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An SSD for Your Current Computer May Save the Cost of a New One (Video)

Roblimo posted about 6 months ago | from the breaking-the-i/o-speed-barrier dept.

Hardware 353

Obviously, the first performance enhancement you do on any computer you own is max out the RAM. RAM has gotten cheap, and adding more of it to almost any computer will make it faster without requiring any other modification (or any great skill). The next thing you need to do, says Larry O'Connor, the founder and CEO of Other World Computing (OWC), is move from a "platter" hard drive to a Solid State Drive (SSD). Larry's horse in this race is that his company sells SSDs, mostly for Macs. But he's a real evangelist about SSDs and computer mods in general, even if you buy them from NewEgg, Amazon or another vendor.

A big (vendor-neutral) thing Larry points out is that just because you have a Terabyte drive in your computer now doesn't mean you need a Terabyte SSD, which can easily cost $500. Rather, he says, all you need is a large enough SSD to contain your OS and software and whatever data you're working with at the moment, so you might be able to get by with a 120 GB SSD that costs well under $100. Clone your current main drive, stick in the new SSD, and if your need more storage, get another hard drive (or use your old one). Simple. Efficient. And a lot cheaper than buying a new computer, whether we're talking about home, business or even enterprise use. (Alternate video link.)

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DUH (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46653905)

YEAH WE KNOW

Ok? (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46653911)

Yep, I agree.

Preaching to the choir? (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46653919)

Soo this is Slashdot, not "Mom Computer Consumer Weekly".

Re:Preaching to the choir? (1)

Russ1642 (1087959) | about 6 months ago | (#46654207)

What does 'RAM' stand for? What does a computer have to do with sheep?

Re:Preaching to the choir? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46654569)

What does 'RAM' stand for? What does a computer have to do with sheep?

I don't know, but I keep being told I need more of it. My case is full of it now, but the only things I notice are lots of rattling and my computer shutting down very quickly.

Re:Preaching to the choir? (1)

master5o1 (1068594) | about 6 months ago | (#46654963)

Also, what does it have to do with local body politics [wikipedia.org] or rural airways [ram.org.nz] ?

Re:Preaching to the choir? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46654783)

Really... wait. You mean I can upgrade my Dell - I don't have to buy a whole new computer again, like I did last year? Wow. Computer upgrades. If only people knew about these things.

Now who can help this door? Damn thing is closed and I can't get through it!

HyperDuo (1)

chuckugly (2030942) | about 6 months ago | (#46653933)

HyperDuo is not a comic book, it is a nifty technology that allows one or more SSDs to be coupled to a standard HDD and treated as a single drive, with the hot data residing on the SSD storage.

Re:HyperDuo (3, Funny)

MattGWU (86623) | about 6 months ago | (#46654105)

Hyper-Duo! It's not a comic book! It's a nifty technology that allows one or more SSDs to be coupled to a standard HDD and treated as a single drive! Hi! I'm Troy McClure....

Re:HyperDuo (1)

slashmydots (2189826) | about 6 months ago | (#46654459)

It's the worst idea ever. Same with Intel's solution with cache drives. It's like an SSD except only the write speed improves since data is still fetched off the actual spinning storage drive the majority of the time if not all the time. Then you get a 32GB cache SSD that receives every single write ever written to the system. It'd fail within a year or two. Three SSDs in a RAID5 is a vastly superior solution or just buy a 480GB Crucial M500 for $230.

doesn't have to be that bad (1)

Chirs (87576) | about 6 months ago | (#46654659)

Theoretically the disk controller could initially access only the spinning platter, and then only the frequently-accessed blocks (reads or writes) would get relocated to the flash drive.

Re:HyperDuo (1)

locopuyo (1433631) | about 6 months ago | (#46655013)

Totally agree with this. Put the stuff that benefits from the performance on the SSD, OS, web browser, etc. Put the other stuff on an HDD.

If you're using the caching method you won't always be getting SSD performance on things that actually matter, but if you use them separately you always get maximum performance.

it's true (4, Interesting)

alphatel (1450715) | about 6 months ago | (#46653947)

Almost every failing of a computer can be related to where the OS sits. I have replaced/installed over 50 new/used computer platters with SSDs as the primary and a platter as the storage. Not only does boot time vanish, but just about everything under the sun is improved. I could ramble on but I think that's what the video does. Basically it's just smarter regardless of whether you use Win/Mac/Linux etc.

Re:it's true (2)

cj_n_sf (781833) | about 6 months ago | (#46654095)

I had a friend who was adding memory to his Macbook to also add a SSD. Those two additions made "amazing" speed improvements. With the prices of SSD's it is a no brainer. No computer should be without it!

Re:it's true (1)

ulzeraj (1009869) | about 6 months ago | (#46654377)

I'm comfortably living with a MBP equipped with a 250GB Samsung EVO 840 and a home server with FreeBSD and a 4x3TB mirror pool and Netatalk. After installing the SSD I've also encrypted the file system with file vault and since the processor features AES-NI the speed is still leagues ahead of the old spinning rust.

I keep all the work and important documents on the MBP and media, virtual machine images and so on on the home server. Better part is that as soon as I enter my home network Time Machine starts working on the backups and while I don't really need to backup the information on the home server, daily ZFS snapshots are more than enough to correct human mistakes.

I also keep my old spinning rust device as a second time machine device. This allows me to keep 3 encrypted copies of important documents: one on laptop, one on the encrypted disk and the third on the AFP volume which contains an encrypted HFS+ sparse image.

Re:it's true (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46654365)

The boot boost is irrelevant if you don't need to reboot very often so that benefit to Linux users questionable.

Re:it's true (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46654449)

Hell, I figured out what this is trying to tell people over 10 years ago when I took two WD raptor drives and stripe raided them together (no reliability, but I just wanted the raw power). To be honest, with that sort of speed, SSDs didn't feel like this huge step up for me. Just a natural evolution.

Re:it's true (1)

slashmydots (2189826) | about 6 months ago | (#46654479)

I sure hope you're checking if it's a SATAII or SATAIII controller first. It sounds like you're not, you're epically screwing up. Yeah they run but at half speed and with half the features disabled.

Re:it's true (1)

TapeCutter (624760) | about 6 months ago | (#46654955)

Did this to my i5 about 18 months ago and was pleasantly surprised at the performance boost, it's now as responsive (and in some cases more so) than my i7. Having said that the SSD died after less than 6 months of use. It was replaced under warranty and has been running for about a year now, but the experience reinforced their reputation for poor reliability in my mind and I still don't quite trust it.

PS: The little tool bundled with windows that rates the performance of the PC is very handy, it tells you exactly where the bottleneck is in very simple terms and you would be correct in saying that on most machines it points to disk latency.

it's false (1)

iggymanz (596061) | about 6 months ago | (#46655037)

I tested and windows had no substantial improvement booting from SSD, nor working on my usual apps. Windows must do a lot of writing during boot compared to most OS.

Linux benefited tremendously, from 90 second boot to 13 seconds. Usual apps were loading in less than three seconds.

 

Max RAM? (0)

spire3661 (1038968) | about 6 months ago | (#46653949)

I disagree on 'maxing' it out. I have 16 GB in my mac mini and i dont see a future of me using it all. 8 GB will be fine for the next 4-6 years at least.

Re:Max RAM? (2)

dreamchaser (49529) | about 6 months ago | (#46654141)

It depends on your use case. If you just surf the web and do email then no, you don't need to max out. I often run multiple VMs while also compiling code, etc. The more RAM for me the better.

Re:Max RAM? (1)

AdamHaun (43173) | about 6 months ago | (#46654221)

Seconded. 2-4 GB is enough to turn off your page file in Windows, and that's where performance improvements for normal desktop apps ends for me. I have 16 GB for gaming, but I'm not sure I've ever used more than 8.

Re:Max RAM? (1)

Ken_g6 (775014) | about 6 months ago | (#46654269)

I disagree on 'maxing' it out. ... 8 GB will be fine for the next 4-6 years at least.

And 640k ought to be enough for anyone.

"Enough" RAM is not noticeable. "Not enough" is very noticeable. What "enough" is is likely to continue to increase. More than enough RAM can also improve disk caching, though this has diminishing returns.

Also, Lorizean said:

Put the 64GB in and use it as a ramdisk. Be blown away by the speeds.

Which is better than caching for something like a temp directory.

Re:Max RAM? (1)

spire3661 (1038968) | about 6 months ago | (#46654427)

Already do a Ramdisk on my mac (minecraft server, can't grief a server that only exists in Ramdisk!) and have a few VMs. I still have 8-10 GB sitting idle and have for years. My money would have better served going with 8 GB and upgrading if absolutely necessary.

P.S. I carefully phrased my response just to avoid the 640k troll. The 640k statement was an absolute, for all time. I put a specific limit on mine, not to mention im speaking from direct experience. Also, your quote is probably apocryphal.

http://www.computerworld.com/s... [computerworld.com]

You would do well to just forget the phrase entirely.

Re:Max RAM? (2)

rolfwind (528248) | about 6 months ago | (#46654307)

The historical reason to max ram within 18 month of purchase is that's when it's easiest and cheapest to do, at least retail. A few years back, was looking for ram for a 6 year old system (not that I bought a cpu/motherboard type that just came out either, mind you, so add 2 years to that for model age) and it was pretty much impossible. Places that had it charged way more per/gb than ram for recent systems. Could either waste time on craigslist salvaging old computers or take chances on buying used on the shitbay.

Though I agree, now max ram on many systems are passing actual need. Something that started around mid-00s for some low-end users and is spreading upward.

Unless you're rendering or the like, the bottleneck now is internet connection.

Re:Max RAM? (3, Insightful)

slashmydots (2189826) | about 6 months ago | (#46654493)

Well, you're wrong. 4GB is enough for almost every average user. Gamers need 8GB but no game I've ever heard of uses more than 5GB of total space while running. 16GB is basically video editing only. So no, don't max out the RAM just for the fun of it. Going from 4GB to 8GB won't do a thing for you if all you do is web browse. It would have absolutely zero impact on performance at all.

Re:Max RAM? (1)

TWX (665546) | about 6 months ago | (#46654831)

I do not game, but I run Linux and have to run Windows VMs for certain user tasks that cannot be run natively in Linux. I have 8GB and I'm glad that I do, as running even a single VM with only 4GB wasn't so pleasant.

On the flip side, the computer that I use when lounging on the couch has only 2GB RAM and a single-core "Mobile" processor, and it's fine for browsing the web. It was a little slow when it had only 1GB, but thankfully I was able to locate a couple of cheap 1GB DDR2 SODIMMs to upgrade. The bigger problem is that web designers aren't designing for variable-width pages anymore, so some pages require horizontal scrolling on the 1024x768 screen.

I run 16GB in my laptop and I'd like 32GB (1)

Chirs (87576) | about 6 months ago | (#46654687)

But then I do OpenStack development.

Spinning up VMs on qemu via OpenStack running on Virtualbox instances. Whee!

Cache money (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46653953)

SSDs are the next cache layer.

Also, make sure you've got a 6Gb SATA capable motherboard, or you're essentially wasting half your money putting a hot new drive into a slow bus.

Re:Cache money (2)

Ken_g6 (775014) | about 6 months ago | (#46654345)

SSDs aren't actually very good for caching. (Though they sell drives and software specifically to do that.) They're better at WORM (Write Once Read Many) or Write Rarely Read Many (WRRM?) tasks. Like installing an OS and other programs there and not modifying them often. (Where "often" = "every few minutes".)

That said, I do have my computer's swapfile on my SSD. But only because I only have 4GB RAM and can't upgrade.

Re:Cache money (1)

Dorianny (1847922) | about 6 months ago | (#46654423)

SSDs are the next cache layer.

Also, make sure you've got a 6Gb SATA capable motherboard, or you're essentially wasting half your money putting a hot new drive into a slow bus.

It should read; If you don't have a 6Gb SATA capable motherboard don't buy a SATA3 ssd. Save some money and buy a SATA2 ssd. In any case, depending on what you do, you may or may not benefit from the increase in sequential speed the new SATA III drives offer. For some people, it is very significant for most is not noticeable.

Obviously? (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46653959)

There are many times "maxing out your RAM" is a complete waste of money, and does NOT lead to any measurable performance increase. Case in point: my gaming rig can handle 64GB of RAM. I have 32 on it. It BARELY uses 3 of that most of the time. I seriously doubt it ever uses even 8.

Re:Obviously? (2, Insightful)

Lorizean (2861821) | about 6 months ago | (#46654035)

Put the 64GB in and use it as a ramdisk. Be blown away by the speeds.

Re:Obviously? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46654181)

Of course, but that's a little more than the premise of "just max out your RAM."

Re:Obviously? (4, Interesting)

Yosho (135835) | about 6 months ago | (#46654383)

Use it as a ramdisk for what, though?

If you want general OS and application usage, you'll have to copy over all the data from your main disk first, which is going to take some time, and if anything changes, you'd need to sync it back to your main disk, which will take more time, and you're at risk of losing data if you have an unexpected shutdown. An SSD is way better for that kind of task.

It's completely unsuitable for any kind of long-term storage, of course.

You could use it for temporary files for applications like Photoshop... which is a good use of it, but very situational.

Using it as a swap disk would just be silly when you could just deactivate the ramdisk and have all that RAM again.

Re:Obviously? (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46654795)

+4 insightful. Only on Slashdot. Let's analyze this...

You know every computer has a built in RAM disk. It's called cache. You should read how it works. Then you'll see why no one does this.

Re:Obviously? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46654399)

And most people don't have 32GB of RAM in their home PC. This is a suggestion for the average person. I'm sure you know quite well by now that a PC that doesn't have enough RAM is very sluggish. Even if you've got enough to run the OS and your basic programs all at once, you'll still see a significant improvement by doubling your RAM. Obviously there comes a point where your bottleneck is elsewhere.

Two drives not feasible for laptops (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46653971)

Most laptops don't come with the ability to put in two drives so you can't have an SSD and platter. You'd have to have an external USB drive which most users would not want to lug around.

Many people I've known with 128GB SSD run out of space fast. I'd recommend at least 240GB. Another option for light users would be a hybrid SSD.

Re:Two drives not feasible for laptops (1)

TubeSteak (669689) | about 6 months ago | (#46654099)

Most laptops don't come with the ability to put in two drives so you can't have an SSD and platter. You'd have to have an external USB drive which most users would not want to lug around.

Many laptop motherboards come with an internal mSATA port.
This can be used for SSDs as either a standalone drive or a cache drive for your spinning disk.

As a combination, SSD cache + spinning disk is almost as fast in all the ways that matters.

Re:Two drives not feasible for laptops (2)

slashmydots (2189826) | about 6 months ago | (#46654513)

Rip out the mini PCI-E wireless card, go to a USB-based N150HG from rosewill (actually a realtek product) and put a crucial M500-series PCI-E-based SSD into it. Tada, two "hard drive" slots.

Re:Two drives not feasible for laptops (1)

dugancent (2616577) | about 6 months ago | (#46654583)

And now you have a stupid dongle sticking out the side. No.

Re:Two drives not feasible for laptops (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46654819)

some laptop bios don't boot from the mini pci-e

Re:Two drives not feasible for laptops (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46654531)

A DVD caddy for your hard disk (or SSD) costs $8-$12 these days. When was the last time you used a DVD? Sort out the boot issues and most laptops will easily take a second drive in place of the DVD. You can even ger caddies with PATA to SATA conversions for older laptops.

Re:Two drives not feasible for laptops (1)

Wycliffe (116160) | about 6 months ago | (#46654559)

Another option for light users would be a hybrid SSD.

Why only for light users? I would think a small SSD in front of a large HD would work great.
A simple algorithm that kept a combination of the most commonly and most recently accessed files on SSD
should make cache misses rare.

Re:Two drives not feasible for laptops (1)

Kryptonut (1006779) | about 6 months ago | (#46655081)

What about the WD Dual Drive? [wdc.com]

how do you convince microsoft (0)

circletimessquare (444983) | about 6 months ago | (#46653993)

that you only just switched disk drives in your preexisting comp and are entitled to the OS?

Re:how do you convince microsoft (2)

TheGratefulNet (143330) | about 6 months ago | (#46654039)

clone tools exist and no one needs to 'ask MS'.

worst case, you find a copy of windows 'loader' and you're done.

Re:how do you convince microsoft (1)

circletimessquare (444983) | about 6 months ago | (#46654437)

a clone tool like what?

Re:how do you convince microsoft (1)

Bodhammer (559311) | about 6 months ago | (#46654683)

This tool is great and well worth the $20. It will clone the boot as well as do the 4k SSD alignment automatically. Not a shill, just a happy customer.
http://www.paragon-software.co... [paragon-software.com]

Re:how do you convince microsoft (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46654123)

People keep saying crap like this, but it's nonsense. I hate MS as much as anyone, but a lie's a lie. I've never once had to reauthorize Windows (XP or 7), even after replacing or adding hard drives. Hell, I've changed the motherboard a couple of times and it didn't complain.

Re:how do you convince microsoft (3, Informative)

alta (1263) | about 6 months ago | (#46654419)

This is a non-issue. It takes a lot more than a new harddrive to make it re-activate. And even then, it will almost always let you re-activate using the original key. And on the rare chance that it doesn't calling the 800 number has always got me back in business.

Re:how do you convince microsoft (2)

TheGavster (774657) | about 6 months ago | (#46654511)

The only company I've ever had to contact for authorization from "installing too much" was Apple to activate iTunes. Microsoft hypothetically has a limit, but given the number of times I've reinstalled I'm pretty sure they only keep records going back a certain amount of time.

Re:how do you convince microsoft (1)

laffer1 (701823) | about 6 months ago | (#46654907)

It depends. I just had to replace the motherboard, processor and RAM in my desktop recently and while I had to reactive windows, windows 8 was able to do it without a full reinstall. This was an AMD to Intel switch too.

It probably wasn't as clean as a fresh install, but it worked fine.

Re:Clone your current main drive... (1)

DocSavage64109 (799754) | about 6 months ago | (#46654003)

Guess I'm out -- my current main drive is 1.5 TB.

Re:Clone your current main drive... (1)

MattGWU (86623) | about 6 months ago | (#46654075)

Depending on what you use to do the clone it'll do it as long as the used space (rather than the drive size) will fit on the SSD. I did it to my laptop, going from a 750 GB HDD to a 120 GB SSD. Need to tell it to go proportional on the partition sizes, or some cloning software has an SSD migration tool.

Agreed. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46654005)

Just one problem: If you're still running XP, you're probably still better off with a new computer.

Cap the RAM (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46654021)

It fixes everything.
Also who in the world, aside from say Video Editors or super computers needs more then 16 GB of RAM?
I know I can cap out at 98GB but isnt that a little over kill? what am I gaining?

Re:Cap the RAM (1)

wisnoskij (1206448) | about 6 months ago | (#46654339)

Screw an SSD, just get 100 gigs of RAM and never turn your computer off.

Jesus (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46654033)

CMDRTaco would be rolling over in his grave if he could see this shit.

Wow, someone else designed my 3 year old PC (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46654065)

As the subject, yeah, did this 3 years ago.
SSD for OS and a few things that for some silly reason have to be on the OS drive, big spinny disk for nearly everything else and a small USB3 flash drive for certain applications where seek time is the main bottleneck but I don't want them adding to the wear and tear on my OS drive.

It works quite nicely, give it a try if you aren't certain you already have better.

Holy shit did they get cheap fast (1)

rolfwind (528248) | about 6 months ago | (#46654071)

1TB for $500? Remember when the 16gb ones were expensive as hell just a few years back?

I guess they're bound to replace platter based drives even for storage by the end of the decade, since that just really budged in capacity significantly in years.

Right now doing fine with a 256gb one. 128gb ended up cramped far too often with os/apps and normal downloads.

Re:Holy shit did they get cheap fast (1)

almitydave (2452422) | about 6 months ago | (#46654369)

I'd recommend 240+. My work PC has a 120GB drive; and Win7, four versions of Visual Studio, SQL Server, and a few other apps pretty much fill it up. I've had to continually shuffle data including some source code to my secondary platter drive (slower compilation, boo) just to keep some space free (currently 3.3GB).

Re:Holy **** did they get cheap fast (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46654915)

Ahem. $500 is ******* expensive. That's more than my entire (brand new) PC, including monitor and printer!

$50 is cheap. I'm still waiting for ~120GB SSDs to reach $50. Right now you can get 32GB for $44, 64GB for $50 (too small) or 120GB for $66 (still too expensive).

500GB minimum for SSD... (1)

blahplusplus (757119) | about 6 months ago | (#46654085)

... the problem with buying a small SSD is that you'll just want to upgrade anyway later. So you should just take the plunge and get a reasonably sized SSD so that you can run common intensive apps off the SSD. Traditional HD's are just for storage/movies/big stuff. Most people only use a few common programs at a time so having enough space on an SSD for things you use frequently is a must. It just makes your life that much easier and you won't have to upgrade until many years later when program sizes or some new tech forces the issue.

Re:500GB minimum for SSD... (1)

Firethorn (177587) | about 6 months ago | (#46654299)

... the problem with buying a small SSD is that you'll just want to upgrade anyway later.

I've experienced that myself. In addition I've found that the time I spent manually moving my steam games to the HD when I was done actively playing them(even mostly automated with a script) was taking enough time & effort that I ended up just installing them all to the HD by default, leaving the OS as the main SSD use. I really need to find some sort of smart caching system like the hybrid SSD/HD.

Re:500GB minimum for SSD... (1)

MatthiasF (1853064) | about 6 months ago | (#46654311)

I agree. A 500 GB drive seems to be the sweet spot these days for a typical user, even in a corporate setting.

And most 500 GB solid states are almost down to $250. For the kind of performance improvement, it is going to be a necessity soon.

Re:500GB minimum for SSD... (1)

Iniamyen (2440798) | about 6 months ago | (#46654443)

And in the time it takes you to want/need the next upgrade, stuff will be cheaper anyway, as well as having the newest technology, standards, etc... Never buy on the bleeding edge. Buy where the best bang for buck is, which is usually where the most units (and commensurate lower profit margins) are.

Re:500GB minimum for SSD... (1)

TheGavster (774657) | about 6 months ago | (#46654565)

The other thing with SSDs is that within a given generation, speed correlates to capacity. The 512GB model doesn't use chips with twice the capacity, it uses twice as many chips. Sequential write speed close to doubles because twice as many chips can be writing at any given time (random writes, and the latency of sequential writes, obviously doesn't benefit)

No thanks (1)

WaffleMonster (969671) | about 6 months ago | (#46654113)

Have 32 GB of ram 18 GB of which currently used by OS disk cache. There is no disk delay to do anything. A week after starting a VMware workstation image it is always still cached in ram and resumes instantly. All of my apps and everything load instantly with no disk related delay.

Given that reality $130 for 3TBs of platters is still a much better deal.

My machine suspends to ram when not in use and reboots less than once a month to install patches. Boot times are irrelevant as is time needed to initially load applications and datasets.

SSDs... for Macs (0)

wiredlogic (135348) | about 6 months ago | (#46654137)

SSDs... for Macs.

Reminds me of the exorbitantly marked up LaCie SCSI drives for suckers.

Re:SSDs... for Macs (1)

Kenja (541830) | about 6 months ago | (#46654213)

Ah yes... I remember those. I had to buy an external Mac drive for the company I was with at the time and couldn't for the life of me think of a reason the "Mac" version cost more money. So I got the "PC" version and when it arrived, it was preformatted for Macintosh. Fun times.

OWC? (2)

rduke15 (721841) | about 6 months ago | (#46654151)

They may have fine SSDs, but the ones I bought to add to 2 mac minis were ridiculously slow for SSDs. Around 80 MBps read/write according to BlackMagic's disk speed test. Not faster than the original normal drive that came with the machines. In one of the Mac minis, I replaced the OWC with a Samsung, and it's much faster (I forgot how much, but certainly over 120 MBps).

So in conclusion, yes, SSD may improve performance, but only if they are fast SSDs. Some aren't and won't make a big difference. (and when they fail, they tend to do so without warning and completely, so be sure to always have backups).

Re:OWC? (1)

Iniamyen (2440798) | about 6 months ago | (#46654769)

What size of files were being read/written to arrive at your number? This is important when comparing SSDs to platter drives, because SSDs tend to be better with smaller files.

user profile location (2)

kimvette (919543) | about 6 months ago | (#46654215)

Yes, because Windows makes it oh so easy to move user profiles to other volumes.

For Linux users, it's really easy:

mount -o rw /dev/sdb1 /mnt/tmp
mv /home/. /mnt/tmp/home
ls -lh /home #to make sure everything moved.
mount -o rw /dev/sdb1 /home (ideally, add ,acl to enable access control lists)

. . . then add it to fstab to make it permanent.

On Windows, each user has to go to each individual folder and move it - and only lets you move certain folders. To do it globally it requires registry edits, which Joe Sixpack will inevitably screw up.

Re:user profile location (1)

kimvette (919543) | about 6 months ago | (#46654457)

. . . or you can use NTFS junctions (Windows' equivalent of hard links), which cannot be done via the Windows UI.

Re:user profile location (1)

Doug Otto (2821601) | about 6 months ago | (#46654489)

Depends on how many files you have it your home dir. If it's lots, I prefer:

cd /home
find . -print -depth | cpio -pvdum /mnt/home

Re:user profile location (1)

PReDiToR (687141) | about 6 months ago | (#46654529)

You might be interested in this [starkeith.net] article about moving an entire Windows profile from one location to another.

Or not. It just isn't as hard as it seems at first glance. The stupid GUI is just as stupid as everything else in Windows.

Re:user profile location (1)

slashmydots (2189826) | about 6 months ago | (#46654543)

Why move the profile in Windows? You can independently relocated My Music, My Pictures, My Documents, the Desktop, and I think also the internet cache. Then leave the actual folder itself and app data especially (hello, performance much?) on the SSD.

Re:user profile location (1)

TheGavster (774657) | about 6 months ago | (#46654639)

I actually was able to direct all user home folders to their own partition for the first time with my last Windows install. It turns out that there's a key combo you can hit on a certain page of the install wizard that will drop you to the desktop for the preboot environment the installer is running in, where you can run regedit (which will at that exact tab of the wizard see the registry of the newly installed system) and move the default user folder location (this is before any users have been created, again the magical tab of the wizard). There was some other voodoo to basically "reseal" the install a get back to the wizard. Pretty much the polar opposite of every Linux installer I've ever used, where they (gasp) ask which partition to use for /home. Great to know that it's actually possible though, since even if you know the registry keys to change when moving a user, the account will never work quite right afterward (I assume some user attributes get cached by various services or something).

Re:user profile location (1)

kimvette (919543) | about 6 months ago | (#46654759)

That's fine if you've got the standard OEM with the system builder kit installed, but for the typical system Joe Sixpack buys that option is not present, nor is it documented, nor is it accessible once the system has been activated.

Automatic SSD caching of spinning disks in Linux? (1)

Mandrel (765308) | about 6 months ago | (#46654227)

all you need is a large enough SSD to contain your OS and software and whatever data you're working with at the moment,

Can the Linux kernel be configured to use a SSD as a 2nd-level disk cache, behind the RAM cache, so that you don't need to manually put your working data in the SSD?

Re:Automatic SSD caching of spinning disks in Linu (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46654413)

Sort of.
Have a look at bcache. It is part of mainline kernel since 3.10

http://bcache.evilpiepirate.org/

"Bcache is a Linux kernel block layer cache. It allows one or more fast disk drives such as flash-based solid state drives (SSDs) to act as a cache for one or more slower hard disk drives."

It is quite awesome.

Re:Automatic SSD caching of spinning disks in Linu (1)

Graymalkin (13732) | about 6 months ago | (#46654475)

There's a few methods to do this. The first is bcache [wikipedia.org] which allows an SSD/Flash memory to be combined to form a hybrid volume. Another is Flashcache [wikipedia.org] which is a little more transparent (as I understand it) with respect to the file system.

Thank you captain obvious (1)

networkzombie (921324) | about 6 months ago | (#46654271)

Who visits this site and doesn't already know this? I've been salvaging laptops (for a fee) by putting in SSDs for years. As long as it has SATA, slap one in (sure, they made PATA SSDs but why?). And no, a RAM drive is not the same unless you have external power for the RAM or you never turn you PC off. Disks have been a bottleneck since the invention of the PC. Only now can you have an average PC where the CPU is (sometimes) the largest bottleneck. Next up, you can speed up your computer by removing HPs bloated all-in-one software suite. No shit.

Re:Thank you captain obvious (1)

slashmydots (2189826) | about 6 months ago | (#46654579)

You are so far off, it's comical. Some laptops have a SATA controller that's just a SATA physical port connected to an IDE controller. Some have geniune SATA I which I think goes 100MB/s or something. SATAII runs at a pathetic 300-350MB cap in real world performance. SATAIII which is more of a 2011 and later product in laptops has enough bandwidth to properly run an SSD. I put a 256MB high performance SSD in my laptop with a core2 7350 and 4GB of RAM and it's pathetic compared to new laptops due solely to the SATA II controller.

Re:Thank you captain obvious (1)

bobbied (2522392) | about 6 months ago | (#46654743)

Next up, you can speed up your computer by removing HPs bloated all-in-one software suite.

I can go one better... Dump windows and all the HP garbage and load Linux. Presto, fast! Much faster than the Windows Bloat ware virus stuff...

IF you want to get even more, compile everything you use for your CPU/Motherboard arch starting with the kernel, kernel modules, standard libraries and any programs you run. Yea, it takes time, but you will be amazed with what happens to your system speed. It is usually even faster than the default distribution which is usually compiled for the lowest common factor and has to bypass much of the optimization. Oh heck, just install and build Gentoo...

Better have UPS for non-laptops (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46654279)

If you power goes out for a moment while your platter drive is writing, you may have some corrupted data. If your power goes out while an SSD is writing, it will be toast. A total loss. Bricked. Data gone. In a laptop the battery acts as a UPS. Desktops not so much...

uhhh... (2)

buddyglass (925859) | about 6 months ago | (#46654285)

Obviously, the first performance enhancement you do on any computer you own is max out the RAM.

Uhh...not exactly. In fact, his subsequent logic about why lots of people don't need terabyte magnetic disks applies directly to this point about RAM. If your system supports 16GB of RAM but all you ever do is browse the web and check email then you almost certainly don't need to max out your system's RAM. In fact, you could probably make do with 4GB.

Re:uhhh... (5, Funny)

Russ1642 (1087959) | about 6 months ago | (#46654393)

I'm posting through a time portal from 2035. Windows 22 requires 128 terabytes but you're an idiot if you try with less than 512. All I use the computer for is posting cat holograms and running porn programs on my holodeck. It's ridiculous.

News for Nerds? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46654289)

*cough*

Gotta agree. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46654349)

I'm running a computer at work (IBM P4 @ 2.4Ghz) and (the now unsupported) Windows XP. It's nothing big, a 32Gb 1.8" OCZ Onyx SATA II - it boots from POST to ready to run in about 10 seconds. Doesn't feel anywhere near the 12-13 years old it actually is.

what the hell? (5, Insightful)

slashmydots (2189826) | about 6 months ago | (#46654421)

"Obviously, the first performance enhancement you do on any computer you own is max out the RAM"
What kind of clueless moron wrote that nonsense?

Re:what the hell? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46654987)

Someone who remembers the days when upgrading from 512MB to 1GB caused massive improvements. Upgrading from 8GB to 12GB shouldn't do anything for a common desktop user.

or just get a hybrid drive (1)

alen (225700) | about 6 months ago | (#46654431)

my HD died in my macbook last year
it was out of warranty so i bought a hybrid drive at best buy. 1TB with 32MB of flash and it made a huge difference in speed.
pure SSD is most likely faster, but not enough for me to shell out all that money for a second here and there

That makes some big assumptions (0)

sethstorm (512897) | about 6 months ago | (#46654463)

1: That any SSD's available for the platform aren't bottlenecked
2: That the machine in question has the room to hold both drives
3: That SSD's have no issues with write times, space allocation, or the like.

Physical drives are here to stay given that they don't rely on those three assumptions to exist.

Notable improvement (3, Interesting)

Sarten-X (1102295) | about 6 months ago | (#46654603)

This post probably deserves an off-topic mod. I know. With that out of the way...

I'll admit, since my comment [slashdot.org] on the last video, I've been curious what the next would be like. Roblimo, I don't know if you saw or cared about my comment, but I notice that this story is far better. As of this writing, there is not a single comment complaining about advertising, even though there's still only a single company directly involved. The focus is more general, and that makes the whole thing much more appealing. Kudos to you. It makes me happy to think that I might be improving Slashdot in some small way.

Granted, the subject is a bit under the typical Slashdotter's level of expertise, but that's beside the point. This would have been really nice when I was explaining to a former boss how SSDs should properly be used. He thought I was crazy for suggesting that the documents he wanted to have instant access to should be on the slower drive.

Who, in the tech community, hasn't done this? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46654851)

Seriously, I thought this was common sense.

A new one what? A new SSD? A new testicle? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46655069)

An SSD for your computer may save the cost of growing a pair?

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