Are SSD system drives fast enough to be a scratch disk?

Discussion in 'Digital Video' started by rawdawg, Mar 17, 2012.

  1. rawdawg macrumors 6502

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    #1
    Right now I have a SSD system drive and it's awesome. SSD is seriously where it's at!

    I have my scratch disk set to that same system drive for the time being. All my other drives as 7200rpm HDDs. I also have an external RAID 0 via eSATA where I store my media.

    I use FCP, After Effects, and Photoshop and I figure with my current configuration I get the best speed with my scratch being on the SSD even though that is my system drive. I know it is highly looked down upon to have a scratch disk on your system drive. And I assume equally as frowned upon living on your media drive. But is a SSD fast enough to handle both system and scratch?

    I can't afford a large enough SSD array to serves as a media drive to test having a scratch disk there. Would I find any gains having a separate small SSD for scratch alone?
     
  2. rawdawg thread starter macrumors 6502

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  3. arjen92 macrumors 65816

    arjen92

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    #3
    I have no experience with raids and using SSD's as scratch disk.

    But I think the only problem would be that your SSD is wearing out faster. You have TRIM enabled?

    They advise to use another hard disk as a scratch disk because else the drive with the OS get's overwhelmed. It needs to do to much. (that's what I always thought).

    But if an SSD is up to it (fast enough) and doesn't wear out, I think it should be fine.
     
  4. rawdawg thread starter macrumors 6502

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    #4
    I use OWC's SSDs and I thought they didn't 'wear out' like the others. TRIM wasn't something I heard about during research when I bought the SSD a year ago.
     
  5. arjen92 macrumors 65816

    arjen92

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    #5
    Well, I don't think it's a problem then.

    Also (again, just speculating as I'm no real expert) I believe the bad thing about having footage and software on one disk is that the software could be on one side of your hard drive and the footage on the other side. Making it a lot slower to read (as you need to read from different places on the hard drive).

    SSD's don't have these problems.
     
  6. DrNeroCF macrumors 6502

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    #6
    They don't really wear out, they just slow down after a ton of use, but a complete zero out will make them good as new.

    You'd have to do some tests to see if the drive is as fast as your old set up, would be really easy. The only thing is that SSDs fly when accessing a lot of small bits of information, like when booting. Don't know if they'd have as much of an advantage on simply saving large video files.
     
  7. coolspot18 macrumors 65816

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    #7

    OWC probably rebrands their SSD; therefore they will wear out like any other SSD on the market.


    SSDs do wear out, each cell can only be written to a finite time before the cell cannot hold data anymore.

    Only thing is that no one can agree with the real-life of a SSD drive is. Some say it is a problem, others say it is not...
     
  8. wonderspark macrumors 68040

    wonderspark

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    #8
    I say if you're editing on a laptop, you have to get creative to make it work efficiently. I would agree that the best setup in that non-ideal situation would be to have the OS, applications and scratch on the SSD, and the media on the HDD.

    It's best to have three drives minimum so that you're not trying to read and write data to the same disks at the same time. When you encode video, you're using the OS/programs on one disk, the media is read from a second disk, and the encode is written to a third disk. This is why they say to use three disks, and better yet four or more disks.
     
  9. chatfan macrumors regular

    chatfan

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    #9
    On a core2duo using FCP it doesn't really matter where you put the render files, I would pick the one with the most space. FCP will play either the video or the rendered version. To be honest the only suggestion I would make is don't use RAId 0 for data unless you have a triple backup. RAID 0 tends to break when used a lot.
     
  10. jetlife2 macrumors regular

    jetlife2

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    #10
    OWC SSDs are different

    It's a little complex. Of course OWC is not making the SSD flash memory from scratch. But: an SSD from them is really different to an SSD from others:

    OWC SSDs are not rebranded, in the sense that their architechture is unique. They run a much higher overprovisioning of spare space to used space. They have a unique controller. They have unique firmware. They have unique algorithm for management of overwriting. If you buy an OWC SSD it is really a very different product. Does this make a difference to long term stability and reliability? They say it does. I personally use an Apple OEM SSD so I cannot say. "Barefeats" tests show consistently that OWC SSDs are the fastest and have the highest read/write rates, which is the only 3rd party testing I have seen.

    As for using a separate SSD as a scratch disk, yes it certainly will be much faster than a hard drive. Will it be enough to justify the expense? Only you can answer based on the value of your time and how much you will save. That relationship is different for everyone.
     
  11. matteusclement macrumors 65816

    matteusclement

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    #11
    Wirelessly posted (Mozilla/5.0 (iPhone; CPU iPhone OS 5_1 like Mac OS X) AppleWebKit/534.46 (KHTML, like Gecko) Version/5.1 Mobile/9B176 Safari/7534.48.3)

    Perfect answer. Do this.
     
  12. matteusclement macrumors 65816

    matteusclement

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    #12
    Wirelessly posted (Mozilla/5.0 (iPhone; CPU iPhone OS 5_1 like Mac OS X) AppleWebKit/534.46 (KHTML, like Gecko) Version/5.1 Mobile/9B176 Safari/7534.48.3)

    Perfect answer. Do this.
     
  13. blackhand1001 macrumors 68030

    blackhand1001

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    #13
    An ssd absolutely will blow away any hdd as a scratch disk as the io latency is literally 1000 times less on them.
     
  14. coolspot18 macrumors 65816

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    #14
    Their drives use SandForce controllers; nothing special about the controller. OWC is not a large enough company to design their own controllers.

    The 7% over-provisioning is a standard feature of SandForce controllers.

    http://thessdreview.com/latest-buzz...pacity-sandforce-driven-ssds-hit-the-streets/
     
  15. hchung macrumors 6502a

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    #15
    coolspot18 is right. OWC uses Sandforce controllers. They're basically the same as OCZ's Vertex 2 and Vertex 3 series. (As well as other manufacturer's Sandforce drives.) It is possible they have a few firmware tweaks, but they are for the most part of very little significance.

    Yes, they also will wear out. Just like all NAND-based SSDs. Zeroing them out only gives you back the speed from underprovisioning, but the fact remains that the NAND blocks marked bad will never come back.

    As for using them for a scratch drive and system drive simultaniously, it should be okay. At some point in time, if you have very heavy scratch usage, the SSD may get swamped. (rare) But if you're doing workloads like that, you're probably making enough money off your work to buy a 2nd SSD and 3rd SSD. :)
     
  16. WRP macrumors 6502a

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    #16
    Your disk will still access anything in the timeline. Even if it isn't rendering it to the screen. If you have 15 clips on 15 different layers, even though the top one is 100% opaque the disk will still be trying to find all 15 clips.
     
  17. chatfan macrumors regular

    chatfan

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    #17
    Off course, but the issue is scratch / render disk. If you are just editing multiple layers, it will use whatever source drive you are using. If it is rendered, it will just show you the cached / rendered part which doesn't use more bandwidth then a single layer. therefore the extra speed a SSD offers doesn't make the difference.

    Using a SSD or superfast RAID to play multiple layers that makes the difference. After it is rendered to a single track you can use a WD green drive to play 1080P.

     

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