SSD Upgrade Questions

vbimport

#1

I’m in the process of gathering parts for my first build I will be doing with the help of my nephew over Xmas. Deanwitty recommended I consider a SSD as a boot drive and I should post here and get Dee’s input.

I’m not a gamer and I leave my computer (desktop) on 24/7 so quick booting of a SSD probably won’t benefit me that much although I suppose quick launching programs is always a good thing (I have about 100 programs installed on my current computer).

My new computer will be using Windows 7 (64-bit) Home Premium, Intel i5-2600K, and ASRock Z68 Extreme3 Gen3.

I’m posting here to see if I should consider buying a SSD as a boot drive at this point in time, and if so what brand and size drive. I’m not one to tinker with or tweak a computer I just want something that’s easy to use with no maintenance so if a SSD is not that then it’s not for me.

I know one thing I wouldn’t want to do is to buy a small SSD drive and have to move files off of it to keep freeing up space but on the other hand I think the larger drives are still awfully expensive.

One thing I don’t understand is how you use a SSD as a boot drive which I guess would also contain your programs but then your Documents Music, Pictures, etc. would be on a storage drive this all sounds confusing to me… I would need very detailed instructions on how to go about this. Neither I or my nephew has ever installed a SSD or in fact even know how to partition a drive.

So should I consider a SSD now or wait a few months for them to become more stable and the prices to go down (like for OCZ’s new Octane series)?


#2

HI mccoady.

There are four brands to choose, Crucial, OCZ, Samsung and Intel, i have used ocz and crucial SSD and both work fine. Now if you need to and want to install all your programs in the SSD you will probably have to go to a 256GB drive so that you have enough free space for trim to work.
I would suggest that you install all your applications in the mechanical drive, it’s very easy, you simply have to change one drive later during the installation, and you can save lots of space on your SSD, and you wont loose much on speed.

So first of all you need to know how much you are going to spent on the SSD and that would dictate the size of the drive, after that when you will do the installation of windows, everything will be automatically done during the installation of windows 7. The only tweak that you might want to do is to disable the pagefile or make it smaller, and that take about 60seconds and one reboot.

SSD’s are very stable, if and how much will the prices drop, that i dont know. One thing if you ever go to the SSD train it would be very difficult to return to a mechanical drive, you will feel that you are back in the middle age.


#3

Considering the PC will run 24/7, and probably won’t be rebooted often, then unless you can install the applications on the SSD then there is little point in having an SSD.

Take a look at how much space is used on your C: drive at the moment. From there you can make a calculation of the size of the SSD you will require.
You’ll need to have some free space left on the SSD after you have installed Win7 and your applications. I would suggest you need at least 30GB free, so there is room on the SSD for housekeeping.

If your new system is one the latest AMD boards, or one of the Intel Sandy Bridge boards then you will native SATA3 (6Gbps) support, and you will most certainly want to purchase a SATA3 SSD such as the OCZ Vertex 3, Crucial M4, or the Intel 510 series. All of these drives are excellent performers, the Vertex 3 being the fastest.


#4

I’d go with a 3rd generation SSD for OS and all applications, spend whatever it takes to get one of adequate size. Add a WD Caviar Black SATA-3 platter drive, 1-2TB for storage. The WD Black drives are very fast, you could also use one for installing those less-often used applications, games, etc. Too bad the prices went up, but they are still worth it. They are fast enough that it’s almost a shame to use one just for storage. They are excellent for use as a source for burning optical discs.


#5

if you are a computer entusiast like i am i would consider a X79 chipset with a Marvell controller for SSD caching that is a 32 GB ssd wil do it to cache yo´re HDDs.


#6

Dont wait for the new Ivy Bridge because you already have a socket 1155 and you think you can use it with the new Ivy Bridge mothboards. [B]Wrong[/B].
Intel hasn’t released its Ivy Bridge chips yet but already I have details leaked about the even further off chip called Haswell. Haswell will use a new LGA1150 socket instead of the LGA1155 socket that Sandy Bridge uses and Ivy Bridge will also use when its released next year. This means that to upgrade to Haswell, you will need a new motherboard featuring the LGA1150 socket. So you may want to try the X79 and not wait. This is all speculation of course but it comes from various sources.


#7

[QUOTE=macnavarra;2612005]if you are a computer entusiast like i am i would consider a X79 chipset with a Marvell controller for SSD caching that is a 32 GB ssd wil do it to cache yo´re HDDs.[/QUOTE]

This is the setup that would get me out of my two year old C2Q running windows 7

When I first set up this system (an HP “elite” media center computer)
on Vista x64 I installed an intel 4gb Flash Cache "Turbo Memory"
PCIe card.

and though “Flash Cache” was maligned by reviewers in it’s notebook implementation it was highly effective in the 4gb user configuirable
desktop implementation.

Basically it was a 4gb SSD that functioned to turn whatever drive was being used as a system drive into a “Hybred” drive.

half of the 4gb was not user accessable and was used for start-up acceleration, the other half could be configuired for application launch acceleration and trust me it made Vista as fast (or faster) than I’ve ever seen windows7 move.

I still went Windows7 (pro x64) on this system because I have 7 on my primary notebook and metally switching gears between Vista and win7
was inconvenient.

AND with the purchase of my first “Advanced Format” hard drive the Flash Cache became useless, because the newer version of the intel matric storage manager required (it installs itself at startup) to run AF hard drives “kills” the flash cache driver

The new scheme for using a much larger SSD in a similar implementation
of Caching and acceleration is very attractive.

As for WD “Black” drives My system drive is a 120gb partition on a WD5002AALX 6.0gb/sec drive, I also have a pair of 750gb “Storage drives”.

as for total ammount of space? after six months of operation my Windows 7 system with all my applications installed and system recovery set to 20%
has stabilized at 65Gb, that includes ~19gb of jpg images.

Storing Audio and Video data off the system drive is the best way to keep a system drive uncluttered.

I use an older e-mail program (Qualcomm’s Eudora) which resides entirely in a seperate partition (e-mail programs that actually save the e-mail on your computer tend to be “dirty”)

AD


#8

I’ve tried Z68 caching using a 60GB SSD, and I can assure you that it isn’t even remotely comparable to running the OS on the SSD. IMO using an SSD for caching an HDD is no more than a gimmick, and unless something changed on X79 (Marvell) you have absolutely no control on what is actually cached…

Also, X79 SATA is gimped and nowhere near what it was supposed to be, very disappointing.


#9

[QUOTE=Dee;2611998]Considering the PC will run 24/7, and probably won’t be rebooted often, then unless you can install the applications on the SSD then there is little point in having an SSD.

Take a look at how much space is used on your C: drive at the moment. From there you can make a calculation of the size of the SSD you will require.
You’ll need to have some free space left on the SSD after you have installed Win7 and your applications. I would suggest you need at least 30GB free, so there is room on the SSD for housekeeping.

If your new system is one the latest AMD boards, or one of the Intel Sandy Bridge boards then you will native SATA3 (6Gbps) support, and you will most certainly want to purchase a SATA3 SSD such as the OCZ Vertex 3, Crucial M4, or the Intel 510 series. All of these drives are excellent performers, the Vertex 3 being the fastest.[/QUOTE]

Sorry I didn’t get back sooner I had some things come up.

Probably the biggest SSD drive I can afford right now after buying all my other components is a 120GB drive… on my current C drive I’ve used up about 450GB although I suppose some things could be moved off it. This is our office desktop computer so I do share this with my wife.

For my build I have already bought a 1TB Cavier Black for my OS drive and also have a 500GB and 750GB Cavier Black I’m moving from my old computer to use as storage drives.

Since I leave my computer on 24/7, I would need to install my applications on the SSD, and I can only afford a 120GB drive it sounds like I would be better holding off on a SSD for now.


#10

I have Win-7 Pro 64 and a couple dozen applications installed on a 120GB SSD and still have 75 GB free. That includes a virtual machine with a full install of Win-XP. You can gain a LOT of space by setting up windoze appropriately: turn off system restore and set a small paging file on the system drive - with more paging files on other drives. With 8GB of RAM you almost never need a paging file. But letting Windoze manage paging file and having System Restore turned on will eat many, many GB of space.

If your applications are really using 400 GB of space, installing them on a separate drive is prudent. You’d need a 2TB platter drive to run quickly with that much stuff on it.


#11

[QUOTE=Dee;2612022]I’ve tried Z68 caching using a 60GB SSD, and I can assure you that it isn’t even remotely comparable to running the OS on the SSD. IMO using an SSD for caching an HDD is no more than a gimmick, and unless something changed on X79 (Marvell) you have absolutely no control on what is actually cached…

Also, X79 SATA is gimped and nowhere near what it was supposed to be, very disappointing.[/QUOTE]

How long did you run it?

Because it was my understanding that the Marvell controller caching scheme simple will not perform well immediatly after initial setup.

Because the system “learns” what is frequently used and caches appropriatly. I’ve been told elsewhere that running benchmark tests
on such a setup until it has time to "stop crawling and learned to walk"
gives false low performance indications.

as for the alleged “speed” of SSD’s after setup they are indeed fast running an OS but if you time the installation of an OS installer compared to a high performance hard drive you might be suprised.

I’ve personally done a Windows 7 pro install twice on identical
quad core desktop computers and hard drive installation was done in 20% less time than the install done on an intel-510 120gb SSD

The HDD computer was using a WD500 GB SATA 6.0gb/sec WD Black drive. both were quad code AMD phenom2 desktops I was setting up for someone else too busy (or lazy) to do it themselves
the HDD was regarded as “Temporary” because the vendor the SSD was ordered from only had ONE of the 120gb HDD’s in stock when they were ordered

the 500gb black drive was part of my payment for doing the system setup, it’s currently my system drive.

I do however wonder about the write speeds quoted for SSD’s

Are those sustained write speeds?
Sustained for how long? What volume of write?

Because I’ve done a few “large” (would you consider a 120gb write “large”?) writes to SSD drives and wasn’t particularly impressed with the speed of the write operation compared to doing the same write
onto a performance hard drive.


#12

Here’s my OCZ Vertex 3 120 with Win7-64 running on it during the test. So far these numbers haven’t changed with time and more bloat.

The measured speed of a read or write to/from another drive is only as good as the drive on the other end.



#13

Here’s a WD Caviar Black 2TB SATA-3 at about 10% full with no OS running on it:



#14

Here’s a RAID-0 array with 2x OCZ Vertex-3 60GB SSDs. (posted elsewhere by someone else)


#15

OCZ Cahing HD´s solution.

Without the marvell chip for any Motherboard:

http://www.anandtech.com/show/4852/ocz-releases-synapse-ssd-for-caching

http://www.guru3d.com/article/ocz-synapse-cache-ssd-review/


#16

[QUOTE=vroom;2611989]HI mccoady.

SSD’s are very stable, if and how much will the prices drop, that i dont know. One thing if you ever go to the SSD train it would be very difficult to return to a mechanical drive, you will feel that you are back in the middle age.[/QUOTE]

Reading the user reviews on Amazon.com for several OZ and Intel SSDs, I have to question the above statement. Many of these reviews report drive failures which rendered the drives useless. Should we believe these reviews? These are not small investments, in both time and money, and I, for one, do not want to make such an investment unless I am reasonably sure that it will not lead to problems down the road.

Comments…?


#17

[QUOTE=blegs38552;2618957]Reading the user reviews on Amazon.com for several OZ and Intel SSDs, I have to question the above statement. Many of these reviews report drive failures which rendered the drives useless. Should we believe these reviews? These are not small investments, in both time and money, and I, for one, do not want to make such an investment unless I am reasonably sure that it will not lead to problems down the road.

Comments…?[/QUOTE]

By and large, most reported issues are not drive-related but driver issues and controller issues. The motherboard industry has not really caught up with the requirements of SATA-3 and AHCI implementation. Later firmwares for the SSDs have helped, but ultimately the issues are setup issues. Could the SSDs be more user-friendly and idiot-proof? Sure. But users also need to do some self-education before going down this road. Plugging a new SSD into your 3-year old Dell may not end well.


#18

[QUOTE=CDan;2618961]By and large, most reported issues are not drive-related but driver issues and controller issues. The motherboard industry has not really caught up with the requirements of SATA-3 and AHCI implementation. Later firmwares for the SSDs have helped, but ultimately the issues are setup issues. Could the SSDs be more user-friendly and idiot-proof? Sure. But users also need to do some self-education before going down this road. Plugging a new SSD into your 3-year old Dell may not end well.[/QUOTE]

You are correct CDan, I put an SATA111 SSD inot my LGA 1366 ASUS Rampage 111 Extreme, and it has Marvell 6.0 ports, but it will bottleneck as the LGA1366 platform will not be updated by Marvell controllers. I am getting SATA 11 performance with a SSD that should get 500mbs read and write and I am only getting the same 300mps a sec and less for write that I got from the Vertex 11. So much for the LGA 1366 platform, they want you to upgrade to the Socket 1155 or higher to reach these speeds with an SSD.


#19

The Marvel 91xx SATA-3 controllers are notorious, and Marvel doesn’t release drivers directly. So you have to take what you get from your MB maker. I have a Marvel 91xx secondary controller on my AsRock board that’s flaky at best. I even went around to different MB makers collecting different driver revisions and never did get it to behave. That’s just for IDE mode performance.

Many folks seem to get most stable performance using the default MS AHCI driver as opposed to Intel or AMD AHCI drivers. I’ve had good luck with the AMD driver for AHCI on the SB controller.


#20

[QUOTE=CDan;2618995]The Marvel 91xx SATA-3 controllers are notorious, and Marvel doesn’t release drivers directly. So you have to take what you get from your MB maker. I have a Marvel 91xx secondary controller on my AsRock board that’s flaky at best. I even went around to different MB makers collecting different driver revisions and never did get it to behave. That’s just for IDE mode performance.

Many folks seem to get most stable performance using the default MS AHCI driver as opposed to Intel or AMD AHCI drivers. I’ve had good luck with the AMD driver for AHCI on the SB controller.[/QUOTE]
My newer builds are all in ACHI. They are all also Intel builds, I have 2 Asrock 1155 builds, 1 with a 2600K and the other with a 2700K. An Asrock Z68 Exreme4 and an AsRock Z68 Fatality Pro B3. Then I have the borked LGA 1366 Asus Rampage 111 Extreme with a 980X chip and I cant get a damn SATA111 SSD to perform on it. I can always go the route of a PCI=E SSD but if Marvell would update their SATA 6.0 drivers maybe I wouldn’t have to do that. I am hesitant to ever buy another board with Marvell controllers again.