Weekend Open Forum: Your take on solid-state drives

By Julio Franco
May 7, 2010
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  1. Even though 2009 appeared to be the year that was going to mark a wider adoption of SSDs and a big nosedive in prices, ultimately only part of that came to realization. Things have slowed down a bit during 2010 with SSDs still gaining ground albeit at a much slower pace than predicted. Prices have stagnated after some big cuts in previous years, that combined with a number of issues that every new wave of SSDs seem to face, have made for a combination that only enthusiasts and performance junkies seem to be willing to pay.

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  2. Chazz

    Chazz TechSpot Enthusiast Posts: 623   +56

    I really want to get a SSD but two things are holding me back.

    1. Price: I've barely seen improvements in this field. When a decently priced SSD is launched, it turns out to be very slow (by ssd standards). All the while newer and better SSD's are getting released, the older ones seem to hover around with little price change.

    2. There seems to be a new SSD released every week. It's getting to a point where it's boring to look at their specs /benchmarks.

    On one hand, it's encouraging that these companies are pouring R&D into this tech. But, on the other I feel I should wait until everything settles down a bit.

    Even still I am a tech junkie..and will prob break down and get a drive for my OS.
  3. TomSEA

    TomSEA TechSpot Chancellor Posts: 2,319   +370

    I agree with chazz on point #2. It's near impossible keeping up with new SSD releases. Unless you're actively shopping, doesn't seem to be a lot of point to keep looking at each and every one.

    I'm doing a complete rebuild in the spring of 2011. I'll be putting in an SSD as a boot drive but will stick with regular hard drive to hold programs.

    To be honest, until the prices start coming close to "old fashioned" hard drives, it just makes no sense to do anything more than the boot drive thing with an SSD.
  4. gwailo247

    gwailo247 TechSpot Chancellor Posts: 2,105   +18

    I've kinda been wanting one for a few months, but every time I'm about to click on purchase, something stops me, either reports of installation hassles, firmware upgrades/problems, do I want to spend all that money on such a small drive.

    I'm probably going to break down when I convert my backup PC into a HTPC, have a small boot drive, and then a larger storage drive. I'm probably shooting for fall of this year. Prices are dropping nicely, and occasional specials are really good. If I see a really good special, I might get it.
  5. I bought a Vertex last summer and I have never looked back. I liked the manufacturer and how OCZ seemed to be the most proactive in supporting their devices, and I liked how Indilinx seemed to be the most supportive of any of the myriad controller makers. My decision was buoyed by the great reviews and perceived reliability of the Vertex and I haven't been let down.

    What drew me to SSDs wasn't sustained read/write speeds; it was seek times. I use Photoshop, Indesign and Illustrator on a daily basis. Nothing bogs down a PC like opening an InDesign project that calls 40-50 Photoshop or Illustrator images or graphical elements. I actually timed the difference in speed between this 120 GB SSD and the 250 GB HDD I was using prior.

    All things being equal, the SSD shaved about 30 seconds off my average load time. Since I got it, the SSD has probably saved me about 20 hours of time just on InDesign page loads alone. That's a real difference, and that's real billable work I've been able to accomplish and real money I've earned as a result.
  6. eafshar

    eafshar Newcomer, in training Posts: 86

    I was building a gaming rig last august and realized that i was spending over 1800$ on it, and that an extra 200-250 dollars is gonna make my OS that much faster..i didn't want to do it even though it was around a 10-15% extra cost for what i would now say a very good upgrade. (much more than 15% speed improvement). i ended up getting an ocz summit series 60gb since the store didn't have hd i was looking for :) . i will be looking to get another one at 100gb+ memory.. whenever their price drops.
  7. I went for an X-25 postville, spent 190 euro`s on it at the time.
    The performance increase over a normal harddrive is amazing, but the price does sting a bit, since for that amount of money you`ll only get 74 gigs of capacity.

    It currently holds my windows 7 install, all my software and half a dozen multi gig games, this leaves it nearly full, but this is honestly all the stuff I want to have on a bootdrive :)
    I was worried about "80" gigs not being enough space, but it`s actually quite workable !

    I`m still not entirely sure it was worth it, but like with all improvements in PC performance, going back now would be unacceptable.
    It`s all the little things combined that make an SSD so nice, no mechanical noise, fast loading of files, lovely ingame loadtimes, and I can have AVG do a thorough scan of the entire drive in 2.3 minutes !
  8. Jibberish18

    Jibberish18 TechSpot Maniac Posts: 431   +8

    I've kept up with SSD's ever since the first drives came out. I mostly read and learned about them on Anandtech. You gotta say that when it comes to testing and finding glitches, he seems pretty awesome. Ever since I learned how many obstacles SSD's had to overcome, I kept up with all the new of firmwares, TRIM support, SLC, MLC, On Board Cache, etc. You sort of have to if you plan on every getting one. To be honest, by the time I finally decide to get one, you may not have to worry about any of this stuff. SSD's are becoming more and more popular because of their potential and because of that their capabilities are increasing exponentially. Their drawbacks are quickly disappearing as the months go by. Everyday you hear of bigger capacities, faster read and write speeds, better wear algorithms and more.

    Do I want one personally? You bet your hippy smokin mind I do there are a few problems. For one they're just way too expensive although the price has gone done very much. For two I have a Macbook with OSX which DOES NOT support TRIM to the best of my knowledge. Third is that I really don't need one. Lets face it, I use my laptop for the things that most other people do which are email, forums, manga, communication, etc. Your everyday stuff. If I truly used my lap/desktop for something of more importance such as Home Design or Video Editing or Photo Editing or Even Heaving Gaming, then I would say that the price of an SSD could be worth it. But as it stands, buying a faster 7200 RPM drive would suite me fine. Sure I have to wait longer than I'd like for my OS's to boot up and programs to open but it won't kill me. I can't wait. Plenty of other things to spend $250+ on.

    Good day sirs.
  9. Didou

    Didou Bowtie extraordinair! Posts: 5,899

    I'm hesitating between an SSD or one of the latest VelociRaptors to use for my system drive. I don't need that much storage & I like my system to be quiet so the SSD looks tempting, if only it was simpler to pick an SSD out of the 5 million different models out on the market.
  10. Per Hansson

    Per Hansson TS Server Guru Posts: 1,917   +119 Staff Member

    In April 2008 I bought a 32GB Transcend SSD Model: TS32GSSD25S-M for my firewall, I simply wanted a quiet drive and did not care about performance...
    I was surprised however by how poor it's performance actually was, I run the IPCOP firewall distribution and it's ISO install is only around 40MB.
    However it is many small files which is exactly what the JMicron JMF602B controller is poor at and the installation took around 30 minues. On an old 2GB SCSI drive I have at my parents house I can do the same install in 5 minutes, just for reference...

    After this I've kept up with the SSD articles and reviews on Anandtech, I've read every single one and love the detail he goes into.
    I got to try a 16GB Mtron SSD with SATA interface, we bought it for a CNC machine at work however where sent the wrong drive, we ordered with IDE interface but got SATA...
    I tested this drive in my comp with World of Warcraft, after that I was hooked, the loading time with all my addons decreased from 1:46min into Dalaran when all characters had finished loading up on my screen to just 0:32min
    But the biggest testament was that with my VelociRaptor I was into the game at 1:17 but then it spent 29 seconds loading characters, with the SSD I was in at 0:28 then it spent 4 seconds to load the characters!

    Right now every computer I build for friends and family get an SSD, for example a HTPC I built for my parents, an old Epox 8RDA3+ with ATI AGP 2400Pro to support offloading the decoding work of 720p and 1080p movies got a Kingston 40GB SSD (The rebranded Intel X25-M) That system simply flies!

    I also built a workstation computer for a client, it got the 80GB Intel X25-M G2 and Win7
    The system feels way faster than mine even tho it is "just" an AMD system with half the RAM and CPU power that my rig with VelociRaptor HDD has!

    I tell all my friends to upgrade to SSD drives (wink to Julio's X25-M purchase :) ) I am however myself reluctant.
    Because while the Intel X25-M is a great drive there are many others like the Crucial C300 or the Sandforce based drives that are way faster, and I'd like one of those however not a week goes by without either we (Techspot) writing about a SSD that has died in testing or a new Firmware problem bricking drives, and Anandtech has the same experience.
    Right now I'm actually considering getting a Seagate Cheetah 15k.7 SAS drive instead, simply because it is known reliable tech and that way I will be able to hold off until the next round of nice SSD's get released with 25nm flash (And because the newly released VelociRaptor 600GB model left me very disappointed in it's performance "improvement")
  11. nichitapavel

    nichitapavel Newcomer, in training Posts: 37

    I love my SSD, but damn, it would be nicer if prices went down a little bit!
     
  12. Tekkaraiden

    Tekkaraiden TechSpot Maniac Posts: 892   +52

    It's a very promising technology but it is still too expensive.
  13. 9Nails

    9Nails TechSpot Paladin Posts: 939   +82

    As others suggest, there's a few flaws in SDD's marketing campaign.

    1. Price - it's still too high. One dollar per Gig is a bit too much, and I'd like to see that at about fifty cents per Gig.

    2. Performance - there's a disparity in performance between offerings. You can go wrong and spend too much. Lots of prior research is necessary.

    3. Size - in an America where big is beautiful, a small hard drive seems like need for the plastic surgeon.
  14. slh28

    slh28 TechSpot Paladin Posts: 1,925   +170

    I just ordered some upgrades for my system (mainly because the to-be-discontinued i7 920 was just so cheap at £160) but an SSD was not one of those upgrades. Sure, I have heard really good things but I can't shake off the feeling that if I spend £150-£200 on one now, in a few months time there will be drives which will be twice as fast and half the price (well hopefully anyway...)
  15. alcarin2030

    alcarin2030 TechSpot Member Posts: 100   +10

    At the moment SSD's are pointless. If you take two Raptor drives and Raid 0 them they are faster. Until the speed of SSD's go up, I am not buying.
  16. I bought a 60gb OCZ Agility for $130 for my boot drive on Windows 7....Works like a charm and I will never put an OS on a HDD again. I just installed a couple of my games and all of my programs to my SSD and I love it.
  17. Got OCZ Vertex 60gb SSD few months ago to replace WD Velociraptor and i never looked back.
    My pc is quiter and boot times are better as well.

    Im looking to buy a new laptop by the end of the summer and it will have and SSD as well.
  18. I bought a 2nd-generation, 80 GB Intel X25-M for use as the system drive in a Dell Dimension E510 / Windows XP system. This was my main business system and central control node for my network. While it may seem overstated, I can honestly call the X25-M a "life changer"!

    Although expensive (I paid $235 for it), based on the system performance boost provided by the drive, I have already recouped my investment in terms of increased productivity.

    I recently upgraded from the E510 system to a new Dell Vostro 230 system. I put the X25-M in the new system, booted Windows, and loaded the new system's drivers. The performance of the Vostro 230, with the X25-M as the system disk, is nothing short of phenominal. Windows starts so quickly, I never even see the Windows splash screen! The system runs 41 processes at Windows startup, and total startup time for everything to be loaded and running after the Dell BIOS screen disappears is only 25 seconds. When I run programs for the first time after Windows startup, they appear on the screen and are ready to go in the blink of an eye.

    I'd love to get an SSD for my Dell Vostro 1400 notebook system, but I need at least 160 GB on that system, and SSDs at that capacity are still in the $400 range -- too expensive for me at this time.
     
  19. Yad

    Yad Newcomer, in training Posts: 41

    Would love one but prices atm are quite high :/
  20. Per Hansson

    Per Hansson TS Server Guru Posts: 1,917   +119 Staff Member

    Alcarin2030; You need to read some SSD reviews if you think any mechanical HDD is faster than a good SSD (Unless you are speaking soley of sequential write performance but that pretty much rules out SSD's anyway since they are so small to begin with)
    Quoting myself from this news post on the new VelociRaptor 600GB drives; http://www.techspot.com/news/38486-western-digital-launches-new-velociraptor-drives.html

    4k aligned random write; (Numbers from Anandtech)

    OCZ Vertex Limited Edition; 162MB
    Crucial RealSSD C300; 141MB
    X25-M G2; 46MB
    Velociraptor 600GB; 1,9MB

    That's at least an order of magnitude, and in worst case for the Raptor actually well over 10 orders of magnitude
  21. Route44

    Route44 TechSpot Ambassador Posts: 12,113   +23

    This. I want to do a new build in a year's time. I'd like to put in an SSD but at the moment I am not going to put that kind of money out for basically first and second generation tech. As much as I love the new stuff I am patient enough to wait until there is more maturity to the tech plus price drop and by the time 2011 comes around we should be in the third or fourth generation with more capacity at lower price points.

    Anyway, that's what I'm hoping for. :D
  22. tengeta

    tengeta TechSpot Enthusiast Posts: 632

    You can say the price is better, but its not acceptable to the extreme majority of the market. Period.

    They can market whatever about non-moving parts and faster speeds, but a casual user has been informed for once and they know its useless and will only pay for it when its the same as what they use now.

    I myself am amongst that group.
  23. Geek4life

    Geek4life Newcomer, in training Posts: 31

    I think SSD's are the future. Everything progresses in technology and mechanical hard drives are outdated technology. SSD's are the best upgrade one can do for their computer stated Anand Lal Shimpi and I could not agree more.

    OCZ is leading the way.
  24. ET3D

    ET3D TechSpot Paladin Posts: 951   +29

    SSD's are on my future wish list. I'm sure they'll do my PC some good, but can't justify the price.
  25. CMH

    CMH TechSpot Chancellor Posts: 2,572   +9

    I jumped on the bandwagon when I built myself a new PC.

    Now I'm running a pair of 64gb Corsair Novas, and I must say I'm really pleased with the results.

    There's really no point in getting a good graphics card, good CPU, good RAM, etc, and then skimp on the slowest performing part in the whole computer IMO. Instant load times is still a dream today, but at least we're now a step closer.
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