3.5" SSD Hard Drives

vbimport

#1

I am seeking help from the gurus here.

I currently use mobile racks to switch out my Operating Systems (Win 7, Win Vista and win XP) with standard 3.5" hard drives.

I am yearning to experience the SSD adventure but I would prefer to a single rack right now. Most SSD drives are 2.5", so I can’t run them in my current rack.

I see several 3.5" SSD drives available from Corsair.

How are they?
Can I solicit some input on this dilemma?

Thanks.


#2

Can’t use a 2.5" to 3.5" adapter in the rack?

E-sata? :slight_smile:


#3

Try these.
They are about as good as you can get at the moment

[B]OCZ Vertex 2 - 3.5 (bigfoot)[/B] with SandForce SF-1200 SSD controller.

[B]How they perform[/B]


#4

Thanks for the responses.

@debro

This is all SATA.
I have not lookin into the adapters because I feared alignment issues. especially where the rack connectes with the tray.

@Dee

Great read Dee. I caught that review when it was first posted.
We are in agreement on that drive so far. It’s hard for me to look away long enough to consider anything else.

Anything close to this that my prevent me from validating this decision?

Also can I pop cloned partitions from my SATA to the SSD in resized partition?


#5

[QUOTE=Nemesys;2558682]Anything close to this that my prevent me from validating this decision?[/quote]All Sandforce based drives perform pretty much the same for desktop use, and IMO, there is nothing even comes close to SandForce for SATA2.
IMO, OCZ has the best firmware and customer support, and also the very handy OCZ Toolbox for their SandForce based drives.

Just one thing you should consider very carefully before purchasing an SSD, and this holds true for all SSDs.
Calculate how much space you will need for your OS and applications. Once you have done that, check if you will still have 20% minimum space left over after everything is installed, because all SSDs, regardless of which brand or what you might have heard, require some free NAND available to work with. If you don’t leave some spare capacity, performance will take a big hit once you’ve written to all NAND in the drive.

Also can I pop cloned partitions from my SATA to the SSD in resized partition?
Perhaps, but the SSD must have aligned partitions, so you will need to check the drive is aligned after cloning from your HDD.
Sometimes it’s just better to make a fresh install for the SSD, and then clone the SSD for later use or system recovery.


#6

[QUOTE=Nemesys;2558682]Also can I pop cloned partitions from my SATA to the SSD in resized partition?[/QUOTE]
You will need to shrink the bootable OS partition to less than the size of the SSD.

From there, you should be able to Clone the partition & MBR from the original HDD, and write it to the SSD. *windows7/Vista also have to clone the small 100/200MB partition at the start of the drive.

I’ve done this with HDD’s using clonezilla for WindowsXP & Linux.

Vista & Windows 7 will complain non-stop (I can’t remember the error messages), and required a “repair” operation for it to work properly though.


#7

Thanks [B]Dee[/B]/[B]debro[/B].

I am at odds right now over this drive and the 120G version.
I was planning on creating a 60G partition for the OS, 20G for installed programs and 10G for temporary storage.

I planned on creating an Acronis image of my current Winows 7 drive and restoring it to the SSD on the smaller partitions. Currently using 27.6G of the OS partition and 2.4G for the Installed Programs partition.

Larger storage would be handled by my 1TB storage drive as well as the NAS for redundancy.

Any forseen issues or problems?
Recommendations?


#8

I don’t see any problems with your suggested setup, but if you can afford the 120GB model then go for it. The extra 30GB of free space will make all the difference. That 30GB of free NAND will be used by the controller, as partitions on an SSD do not set the boundaries of what space can be used. In fact you can partition the drive to 90GB (leaving 30GB free), and that 30GB of NAND will be used by the controller.

The beauty of leaving some over-provisioned NAND is the controller will always have 30GB of free NAND to work with, and that should ensure the drive always stays fast and trouble free.


#9

[QUOTE=Nemesys;2558844]Thanks [B]Dee[/B]/[B]debro[/B].

I am at odds right now over this drive and the 120G version.
I was planning on creating a 60G partition for the OS, 20G for installed programs and 10G for temporary storage.

I planned on creating an Acronis image of my current Winows 7 drive and restoring it to the SSD on the smaller partitions. Currently using 27.6G of the OS partition and 2.4G for the Installed Programs partition.

Larger storage would be handled by my 1TB storage drive as well as the NAS for redundancy.

Any forseen issues or problems?
Recommendations?[/QUOTE]
The 120GB SSD is too small to bother partitioning, and separating OS & programs has no real benefit. In the event that somehow the OS has gone belly up, having the program file folders intact, you can’t use the programs without reinstallation regardless.

Separate your user documents/settings to a different partition, but OS & programs can be together.


#10

[QUOTE=debro;2558949]The 120GB SSD is too small to bother partitioning, and separating OS & programs has no real benefit.[/QUOTE]

Debateable, but you make a good point and your input is always valuable.

I will adhere to your suggestions. Thank you [B]debro[/B].

[QUOTE=Dee;2558860]The extra 30GB of free space will make all the difference. That 30GB of free NAND will be used by the controller, [B]as partitions on an SSD do not set the boundaries of what space can be used.[/QUOTE]

Interesting, no point in partitioning then. This clarification explains everything.

[QUOTE=Dee;2558860]The beauty of leaving some over-provisioned NAND is the controller will always have 30GB of free NAND to work with, and that should ensure the drive always stays fast and trouble free.[/QUOTE]

That sugested frree 30GB should be left untouched?
No prep or setup?

New to the SSD technology and should probably do a lot more reading. No better source than yours Dee.

Thanks.


#11

That 30GB of free NAND will be used by the controller, as partitions on an SSD do not set the boundaries of what space can be used.
This should have read
That 30GB of free NAND will be used by the controller, as partitions on an SSD do not set the boundaries of what [B]NAND[/B] can be used.

Regarding preparation for the "free NAND"
You can either let Win7 create the full 120GB partition, or partition the drive to 90GB, it won’t make any real difference, although some people swear you get better performance by leaving the 30GB unpartitioned.
I prefer to partition to the full amount, as you can as a temp measure, use that 30GB for a large file, then move that file to an HDD.


#12

[QUOTE=debro;2558949]The 120GB SSD is too small to bother partitioning, and separating OS & programs has no real benefit.[/QUOTE]

[QUOTE=Nemesys;2559129]Debateable, [/QUOTE]
Yes.
I’d normally separate them on a larger drive, because I couldn’t be bothered doing simple housekeeping ie: like ensuring that programs are not caching config/resume files to the OS drive …
However, 120GB for a Windows 7 install with programs is already pretty tight, and by breaking the partition up, the chance of having twice the unusable space is higher (ever have 2 partitions with 3GB left, and you need to install/save something that’s 4GB? Arrrrrrrgh!!!).

And as mentioned, for a Windows install, nearly all programs need a full reinstall regardless, if you windows OS gets pooched, because of the history of extremely poor file management strategies … programs can dump files everywhere … and so programs have installed files everywhere … including the windows system directory.

In linux, you break up your programs to a separate partition from the main OS, because all necessary files (except dependencies) are installed in the programs directory … and user specific configuration files are stored in the users “Home” directory (which should ALWAYS be a separate partition).
Following a reinstallation of linux (usually due to OS upgrade, rather than failure) everything works again without a full reinstall … but that’s a huge generalisation … it seems that major distro updates break 1/2 of everything randomly for no discernible reason :wink:


#13

Thanks everyone.
You guys have been great, as usual.

I decided to build a new system to go along with than new SSD, since I’ll have to do new installations anyway.

Win XP Pro x86, Win XP Pro x64, Win Vista Ultimate x64 will be installed on mechanical HDDs, while Win 7 x64 will be on the new SSD.

The new packages will arrive from Newegg.com today and tomorrow.

GIGABYTE GA-X58A-UD3R
Intel Core i7-950
Noctua NH-D14 Cooler
6GB Patriot Viper DDR3 2000
OCZ 120G 3.5"
EVGA 768-P3-1362-TR GeForce GTX 460

The SSD will be new territory for me, so I may call on your expertise to optimize the performance.

Thanks again.


#14

That new build should rock :slight_smile:

Regarding the SSD
Try and make sure AHCI mode is selected in the BIOS for Intel SATA, as the Vertex 2 supports NCQ upto a queue depth of 32, and quite substantial performance gains can be had from this. Also try and connect it to SATA port 0 (if possible).

Other than that, just allow Win7 to create the partition during install, then you should be good to go.


#15

Slight set back.
The build will have to endure a few more days.

The motherboard was bad. The BIOS was ambiguous about the amount of RAM installed. Some menus reported all 6GB while others reported 4GB (in different slots other than the ones they were installed in).
It posted 4GB and would display [B]“Recovering lost DRAM size”[/B] then immediately reboot exactly 4 times before booting to Windows, where CPU-Z displayed 6GB of RAM and Device Manager only saw 4GB.

A search for “Recovering lost DRAM size” returned results on ONLY this board. Several people with the same issues and many suggestions. No solutions.

Gigabyte skirted the issue and suggested they have no issue with the board. No acknowledgement, confirmation or solution.

Anyway, I ditched the board and await the Asus P6X58D-E.

The SSD install will have to wait a few more days.