Upgrade HDD to an SSD?

7 replies [Last post]
Joined: 07/02/2012
Posts: 6

I was thinking about upgrading my laptop HDD to an SSD. I heard very well about the Intel SSD's, heard they are the most reliable. But I have some questions:

1: What influences an SSD's performance? Read/Write speeds? IOPS? Sequential read/write speeds? Random read/write speeds?
2: Does greater SSD capacities means greater performance?
3: I'm looking for reliability and performance at the same time. Are the Intel SSD the best for me?
4: IF the Intel SSDs are the best, which Series is better?
5: Does it really make any difference between SATA II and SATA III?

spawnkiller's picture
Joined: 05/06/2012
Posts: 315

1- A SSD will increase the response rate of your machine and the transfer speed (overall faster experience)

2- Generally, it's not the capacity that will determine the speed but the controller. Some manufacturer implant greater controller to push their higher capacity products and some put the same in all off their product...

3- Yeah intel is well known for durability of their SSD...

4- reliability = 320 series but i know the newer serie 520 are faster, perform very well and last long times... The 320 had proven that it'll never go down but the 520 is on his way too ;)

5- Yeah with an SSD it will change the max speed (sata2 is 3gbps, that's equal to 300MB/s (in theory) and sata3 is the double. So if your SSD have faster transfer speed than 250MB/s yeah it'll be faster on sata 3...

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Manic Mouse
Manic Mouse's picture
Joined: 02/01/2007
Posts: 141

From my perspective:

1. Left out my choice -- All of the above. Depending on what you are moving. Here's an idea:
Sequential read/write is good if you are moving BIG files. How many files do you need to move that are over 100MB each? If you don't do a lot of large file transfers most of the time, seq read/write will not be an important spec for you. If you are moving a lot of small files, random read/write is useful. High IOPS is important if you have a lot of individual threads writing to the drive simultaneously. Usig an SSD for a system boot drive makes a lot of sense because of the huge amount of small file i/o my dozens of system programs and services. High IOPS and andom I/O speeds makes a lot of swense here. Sequential Read/write -- not so much. I find it hilarious that all these SSD marketers are saying "Up to 580MG/Sec!!", however that is sequential transfers. Move small files and you will see 30, 40MB/sec.

2. Depends on the controller. Some SSD controllers gain performance by creating mini-RAID arrays inside the drive. For instance you will see reviews where Read/Write speeds go up as capacity doubles (64->128GB 128GB->256GB 256GB->512GB) The reason is that when you are hitting 256GB, inside that drive you are having the equivalent of an 8-drive raid array. It all depends on the controller - Sandforce controllers don't do this, but Indlinx controllers do.

3. Intel is known for their reliability-before-speed attitude with SSDs. They are the most reliable out there right now.

4. I've prefered the 5xx over the 3xx for the Intel drives. They are faster, but they cost more.

5. For hard drives, no unless you have a 4-drive Raid 0 array. But for SSDs, hell yeah! Raid a couple SSDs and you will saturate even SATA3 on sequential transfers.

(Note: I run 3x SSDs in my system - a 250GB Intel 510, OCZ 240GB Vertex 3 and a 256GB Vertex 4 (the Vertex 4 is my boot drive - Windows starts in about 17 seconds after POST ;D ).


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Joined: 01/15/2012
Posts: 208

really most ssd's are reliable intel's just go though extensive testing to ensure they will last.
i would recommend a vertex4, hyper x 3k, crucial m4, or 320/520 intel drives

sata 2 will limit a drive read/write the 300/300 and sata 3 will can go as high as 600/600 if the ssd is capable

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eire1274's picture
Joined: 09/12/2003
Posts: 1324

I guess I am a bigger fan of hybrid drives on laptops, like the Seagate Momentus XT series, which combine an SSD with a large magnetic drive. They are more stable, as everything stored on the SSD is also mirrored on the magnetic portion, so if the SSD fails the system is smart enough to turn itself into a normal old drive for data recovery.

Then again, I'm running my business on my laptop, so a dead SSD would pretty much ruin my day. Stability beats speed in my case.

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Joined: 01/15/2012
Posts: 208

hybrids also learns your usage patterns and stores thing used frequently on the ssd for faster access
and eire what if the hdd portion fails?

Razear's picture
Joined: 12/30/2008
Posts: 1127

david179057 wrote:hybrids also learns your usage patterns and stores thing used frequently on the ssd for faster access
and eire what if the hdd portion fails?

The hard drive portion of a hybrid is where the data is stored so a mechanical failure would mean the data is gone. The flash portion of the drive acts as a cache for quick access.

Manic Mouse
Manic Mouse's picture
Joined: 02/01/2007
Posts: 141

Yes the hybrid's SSD part like any cache, it keeps LRU (Last Recently Used) data for quick retrieval. The big difference is that cached data is still available after you power down your system then restart it later. Thus, it 'learns' in a way that the standard cache can't. A common cache is gone when the program that creates it is gone (operating system or application). The Hybrid's SSD part goes beyond the function of classic cache.

I have a 500GB Momentus XT that I use as a portable drive. It is screamingly fast, though just not quite as fast as the full SSD.