View Full Version : SSD Shopping
03-19-2011, 10:25 PM
Finally getting an SSD. Tired of mechanical drives. They're slow, hot, loud, and unreliable. I'm very cheap, but I've also sent back my past three boot drives for logic board failures. Between the hours of reinstalling everything and the money to ship it, and the god-awful customer service - I'm done.
Now, looking at SSDs. I have recently come across stats showing Intel drives as significantly less likely to fail. I can't find the results, but recall them, and they were said by expert pundits to be accurate as confirmed by the manufacturers. Intel had lowest failure rates - something like .59% within 5 years, and OCZ had the highest @ nearly 3% over five years. All the other recorded manufacturers were between ~1.9-2.7% I believe.
Unfortunately, this makes a tough decision, because OCZ's drives are constantly at the top of benchmarks and @ a VERY competitive price.
Here's my shortlist (strikethrough means I've eliminated it from the running):
60gb OCZ Agility 2 - $110
Very low capacity, awful IOPS performance w/ tiny chunks of data but otherwise has top-tier performance, very cheap, poor reliability
80gb Intel X-25M - $180
Acceptable capacity, high reliability, poor overall performance, somewhat cheap
120gb OCZ Vertex 2 - $195
Excellent capacity, superior to Agility 2's already-great performance (and fixes issue with poor performance handling tiny amounts of data), fairly cheap, poor reliability *price expected to drop dramatically*
120gb Corsair F120 - $230
Excellent capacity, similar performance to Vertex 2, somewhat expensive, mediocre reliability
120gb OCZ Vertex 3 (unreleased) - ~$250
Excellent capacity, over 50% performance increase in most scenarios over current top-tier drives, unknown reliability
I'm leaning toward the Agility 2. It'll probably be a couple years before I get a board with 6 gb/s SATA3 ports. Until then, my performance is limited -- the Vertex 3, for example, has relatively mediocre performance on a 3 gb/s SATA2 port. This makes me less interested in using the SSD drive being purchased as a long-term solution. On top of that, performance is increasing dramatically with time. In two years, the product I pick out now will be considered dinosaur-technology. The reliability issue is concerning, but I think since I'll probably no longer be using it as a boot drive after two or three years, I can take my chances on ~1.5% chance of failure.
I also found a 60gb Agility 2 @ Circuit City @ ~$90 shipped after MIR. Unbeatable deal as far as I can see. I will have a serious problem trying to manage with a boot drive which has only 60gb of space.... It has been a looong time since I've had to pay attention to the amount of HD space I was using -- might be nostalgic :)
03-19-2011, 11:43 PM
Just noticed 3 year manu. warranty on Agility 2. Think that settles it.
03-20-2011, 12:36 AM
Wow. Found a deal where I was able to get $10 off on the Agility 2 purchase, too, bringing my total cost to ~$80 for the drive.
This deal is actually "expired" -- you were supposed to go to Circuit City's website. A prompt would come up offering you $10 off your next purchase. The code to display that popup is no longer on their website. However, I found it still appears in Google's cache of the website and their server is still accepting the requests and distributing $10-off codes... :D
(you may have to submit your email/code twice)
Edit: Hm. "Please allow 2-4 days to receive your 10 dollar discount." and the MIR on the drive expires after tomorrow. :x
03-20-2011, 07:19 AM
went SSD on my last computer, will not go back now with 5-10 second computer boots. Install your OS and main programs on the SSD, but have a mechanical disk drive on secondary for a few TB's of storage
03-20-2011, 07:50 AM
I too wanted an SSD for the new build, but I decided against it.
I read so many reviews about these things not being reliable...
Most these companies cant even make a usb flash drive that will last 3 years...
I think the only reason I would buy one would be for a laptop that I turn off and on all the time.
Other than faster boot times, I'm not really seeing the upside of SDD at this point.
Since I don't turn off my PC, and I don't care how loud, how hot, or much power my tower uses, I decided against SSD until they drop in price by a lot.
So, I'm running 2 Western Digital 640Gb AALS drives in RAID-0.
Price, Performance, and Reliability, make this is my favorite HDD.
I have never had a WD drive die on me, and my computers run 24/7.
MY 1.2TB RAID-0 HD-TUNE:
Here is an HD-TUNE of an OCZ Agility 2 60GB SSD I found for comparison:
Yes SSD have faster access time. But you are talking milliseconds.
10 milliseconds = a hundredth of a second.
A human eye takes between 300 and 400 milliseconds to complete a single blink
You think you notice a difference of 11.5 milliseconds? That is 1/30th of a blink...
I do massive amounts of video editing.
I am constantly moving lots of huge raw video files. So transfer rates are more important to me.
A 43min tv show will eat 35+GB... so 60GB would never fit my needs and 320GB SSD were WAY out of my price range at $700.
So to sum up, I think SSD belong in laptops. It makes sense simply from a power usage standpoint.
Laptops are turned off to conserve power, so a quicker boot time is also important.
Most laptops, specially netbooks, have slower processors, so decreased access times can help make up for some of the cpu wait time.
That AG2 SSD = $0.66/GB
My RAID-0 = $0.10/GB
I would expect at least a 2x performance boost in transfer rates to justify 6x the cost.
And I am just not seeing it...
So, is this going into a tower or into a laptop??
Kludge what kinda HDD were running that died on you?
I never had a problem with any of my 3.5" WD drives and I been running them for 10+ years.
I have had 2 seagate drives die on me, and 1 maxtor, so I buy only WD now.
03-23-2011, 11:38 PM
I've been extremely critical of SSDs as well, but I've been changing my tune. The thing about seek times is that the millisecond differences become very significant when transferring many tiny files at once, as is often the case when gaming where reads/writes will not be sequential. I've noticed dramatically faster boot times and load times, so far. If you're just moving giant files around, you wouldn't see much benefit, but I don't think that's a typical real-world scenario.
Also worth noting $/gb doesn't mean anything if the space goes to waste as would be the case with me. I have two HDDs in a RAID0 array for general use @ 940gb total space. The 40gb usable space (after OS) on my SSD is good enough for putting the few games I'm into ATM on.
At any rate, the SSD arrived today, and I'm quite pleased with performance so far. HDTune results from the SSD drive:
I can't post HDTune rates on the RAID array because it's handled by software, but it's slightly under in sequential speeds from my own testing on large file transfers back when I was first testing the array.
All the hard drives which have failed me have been Seagate. WD has been a champ (though my current 2-year-old 500 GB WD drive just started failing SMART checks). 5 or so Seagate HDD failures within the past 3 years.
03-23-2011, 11:42 PM
n/m found local cache
03-24-2011, 05:55 AM
It's nice to see your HD Tune numbers are higher than the ones I posted.
So, how long is your boot time now from off to desktop? SSD are great at that.
So, you are only into a few games at the moment.. I have an addiction to games..
Here is a screenshot my Windows 7 "Games" Tab. :eek:
I have 900GB of games currently installed.
03-24-2011, 06:36 AM
Jesus... I thought I play a lot of games.... :D
Boot times after BIOS to time I can click are <5s (not too much use to me since I keep the PC on 24/7 -- goes into STR sleep mode when idle). I haven't played enough games yet to give much comment on load times there except to say it's faster.
I'll play Shogun:Total War 2 later today and try to compare.
I did a copy-paste of a large (3.5 gb) folder with many (4,600) small files in it on the same drive out of curiosity. On the SSD, it resulted in ~45 mb/s speeds. On the 2 HDDs in RAID0, it resulted in ~26 mb/s transfer speed.
Speed of same folder from SSD to HDDs was ~65 mb/s. Speed from HDDs to SSD was ~40 mb/s.
Then I did a copy-paste of one large (1.75 gb) file. Copy-pasted from/to the SSD, transfer speed was ~75 mb/s. On the HDDs, transfer speed was ~55 mb/s.
Speed of same folder from SSD to HDDs was ~160 mb/s. Speed from HDDs to SSD was ~105 mb/s.
03-24-2011, 09:09 AM
I decided to copy/paste a 1.42GB(1,500,000b) file from my desktop, to a new folder on my desktop.
I wanted to see what kinda speed I was actually seeing.
Put it on 720p so you can read it.
Size / Time = Transfer Rate correct?
BTW, I was recording this video to the same drive with FRAPS at 60fps 1368x720 while running this test.
03-24-2011, 06:27 PM
Yeah, so that was about 242 mb/s. I'm kind of confused though, because that's higher than the max speed HDTune estimated and it's both a read and a write, so speeds should have been less than half normal speed (I'd guess it should've been ~100 mb/s).
- Or was the file on the desktop stored on a different hard drive? That would make more sense, and would be what the SSD to HDDs speed I posted represents (~160 mb/s), assuming the HDDs are the bottleneck.
IOmeter recognizes the stripe array, so I'm going to run a few All-in-One tests.
03-24-2011, 06:42 PM
The file was on the desktop, on the same drive. That is why I right clicked propertied it so you can read the location.
I then right clicked and copied the file, then I right clicked and made a new folder on my desktop and pasted to that folder.
So its all from the same drive to the same drive. This drive is a RAID-0 array of 2 HDD. 1420MB/6.7sec ~212MB/sec
Moving the same file over the gigabit network from my media center pc to my gaming/encoding machine takes 21 secs so ~67MB/sec.
03-24-2011, 07:09 PM
But in a copy-paste, you're combining write with reads (the # HDTune's free version gives only measures read speed). It has to read the data, fill the cache (~64mb total usable, I'm guessing), then access where it wants to write the data, and then write it.
Here are some rough numbers for what I'd theorize should have been the results:
Write speeds are ~10% faster than reads in HDDs, & read max speed was 222 mb/s. That means write speeds should be something like 244 mb/s.
Theoretical time taken should be ([seek time] + [time to write from HDD to cache ])*([total transfer size]/[cache size]$$rounded up to nearest whole number$$) + ([seek time] + [time to write from cache to HDD])*([total transfer size]/[cache size]$$rounded up to nearest whole number$$)
So, giving maximum numbers and measuring time in seconds and size in MB...
(0.0117+.2623)*(1430/64) + (0.0117+.2883)*(1430/64)
(.274*23) + (.3*23)
Total estimated time to transfer = 13.202s
(or ~110 mb/s)
03-24-2011, 07:22 PM
Maybe the RAID controller reads the set of data on one HD while simultaneously writing the data on the other when it recognizes it is transferring to the same drives? Then once it's halfway done (which would account for all the data in the file stored on one of the HDs), it reverses it so only 4 seeks in total need to be performed. This would essentially double speed as opposed to constantly reading and writing 64mb chunks of data, right? That'd mean 220 mb/s speed would be reasonable. I think that's what I'm missing.
Edit: That would also imply Windows 7 RAID emulation does not recognize when a transfer is happening to and from the same array and handles it inefficiently - in the way I posted in post #13 - which is something I've never heard of before.
03-24-2011, 08:03 PM
I hear what your saying, that I shouldn't be seeing the speed I am seeing. But I am.
It defiantly feels like it can read/write simultaneously...
My RAID-0 array is 2 Western Digital Caviar Black WD6401AALS 640GB 7200 RPM 32MB Cache SATA 3.0Gb/s.
I am using the RAID controller on my ASUS M4A88TD-M motherboard.
There are no partions, and these 2 drives are the only 2 drives in my system.
Running Windows 7 ultimate 64bit.
Like I said, I get 212MB/sec rates while recording to the same set of drives at 1.80GB/min with fraps.
I will now do the exact same thing, but without fraps runing. I recorded it with my camera phone..don't mind the shotty video:
Here is the rest the system specs:
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