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bitcat70
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SSD for laptops/office workstations

Wed Jun 19, 2019 1:58 pm

Hi!
I'm thinking about upgrading some laptops and desktops with SSD's. I did a few before and I used Crucial BX100 and Mushkin Source as the price was very attractive. They seem to be holding up pretty well, but I've been wondering if there are better choices? Because apparently there are some pretty crappy ones out there and there are some brands I've never heard about before, though I tried to stay with the better known ones. Also models get phased out over time and their replacements aren't always good. On top of that there also are other things to consider (MLC/TLC/QLC, controller, cache?) than there were for HDD's (rpm) and I'm just not that familiar with them. What would be good SSD's to consider for business/general usage? Speed and reliability would be at the top of the list. Of course price is a factor, too.
 
mikewinddale
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Re: SSD for laptops/office workstations

Wed Jun 19, 2019 2:14 pm

WD Blue 3D NAND, Samsung 860 EVO, Crucial MX500, Intel 545s, Adata SU800 are some plain, solid, drives to consider. They all got good reviews.

The Sandisk Ultra 3D NAND is a rebranded WD Blue 3D NAND, so it's good.

Make sure you only get an SSD with DRAM. All the drives I listed have DRAM.

I think below the Adata SU800, they start going DRAM-less. So don't go below that 800 model number.

Stick with TLC. MLC is hard to find. You can get QLC in a Samsung 860 QVO, but I'd be skeptical of using it as a primary drive until we know more about their endurance and longevity. The price difference is too small to justify the risk.
 
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Re: SSD for laptops/office workstations

Wed Jun 19, 2019 2:24 pm

^ I think the Crucial MX500 is mid-performance, the Samsung is the highest, and the WD and Intel fall in between. The Adata is the lowest performance, but only for very intense workloads. For basic office productivity, all of these drives are fine. If you do multimedia editing or something like that, just get the Samsung.
 
Usacomp2k3
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Re: SSD for laptops/office workstations

Wed Jun 19, 2019 7:22 pm

Anything will be an upgrade over a spinning disk. For office applications, I’d just get the best performance that’s within 10% of the cheapest price. You won’t notice any performance increase over that.
 
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Re: SSD for laptops/office workstations

Wed Jun 19, 2019 8:14 pm

The BX and MX lines from Crucial are pretty good for budget friendly SSDs. I've used a few of those in past builds also and never had any problems. Like Usacomp2k3 said, pretty much any SSD is going to be big upgrade over a spinning disk, and that alone can usually extend the comfortable lifespan of a machine quite a bit. If none of your users are into disk-heavy use cases(databases, video editing, etc), then save a few bucks and get the budget drives. They won't notice the difference anyway.
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Re: SSD for laptops/office workstations

Thu Jun 20, 2019 2:54 pm

I've used several Crucial MX drives of various vintage with no complaints. I've also used a couple Mushkin Reactor drives and they've also been problem-free and performed as expected.

Beware the cheapest off-brand drives (like the cheap Adata drives), as they often omit the RAM cache, making them a bit slower for intensive tasks. Otherwise, any SSD is probably going to be an improvement, as stated.
 
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Re: SSD for laptops/office workstations

Thu Jun 20, 2019 2:56 pm

mikewinddale wrote:
^ I think the Crucial MX500 is mid-performance, the Samsung is the highest, and the WD and Intel fall in between. The Adata is the lowest performance, but only for very intense workloads. For basic office productivity, all of these drives are fine. If you do multimedia editing or something like that, just get the Samsung.

Depends on which Samsung model you're talking about. They have both mid and high-end lines. That said, I am not a fan of Samsung in general as a tech company. They are the modern version of Sony to me -- emphasis of features over functionality, releasing stuff before it's ready, cutting corners but emphasizing glitzy new tech, etc.

That said, their higher-end stuff is well made. But there are enough competent competitors that I don't need to give them my business. IMHO...
 
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Re: SSD for laptops/office workstations

Thu Jun 20, 2019 5:54 pm

This is actually something I've been looking at lately. Mom's computer is an older Dell with a slow 3.5" drive and it desperately needs an SSD. It's old enough that it's most likely stuck at SATA 2 speeds, but for just web browsing & office programs, it'll be a big improvement. Oh, plus upgrading the 4 gigs of RAM it came from the factory with. And prices for both is much better lately. To bad I don't have a spare ~500GB SSD sitting in the collection; all the spares are much smaller.

mikewinddale wrote:
Make sure you only get an SSD with DRAM. All the drives I listed have DRAM.

I think below the Adata SU800, they start going DRAM-less. So don't go below that 800 model number.


I hadn't even considered that they were doing DRAM-less 2.5" SSDs... I thought that was something baked into the NVMe protocol/ Windows 10 to use some system RAM.
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Re: SSD for laptops/office workstations

Fri Jun 21, 2019 2:01 am

I had planned to do this in about a dozen Ivy/Haswell workstations before the idea was shot down from above. While the MX500 is a fine drive, the 860 EVO has roughly double the rated endurance at a given capacity for about 15-20% higher cost (sometimes less). 860 EVO was to be my choice.
 
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Re: SSD for laptops/office workstations

Fri Jun 21, 2019 3:54 am

IVY/Haswell is old!

My point is that QLC could STILL outlive those boxes, so why not consider using QLC and spend a bit less money?

And I have QLC in my brand new laptop as primary, secondary and thirdary (is that a word?), for a total of 8 TB in the machine (yeah, I'm a glutton like that), so when they start to go bad, you'll all be the second to know.

In the meantime, I just keep making sure my backups run successfully. My static data (music libraries, 3D graphic libraries, etc) all get backed up monthly with incrementals every other week, while my boot, app, and project drives all get weekly full backups weekly followed by incrementals every 8 hours. Given my backup schedules and my work habits (it's a personal machine not related to my job), my worst impact will realistically be no more than 3 or 4 hours of lost work at any point in time.

With that kind of backup strategy, I can easily run my QLC SSDs all the way to the "dead as a doornail" state. Or at least as long as it takes for me to fill them up with the next orchestral VST library, heh! :P

But really, if they are old machines, why spend a lot of money on storage media?
 
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Re: SSD for laptops/office workstations

Fri Jun 21, 2019 6:17 am

Tertiary is the word you're looking for. Quaternary would be 4th. Beyond that I'd have to look up.
BIF wrote:
primary, secondary and thirdary (is that a word?)
 
BIF
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Re: SSD for laptops/office workstations

Fri Jun 21, 2019 7:07 am

I was not thinking of "tertiary", because to me, tertiary is not actually "third in order".

I suppose the commonly accepted definition is indeed "third" these days, but when I learned the meaning of tertiary (what, 40+ years ago?), it actually meant, "a combination of primary, secondary, and/or 'other' sources." Or maybe it was referring to data or evidence (I'm thinking back to 4th grade science class).

But today, the closest I can find to that is the definition of "Tertiary Source" on Wikipedia:

A tertiary source is an index or textual consolidation of primary and secondary sources.[1][2][3] Some tertiary sources are not to be used for academic research, unless they can also be used as secondary sources, or to find other sources.[4]


But still; a consolidation, and not necessarily "third". So given my 4th grade understanding of the word, it would have been incorrect to describe my third SSD (a 2.5" version) as a tertiary drive because it is a separate SSD and is not made up of a combination of the primary and secondary units (which are themselves discrete M.2 sticks).

Okay, that's too much for a Friday morning. Now I have a headache. :P :lol:
 
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Re: SSD for laptops/office workstations

Fri Jun 21, 2019 7:12 am

Interesting; I've never heard it in the context as combination, just as a 3rd in priority/line.
 
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Re: SSD for laptops/office workstations

Fri Jun 21, 2019 8:14 am

BIF wrote:
IVY/Haswell is old!

My point is that QLC could STILL outlive those boxes, so why not consider using QLC and spend a bit less money?
And I have QLC in my brand new laptop as primary, secondary and thirdary (is that a word?), for a total of 8 TB in the machine (yeah, I'm a glutton like that), so when they start to go bad, you'll all be the second to know.

In the meantime, I just keep making sure my backups run successfully. My static data (music libraries, 3D graphic libraries, etc) all get backed up monthly with incrementals every other week, while my boot, app, and project drives all get weekly full backups weekly followed by incrementals every 8 hours. Given my backup schedules and my work habits (it's a personal machine not related to my job), my worst impact will realistically be no more than 3 or 4 hours of lost work at any point in time.
With that kind of backup strategy, I can easily run my QLC SSDs all the way to the "dead as a doornail" state. Or at least as long as it takes for me to fill them up with the next orchestral VST library, heh! :P

But really, if they are old machines, why spend a lot of money on storage media?

In the case I mentioned, the Ivy/Haswell workstations are mostly 4/4 i5's with minimum 8GB (a few 16GB), and are all due free upgrades to W10 Pro. Boss is going to spend probably 10k more than the upgrade would have cost, and get performance which is nearly indistinguishable over the current rigs with an SSD for the workload. Oh well...not my money.

QLC isn't well-suited to being a primary drive, and after the 840EVO fiasco, it hasn't been vetted enough (in my mind) for critical workloads either. What happens if we suddenly find that QLC drives aren't hitting their endurance ratings, and/or they're having the same performance dropoff/data retention issues as the 840EVO? What would I tell my boss if he were to change his mind and I had gone with QLC?

Anyhow, while I don't fully expect anything like that to happen again, QLC still occupies a niche where it's not quite good enough to be a primary drive, but not inexpensive enough for large amounts of mass storage either. It shines when used for moderately sized amounts (<4TB) of mostly static data which can see a benefit from decent read speed. Perfectly suited to being a games-storage drive, and the music creation + 3D graphics libraries you mentioned are also good uses.
 
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Re: SSD for laptops/office workstations

Fri Jun 21, 2019 10:31 am

Agreed. Not yet sold on the robustness of QLC. It's cheapest for a reason, and I don't feel comfortable banking my data on it until it has had significantly more bake time. There are better options that aren't that much more expensive.
 
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Re: SSD for laptops/office workstations

Fri Jun 21, 2019 11:11 am

SK Hynix also has some nice drives. They're based on the LAMD controller SK Hynix acquired, and they're decently cheap. They do have the problem of being limited to 120-500GB capacities though, and they've gotten hard to find.

WD Blue with 3D NAND work well. I have 4x 500GB in a softraid array, and I'd probably buy them over the 2.5" Samsung Evos. I definitely will as the 1TB Blues are a little over $100 right now.

The Samsung drives are pretty much the Cadillac of SSD drives right now. The Pro drives are slick if a little pricy.
 
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Re: SSD for laptops/office workstations

Fri Jun 21, 2019 11:20 am

Most office environments barely need more than 256GB (unless they have a silly email policy that makes you keep your emails in a local PST instead of on the server). I have 115gb used which is 11 years of work files and would consider myself a power-user. That said, the price differential between 128 & 256 is pretty tiny. $40 will get you a 250GB MX500. The 500GB is $66 on Amazon. For a Kingston A400, the 120GB = $20, 240GB = $30, 480GB = $50, & 960GB = $100.
 
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Re: SSD for laptops/office workstations

Fri Jun 21, 2019 2:09 pm

The Samsung Pro series SSDs are great for speed and reliability but their migration and trim tool SucXs. Intel has the free trim tool that works and acronis migration software that works and their SSDs are arguably as quick and reliable.
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Re: SSD for laptops/office workstations

Fri Jun 21, 2019 2:45 pm

While the Acronis software works, I found it to be a lot clunkier than Macrium Reflect for that purpose.
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