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What SSD should I get?

Discussion in 'Computers' started by NYCHitman1, Apr 20, 2012.

  1. NYCHitman1

    NYCHitman1 Gun for Hire
    Thread Starter

    Title says it all folks. I'm thinking of asking the misses to get one for me as a gift for Father's Day, but there are so many that I don't know where to choose from. It seems Crucial, OCZ, and Corsair seem to be the highest rated, but I want one that's reliable and performs as it should also.

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  2. rui-no-onna

    rui-no-onna Android Enthusiast

    Crucial, Samsung, Intel if you want reliable. SandForce appears to be a hit or miss. Frankly, performance differences between good SSDs aren't really all that noticeable.
  3. johnlgalt

    johnlgalt Antidisestablishmentarian

    Intel's newest drives are also SF based....the older ones are not.

    It really depends on how much you're (she's) willing to dish out....
    andr01d likes this.
  4. rui-no-onna

    rui-no-onna Android Enthusiast

    While Intel uses SandForce controllers on some of their latest SSDs, they made changes to the firmware to fix some issues plaguing the SF-2000 controllers. For now, the fixes are exclusive to Intel but I think SandForce has worked out a deal to release the fixed firmware to other manufacturers later down the line (don't know if that's happened already, been a while since Cherryville was released).

    Currently, Intel sells consumer-oriented SSDs with 3 different controllers (that I know of):
    Intel 320: Intel
    Intel 330: SandForce
    Intel 510: Marvell
    Intel 520: SandForce

    They also have their caching SSDs which I believe use Intel controllers. Not familiar with the enterprise stuff.

    Crucial m4 uses Marvell controller and the Samsung 830 uses Samsung's own controller. OCZ has a SandForce dominated line-up with a smattering of Indilinx (which they purchased a couple years back). Most other manufacturers also use SandForce controllers. Some of the really cheap SSDs use JMicron controller. I'd avoid those if I were you.
  5. johnlgalt

    johnlgalt Antidisestablishmentarian

    Yeah, their optimizations are still new, but I really have not heard too many bad reports on the new SF-based Intel drives. I am thinking about getting one for myself here in a month or so and comparing it to my current X25-M g2 80GB SSD....I know the speeds will be faster, but I'm wondering about reliability as well.

    This X25 has been a beast for the last 2.5 years...
  6. rui-no-onna

    rui-no-onna Android Enthusiast

    Given the Intel SF SSDs have quite a price premium over SF SSDs from other manufacturers, I should hope there wouldn't be a lot of bad reports.

    Yep. Still one of the most reliable drives out there. Heck, it seems to be more reliable compared to newer offerings.
  7. johnlgalt

    johnlgalt Antidisestablishmentarian

    re: price premium - their track record in terms of reliability has yet to be matched by any manufacturer. This is the driving force. But, it's still early in the game, they were only announce a couple of months ago, but everything I've read initially has been pretty positive. More than one reviewer was chomping at the bit to get a sample drive in hand to test, and the testing did not leave them disappointed.

    As for my X25- Yeah, I did a lot of research before finally deciding on which drive to buy- then NewEgg had a ridiculously low priced sale and I had to jump on it - best decision I ever made.

    Right now, on my W7 machine, my CPU, a Core i7 965 EE is my bottleneck, with my WEI score being a 7.6 - my GPU is 7.9 and both RAM and SSD (system drive, of course) are 7.7. But I previously used the same drive with an older configuration - Core2Quad 6600 with 4 GB DDR2 RAM, and a pair of GTX 260s for video - it was shocking to see a 7+ score for the HD and everything else in the 5.9 range lol....

    And when the drive got fried courtesy of mother nature, I sent it to Intel via in-warranty RMA - in 5 business days (7 days total due to the weekend) I had my replacement drive. I've dealt with several good companies when it comes to customer service, but this was above and beyond good - I cannot think of a better experience ever in my life.

    To me, all this put together is so worth the premium price.
  8. rui-no-onna

    rui-no-onna Android Enthusiast

    Haha, same here. It was 2 Black Fridays ago, I think, that I got a couple of X25-M 120GB. SSD was on sale for $200 before $30 rebate (or was it $40?). It was already a good deal at $200. The rebate was just icing on the cake. My only regret was I didn't buy more of them. SSD was selling for $230~240 after the Black Friday sale until Intel discontinued it. :p
  9. SamuraiBigEd

    SamuraiBigEd Under paid Sasquatch!

    I am running an OCZ Vertex 3 and love it but from what I have read the new Vertex 4 is awesome.

    If you go with any of the high end drives you won't be disappointed and even most of the lower end drives will still outperform a hard disk.
  10. johnlgalt

    johnlgalt Antidisestablishmentarian

    All low end drives will out perform a mechanical drive with the possible exception of 15K SCSI or the Raptors .
  11. rui-no-onna

    rui-no-onna Android Enthusiast

    Nah. What SSDs excel at is random access times and this is what makes them noticeably faster than HDDs. Even 15K SCSI or Raptors can't come close to access times on SSDs. From SSD to SSD, it's harder to see performance improvement in real world use (except if you've got a really crappy controller like the old JMicrons which can run much slower than HDDs). Unless you're benchmarking, you'd be hard pressed to notice a difference between a SATA II Intel X25-M and a SATA III OCZ Vertex 3 SSD.
  12. johnlgalt

    johnlgalt Antidisestablishmentarian

    I thought there were one or two off brands that absolutely ... sucked, for lack of a better word, at performance, being barely better than these mech drives.

    Then again, with the availability of better quality drives these days, even the budget ones now are above the performance you can ever expect from mech drives. I keep forgetting I've had an SSD for almost 3 years now so my research is a bit old lol.
  13. NYCHitman1

    NYCHitman1 Gun for Hire
    Thread Starter

    Well, I don't need/want anything higher than 120GB. I've been looking at the OCZ Vertex 3 and Agility 3, but haven't really made any decisions yet.
  14. SamuraiBigEd

    SamuraiBigEd Under paid Sasquatch!

    With 120 I wouldn't put much more than the OS on it, you need head room for swap and page files. Depending on what you are doing you could get by with 20 gigs free but I would keep 40+ unless you plan on setting up a scratch disc (100gig minimum if you want to run Photoshop).
  15. NYCHitman1

    NYCHitman1 Gun for Hire
    Thread Starter

    I only want the OS on there truthfully. I have a 1 TB HDD for everything else.
  16. rui-no-onna

    rui-no-onna Android Enthusiast

    I run both OS and apps from my SSD. Games, too (granted only game I have installed is Starcraft II). With a fixed pagefile size of 1GiB (only there because some apps work funky without a pagefile), I have 50GiB or so free space on my SSD (Intel X25-M G2 120GB). I mean really, what's the use of having an SSD if you have to wait on a slow hard drive when you're loading apps? Testing how quickly Windows boots?

    I wouldn't worry about keeping it free, either, particularly with Sandforce. Sandforce "cheats" in that it compresses files before writing them to flash. That's how you get really fast read/writes with Sandforce. As long as you're not dealing with already compressed data (videos, mp3s, etc), Sandforce drives should have a lot of unused NAND flash than what's being reported in Windows.

    Most drives already have 6.9~12.7% over-provisioning. If you want to increase over-provisioning do that when you format. For example, I have my Intel SSD formatted to 100GiB so that gives the controller an extra 11.8GiB reserved NAND for background maintenance, etc (total of 21.9% spare area).
    NYCHitman1 likes this.
  17. SamuraiBigEd

    SamuraiBigEd Under paid Sasquatch!

    I have a Vertex 3 120 for OS, Antivirus and Adobe programs (some will not work properly from a secondary drive), a Vertex 2 100 for a Photoshop scratch disk, a WD Raptor 300 for programs and a WD Caviar Black 750 for system storage as well as 3.5 TB of external storage.

    If you are only running the OS you could drop back to a smaller drive to save money.
  18. rui-no-onna

    rui-no-onna Android Enthusiast

    I won't suggest it. With decent sales, the price difference between 120GB SSDs and 40~60GB SSDs is so small now.
  19. NYCHitman1

    NYCHitman1 Gun for Hire
    Thread Starter

    Yeah, it's something like a $20-$30 gap, which is nothing. Most of them are coming with rebates anyways, so you are getting that money right back.
  20. johnlgalt

    johnlgalt Antidisestablishmentarian

    I have my 80 GB doing OS, apps, and one game (usually whichever is current for me, currently ME3). I've installed the rest of my games on mech drives.

    I removed the page file from my system completely as I have
    12 GB of RAM. But I also remove the entire \USERS\ tree from the OS drive, moving it to the first of my mechanical drives via a utility from Bootblock.co.uk - can't remember name, I think it's called profile Relocator.

    Before removing swap, though, I previously had it disabled it on the ssd and Mirrored it on the two mech drives, with no ill effects.

    I currently have just under 5 GB free on my SSD, and this works great for me.

    Good idea with the formatting for over provisioning.

    It would be interesting to grab a second SSD and move my user tree to it to see if I get an additional performance boost or not. If I had the money lol....
  21. SamuraiBigEd

    SamuraiBigEd Under paid Sasquatch!

    After building that one I don't have any money left!:frown:
  22. rui-no-onna

    rui-no-onna Android Enthusiast

    Question is what stuff do you have on your User folder? I just left my User folder on the SSD since all it stores are per user application data and small documents (just a bunch of Word and Excel files). Most of my media are stored on a 12TB file server.
  23. johnlgalt

    johnlgalt Antidisestablishmentarian

    I left ask my special folders in the default tree, so everything is under users, as oppressed to moving them one by one on every re-install.

    Currently, documents is 1GB alone, music about 40, and downloads about 5. Pics takes up 22.
  24. rui-no-onna

    rui-no-onna Android Enthusiast

    If that's what you have in your user folder, then don't bother putting them on an SSD.
  25. alostpacket

    alostpacket Over Macho Grande?

    I asked this same question a month or two ago and I'm thinking of either the Samsung 830, Crucial M4, or Plextor M3. Shooting for around the 256GB range. So $300-$340

    I'm not liking the reliability problems I hear about SF controllers. They seem to have bit more speed, but it doesnt seem worth it (for me). I'm upgrading from and old mechanical platter drive so any SSD will likely destroy the performance of what I have now.

    This is what I found from my research:

    - Crucial is good budget, Marvel controller ~ $300
    - Samsung uses their own controller (so reliable firmware updates) ~ $330
    - Plextor has a custom firmware for the Marvel controller ~ $340

    I also really dont trust OCZ, I'm not sure why -- kind of a gut feeling. Some people have great luck with them, but at least a few have quite the opposite.

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