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Do I really need an SSD?

By Cycloid Torus ยท 36 replies
Jun 19, 2017
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  1. I turn my machine on and go away for 5 minutes to get my morning coffee. I use each program for at least 30 minutes at a time and usually load stuff in background (especially browser, Thunderbird and games) while I do other stuff. The only drag I really experience is in level change loading in Fallout 4 (sub-optimal as it is).

    Since I do not really care about start up, is an SSD really worth it? Would a hybrid be optimal?

    Thanks for your guidance!
  2. knox herrington

    knox herrington TS Rookie

    Well solid state drives are a more direct way of allowing your cpu to gather information, that being said it is much faster than actually having a mechanical arm move across a disk that has to speed up, so this being said I would definitely recommend an ssd just for games if you really game often but a cheaper and slightly more difficult process would be to get the hybrid for general storage, from what it sounds like I recommend the hybrid, the seagate firecudda 1 TB is like 70 bucks on amazon and your entire system will boot faster not just fallout 4, also a ram upgrade probably wouldn't hurt, especially if you are running things in the back ground
    Cycloid Torus likes this.
  3. Vrmithrax

    Vrmithrax TechSpot Paladin Posts: 1,449   +454

    Just from personal experience when building my last gaming rig... I have an SSD for the OS & programs, and a 1TB standard drive for general files and data. I made sure to get the 7200rpm drive, for a little speed kick, but otherwise it's nothing special. As far as general operation, having Windows on the SSD was a massive performance boost when compared to my previous build, which was similar in almost all other respects. The SSD just lets your operating system fly faster, so you feel much less lag and hesitation compared to an HDD-only configuration.

    So, just to test some things out, I initially installed my Steam library on the SSD, and played with the whole setup for a while. Impressive speeds, good load times, etc. Then, on a whim, I moved my Steam library to the hard drive and played some more. I was actually surprised that my load times stayed very fast, there was not an appreciable increase between having my games installed on an SSD vs an HDD. This could be due to a few factors (like not having to access OS functions and game functions on the same drive, allowing some parallelization maybe?). Either way, I've kept the games on the HDD, which has an added benefit of not feeling restrictive on the space overhead of the smaller SSD - I can keep more games installed without constant install/remove cycles.

    Bumping from 8Gb to 16Gb of RAM also made a huge impact in overall performance and gaming in my new rig. I found games loading and zoning faster and cleaner, less stuttering when running tasks in the background, and overall the system was much snappier.
    Jeffrey S likes this.
  4. VitalyT

    VitalyT Russ-Puss Posts: 4,397   +2,934

    HDD is the main bottleneck for the CPU. But perhaps you don't need the CPU either :)

    The bottom line is, a PC is worth upgrading mainly when it becomes slow. If it is fast enough for you, then don't bother.
  5. Greg S

    Greg S TS Evangelist Posts: 1,607   +443

    The real question is how much storage do you actually need to have? If you can use a 256gb drive and be fine with that, absolutely get a SSD. It's worth it because they don't cost that much more. Even so, the cost is well worth it in my opinion.

    Going to a 512gb or larger SSD is somewhat of a questionable venture for you because it might not be worth the cost for you. I would highly encourage you to get a SSD though. Once you have one you will never want to go backwards.
  6. madboyv1

    madboyv1 TechSpot Paladin Posts: 1,534   +421

    Imagine a world where you could get your morning coffee, turn on your computer and be ready to go after the first couple of sips... :p

    In all seriousness, the only two advantages that a mechanical hard drive has over a solid state drive is total storage capacity and cost efficiency (cost per GB). The solid state drive, with it's negligible seek times and faster data recall will change your computing experience drastically for the better from boot times, to system responsiveness, and to program responsiveness (including loading a different level in Fallout) as well. This assumes that the cost for solid state drives are not insane for you, and you are able to either clone the old drive to the new solid state, or reinstall the operating system and games on the solid state.

    Depending on storage needs (and prices local to you), you can get a 500GB SSD from around $150-$175, or a 250GB SSD for around $100. Hybrid Drives is not a bad middle ground if you can only have one drive and need more storage. You can get those in 1TB and 2TB variants (mostly from Seagate) from between $80 and $120. Given the option/availability, I always use and recommend a two+ disk system: one SSD for Boot drive and a couple of your most played games, and one or more hard drives (or SSD if you have the money) as secondary drives for other games and data.

    This is an old video, but still (mostly) relevant to the question:
    Last edited: Jun 22, 2017
  7. hahahanoobs

    hahahanoobs TS Evangelist Posts: 2,448   +864

    I'm not sure if your WD Black is faster or slower than a hybrid drive, but if it isn't, I'd pick up a cheap 120GB or 250GB SSD for Fallout 4 and Windows.
  8. Uncle Al

    Uncle Al TS Evangelist Posts: 5,249   +3,665

    Adding the SSD drive in place of the original drive to my old Dell Laptop gave me an added 4 years of life before I traded it in for a new one. I saw a dramatic improvement, but I was using a 1 T-byte so it's loading and writing of fines was significantly faster. I've got them in several of my desk tops and I do notice a speed increase, but not quite as dramatic. I just like them for their dependability and lack of noise .....
    madboyv1 likes this.
  9. MonsterZero

    MonsterZero TS Evangelist Posts: 552   +300

    The difference between SSD and HDD/Hybrid HDDs is night and day. It's sort of the equivalent of dropping a turbo charger in your computer. Avoid hybrids as they are susceptible to failure just like a normal HDD and the amount of cache they provide is nothing compared to an SSD.

    There really is no excuse for not going SSD since the pricing has dropped.

    Increased performance in:
    Boot Times
    Initial Windows Load
    Disk latency
    Disk Read/Write times
    Installing Programs
    Opening Programs
    Game Load Times
    System Functions
    Copying/Transferring Data
    That annoying head spinning noise

    I have yet to have an SSD or NVMe SSD fail in 5 years.
  10. Kibaruk

    Kibaruk TechSpot Paladin Posts: 3,761   +1,152

    Once you go solid state, you never go back.
    madboyv1 and MonsterZero like this.
  11. Capaill

    Capaill TS Evangelist Posts: 857   +460

    I would suggest at least a 256GB SSD for your games and OS. My PC bootup time (power-on to Windows fully loaded) is under 30 seconds. Note that SSDs preserve an area to improve the lifetime and performance of the drive so you're already down to around 220GB. Consider that some recent games have been pushing the 100GB size so you need some leeway. Also consider that, if you use Steam, you can easily remove/delete a game and then download and install it again in a few months so it's a lot easier to manage with the limited space of an SSD. Then again, I have a LOT of mods installed in Fallout 4 and I don't want to delete it and then load them all again so I'd like to leave the game sitting there for a while.
    I can't comment on newer alternatives like NVMe but you definitely need to add an SSD into your system, preferably connected to a SATA-3 port. And double your RAM if you can. If you don't want to or don't need to, then save up for a second SSD later.
  12. MoeJoe

    MoeJoe Banned Posts: 837   +441

    Simple answer.

  13. p51d007

    p51d007 TS Evangelist Posts: 1,927   +1,195

    I switched my laptop HD from a hybrid to an SSD last year. The difference was NIGHT AND DAY.
    I use photoshop A LOT! The boot time from power on to windows logon is about 10 seconds.
    Photoshop starts almost instantly. I got so annoyed with my desktop at home that I switched it
    out about a month later.
  14. IMO EVERYONE needs an SSD, even if you don't need an SSD. Besides starting your system quicky, they allow you to access your files quickly (word, excel, pictures, games, etc.) Even when it comes to playing older games on an emulator an SSD comes in handy (most games play fine on a mechanical but some more demanding games can use the speed of an SSD)
  15. cliffordcooley

    cliffordcooley TS Guardian Fighter Posts: 11,263   +4,931

    Perhaps if you needed an SSD, you would not have need in asking the question. Anyone that needs an SSD will know before asking.
    jobeard likes this.
  16. KIPtheLIP

    KIPtheLIP TS Rookie

    I won't buy a PC for our company without an SSD unless I plan on installing one myself. I'm the one that has to work on them all and SSD's save so much time. Especially with restarts, cloning, etc.
  17. That Other Guy

    That Other Guy TS Enthusiast Posts: 47   +25

    SATA SSD are fairly inexpensive now. and honestly I don't even bother looking at mechanical drives anymore unless someone needs more than 1Tb storage
    That being said, no one NEEDS an ssd. especially if you like the excuse to get your coffee ;)
    Vrmithrax likes this.
  18. CrisisDog

    CrisisDog TS Booster Posts: 145   +38

    Our entire company, 4000+ endpoints, have been upgraded with solid state drives. The number one complaint from our end users was PC slowness. That has now gone to zero complaints in regards to speed. You decide.
    cliffordcooley and madboyv1 like this.
  19. madboyv1

    madboyv1 TechSpot Paladin Posts: 1,534   +421

    I'm jealous of you. I wish I should do the same for the 500 or so PCs that I keep track of (of which less than a dozen have an SSD in them)
  20. harm9963

    harm9963 TS Enthusiast Posts: 60   +23

    I do the same stuff, I have two HDD,have all my steam games on the big drive , my Win10 on the smaller drive,boot time 31 seconds , I play fallout4 as well , but I have more demanding Games like Doom, DXMD,TR ,I have a gaming rig with 32GB of Ram,290x CFX system , sounds like your happy with your setup, you didn't mention your system spec, for a better gaming experience ,at 1080p ,1060GTX or Rx480 with 16 GB of ram, fallout4 LOADs in less a min and chapter chance is time for the John, for for My system ,I run the game at 3200x1800 max out.
  21. Yandex

    Yandex TS Member

    I had similar thoughts at one time (Do I really need/want a SSD)..... My answer is now YES! It's just like changing from dial up internet to high speed.... you never really know what you're missing until you experience it, and reverting is VERY painful.

    As for hybrid drives.....not no, but HELL NO! I've had several, and have had nothing but bad experiences with them. If you notice, you often see hybrid drives "on sale".... I believe there is a reason why.....they are problematic at best.

    Every computer in our household and business has been built by me, and the inclusion of a SSD for the primary drive of each is the single best improvement I could have included.
  22. Do you know how many times people have told me they spent hundreds of dollars on a new laptop and it still feels slow? They have no clue why until I explain the whole SSD portion to them. Tell them to order a new SSD and once it's install they're amazed. Even if you were to install a SSD that had the same throughput as a mechanical hard drive but still had the same superfast latencies, people would be happy because things happen so quickly. Hope this makes sense. DON'T buy a super cheap SSD though although most SSD's nowadays are quite good no matter which you choose (the old ones were iffy depending)
  23. sac39507

    sac39507 TS Addict Posts: 248   +93

    I noticed a difference in application load times, better web browsing experience, and faster stupid everyday Windows tasks that should already work anyways such as file browsing and searching. I don't notice the stupid notorious green status bar as much.
  24. sac39507

    sac39507 TS Addict Posts: 248   +93

    I agree. Laptops are notorious for being slow straight out of the box.
  25. Victor38077

    Victor38077 TS Rookie Posts: 23

    To truly answer that question, you would need to view benchmark results from both a hard disk and a solid state drive. Personally I really don't see a difference once the OS is running, however I believe an SSD is faster.

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