SSD recommendations?

By CMH ยท 23 replies
Jun 14, 2012
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  1. I need an upgrade to my current system, especially since I got a few dollars to burn.

    Right now I'm running a couple of old Corsair Novas in RAID 0, and I'm looking to replace them with a couple of 128GB SSDs. Again, with RAID 0. I only keep non-important data on my SSDs, so having no redundancy is of no issue. I have multiple external storage solutions for anything of value.

    I'm looking for a pair of SSDs with good, steady performance. And hopefully without any BSOD issues. My current system has yet to fail me, even though my other 2 SSDs in other systems have failed (no longer recognized in BIOS even). I was thinking of the Vertex 4, and then further reading the M4 was said to trump the Vertex 4 (especially if RAID 0 is being considered). Performance wise the M4 isn't really grabbing my attention though....

    Also, bear in mind that my DFI MI P55 is only SATA 2. Will the bandwidth on that be saturated by any SATA 3 drive?

    Will listen to all suggestions. Will take suggestions with accompanying explanations much more seriously.

    edit: My old drives' performance was documented here. Their performance should have gone down a little by now....
  2. slh28

    slh28 TechSpot Paladin Posts: 1,706   +172

    Why are you running RAID 0? I think a 256GB single drive would be better. With RAID 0 you gain sequential speed but lose TRIM and have increased risk of failure from the drives themselves and the RAID controller. Random performance doesn't increase with RAID 0 so unless you really need the sequential speeds I don't see the point.

    I would avoid the OCZ and Sandforce SSDs because of questionable track records, best ones are the Crucial m4 or Plextor M3 (both Marvell controller) and Samsung 830 which is probably the best one out there.
  3. CMH

    CMH TechSpot Chancellor Topic Starter Posts: 2,039   +9

    Thanks for the reply.

    I have done a quick google and it seems like you are right about random performance. I do appreciate the significance of this fact, so I might consider a 240/256GB drive instead.

    edit: a quick thought just came through my mind: although the majority of Read/writes are random, a significant amount of seq read/writes still happen during boot/program loading. Sure RAID 0 will not improve on that? Or is there something I'm missing?
  4. slh28

    slh28 TechSpot Paladin Posts: 1,706   +172

    A RAID 0 setup might actually boot up slower, depending on how quick your RAID controller takes to initialise. I doubt you'd notice any difference when opening applications.

    The biggest loss when running RAID 0 is TRIM support.
  5. CMH

    CMH TechSpot Chancellor Topic Starter Posts: 2,039   +9


    I'm on the fence right now regarding the RAID, and have spent the last 45 mins just going through reviews and comparisons, etc.

    I'd love your input regarding this article:

    Their average latency and IOPS recorded seem to be noticeably better in "real life scenario" tests. Any insight?
  6. MrBlkfx1

    MrBlkfx1 TS Evangelist Posts: 863   +204

    I would have to agree with Slh28, the Samsung 830 series of SSD's are excellent. I use one in my main build and have never had any problems what so ever.

    Yes, bandwidth will be affected. Rather then 6GB/s you will probably see something like 3GB/s.
  7. slh28

    slh28 TechSpot Paladin Posts: 1,706   +172

    I'd say the only "real world" benchmarks are boot time and application launch time, those are the things you actually notice. Unless you constantly move large files around I'm not sure you'd ever notice the difference between 500MB/s and 1000MB/s.
    Matthew likes this.
  8. Darth Shiv

    Darth Shiv TS Evangelist Posts: 1,811   +472

    Running 2x Vertex 3 240GB SSDs and they have been flawless. One of them in my SATA II Intel Core i5-760 desktop and another in a sandybridge SATA III laptop (i7-2620M or something like that). Firmware has been stable for quite a while now. Intel held their SF-2xxx based drives back until both the SSD firmware and the motherboard firmwares were stable enough.

    The newer generation drives should be better though due to increase in IOPS and performance with uncompressable data (which sandforce wasn't great with).
  9. Darth Shiv

    Darth Shiv TS Evangelist Posts: 1,811   +472

    Databases as well... shouldn't see much improvement in a gaming rig. Most games have heavy CPU dependencies on load times anyway once you are on a reasonable SSD. Easy to test. Just install a game onto a ramdrive and see how fast it loads and runs. If it is still slow then the bottleneck isn't disk speed.
  10. LNCPapa

    LNCPapa TS Special Forces Posts: 4,276   +461

    Just ordered myself a 512 GB Vertex 4 last night - here's to hoping firmware 1.4 makes as much difference as people have been claiming.
  11. kpo6969

    kpo6969 TS Maniac Posts: 710

    The latest is
    Here's my 128GB on Windows 8
  12. CMH

    CMH TechSpot Chancellor Topic Starter Posts: 2,039   +9

    Kinda related question:

    Right now I'm kinda happy with my CPU, is it worth spending the money upgrading to SATA 3? Using a Core i5 750 at the moment.
  13. slh28

    slh28 TechSpot Paladin Posts: 1,706   +172

    Well the maximum theoretical transfer rate for SATA 2 is 300MB/s so yes, upgrading to SATA 3 will yield some benefit. You don't have to upgrade the CPU, you can just buy a SATA 3 mobo but I'm not sure there's many 1156 mobos still on sale now.
  14. Darth Shiv

    Darth Shiv TS Evangelist Posts: 1,811   +472

    You can't get a 1156 mobo with onboard SATA 3. The 3rd party Marvell SATA 3 is poor or bandwidth starved - so much so that I use my SATA 2 in preference. The only real solution without upgrading chip is to invest in a good SATA 3 PCIe card which can be pretty expensive. Check out the OCZ forums for cards that are worth getting. There are a lot of experienced users there that can point you in the right direction.
  15. CMH

    CMH TechSpot Chancellor Topic Starter Posts: 2,039   +9

    No way I'm getting a 1156 mobo with onboard SATA 3, and I need my PCIe slot for a graphics card so a SATA3 PCIe is out of the question even if I'm willing to spend the money on it.

    Which is why I mentioned I'm happy with my CPU; I know it needs to be replaced if I upgrade the mobo.

    So my options now is to
    1: Buy new SSD only. Get it hobbled a little by the SATA 2 interface I currently have (not sure if it's going to be that much of an impact since seq reads aren't such a big deal in real world SSD application here).
    2: Buy new SSD and mobo+CPU. Bit pricey, but I get SATA 3, USB 3, more SATA ports. Will also take the opportunity to buy a smaller case as my priorities have changed. Will probably need to swap out my 7 year old PSU as well. Basically a whole new comp.
    3: Wait it out. 128gb isn't something to sneeze at. Its getting full but I'd reclaim a big chunk by deleting Diablo III...
  16. slh28

    slh28 TechSpot Paladin Posts: 1,706   +172

    I don't really see much benefit of having Diablo 3 installed on your SSD, any benefit you have over having it installed on a HDD will be nullified by the network lag.
  17. CMH

    CMH TechSpot Chancellor Topic Starter Posts: 2,039   +9

    Problem is that my comp only has the SSDs, and all other data goes to an external drive.
  18. CMH

    CMH TechSpot Chancellor Topic Starter Posts: 2,039   +9

    Going to be buying an SSD within a week. Just an update, my RAID0 died on me, but I managed to get the 2 drives replaced, and the replacements credited towards a new one.

    Going to be buying a 240 or 256GB drive. No more RAID, decided its not worth it.
    As mentioned above, old drives gone. NEED new drives.
    Still SATA2. Possibly upgrading my computer within a year.

    My options: Vertex 4, Corsair Force GS, Samsung 830, Intel 520, Crucial M4, Sandisk Extreme SSD.

    Vertex 4 - Nice and new. Fast. 5 year warranty.
    Samsung 830 - Decent speed, reliable. Showing its age though.
    Intel 520 - New, reliable company history, fast. Most expensive drive in lineup.
    Sandisk - Decent speed. Unknown reliability. Cheapest drive by far.

    Leaning towards the Sandisk due to my SATA2 bottleneck anyway.
  19. zorg

    zorg TS Rookie

    I would like to point out, that the difference in playing Diablo on a pc with SSD is a lot better than a normal HDD. I have tried both recently, and what I see as the biggest difference, is that when I start a new game, and am hurled into a big mass of champions etc. there is a considerate lag compared to at home on my own pc with a good old Intel G2 160GB SSD, I never have those lags.
    The pc with HDD is on a much faster internet connection than the one with SSD, so it is definately not an issue with bandwith.

    Oh and if you ever just want to compare raw numbers with different SSD models, I personally are always using Anandtech's comparison guide.

    Good luck with your new SSD.
  20. Rage_3K_Moiz

    Rage_3K_Moiz Sith Lord Posts: 5,443   +38

    For the fastest performance, a toggle-NAND SSD is the best choice. The next-best would be a synchronous-NAND SSD; avoid asynchronous-NAND ones if possible.
  21. CMH

    CMH TechSpot Chancellor Topic Starter Posts: 2,039   +9

    I saw that about the toggle-NAND. Seems like the faster ones are all toggle-nand anyway.

    In either case, I've got the Sandisk now, and it works well. I believe that the difference between them probably can't be seen outside of benchmarks anyway.

    The money I saved is going toward a 7950 :D. Pretty sure I'd be happier with more money in there than in an SSD.
  22. cliffordcooley

    cliffordcooley TS Guardian Fighter Posts: 9,738   +3,706

    Unless you perform the test on the same PC and using the same Internet connection, you can't be certain there were no other aspects involved in the PC with the SSD performing better.
  23. zorg

    zorg TS Rookie

    I am positive that it is the case, whenever you are loading large texture maps, or otherwise heavy grafix, the WD Black 1TB I have in an otherwise identical machine (i7 w/8GB Ram identical graphix cards) , is certainly slower.. this is the whole idea of getting an SSD as a gamer imho. (not D3 only obviously, but all games I have tested perform nicer with an SSD)
  24. Jad Chaar

    Jad Chaar Elite Techno Geek Posts: 6,515   +974

    M4 is a budget ssd. they offer a good performance to price ratio. the best in my opinion must be the Samsung 830 because of its custom Samsung Flash module and its speed. But if you want reliable (you wont need this if you do raid 0 xD), go intel. it is worth spending the extra buck when dealing with storage. good luck!

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