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Old 06-05-2010, 02:52 AM   #1 (permalink)
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Default SSD hard drives?

I was thinking about getting windows 7 and putting it on an ssd hard drive and wanted to have some opinions / questions answered, if you all don't mind.

I've seen a lot of posts around the 'net about the dangers of defrag, writing too many times to the hard drive, and so on, because there's only a limited amount of times you can write data to it before it goes kaput. From what I understand, the "MTBF" is the measurement of the life expectancy of reading and writing a large amount of data every hour to the drive. Basically all the drives on Newegg are in the area of 1.5 million hours MTBF. That is about 170 years. What's all the fuss about life expectancy or am I missing something huge?

I'm very interested in the dependability of ssd drives over traditional hard drives. I've had a number of hard drives die on me over the years a lose a ton of data so I tend to replace them frequently (every year or two) now out of paranoia. I don't like doing this. I mean, I back up the most important stuff of course on flash drives, but I don't like feeling that the rest of the stuff is sitting on the edge of complete annihilation. Are ssds really more reliable and do they run cooler?

SSDs are basically like flash drives, right? So there's no need to defrag them, right, because of no mechanical pieces?

I read about windows 7 "TRIM" and that it basically does a bunch of stuff for the computer to work better with ssds. Is this necessary, and should I go out of my way (and my wallet) to find ssds that are TRIM compatible?

Do ssds have firmware updates? And can I run a firmware update (say, for the enabling of TRIM on a previously TRIM-less drive) while having stuff installed?

Are there any special install procedures for installing ssds and getting the bios to recognize them? I would assume they would be recognized just like any other sata drive but I'm not sure.

Finally, are they really worth it at the moment? Has anyone been following the price drops and size increases on these things?

And for something barely related...
Naturally, SSDs are expensive. I would be going with one that has about 60 gigs of space. Is this enough for windows 7 and some newer games? My current hard drive is about 500 gigs so I would be using this for other data, of course.


A lot of stuff, I know.
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Old 06-05-2010, 06:45 AM   #2 (permalink)
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Default Re: SSD hard drives?

Quote:
SSDs are basically like flash drives, right? So there's no need to defrag them, right, because of no mechanical pieces?
Correct.

Quote:
I read about windows 7 "TRIM" and that it basically does a bunch of stuff for the computer to work better with ssds. Is this necessary, and should I go out of my way (and my wallet) to find ssds that are TRIM compatible?
It helps performance and increases the longevity of the drive, I would definitely say yes.
Read Wikipedia for more detailed info that I can't provide

Quote:
Do ssds have firmware updates? And can I run a firmware update (say, for the enabling of TRIM on a previously TRIM-less drive) while having stuff installed?
Quote:
Are there any special install procedures for installing ssds and getting the bios to recognize them? I would assume they would be recognized just like any other sata drive but I'm not sure.
Someone else will need to answer this, sorry.

Quote:
Finally, are they really worth it at the moment? Has anyone been following the price drops and size increases on these things?
It's really up to you on whether it's worth it - it's your wallet. Personally, if I had the money I would buy a nice Intel 60GB in a heartbeat. SSDs have been gradually going down in price since their inception into the market, AFAIK there haven't been any big price drops or anything, it's all been linear.

Quote:
Naturally, SSDs are expensive. I would be going with one that has about 60 gigs of space. Is this enough for windows 7 and some newer games? My current hard drive is about 500 gigs so I would be using this for other data, of course.
It would be enough for that, yes - though most SSD users use the SSD for only the OS(s) and most programs, and absolutely nothing else, using another drive, as you said, for storage of all other data.
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Old 06-05-2010, 07:46 AM   #3 (permalink)
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Default Re: SSD hard drives?

Your approach towards traditional HDDs is all wrong. There's no point buying new ones regularly if all you're going to do is use it to replace the old one since the new one is no more reliable than the old one - and it actually stands a good chance of being less reliable.

There are two fundamental points to improving protection from data loss, the first is redundancy and the second is backup.
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Old 06-05-2010, 09:30 AM   #4 (permalink)
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Default Re: SSD hard drives?

Quote:
Originally Posted by ACleverUsername View Post
I'm very interested in the dependability of ssd drives over traditional hard drives. I've had a number of hard drives die on me over the years a lose a ton of data so I tend to replace them frequently (every year or two) now out of paranoia. I don't like doing this. I mean, I back up the most important stuff of course on flash drives, but I don't like feeling that the rest of the stuff is sitting on the edge of complete annihilation. Are ssds really more reliable and do they run cooler?
A SSD with a proven controller like the ones from Intel and Indilinx should be more reliable than a mechanical hard drive. All SSDs use very little power and as a result give off next to no heat.

Quote:
I read about windows 7 "TRIM" and that it basically does a bunch of stuff for the computer to work better with ssds. Is this necessary, and should I go out of my way (and my wallet) to find ssds that are TRIM compatible?
All SSDs worth owning support TRIM so it's not something you have to worry about anymore.

Quote:
Do ssds have firmware updates? And can I run a firmware update (say, for the enabling of TRIM on a previously TRIM-less drive) while having stuff installed?
Yes SSDs do have firmware updates however since a lot of drives are relatively mature at this point they aren't that frequent. In the past some firmware updates were destructive and caused you to loose all data on the drive while others did not.

Quote:
Are there any special install procedures for installing ssds and getting the bios to recognize them? I would assume they would be recognized just like any other sata drive but I'm not sure.
If you are installing Windows 7 it takes care of everything for you.

Quote:
Finally, are they really worth it at the moment? Has anyone been following the price drops and size increases on these things?
Absolutely, the performance increase from a good SSD is something you have to see to believe. At this time I recommend going with a drive using a controller from Intel or Indilinx. These 3 drives are all good options and are listed according to performance with the X25-M 80gb being the fastest and the Vertex being the slowest of the group. The Vertex will need a mounting bracket like this

Newegg.com - Intel X25-M Mainstream SSDSA2MH080G2R5 2.5" 80GB SATA II MLC Internal Solid State Drive (SSD)

Newegg.com - Intel X25-V SSDSA2MP040G2R5 2.5" 40GB SATA II MLC Internal Solid State Drive (SSD)

Newegg.com - OCZ Vertex Series OCZSSD2-1VTX60G 2.5" 60GB SATA II MLC Internal Solid State Drive (SSD)

Quote:
And for something barely related...
Naturally, SSDs are expensive. I would be going with one that has about 60 gigs of space. Is this enough for windows 7 and some newer games? My current hard drive is about 500 gigs so I would be using this for other data, of course.
Games (with the exception of WoW) are one of the few things that don't really benefit that much from a SSD. Personally I keep Windows 7 and frequently used programs like Firefox, MS Office and Visual Studio on my SSD and put all my games and data on another drive.
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Old 06-07-2010, 03:51 PM   #5 (permalink)
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Default Re: SSD hard drives?

I had a large post written up that for some reason never appeared, so this is kind of an "abridged" version.

Thanks to everyone for the helpful information.


Quote:
Originally Posted by kmote View Post
Your approach towards traditional HDDs is all wrong. There's no point buying new ones regularly if all you're going to do is use it to replace the old one since the new one is no more reliable than the old one - and it actually stands a good chance of being less reliable.
Maybe I just have back luck with traditional harddrives (never had a laptop fail on me for harddrive reasons), but I have lost data every two to three years or so because of harddrive failures with several computers over the past 15 or so years. I started replacing them frequently with XP and have only lost one (that was used as a secondary drive at the time, thankfully). Reformatting often seems to increase their longevity. I can only speak from experience. It's very weird.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Puddle Jumper View Post
A SSD with a proven controller like the ones from Intel and Indilinx should be more reliable than a mechanical hard drive. All SSDs use very little power and as a result give off next to no heat.
Is there a way to tell if the controller is made by Indilinx?

Are there certain companies I should avoid?

Quote:
These 3 drives are all good options and are listed according to performance with the X25-M 80gb being the fastest and the Vertex being the slowest of the group. The Vertex will need a mounting bracket like this

Newegg.com - Intel X25-M Mainstream SSDSA2MH080G2R5 2.5" 80GB SATA II MLC Internal Solid State Drive (SSD)

Newegg.com - Intel X25-V SSDSA2MP040G2R5 2.5" 40GB SATA II MLC Internal Solid State Drive (SSD)

Newegg.com - OCZ Vertex Series OCZSSD2-1VTX60G 2.5" 60GB SATA II MLC Internal Solid State Drive (SSD)
Now, how is the OCZ the worst when it has better read speed than the x25-v and better write speed than both? Is there some hidden variable or creative use of numbers?

Quote:
Games (with the exception of WoW) are one of the few things that don't really benefit that much from a SSD. Personally I keep Windows 7 and frequently used programs like Firefox, MS Office and Visual Studio on my SSD and put all my games and data on another drive.
I would figure load times and such would be quicker because the game is able to access the data from the hard drive much faster.

Edit:
Also, does anyone have any thoughts on the lifetime of SSDs as I asked about it up there?
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