so I had a local computer shop source a relatively less-common EIDE SSD for my older Dell, as well as install & configure it (I undertook the WinXP reinstall ).

    BTW, do any of the computer gurus here know of a way to turn off last-fileaccess-time stamping with removable media using WinXP & Fat32? I'm tempted to convert the CF card from Fat32 to NTFS and/or make it a 'fixed' volume to facilitate this, but I'm wondering if there is a more straightforward approach ... ? I also want to enable write-cacheing for this drive, so I'm inclined to make it a fixed volume...


    well i will kinda weigh in on this SSD, i have not run XP for years but i dont remember it writing last access to fat32 usb drives, but give this a try and see if it helps

    Create a new DWord value under [HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SYSTEM\CurrentControlSet\Contro l\FileSystem] called NtfsDisableLastAccessUpdate and set it to 1.

    First backup your registry, just in case. of course this assumes your running NTFS on your XP computer

    Also as an aside its probably not an issue of wearing out your SSD with constant writes, as windows is pretty good about not always updating SSD's. it will usually wait until it needs to access again for some other reason than update. or when you eject it i think it updates all files, hence why its bad to just pull the USB out with out first ejecting it.


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    Flashaholic It01Firefox's Avatar
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    Default Re: So who's went over to using SSD drives in their computers?

    Quote Originally Posted by s.urfer View Post
    Don't you mean RAID 0 ? RAID 1 is the same speed or less as one drive.
    If it's implemented correctly in the OS then read operations can be sped up. On write operations you are correct.

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    Flashaholic* The_Driver's Avatar
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    Default Re: So who's went over to using SSD drives in their computers?

    For 1 1/2 years now I have been using a Intel X25-M G2 80GB SSD in my Laptop. It's been working great, the only annoying thing is having only 80GB in my laptop. The things I really like about it (in addition to the speed) is that it makes no noise what so ever and makes the laptop very robust.
    Last edited by The_Driver; 01-12-2012 at 03:31 AM.

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    Flashaholic* LEDAdd1ct's Avatar
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    Default Re: So who's went over to using SSD drives in their computers?

    Quote Originally Posted by Kestrel View Post
    BTW, do any of the computer gurus here know of a way to turn off last-fileaccess-time stamping with removable media using WinXP & Fat32?
    Quote Originally Posted by Jrubin View Post
    well i will kinda weigh in on this SSD, i have not run XP for years but i dont remember it writing last access to fat32 usb drives, but give this a try and see if it helps

    Create a new DWord value under [HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SYSTEM\CurrentControlSet\Contro l\FileSystem] called NtfsDisableLastAccessUpdate and set it to 1.

    First backup your registry, just in case. of course this assumes your running NTFS on your XP computer
    Kestrel specifically stated he is using FAT32.
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    Default Re: So who's went over to using SSD drives in their computers?

    Quote Originally Posted by LEDAdd1ct View Post
    Kestrel specifically stated he is using FAT32.
    yes i did see that, i guess i just assumed that when he said removable media using WinXP & Fat32? he was saying that xp was the OS and fat32 the USB drive. if he converts his usb to NTFS windows XP Fat32 would not read it Correct? at least all my fat32 devices wont. but i could be wrong in this case.

    Edit: well i was able to mount a ntfs drive to a Linux fat32 computer, so it works there, but still unsure if xp fat32 will mount it?
    Last edited by Jrubin; 01-12-2012 at 01:58 PM.

  30. #30
    Moderator Kestrel's Avatar
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    Default Re: So who's went over to using SSD drives in their computers?

    Thanks, folks; I've been checking in but have been too busy to post a detailed follow up w/ replies, maybe this coming weekend. I am really happy with this setup, FWIW, I just want to dial in some of the finer aspects now.

    FWIW, of the 64 GB SSD drive, everything I want is now installed, only ~9 GB used - I'm definitely no 'power user' anymore. My Docs & Settings folder is another ~20 GB (mostly my ~700 KB photos), but those are on the 32 GB high-speed CF card. I'm pleased with this arrangement.

    The short version, I've already disabled last access time stamping via the registry, but WinXP only seems to apply it to fixed volumes (my NTFS SSD HD) and I'd like to apply it to my (Fat32-only) CF card and even my USB drives if possible. Just hoping to get a slightly snappier system and less wear&tear on the flash memory in the bargain, that's all. Couldn't care less about time stamping on my files. I'll be looking into this more later.

    Anyway, thanks all. Keep it coming,
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