Is an SSD the way to go?

Discussion in 'Mac Pro' started by Chad H, Jul 22, 2009.

  1. Chad H macrumors 6502a

    Chad H

    Joined:
    Feb 13, 2008
    Location:
    Auburn, AL
    #1
    Hey guys,
    Since the new Intel SSD's have been released I have been debating whether its worth it for me to get one. This is based soley on their life expectancy. I read an interesting post in the MacBook Pro forum here Inte SSD Life Expectancy. Basically writing more than 25% a day can decrease that life span. Well, I download alot of big files and encode alot of movie files. Some being as large as 5GB. My current setup is

    Bay 1: stock 640GB HDD
    Bay 2&3: two 1TB caviar blacks in a striped RAID 0(All media for iTunes)
    Bay 4: 500GB Caviar black partioned for time machine/bootcamp

    Now Bay 1 would be used for the OS, downloaded media, and the encoding process. I'm having a tough time figuring out which method is going to yield value and great speed. Any input is greatly appreciated. Also I do have 2 super drives in this machine, so that route is out.
     
  2. admanimal macrumors 68040

    Joined:
    Apr 22, 2005
    #2
    I believe that the accepted wisdom is to use the SSD as a boot/application drive and store all working documents/files on standard drives, so that SSD writing is kept to a minimum.
     
  3. Chad H thread starter macrumors 6502a

    Chad H

    Joined:
    Feb 13, 2008
    Location:
    Auburn, AL
    #3
    Well, I wonder what the ideal setup would be then?
     
  4. frimple macrumors 6502

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    Nov 18, 2008
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    Denver, CO
    #4
    I'd like to know where those numbers come from. Intel quotes that if you write 20 gigs / day (25% of the 80 gig), every day then you can expect 5 years.

    Quoteth the Intel:

     
  5. Chad H thread starter macrumors 6502a

    Chad H

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    Auburn, AL
    #5
    Well, now that I've re-read that, it seems that 20GB a day every single day is a little extreme.
     
  6. VirtualRain macrumors 603

    VirtualRain

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    Aug 1, 2008
    Location:
    Vancouver, BC
    #6
    Let's face it, if you are moving 20GB of data around per day (or enough to be concerned about SSD longevity) you are likely spending a lot of time waiting for your storage subsystem. What is that time worth?

    I'd say you, more than most, would benefit in time savings from having an SSD (or two in RAID0) to the extent that it would almost make it worthwhile to view it as a disposable asset.

    Do you really care if you spend $200 every few years on a new SSD if it's saving you hours per month? I don't know the details of your situation, but this is how I would be looking at it.

    Anyway, to answer your question, the more you can put on your SSD (or SSD's in RAID0) the better off you will be. Anything else is a compromise aimed to save money.
     
  7. frimple macrumors 6502

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    #7
    It's a lot of data to be writing every single day for 5 years! ;)
     
  8. Chad H thread starter macrumors 6502a

    Chad H

    Joined:
    Feb 13, 2008
    Location:
    Auburn, AL
    #8
    Your exactly right virtual rain. Thank-you. I would love to get two in a RAID 0 using OSX but I'm out of room so one will have to do. But, the time savings transferring files from the SSD boot to the RAID 0 I have setup is going to be great.
     
  9. Chad H thread starter macrumors 6502a

    Chad H

    Joined:
    Feb 13, 2008
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    Auburn, AL
    #9
    Also, do SSD's suffer from being full/slowing down like mechanical drives do? Say if I got a 80GB that constanstly stayed at let's say 60GB full would that take a huge performace hit compared to a 160GB staying 60GB full?
     
  10. frimple macrumors 6502

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    Nov 18, 2008
    Location:
    Denver, CO
    #10
    No, the reason the mechanical drives lose performance as they get full is because the platter spins slower closer to the rotation point then it does at the ends. SSDs don't care if its a NAND chip on the close end or far end of the board, it's all the same.


    EDIT:

    Well for reads anyways. You may recall a big hub-bub about SSD's slowing down as they get full. The problem is that SSDs (just like mechanical drives) don't really delete data when you delete a file. Sadly when you go to overwrite one of the blocks that has been "deleted" you have to cache the block, erase the old data, write the new data to the cache then write the cache to the block. Anand does a great job of explaining this here.
     
  11. wpc33 macrumors 6502

    wpc33

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    Jul 2, 2006
    Location:
    Vancouver, BC
    #11
    That example of 20GB, from Intel, is actually comforting and encouraging to me, as per this issue.
    In five years, SSD's will be so much faster, larger and cheaper, that an upgrade won't be as big a decision as it may be now, and I personally, may be getting over a decade out of my first SSD, given the purely-OS/Home folder-use of my plan.
     
  12. Pressure macrumors 68040

    Pressure

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    Denmark
    #12
    They do but they remain an order of magnitude faster than even the fastest mechanical drives.

    It is for all purposes negligible, especially if you are used to mechanical drives.
     
  13. 300D macrumors 65816

    300D

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    Tulsa
    #13
    The only down side is cost per GB.

    The higher the drive capacity and the more free space on the drive, the longer it will last.
     
  14. surflordca macrumors 6502a

    surflordca

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    Nov 16, 2007
    Location:
    Ontario, Canada
    #14
    Question: Don't you have problems with Time Machine as it wants a drive at least as big as the original and it is recommended to be 1 1/2 time that size.

    As far as a SSD drive, if you got lots of money go for it. If not wait as the prices will come down. When? Your guess is as good as mine...
     
  15. 22Hertz macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Oct 20, 2007
    #15
    I'm waiting for the Corsair P128 to come down to about $200, then Im getting one or two... but not before then.

    Right now they are overpriced because its new and they can, but these chips w/controller in a case will drop soon enough ;)

    I have played with them, and they are worth it if you can afford it, especially in a notebook.
     
  16. HHarm macrumors regular

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    Mar 4, 2009
    #16
    More like write your documents to a standard drive because SSDs are so small.
     
  17. 3587 macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Mar 23, 2008
    #17
    I'm now debating whether or not to get one of these... Other than applications loading super fast, what are some other performance boosts? Do the applications funtion faster once opened as well? Not sure that all this money is worth a few seconds in time savings... Especially when I leave most applications open...
     
  18. VirtualRain macrumors 603

    VirtualRain

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    Aug 1, 2008
    Location:
    Vancouver, BC
    #18
    I thought you said you do a lot of writing to/from your drives?

    Obviously it's not going to speed up applications that don't use the disk, nor is it some magic performance boost to everything you do, but it will make your system seem incredibly responsive to opening apps, files, and anything that writes to disk will do so instantaneously.

    If you can find one from a vendor that has a return policy, try it out. I guarantee you won't want to send it back though. :p
     
  19. nanofrog macrumors G4

    Joined:
    May 6, 2008
    #19
    If you load an application that will stay resident in the system's RAM, then beyond the initial load, it won't make a difference. But if the application keeps having to go to the disk for files, you will get a faster response from the system, as the drive tends to be the biggest bottleneck in the system compared to say the CPU, memory, and graphics card.

    As for the shaving of time in seconds having any meaning, you're the only one who can really determine that. For example, if you make a living with the system, those small savings can add up, and make it justifiable financially. Faster clock speeds of the CPU cores are the same way. ;) Otherwise, it falls into the "want" category, rather than "need". Not justifiable from a business sense, but personality wise, may be another story. :eek: So the question at this point is, how impatient are you? :D :p

    BTW, can you provide any details with usage, such as applications, details of use, and approximate split time or percentage wise? :confused: It could help. :)
     

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