Want to read Slashdot from your mobile device? Point it at m.slashdot.org and keep reading!

 



Forgot your password?
typodupeerror
Data Storage Portables Hardware

Are SSDs Finally Worth the Money? 405

Posted by samzenpus
from the best-value dept.
Lucas123 writes "The price of 2.5-in solid state drives have dropped by 3X in three years, making many of the most popular models less than $1 per gigabyte or about 74 cents per gig. Hybrid drives, which include a small amount of NAND flash cache alongside spinning disk, in contrast have reached near price parity with hard drives that hover around the .23 cents per gig. While HDDs cannot compare to SSDs in terms of IOPS generated when used in a storage array or server, it's debatable whether they offer performance increases in a laptop significant enough that justify paying three times as much compared with a high-end a hard drive or a hybrid drive. For example, an Intel 520 Series SSD has a max sequential read speed of 456MB/sec compared to a WD Black's 122MB/sec. The SSD boots up in 9 seconds compared to the HDD's 21 seconds and the hybrid drive's 12-second time. So the question becomes, should you pay three times as much for an SSD for twice the performance, or almost the same speeds when compared to a hybrid drive?"
This discussion has been archived. No new comments can be posted.

Are SSDs Finally Worth the Money?

Comments Filter:
  • by 54mc (897170) <samuelmcraven&gmail,com> on Monday September 17, 2012 @12:29PM (#41364529)
    The summary mentions hybrid drives, but I can't seem to find any for desktops - am I looking wrong, or do hardware makers assume a desktop user like me doesn't want one?
    • by jon3k (691256)
      Actually they're integrated directly onto motherboards now: Smart Response Technology [wikipedia.org].
      • Re:Hybrid Drives (Score:4, Informative)

        by EvanED (569694) <evaned@ g m ail.com> on Monday September 17, 2012 @12:35PM (#41364605)

        Sort of; SRT is software-controlled though (basically software-RAID-based), and is limited to Windows. (Possibly you could set something up with the LVM or similar on Linux though.) Definitely a very different beast from hybrid drives, at least if my assumptions as to how the latter work are any indication.

        (You also need a newish computer and it's Intel only.)

    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by jellomizer (103300)

      While Solid states have some performance increase. Their biggest push is that they are better with battery life, and can handle physical bumps. better.
      If you are getting a desktop, then you are either in it for raw power. In that case you get a system with a lot more memory, and faster physical drives, if you are not in it for raw power then you are in it for budget reasons. But for the most part on the desktop Solid State doesn't make too much sense.

      • by cp5i6 (544080)
        That is just way too general of an assumption about what one does with a computer.

        The same analogy would go for CPUs, why doesn't everyone just get by on a Pentium 4 or an Athlon X2? Both are perfectly acceptable, but honestly, I want my computer to be like my phone. Near 0 load/processing times which means more time doing what I care about and less time waiting for the machine doing stuff it cares about.

        in that respect, I'll happily fork over 200$ for a small SSD/
        • by jedidiah (1196)

          Plenty of people get by with machines like that.

          Most people aren't that fixated on an few extra seconds here or there. They certainly aren't going to go to extra expense and trouble for it.

          • All I can say is I recently upgraded with a SSD to hold my boot and system partitions on a Linux box, with spinning media for logs, tmp, and home space, and that thing boots like a wildcat.

            Not that I have to boot Linux that often, though. In that respect it may not have been that good of an investment.

            But the Windows folks might get a lot of use from really fast boot times... ;-)
          • by mikael_j (106439)

            "A few extra seconds"?

            Have you never experienced Windows' "helpful" swapping out of applications?

            1. Active application: App1.
            2. Now you alt-tab to App2 which could fit in RAM with App1 easily but which Windows has "helpfully" swapped out...
            3. Wait 15 seconds for App2 to load from disk again.
            4. Open a menu
            5. Wait another three seconds for Windows to load that part of the program from disk as well...
            6. Click somewhere, copy a single value.
            7. alt-tab to App1 again.
            8. Oh look, you've been gone from App1 for several seconds so it has
          • Re:Hybrid Drives (Score:4, Interesting)

            by L4t3r4lu5 (1216702) on Tuesday September 18, 2012 @03:27AM (#41372189)
            I moved my OS partition from spinning platter to SSD about 2 months ago, and without a word of a lie, it takes longer to POST than boot the OS. It's gone from "Hit power, go make coffee" to "Hit power, move mail off mouse pad, log in and work." Anyone who comes to me asking for a recommended upgrade gets "Buy an SSD." and none have been disappointed, even those who bought the cheapest one they could get.
      • Re:Hybrid Drives (Score:5, Informative)

        by Baloroth (2370816) on Monday September 17, 2012 @01:07PM (#41365123)

        But for the most part on the desktop Solid State doesn't make too much sense.

        Are you kidding? SSDs are about 5-10 times faster than HDD. Considering that in many computers, the HDD is by far the slowest component, not a bottleneck for some applications, but usually a minor one for everything (everything comes from storage at some point). Upgraded to an SSD and saw a stunning gain in responsiveness for nearly every single usage on my desktop. It was obviously massive for boot times (probably ~3 times faster), but overall everything is vastly snappier. And I'm only running a SATA II connection from my motherboard, which means I'm only getting about 1/2 the top speed of the SSD.

      • Re:Hybrid Drives (Score:5, Informative)

        by DJRumpy (1345787) on Monday September 17, 2012 @01:09PM (#41365147)

        As in all things, the value is in the eye of the buyer. What matters to you may be unimportant to someone else.

        SSD offers speed, lower power requirements, and low heat but can't match spindle capacities and has a higher cost.

        Spindle drives have large capacity and low cost but high heat, and higher power requirements and poor performance by comparison to SSD.

        Hybrids have capacity and low cost, good performance, higher power requirements, and high heat.

        SSD's are an easy choice for laptops (in general) unless the laptop has a large storage capacity requirement.

        If portability isn't a concern, you can easily stripe 3 standard HDD's and get near the same performance as an SSD for the same cost but with higher capacity.

        There are simply too many variations and 'solutions' to use a cookie cutter approach, but if you break it down into the major categories above, and grade on which is most important (Price, Power, Speed, Capacity, Heat), it becomes easier to judge which is a better fit.

        • If portability isn't a concern, you can easily stripe 3 standard HDD's and get near the same performance as an SSD

          It is still not even close in typical usage. 3 HDD's striped together will have the same response time (7-13ms), while a single SSD will have a response time measured in ns. The amount of I/Os you can do per second aren't even remotely the same, especially if they are random access. Just two vastly different technologies. Yes, if all you do is copy massive files (video) to and from that media, then the performance between them may be similar, but you'd be surprised by just how much the typical machine d

      • Re:Hybrid Drives (Score:5, Informative)

        by Jedi Alec (258881) on Monday September 17, 2012 @01:18PM (#41365249)

        If you are getting a desktop, then you are either in it for raw power. In that case you get a system with a lot more memory, and faster physical drives, if you are not in it for raw power then you are in it for budget reasons. But for the most part on the desktop Solid State doesn't make too much sense.

        As a primary disk an SSD is truly a joy a to work with. There's no need to use them to store tons of movies or MP3's, a simple 64 or 128 GB drive to run the operating system and most commonly used applications is more than enough to experience a truly significant increase in speed.

        • by DaveGod (703167)

          Couldn't agree more. 120gb SSD for OS and games, 1TB HDD for music, videos and photos.

          Sure a fast CPU and plenty RAM helps speed up the more intensive tasks, but it's only really relevant to gaming - it's vastly over spec for everything else, and everything else is what I'm doing 3/4 of the time. The SSD alleviated all the little annoyances, made it snappy when loading programs or whatever. Granted I'm not on an especially tight budget but I consider it good value.

          Admittedly I can't have that many games in

        • Open Office comes up instantly- pretty significant for a Java app.
      • Re:Hybrid Drives (Score:5, Insightful)

        by Nursie (632944) on Monday September 17, 2012 @01:23PM (#41365311)

        Some performance increase?

        Have you ever used one? Best upgrade (in terms of noticeable speed/responsiveness) increase since doubling the RAM on that old pentium box in 1996....

      • by shitzu (931108)

        If you choose your SSDs and buy a fast one, the performance increase is quite substantial, be it desktop or laptop. And (IMHO) most of the perceptible performance increase comes from 0 seek, not necessarily transfer speed - a fact that the OP overlooks.
        For laptop added bonuses are reduced power usage and (i don't see that argument much, but it is important to me) noise. I like my laptop dead quiet.

    • http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16820227753
            Though the reviews are not so hot.

      Mycroft
  • by pecosdave (536896) * on Monday September 17, 2012 @12:30PM (#41364543) Homepage Journal

    Remember, no spinning platter means you don't have to worry about bumping a gyroscope - an SSD is inherently more shock resistant. I'm under the belief an SSD uses less power than a HDD.

    I have one SSD. It's in my netbook, I removed my perfectly functional factory HDD and replaced it with a smaller SSD since I really don't need my storage space, 90% of what I do with my netbook is on the web browser, and a netbook with Kubuntu and the netbook/tablet desktop is way cheaper than a Chrome book. I wish those were cheaper, I would practically be a marketing exec for those without the outrageous pricetag, but never mind that.

    There's advantages other than performance to an SSD.

    • by Anonymous Coward on Monday September 17, 2012 @12:36PM (#41364621)

      Bingo - drop survivability and heat generation. These are two of the best reasons to use SSD in a laptop, and not HDD. Nothing to do with performance.

      • by pecosdave (536896) *

        That being said I did notice significantly faster startup and shutdown times. I'm not going to complain about that. Once it's going there isn't much difference since I do spend most of my time in a browser on that thing, but less time from pressing the power button to useful or put away saves battery also.

        • by GIL_Dude (850471) on Monday September 17, 2012 @01:03PM (#41365057) Homepage
          I've gone from spinning drives to SSD in my notebooks and I won't be going back. As a person responsible for both coding and creating system images, I rebuild my machines all the time. The build time is a lot faster on an SSD. Besides just the OS, it takes about 15 minutes to install Visual Studio 2010 + SP1 on an SSD as opposed to nearly an hour for a spinning drive. (BTW, I am a real poster - not that Visual Studio troll / shill we've seen recently). I also run a single VM on my notebook. That boots up and runs almost like a real computer instead of the pokey slowness I had before with a spinning drive. Honestly all of the other things mentioned here are valid. Less heat, better shock resistance, better battery life, etc. But don't count performance out either. As with most things, it depends on the workloads you are running. For my workload, SSD makes a lot of sense.
      • by sjbe (173966) on Monday September 17, 2012 @03:38PM (#41367015)

        Bingo - drop survivability and heat generation. These are two of the best reasons to use SSD in a laptop, and not HDD. Nothing to do with performance.

        Solid state drives are pretty much better in every meaningful way except price per GB. Speed, shock resistance, noise, heat, latency, and power consumption are all better in solid state drives. If you need a lot of storage space (terabyte+) a spinning platter remains the way to go for now just due to cost but otherwise there really is no other advantage to them. Price is an important consideration sometimes but unless you are on an extremely tight budget or need huge amounts of space, I can't really see any reason to pick a spinning platter drive.

    • by Missing.Matter (1845576) on Monday September 17, 2012 @12:37PM (#41364643)
      Right, add to that noise. You don't really notice how noisy an HDD is until it's silent.
      • It seems to vary a lot. Some drives are so quiet you can't hear them unless you hold your ear to the machine. Others clunk like hell. Newer drives in general seem to be quieter than old drives

    • I also did this with my netbook. But remember that outside the U.S. and Europe an SSD is still seen as a "luxury item" and charged as such. I for example have to pay three times more for the exact same SSD you buy in the U.S..
    • by zeronitro (937642) on Monday September 17, 2012 @12:48PM (#41364841)

      One interesting side effect of having a legitimately fast SSD is even though you save power power on not spinning a platter around you can end up using that power (or more) with increased CPU usage. Ex: Semi-Random reads from mechanical drive might be pulling data ~40MB/sec on a good day... the CPU doesn't have a lot to process at once or just does in chunks so all that nice power saving tech comes into play (reduced clock or cores or what have you). Now, pop an SSD in and start getting 300-500MB+ semi-random read speeds and your CPU will find itself a hell of a lot more busy having to actually process all of that.

      It's a good "problem" to have, if you can even call it a problem ;)

    • by erice (13380)

      Remember, no spinning platter means you don't have to worry about bumping a gyroscope - an SSD is inherently more shock resistant. I'm under the belief an SSD uses less power than a HDD.

      I have one SSD. It's in my netbook, I removed my perfectly functional factory HDD and replaced it with a smaller SSD since I really don't need my storage space

      Yes, an SSD is more shock resistant. However, it is the screen that tends the break when laptop/netbook is dropped, not the hard drive.

      • by pecosdave (536896) *

        I dropped a Mac Book Pro - that wasn't even on. HDD cratered, screen was fine. As a tech I've had to change out many, many bad hard disk on laptops. Yeah, there's broken screens too, but the HDD's seem to bite it quite regularly.

      • by Baloroth (2370816)

        But a screen or even a whole laptop can be replaced. The data on a hard drive sometimes can't (everyone should have a backup, but not everyone does).

    • by gl4ss (559668) on Monday September 17, 2012 @03:12PM (#41366657) Homepage Journal

      I find the whole article stupid.

      ssd's have been well worth the money for two years now. it's just that much faster.

      the blurb sounds like a hybrid drive advertisement. smartdrv only gets you that far before you'll need to hit the disc. sure, a hybrid with 100gb of nand would probably compare favorably in the long run, but a regular hdd vs. sdd... then it's not really a debatable which one is faster, except in the sense that you can also have a debate about if hitler lost or not(revodrive which is mentioned in the article has 100gb and goes in pcie - actually even mentioning it in the same article with the seagate is stupid, like mentioning a ferrari hybrid that has a power boost from the electric when someone is trying to sell you a hybrid yaris which makes no sense, even if it technically does the same).

      the current momentus hybrids have 8 gigs of ssd in them(this information is not thanks to computer world or seagate! the older smaller model has 4gb btw). sure, it makes for faster boots if you do three boots in a row. but consider this: it's not now unusual for games to take over 4 gigs, sometimes over 10 gigs(hell, max payne 3 is 30 gigs installed from steam) and many other things as well. so the optimizing algorithm is going to have fun time figuring out what to keep on the ssd portion - it's pretty much a benchmark cheat more than anything else.

      in short, computer world sucks as usual and the article is a hybrid hdd advertisement. "save a few bucks and get one of these! it's excellent if you're budget oriented!".

      (disclaimer, my laptop has both ssd and hd. and yes both a car analogy and a hitler reference)

  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday September 17, 2012 @12:32PM (#41364559)

    I bought my first SSD-equipped laptop back in 2007. It was a Dell XPS. The laptop still works great today and flies in comparison to this brand new, work-issued HP laptop -- even with it's 7200rpm drive.

    There isn't any comparison whatsoever. And throughput is almost moot, it's the IOPS that matter.

    • by kwerle (39371)

      I didn't get one in my macbook pro until about '09. I'm never going back.

      • by leppi (207894) on Monday September 17, 2012 @01:31PM (#41365405)

        Best investment/upgrade to a consumer device under medium and larger workloads, maybe once you get above 1GB of memory. And it's not even close. Benchmarks don't do the change in speed justice. All operations on the laptop feel 2x, maybe 3x faster. Some faster than that. You are replacing a link in your computer that was the weakest by 2-3 orders of magnitude. It's no wonder it is such a dramatic improvement.

    • by Mashiki (184564)

      Indeed. I've been using a SSD for 3 or 4 years in my desktop machine and it works perfectly. Hell it works perfectly fine as compared to the day was installed. It's a first generation drive. There is no comparison. I've got another 3rd generation SSD that I use just for gaming. And since most of my games are installed via STEAM, I just use junction points, no problems with that either. IOPS do matter, though I will say stay the hell away from hybrid drives. It's either one or the other.

      But even you

  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday September 17, 2012 @12:33PM (#41364579)

    I am willing to pay a large premium for storage device that won't break if I drop it a smallish distance.

  • by michael_cain (66650) on Monday September 17, 2012 @12:34PM (#41364597) Journal
    There appear to be a couple of extraneous decimal points in the post. If there's someplace that I can buy hard disks for 0.23 cents per gigabyte (a bit over $1.00 for a 500-gig drive), I haven't seen it.
  • by gumpish (682245) on Monday September 17, 2012 @12:35PM (#41364607) Journal

    Dropped by 3X? Dropped by three times what?

    Is that the same sort of thing as "todays temperature is twice as cold"?

    I think you meant "the price has dropped by 2/3rds" or "prices today are 1/3rd what they were 3 years ago".

    • Submitter has problems with maths.

      less than $1 per gigabyte or about .74 cents per gig

      $0.74/gig is very different from $0.0074/gig...

      • $0.74/gig is very different from $0.0074/gig...

        I'm pretty sure that OP used to work for Verizon...

    • by Hatta (162192)

      Dropped by 3X? Dropped by three times what?

      It's an easy way of saying "dropped by a factor of 3". Take the old price, divide it by the specified factor, and you have the new price. It's not that hard.

      Is that the same sort of thing as "todays temperature is twice as cold"?

      No, that's meaningless because zero on the typical temperature scales is arbitrary. If you use Kelvin, it's completely meaningful to say something is "twice as cold". It just means the molecules have half the kinetic energy on average.

    • by KingSkippus (799657) on Monday September 17, 2012 @01:18PM (#41365257) Homepage Journal

      I think you meant "the price has dropped by 2/3rds" or "prices today are 1/3rd what they were 3 years ago".

      You're wrong. I bought an SSD the other day that used to sell for $200, but now they're selling it for $600 off. I'd post a link, but I--hopefully understandably--don't want everyone else to ruin my supply.

  • by Missing.Matter (1845576) on Monday September 17, 2012 @12:36PM (#41364623)
    Even two years ago, I configured my then new laptop with a 160 gig SSD for $150 more and I felt it was worth it given the speed gains. That same SSD now boots Windows 8 in 7 seconds, Photoshop CS6 in 5 seconds (first boot), Word 2010 (first boot) in a fraction of a second. I use an external drive for media. After that first SSD, I now always configure my laptops and desktops now with a SSD on the primary partition for the OS install and application installs.
  • by BorgDrone (64343) on Monday September 17, 2012 @12:37PM (#41364637) Homepage

    The biggest performance boost of an SSD compared to a traditional harddisk is random access times, this is what matters a lot more than sequential read performance.

    That and a computer without any moving parts is just so nice and quiet.

  • by anethema (99553) on Monday September 17, 2012 @12:38PM (#41364667) Homepage

    Putting a SSD as my OS/game drive has made by far the largest difference I've ever seen in a single upgrade.

    In the past it was: "More ram..ooh yeah bit smoother...Faster CPU, bit peppier..." Etc, helped but not blow your socks off.

    You put an SSD for your main apps, OS, and games, and it will astonish you how quickly things go. Firefox and other apps load instantly. When I had a macbook pro I swapped to SSD and normally the icons for my startup stuff would bounce for a bit as they loaded etc. After SSD like 5 icons would do a half bounce and bam all 5 loaded done.

    So for a desktop, do what I do. Throw a big spinner in there as a drive for games you don't need a fast HDD on, media, etc. Then you will have the best of both worlds. It is by far the least buyers remorse I've ever felt on a PC upgrade.

  • The result for opening the word document which shows the SSD performing worse than the others (57/10 sec, 48/9 sec, 58/10 sec.) is odd. I didn't notice the author mention how many times he performed his tests, so I am going to assume he just performed them once.

    I would like to see this result repeated several times to verify whether it is an outlier, or whether an HDD will have such a large impact on MS Word performance (which TBH I would expect was mainly CPU bound).

    • Plus you have to test from a cold boot for every iteration. The OS may cache the file in memory for a bit after you close it and will gladly serve it again from memory should you reopen it again.
  • Wrong comparison (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday September 17, 2012 @12:39PM (#41364679)

    If you compare sequential reads it's obvious HDs seem to have a chance against SSDs. It's in non-sequential reads where SSDs completely outclass any HD.

  • by jest3r (458429) on Monday September 17, 2012 @12:40PM (#41364703)

    The post makes it sound like Hybrid is close to SSD ... it is not ...

    Max. read speed (4K blocks)
    SSD: 456MB/sec.
    Standard: 122MB/sec.
    Hybrid: 106MB/sec.

    Max. write speed
    SSD: 241MB/sec.
    Standard: 119MB/sec.
    Hybrid: 114MB/sec.

    1.19GB file transfer
    SSD: 15 sec.
    Standard: 34 sec.
    Hybrid: 29 sec.

  • Seriously? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by bazald (886779) <bazald&zenipex,com> on Monday September 17, 2012 @12:40PM (#41364713) Homepage

    For a serious computer user, an SSD has been worth the money for a while now.

    * If you need to do serious disk I/O with a mid-size or smaller notebook, RAID isn't even an option for increasing speed.
    * Running multiple virtual machines? Want them to boot quickly? An SSD makes them feel native.
    * Running Windows as a native operating system, and have more than one or two programs that you legitimately want to launch at boot, and can't/won't disable? An SSD makes your computer usable within tens of seconds as opposed to multiple minutes.
    * Doing compilation? Syncing of filesystems with a system such as Unison? Doing anything filesystem heavy? The speedup is insanely awesome.

    If all you care about is running Your Web Browser and editing Word documents, or storing a few photos, obviously an SSD is a more questionable upgrade, and probably will be for the foreseeable future.

    • by tompaulco (629533)
      I echo that it has been worth the money for awhile. I bought one for my latest system build and I got a 120ish GB SSD and put the system files on it. It boots to the login prompt in like 3 seconds. I bought a 2TB drive for my data files, which is serious overkill because even with copying the entire contents of my previous system on to this new drive, I was using less than 300 GB. I put Flight Simulator on the SSD and also my scenery files, which are mostly static, and Flight Sim starts up in just about 10
  • The factors have changed a little, but the basic equation remains the same. There is a trade off between cost and size, so how much space you need is important.

    For instance, one of my computers has a 16GB SSD. I am not even using up that much space, so any larger a drive is just wasted, and at 16GB the cost differnce between SSD and a good platter drive are not that huge, so it make sense. I do my photo editing on a computer with a 120GB SSD, with a large platter drive attached externally for storage.
  • by wbr1 (2538558)
    One answer: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Betteridge's_Law_of_Headlines [wikipedia.org]
    In reality it depenfs on the intended use.
    If space isnt an issue then go SSD, if it is then a hybrid solution is best for the average joe who doesn't know or want to bother with splitting apps and os onto different drives. If you are power user you don't mind that as much and build your own combo solution.
    In other words, until ssd_price == hdd_price, solutions will vary based on use case, and Bettridges law holds true once again.
  • by ledow (319597)

    I have a laptop that has two drive bays. SSD's won't be replacing the 1TB main hard drive any time soon, the prices for those are more than the laptop is worth.

    But a 256Gb is surprisingly affordable and given that my "primary" partition is that size, it would be a cinch to install one, move the data over and even mirror the partitions to a traditional HDD if I needed to.

    And the speed difference *would* make a huge difference. It always has done.

    The problem is not the speed increase relative to anything el

  • For how long? (Score:3, Interesting)

    by courcoul (801052) on Monday September 17, 2012 @12:52PM (#41364887)

    An item yet unmentioned at the time I post this, is SSD lifetime. The are finite, you know, and probably a lot more finite than a well-protected HDD. The manufacturer states the number of write operations the storage cells can take on average before going kaput, and its up to the controller & OS to "age" them all equally to ensure maximum longevity (thanks, TRIM). This and speed are the main determinants of the cost of the devices and the differentiator between user and server-grade SSDs.

    Nowadays with shady outfits jumping onto the SSD bandwagon, we'll see really crappy devices made from rejected storage chips hitting the markets, which will fail prematurely and give the technology a bad rep.

    • An item yet unmentioned at the time I post this, is SSD lifetime. The are finite, you know, and probably a lot more finite than a well-protected HDD.

      Have you looked up the numbers? Last time I checked, it was something ridiculous on the order of reading and writing to the entire drive constantly for a year before you were likely to see any errors.

      Nowadays with shady outfits jumping onto the SSD bandwagon, we'll see really crappy devices made from rejected storage chips hitting the markets, which will fail prematurely and give the technology a bad rep.

      Did we see the same thing with hard drives? If not, why not, and if so, did we cope okay?

    • by Rockoon (1252108)

      The are finite, you know, and probably a lot more finite than a well-protected HDD.

      Ah yes, "probably" followed by a comparison vs "well-protected"

      Why not just come right and and say that you have absolutely no confidence at all in what you are saying? An even better idea would be to not to bother saying things that you have absolutely no confidence in, or at least make it clear that you are making an uninformed guess.

    • by sjbe (173966) on Monday September 17, 2012 @03:48PM (#41367139)

      An item yet unmentioned at the time I post this, is SSD lifetime. The are finite, you know, and probably a lot more finite than a well-protected HDD.

      The evidence that HDDs have a longer lifetime than SSDs remains rather inconclusive. Most of the data I've seen is either manufacturers data that should be taken with a huge grain of NaCl or anecdotal evidence with tiny data sets. Even if they do actually have a shorter life, I'd argue that the difference is relatively small basically meaningless. You really shouldn't trust either type of drive to be reliable. Data should be backed up and you should basically assume that your drive is going to fail at any moment because it might. SSDs don't actually have to last longer than HDDs, they just need to last the useful life of the computer. Anything longer is basically pointless.

  • I bought my first 160GB SSD for $600, and would do it again in a heartbeat. If you use your machine for any kind of productivity the speed difference is night and day, moving to a SSD is the single most noticeable improvement in overall speed of my computer that I have EVER DONE. About the only thing I can relate it to is 20 years ago when I upgraded to a 3dfx graphics card for the first time, and seeing a software 3d engine vs the new hardware one. Now if you only use your computer for word processing o

  • by mikestew (1483105) on Monday September 17, 2012 @01:03PM (#41365065) Homepage

    After 25 years or so of slapping upgrades in computers of various sorts, I'd have to say an SSD made the most immediate, noticeable difference of any upgrade I've done. Better CPU? Yeah, the new one's a bit snappier...I think; or maybe I want to think that because I spent money. More RAM? Seems like it's not swapping as much, sure. Replace spinning platters with SSD? Did someone just secretly swap out my old computer for a new one? Everything seems faster (okay, not ripping DVDs in Handbrake).

    Forget boot times, who reboots enough to even notice? App loading, compiles, anything involving disk access is nearly instant. I'll sacrifice capacity for what an SSD buys me.

    Now I'll admit that I wasn't as impressed as I thought I should have been. Two years ago when I bought my first one, bloggers were wetting themselves a bit much over the extra snappiness of an SSD. But SSDs are still a damned impressive upgrade. I really noticed the difference when I went back and forth between my SSD-equipped MacBook Pro and my iMac with a better CPU but 7200 RPM hard drive. When the iMac hits disk, it's annoyingly noticeable.

    In summary, SSDs have been worth the money to me for over two years now. The only spinny hard drive I'll be buying from now on will either be a secondary drive, or will go in the NAS.

  • by Above (100351) on Monday September 17, 2012 @01:06PM (#41365113)

    Having done a number of HDD->SSD upgrades for friends and family, I can tell you this quite simply. Anyone asking the question has never used an SSD, because if they had they wouldn't be asking it.

    How a desktop "feels" to the user isn't about raw throughput, but it is very often about IOPS and more importantly latency. It may not seem like waiting 5-8ms for the rotational latency of a drive is a big deal, but spread that out over a pile of IOPS and it is a huge deal. The original post even shows how much, boot time with an SSD was 9 seconds, HDD 21. That's 50% faster. Now probably most people don't care if the boot time is 9 or 21 seconds, but I bet most folks would like their system a lot better if every application load time was 50% faster!

    SSD is the single biggest no-brainer upgrade to me, it's even surpassed the "add ram" no brainer. The only time SSD's get questioned is for bulk storage. If the users needs include large music, photo, or video archives then it is worth asking questions about the cost of storage. Even in those cases, going with a hybrid drive or two drives is always the right answer.

    • I happen to have two nearly identical laptops - both low end $300 Acers. One is mine, and I put an SSD in it last spring; the other is my daughters, and it has the stock 5400RPM drive. The usability, top to bottom / in practically every way, is an order of magnitude better on my machine. It's night and day.

      One thing that makes a huge difference is the power consumption. Not the actual drive, but if you allow the HDD to spin down to save power, you have to wait for it to spin up every time you have to access

    • SSDs are, in case of a typical desktop system, a hardware solution to a software problem. The software problem lies squarely with braindead legacy APIs that last made sense in the 80s. Those are exposed by seemingly every operating system out there. The issue is as follows: when an application accesses storage, it has no way of telling the operating system what are its plans besides the very next access*. The OS can't plan any hard drive access patterns nor do any sort of large-scale elevator access coalesc

  • If you spend most of your computer time loading and closing applications, booting or rebooting, or sifting through large directories of files - then an SSD is probably a good buy.

    Personally, I don't spend much of my time doing any of those things. In the morning my computer resumes from sleep in 3 seconds. My web browser is still open, and I can continue from my last session. There is hardly any disk access. My work involves a lot of writing, a lot of programming, and a lot of MATLAB. None of these t

  • "The price of 2.5-in solid state drives have dropped by 3X " Hmmmm.... where I come from, if something is reduced by 1X, it's at zero. Perhaps he meant it's dropped by 1/3, or 2/3".
  • I would not build any new system that didn't have a SSD. This applies to both desktops and laptops, but the advantages on a laptop are even greater. Mechanical HDDs for laptops are slower than on desktops (due to the requirements of form factor, power consumption, noise, heat, etc.) so there is a bigger relative jump in performance than there would be on a desktop. And there's also the durability issue! SSDs are immune to vibration and shock; laptop mechanical HDDs, though they are better than they used to

  • Yes. Next question. (Score:5, Informative)

    by sjbe (173966) on Monday September 17, 2012 @01:49PM (#41365585)

    While HDDs cannot compare to SSDs in terms of IOPS generated when used in a storage array or server, it's debatable whether they offer performance increases in a laptop significant enough that justify paying three times as much compared with a high-end a hard drive or a hybrid drive.

    It's only debatable if you are severely limited in budget or have SSDs have pretty much every advantage except price. Even if the price is 3x as high, the cost of the hard drive is only a smallish percentage of the whole cost of the device - maybe 20-30% total. While price is an important consideration, if my budget can accommodate an SSD I'll go with it every time. Sure, if/when I need a few terabytes of storage space then a spinning platter is the way to go (for now) but that's not true of most devices anymore. I have a server for mass storage needs but 128GB-256GB is usually more than enough for any day to day needs and a SSD in that range is affordable already and dropping fast. My phone and laptop and my primary desktop all have solid state drives. I have two spinning platters in my house - one in an older desktop that sees limited use and the other on my file server. The new laptops we're buying for work have are solid state as well. I don't see myself ever buying a laptop without a solid state drive ever again.

  • Benefit, ROI: yes (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Zinho (17895) on Monday September 17, 2012 @01:56PM (#41365679) Journal

    I actually ran the numbers on this for my company. Based on average usage on our standard laptop image and typical employee salary:

    $1.82 saved in salary time per bootup (assume one bootup per day)
    $2.23 saved in salary time per day due to files opened/programs launched

    That's $4.05/day saved due to time I'm not waiting for my hard disk.

    ROI for a $300 aftermarket SSD is 75 working days, after that they're effectively earning back ~$1000/year. Considering that our replacement cycle is 3 years, that pays back the purchase cost of the hardware. My boss now buys SSD upgrades for all of our new laptops.

    On a personal note, I happily payed $1.00/GB for a hard drive several years ago, and thought it was a pretty good deal. I retired that drive only last month (too small for even my kids' computer these days). Now that SSDs are $1.00/GB it's an easy sell to my wife, and she sees every day the difference in boot times between her desktop and the kids' one (which she used to use until a year ago). I don't think I'll ever run a spinning platter HDD as a boot drive again.

  • by csumpi (2258986) on Monday September 17, 2012 @02:01PM (#41365731)
    No, it's not debatable. They offer a huge performance increase in both laptops and desktops.

    Not only do programs open much faster, files open instantly, hibernation faster etc, but there's no moving parts (in case the laptop is dropped, at least the data is safe), and also SSDs use much less power (improved battery life).

    Yes, they are pricey. But it's the best investment to speed up a laptop.

HELP!!!! I'm being held prisoner in /usr/games/lib!

Working...