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Is there a solid-state drive (SSD) in your future computer?

by Lee Koo (ADMIN) CNET staff/forum admin / July 20, 2012 9:26 AM PDT
Is there a solid-state drive (SSD) in your future computer?

Hello everyone. Solid-state drives (SSDs) are rapidly becoming the
main drive in PCs (not just a boot drive for the OS) as a factory
install or DIY upgrade. They are lighter, noiseless, don't generate
heat, consume less energy (extending battery life), are incredibly fast,
and seemly indestructible versus their spinning HD cousins.

Granted, most factory-installed SSDs top out at 256GB (ultrabooks and
MacBook Airs) with a few at 512GB. Aftermarket prices range from
$0.82 to $1.36 per GB. That translates into $104 for a 128GB SSD to
$696 for a 512GB SSD (depending upon the manufacturer). A Crucial M4
series 512GB SSD (highly rated) can be had for about $400. As you can
see, a little careful shopping can net you a pretty good deal on some
state-of-the-art technology.

Laptops are outselling towers as most people want mobility. However,
that mobility comes at a price. A factory-installed SSD can increase
the price of an $800 - $1,000 laptop by about $400 (regardless of Gb
capacity). Because of cost, most buyers forego the SSD option.
However, with technology changing so rapidly that $800 - $1,000 laptop
is yesterday's news in six months. But it's still cutting-edge

One way to make that one-year-old laptop seem like new is to
install a SSD. As a matter of full disclosure, in the beginning SSDs
had a reputation for not handling data storage efficiently. Put
simply they weren't able to properly recapture/reallocate space
wherein something had been deleted. TRIM and Garbage Collection
technologies (plus any other manufacturer proprietary schemes
introduced into the SSD controller) have greatly minimized those
concerns. By comparison, the old-fashioned (well, may be not old-fashioned)
spinning HD is prone to developing "Bad Sectors," which makes that
portion of the drive unreadable/unwriteable. SSDs today have
similar MTBF (Mean Time Between Failure) ratings as spinning HD's.

Now, the questions to you are (in any order you choose to answer):

1. Do you see an SSD in your future or do you have one already?

2. Was your SSD part of a new PC purchase or DIY upgrade?

3. If you made the switch, what's your satisfaction level on a scale of
1 to 5 (5 being the highest)?

4. If the switch was a DIY upgrade, what brand and size (GB) did you
choose and why?

5. Do you feel the SSD technology is ready for "primetime?" Why it is
or why not?

In case you're wondering, I upgraded my early 2011 MBP 17-inch with a 750
GB spinning HD to an OCZ Vertex 4 SATA III- 512Gb 2.5-inch SSD and I'm
loving it!

Remember, your answers may help fellow members make up their minds to
take the SSD plunge, or not. So, be as accurate/honest as possible and
try to keep the techno-babble to a minimum for the sake of the
uninitiated. Thanks in advance!

-Submitted by: Aaron J.

UPDATED on 7/27/2012: Please read Aaron's thank you note, feedback, and well summed up analysis of members contributions to this topic:

Note from Lee: A big thank you Aaron for this follow up response from you. It is just spectacular! I appreciate it and I think all of members here will too! Thanks again Aaron!

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SSD in your future?
by gvnmcknz / July 20, 2012 11:27 AM PDT

A lot depends on how much data you "really" need on your machine.
8GB of SSD happily runs Lubuntu (LXDE Ubuntu), Libre Office, Chromium etc..
I've been running cheapo SSDs from Ebay with cheapo Atom mobos for a couple of years now.

I'm not writing War and Peace, running a major corporation, or playing games, so 8GB fine, (and cheap).
I have Dropbox, Google Drive, and UbuntuOne for (secure hopefully) storage.

32GB SSD runs a full-fat Linux with room to spare.

+1 for SSDs

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Future? Try past!
by tek-ed / July 20, 2012 12:16 PM PDT

I've been rocking SSD storage for over 3 years now! Of course, I'm talking about my Dell Mini-9 Netbook.
This thing was designed from the ground up for SSD and while it's not that big (only 16GB) it's more than enough for Windows 7 Home premium. Plus, it has a full size SSD slot that I have another 8GB card in. And to get external storage, I have a low profile 32GB yeah, SSD? What took the rest of you so long?

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SSD Primetime but at a premium cost
by cacarson / July 20, 2012 12:21 PM PDT

In my opinion SSDs are indeed ready for primetime although there is definately a price premium. First to answer your questions:

1) Do you see an SSD in your future or do you have one already? I currently have 3. All older technology Crucial 256GB C300 drives.

2) Was your SSD part of a new PC purchase or DIY upgrade? On my laptop the SSD was an upgrade. I custom built 2 desktops with SSDs as part of the build.

3) If you made the switch what's your satisfaction level on a scale of 1 to 5 (5 being the highest)? On the laptop I'd have to say my satisfaction level is 5+. For the money it offered, and delivered, the single biggest performance increase possible from a single upgrade I could easily implement on the laptop. On the desktops the SSDs delivered the performance I expected. I'm happy all the way around.

4) If the switch was a DIY upgrade, what brand and size (GB) did you choose and why? As stated before all mine are 256GB Crucial C300 drives. These drives had great specs, great reviews, and a great company behind them. At the time 256GB SSDs were at the high end of the storage range and expensive. Prices have dropped over 50% since I put mine in.

5) Do you feel the SSD technology is ready for "primetime"? Absolutely if you're willing to pay a price premium to implement them and also providing your OS supports TRIM or some other form of automatic garbage collection. SSDs use less power, generate less heat, don't have mechnical components which should improve reliability, don't have to spin up after being put to sleep, and are lighter than traditional drives.

So yes I'd highly recommend an SSD for someone running a modern OS such as Windows 7.

In terms of manufacturer I'd look at reviews on Newegg, Amazon, and such and see what people are currently saying. My experience with the Crucial drives has been great and I have no complaints.

In terms of size there are 2 ways to look at it, how much do you need or how much you can afford. Let's face it, most people probably will never fill up 256GB. So if you can't afford a larger drive go for a smaller one. If you have unlimited funds go for 512GB. Also if you have a system that supports multiple drives you could always put in a smaller SSD for your 'C:' drive and install the OS and most programs on it and keep your traditional drive to store less used or bulky files.

One thing to check is if your system, and prospective SSD, both support the SATA III standard. SATA I caps out at 1.5 Gbit/s transfer rates while SATA II caps out at 3.0 Gbits/s and SATA III provides 6.0 Gbits/s. So to get the most performance out of your new SSD you'll want everything to support the SATA III standard. There are other interfaces available as well but since SATA is the most common I'll limit my response to that.

Also remember that most SSDs are 2.5" drives. To install them in a desktop you may need a 3.5" adapter. In one of my desktop systems space was so tight (and the drive so light) I used double sided foam tape to stick the drive to the bottom of the case. Doesn't sound elegant but it works fine and keeps the drive in place when the system is moved.

My personal opinion on something to avoid is SSD caching. This is a scheme used by some manufacturers which puts a SSD between your computer and a conventional hard drive. The thought is that data is buffered using the SSD to boost conventional drive performance. Even though the manufacturers typically use advanced algorithms to pre-read the conventional drive you end up paying more for much less performance. If you want all the performance go with a true SSD.

So what can you expect? At a minimum I'd expect 3x the read throughput and 2x the write throughput. I'd guess my laptop battery life was extended by 20-25% but your mileage may vary. All of my systems boot up from a powered down state in under 30 seconds. I just timed a cold boot on my Toshiba laptop with an AMD P920 processor from the time I pressed the power button until the password prompt appeared in Windows 7 - a total of 25 seconds. On the same system time from clicking 'shutdown' until the system powers off is 14 seconds. Both of my desktop systems perform slightly faster than my laptop. First time using MS Word opens in 1.3 seconds, MS Excel and PowerPoint are about the same.

My oldest drive is now just over 2 years old. I have not had any issues with any of my drives since installing them. I think you'll be happy if you have the right equipment and make the plunge.

Addendum to first post:

A couple of thoughts occurred to me after I posted my original reply.

First on choosing manufacturers. In addition to the reviews I'd also look on the manufacturer's website to see how easy it is to get support like firmware updates for the drive. Since SSDs rely on software algorithms to manage storage it's not unusual for them to periodically update their firmware. My oldest drive has been through 3 updates over the past 2 or so years.

Second is on installing an SSD. From my perspective there are 2 installations from a Windows 7 perspective. The first is where you install a brand new OS on an SSD from ground zero. In this case most SSD specific options should be recognized by the installation process so you shouldn't have any issues (be sure your bios is set to AHCI mode before the install). The second type of install is where you copy the contents of your current conventional drive to an SSD and use the SSD to replace your conventional drive. It's been a while since I've done this on my laptop but at the time I had to research SSD specific settings and manually get everything configured (in fact my computer wouldn't boot when I set the bios to use AHCI mode until the correct Windows registry settings were made). Some of these settings allow the drive to run in AHCI mode (instead of IDE mode), and preventing defrag from running on the SSD (which is not needed) among other things. Many people may need technical assistance to ensure all the settings are correct. Just remember on Windows 7 a clean install should be easy while replacing a drive may be a little more effort.

Note: This post was edited by Lee Koo (ADMIN) 07/27/2012 11:41AM to merge 2 posts by member cacarson into one--see addendum...

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I Don't Reall Have One
by Hforman / July 20, 2012 12:28 PM PDT

I have not tried to use one yet due to the cost. Additionally, if I start planning piece-by-piece upgrades, I usually just say "WTF" and buy a new computer. As long as my computer now is doing OK, I don't see any real need to change.

One of my startup issues is that I simply have too many programs that seem to all want to run at the exact moment you login and want tostart by doing updates off the internet and then run some sort of scans. I really have not analyzed if this is all disk or if CPU and memory come into play. It is almost impossible to get Task manager to come up quickly enough to see what is going on.

As far as SSD goes, I've heard the rumors that they have a very limited lifespan compared to motorized drives and have seen applications that will tell you when your SSD is about to die on you. I don't know if it is true as I just have not done the research and would like to hear from others that have looked into this. I have a manager at work that had an SSD installed in his laptop and I'm noticing that Windows Update is dying on his machine with an error 0xD0000006 which is supposed to be a hard drive issue. He's telling me that he has an SSD so there isn't supposed to be a need to run CHKDSK. Again, I don't know how true that is. I've had jump drives that have had errors. Also, I can see, partially, why you wouldn't want to defrag the SSD because it would wear the drive down faster and not improve performance that drastically since it would do nothing for sector alignment, only for cluster handling since a cluster is a Microsoft/NTFS item. I suspect that he does not have a drive that has automatic gathering of free space so it might be that the Microsoft patches just don't fit anywhere. Now that I know he is having this issue, I might have to do a lot more research.

I have heard they have SSD with a hard-drive backing but, alas, I don't know much about there either. I hope someone with more information can come along and give us both insight into these devices. Thanks for asking about them.

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Answer To Startup Problem
by 2dogday / July 27, 2012 6:02 PM PDT
In reply to: I Don't Reall Have One

You can prevent everything upgrading at once and slowing your computer, by loading offline first. I turn my computer off when I'm through for the day, and leave it off until I'm ready to use it again. Everything loads really fast. After it's finished, then plug into the online outlet and your router. You can do the same with a laptop; turn it on without going online first. It really saves time in the long run, and it's better for your computer, too.

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SSDs are Here to Stay

I've been installing SSDs as upgrades on laptops for the past 2 years. In my opinion, the laptops that come with SSDs already installed are overpriced, so it's easier to purchase the machine with the standard SSD and replace the HDD with the SSD of your chioce.

As has been stated in earlier posts, you should pay very careful attention to the reviews on seemingly "Cheap" SSDs. Often times these SSDs are being cleared out of inventory at a low price and being replaced with SSDs that don't have all the problems. In the beginning there were only a few companies stepping up in the consumer SSD game, but today there are scores of companies selling them. I've pretty much stuck with the Intel offerings because I haven't had any problems whatever with them. It's true that they cost a little more for the same size, but in my opinion it's worth the cash. If it were my own computer I was working with, I might stick my neck out a little further and try some of the other brands, but when it comes to working with a customer I need to be sure it won't be coming back any time soon.

The main reason I'm responding to this thread is to emphasize the need to BACK UP YOUR HARD DRIVE!!! SSDs are really fast and great to work with, but if the SSD fails, it's not like a Hard Drive. Not ANYTHING LIKE A HARD DRIVE, when it comes to recovering critical data. Often times when a Hard Drive fails, nearly all of the user's data can be retrieved and placed back on a new Hard Drive. With SSD drives, you run the risk of losing EVERYTHING permanently. So for my customers who opt for the faster payoff of the SSD, I usually insist they use an external HDD backup to secure their critical data. SSDs these days are usually 512GB or less, so cloning an SSD to an external drive is certainly worth the time and effort.

To answer your questions.
1. Yes I have several.
2. Always an upgrade.
3. Compared to HDD, a 5 (Great Satisfaction) - But backup your data.
4. I prefer Intel and some models of Crucial.
5. SSD is already primetime - we just haven't caught up with it yet.

Hope this helps.

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I am watching this thread with interest
by ozark123 / July 20, 2012 1:11 PM PDT

My 2005 Desk Top is getting a little long at the tooth. If money allows I intend to have SYX build a computer for me this fall .

I have heard good things about SS drives and am generally in favor of adding one to the mix. Unfortunately I know very little about them. At present I plan to use a 1TB HD and a 128 Crucial m4 Series. The only reason I am interested in the Crucial SSD is because SYX offers them. My main reason for considering a SSD is faster boot up and hopefully faster all round performance.

Hopefully I can learn from the answers others posts. My main concern is choosing a SSD that is reliable and the best deal for the money.

FWIW here is a rough idea of what I want. I'm not sure if these components will impact the reliability / performance of the SSD or not.

SYX Mid-Tower ATX Chassis
Networking: Integrated Gigabit Network Adapter
Memory: 8GB DDR3 PC3-10600 1333MHz Memory (4GB x 2)
Software: Microsoft Windows 7 Home Premium 64bit SP1
Hard Drive: Crucial m4 Series 128GB 2.5" SATA 6G SSD
Power Supplies: 550 Watt 80 PLUS Bronze Power Supply
Power Protection: No Power Protection
Hard Drive: 1TB 7200RPM 3.5" SATA Hard Drive
Motherboards: MSI B75A-G43 LGA1155 ATX Motherboard
Accessories: SYX Venture SB75A Series
Memory: Intel Core i5-3450 3.1GHz 6M LGA1155 Processor
Optical Drives: Dual (Qty 2) 22X SATA DVDRW Drives
Video / Graphics Cards: Integrated Intel High-Def Graphics

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You may Consider a Little More for Balance
by High Desert Charlie / July 21, 2012 5:41 AM PDT

Hi ozark123,

I've looked over the specs for your proposed system and in my humble opinion, it seems a little off balance. Please allow me to explain:

1. Considering the budget prices for DDR3 RAM memory, your desktop system seems a little light. Especially if you're going with a SSD as your boot/primary drive. I think I'd spend the extra cash to upgrade to at least 16GB on this system. You will see better performance in your internet speed, streaming video, and other memory intensive programs with the extra memory. The added cost would be about $50.00. Your motherboard can accept up to 32GB of RAM.

2. Crucial makes good SSDs, and considering you're using a standard HDD as a second drive I believe you've made a good choice. The Crucial M4 has pretty good ratings. I would caution you in this setup that you should have a 128GB partition built into your HDD to use as a backup for your SSD in case it were to fail.

3. As you install your programs, you'll want to be sure that you set up the HDD as the repository for all of your data files. This is especially true with large files like movies, pictures, and music files, which should all be saved on your HDD.

4. You didn't mention what Brand of HDD you were planning on using, but in my shop we use only Western Digital Black in this sort of setup.

5. Your MSI B75A-G43 LGA1155 ATX Motherboard seems a little weak for this system, basically because it has only 1 SATA port @ 6Gbs. For faster data transfers you might want to consider a motherboard with at least 2 SATA 6Gbs ports. You'll want one for the HDD and one for the SSD.

6. Your processor is a good choice for this setup. It's not as fast as some of the more exotic K processors, but considering the balance of the rest of the system, it seems like a good fit. (Even better with 16GB of RAM).

I wish you well on your new "Stuff". I hope it serves it's turn long after we're gone.

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Thanks for the info
by ozark123 / July 21, 2012 3:21 PM PDT

I appreciate the information. The SATA III was on my list of requirements but it didn't occur to me that I would need two.

Just the kind of info I was looking for.



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My 2-cents
by Willy / July 20, 2012 1:33 PM PDT

No SSD in my future and thought it will be anytime soon, period.

However, being a tech I have dealt with them. I don't treat them any different when I install one. I do see the difference and mainly that's the speed increase, etc.. I had no call back to fix one, cross-fingers so far. BUT!!! I do get to hear negative feedback from others , either techs or end-users. Usually, that user was desiring an overall improvement and they got, but later(roughly 12-18mo.) later it craps out. I think these users were earlt users of what came out or brought bargain SSDs. I get the feeling after the negative feedback, its not as good as it should be. At the same time, the few I have installed or inputted the info that they can do it, are running well. It seems when a SSD does go bad, it does in a flash, no hint or clue, just belly-up. For many, the warranty kicks-in and gets replaced w/o hassle, that I hear.

So, in light of this info, no SSD for me. I'm quite happy with std. HD. -----Willy Shocked

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In 3 yrs time
by samkh / July 21, 2012 12:04 AM PDT
In reply to: My 2-cents

HDDs will disappear from consumer devices (already from mobile gadgets!), so stock up a lifetime qty at the lowest price possible in that window whenever you have the opportunity Happy

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So far, HDs rule
by Willy / July 21, 2012 2:11 AM PDT
In reply to: In 3 yrs time

I'm sure SSD will become more popular but as accepted storage media on lesser demanding devices/PCs and/or smaller devices. Also, when pricing reaches a comfortable zone, that too will help.

However, since I've worked on computers/electronics for well over 35yrs., HDs are still around and have changed alot. I don't see them dropping out completely at least for the immediate future. They still do well in storage media and are less costly. These factors alone allow them to stick around longer. I have been around when other SSD came on the market and they left pretty quickly. Now, current SSD have gotten alot of things right, but failing still is part of the mixture. Also, data recovery is entirely different if at all possible on some SSD. If one wants to buy a SSD for the long haul, they better buy a premium one,as lesser made ones will fail. On that note, that too has improved, but buying the less costly still reigns on end-users minds.

tada ------Willy Happy

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by samkh / July 21, 2012 9:07 AM PDT
In reply to: So far, HDs rule

I agree "storage" will be on HDDs for a long long time. Nothing on the radar yet to replace them. Flash (incl. SSD) OTOH with its low power consumption and improving reliability will take over the secondary (primary being dynamic RAM) role of interacting with CPU; that's where HDDs will disappear.

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To go SSD or not

Of course it'll all go SSD, why not it's only the natural progression of the technology. Imagine if we had RAM with spinning wheels, or 7" floppies? The prices will come down but more importantly with the all covering Cloud we don't need the capacity anymore we relied on before. If anything capacity will reduce rather than increase with time.

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Maybe for Your Home Computer
by Hforman / July 27, 2012 8:20 PM PDT
In reply to: To go SSD or not

At work, we are not allowed to use "public" cloud yet because of HIPAA and CJIS concerns. We do have some very large disk arrays and that is important because we can't afford downtime if an SSD blows up but maybe they will eventually have them in RAID (redundant) configurations. Also, there will need to be better pricing in the $ per gigabyte area. They tend to buy the CHEAPEST stuff at work for some unknown reason and cheap is NOT where you want to go with SSD. IMHO.

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Have 2 SSD's at the moment
by Doh_1 / July 20, 2012 6:03 PM PDT

The first SSD that I got is in my desktop, which speeds up booting (of course) and pretty nearly everytthing else that I do I've had that one for over 2 years now, a 160GB Intel SSD. Has worked very well for me, and the Intel SSD Toolbox still shows 100% life left. I had a lot of configuration stuff to do, like getting rid of the paging and hibernation disk files (8GB of memory, and never put it to sleep since I work on a VPN that doesn't like sleep mode).

I have another SSD in my laptop (that takes two disks). The SSD makes the boot very quick and painless. And it comes out of sleep really fast as well. And operates very quickly doing anything involving the disk, which is nearly everything...this one is 120GB Intel 520 series, and is even quicker than the older Intel.

I like the Intel SSD's since they have a really good warranty (which I haven't needed), and have been very reliable. You pay a little more for an Intel SSD, but for me it's worth it. My opinion is that they are the best bang for the buck for performance improvement for an aging desktop or a new laptop. I'm very very happy with them.

Both systems have secondary rotating disks that are useful for data storage, the 120GB. C:\ drives are used most for the OS and programs, and some minor amounts of data that I need to get to quickly. VM's are kept on the data disks, since they're huge and I'm always copying them and backing them up. Writing and deleting huge files like VM's repeatedly with SSD's is not reputed to be great for them in any case, so I want to avoid that.

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For me, slow and steady wins the race
by Nerosas / July 20, 2012 7:28 PM PDT

If all I did on my laptop was browsing the internet, then yes of course I would get an SSD for it (if I could figure out how to open it). They are very fast and it would just be the perfect thing for that. But, as a person who does a lot of saving/deleting files and installing/uninstalling programs and things like that, an SSD just isn't for me. If you use a computer the way I do, an SSD has it's problems as they have a limited number of read and writes before they finally conk out. While my 320gb hard drive remains way more than big enough for me, the size of the SSD isn't the problem but the number of read and writes. After all, if you're going to be doing a lot of saving/deleting and installing/uninstalling programs, that would wear the SSD down quite a lot within a period of about a year. Indeed, while I need as much battery life from my laptop as possible and an SSD would help this, I have a budget and expect my laptops to last for a good 5 years (or even longer, 7 years would be great) before they break. And at the moment my laptop has more batatery life than I need. If battery life does become a problem with my laptop, I'd rather replace the battery every 2-3 years than replace an SSD every year. Replacing my SSD every year would be an expensive job and I would rather have the slower and more reliable hard drive than a really fast but more unreliable SSD in my computer. Until this problem with SSD's is fixed, that is the only time when I would consider getting an SSD for my laptop.

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Slow and Steady Wins the Race
by gvnmcknz / July 20, 2012 10:46 PM PDT

You are right about browsing the internet.
ChromeOS is all about that.

You can do the same, pretty much, on an 8GB SSD with Lubuntu.
It will fit a full LibreOffice in as well.
Cost $70 two years ago and going strong.

Ideal for refreshing an ageing Laptop.
Free software, so factor that in as well.

Recommend SSD + Linux (a lightweight one preferably)

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In Answer to Your Questions...
by Flatworm / July 21, 2012 12:55 AM PDT
1. Do you see an SSD in your future or do you have one already?

I have one already, an OCZ Vertex 3 Max IOPS 128GB. It has now been running for about seven months now without incident.

2. Was your SSD part of a new PC purchase or DIY upgrade?

It was an upgrade to my home-built desktop system. My wife gave the drive to me as a birthday present. I had to migrate over the O/S and program files from the original 2GB HDD.

3. If you made the switch, what's your satisfaction level on a scale of
1 to 5 (5 being the highest)?

At LEAST 5, because I am really pleased far more highly than I was expecting. The migration was easy because I first invested in a tool to accomplish it, Paragon Migrate OS to SSD, which is well worth the purchase price. No, really! It makes it SO EASY and very nearly foolproof! You just install the physical drive, pick what you want to migrate, and you don't need to do any partitioning, allocating or anything.

4. If the switch was a DIY upgrade, what brand and size (GB) did you
choose and why?

I got a 128 GB OCZ Vertex 3 Max IOPS. I got it because at the time it was the fastest drive available according to various comparison tests I read and because it was the largest capacity of that model that I could afford with my gift card. Furthermore, 128 GB is adequate for my operating system and my applications, which is all I use that drive for. ALL of my data, including logfiles, are stored on larger capacity HDDs.

5. Do you feel the SSD technology is ready for "primetime?" Why it is
or why not?

Aside from price/capacity issues, SSDs are DEFINITELY ready for prime time if use is limited to what they do best, and the prices on them are falling now at an absolutely astonishing rate (in contrast to HDDs, where the price is high right now because of floods in Thailand where most of them are manufactured). I could get the drive I installed in my machine about half a year ago for about half the price I paid for it.

SSDs, at least for the time being, are suitable for SYSTEM drives but not as well suited for data drives, particularly in those instances where the data is constantly being overwritten (like database applications). Oh, they work just fine and provide spectacular performance, but their lifespan will be short.

I'm happy as a pig in slop with mine and I will never again build a computer without one as the system drive. My computer was already a screamer, water-cooled Core i7 2600K overclocked to 4.2Ghz, 16GB fast (PC20000) DDR3, with a 10K rpm 6 GB/sec 2TB hard drive, which made it pretty fast already. But when I installed that SSD, well, now the thing is basically instantaneous in everything it does. It now boots from cold nearly as quickly as it had previously awoken from sleep, and bringing applications up is genuinely instant -- click on the Firefox icon and **BANGO!** it pops right up, even the first time after reboot. The time it takes the system to boot from cold has been cut by perhaps 4/5ths and maybe more, and everything else it does has been similarly sped up.

The weirdest thing is how much it sped up downloading large files from Usenet. This is particularly weird in that all the data writing, including temp files, is still taking place on the original 2TB HDD.

SSDs aren't so good for pre-Windows 7 operating systems. Windows 7 is very nearly a WORM-type system, Write Once Read Mostly. SSDs have limited rewrite cycles so earlier MS OSes like XP and Vista, which read, write and overwrite OS files frequently, can shorten the lifespan of the drive. But Windows 7 is nearly ideal for SSDs, as long as you take care to store your data, including application data and frequently-written logging files, on an HDD.

After 7 months, my OCZ drive is still showing 100.0% life remaining. I like that (and the fact that it monitors itself that way).

But anyone who thinks these drives are unbreakable should think again. I dropped one from a very low height -- no more than 8 inches -- onto the top of a wooden desk and, although it accepted the O/S migration without any reported errors it was highly unstable, crashing at ten minute intervals. Luckily the vendor replaced it free despite my admitted clumsiness. I have dropped HDDs from greater height without damage, although I do try to keep such catastrophic ineptitude to a minimum. It's just that things get harder as senior citizenship increasingly encroaches on my once adequate abilities.
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SSD in our future.
by Silvertop / July 21, 2012 1:16 AM PDT

Yes, I broke down about a year ago and installed a 120 GIG Adata SSD. Best move I have made in awhile. My main drive (old HD) is a 1T WD Black where all my programs reside along with all my data. The SSD only holds Windows 7 (30gigs, with 80gigs free). When I install a program I always select 'custom' so I can tell the program to install on the HD rather than the SSD. It works very well with boot time of 8 seconds and shut down in 3 seconds. Neato!

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RAM next? USB sticks as well?
by gvnmcknz / July 21, 2012 2:12 AM PDT

Currently I'm writing this in Linux in RAM Memory.
Maybe just slightly off topic?
But if we're booting from non-revolving media.

I'm running in RAM a Chromium Browser in Linux (Exprimo Puppy).
Booting from a 4GB USB stick, (1GB would be more than enough}
RAM (1GB) on a old Atom (Acer Aspire R3600) and Broadband speed is the limiting factor.

Takes longer to load into RAM, (not much longer).
Runs like Blazes!

Give it a try, tiny download, Unetbootin to put on USB.
Won't try and write anything to HDD/SSD unless you tell it to.
You could also try US Dept of Defence Lightweight Portable Security.
TinyCore, Slitaz. All very secure.
Look at LiLi Linux Live also alongside Unetbootin to install to USB.

Have fun

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SSD Drive copy problem
by Luhng / July 22, 2012 3:52 PM PDT

1. I have one.

2. New PC/upgrade short form PC used to upgrade a desktop.

3. Satisfaction 4. (40 seconds to boot WIN7 X64 including about 15 start up programmes)

5. I have noticed an SSD is not plain sailing:

a. Not a big deal but, In my drive manager programme, it only recognises it as a secondary drive i.e. the drive order is E:\ (first Sata hard drive), C:\ and D:\ (SSD drives)

b. What was a real problem was that there was a failure to copy correctly.

I had all my programmes on a USB drive ready to install to the SSD drive. I copied them over to the SSD drive to speed the process using Windows copy in explorer.

I installed all the programmes and it all went okay but when I came to use them some were non functional and others partially functional.

I had to reformat and re-install the programmes which went perfectly from the USB drive I had used to copy to the files to SSD drive i.e. the programmes were all okay.

So, eventually I tested it and, sure enough, a straight copy from USB (or SATA drive) to SSD would not install correctly on a number of programmes.

I used a free copying programme that copies and then does a CRC check (I won't name it here so you don't think it's an advertising prank) and the programmes installed perfectly from the SSD drive.

I have also had other copying problems i.e. I have moved files from the SATA drive to the SSD drive and nothing has happened but, if I close the explorer and re-open it, all actions have been completed. (This may just be a Microsoft fault and not and SSD fault).

So my advice is, don't trust copying programme files to an SSD drive especially using the windows copy or move function.


Windows Vista Home Premium X38
WIN 7 Ultimate X64.

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SSD for OS versus SSD for data.
by gvnmcknz / July 23, 2012 2:48 AM PDT
In reply to: SSD Drive copy problem

SSD for OS definitely, For data I'm not so sure.

I had, previously, Terabyte Raid HDD's, which I found I rarely used.
DVD's, Music, Photos etc.
Plus big HDD for OS (Dual Boot Win7 and Linux).

However I found
Win7 plus browsers and OpenOffice etc. fit fine in a 32GB SSD
Linux you can run same in 8GB.
Both run very fast, no failures to date, simple precautions only.

External USB HDDs are fast enough to stream films from, and keep backups.

I think, unless you are a gamer or heavy Photoshopper (or Gimp) maybe you don't need TB of HDD.
Just running your OS from an SSD will give you a significant performance boost.
Will be much, much cheaper, and these days (unless you need the latest hyperfast kit), cheaper is good.

Regarding (re)installing software.
I just gave up trying to reinstall Win7, it took forever, next day I was still downloading updates.
I don't hate Windows, I just don't have a compelling reason to want to pay for it.
I quite happily use it on my wifes laptop.

Linux I can download, install, update, and add programs in 2 to 3hrs.
Odd Windows programs I can run under WINE.

Win8 (maybe) will be easier to install, but I am not happy at the prospect of a board that "only" runs Win8.

So buy a smaller SSD and give it a try with your OS of choice.
Buy a Linux Magazine and try a Live CD/USB.
Have fun and save money.


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Drive copy Problem
by Luhng / July 23, 2012 4:27 PM PDT


I do the same roughly.

I have a 120 gig SSD with the OS, all programmes and an encrypted temp file for daily "stuff" waiting to be stored permanently i.e. except for what I'm actually doing everything is encrypted. All my data is on 4 x 1-2TB drives (3 in a removable bay all USB3 and I keep a master backup of everything on one disk that's only attached to backup and then removed).

I actually use TrueCrypt encrypted files for all my data so nothing is ever left unprotected. Even my WIN Temp files are in an encrypted file. (I don't like the idea of encrypting the whole drive just 500Gig files.)

I have my own little system where I use 100 character passwords for my encrypted files and those passwords aren't stored on or off the computer.

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Use DriveClone to do this
by DavidDen / July 23, 2012 11:11 AM PDT
In reply to: SSD Drive copy problem

Fortunately, I don't use Windows copy. I use cloning, below is my steps:
1. install DriveClone 8 in source computer, download it from
2. plug ssd into a USB enclosure, and connect it to source computer;
3. Cloning system partition(also can choose the whole hard drive) to the USB, manually resizing partition size if you like;
4. take the ssd out and install it into the target computer;
5. just startup the target computer, everythings are intactly moved to the new computer.

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Use DriveClone to do this
by Luhng / July 23, 2012 2:21 PM PDT

Thanks, DavidDen.

I normally use Paragon software to clone backups. (I reinstall my OS every month rather than playing with the hopeless registry cleaner software).

As you probably know, if you transfer the OS to different hardware it won't boot. I don't know if DriveClone can compensate for this. Paragon can. It's called "adaptive drive software" or something. Whilst moving the OS across, Paragon finds the correct drivers to run the new hardware automatically.

The reason I needed to install programmes was that rather than exposing my new PC to errors I used the backup I had of a clean Windows Vista install which only had the OS, anti-virus, Paragon and Microsoft Office.

Of course, when I changed to WIN7 Ultimate X64, it was all from scratch.

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Universal Restore(Disimiliar Restore) can do this job
by DavidDen / July 24, 2012 11:58 AM PDT

From my experience, I clone my system partition to a SSD hard drive and install it in another new computer without any problem.
As I remember, Total Recovery Pro( has a similiar function called Universal Restore(Disimiliar Restore) to do this job - restore current OS to another computer with different hardwares. Thus, you can backup your clean system to an image, and restore to any computer when you like. I also try that function without any problem.

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how to shred data in SSD
by DavidDen / July 23, 2012 11:02 AM PDT

I have tried several SSD. Yes, it's much faster than traditional hard drives.
It takes me lots of time to find a software to transfer my Windows 7 system partition to it; most cloning softwares failed to move partition and let it bootable. At last, I found Farstone DriveClone 8 can do this job.
Another concern for our company to use SSD is: how to retrieve SSD hard drives. Some technical experts tell me that you cannot erase data in SSD with traditional software methods such as multiple overwriting in
What I want is that when some guys left, I can destory all data in SSD and give it to new guys, you know, in order to save money. Is there any software can do this job -safely shred all data in SSD including those in its over-provisionspace?
Thanks in advance!

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As a current SCSI user, I am optimistic
by bobbyrae / July 24, 2012 5:30 AM PDT

I have opted to use SCSI drives on my PC's for years simply because it is more robust and the drives always offered better performance. As I see SCSI being harder to acquire on a PC, I also see SSD's becoming more common. The performance should be even better, so I am a bit excited, but...

A well-known online retailer, which allows customer reviews, has lots of BAD reviews of SSD's. It seems like they have at least a 10% out-of-box failure rate with some models as high as 20%. And then there are tons of compatibility issues. And many of them are failing just months later. All this tells me "WAIT!"

One thing everyone seems to have forgotten about is the fact that these things will have a maximum number of reads and writes, and hence they are basically ticking time bombs! OK, I suppose for the average PC system you would be talking about 8 or more years, but AT SOME POINT, that drive will simply die of OLD AGE. This doesn't seem to be the case with hard drives.

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A thank you note and much more from Aaron J....
by Lee Koo (ADMIN) CNET staff/forum admin / July 27, 2012 3:57 AM PDT

Hello - Thanks For Contributing!

Thanks to everyone who responded. Your views are greatly appreciated and I believe will help fellow members make an informed decision. In reading your responses I think its safe to say that the majority approve the use of Solid State Drives (SSD) in lieu of the conventional HD when deployed in the right environment and application.

Consumer HD's will be around for a longtime. They are still superior when it comes to capacity and overall ease of use regarding erasure and data recovery. However, their use in laptops I believe will decrease as manufacturers continue their design trend of less is more, longer battery life and less vulnerability to shock by everyday use.

The sweet spot for the SSD laptop will most likely be 256GB as large capacity pocket size external and cloud storage markets continue to grow. Some manufacturers offer 512GB laptops such as Sony and now Apple with the new MBP 15" Retina display. Apple will even configure a MBP 15" with a 750GB SSD. WOW!

I question the wisdom of a 750GB SSD and larger given the delicate balance of speed vs. reliability vs. capacity. All of which have to be in sync without sacrificing the former two for the latter. But who am I to question the wisdom of Apple????

Contributors did express their Pros and Cons regarding SSD''s here's what I gathered from your comments:

Pros - Faster, Less Weight, Generate less heat, Consume less energy, Less likely to suffer damage if dropped (when installed in a laptop)

Cons - Limited life span versus HD's in terms of read/write cycles, SSD Secure File/Data Deletion, Data Recovery from a Failed SSD

The Pros don't require any discussion as they speak for themselves and are easily verified by the user. The Cons on the other hand while not false are not entirely true and therefore deserve discussion.

Limited life span versus HD's in terms of read/write cycles refers to SSD Endurance. TRIM and Garbage Collection technologies built into the SSD controller are designed to compensate and extend the life of the SSD under repeated write/re-write scenarios. Expert opinions suggest that consumers (below the enterprise level) should not be concerned. Click the link:

SSD Secure File/Data Deletion would appear to be more applicable to business applications vesus the consumer. At present the best consumer solution is Data Encryption. There is talk of standardizing a Data Erasure Scheme for SSD's. It has yet to be agreed upon because manufacturers want to keep their processes proprietary. Click the link:

Data Recovery from a Failed SSD is difficult. Researchers quote... "SSD failures are in fact unrecoverable. The advice is to look at data recovery information on your SSD vendor's site and disregard data recovery sites in operation for less than 5 years." Click the link:

The key is not to let the Cons discourage you. There are several things one can do to avoid or at least minimize the unfortunates that MAY come with owning an SSD:

• Deploy an SSD mainly for the OS and Applications Folders for fast boots/shutdowns and program launch/close
• Perform a "clean" install whenever possible versus cloning to an SSD
• Check the manufacturers website for firmware updates on a regular basis
• Know if a firmware update is Destructive, which erases all data during the update process. Typically deployed as the second update for a new controller design - not the norm
• Store your important files and those that require constant editing on a secondary drive
• Turn off Windows Indexing/Search to eliminate constant write/re-writes. Services not needed given the speed of SSD's versus a conventional HD.
• Never Defrag a SSD either by automatic or manual setting
• Turn off Windows and Security software logging
• Don't buy an off-brand SSD (if the price is too good to be probably is)
• Know your system and buy the correct SSD either SATA I, II, or III
• Choose the right size - 2.5 " for laptops - 3.5" for towers or 2.5" for towers using a 3.5" adapter
• Always BACK-UP your data on a regular basis
• If a DiY upgrade - Don't erase your old HD until you are satisfied with the SSD install...90 days at least

There is a lot of good information submitted by members such as cacarson, High Desert Charlie, Flatworm, gvnmcknz and bobbyrae to mention a few. So, take a read of as many posts as you can. Then do your own research and decide for yourself if an SSD is in your next PC purchase or as a DiY upgrade. Happy computing and thanks again to everyone!

Aaron J

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