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Are SSDs Finally Worth the Money?

samzenpus posted about 2 years ago | from the best-value dept.

Data Storage 405

Lucas123 writes "The price of 2.5-in solid state drives have dropped by 3X in three years, making many of the most popular models less than $1 per gigabyte or about 74 cents per gig. Hybrid drives, which include a small amount of NAND flash cache alongside spinning disk, in contrast have reached near price parity with hard drives that hover around the .23 cents per gig. While HDDs cannot compare to SSDs in terms of IOPS generated when used in a storage array or server, it's debatable whether they offer performance increases in a laptop significant enough that justify paying three times as much compared with a high-end a hard drive or a hybrid drive. For example, an Intel 520 Series SSD has a max sequential read speed of 456MB/sec compared to a WD Black's 122MB/sec. The SSD boots up in 9 seconds compared to the HDD's 21 seconds and the hybrid drive's 12-second time. So the question becomes, should you pay three times as much for an SSD for twice the performance, or almost the same speeds when compared to a hybrid drive?"

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Not sure if you can post anonymously early or not (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41364497)

But the much better question is, between solid state memory being so cheap and cloud storage, is it really reasonable to keep the memory/storage barrier paradigm alive at all?

Re:Not sure if you can post anonymously early or n (1, Interesting)

Marxist Hacker 42 (638312) | about 2 years ago | (#41364519)

Great, first post but only because I noticed a hole in the latest revision of the system.

And I'm not sure it's a hole. Would it have still allowed me to post without the post anonymously box?

And the actual question still stands- is the memory/storage paradigm just traditional at this point, or is it still useful?

0.74 cents per GB (5, Funny)

SquarePixel (1851068) | about 2 years ago | (#41364573)

or about .74 cents per gig

Wow, $0.0074 per GB! That's cheap!

Re:0.74 cents per GB (5, Funny)

R.Mo_Robert (737913) | about 2 years ago | (#41364815)

No big deal, they're just doing some Verizon math [] .

Re:0.74 cents per GB (1)

Bob the Super Hamste (1152367) | about 2 years ago | (#41364947)

I want some of those drives. On second though I probably don't (if it sounds too good).

Re:Not sure if you can post anonymously early or n (1)

nospam007 (722110) | about 2 years ago | (#41364619)

"Would it have still allowed me to post without the post anonymously box?"

Sure, that's why we pay the big bucks here. :-)

Re:Not sure if you can post anonymously early or n (5, Insightful)

jythie (914043) | about 2 years ago | (#41364645)

Since bandwidth is not unlimited, nor is it always connected, I would say the paradigm is as valid is it ever has been.

Cloud Storage is just a re-branded version of what people have been already doing for decades, and thus factors in the same basic manner. There are what, about half a dozen levels of memory between a remote server and your CPU? Each one is a trade off between speed, size, and cost.

Re:Not sure if you can post anonymously early or n (2)

BCoates (512464) | about 2 years ago | (#41364773)

And the actual question still stands- is the memory/storage paradigm just traditional at this point, or is it still useful?

It's still useful. The random access latency on an SSD is still about 1000x slower than RAM, but SSDs can store data without consuming power.

Keeping a terabyte or two of current RAM technology active requires substantial power supply and cooling, whereas these amounts of SSD or more can be kept and used in mobile or residential situations.

Re:Not sure if you can post anonymously early or n (1)

hairyfeet (841228) | about 2 years ago | (#41365083)

Cameras and camcorders dude. In case you haven't noticed cameras and camcorders are dirt cheap, and between that and the 5MP+ ones being built into the smartphones I find customers just chewing through space. An SSD is fine for a mobile as long as you don't have any cams involved, but if they want to take and edit photos? Get a hybrid or plane Jane HDD, they'll need the space.

Re:Not sure if you can post anonymously early or n (1)

Marxist Hacker 42 (638312) | about 2 years ago | (#41365167)

My smart phone came with PhotoBucket turned on. I do store pictures on my Terrabyte NAS, just to have a local backup, but when I share, it's the Photobucket or some other cloud storage solution.

Re:Not sure if you can post anonymously early or n (5, Informative)

pecosdave (536896) | about 2 years ago | (#41364583)

If you're pushing the cloud so much is storage much of an issue at all? Seriously I can put Chromium OS on a 4GB thumb drive and boot up a laptop and do web stuff all day long.

Sometimes people don't have access to the internet but still need a computer. Remember the old days before the cloud existed? Yeah - you can't get on the Internet everywhere. Some of these rural areas people still think dial up is not only an option but they still think it's normal.

Re:Not sure if you can post anonymously early or n (5, Interesting)

jedidiah (1196) | about 2 years ago | (#41364901)

The cloud isn't nearly fast enough or cheap enough to replace any sort of local storage. That's not even getting into the obvious question of reliability and availability that so many people like to just gloss over.

Re:Not sure if you can post anonymously early or n (5, Insightful)

mhajicek (1582795) | about 2 years ago | (#41365045)

Or secure enough.

Re:Not sure if you can post anonymously early or n (3, Insightful)

Electricity Likes Me (1098643) | about 2 years ago | (#41364989)

Some of these modernized areas internet access is not fast enough, even for the home user.

When it matters, I still can't depend on my wi-fi connection via my cellphone - which, to my mind, means until someone tells me the entangled particles in said device are good anywhere in the universe or my money back, then "the cloud" is not something I want to rely on having.

Hybrid Drives (2)

54mc (897170) | about 2 years ago | (#41364529)

The summary mentions hybrid drives, but I can't seem to find any for desktops - am I looking wrong, or do hardware makers assume a desktop user like me doesn't want one?

Re:Hybrid Drives (2)

jon3k (691256) | about 2 years ago | (#41364569)

Actually they're integrated directly onto motherboards now: Smart Response Technology [] .

Re:Hybrid Drives (4, Informative)

EvanED (569694) | about 2 years ago | (#41364605)

Sort of; SRT is software-controlled though (basically software-RAID-based), and is limited to Windows. (Possibly you could set something up with the LVM or similar on Linux though.) Definitely a very different beast from hybrid drives, at least if my assumptions as to how the latter work are any indication.

(You also need a newish computer and it's Intel only.)

Re:Hybrid Drives (1)

cp5i6 (544080) | about 2 years ago | (#41364611)

it's a SATA interface regardless, why does it matter if it's for the "desktop" or the "laptop".

do you know of have 3.5" SSDs?

I'm using the seagate momentus and it came witha 3.5" mounting bracket

Re:Hybrid Drives (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41364837)

With hybrid drives we're talking about spinning platters, so (as always) desktop drives will be cheaper per unit capacity.

Re:Hybrid Drives (2, Insightful)

jellomizer (103300) | about 2 years ago | (#41364693)

While Solid states have some performance increase. Their biggest push is that they are better with battery life, and can handle physical bumps. better.
If you are getting a desktop, then you are either in it for raw power. In that case you get a system with a lot more memory, and faster physical drives, if you are not in it for raw power then you are in it for budget reasons. But for the most part on the desktop Solid State doesn't make too much sense.

Re:Hybrid Drives (2)

cp5i6 (544080) | about 2 years ago | (#41364787)

That is just way too general of an assumption about what one does with a computer.

The same analogy would go for CPUs, why doesn't everyone just get by on a Pentium 4 or an Athlon X2? Both are perfectly acceptable, but honestly, I want my computer to be like my phone. Near 0 load/processing times which means more time doing what I care about and less time waiting for the machine doing stuff it cares about.

in that respect, I'll happily fork over 200$ for a small SSD/

Re:Hybrid Drives (2)

jedidiah (1196) | about 2 years ago | (#41365069)

Plenty of people get by with machines like that.

Most people aren't that fixated on an few extra seconds here or there. They certainly aren't going to go to extra expense and trouble for it.

Re:Hybrid Drives (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41365111)

It obvious that you don't run Windows, or you wouldn't make the bizarre claim that an SSD on the desktop doesn't make sense.

A Windows 7 machine goes from being a clunker due to slow UI response, to a modern computer with the installation of an SSD.

In answer to the out of date headline question: Yes, they have been for about a year now.

Re:Hybrid Drives (5, Informative)

Baloroth (2370816) | about 2 years ago | (#41365123)

But for the most part on the desktop Solid State doesn't make too much sense.

Are you kidding? SSDs are about 5-10 times faster than HDD. Considering that in many computers, the HDD is by far the slowest component, not a bottleneck for some applications, but usually a minor one for everything (everything comes from storage at some point). Upgraded to an SSD and saw a stunning gain in responsiveness for nearly every single usage on my desktop. It was obviously massive for boot times (probably ~3 times faster), but overall everything is vastly snappier. And I'm only running a SATA II connection from my motherboard, which means I'm only getting about 1/2 the top speed of the SSD.

Re:Hybrid Drives (5, Informative)

DJRumpy (1345787) | about 2 years ago | (#41365147)

As in all things, the value is in the eye of the buyer. What matters to you may be unimportant to someone else.

SSD offers speed, lower power requirements, and low heat but can't match spindle capacities and has a higher cost.

Spindle drives have large capacity and low cost but high heat, and higher power requirements and poor performance by comparison to SSD.

Hybrids have capacity and low cost, good performance, higher power requirements, and high heat.

SSD's are an easy choice for laptops (in general) unless the laptop has a large storage capacity requirement.

If portability isn't a concern, you can easily stripe 3 standard HDD's and get near the same performance as an SSD for the same cost but with higher capacity.

There are simply too many variations and 'solutions' to use a cookie cutter approach, but if you break it down into the major categories above, and grade on which is most important (Price, Power, Speed, Capacity, Heat), it becomes easier to judge which is a better fit.

In a laptop performance isn't the only issue (5, Insightful)

pecosdave (536896) | about 2 years ago | (#41364543)

Remember, no spinning platter means you don't have to worry about bumping a gyroscope - an SSD is inherently more shock resistant. I'm under the belief an SSD uses less power than a HDD.

I have one SSD. It's in my netbook, I removed my perfectly functional factory HDD and replaced it with a smaller SSD since I really don't need my storage space, 90% of what I do with my netbook is on the web browser, and a netbook with Kubuntu and the netbook/tablet desktop is way cheaper than a Chrome book. I wish those were cheaper, I would practically be a marketing exec for those without the outrageous pricetag, but never mind that.

There's advantages other than performance to an SSD.

Re:In a laptop performance isn't the only issue (5, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41364621)

Bingo - drop survivability and heat generation. These are two of the best reasons to use SSD in a laptop, and not HDD. Nothing to do with performance.

Re:In a laptop performance isn't the only issue (2)

pecosdave (536896) | about 2 years ago | (#41364675)

That being said I did notice significantly faster startup and shutdown times. I'm not going to complain about that. Once it's going there isn't much difference since I do spend most of my time in a browser on that thing, but less time from pressing the power button to useful or put away saves battery also.

Re:In a laptop performance isn't the only issue (3, Informative)

GIL_Dude (850471) | about 2 years ago | (#41365057)

I've gone from spinning drives to SSD in my notebooks and I won't be going back. As a person responsible for both coding and creating system images, I rebuild my machines all the time. The build time is a lot faster on an SSD. Besides just the OS, it takes about 15 minutes to install Visual Studio 2010 + SP1 on an SSD as opposed to nearly an hour for a spinning drive. (BTW, I am a real poster - not that Visual Studio troll / shill we've seen recently). I also run a single VM on my notebook. That boots up and runs almost like a real computer instead of the pokey slowness I had before with a spinning drive. Honestly all of the other things mentioned here are valid. Less heat, better shock resistance, better battery life, etc. But don't count performance out either. As with most things, it depends on the workloads you are running. For my workload, SSD makes a lot of sense.

Re:In a laptop performance isn't the only issue (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41365017)

>Nothing to do with performance.

Oh really? Because an SSD reduces boot times a LOT and also makes everything a lot snappier.

Re:In a laptop performance isn't the only issue (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41365053)

Don't forget the sound! No grinding noise effects. That alone worth the money.

Re:In a laptop performance isn't the only issue (5, Insightful)

Missing.Matter (1845576) | about 2 years ago | (#41364643)

Right, add to that noise. You don't really notice how noisy an HDD is until it's silent.

Re:In a laptop performance isn't the only issue (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41364885)

I haven't noticed hard drive noise in personal computers and laptops for several years now (racks of data center storage is a different story...). It is to the point that when some laptops ship without hard drive activity light, I have trouble telling if the computer is frozen or in swap hell without putting my ear right up to the laptop.

Re:In a laptop performance isn't the only issue (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41365119)

Visit a doctor.

A high quality laptop with a ssd is pure bliss: No fans, no disk grinding, and hopefully, no squeaking noise from the capacitors.

It's been worth the money since day one.

Re:In a laptop performance isn't the only issue (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41365067)

I notice it all the time. Does your OS not support a sleep mode for your HDDs?

Re:In a laptop performance isn't the only issue (1)

TheDarkMaster (1292526) | about 2 years ago | (#41364661)

I also did this with my netbook. But remember that outside the U.S. and Europe an SSD is still seen as a "luxury item" and charged as such. I for example have to pay three times more for the exact same SSD you buy in the U.S..

Re:In a laptop performance isn't the only issue (5, Interesting)

zeronitro (937642) | about 2 years ago | (#41364841)

One interesting side effect of having a legitimately fast SSD is even though you save power power on not spinning a platter around you can end up using that power (or more) with increased CPU usage. Ex: Semi-Random reads from mechanical drive might be pulling data ~40MB/sec on a good day... the CPU doesn't have a lot to process at once or just does in chunks so all that nice power saving tech comes into play (reduced clock or cores or what have you). Now, pop an SSD in and start getting 300-500MB+ semi-random read speeds and your CPU will find itself a hell of a lot more busy having to actually process all of that.

It's a good "problem" to have, if you can even call it a problem ;)

Re:In a laptop performance isn't the only issue (1)

erice (13380) | about 2 years ago | (#41364955)

Remember, no spinning platter means you don't have to worry about bumping a gyroscope - an SSD is inherently more shock resistant. I'm under the belief an SSD uses less power than a HDD.

I have one SSD. It's in my netbook, I removed my perfectly functional factory HDD and replaced it with a smaller SSD since I really don't need my storage space

Yes, an SSD is more shock resistant. However, it is the screen that tends the break when laptop/netbook is dropped, not the hard drive.

Re:In a laptop performance isn't the only issue (1)

pecosdave (536896) | about 2 years ago | (#41364971)

I dropped a Mac Book Pro - that wasn't even on. HDD cratered, screen was fine. As a tech I've had to change out many, many bad hard disk on laptops. Yeah, there's broken screens too, but the HDD's seem to bite it quite regularly.

Re:In a laptop performance isn't the only issue (1)

Baloroth (2370816) | about 2 years ago | (#41365139)

But a screen or even a whole laptop can be replaced. The data on a hard drive sometimes can't (everyone should have a backup, but not everyone does).

You don't necessarily pay three times as much (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41364553)

You could just get a smaller drive, which isn't too much of a hindrance in most cases. All of my media is streamed from a server anyway.

OP obviously has not used an SSD before... (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41364559)

I bought my first SSD-equipped laptop back in 2007. It was a Dell XPS. The laptop still works great today and flies in comparison to this brand new, work-issued HP laptop -- even with it's 7200rpm drive.

There isn't any comparison whatsoever. And throughput is almost moot, it's the IOPS that matter.

Re:OP obviously has not used an SSD before... (1)

kwerle (39371) | about 2 years ago | (#41365015)

I didn't get one in my macbook pro until about '09. I'm never going back.

No moving parts is worth $$$ (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41364579)

I am willing to pay a large premium for storage device that won't break if I drop it a smallish distance.

How much is your life worth to you? (1)

cp5i6 (544080) | about 2 years ago | (#41364581)

if Lucas123 can answer that question, he'll find his answer.

Dumb question (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41364595)

What's worth it is what you're willing to pay. For my part SSDs were worth it when they still cost three times more than they do today. To someone else not so much. So what's the value in the question?

Re:Dumb question (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41364979)

I had a similar thought. When I bought my first SSD it probably cost 10 times as much as an HDD and it was *still* worth it to me. I like having nice things. The high performance, noiseless operation, and low power consumption all make it worth my money, then and now.

Decimal points (2)

michael_cain (66650) | about 2 years ago | (#41364597)

There appear to be a couple of extraneous decimal points in the post. If there's someplace that I can buy hard disks for 0.23 cents per gigabyte (a bit over $1.00 for a 500-gig drive), I haven't seen it.

Re:Decimal points (2)

smyle (108107) | about 2 years ago | (#41364711)

Exactly. I'm wondering if the OP works for Verizon []

Re:Decimal points (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41364755)

Screw that - f I can get SSDs for $.0074 per gigabyte, why waste time on rotational media?

Confusion of the language. (5, Insightful)

gumpish (682245) | about 2 years ago | (#41364607)

Dropped by 3X? Dropped by three times what?

Is that the same sort of thing as "todays temperature is twice as cold"?

I think you meant "the price has dropped by 2/3rds" or "prices today are 1/3rd what they were 3 years ago".

Re:Confusion of the language. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41364759)

0.23 cents per gig? You mean I can get a 2 TB drive for $4.60?

Re:Confusion of the language. (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41364783)

interesting isn't it (the English Language), I often play these 'games' with my friend's daughter who can mangle language accidentally like this all the time, when I take her up on it - such as this kind of examlpe - she usually comes back with, if you knew what I meant then why did you need to ask me what I meant?

Fair point (and makes me laugh considering she is about 5 years old)

Now while I take the point about it not being clearly articulated I am struggling to really think what *else* it could have meant (besides absurd and patently obvious non-sense in the context of this discussion).

I love the English Language _precisely_ because you can do things like this and still retain a semblance of meaning.

Re:Confusion of the language. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41364999)

Insightful little girl, more so than many slashdot posters. I think it is broader than just the English language, and has more to do with human ability to derive information from context. I've seen posters call this a fault with the English language, and say how it would appall mathematicians at its ambiguity... yet every mathematician I've worked with responds with something along the lies of, "WTF is wrong with the read/grammar nazi? It is perfectly clear what was meant." I sometimes wonder what would happen to such grammar nazis if they discovered what an idiom is.

Re:Confusion of the language. (1)

Missing.Matter (1845576) | about 2 years ago | (#41364785)

Submitter has problems with maths.

less than $1 per gigabyte or about .74 cents per gig

$0.74/gig is very different from $0.0074/gig...

Verizon? (2)

Qubit (100461) | about 2 years ago | (#41364817)

$0.74/gig is very different from $0.0074/gig...

I'm pretty sure that OP used to work for Verizon...

Re:Confusion of the language. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41364819)

It's different by 100X!

Re:Confusion of the language. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41364917)

You know what? I have Ph. D. in mathematics, and even I don't care.

Re:Confusion of the language. (2)

Hatta (162192) | about 2 years ago | (#41365089)

Dropped by 3X? Dropped by three times what?

It's an easy way of saying "dropped by a factor of 3". Take the old price, divide it by the specified factor, and you have the new price. It's not that hard.

Is that the same sort of thing as "todays temperature is twice as cold"?

No, that's meaningless because zero on the typical temperature scales is arbitrary. If you use Kelvin, it's completely meaningful to say something is "twice as cold". It just means the molecules have half the kinetic energy on average.

The comparison overassumes capacity requirements (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41364617)

Anyone else tired of seeing comparisons between a massive capacity magnestic drive and SSDs?

Gamers, pirates, and media editors may need capacities > 128GB, but most of us don't. A general purpose laptop is fine with a 64GB SSD. Power users might need a 128.

The capacity chasing is mostly pointless. Magnetic HDDs grew larger as the technology permitted and perform well for the storage and retreival of infrequently accessed large files.

SSDs fill a different niche.

My desktop runs 2x64GB SSD in RAID-1 for the OS and ~. Media files are kept on 2TB magnetics.

If I had to choose either/or, I'd happily choose capacity limited SSDs over magnetics.

Cliffs: stop trying to replace magnetics with SSDs. They fill a different purpose. That's like complaining that your netbook doesn't run a full-on video production suite well. It isn't designed to do so.

Re:The comparison overassumes capacity requirement (1)

careysub (976506) | about 2 years ago | (#41364957)

Anyone else tired of seeing comparisons between a massive capacity magnestic drive and SSDs?

Indeed. The whole question of " should you pay three times as much for an SSD for twice the performance" is mis-formulated. The question really is would I pay 20% more for a laptop that boots twice as fast, never has data access lag from a sleeping drive, performs noticeably better on frequent persistent storage access scenarios, and has substantially better battery life?

Re:The comparison overassumes capacity requirement (1)

jedidiah (1196) | about 2 years ago | (#41365155)

If you aren't just a digital couch potato, you will find value in a storage device larger than 64G. This pretty much eliminates using SSD exclusively unless you see your PC as a glorified iPad.

This group of users that are more than just consumers also includes people like grandma.

They've been worth it for a while now (5, Interesting)

Missing.Matter (1845576) | about 2 years ago | (#41364623)

Even two years ago, I configured my then new laptop with a 160 gig SSD for $150 more and I felt it was worth it given the speed gains. That same SSD now boots Windows 8 in 7 seconds, Photoshop CS6 in 5 seconds (first boot), Word 2010 (first boot) in a fraction of a second. I use an external drive for media. After that first SSD, I now always configure my laptops and desktops now with a SSD on the primary partition for the OS install and application installs.

Sequential speeds are irrelevant (5, Insightful)

BorgDrone (64343) | about 2 years ago | (#41364637)

The biggest performance boost of an SSD compared to a traditional harddisk is random access times, this is what matters a lot more than sequential read performance.

That and a computer without any moving parts is just so nice and quiet.

Worth it for a while now.. (5, Insightful)

anethema (99553) | about 2 years ago | (#41364667)

Putting a SSD as my OS/game drive has made by far the largest difference I've ever seen in a single upgrade.

In the past it was: "More ram..ooh yeah bit smoother...Faster CPU, bit peppier..." Etc, helped but not blow your socks off.

You put an SSD for your main apps, OS, and games, and it will astonish you how quickly things go. Firefox and other apps load instantly. When I had a macbook pro I swapped to SSD and normally the icons for my startup stuff would bounce for a bit as they loaded etc. After SSD like 5 icons would do a half bounce and bam all 5 loaded done.

So for a desktop, do what I do. Throw a big spinner in there as a drive for games you don't need a fast HDD on, media, etc. Then you will have the best of both worlds. It is by far the least buyers remorse I've ever felt on a PC upgrade.

Waiting for amazon glacier (0)

alen (225700) | about 2 years ago | (#41364671)

Once I can back up my photos to amazon's glacier service with their 5 hour sla but cheap price I'll go ssd. At this point I need the large capacity for family photos

results not statistically significant (1)

SkunkPussy (85271) | about 2 years ago | (#41364677)

The result for opening the word document which shows the SSD performing worse than the others (57/10 sec, 48/9 sec, 58/10 sec.) is odd. I didn't notice the author mention how many times he performed his tests, so I am going to assume he just performed them once.

I would like to see this result repeated several times to verify whether it is an outlier, or whether an HDD will have such a large impact on MS Word performance (which TBH I would expect was mainly CPU bound).

Re:results not statistically significant (1)

The MAZZTer (911996) | about 2 years ago | (#41364805)

Plus you have to test from a cold boot for every iteration. The OS may cache the file in memory for a bit after you close it and will gladly serve it again from memory should you reopen it again.

Wrong comparison (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41364679)

If you compare sequential reads it's obvious HDs seem to have a chance against SSDs. It's in non-sequential reads where SSDs completely outclass any HD.

Depends on your criteria (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41364681)

Personally, I plopped a $50 32 GB SSD into my laptop about 4 years ago and loved it. Probably the biggest improvement in performance for the dollar I've ever spent on an upgrade, and the low capacity wasn't an issue for me.

That said, I have no idea what any other person's requirements are, and whether SSDs meet them. Per gigabyte costs are kinda pointless, as they're better suited for system drives rather than media storage drives. Personally, I find the low latency and lack of moving parts to be the most relevant features. Others will focus on throughput, while others on price per gigabyte. I'm not here to evangelize for SSDs, but their specific tradeoffs are very favorable for certain users. For others, traditional HDDs are better, and, for some, RAM-disks or whatever are better. There's no single "best" option for all use cases, which renders the question posed rather moot.

It was worth it years ago. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41364689)

The 120GB SSD I bought years ago now was the single best investment I made for my computer. I use it as the system drive and have all of my data on a 1.5TB HDD. It's not just boot-up times that were faster. It was everything. Computers that run their OSes off of HDDs feel sluggish to me, even if they are otherwise faster than my home computer. The fact that the drive has absolutely no access time and much better random access performance makes a huge difference.

Other factors/considerations (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41364701)

If you have a fast SSD, you might be able to get away with having less RAM in the system since it would be much better able to cope with the swapping that will likely occur.

And in a lot of the stuff that people do; not enough people pay attention to swap performance when assessing whether a SSD is worth it for them or not.

In my experience, it is almost ALWAYS worth it; but I will also however disclaimer that you do need a pretty good quality drive in order to be able to withstand the read/write/program/erase cycles that swap performance will induce.

Hybrid is nowhere near the same as SSD (5, Informative)

jest3r (458429) | about 2 years ago | (#41364703)

The post makes it sound like Hybrid is close to SSD ... it is not ...

Max. read speed (4K blocks)
SSD: 456MB/sec.
Standard: 122MB/sec.
Hybrid: 106MB/sec.

Max. write speed
SSD: 241MB/sec.
Standard: 119MB/sec.
Hybrid: 114MB/sec.

1.19GB file transfer
SSD: 15 sec.
Standard: 34 sec.
Hybrid: 29 sec.

Seriously? (5, Interesting)

bazald (886779) | about 2 years ago | (#41364713)

For a serious computer user, an SSD has been worth the money for a while now.

* If you need to do serious disk I/O with a mid-size or smaller notebook, RAID isn't even an option for increasing speed.
* Running multiple virtual machines? Want them to boot quickly? An SSD makes them feel native.
* Running Windows as a native operating system, and have more than one or two programs that you legitimately want to launch at boot, and can't/won't disable? An SSD makes your computer usable within tens of seconds as opposed to multiple minutes.
* Doing compilation? Syncing of filesystems with a system such as Unison? Doing anything filesystem heavy? The speedup is insanely awesome.

If all you care about is running Your Web Browser and editing Word documents, or storing a few photos, obviously an SSD is a more questionable upgrade, and probably will be for the foreseeable future.

"Depends" (1)

jythie (914043) | about 2 years ago | (#41364725)

The factors have changed a little, but the basic equation remains the same. There is a trade off between cost and size, so how much space you need is important.

For instance, one of my computers has a 16GB SSD. I am not even using up that much space, so any larger a drive is just wasted, and at 16GB the cost differnce between SSD and a good platter drive are not that huge, so it make sense. I do my photo editing on a computer with a 120GB SSD, with a large platter drive attached externally for storage. Again I do not need huge amounts of space in the box itself, so the advantages of the SSD outweigh the minor advantage of 'it could be bigger for the same cost' of another drive.

It isnt 3 times the price for space (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41364729)

Because the average person simply isnt using the full 2TB drives anyways.

They are maybe using 500 and thats if they have a shitload of photos.
Most likely they are in the 100-200 gig most.

Really? (1)

wbr1 (2538558) | about 2 years ago | (#41364757)

One answer:'s_Law_of_Headlines []
In reality it depenfs on the intended use.
If space isnt an issue then go SSD, if it is then a hybrid solution is best for the average joe who doesn't know or want to bother with splitting apps and os onto different drives. If you are power user you don't mind that as much and build your own combo solution.
In other words, until ssd_price == hdd_price, solutions will vary based on use case, and Bettridges law holds true once again.

I say yes, but only for selfish reasons. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41364769)

Personally I've been replacing all of my failed laptop and desktop drives with SSD's, where cost and size permit, only because my failure rate on desktop and laptop drives seem to be above average at this point in time.

I still have 2 old 5gb western digital drives that work just fine, and a stack of dead 750-1TB drives of various brands that are dead, many with under 2 years of spin time (most under warranty, but even the replacements seems to suck sometimes).

I have yet to have an SSD fail on me BUT I don't have many hours logged yet.

I did recondition one of my old laptops recently (a Dell 6500) that had a heat problem, and dropping the normal drive and adding the SSD cut down on head and added a few more minutes of battery life (plus much faster startup time).

So for me, I say yes to the SSD, but still cautious.

Definitely (1)

kiriath (2670145) | about 2 years ago | (#41364781)

I took the plunge a year back and bought an SSD for my laptop, it was the best decision I have made I'd say. Performance has been stellar, and my laptop is so quiet without the click-pop-buzz of the HDD... truly a worthwhile investment for me personally.

Prices dropping means I'll just be buying more of them to put in other machines I own. Quiet, fast and (comparatively speaking vs a few years ago) inexpensive makes SSD a winning combo.

MediaPC vs Desktop (1)

SpankyDaMonkey (1692874) | about 2 years ago | (#41364789)

SSDs are now at a price where it's a no-brainer for a media-PC hooked up to a NAS. They're pretty much cheaper than the cheapest normal hard drive you can buy, and far quieter.

For the desktop, the cache drives still make the best sense. Most users don't have the technical ability to be able to force installs of software to secondary drives and keep their boot drive clear of clutter enough to be able to warrant the cost of an SSD.

I went for a cache drive myself about 4 months ago and it's been one of the best purchases I've made for my home system, but for joe public I'd still say a RAM upgrade should come way before anything else if they want things to just work faster.

SSD is way more robust and saved me money and time (1)

kasper_souren (1577647) | about 2 years ago | (#41364791)

I travel a lot, including a lot of hitchhiking [] , not like your average business trip. Consequently I've had to deal with several broken hard drives. Since I switched to SSD this hasn't happened anymore. That means I've likely saved some money by not having to buy a new hard drive and a lot of time from having to deal with a broken hard drive.

Hybrid Drives .23 cents per gig (0)

syntap (242090) | about 2 years ago | (#41364799)

I call BS, link to a 1TB hybrid drive for $2 to $3 USD.

Price (1)

ledow (319597) | about 2 years ago | (#41364801)

I have a laptop that has two drive bays. SSD's won't be replacing the 1TB main hard drive any time soon, the prices for those are more than the laptop is worth.

But a 256Gb is surprisingly affordable and given that my "primary" partition is that size, it would be a cinch to install one, move the data over and even mirror the partitions to a traditional HDD if I needed to.

And the speed difference *would* make a huge difference. It always has done.

The problem is not the speed increase relative to anything else because it blows things out of the water. The problem is cost per Gb, as always in storage. 256Gb now costs about one-third the price of my laptop, or a half-decent graphics card for a PC. That's within the realms of possibility for an upgrade.

SSDs (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41364803)

I've used 2 SSDs in Raid0 on my desktop for quite awhile now, I just recently built my second PC where I used it as my boot drive. Since the drives aren't large enough for media and most applications, I keep those on a separate platter drive, but my OS and a few frequently used games and applications reside on the SSD raid.

Read speeds will max out my SATA3 connection. Normal cold boot is about 5 seconds.

Performance rarely scales linearly with price (1)

oic0 (1864384) | about 2 years ago | (#41364825)

This goes for just about everything unless you are talking about generational technology gaps. Honestly, double the performance for 3x the price is pretty much a bargain, comparatively speaking.

my experience is different (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41364859)

All I can say is I equipped my old core 2 duo laptop with an ssd about 12months ago
(My partner uses it now) . When I use it I am jealous of how quickly it boots and how fast it renders web pages compared to my more modern i3 laptop which does not have an sad. (Both laptops running natty narwhal ) While when I bought the sad it was twice the price of similar on the market today the performance improvement is very percievable . And I plan on upgrading my newer laptop with an sad as soon as I have time to prep everything!

The real question: "Do SDDs last as long as HDDs?" (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41364863)

With the amount of information the poster gave can they not answer the question themselves?

Would it be better to ask this question: "I know that based on performance for the price, SSD's are worth purchasing- however, do SDDs last as long as HDDs?"

Durability worth the price in some laptops (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41364877)

If you use your laptop "in the field" the shock resistance is a definite plus AND you will get longer battery life.

For how long? (3, Interesting)

courcoul (801052) | about 2 years ago | (#41364887)

An item yet unmentioned at the time I post this, is SSD lifetime. The are finite, you know, and probably a lot more finite than a well-protected HDD. The manufacturer states the number of write operations the storage cells can take on average before going kaput, and its up to the controller & OS to "age" them all equally to ensure maximum longevity (thanks, TRIM). This and speed are the main determinants of the cost of the devices and the differentiator between user and server-grade SSDs.

Nowadays with shady outfits jumping onto the SSD bandwagon, we'll see really crappy devices made from rejected storage chips hitting the markets, which will fail prematurely and give the technology a bad rep.

Re:For how long? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41365131)

I have about 6 old pata hdds in my drawer, each a least five years old. They are essentially useless, even though they are functional. If my ssd survives that long before becoming obsolite then I don't care if their cells wear out later.

Not a Good Test (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41364905)

I don' think performance on boot is a good test for SSD's if you pay attention to the way even Windows 7 or Windows 8 boots, a large portion of the time there is 0 disk I/O. If you looked at load times for disk heavy applications instead such as say Adobe CS apps or games, you would see a larger margin on the SSD. I have a Mushkin Enhanced Chronos Deluxe 480GB SSD that is in the Alienware M17XR2 I have that just died. The laptop loaded any of the CS apps more than 3x as fast as the RAID0 array of 2x 2TB Caviar Black disks that I have in my desktop, and the laptop only has SATA II so it is capped on performance by the motherboard.

Yes... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41364945)

...they were worth the money a long time ago.

Laptop HDD's are not like Desktop HDD's (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41365009)

I think the initial comparison is flawed in that it fails to recognized that most HDD's used in laptops are significantly slower than the HDD's used in desktop. They often have slower rotational speeds and head seeks - all in an effort to keep the power consumption down.

I know from personal experience that replacing the HDD that came in my Asus HE1000 netbook with a SSD resulted in a significant improvement in performance. The laptop was painfully sluggish with the HDD and quite snappy with the SSD. Boot times were faster and the system was much more responsive when loading apps from disk.

Of course it depends. (1)

llZENll (545605) | about 2 years ago | (#41365051)

I bought my first 160GB SSD for $600, and would do it again in a heartbeat. If you use your machine for any kind of productivity the speed difference is night and day, moving to a SSD is the single most noticeable improvement in overall speed of my computer that I have EVER DONE. About the only thing I can relate it to is 20 years ago when I upgraded to a 3dfx graphics card for the first time, and seeing a software 3d engine vs the new hardware one. Now if you only use your computer for word processing or internet usage as most people, there is little reason to upgrade except for perhaps data security as SSD failure rates are much lower, but since you should be backing up anyways that shouldn't be much of a consideration. I have 3 SSDs totaling 700GB and will never buy another computer again without one.

Best Upgrade I've Ever Done (2)

mikestew (1483105) | about 2 years ago | (#41365065)

After 25 years or so of slapping upgrades in computers of various sorts, I'd have to say an SSD made the most immediate, noticeable difference of any upgrade I've done. Better CPU? Yeah, the new one's a bit snappier...I think; or maybe I want to think that because I spent money. More RAM? Seems like it's not swapping as much, sure. Replace spinning platters with SSD? Did someone just secretly swap out my old computer for a new one? Everything seems faster (okay, not ripping DVDs in Handbrake).

Forget boot times, who reboots enough to even notice? App loading, compiles, anything involving disk access is nearly instant. I'll sacrifice capacity for what an SSD buys me.

Now I'll admit that I wasn't as impressed as I thought I should have been. Two years ago when I bought my first one, bloggers were wetting themselves a bit much over the extra snappiness of an SSD. But SSDs are still a damned impressive upgrade. I really noticed the difference when I went back and forth between my SSD-equipped MacBook Pro and my iMac with a better CPU but 7200 RPM hard drive. When the iMac hits disk, it's annoyingly noticeable.

In summary, SSDs have been worth the money to me for over two years now. The only spinny hard drive I'll be buying from now on will either be a secondary drive, or will go in the NAS.

Finally made the switch, no regrets (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41365071)

The 160GB HD in my EeePC finally died, so I bought a 60GB SSD (Intel 330 series) for about $60 USD.

It's not much really faster, and it's smaller in capacity. But startup/shutdown is fast, and there are no moving parts to worry about, and the machine runs about 10 degrees cooler. It was a good upgrade.

For a desktop machine, I can't see getting an SSD unless you have a lot of money to spend.

A hybrid drive isn't a paradigm shift (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41365075)

'SSD for the boot drive, platters for the storage drive' has been an adage for quite some time. Hybrid drives is just these two in one.

I recently bought a Seagate Momentus XT for my laptop to install in the next hour. This is a laptop that is going to be used for studies, but also general computer duties. An SSD on its own would creak under the weight of TV shows very soon.

Power usage (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41365093)

I replaced the HDD with an SSD in my netbook and saw in immediate and significant drop in power consumption. I'm not storing terabytes of information and I'm not rendering 3D films. I'm browsing the web, reading e-mail, and occasionally configuring routers. What I needed was faster boot times and better battery life. An SSD suits both of those tasks very well.

Reliability (1)

Jahf (21968) | about 2 years ago | (#41365109)

The question misses my key factor: Reliability.

Yes, SSDs have a limited lifespan, but it is relatively predictable.

HDs on the other hand, especially with as much of a commodity (meaning nearly non-existent quality controls) as they have become, are completely UNpredictable on reliability.

The same HD from a different batch might fail nearly immediately whereas the very next production run might produce a drive that will last for many years.

I got VERY tired of it.

I run SSD for the majority of my apps. My data I stick on a separate large mirrored array.

The hybrid drives may be fairly cheap, but they are inherently as unpredictable as HDs (they use the HD less, which is a bonus, but they add a second layer of complexity, which is a detractor, so I end up considering them equivalent).

I had some problem with my first SSD due to firmware issues ... but once cured all of my SSDs are still running solidly while I've had multiple HD failures of newer HDs.

Anyone asking hasn't used an SSD. (5, Insightful)

Above (100351) | about 2 years ago | (#41365113)

Having done a number of HDD->SSD upgrades for friends and family, I can tell you this quite simply. Anyone asking the question has never used an SSD, because if they had they wouldn't be asking it.

How a desktop "feels" to the user isn't about raw throughput, but it is very often about IOPS and more importantly latency. It may not seem like waiting 5-8ms for the rotational latency of a drive is a big deal, but spread that out over a pile of IOPS and it is a huge deal. The original post even shows how much, boot time with an SSD was 9 seconds, HDD 21. That's 50% faster. Now probably most people don't care if the boot time is 9 or 21 seconds, but I bet most folks would like their system a lot better if every application load time was 50% faster!

SSD is the single biggest no-brainer upgrade to me, it's even surpassed the "add ram" no brainer. The only time SSD's get questioned is for bulk storage. If the users needs include large music, photo, or video archives then it is worth asking questions about the cost of storage. Even in those cases, going with a hybrid drive or two drives is always the right answer.

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