All SSD, all the time

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All SSD, all the time

Postposted on Sun Nov 04, 2012 1:02 am

Well, that escalated quickly...it took exactly one year for me to go from trying out an SSD in my new system build, to converting my other regular-use systems. My main desktop is running an 80GB Intel 320 as the OS drive, my laptop was converted to a 256GB Samsung 830 this summer, and I just got the HTPC switched to a 120GB Intel 520 OS drive this weekend. Wasn't really planning to convert the HTPC but the $40 Win8 upgrade gave me an excuse to clone the Win7 OS HDD and then tinker.

Anyone else made a full conversion? Which brands/models are you using, and have you encountered any failures yet?
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Re: All SSD, all the time

Postposted on Sun Nov 04, 2012 1:29 am

All my boxes and laptops use SSD's as OS drives. Intel G2 120 in one and 128GB Micron C4's in the rest. No failures.

Next year at this time the only thing that will have spindle drives is my backup server.
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Re: All SSD, all the time

Postposted on Sun Nov 04, 2012 8:29 am

I've gone all SSD, too. In my desktop, Samsung 830 256G (Windows 7 for gaming/fun) and Samsung 128G (Linux for work). In my laptop, it's whatever Asus put in the UX31A when I bought it, and in my other laptop, Intel 510 128G. No problems here so far. My wife is wanting an SSD upgrade in her desktop now.

I put all of the big storage on Western Digital Green drives in a NAS over gigabit Ethernet. This seems to be a good tiered setup for me.

Once you go SSD, you just can't go back.
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Re: All SSD, all the time

Postposted on Sun Nov 04, 2012 9:51 am

I've got SSD drives for the operating system in mine, but for storage of photos, videos and the bulk of my games, I don't want to spend that much, so I've got 2 and 3 TB hard-drives.
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Re: All SSD, all the time

Postposted on Sun Nov 04, 2012 10:02 am

I also use SSDs for my OS drives (3). As soon as the price of 512GB drives I'm getting one specifically for games.
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Re: All SSD, all the time

Postposted on Sun Nov 04, 2012 10:31 am

Not quite yet. My wife's Acer 1410's been converted to SSD and her desktop to a hybrid drive, but I lack the budget, time, and circular tuits to stick an SSD in this thing and reinstall the OS and programs.

I've got a reasonable facsimile of a hybrid drive, at least - USB3 stick + ReadyBoost, which has noticeably reduced loading times in some games.
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Re: All SSD, all the time

Postposted on Sun Nov 04, 2012 11:19 am

Corsair Force 3 240GB in my main home PC, Intel 335 or whatever the model no. is in my work laptop.
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Re: All SSD, all the time

Postposted on Sun Nov 04, 2012 11:32 am

My desktop and my laptop both have two 256GB Samsung 830 drives. One drive for the OS, one drive for Steam.

I also added one mechanical disk into the laptop and desktop for archival purposes.
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Re: All SSD, all the time

Postposted on Sun Nov 04, 2012 11:45 am

Yep, I started with my main desktop PC back when the Intel G2's first came out and haven't looked back.

I have 12 SSDs being used in my house and only 8 regular drives (backup/archive/file storage only).

The spread: 1 Intel 330 60GB, 3 Intel G2 80GB, 1 Intel G3 80GB, 4 Samsung 830 128GB, 1 Intel G2 160GB, 1 Samsung 830 256GB and 1 Crucial C300 256GB.

I've had several others though including vertex 3's and almost one of every Intel model. The vertex drives had issues, though I got them when they first came out so it was just a firmware thing, I didn't hold on to them long.

I've only had two drives die on me and they were both first gen 80GB Intel SSD drives. One day they just showed up as a really small partition, RMAed them though and they sent back G2's the next day.
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Re: All SSD, all the time

Postposted on Sun Nov 04, 2012 11:50 am

Tried a Corsair S128 SSD in my laptop. It's slow but it didn't suffer the lag spikes from the contemporary SSDs and also used less power. Was reasonably impressed.

Later I upgraded my desktop with a Crucial C300 256GB SSD for my games. This one I really liked.

Thinking of getting another SSD for my main OS drive but don't want to spend yet (for now I'm on a Seagate XT drive, the one with the flash cache).
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Re: All SSD, all the time

Postposted on Sun Nov 04, 2012 12:49 pm

I'm waiting to see if the wife comes through for my birthday Nov 23. If not, I'll come through.
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Re: All SSD, all the time

Postposted on Mon Nov 05, 2012 12:13 pm

bthylafh wrote:but I lack the budget, time, and circular tuits to stick an SSD in this thing and reinstall the OS and programs.

Try making a CloneZilla bootable USB drive to bit-copy the existing drive to the SSD; that's what I did after getting a recommendation in another thread. My laptop had hidden partitions for OEM stuff, so I didn't have another option; I had to image it somehow. The HTPC was just a garden-variety Win7 install, but since that was cleanly built just a few months ago and I want to try out the Win8 scripted upgrade process, I didn't really care to rebuild it from scratch. Plus, I can re-image the SSD in about an hour if everything goes sideways.
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Re: All SSD, all the time

Postposted on Mon Nov 05, 2012 1:02 pm

ludi wrote:
bthylafh wrote:but I lack the budget, time, and circular tuits to stick an SSD in this thing and reinstall the OS and programs.

Try making a CloneZilla bootable USB drive to bit-copy the existing drive to the SSD; that's what I did after getting a recommendation in another thread. My laptop had hidden partitions for OEM stuff, so I didn't have another option; I had to image it somehow. The HTPC was just a garden-variety Win7 install, but since that was cleanly built just a few months ago and I want to try out the Win8 scripted upgrade process, I didn't really care to rebuild it from scratch. Plus, I can re-image the SSD in about an hour if everything goes sideways.


Given that my existing HD is 1.5TB (630GB used), I don't think I can afford an SSD that'd let me do that. :wink:

A large chunk of that is my Steam profile, though, and I've got an old 320GB drive kicking around as scratch space. Hmm.

edit: not a large enough chunk, alas.
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Re: All SSD, all the time

Postposted on Mon Nov 05, 2012 1:19 pm

bthylafh wrote:
ludi wrote:
bthylafh wrote:but I lack the budget, time, and circular tuits to stick an SSD in this thing and reinstall the OS and programs.

Try making a CloneZilla bootable USB drive to bit-copy the existing drive to the SSD; that's what I did after getting a recommendation in another thread. My laptop had hidden partitions for OEM stuff, so I didn't have another option; I had to image it somehow. The HTPC was just a garden-variety Win7 install, but since that was cleanly built just a few months ago and I want to try out the Win8 scripted upgrade process, I didn't really care to rebuild it from scratch. Plus, I can re-image the SSD in about an hour if everything goes sideways.


Given that my existing HD is 1.5TB (630GB used), I don't think I can afford an SSD that'd let me do that. :wink:

A large chunk of that is my Steam profile, though, and I've got an old 320GB drive kicking around as scratch space. Hmm.

edit: not a large enough chunk, alas.


Shift all your movies/TV shows onto a HDD

Shift your entire steam drive onto a HDD

Work out how much space is used up now. Buy SSD. Installed Windows 7 and install all programs. Insert HDD with movies and HDD with steam (or one with both). Double click on steam.exe. Winning!

Use steammover and transfer any current games e.g. Natural Selection 2 to the SSD. Winning!
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Re: All SSD, all the time

Postposted on Mon Nov 05, 2012 1:31 pm

Heh. No videos to speak of and my music store is only several GB. The next biggest thing behind Steam are my VMs, and those can run on an HDD. Then we've got downloaded ISOs and X-Plane scenery that I don't even use.

I could possibly swing a 256GB-class SSD, but that's still more than I want to spend at the moment.
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Re: All SSD, all the time

Postposted on Mon Nov 05, 2012 1:41 pm

Gamer PC -> 20GB mSATA SSD used as SRT for 2x WD 1TB RAID array

Workbench rig -> 128GB Kingston V200 as boot drive

HTPC -> 96GB Kingston V100+ as boot drive

Of the three, the HTPC is slowest by a lot. Seems that Vista bogs it down (no TRIM support) but that SSD is actually a good fit, as it has its own garbage collection, and also does not suffer from the sleep issues that plagued the earlier Sandforce SSDs. No SSD in my Touchpad, but no real need for one there. Obviously, the Kingston ones I own aren't fast at all, but when you are talking SSDs, its all irrelevant, as even the slowest SSD is extremely fast compared to any HDD.
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Re: All SSD, all the time

Postposted on Tue Nov 06, 2012 8:01 am

I've been all-SSD for about 6 months now, using four machines regularly - and this list is just my own purchases, not those I've put in machines for others.

Having started life on Indilinx Barefoots (Patriot, OCZ), I built RAID0 arrays rather than upgrading capacity. The Patriots both died, I ended up having to RMA the first OCZ after a year or so, too.

I moved to a gen-1 Sandforce (Agility2) which was supposed to be quicker but didn't feel it. It died, I RMA'd it, it died again - so I RMA'd it once more and sold the unopened replacement on eBay. I didn't touch Sandforce again until they fixed the second gen BSOD's, taking the plunge because the SATA 6GB/s controllers were too tantalising to pass up with my new P68 board.

I bought some gen-2 Sandforce drives, all asnyc versions like Agility3 or Force3. Even the cheaper async ones felt like a huge upgrade over earler SSD's, probably because they were combined with my first 6GB/s SATA and UEFI boot managers.

I moved my laptop's pathetic Kingston V200 (The JMicron controller which is still junk even after the "fixes") to my work PC which doesn't have a 6GB/s SATA port and bought a Samsung 830 on offer which is truly the best drive I have ever come across. It doesn't benchmark much better than the async Sandforces, but it's a tangible improvement over the Agility/Force3 in everyday use.

Finally, I bought a couple of Intel 330's for my HTPC, because that is (oddly) my primary machine and I really REALLY don't want to fiddle with that. That's a RAID1 which is probably wasteful but goddamn, I am hoping I don't have to open that case for a long, long time. They're my first Intel drives having fitted G2's and 320's for others in the past because of their reliability record. Normally I've been more interested in value/speed than reliability but I've spent hours trying to cram 6 drives a quad-core and a 150W graphics card into a tiny case AND cool it very quietly. It involved customizing power cable lengths, ordering custom-length SATA cables to the nearest and making my own ducting with acrylic sheet and hot-melt glue.

If I had to pass on any of my experience, I would say that the brand/controller of SSD doesn't really matter that much. What matters more are these things:

  • Capacity - most drives don't populate all the controller channels until you hit a certain size at the moment, typically 256GB.
  • 6GB/s SATA - For those big sequential loads, it'll occasionally turn a two-second wait into a one-second wait.
  • UEFI boot manager - Hello 10s cold-boots. Why suspend/sleep when you can wake from a shutdown just as fast?
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Re: All SSD, all the time

Postposted on Sat Nov 24, 2012 4:40 pm

flip-mode wrote:I'm waiting to see if the wife comes through for my birthday Nov 23. If not, I'll come through.


The wife came through! Samsung SSD 830 256 GB. Good job, wife!

Too bad my crummy motherboard makes fast boot time next to impossible. I'll have to look through the BIOS and see if I can eliminate some boot-time processes. Unfortunately, turning on my eSATA port adds about 20 seconds to the boot time.
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Re: All SSD, all the time

Postposted on Sat Nov 24, 2012 5:29 pm

flip-mode wrote:Too bad my crummy motherboard makes fast boot time next to impossible. I'll have to look through the BIOS and see if I can eliminate some boot-time processes. Unfortunately, turning on my eSATA port adds about 20 seconds to the boot time.
So just use sleep (and/or hibernate, if you're willing to give up the space for the hiberfile) and only cold boot when necessary.
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Re: All SSD, all the time

Postposted on Sat Nov 24, 2012 6:17 pm

flip-mode wrote:
flip-mode wrote:I'm waiting to see if the wife comes through for my birthday Nov 23. If not, I'll come through.


The wife came through! Samsung SSD 830 256 GB. Good job, wife!

Too bad my crummy motherboard makes fast boot time next to impossible. I'll have to look through the BIOS and see if I can eliminate some boot-time processes. Unfortunately, turning on my eSATA port adds about 20 seconds to the boot time.


Sometimes there is an option to disable the boot ROM for the eSATA controller. That should solve the slow boot while still providing the functionality in Windows.

UberGerbil has a good suggestion as well. Make sure Hibernate is on (hiberfil.sys) on the disk and your desktop will (most likely) leverage Hybrid Sleep. All the speed of sleep with fault tolerance of hibernate.
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Re: All SSD, all the time

Postposted on Sat Nov 24, 2012 6:45 pm

UberGerbil wrote:
flip-mode wrote:Too bad my crummy motherboard makes fast boot time next to impossible. I'll have to look through the BIOS and see if I can eliminate some boot-time processes. Unfortunately, turning on my eSATA port adds about 20 seconds to the boot time.
So just use sleep (and/or hibernate, if you're willing to give up the space for the hiberfile) and only cold boot when necessary.

LOL, the irony. Sleep made my computer with HDD wake almost as fast as any computer with SSD. On my home computer, there's not a heck of a lot of benefit from the SSD, but I still badly wanted one, damn it! :D
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Re: All SSD, all the time

Postposted on Sat Nov 24, 2012 6:47 pm

There's still a benefit when you click on an icon and the application loads immediately.
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Re: All SSD, all the time

Postposted on Sat Nov 24, 2012 8:55 pm

JustAnEngineer wrote:There's still a benefit when you click on an icon and the application loads immediately.

I know. I don't use many apps that really need the speed-up. But that's OK, it's still a fantastic drive and I'm happy to have it. It will make program installs, OS updates, and other tasks much faster. It's 256 GB so I even has enough space to host a couple of small VMs, and it'll really speed those up. More than one VM on a spinning disk has been painful for me.
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Re: All SSD, all the time

Postposted on Sat Nov 24, 2012 11:45 pm

The age of the supporting hardware does make a difference in terms of how much "snappiness" is added to the system; for general Windows use, my laptop only perked up partially with the Samsung 830 upgrade. But one thing that is REALLY nice is opening a photo editing utility with a few hundred MB of mixed high-res RAW and JPG files and watching the thumbnails populate within a couple seconds. With the hard drive it took much longer because of the amount of image data that had to be read.
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Re: All SSD, all the time

Postposted on Sun Nov 25, 2012 9:49 am

Doing some goofing around and some testing, I can see that write operations to this drive are exquisitely fast, clocking in at about 118 MB/s sustained - in other words, fully saturating my platform's abilities. I used to get about 80 MB/s sustained with my Samsung F3 1TB. This is an AMD SATA II mobo (in sig) so I'm very much constrained by my platform.

I also copied a 100 MB folder full of pictures to the drive and that seemed to happen instantaneously - copy progress dialog never got a chance to display. That's cool.

This drive seems noticeably faster than the Crucial M4 drive that is in my work machine (and the work machine is a much faster SATA 3 platform).

Good stuff. I'm pleased. Too bad the rest of my system hails from the DDR2 era. :cry: It still serves me well 95% of the time.
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