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Are SSD Accelerators Any Good?

Soulskill posted more than 2 years ago | from the newton's-second-law-objects dept.

Data Storage 331

MrSeb writes "When solid-state drives first broke into the consumer market, there were those who predicted the new storage format would supplant hard drives in a matter of years thanks to radically improved performance. In reality, the shift from hard drives (HDDs) to SSDs has thus far been confined to the upper end of the PC market. For cost-conscious buyers and OEMs, the higher performance they offer is still too expensive and the total capacity is insufficient. SSD cache drives have emerged as a means of addressing this situation. They are small, typically containing between 20-60GB of NAND flash and are paired with a standard hard drive. Once installed, drivers monitor which applications and files are accessed most often, then cache those files on the SSD. It can take the software 1-2 runs to start caching data, but once this process is complete, future access and boot times are significantly enhanced. This article compares the effect of SSD cache solutions — Intel Smart Response Technology, and Nvelo Dataplex — on the performance of a VelociRaptor, and a slow WD Caviar drive. The results are surprisingly positive."

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Maybe (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40912049)

They are if I got first post. If not, then no.

Single Article - Multiple Pages (4, Interesting)

Taco Cowboy (5327) | more than 2 years ago | (#40914151)

TFA at extremetech isn't that feature rich, nor embarking on a brand new frontier that none of us had ever been

TFA could have been made into ONE PAGE, but no, extremetech ain't gonna let us, the readers, enjoy it in one shot - we had to click through all the 5 pages

Please, Slashdot !

Next time you give us a link to a single TFA with multiple pages, please indicate it right upfront

Thank you !
 

bcache (5, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40912057)

For Linux users: http://bcache.evilpiepirate.org/

Lets you use any SSD as a cache in front of another filesystem.

Re:bcache (4, Informative)

drinkypoo (153816) | more than 2 years ago | (#40912463)

Lets you use any SSD as a cache in front of another filesystem.

It would be niftier if it would let you use it as a block cache in front of any filesystem, instead of just one located on a specially-prepared partition. dm-cache will do this but isn't up to date.

Re:bcache (2)

mitgib (1156957) | more than 2 years ago | (#40912525)

Lets you use any SSD as a cache in front of another filesystem.

It would be niftier if it would let you use it as a block cache in front of any filesystem, instead of just one located on a specially-prepared partition. dm-cache will do this but isn't up to date.

Maybe Flashcache [github.com] would be a better choice for some. I use this as a read-cache on several VPS nodes and the results are impressive.

Re:bcache (4, Informative)

antifoidulus (807088) | more than 2 years ago | (#40912909)

Flashcache is a block-level caching algorithm, which means that it will work with any device, but it takes a metric TON of memory as it has to retain cache info for every block on the device. If you have the memory then yeah, you can get some speedup from it, but if you are memory constrained eating up that much memory for the small performance boost isn't worth it.

Re:bcache (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40912499)

If you are in the corporate world, Windows has this too. [wikipedia.org]

Re:bcache (3, Interesting)

Gaygirlie (1657131) | more than 2 years ago | (#40913253)

That's what I use on my laptop: I've got a 16GB class10 SDHC-card formatted as NTFS and fully dedicated to ReadyBoost and I do notice some speed-up in boot and firing up applications. Nothing spectacular and obviously an SSD would be ideal, but it is still better than nothing, especially with the prices SDHC-cards go for nowadays.

Re:bcache (2)

Nimey (114278) | more than 2 years ago | (#40914097)

Likewise I'm using a 16GB USB3 stick for Readyboost. It's certainly speeding up Saints Row the Third's otherwise atrocious loading times: something like 5 seconds to load my campaign versus a minute or so without.

Re:bcache (4, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40912913)

For Linux users: http://bcache.evilpiepirate.org/

Lets you use any SSD as a cache in front of another filesystem.

For ZFS users:
* read cache: zpool add {pool} cache {device}
* write cache: zpool add {pool} log {device}

Re:bcache (-1, Offtopic)

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No. (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40912129)

Hybrid drives or mixed mode setups kinda suck ass now that actual ss drives are getting to a reasonable price/size.

SSD for os/programs.

Giant TB+ drive for storage and media files.

Re:No. (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40912365)

Mod up. Momentus XT is nice but even that will lose its edge soon enough. I bought a Z77 board with the full intention of using S.R.T. caching, but i jsut bought a 180 GB intel 330 series for $159 + tax instead. I added a 3 TB HDD and backed up all my steam games to it. Now if i want to play something I load it up from the backup in minutes. I figure this configuration isnt far removed from what the consoles do. Eventually I'll have a USM SSD hot swap bay on the front of my comp. Swap SSD's in and out like game cartridges.

Re:No. (5, Insightful)

wbr1 (2538558) | more than 2 years ago | (#40912579)

For the average joe, they dont want to have to manage putting os/apps/frequent files on one drive and split the rest elsewhere. Software that automagically does this and keeps the cache up to date is a boon for the non power user.

Re:No. (2)

artor3 (1344997) | more than 2 years ago | (#40912865)

Bingo. I've been manually managing the shifting of files back and forth between my HDD and SSD for a couple years now, and while it's not particularly hard, it's not something I'd want to guide a non-techie through. Getting the OS on one drive and the user folders (my documents, videos, music, etc.) on the other isn't particularly well documented, and moving individual Steam games seems to require console commands, a rarity in Windows.

Even though I can manage it all myself, I would absolutely switch to having software handle it if there were a reliable, free, easy-to-use option.

Re:No. (1)

SydShamino (547793) | more than 2 years ago | (#40913713)

I have an SSD in my new work machine, with a big disc drive as D:. For this, though, it was pretty simple to install data files (p4 sync, PCB projects) on the HDD and use the SSD for OS and applications.

Re:No. (1)

FlyHelicopters (1540845) | more than 2 years ago | (#40913871)

I get you about Steam, the solution there is to just run all of Steam off a HDD and run everything else off the SSD.

My Steam folder is way too large to put onto a SSD right now anyway, darn summer sales event! :)

Most games don't care, the only games I run off an SSD are MMOs such as SWTOR, it is large enough and "busy" enough to care, but single player stuff doesn't matter.

Re:No. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40912925)

Completely agree. I have a cheap SSD (60GB) with Windows, all the bits and pieces that the OS seems to need just to idle, and the apps I often have open all the time (Firefox, Thunderbird, etc.). All the monolithic apps are on the HDD. It works well. The SSD handles all the small random stuff it excels at, and the HDD only needs to handle a single app's files at a time, so seek times are very low (for a HDD). I use mklink so everything is logically on the C: drive and I can move stuff between drives as I please. But I could never recommend this setup for the average user. Which leaves two options: A large (and expensive) SSD to completely replace the use of an internal HDD. Or cache.

Re:No. (1)

brantondaveperson (1023687) | more than 2 years ago | (#40913609)

boon for the non obsessive-compulsive

FTFY.

Re:No. (1)

schizz69 (1239560) | more than 2 years ago | (#40914021)

Assuming Windows is installed on the small 60gb SSD, change the default drive for the my pics, downloads and videos folder etc (right click the folder icon and change its location) It is not that hard, and windows handles the copying of data. I tend to leave the documents folder on the SSD as it contains the %appdata% folder by default and most people don't have more that 5gb of documents. All that said, I don't expect your grandmother to be able to do it by herself, but once it's setup, it is completely transparent to the end user.

Re:No. (1)

gman003 (1693318) | more than 2 years ago | (#40914025)

After getting it initially set up (which was, I will concede, a pain in three hundred asses), my own dual-drive system has required me to think about which drive to put something on precisely once, when installing the Unreal Anthology off CD (which was a case of picking "D:\Unreal Anthology" instead of "C:\Unreal Anthology" when installing).

Maybe it's because I could afford an SSD big enough that I don't worry *too* much about space, and having a hard drive faster than normal (it's a 7200rpm drive in a laptop - not too common, although a bit more common than dual-drive laptops in the first place).

Re:No. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40912817)

that's all well and good, but until windows can move all dynamic directories and files off the SSD (pagefile, etc.) MLC SSDs won't be lasting as long as they could.

Re:No. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40913471)

Because 10+ years isn't enough? Unless you're talking about enterprise, but then you're using SLC.

Re:No. (4, Insightful)

Eskarel (565631) | more than 2 years ago | (#40913753)

I'm sick of this myth. The math I've done indicates that, presuming that the drive is doing a halfway decent job of spreading the writes around, most cheap SSDs are rated to allow you to write the entire volume of the drive every day for about 30 years. Now personally I don't even come close to doing that, and your average physical HDD is rated for about 5 years, with 10 being a seriously long life.

If you buy a reasonable quality SSD at present your drive will not last long enough to see a significant level of NAND failure and what will kill it will be one of the million things that kills HDDs on a regular basis.

Re:No. (3, Interesting)

DigiShaman (671371) | more than 2 years ago | (#40914111)

SSDs have a propensity to just die like a normal HDD. Not sure why. Could be overheating, poor quality in materials making the ICs, buggy code in the firmware someplace. Who knows. But I've seen plenty OEM Samsung and OCZ Vertex 2 drives go tits up in a nanosecond. Either you can't read the data of the drives, or flat out wont enumerate SATA side (effectively bricked).

So why SSDs look great on paper in "theory", real-world stats say otherwise above and beyond just my own experiences.

OTOH, like the SSD crackwhore bitch that I am; once I tasted the speed of SSDs, I'll never go back. I just schedule daily backups to a standard HDD. Windows 7 Backup or Apple Time Machine for you Mac heads.

Re:No. (2)

TheLink (130905) | more than 2 years ago | (#40913971)

From what I see nearly all data-loss failures in SSDs are due to bugs or faults and not due to wear.

Re:No. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40912947)

That's my exact setup in my gaming system. Was worth every penny IMO

Re:No. (2)

Lumpy (12016) | more than 2 years ago | (#40912953)

Odd, the hybrid drive I just bought doesn't suck ass. It in fact is faster than ANY hard drive you can buy that has a 750gb size. Unless "suck ass" is the new hipster slang for "really fast". It made my old out of date quad core i5 laptop a whole lot faster.

Re:No. (3, Interesting)

afidel (530433) | more than 2 years ago | (#40913409)

I assure you that there are MANY 800 GB SAS/SATA SSD's that can beat your hybrid drive, they just cost more than most people will spend on their entire computer =)

Re:No. (2)

FlyHelicopters (1540845) | more than 2 years ago | (#40913891)

^ This

Also, a Quad Core i5 isn't out of date, last time I checked. :)

BTW, a pair of 512GB SSDs are no longer crazy expensive, they can be purchased for less than $1,000 total, which is less than many gamers spend on their computers.

Re:No. (1, Interesting)

cpu6502 (1960974) | more than 2 years ago | (#40912989)

I'd rather spend my money on RAM. Up the system memory from 8 GB to 32GB, and you eliminate the slowdown caused by hard drive accesses.

Re:No. (1)

FlyHelicopters (1540845) | more than 2 years ago | (#40913921)

^ Just a caution...

Windows 7 Home won't access more than 16GB of RAM, so while I agree with you, to a point... 32GB only helps on Pro or Ultimate.

Just thought I'd mention it.

Re:No. (1)

Cinder6 (894572) | more than 2 years ago | (#40913247)

I built a system two weeks ago, and I put in a 1TB drive and a 60GB cache SSD. The SSD definitely makes certain things nice--Windows boot time is down to ~7 seconds (I don't use Intel Rapid Start), and loading games (primary purpose of this machine) is also very quick, particularly on games with long load times, such as SWTOR.

That said, for common, everyday use, SSD cache drives are kind of meh. Shaving off a second from Chrome launch time, or even 20 seconds off of Windows boot time, isn't that big a deal in the vast majority of cases. Using an SSD as your primary drive has much more immediate, obvious benefits, and if you can handle the lower storage space, then it's a good idea to go for that and get a platter drive for your DVD collection.

I will say, one nice thing about a cache drive is you don't have to worry about wear on the SSD. If the cache drive starts slowing down, you can just chuck it and get a new one without having to do any data backup/restore, and because the cache drives are small, they're under $100 to replace.

I don't know what it's like in the Linux world, but I imagine things are much better.

Re:No. (1)

lightknight (213164) | more than 2 years ago | (#40913335)

Agreed. The hybrid drives arrived at the market too late. What more, the 'caching' mechanism is a bit of a joke; a smarter, but more technically complicated approach, would have been to implement two drives in one package, one flash, one standard mechanical; however, I do not know if the SATA spec is cool with that. One drive, two partitions then?

As it is right now, the lack of control over what get put on that all too small cache is killing the market for these things. Yes, your most often accessed files are supposed to be on there, no, according to reviewers, it's not happening.

Re:No. (2)

OzPeter (195038) | more than 2 years ago | (#40913503)

Hybrid drives or mixed mode setups kinda suck ass now that actual ss drives are getting to a reasonable price/size.

SSD for os/programs.

Giant TB+ drive for storage and media files.

I have a laptop with a single drive bay you insensitive clod

Re:No. (1)

FlyHelicopters (1540845) | more than 2 years ago | (#40913957)

^ Then how would you do a dual drive cache anyway?

These are not all in one hybrid drives you know... You still need two drive bays.

Dell makes some nice XPS 17" laptops that have dual drive bays, I have a 120GB Intel SDD in the boot slot and a 1TB HDD in the second bay. Works very nicely...

Re:No. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40913831)

hybrid drives are nice for moderate priced laptops where 128GB isn't quite enough.

Re:No. (1)

DragonTHC (208439) | more than 2 years ago | (#40913947)

I may have to look into that.

I'm using a 60GB SSD for my boot drive with a 1TB sata drive for storage.
I have anything requiring mass storage mapped via symlink to the sata drive.
steamapps, origin games, certain large program files too.

works decent enough, and faster than sata alone. Windows boots in about 15 seconds.

I have seen SSDs used just to load the OS (1, Insightful)

Billly Gates (198444) | more than 2 years ago | (#40912167)

While the apps run on the hard drive due to the low capacity. To me it is not worth it to watch your os boot faster. Windows 7 loads in about 35 seconds on my computer which is only a Phenom II and not a fancy i7 or anything.

What also is not addressed in the article is the reliability of the SSDs. Flash ram is not a permanent solution and will die due to the limited number of writes. If you use mysql or MS access or run low on space and use XP that thing will be dead in a matter of months. It can only handle so much paging and writes before it dies. Tricks in the firmware move the write bits to random places in memory to prevent this but as it fills up the paging needs to keep to keep hiting the same memory addresses.

I am going to wait for a few years until they use a different memory technology that can have unlimited writes as well as larger capacities. It is not worth it to me yet.

Re:I have seen SSDs used just to load the OS (5, Informative)

pla (258480) | more than 2 years ago | (#40912541)

To me it is not worth it to watch your os boot faster.

First of all, putting the OS on a disk by itself doesn't only mean that Windows runs faster - The OS reads and writes to its files on a near continuous basis. For years before SSDs, we've known that simply getting that activity segregated onto its own disk, away from "real" file activity, gives a decent performance boost across the board; moving it to an ultra-fast random-access media helps even more (and even if you don't care about boot time, how about "responsiveness"? Every time Windows needs to wait for some stupid little icon to load, you need to wait for Windows to wait for some stupid little icon to load).

Second, SSDs have gotten a lot bigger and a lot cheaper. You no longer need to decide between spending a fortune or segregating your apps out; a $60 SSD will hold the OS and every app you could ever possibly run, with plenty of room to spare. Yes, you'll still want that second big-slow-and-cheap HDD for general purpose storage, but you haven't needed to carefully weigh "on which disk should I install this program" for at least a year.


Flash ram is not a permanent solution and will die due to the limited number of writes.

And you think a drive with actual moving parts will live forever?


Make no mistake, SSDs have their flaws, and cost definitely still counts as one of them. But once you really use a system set up with SSD system / HDD data, you'll never even consider going back. And mere boot time has nothing to do with it.

Re:I have seen SSDs used just to load the OS (2, Interesting)

jedidiah (1196) | more than 2 years ago | (#40912621)

> And you think a drive with actual moving parts will live forever?

Compared to how long SSDs have been in wide use, there are plenty of hard drives with "actual moving parts" that have lived forever.

However, the key thing is that you get some warning with a hard drive rather than it being sudden death.

Some SSD brands make Seagate seem reliable in comparison.

Re:I have seen SSDs used just to load the OS (1)

FlyHelicopters (1540845) | more than 2 years ago | (#40912813)

Buy Intel SSDs, run Intel's SSD Toolbox, which gives you a running count of the drive life. BTW, I've had a X25-G2 160GB drive in my machine for 2 years running Windows, this is my daily machine. It still has 97% life left on it. Flash write lifetime is not an issue for most users.

Re:I have seen SSDs used just to load the OS (1)

0123456 (636235) | more than 2 years ago | (#40913093)

Or buy an Intel 310 (I think? it's the one I have in my home server) SSD which would randomly boot up claiming to be 8MB and require a secure wipe to recover.

Hopefully the firmware update fixed that one.

Re:I have seen SSDs used just to load the OS (2)

stewbacca (1033764) | more than 2 years ago | (#40912849)

...there are plenty of hard drives with "actual moving parts" that have lived forever.

Hmmm, been using 'puters since 1984 and still haven't found one that has a hard drive that, a) lived forever, or b) gave me a warning before it died a horrible death.

Seriously awful technology that is long overdue for an overhaul.

Re:I have seen SSDs used just to load the OS (1)

Falconhell (1289630) | more than 2 years ago | (#40913155)

Just had to replace a failed runcore ssd after only 2 years, rather disappointed.

Re:I have seen SSDs used just to load the OS (5, Informative)

cdrudge (68377) | more than 2 years ago | (#40912565)

What also is not addressed in the article is the reliability of the SSDs. Flash ram is not a permanent solution and will die due to the limited number of writes. If you use mysql or MS access or run low on space and use XP that thing will be dead in a matter of months. It can only handle so much paging and writes before it dies. Tricks in the firmware move the write bits to random places in memory to prevent this but as it fills up the paging needs to keep to keep hiting the same memory addresses.

There are a variety of different ongoing tests to look at how long drives actually last [xtremesystems.org] . Looking at a fairly standard older Intel 320 40GB drive, it went 190TB written before the MWI threshold was reached, and continued on until 685TB. That means it completely rewrote the drive 17500+ times.

No, it won't last forever. And it's not ideally suited for every single industry and use. But for the typical user, they are more likely to need a larger drive or otherwise upgrade then wear out the drive.

Re:I have seen SSDs used just to load the OS (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40912731)

Chrome pings the drive at 1 meg a second on average even if you do not click or do anything. Running that 8 hours a day everyday can wear it out if only 1 million writes are supported. That sounds like a big number but if it is 90% full the same bits keep getting hit over and over again, rather than a generic benchmark just rewiping the whole drive bit by bit one time per wipe.

I have seem then die on customer computers so I am skeptical of that claim. Maybe their were buggy? Until I see more reports on reliability I will avoid them. Doing DB work I can hit that number quickly

Re:I have seen SSDs used just to load the OS (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40913067)

which drives don't do wear leveling?

Re:I have seen SSDs used just to load the OS (1)

Trogre (513942) | more than 2 years ago | (#40913197)

All of them, once they get full.

Re:I have seen SSDs used just to load the OS (1)

Hamsterdan (815291) | more than 2 years ago | (#40914095)

Most drives have some amount of cells for wear-leveling and Idle garbage collection that are not available to the OS. Mine has 8GB. If it doesn't, just leave a couple GB of unpartionned space.

Re:I have seen SSDs used just to load the OS (2)

Bengie (1121981) | more than 2 years ago | (#40913667)

1MB/s will only take 30 years!

256GB
assume 20% over-provisioning
307.2GB * 3000 writes = 921,600GB
921,600 * 1024 = 943,718,400MB
943,718,400 / 3600(hours) / 24(days) / 365 (years) = 29.925years

With all programs opened, HD IO is closer to low 10s of KB/sec, not MB. Most of my IO is network traffic.

After a year of randomly benchmarking my SSD, having to reinstall Windows and 100GB of games a few times due to mistakes, it still is at 0% worn. At this relatively heavy usage rate, it will take more than 100 years to burn it out.

Re:I have seen SSDs used just to load the OS (1)

dbIII (701233) | more than 2 years ago | (#40912581)

Two things.
It's truly depressing that 35 seconds to use is considered fast on any system. Solaris got the nickname "slowaris" for that sort of behaviour. I don't work with win7 much, but I'm pretty sure I've never set up a win7 system that took that long to start up - turn off bonzi buddy or whatever crapware is doing stupid time wasting shit on startup.
The second thing is those "few years" have already happened and the answer was wear levelling on the SSD drives, which is more then just a "trick".

Re:I have seen SSDs used just to load the OS (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40912683)

I have things running like my anti virus software, visual studio, and otther things. Without disabling startup items it would take a minute to load all that crap and more like skype which is true for any consumer computer as users do not know about msconfig.

An older work computer from a past job took 5 minutes to startup using XP and Symantec endpoint, and a whole bunch of corporate security software running in 512 megs of ram. Only Windows 7 defrags the registry and older systems can take up to 5 to 10 minutes to fully startup to be usable. 35 seconds for Windows is very very fast!

Re:I have seen SSDs used just to load the OS (1)

kermidge (2221646) | more than 2 years ago | (#40913463)

On older Win systems I found using erunt with ntregopt along with pagedefrag from sysinternals generally worked well, and erunt was one of the first things I installed on my Win7 box.

Several times over the years erunt registry backups saved me some grief as well (but backing up hives on boot adds a wee bit to the boot time.)

Re:I have seen SSDs used just to load the OS (1)

gman003 (1693318) | more than 2 years ago | (#40912689)

I do OS + most programs.

I have a mostly-vanilla Windows install on my SSD (I have a partition waiting for Linux, but I haven't found the time for it yet). The only change was moving \Users\GMan and \Steam over to a hard drive. C:\Users\GMan is now a symlink to the same on D: - I had tried it moving all of \Users, but that borked Windows so bad I had to reinstall. And now there's a backup user account, so if my HDD fails I can still at least log in.

Should I ever get Linux installed, I'll probably make /home/gman a symlink to D:\Users\GMan, so all my documents are literally in the same place.

It gives high performance on all my applications - even LibreOffice and GIMP start in a reasonable amount of time. But all my bulky stuff (documents, videos, games (often 10+GB apiece)) are stored on the cheap drive (my few non-Steam games were also installed there). So I'm never cramped - my SSD has 75 of its 96GB partition free, and my HDD has 400 of it's 680gb free (the Windows recovery partition is also on there, just in case the SSD fails).

Re:I have seen SSDs used just to load the OS (1)

steelfood (895457) | more than 2 years ago | (#40912705)

I believe this is the solution you're looking for. The SSD is only used as a cache, which means that only the files that are read a lot get copied over to the SSD, and are read from the SSD automatically. Ideally, this means that the number of writes is minimal (if the files stored are the ones you constantly use, then they should only be written to the disk the first time and read from it subsequently). A database would never be in your cache, unless it's primarily used for retrieving data (reporting), rather than storing data (transactional).

You get the speed up of SSDs. You get the reliability of platters. You don't need to pay top dollar (unless the programs you normally execute take several GBs worth of space each). Your SSD won't fail due to excessive writes nearly as quickly. At least, that's the ideal. The implementation may not work exactly this way.

Re:I have seen SSDs used just to load the OS (1)

EnsilZah (575600) | more than 2 years ago | (#40912809)

Oh come on, dead in a manner of months?
What crevice of your personal biology are you pulling that number out of?
Presumably you haven't even used one yourself based on what you're writing.
If you're writing enough to your SSD to make any significant dent in its lifespan you're probably running some sort of heavy server and should probably get a more expensive SSD that's suited for that purpose.
SSDs come with extra space (I think like 7-10%) so wear leveling still has some safety room when the drive is full (though personally I'd never reach the point where my main system drive is full anyway, SSD or HDD).
And sure they'll die eventually but so will any other hardware, motors wear out, capacitors leak, fans die.
From personal experience and data from the likes of AnandTech an SSD is going to fail long after it's been made obsolete by several generations of larger, cheaper, faster drives and you'll be able to monitor its wear level.

No way. Too late. SSDs already cheap enough (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40912199)

240GB SSDs are bouncing around 200. 2 bills for the boot SSD and your old drive gets the data partition and you are beating these hybrids on performance AND price.

Re:No way. Too late. SSDs already cheap enough (1)

imbusy (1002705) | more than 2 years ago | (#40912375)

And a good 2.5" 750GB drive is $85. Compare that to $200.

Re:No way. Too late. SSDs already cheap enough (1)

jedidiah (1196) | more than 2 years ago | (#40912643)

For $200 you can get yourself a 3TB drive and have change left over.

Re:No way. Too late. SSDs already cheap enough (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40912987)

"For $200 you can get yourself a 3TB drive and have change left over."

Please show me a 3TB 2.5" 7500 rpm drive that has a 5 year warranty for that price.. Or are you talking old slow 5200 rpm "eco" crap that nobody wants because it will die in 18 months anyways.

Re:No way. Too late. SSDs already cheap enough (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40913141)

Can you show up as ANY 3TB 2.5" 7500 rpm drives for any price? It doesn't exist.

For about $400, though, you can get a 3TB 3.5" 7200 rpm drive with a five year warranty:

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16822148759 [newegg.com]

The warranty is really the big price driver, though. For $200, the warranty is 2 years.

Re:No way. Too late. SSDs already cheap enough (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40913469)

It's an 'enterprise' grade drive. That's what drives up the cost. The warranty really isn't the price driver.

Re:No way. Too late. SSDs already cheap enough (1)

dbIII (701233) | more than 2 years ago | (#40914183)

5 year warranty for that price

That's a major shift of the goalposts there.
Can't we just have an honest discussion without idiots throwing in extra conditions just so they can win some silly little mass debate game?

Re:No way. Too late. SSDs already cheap enough (2)

shitzu (931108) | more than 2 years ago | (#40913035)

This guy is saying - for a $200k i can buy a Ferrari. You are saying - hey, you can get a perfectly good combine harvester for less money.
Hard disk gigabyte price vs SSD gigabyte price is not the issue discussed here - performance is.

Re:No way. Too late. SSDs already cheap enough (3, Informative)

lightknight (213164) | more than 2 years ago | (#40913419)

Exactly. I have a 240GB SSD for my laptop and desktop's main drives, with oodles of secondary storage (7200 RPM, of course). The difference is magnificent. If you've never used a SSD before, you simply do not understand -> Adobe Photoshop CS5 loads in only 3 or 4 seconds. Try doing that on a mechanical hard drive, and it's just PAIN.

Re:No way. Too late. SSDs already cheap enough (1)

FlyHelicopters (1540845) | more than 2 years ago | (#40914035)

^ If you have a laptop with only a single drive bay and you need 750GB of space, so be it, you have to do that...

But if you have the space to have both drives, the amount of time you won't waste by having the SSD boot drive, is a lot...

I suspect a lot of people here dissing SSDs have never actually used one in their primary system. Once you go SSD, you never go back, it is painful.

Re:No way. Too late. SSDs already cheap enough (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40912387)

I was just considering buying the 256 GB Kingston SSD. It is on sale for $140. And yeah I agree, hybrids are not that useful anymore, I would rather get an SSD, and set a up 4TB NAS for data.

Re:No way. Too late. SSDs already cheap enough (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40912483)

I just saw a 60GB SSD accelerator on Amazon for $80. I'd rather buy one of those because it will automatically cache my most used data off of my 4TB drive and I don't have to mess about manually moving stuff.

bad review, what about hybrid drives? (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40912385)

They did not include a true hybrid like the Seagate Momentus. No stupid driver tricks needed to make it work, it would have been really great to see how it compared to what was reviewed.

Re:bad review, what about hybrid drives? (2)

Lumpy (12016) | more than 2 years ago | (#40913023)

Under a simple OS like windows? yes, I added one to my work PC and it flies. I then got another for my mac book pro and it flips out causing problems. same goes for using it under linux. It seems that more advanced filesystems and OS's that do a lot of housekeeping to the drive will freak these drives out.

Luckily I was able to sell my second drive to a friend who could use it in his windows laptop.

Don't give the stats (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40912391)

Does it drive any one else nuts that they never give confidences and significance levels? How am I really supposed to know what those tests say without that information?

All software is not created equal (3, Informative)

Nemilar (173603) | more than 2 years ago | (#40912619)

It seems that SSD accelerators can be hit/miss. If you take a look at http://www.theregister.co.uk/2012/07/12/velobit_demartek/ [theregister.co.uk] for example, some of these products don't seem to do anything - while some seem to actually work.

Like any young industry, it'll probably a while to shake out field until only a few decent contenders remain.

How to secure it? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40912645)

Will DBAN [dban.org] suffice?
Or will we need another program to wipe the cache?

Another question: Let's say data is partially written to a "bad sector", is it even possible to wipe it with random data?
Would this mean everything sent to such a drive must be encrypted before it is sent over the wire?

Re:How to secure it? (1)

petermgreen (876956) | more than 2 years ago | (#40913311)

With pretty much any modern drive (whether platter based or solid state) if you are paranoid about data security you have two options, either encrypt everything that may ever hit the drive or physically destroy the drive when you are done with it. Both platter based and soild state drives have remapping systems in place (though soild state drives to a lot more remapping) such that it is pretty much impossible to gaurantee an external overrwrite will hit anything. Both have built-in "secure erase" commands but noone except the manufacturers really knows how secure they are.

Surprisingly why? (3, Informative)

Sycraft-fu (314770) | more than 2 years ago | (#40912647)

It would be surprising if it weren't the case. We've been doing the same thing with memory for years. Our CPUs need memory that can perform in the realm of 100GB/sec or more with extremely low latency, but we can't deliver that with DRAM. So we cache. When you have multiple levels of proper caching you can get like 95%+ of the theoretical performance you'd get having all the RAM be the faster cache, but at a fraction of the price.

This is just that taken to HDDs. Doesn't scale quite as well but similar idea. Have some high speed SSD for cache and slower HDD for storage and you can get some pretty good performance.

I love Seagate's little H-HDDs for laptops. I have an SSD in my laptop, but only 256GB. Fine for apps, but I can't hold all my data on there (music, virtual instruments, etc). They are just too pricey to get all the storage I'd need. So I also have an H-HDD (laptop has two drive bays). It's performance is very good, quite above what you'd expect for a laptop drive, but was only $150 for 750GB instead of $900 for 600GB (the closest I can find in SSDs).

Re:Surprisingly why? (1)

fermion (181285) | more than 2 years ago | (#40913719)

I think that RAM is dirt cheap, and storing local copies in RAM is always the better way to deal with HDD delays. It seems it would be better to put 8GB of RAM in the computer, for $50, than spend money on a SSD to accelerate a HDD.

I have had laptops with up to 750GB HDD. My current laptop has a 256GB SSD, and my next will have at least 500GB. I hate to be buzzword complient, but I don't need all the video and music on my computer all the time. I can leave that in external storage, the cloud, and download it as needed. As it is most of that stuff has been sitting on external terrabyte HDD anyway, HDD that are cheap but terribly unreliable. At 256GB i have to manage the space, but I seldom run out of storage completely. The speed at which my computer boots up and runs makes all the difference in the world.

I do agree that a dollar a GB retail is really expensive, and I would never upgrade to SSD, but the marginal cost added to a new computer is often not significant.

Pointless (4, Informative)

AlienIntelligence (1184493) | more than 2 years ago | (#40912793)

SSD's were recently @ $1/Gig. That's when I upgraded everything.

I've seen them as low as 55-65c a gig now. Yeah... gotta love how
tech drops in price RIGHT AFTER you decide to adopt.

Buy a WHOLE SSD drive. Put all the programs you use daily on it.

120G ~ $70

That is all.

FWIW, except for bulk storage, I will NEVER buy a spinning HD again.
I experienced a RIDICULOUS speed up, going from a 7200rpm drive.

-AI

Re:Pointless (2)

Mashiki (184564) | more than 2 years ago | (#40913049)

To be honest, despite the dire doom and gloom warnings of people that the "end times will come" to first generation adopters of SSD's, I've got a first generation OCZ drive that's still chugging along and working like the day it was new. Heck, my page file is on it. It hasn't even used any of the backup blocks yet, 3 years on now and no complaints yet. I have a second 60GB drive that I transfer stuff on to if I'm using it alot, like MMO's and some programs that use large textures(Shogun2, Skyrim and so on) just to cut down on the load times.

Everything else? Yeah, it's dumped onto my 1TB and 2TB drives.

Re:Pointless (1)

AlienIntelligence (1184493) | more than 2 years ago | (#40913193)

To be honest, despite the dire doom and gloom warnings of people that the "end times will come" to first generation adopters of SSD's, I've got a first generation OCZ drive that's still chugging along and working like the day it was new.

Thanks for that.

I did jump both feet into the SSD thing, knowing I could hit that switch
one day and be met with the same silence, just less screen =)

It's good to hear from a person that their SSD hasn't died on them.

FWIW, I hope you didn't jinx yourself.

-AI

Re:Pointless (1)

Mashiki (184564) | more than 2 years ago | (#40913681)

All too possible, I do have a backup in place just in case. But if it dies, it dies. 3 years won't be bad, it's hard enough to find mechanical drives with a 3 year warranty on them anymore.

Not confined to high-end. (2)

jibjibjib (889679) | more than 2 years ago | (#40912819)

> In reality, the shift from hard drives (HDDs) to SSDs has thus far been confined to the upper end of the PC market.

Not entirely. I have the cheapest netbook I could find, and I replaced its hard drive with a cheap low-capacity SSD. I don't keep much big stuff on it so the capacity isn't a problem. In terms of performance and power usage and not having to worry about my data when I drop my computer, it's been entirely worth it.

Re:Not confined to high-end. (1)

lightknight (213164) | more than 2 years ago | (#40913449)

Indeed. I have a severe doubt that it's the 'upper end' of the market. In reality, it's probably the more technically literate part of the market, who understands the difference between a SSD and a HD.

Tro7lkore (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40912831)

go find somethIng clothes or Xbe a

Depends on your workload (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40912835)

I have a 60GB Intel 520 MLC drive installed in a DVR/PVR and bought a second 60GB and 180GB Intel 520 this past Monday. Whether an SSD accelerator will benefit you depends on your workload. In my case, bcache and flashcache were both big failures on the DVR box. Why? Because every 10 seconds or so while playing a recorded episode or trying to flip through them with a remote, there was a "hiccup" due to the cache retrieval mechanism. The data I was trying to access was rarely already in the cache, so I had to deal with these blips while it was moved from rotating media to the SSD (and not accessed again for a long while). I moved the database directory and temporary space to the SSD, and all has been well since then - but that could be due to balancing tasks across different media and not due to the SSD itself.

The two new drives? The 180GB drive is the single drive in my laptop and the 60GB drive will likely become a system drive for a desktop with rotating media for local image/video storage.

If you have lots of users frequently accessing the same data (e.g. a database or web server), an SSD accelerator might make sense. If you have a traditional power user workload, you might find that SSD ala carte combined with rotating media gets you more bang for your buck than a hybrid/accelerator approach.

Lots of SSD caching options (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40912885)

http://www.velobit.com/storage-performance-blog/bid/122807/The-Many-Places-You-Can-Go-With-SSD-Caching-Software [velobit.com] is a pretty good rundown of the various SSD caching options.

Disclaimer: I am employee of VeloBit. We make SSD caching software for enterprise applications - Check us out!

Only new for the consumer... (2)

phoebus1553 (522577) | more than 2 years ago | (#40913085)

This is exactly what has been going on in the enterprise storage space for a while. I only know much about two vendors, but they both have a solution like this. High end IBM storage has EasyTier, which while originally for the mix of FCAL/SAS to SATA, it works with SSD too, and in the latest revs all 3 tiers at the same time. NetApp used to have a PAM card which is now called... FlashCache? FlexCache? F-Something-Cache anyway, which is essentially an SSD drive on a PCI card.

Good to see the high end tech being applied to consumer level workloads.

No mention of OS requirements (4, Informative)

antifoidulus (807088) | more than 2 years ago | (#40913123)

The article doesnt mention any other software(mostly OS) requirements for the accelerators, which is a pretty big deal. Basically there are 2 ways to cache:
1. On the file level, which isnt very resource intensive(there aren't nearly as many files as blocks on a disk), but requires that the accelerator be able to read file system metadata(and of course be able to intercept OS calls) which severely restricts what kind of file system, and really even operating systems, you can use with the accelerator
or
2. Block-level caching. Much more generic, can really be used with any file system as the blocks, not any file system metadata, are the only thing that is used. However managing all that block information comes at a cost, either in main memory or more expensive hardware. For instance Flashcache requires about 500 megs of memory to manage a 300GB disk. Depending on your usage this may be acceptable(though is memory really that much cheaper than ssds nowadays?) but for most it isnt.

From the article I can assume that they only tested Windows, and that really limits its usefulness.

Re:No mention of OS requirements (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40913549)

From the article I can assume that they only tested Windows, and that really limits its usefulness.

Why? Windows is the most popular OS in the world. Being faster on Windows is nothing to scoff at.

In reality? (2)

kwerle (39371) | more than 2 years ago | (#40913167)

In reality, the shift from hard drives (HDDs) to SSDs has thus far been confined to the upper end of the PC market.

In reality, 100% of the smartphones, tablets, many/all? of the ultrabooks, and many notebooks now ship with SSDs. In a short time, virtually all laptops will ship with SSDs.
Disks will go the way of tapes. You'll be able to get them, but the practical uses will be few.

In reality, I imagine that more computers (yeah, I count smart phones and tablets) are now sold with SSDs than disks.

As to your actual question about accelerators - I have no idea. I went solid state a couple of years ago and won't be going back.

I'll stick with a mechanical drive for now. (1)

p51d007 (656414) | more than 2 years ago | (#40913327)

Booting? Who boots their computer? I'm like a lot and on a UPS at home, and boot? I might boot once a month, if that. If I need to boot, I'll grab something from the fridge, take a bathroom break for the 1-2 minutes it takes to reboot. The minor boost I would get from a SSD pales in comparison to the SPACE I would benefit from...for now. If/when the price gets down to the mechanical drive pricing per gig, I'll give it another go, but for now, I'll take the space over speed.

Re:I'll stick with a mechanical drive for now. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40913579)

Indeed. For laptops, I'll never go back to spinning disks... but for always-on home servers, I get 3T for $139 on newegg...

Re:I'll stick with a mechanical drive for now. (1)

FlyHelicopters (1540845) | more than 2 years ago | (#40914085)

^ Then you haven't tried it...

Running a computer that you actually use, not a server that just sits there, but your actual desktop or laptop...

If you haven't tried it, you don't understand, if you try it, you will never, ever go back to spinning disks. The difference is so far beyond night and day, it is just amazing. Much greater than the jump from single core to dual core, much more than most other tech jumps over the years. Take the move from Pentium 4 to Core 2, then multiply that jump times about 50.

That is how much of a difference SSDs are over HDDs.

Simpler solutions tend to be superior. (2)

Above (100351) | more than 2 years ago | (#40913347)

SSD prices have fallen quickly, while hard drives have gone up. If you don't need large amounts of storage it's better to just go SSD. But what if large amounts of storage are needed?

I would recommend buying an SSD, putting the OS and all applications on it, and then using a magnetic drive as the "users" volume. Any sanely laid out OS makes this very easy. The OS and Apps will load quickly, the large items (like video) will be stored on the cheaper, larger disk storage. No "hybrid" algorithm to worry about working. Two separate parts that can be upgraded independently. No OS support required. Perhaps some acceleration of some small data files will be missed, but the large ones would have never fit in the accelerated flash anyway.

I do think that file systems need to evolve in a new direction. ZFS is a preview in the right direction, but it would be nice to have a file system where you could add ram disk, or flash disk and tell it to be used as a "cache" for underlying disk, write through or write back. Easy to do in software. Plus better backup and replication support. I'd really like to configure my laptop with a 2TB spining disk, 256G super-fast SSD, and give 1G of RAM to the file system. Tell the file system to write everything through to magnetic, cache frequently used in SSD and RAM. When I'm on the hope network replicate the spinning disk to my NAS bit for bit. Perform incremental backups to my cloud backup service when connected to a fast enough network using compressed incremental to save space. Give me all that with ZFS's other features and it would be sysadmin filesystem nirvana...

what an ugly bandaid (2)

parshimers (1416291) | more than 2 years ago | (#40913371)

i dont know about windows, but, wouldn't a more elegant way to accomplish this be paging? having a very large swap on the SSD portion and a very high swappiness value would sort of do what this intends to do, without such an end-run around the entire cache architecture of the OS

Re:what an ugly bandaid (1)

davydagger (2566757) | more than 2 years ago | (#40913863)

you'd end up breaking your SSD with excesive write cycles.

here is a hint, never use swap on an SSD. with more than 4-8GB you really should not need swap on a modern linux desktop, at all.

SSD Reliability (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40913435)

While the performance may be nice I still have a lot of concerns about reliability of SSDs.
I bought a Crucial M4 256GB SSD about 9 months ago and it started to fail a week or two ago.
So far Crucial won't RMA it and just keeps asking meaningless questions via email.

What kind of reliability are people seeing in SSD and hybrid drives? What happens when the NAND flash dies on a hybrid drive?
I've got hard drives that have been running non-stop for years without a problem. From my experience so far SSDs just don't match up in that regard.

nice (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40913747)

nice article

www.ariefshopclothing.co.cc

really?? (1)

davydagger (2566757) | more than 2 years ago | (#40913903)

Here is a good idea for linux

plug your SSD into SATA slot one, a large magnetic disk into slot two.

install the bootloader and OS onto the SSD, and use it for /, and then mount your magnetic disk for /home.

problem solved. Of course this works for any pair of "large but slow" and "small but fast" disks.
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