Thinking about getting an SSD

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Thinking about getting an SSD

Postposted on Wed Dec 25, 2013 10:45 pm

Hey guys. Since nobody gave me an SSD this Christmas I guess I'll just have to buy one myself. I've been thinking about the Kingston V300 120GB for a while now but lately I'm also looking at my other options. I'll probably not have much trouble getting a Samsung 840 EVO or something from Intel, maybe a 530 or something. Toshiba is also worth looking at. Plextor and Crucial are also on my list but I'm not sure I can find drives from them easily where I live. Any recommendations or comments about the brands/models I've mentioned? Thanks, guys.
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Re: Thinking about getting an SSD

Postposted on Wed Dec 25, 2013 11:21 pm

All I have to say is that concerns about write durability shouldn't keep you from getting an 840 Evo. I have a 120GB regular 840, and based on my current usage pattern and the data from the TR SSD endurance experiment it will take well over 20 years for the number of write cycles to become an issue.
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Re: Thinking about getting an SSD

Postposted on Thu Dec 26, 2013 12:55 am

Buy the biggest ssd you can afford. Then worry about the warranty (except for OCZ). Even if you buy a ssd with only a 2 year warranty, in 2 years, what will be on the market will completely outclass whatever you have right now. Heck in 2 years, I'm not even sure SATA ssds will be around; they may all be PCIe by then.

If you shop around or get newegg daily specials in your inbox, you'll routinely see 250gb ssds for about 50c a gig, sometimes less.
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Re: Thinking about getting an SSD

Postposted on Thu Dec 26, 2013 1:07 am

I like how Crucials low end was still as well performing in the read department as the high end when I was using the M4. Not everyones is like that.

I admit I don't know much about their newer stuff, though.
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Re: Thinking about getting an SSD

Postposted on Thu Dec 26, 2013 4:30 am

Some of if not most of the smaller drives have slower write times compared to the 500-750gigs.
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Re: Thinking about getting an SSD

Postposted on Thu Dec 26, 2013 7:19 am

Ok, just got the Samsung 840 EVO 250GB. I hope I made a good choice. I was also strongly considering both the Intel 530 240GB and the Kingston SSDNow 300V 240GB. The Intel is practically the same price as this Samsung but the Kingston is about $14 cheaper. The Kingston also seems to compare well with this Samsung so part of me is kinda regretful that I didn't get it instead.
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Re: Thinking about getting an SSD

Postposted on Thu Dec 26, 2013 10:56 am

I like the EVO. It gets around the slower writes issue you normally experience with smaller capacity drives, which is why I normally aim for at least the 250GB models.
We even have some 120GB EVO drives at the office and (in benchmarks at least) they are far quicker than other drives of similar capacity - the only exception to that is the Sandisk Extreme II, which also has an SLC portion reserved like the EVO.

T'was a good choice to go for the EVO at the 250GB capacity, IMO;
My vanilla 840 is fine, but even at 250GB, it only writes at around 240MB/s which is a hundred or more slower than the competition.

Then again, the entire 840 family excels at IOPS which matter far more than sequential write speeds anyway....
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Re: Thinking about getting an SSD

Postposted on Thu Dec 26, 2013 11:29 am

I've been installing Samsung 840 EVOs in machines at work. The price is budget, although not ultra-budget. And Samsung is a good brand.

And from what I've read, if your workload is light, the 840 EVO is as fast and sometimes faster than the higher end SSDs. And sure, endurance isn't quite as high as others, but if your workload is light, you'll never use a tenth of that anyway.

For the machines at work, they're used as boot drives and for loading programs. The occasional PDF and Word document are stored, but no big files. And everything else is on the server. 840 EVO sounds perfect, in my opinion. :)
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Re: Thinking about getting an SSD

Postposted on Thu Dec 26, 2013 12:42 pm

i have the 840 evo and the 840 pro.
For normal usage i cannot tell the difference between the two, and they were massive improvements over the regular hard drives. The only problem is that if you have a older marvell sata 3 controller on amd systems, then it chokes under the massive iops, so you need to use a sata 2 port instead. This is true for other high iop ssd.

intel's sata3 controllers seem to have no problems at all.

with my current usage pattern, my ssd should last 20+ years according to techreport's endurance test :D
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Re: Thinking about getting an SSD

Postposted on Thu Dec 26, 2013 1:30 pm

Thanks for the input, guys. Looks like the Evo is a good choice.

Ok, now that I'm gonna install it, I have a question. Note that this is my first SSD so I'm a complete noob. On the Quick Installation Guide it asks me to connect the drive to my computer's USB port via some sort of SATA-to-USB adapter, which is not included with the drive, run the enclosed DVD (Samsung Magician, me thinks), disconnect, and then install the drive via SATA. Is this necessary? I plan to format and reinstall Windows 7 and everything else on the SSD anyway. I thought installing and initiating a new SSD is the same as installing and starting to use a new mechanical hard drive. Is there anything I need to do to make sure I don't screw up and not be able to make the most (performance- and capacity-wise) out of my SSD? AHCI has always been set in the BIOS, btw.
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Re: Thinking about getting an SSD

Postposted on Thu Dec 26, 2013 1:40 pm

dltd.
Last edited by clone on Tue Jan 14, 2014 1:54 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Thinking about getting an SSD

Postposted on Thu Dec 26, 2013 2:28 pm

I don't have an answer for you, Ronch. I just plugged it straight into a SATA port then installed the OS from scratch using an optical disc. I installed Samsung Magician later on one computer, haven't bothered on the others. Is it worth it?

As far as I know, there is no disadvantage to installing Magician after the OS. Anybody who has experience to the contrary, please speak up so I may learn too!
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Re: Thinking about getting an SSD

Postposted on Thu Dec 26, 2013 3:03 pm

yeah just install like you would any hard drive to the sata 3 port and set the ssd as the primary boot device. after that install the os from a boot cd, a usb stick or whatever your bios supports.
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Re: Thinking about getting an SSD

Postposted on Thu Dec 26, 2013 7:38 pm

ronch wrote:On the Quick Installation Guide it asks me to connect the drive to my computer's USB port via some sort of SATA-to-USB adapter, which is not included with the drive, run the enclosed DVD (Samsung Magician, me thinks), disconnect, and then install the drive via SATA. Is this necessary?


That's the method for cloning your HDD instead of doing a fresh windows install.


ronch wrote:Is there anything I need to do to make sure I don't screw up and not be able to make the most (performance- and capacity-wise) out of my SSD?


Samsung Magician will suggest that you set aside some capacity for over-provisioning, and I highly recommend you do it. SSD's don't like to be completely full; they need empty space to be able to move data around for garbage collection. If they don't have enough space to work efficiently they lose performance because they have to move more blocks around to free up empty ones for writing.
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Re: Thinking about getting an SSD

Postposted on Thu Dec 26, 2013 7:58 pm

Overprovisioning is certainly helpful for enterprise workloads but I'm not sure it's such a big deal for consumers.

For most drives, there is already significant overprovisioning built in anyway - so to make a significant impact to the performance you need to give up like 25% of the drive; With enterprise budget, you're not paying and it makes sense, but at the consumer level I'm pretty sure I'd rather have an extra 64GB of usable space.

I guess the best thing about overprovisioning is that you can at least expand the volume into the spare area once it gets full.
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Re: Thinking about getting an SSD

Postposted on Thu Dec 26, 2013 8:17 pm

The testing Anandtech has done shows a somewhat linear increase in performance up to having 25% of the total capacity free. You don't need that much to get a benefit, but you won't see further benefit beyond that point. Samsung Magician seems to set aside 10% of user capacity if you let it over-provision.

As for whether you would notice the difference in a home PC workload, I don't know. Not over-provisioning and just making sure you always have at least a few GB of free space on the drive would probably be fine. The impression I got was that write amplification gets exponentially worse when free work space gets below a certain threshold, so at least a small amount set aside would probably be prudent.

Just to be clear, this only matters when the drive is (mostly) full.
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Re: Thinking about getting an SSD

Postposted on Fri Dec 27, 2013 6:15 am

Yep, that sounds about right.

The issue being that the EVO has 10% spare area already, and also an SLC cache which writes blocks of 256 pages to main NAND at a time, massively reducing write amplification.

It's easy to read too much into Anand's consistency testing. It's extremely useful for me in a server environment, but the results are from tortured, full-to-capacity disks that are hammered in a completely unrealistic way without a chance to TRIM at all. You'd only experience that on a disk that was a constantly-hammered member of an unrealistically-sized database RAID array. Let's face it, if your database server has run out of space so that the drives are full, you've been negligent as a sysadmin in the first place.....

For consumers, I don't think you'd ever see the advantage of overprovisioning in day-to-day use.
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