View Full Version : SSD hard drive performance A+++++

01-09-2011, 12:27 AM
I just wanted to share. I assume everyone knows an "SSD" is a "solid State Drive", which is just a fancy way of saying "hard drive that uses memory chips instead of platters".

There were Kingston SSD's on Woot the other day for $149 after mail in rebate. It was a 128GB SSDNOW "V" model, which is the value line, but supposedly great.

I was skeptical, reading that you could see upwards of a 50% performance increase in boot time, app load time, etc.

Well, let me tell you - I upgraded both my personal laptop (a Latitude D620) and my HTPC (custom built).

Both are running Win7 64, HTPC has Ultimate, laptop has Professional.

Boot time was cut nearly in half, in fact, I basically wait for the cutesy window to form and the computer is loaded, if that wasn't there, I think it would boot even faster than what it does.

It took about 4 seconds to load Internet Explorer with my old WD Caviar 200GB magnetic drive, now it takes barely one second with the SSD.

Photoshop CS4? 10sec to load before the drive. Less than 3sec after.

This upgrade is probably one of the best decisions I've ever made. I had no idea that my 7200 RPM hard drives were such a bottleneck.

It was a real hassle getting everything ported over correctly. Apparently, there are certain offsets and sector sizes you must respect when using SSD drives. If you use Acronis (pre-2010 version) or other cloning tool that isn't "SSD aware", performing a straight clone from a magnetic/platter hard drive to an SSD will actually result in not getting the full performance you should get out of your drive - in fact, I've read numbers reported as a 20-50% performance hit (but you still get better performance than a magnetic disk). I performed a clean install on my laptop, and used Apricorn EZGIG III on the HTPC, which is SSD-aware, but the worst POS software I've seen if you have a multi-boot system.

While I am 1,000% happy with the results I am seeing - both computers feel like I spent $3,000 on a new system, and that's not an exaggeration - I am going to tinker with this SSD performance tweaker utility I read about at Techspot: http://www.techspot.com/guides/246-ssd-performance-tweak-utility/

I just wanted to keep y'all filled in. This is the single most impressive upgrade I've done on any computer I've owned. It feels like I just put a couple 15,000 RPM SCSI drives in my laptop, striped, but it's dead silent and actually .... read/write times are even faster than SCSI.

It's pretty incredible. This whole time, my hard drive has been my bottleneck.... who knew?

01-09-2011, 12:54 AM
And those are the slow drives.

It will be one of the first things I will upgrade in the future. I plan on putting the OS and games on, and use HD's for storage.

01-09-2011, 05:41 PM
That is a solid plan. And yes, this is one of the slow ones. I want a faster one, but ... I mean, this was almost a buck a gig, and that's in my price range right now.

01-09-2011, 06:00 PM
Yea, price is the major deterrent. Toms hardware put a few in RAID0, blazing fast.

01-09-2011, 07:26 PM
I can only imagine. I would, but again - cost prohibitive, and I would hate to see what happens in the event of data corruption.

About the cost being high, I think that's crazy, someone will pay $500 for a cutting edge video card, which is a 5% or 10% increase in graphic speed, but they won't spend half as much on a nice 128GB SSD and get a 50% performance increase from your OS?

BTW - that SSD Tweak utility is insanely easy to use if you don't want to research every damn thing you should tweak. i need to go read up on TRIM support, i believe WIN7 supports it. the "Pro" version of the tweak util ($$) will setup and tweak all the TRIM stuff for you, but ...

after picking up those two 9800GT cards the other day for $100, i'm seriously considering building a new rig just to see how fast i can get it. touch part is finding a really kickass case. I want something more cubic that i can load up with drives so it can double as a network server. something with SATA6 support, toss in an SSD for the OS and run SATA6 drives for the storage .... i wonder if SATA6 would let you open up the SSD more?

as anecdotal observation only, you know how Win7 has that Windows Experience Indexd thing or whatever, to show how fast your stuff is? my old seagate 7200 RPM SATA2 drive scored a 5.8, which is the highest I've seen on anything i own. i put in the SSD, and that score went up to a 6.9

i've done little hacks here and there - went to faster RAM, more RAM, faster CPU, all kinds of stuff. I've never seen a 1.1 (~20%) increase in any of those scores. usually a half a point for a major upgrade.

01-10-2011, 09:21 AM
Sounds awesome shift.

I have been sitting and waiting for one of these for a while.

It usually takes a good 3 minutes for a full boot up of my XP machine these days (all the AV and such, then strting up Steam when I want to play).

Surprisingly, games take less time now... I do not know why exactly, but TF2 has been loading up in about 15 seconds rather than 30... I think they just trimmed the startup in the patch....

But it would be nice to be able, even with all the boot bloat, to be able to load up in 30 seconds or so. Looks like the prices are getting nicer and hopefully there will be a free cloning proggie to be able to get this to swap over.

As for Dual.... I tried that way back when with Ubuntu (you may remember). After trying to get both on there, I ended up with a disk that had half of its space completely unreadable. I might try again some other time, but DB is not a concern for me right now......

Good to hear that swapping out can improve things that much. The only other thing I would be worried about would be longevity... I have heard that these drives are not to be used for repeated access. They CAN be re-written, but they have less durability for this? (Articles I have read recommend this for boot up and start up, but not storage or processing....)....

Let us know how these fare shift!

01-10-2011, 01:35 PM
RE: Longevity, think about it like this. .... they use the same chips as your sticks of RAM, with a bit more intelligence programmed in. When was the last time you had a stick of RAM go completely bad?

I think if you were worried about longevity, you'd be worried about anything with a platter, magnets and an arm. That's a lot of moving parts to fail. The larger drives have gotten, the more clumsy and prone to failure they are. Having a magnetic drive arrive DOA from a vendor these days is a common occurence.

If I had to choose, I think I would go with less moving parts. But, I am a realist and will be backing up my drive every month for the first year. ;)

01-10-2011, 02:05 PM
Damn you Shifty... I'm trying to save money for my move but this sounds like the old school "cheap mans upgrade (ram)". You know what I mean? :)

01-10-2011, 03:12 PM

01-10-2011, 04:45 PM
funny, cause i had a WD HDD kinda go bad.

Some sectors got corrupt, but i figured i would buy a 750gig HDD to replace it anyway. I've stopped storing anime on dual layer DVD's (dont have a BR drive/burner), but man, if i the price was good, i would definitely use a SSD for my OS and games and offload all other types of media to normal HDD's

01-10-2011, 04:58 PM
Shift, i am only goingon what I read on Anand.

There seems to be a concern about how many times you can write to the same sector. There were some comments on it as well. This was a few months back on their review of one SSD they had recently received.....

01-10-2011, 05:26 PM
Yeah. Shifty can be the guinea pig on this one. :)

01-10-2011, 08:38 PM
I've somewhat followed them and haven't seen that. Not saying your wrong though.

01-10-2011, 11:38 PM
Here are some articles I suggest:

Why you absolutely need an SSD (incl. a comparison to WD Raptor!):

Be sure to go back to page 1 on that link once you read from page 20 (linked) a few pages in.

The predecessor to that article is here:


Both are about the best reads you'll find on the SSD subject.

01-11-2011, 05:05 AM
I use the OCZ Agility 2. By the spec, supposingly, it's one of the fastest ones. When I first tried it, I installed a new system on it and also on a HD for comparison. The boot time with SSD cut more than half. But then, I hardly ever reboot my computer.

So, instead, I use a regular 2TB drive as my C Drive. And use 1 SSD for my Temp directory, browser cache, and newsgroups cache. And another SSD for my most often used programs and games. Very cost effective and all the programs that I use everyday load super fast!

01-11-2011, 08:52 AM
I have been sitting on my hands and waiting.

I will probably include one in the newest setup, but having an HTPC, a server and a main machine already, it will be hard to justify the extra $$.........

01-11-2011, 06:42 PM
If I were you, iw oudl wait till they come out with SATA6 SSD drives in a reasonable price point, and buy a SATA6 compliant hard drive.

My only gripe is I can't enable TRIM support and I can't even get full performance of the drive without hacking my BIOS - the Latitude D620 supports running in AHCI mode, but Dell never bothered to add support in BIOS (due to expected support/problem load?!) so ... I can't get full performance or TRIM.

I may end up swapping up to a D630 from the office when they come around and just transfer in my upgraded CPU, vid CARD, RAM, wifi and other stuff - or see if I can figure out a way to load the D630 BIOS onto my D620.

01-11-2011, 11:39 PM
I think I'll be moving to SSD as well now whenever the tax returns come in.

01-13-2011, 09:08 AM
About time I read this. I was wondering too if the hype was real. I'll definitely pick some SSDs up in the near future.

01-13-2011, 11:51 AM
I use the OCZ Agility 2.

on a side note, OCZ is no longer in the memory business and will focus on SSD's

01-13-2011, 10:33 PM
Using my 128gb C300 is awsome!! Sata3 baby!!!!

01-14-2011, 01:38 PM
god.. now i really want to make my main drive an SSD lol

wait a min...does my MB support sata3? crap, gotta check! lol


god bless new egg and the order history. No sata3 :(

01-14-2011, 06:06 PM
yeah, but no SSD have SATA3 support either. i'm doing this in non-AHCI mode with SATA2 SSD drive and i think a SATA1 controller? and i'm getting great speeds.

01-16-2011, 01:01 AM
Using HDtach quick test my average read is 296.7 MB/s

01-16-2011, 01:05 AM
yeah, but no SSD have SATA3 support either. i'm doing this in non-AHCI mode with SATA2 SSD drive and i think a SATA1 controller? and i'm getting great speeds.

Nope the C300 supports SATA3. My mother board is an Asus Rampage III Extreme so I'm good for a while.

01-16-2011, 03:18 AM
Before I got mine, i read the reviews. Supportingly, none of the SSD have the SATA3 performance yet, even though they are called SATA3 drives.

01-16-2011, 12:22 PM
This was posted in Feb 2010
C300 was the ONLY SSD that supported SATAIII

Pros:+ Impressive 383/227 MBps read/write speed with ATTO
+ Marvell 88SS9174-BJP2 controller supports SATA-III 6.0-Gbps
+ Native TRIM Garbage Collection, Sanitary Erase, and SMART
+ Good enthusiast-level operational I/O performance
+ Lightweight compact storage solution
+ Resistant to extreme shock impact
+ 128 or 256GB of SSD storage capacity
+ 5-Year Crucial limited product warranty
+ Low power consumption may extend battery life
+ Upgrade kit makes transitions easier for builders
- Expensive enthusiast-level product
- Lacks integrated USB Mini-B data connection

•Performance: 9.75
•Appearance: 9.25
•Construction: 9.75
•Functionality: 9.50
•Value: 7.25
Final Score: 9.1 out of 10.


01-16-2011, 01:25 PM
That's exactly what i mean. SATA 3 is 6 Gbps. SATA 2 is 3 Gbps.

The fast SSD can only have R/W speed of 300-400 MBps. That's more like SATA 2 spec.

01-16-2011, 05:56 PM
WHen do you ever get spec?
SATA II drives are not coming close to the C300. Well atleast when I bought it 6months ago.

01-16-2011, 06:35 PM
My SATA II OCz Agility 2 is 285/275MBps Read/Write for 1/3-1/4 of the price of the "SATA III". It's close enough for me. :)

01-16-2011, 08:14 PM
I payed 240 for a 128gb
BTW im still only riunning in IDE mode, it works, this is way faster than any hard drive and when they work out the bugs I will be fine.

01-16-2011, 08:47 PM
From Wikipedia:

SATA Revision 3.0 (SATA 6 Gbit/s)

Serial ATA International Organization presented the draft specification of SATA 6 Gbit/s physical layer in July 2008,[9] and ratified its physical layer specification on August 18, 2008.[10] The full 3.0 standard (peak throughput about 600 MB/s (10b/8b coding plus 8 bit to one byte, without the protocol, or encoding overhead) was released on May 27, 2009.[11] While even the fastest conventional hard disk drives can barely saturate the original SATA 1.5 Gbit/s bandwidth, Solid-State Drives have already saturated the SATA 3 Gbit/s limit at 285 MB/s net read speed and 250 MB/s net write speed with the Sandforce 1200 and 1500 controller. However SandForce SSD controllers scheduled for release in 2011 have delivered 500 MB/s read/write rates,[12] and ten channels of fast flash can reach well over 500 MB/s with new ONFI drives – a move from SATA 3 Gbit/s to SATA 6 Gbit/s allows such devices to work at their full speed. As for standard hard disks, the reads from their built-in DRAM cache will end up faster across the new interface.[13] SATA 6 Gbit/s hard drives and motherboards are now shipping from several suppliers.

I take from that, that 285/250 is the limit for sata 3.0. I've read similar with tests that Toms Hardware has done.

I guess that sata 3.0 has 2 protocols, one for 3gig/sec and one for 6gig/sec?


01-16-2011, 10:43 PM
All i know is i'm wetting myself right now thinking about the future....

01-17-2011, 12:08 AM
oh yeah SSD's to me is the second computer jump since going from a 486 to a pentium. Well no third, 3d graphics (the old 3dfx company) would be second.

03-10-2011, 06:32 AM
Well got 2 things done tonight. I bought my first OS ever (Window 7 Pro) and I bought a SSD as well:

OCZ Vertex 2 Extended Sandforce 120GB 2.5IN SATA2 Solid State Disk Flash Drive SSD.

Also got a great deal on some RAM - 8GB for $115.98

Corsair XMS2 TWIN2X4096-6400C5C 4GB DDR2 2X2GB PC2-6400 DDR2-800 CL 5-5-5-18 240PIN Memory Kit

03-10-2011, 11:50 AM

03-10-2011, 01:16 PM
New build or upgrade? Let us know how fast it goes.

03-10-2011, 06:23 PM
Just an upgrade. Thought that since I have to re-install I would do a couple of additions.

On the other side - I'll have 4 gigs of RAM for sale and probably a 500gb hard drive :)

03-11-2011, 09:01 AM
Are prices on these things still free-falling?

The last thing I want is a $200 drive I can get next monst for $165....

(Also, I have been holding out on upgrading the old system, E6600, anyway...)

Any problems so far? Keep us updated!

03-11-2011, 11:49 AM
Well I decided to browse again this morning on the site an the drive is now back up to $186 after a $20 mail in rebate.

I don't know the trends on the SSD, but they've been high for a while and I don't see them coming down in price soon.

FedEx hasn't picked the package up yet - so I will not get it until Monday. Don't know if I'll have time to redo my computer during the week. :(

03-12-2011, 12:18 AM
Still no problems. Still running fast as hell. Funny, my ballzout Dell E4310 with 620M Intel Core i7 processor, 4GB of DDR3 RAM and standard SATA2 hdd is slower than my 6+year old home laptop with T7600 Intel C2D, 2GB of DDR2 and SSD.

Hard drive = bottleneck.

Some day the rest of you guys will wake up. This isn't a gimmick. Less storage that's multiple times faster for the same price. Do you want the skimpy, hot and fast sportscar or the bloated family-moving SUV? They both guzzle gas... One just does the job more efficiently, with a lot more fun and style......

03-12-2011, 11:22 AM
And I'm also thinking of down like Wes as well, getting another SSD for the drive that I use for all the downloads and running of apps.

I'm looking forward to the install next week. I'm actually also looking forward to my first OS - no more worries about updates (sheesh - don't tell anyone I caved) :)

03-12-2011, 11:05 PM
Film making has also gotten into SSD tech.

Our next camera from RED will come standard with these drives.

03-14-2011, 09:16 AM
I am just waiting for the next system build....

The other thing about this that looks cool is the possibility for decent sized micro drives. We could get the machine shrunk down a bit and possibly using less power.

Now if only vid cards went the same way (Saw a couple at a show this weekend, they are HUGE!!!).

03-14-2011, 03:03 PM
prices are dropping for SSD's, but now sata III was introduced

back up again! lol
But man, once the prices come down, I might jump on it.
unfortunately that will have me buy a new sata III capable MB, in which case I will probably build a whole new computer by then.

03-14-2011, 03:44 PM
I have found that there are very few things worth upgrading on a machine individually.

Vid card = Games
HD = More Storage
Memory = rarely needed as upgrade
CPU = Almost never
Optical = Rarely.....

The problem is that over the last few years, most things require a MB upgrade like DA said in order for you to use them. You could get a chip that would run 15% faster, but they already went to a different pin setup/etc and all the really good chips will not work on your 2yo MB.......

My 3yo system? fuggetaboutit.

03-15-2011, 06:18 PM
my mb is a little over a year old and i need a new one to support the new sata III lol

03-16-2011, 12:47 PM
Alright - its installed. Things appear to be working faster. But I haven't installed all my apps yet and no games so far.

But what I really really love is that its quiet. Doesn't make a peep. The heat generated by it must be less then a regular HD. So next time I see another on sale I'll buy for my downloads and non-critical programs - just for the silence.

03-17-2011, 04:46 AM
OK - everything installed now.

Damn fast and I do like Windows 7. What I certainly enjoy is the Daemon Gadget that you can add to the desktop. Great for all imaged files.

03-17-2011, 09:27 AM
Garm, don't forget to install the SSD tweak utility from my first post, and most important for the life of your SSD drive, enable TRIM support.

03-17-2011, 10:00 AM
Details on TRIM shift?

I am sitting here looking at a half dozen electronic things I want to get and buying nothing...... It would be good to see if getting something like this will reduce my system boot time from the 2-5 minutes it is now (all the apps, updates, etc) to less than a minute (like a clean install).

03-17-2011, 11:30 AM
Garm, don't forget to install the SSD tweak utility from my first post, and most important for the life of your SSD drive, enable TRIM support.

Right right - that will be done tonight. Thanks for the reminder.

03-17-2011, 02:07 PM
Hedge, I'm not going to explain, TMI for this environment. Google pls.

03-17-2011, 02:08 PM
Hedge, I'm not going to explain, TMI for this environment. Google pls.

03-17-2011, 02:42 PM
Hedge, I'm not going to explain, TMI for this environment. Google pls.

... Just in case the first one was good enough... :D

03-17-2011, 04:15 PM


03-17-2011, 09:02 PM

kind of old, but this paragraph is a nice nutshell of TRIM:

"Think of TRIM as a garbage collector for your SSD. Normally, when you delete data on a disk, whether SSD or standard magnetic hard drive, the data isn’t immediately scrubbed. Instead, it’s marked as overwriteable, so when the disk runs out of fresh blocks to write to, it goes back and writes over deleted files. But given the way SSDs store data, this can decrease your drive’s performance once there are no more fresh blocks to write to. To write data to a block, an SSD first has to copy the entire block to cache, wipe it, delete the overwriteable sectors in cache, write in the new data (in cache), and rewrite the entire block to the disk. This can lead to slowdowns. Essentially, TRIM scrubs blocks of deleted data when it’s deleted, and makes sure the disk controller knows they’re blank, speeding up the whole process and making sure your drive’s performance doesn’t degrade over time. "

03-17-2011, 10:22 PM
@Garm, read this: http://www.mydellmini.com/forum/windows-7/17239-enabling-trim-support-windows-7-a.html

03-17-2011, 11:53 PM
Sweet article - thank you shifty

03-18-2011, 08:58 AM
Flip the coin... There is no "restore" after deletion.......

So you have to be sure of what you are deleting before you do so.... or am I missing something?

03-18-2011, 08:16 PM
The manual from the SD card for my camera did mention that I should re-format the SD card when the performance degrade. Not sure if that applies to the SSD drives.

03-18-2011, 09:24 PM
It Is conditional, Wes. Best bet is to wipe, start fresh, and setup TRIM before anything else.

05-03-2011, 09:43 PM
OK, SSD is next component. I'll have a tad over $200 by the 18th in my upgrade account. I'd like to put OS and Steam games on this at least. Picked up a 1TB drive last week so big storage is handled. Big question is how much space will $200ish get by then? 120GB seems doable, but how much gains will we get in 2.5 weeks?

05-03-2011, 10:18 PM
The average price on SSDs is $1-$2 per gig (usually closer to $2/gig). If I were you, I would go SATA 6gb (SATA3), see: http://www.newegg.com/Product/ProductList.aspx?Submit=ENE&DEPA=0&Order=BESTMATCH&Description=ssd+SATA+iii

If I were you, I would order PRIOR to installing your OS.

05-03-2011, 10:33 PM
Plan on doing fresh install on new SSD. the new mo'bo has 2 6gbs ports.

09-10-2011, 01:41 AM

Anything I need to know about a strait clean install (Win 7?)

09-10-2011, 04:07 PM
Nope. Win7 will take care of everything for you.

09-12-2011, 03:02 PM

So the performance problem (sector size and compatibility, I guess) is only when you are cloning?

09-12-2011, 04:57 PM
Only when cloning from a non-SSD HDD to a SSD HDD, because SSDs have an offset of several bytes at the beginning of the drive which is not necessary/present on a platter-based HDD. So, when cloning things from HDD->SSD, unless your cloning utility is aware that the source drive is HDD and the destination is SSD, it won't create the offset and you will see a performance degradation.

09-13-2011, 09:56 AM

What is that from? Does it split the blocks (I am losing my terms here...)

So instead of lining up the data nicely, you get gaps and the like?

09-13-2011, 04:50 PM
LMGTFY: http://www.sevenforums.com/tutorials/113967-ssd-alignment.html

09-14-2011, 09:42 AM
Why google it when there are much more knowledgeable people here shift? ;)

The machine is running fine (now that I got the damn slim-line SATA adapter). I just have to get everything installed (as well as my savegame info transferred...).

The thing is like a stealth machine. I have not run any games on it yet, but I barely hear it running at all. I thought it was broken or something, but all the fans are running....

09-15-2011, 10:56 PM
It's called "smart geeks know better than to reinvent the wheel"

09-15-2011, 11:27 PM

A little side story:

I was working at the local headquarters of BoA. We have to go through a safety and protocol meeting before we are allow to work on the site. They had a project manager heading the meeting who asked the question: "does anyone here bank with Bank of America?". I did a very verbal "Pfffttt, have you seen the news lately?". You could hear crickets...

09-16-2011, 10:14 AM
Are they firing the crickets too?

09-16-2011, 10:17 AM
BTW, system starts up in about 7 seconds.

I have to figure out what programs would be best on the SSD.... Do you know what ones require the most loading/access while open? I was thinking Photoshop... but I am not sure.

09-16-2011, 10:01 PM

09-19-2011, 09:47 AM
I have too many.

Steam makes it too easy to keep 20 games all up and ready on the HD... I pretty much had about, to my count, probably 300G+ of gaming software on the machine.

As much as I love them, I do not think it is worth it to spend $1+/G just to load up faster on a MP and have to wait for everyone else... (I know, MP is not the only thing you can play......)

09-19-2011, 02:00 PM
Large games.
Memory hogs (MS Office, Photoshop, etc.)

09-19-2011, 03:16 PM
I was thinking about PS.....

Office I was not sure of. I guess you are saying memory hogs so that new info needed loads quickly?

09-20-2011, 07:57 PM
Porn, there I win...

09-21-2011, 09:35 AM