When you buy a SSD, which factor you should consider first?

Elpee

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Recently, when SSD drives turn cheaper, people are changing their minds and decide to buy more SSD drives for their PCs.
So, if you're on the fence to buy a new SSD drive, which one should you think about first (please don't mention the price - just talk about technology)?

Brandname?
MLC or SLC chip?
If you think about speed, which one is the most you care of MB/s read/wirte or IOPS? SATA 3 interface?
TRIM?
Capacity?
Or else?

Your thoughts would be much appreciated.
 
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JL6speed

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Reliability > Performance > Capacity

Generally I would go with the Samsung 840 Pro 256GB. It's proven reliable and very good performance. The capacity deal is something you'd have to figure out for yourself. I'm currently using 90GB in my desktop built from 2010 as my primary goal was to run the OS off of it, and possibly 1 game I primarily played at the time (WOW). However as SSD's are getting more reasonably priced, I would say bumping up my preference to 256 would make more sense in today's spending. This way I can dump more commonly used apps / games on the SSD. I don't primarily use SSDs for file storage / backup, so I don't really care for the capacity. Plus I can buy 2-4TB harddrives at a much cheaper price point to do actual storage/backups. As I'm not actually constantly writing/copying files to/from the SSD, I don't really care too much for the speeds. I just care that the SSDs latency loads the OS faster and the apps I run off of it.
 

drescherjm

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Brandname?

That would be my most important factor.

Samsung, Crucial or Intel

MLC/SLC chip?

These days its mostly MLC or TLC.

If you think about speed, which one is the most you care of MB/s read/wirte or IOPS?

IOPS / 4K low queue depth reads and writes

SATA 3 interface?

I will not purchase any SSD that has less even for a PC with SATA II.


Since all modern SSDs support trim the above question covers this.
 
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I went for reliability first and bought Crucial M500s, which have some error correction features, and are able to finish their write command after power loss. I don't have a UPS, and there is a machine here that occasionally takes out the power when you switch it on.
 

NetJunkie

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Depends on the use case. For my vSphere hosts that have them for read/write data caching I went Intel 3700 100GB. I don't need big..but I need fast and long write life. For a notebook or desktop I want larger capacity and reliability. Almost any good SSD will be fast enough for that so that's not usually the issue. Just varies.
 

platero

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Reliability > Performance > Capacity

Generally I would go with the Samsung 840 Pro 256GB. It's proven reliable and very good performance. The capacity deal is something you'd have to figure out for yourself. I'm currently using 90GB in my desktop built from 2010 as my primary goal was to run the OS off of it, and possibly 1 game I primarily played at the time (WOW). However as SSD's are getting more reasonably priced, I would say bumping up my preference to 256 would make more sense in today's spending. This way I can dump more commonly used apps / games on the SSD. I don't primarily use SSDs for file storage / backup, so I don't really care for the capacity. Plus I can buy 2-4TB harddrives at a much cheaper price point to do actual storage/backups. As I'm not actually constantly writing/copying files to/from the SSD, I don't really care too much for the speeds. I just care that the SSDs latency loads the OS faster and the apps I run off of it.

I'll go with this fella's recommendation. You want long-term quality, which is currently the 840 pro. MLC is great, and Samsung is a producer, not a reseller/rebrander.
 

evilsofa

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Brandname?
Samsung, Crucial and Intel are the big three. Can't go wrong with them.

MLC/SLC chip?
SLC is almost entirely super-expensive enterprise stuff now as far as I know. TLC from the big three have good enough endurance that endurance is of no concern whatsoever outside of hardcore server usage. MLC has three times as much endurance as TLC.

If you think about speed, which one is the most you care of MB/s read/wirte or IOPS?
Speed between current drives from the big three are not noticeable to human perception. You'll see differences in benchmarks, but in practice you're talking about loading a game level in 2 seconds vs 2.1 seconds.

SATA 3 interface?
If your PC is old enough to have only SATA 2, current SSDs will max it out and the rest of the PC will be slow enough that it doesn't really matter.

TRIM?
This is an OS issue. Win7 and 8 do it, WinXP doesn't so you need a toolset like Samsung Magician to make the equivalent happen.

Capacity?
The way the NAND dies work in current SSDs, the smallest ones, which are usually 120GB or 128GB, don't have multiples to work with so they are significantly slower than the 240GB versions. I'm not explaining this well but it's the same reason single-core CPUs are vastly slower than even dual-core CPUs. and why you want dual-channel system RAM.

Else?
The Crucial m500 line is very interesting because it has capacitors that allow the SSD to shut down properly during an improper power-down (such as a power outage). Without these capacitors, an SSD that is improperly powered down has a small chance of losing or corrupting data that matters. Crucial also supported full-disk encryption in a very good way if that is of any interest to you. However, Crucial doesn't ship with a nice toolset like Intel's SSD Toolbox or Samsung Magician.
 

Elpee

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Thank you for the inputs, guys.

Capacity?
The way the NAND dies work in current SSDs, the smallest ones, which are usually 120GB or 128GB, don't have multiples to work with so they are significantly slower than the 240GB versions. I'm not explaining this well but it's the same reason single-core CPUs are vastly slower than even dual-core CPUs. and why you want dual-channel system RAM.

Right here I have a quick question. Do you notice that the more capacity a SSD has the faster speed it runs? Why? Please explain in more detail and simple. Thank you.
 
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drescherjm

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Do you notice that the more capacity a SSD has the faster speed it runs? Why? Please explain in more detail and simple. Thank you.

Higher capacity SSDs usually have more NAND chips. This usually allows the controller to run more operations in parallel (basically more internal RAID 0) giving you higher transfer rates.
 
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evilsofa

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HardOCP slammed the Samsung 840 120GB for having performance not much better than a 5400 RPM HDD, and strongly suggested going with an MLC drive for 120GB or smaller.

When you look at other reviews of SSDs covering many sizes, like this one, you'll see pretty clearly that the single-chip SSDs do suffer badly on sequential read and writes.

But the performance that most consumers notice is in the 4K random read/writes. These are very small read and writes that is the behavior of most of the work that a consumer would do on a PC (the "light workload" in the review I linked above). Even the smaller SSDs are ridiculously superior over any HDD for that, enough that it's hard for a human to notice the difference between SSDs for that kind of usage.
 

brian770

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i went with a smallish intel 520 cherryville 180 gig, the price was right and so far all i have is praise for it.
 

Kelsea

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I see a lot helpful comments here. However, have you mention the incompatibility of most computer case with a 2.5" drive? It might be a good idea to consider purchasing a converter or something similar to allow easy and secure installation of a 2.5" SSD to a 3.5" HDD slot. There are many options out there, but personally I would choose something sturdy and reliable. As you know, SSD price is getting cheaper but it is still not that cheap. Just a friendly reminder. ;)
 

drescherjm

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However, have you mention the incompatibility of most computer case with a 2.5" drive?

Velcro works well for that. If you have no velcro there is always masking tape.
 

Tsumi

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There's always those drive adapters, which are fairly cheap. You can get a 3.5 to 2x2.5 adapter, and there's even 5.25 to 4x2.5 adapters available.

For me, it'll be reliability first, then price/gb.
 

JoeComp

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Velcro works well for that. If you have no velcro there is always masking tape.

Ooh Nooooooo Mr. drescherjm! Not masking tape! :eek:

Seriously, most types of tape are not ESD safe. They can build up a huge static charge.

If you must use tape, get some ESD safe tape. Or perhaps electrical tape is slightly more ESD safe than masking tape, but I would not count on it.
 
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evilsofa

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Some SSDs do come with the converter bracket. Intel shipped one with my 335, which pleased me.
 

drescherjm

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My Intel 80 GB G1 SSD has been attached to a metal part of my case with masking tape for over 4 years now. It does not move around at all so I do not see this to be a big problem.
 

dandragonrage

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Ooh Nooooooo Mr. drescherjm! Not masking tape! :eek:

Seriously, most types of tape are not ESD safe. They can build up a huge static charge.

If you must use tape, get some ESD safe tape. Or perhaps electrical tape is slightly more ESD safe than masking tape, but I would not count on it.

Any tape is fine on a computer case. It will be grounded by the case. However most tape won't stick a SSD to a case forever.

Velcro also can create static, particularly when you rip them apart. Still very unlikely to cause problems. But not impossible.

Anyway, I consider: Known reliability of brand/model (always avoid OCZ for example), durability/write cycles for the specific model (no thanks to TLC), capacity, performance (no JMicron/Phison crap)
 
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JoeComp

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My Intel 80 GB G1 SSD has been attached to a metal part of my case with masking tape for over 4 years now. It does not move around at all so I do not see this to be a big problem.

It does not matter how long it has been attached. The problem is when you first pull the tape from the roll and use the tape. The static charge developed is large and dangerous to electronic equipment. Obviously it is not always damaging, but the risk is not worth it.
 

JoeComp

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Any tape is fine on a computer case.

No, that is incorrect. All non-ESD safe tape is dangerous to electronic components. It is particularly bad inside a computer case where there are lots of cables, sockets, and card slots that could provide an electrical path to damage components.
 

dandragonrage

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No, that is incorrect. All non-ESD safe tape is dangerous to electronic components. It is particularly bad inside a computer case where there are lots of cables, sockets, and card slots that could provide an electrical path to damage components.

Nope, it is correct. The case is grounded, and tape doesn't randomly make static, it can do so specifically when being peeled off the roll. Also, a SSD doesn't have exposed circuitry. The case would work like an anti-static bag. ASD bags work because they're somewhat conductive - the idea is to "short out" the static. You're a little too paranoid.

Not that I'd recommend masking tape anyway as it's all junk that doesn't stick to anything.
 

JoeComp

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The case is grounded, and tape doesn't randomly make static, it can do so specifically when being peeled off the roll.

You are simply incorrect. Just because a computer case may be "grounded" does not mean that all the components are protected from all ESD damage.

Of course the static charge of tape is developed when it is peeled from the roll. I just said that. The tape will hold a large static charge until it is dissipated. If it soon touches the wrong part of a component in your computer, it can cause damage.

There is a reason electronic components (not the shipping box, but the actual components) are rarely secured with tape, and if they are, the manufacturers always use ESD-safe tape. The reason has already been stated -- most tape is dangerous to use around electronic components because it develops a large static charge when it is first used.
 

dandragonrage

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You are simply incorrect. Just because a computer case may be "grounded" does not mean that all the components are protected from all ESD damage.

Of course the static charge of tape is developed when it is peeled from the roll. I just said that. The tape will hold a large static charge until it is dissipated. If it soon touches the wrong part of a component in your computer, it can cause damage.

Which is why we're talking SSDs, which are enclosed in a nice metal case that works just like an anti-static bag.

Some tape could be a potential issue only if applied to an actual circuit board.

Anyway, you'll probably just give me another wrong answer here, so I'm ducking out. Too much time spent.
 

JoeComp

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Which is why we're talking SSDs, which are enclosed in a nice metal case that works just like an anti-static bag.

You really need to stop giving people bad advice on a subject you obviously know nothing about.

Some SSDs are shipped in an aluminized mylar bag, sometimes sealed with a little bit of ESD-safe tape. Other SSDs are shipped in ESD-safe plastic molds.

Whether the SSD case is metal or plastic (some are plastic), the case is not a guarantee of being immune to ESD damage.

There is a reason the SSDs are shipped from the manufacturers in ESD-safe packages. The reason is because the SSDs can be damaged by static electricity.
 

Kelsea

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Hi guys,

I see so much arguments here:rolleyes:. But honestly, I would rather just spend a few bucks, let say 10-15?, just to securely attach my 2.5" "relatively expensive" SSD on to a 3.5" bay. I am sure there are many solutions out there. However, for me, security and reliability are my first and price comes second.

:D:D A converter bracket does look better than just tapes (;
 

JoeComp

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I would rather just spend a few bucks, let say 10-15?, just to securely attach my 2.5" "relatively expensive" SSD on to a 3.5" bay.

A sensible attitude.

It is foolish to use non-ESD safe tape and increase the risk of damage, when there are several other ways to go, and they only cost a few dollars more than masking tape.

If you must use tape, you can purchase special ESD-safe tape.
 

Britgeezer

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I know you didn't want to talk price, but I'm happy with my Crucial M4 and Samsung 840 Pro purchases, I would not buy other solutions unless they were 20% less and for a truly equivalent spec.
Yes, I use both double sided tape, velcro and fixed mount systems - no difference.
 

Happy Hopping

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Brandname?
Samsung, Crucial and Intel are the big three. Can't go wrong with them.

if Crucial is that good, why is their SSD only 3 yr. warranty, vs. intel's 5 yr. warranty?

I have fear of any brand other than intel, ends up another Corsair, that 1 day when you turn on the PC, your SSD is not recognize by the PC

and according to Xbitlab, neither Samsung or Crucial is at Tier 1 or 2.

http://www.xbitlabs.com/articles/storage/display/kingston-ssdnow-v200_7.html#sect0
 
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mutantmagnet

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It depends on the intended use. Right now what matters to me are.

Performance consistency

Power surge protection

Encryption

Reliability

$/GB
 

Elpee

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...
and according to Xbitlab, neither Samsung or Crucial is at Tier 1 or 2.

http://www.xbitlabs.com/articles/storage/display/kingston-ssdnow-v200_7.html#sect0

Thanks for the link you gave, but the article was over a year. As you know, things have changed so fast specially in SSD world.

I have one question, guys.
On a certain beautiful day, when you turn on your PC, the machine cannot recognize your SSD that you installed OS and you properly think your SSD died. What is the main problem? The chips inside SSD damaged or the firmware that controls your SSD corrupted? Or anything else?
Why do I have to ask this? Because it's the main factor I should consider when I decide to buy a new SSD. Thank you.
 

Kelsea

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Thanks for the advice, but that bracket doesn't look quiet as, let say aesthetic. And, I wonder if it is secure enough and is good quality. Again thanks anyways. :) Maybe a converter and better looking adapter will be a better choice.
 

drescherjm

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And, I wonder if it is secure enough and is good quality.

The Bytecc Bracket-35225 is certainly secure enough for an SSD (which has no moving parts).
 
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