Computers - Solid State Drive vs. Hard Disk Drive

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Electron
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Computers - Solid State Drive vs. Hard Disk Drive

Post by Electron »

A Solid State Drive certainly boots an operating system much faster than a conventional Hard Disk Drive.

What advantages have you seen after boot?

I'm wondering what kinds of applications might benefit from the additional speed.
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Re: Computers - Solid State Drive vs. Hard Disk Drive

Post by 02nz »

Everything is dramatically more responsive - launching programs, Windows updates, copying/moving files, editing photos/videos. A 10-year-old PC with SSD will feel more responsive than a brand-new PC with an HDD, even though the newer one will have a far faster CPU. This makes a bigger difference than anything else in a computer, BY FAR.

An SSD is also silent (HDDs make at least some noise) and is generally more reliable than HDDs, and basically shock-proof. For laptops they can also save a bit of weight (esp. for an m.2 SSD vs 2.5-inch HDD) and generally also brings better battery life, since they use less power.
Last edited by 02nz on Sat Apr 18, 2020 12:36 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Computers - Solid State Drive vs. Hard Disk Drive

Post by anon_investor »

Overall current tech SSDs are flatout better all around. The down size is it costs more than an HDD for the same amount of storage space.
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Re: Computers - Solid State Drive vs. Hard Disk Drive

Post by 02nz »

anon_investor wrote: Sat Apr 18, 2020 12:35 pm Overall current tech SSDs are flatout better all around. The down size is it costs more than an HDD for the same amount of storage space.
On systems that allow it, a good compromise is using an SSD for Windows and frequently used documents, and HDD for larger files that don't need to be modified often (e.g., music and videos).

But SSDs have gotten so cheap that even this is often unnecessary. An m.2 500GB NVME drive is around $60 these days.
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Re: Computers - Solid State Drive vs. Hard Disk Drive

Post by tibbitts »

I'm not seeing the advantages to the extent everyone else is, after replacing HDDs in all my laptops (old, new) with SSDs, but SSDs are better. I'm needing a couple cheap external 4TB drives now and not seeing that in SSD just yet - anybody want to estimate how long I'll have to wait? I'm at 70% with my 2TB drives. I know, I could clean out my files - but that would probably take more time than waiting for cheap 4TB SSDs.
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Re: Computers - Solid State Drive vs. Hard Disk Drive

Post by 02nz »

tibbitts wrote: Sat Apr 18, 2020 12:44 pm I'm not seeing the advantages to the extent everyone else is, after replacing HDDs in all my laptops (old, new) with SSDs, but SSDs are better. I'm needing a couple cheap external 4TB drives now and not seeing that in SSD just yet - anybody want to estimate how long I'll have to wait? I'm at 70% with my 2TB drives. I know, I could clean out my files - but that would probably take more time than waiting for cheap 4TB SSDs.
You could do a search for the biggest files. There are probably a smaller number of files that are eating up a lot of space. A matter of seconds or minutes, which is definitely less time than waiting for cheap 4TB SSDs (current cost around $500, not sure what your definition if cheap is).
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Re: Computers - Solid State Drive vs. Hard Disk Drive

Post by anon_investor »

02nz wrote: Sat Apr 18, 2020 12:38 pm
anon_investor wrote: Sat Apr 18, 2020 12:35 pm Overall current tech SSDs are flatout better all around. The down size is it costs more than an HDD for the same amount of storage space.
On systems that allow it, a good compromise is using an SSD for Windows and frequently used documents, and HDD for larger files that don't need to be modified often (e.g., music and videos).

But SSDs have gotten so cheap that even this is often unnecessary. An m.2 500GB NVME drive is around $60 these days.
I did just that for my father in law instead of getting a new computer when is old HDD started to go on his desktop. Installed the OS on a cheap 256GB SSD and bought a cheap 4 TB HDD to store all his digital photos.
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Re: Computers - Solid State Drive vs. Hard Disk Drive

Post by Helo80 »

tibbitts wrote: Sat Apr 18, 2020 12:44 pm I'm not seeing the advantages to the extent everyone else is, after replacing HDDs in all my laptops (old, new) with SSDs, but SSDs are better. I'm needing a couple cheap external 4TB drives now and not seeing that in SSD just yet - anybody want to estimate how long I'll have to wait? I'm at 70% with my 2TB drives. I know, I could clean out my files - but that would probably take more time than waiting for cheap 4TB SSDs.

4 TBs is about as high as SSDs go now though 7+ TB drives exist. There are more of the enterprise level where budgets are larger.

It's hard to say how long you'll have to wait... As with anything, it depends on what new SSD sizes come out and supply/demand. The top sized drives in either SSD or standard platters are always going to command a slight price premium per GB as larger capacity drives are more energy efficient in large volume.
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Re: Computers - Solid State Drive vs. Hard Disk Drive

Post by nisiprius »

Without getting into the chicken-and-egg thing--the grim possibility that we need SSD's just because the developers of operating systems now expect computers to have them--I replaced my Mac Mini a couple of years ago and dropped a huge bundle in order to get a 1 TB SSD. All I can tell you is that the new system has been a joy and a delight. It is not so much that anything is all that fast, it is that nothing is slow. It boots quickly. System updates install quickly. I never need to waste time closing applications. Applications don't slow down when a Time Machine backup is running.

All I can say is that I'm completely sold on SSD's and think they are worth the money if you can possibly afford them.

Unfortunately, way too many applications want "things" to be on the system drive and you can get into odd, squirrelly territory trying to convince them to put their "libraries" and such on an external drive. Plus, an internal system drive has less risk of problems and glitches due to, say, not mounting quite fast enough when a system starts up. So I think you want generous capacity on the system drive.
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Re: Computers - Solid State Drive vs. Hard Disk Drive

Post by livesoft »

I never turn off my computer, so I rarely have to boot it, so no benefit of SSD for booting for me.

I do have SSD for any computer that is not firmly planted. So our laptops have had SSD for many years now.
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Re: Computers - Solid State Drive vs. Hard Disk Drive

Post by squirm »

SSD's are getting much slower due to 4 bit cell technology, unless they have a large cache or other cache technology so be careful.
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Re: Computers - Solid State Drive vs. Hard Disk Drive

Post by Luckywon »

02nz wrote: Sat Apr 18, 2020 12:33 pm
An SSD is also silent (HDDs make at least some noise) and is generally more reliable than HDDs, and basically shock-proof.
I know almost nothing about computers so take what I write with a grain of salt but I was shocked at how much noise an SSD laptop I recently purchased made. Turns out it has both SSD and HDD components. From what I saw, this was the case with the majority of "SSD" laptops. I returned it. It took three tries before I ended up with a laptop that remains quite most (not all) of the time and that was by spending a lot of money ($2200) for a laptop with a very large SSD.
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Re: Computers - Solid State Drive vs. Hard Disk Drive

Post by 02nz »

squirm wrote: Sat Apr 18, 2020 1:12 pm SSD's are getting much slower due to 4 bit cell technology, unless they have a large cache or other cache technology so be careful.
That's only true for QLC drives, and in real use (i.e., not copying 100GB all the time) it makes no significant difference. And most drives on the market are not QLC, esp. outside of entry-level SSDs.
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Re: Computers - Solid State Drive vs. Hard Disk Drive

Post by 02nz »

Luckywon wrote: Sat Apr 18, 2020 1:13 pm
02nz wrote: Sat Apr 18, 2020 12:33 pm
An SSD is also silent (HDDs make at least some noise) and is generally more reliable than HDDs, and basically shock-proof.
I know almost nothing about computers so take what I write with a grain of salt but I was shocked at how much noise an SSD laptop I recently purchased made. Turns out it has both SSD and HDD components. From what I saw, this was the case with the majority of "SSD" laptops. I returned it. It took three tries before I ended up with a laptop that remains quite most (not all) of the time and that was by spending a lot of money ($2200) for a laptop with a very large SSD.
There are hybrid SSD+HDD drives but these have become less common as SSD prices have fallen dramatically. I wonder if what you heard might have been "coil whine" (Google for more details). This comes from the computer's other electronic parts (generally NOT from the SSD), and it can sound a lot like the clicking of a hard drive.
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Re: Computers - Solid State Drive vs. Hard Disk Drive

Post by 02nz »

nisiprius wrote: Sat Apr 18, 2020 1:03 pm Unfortunately, way too many applications want "things" to be on the system drive and you can get into odd, squirrelly territory trying to convince them to put their "libraries" and such on an external drive. Plus, an internal system drive has less risk of problems and glitches due to, say, not mounting quite fast enough when a system starts up. So I think you want generous capacity on the system drive.
Not sure if this is maybe a quirk of MacOS as I don't use that OS, but on Windows 10 this is handled pretty well, and it's very easy to redirect the library (e.g., videos, pictures, documents) to a different drive. I always do and have never had an issue. (Moving installed applications to a different drive is a different matter and will almost always cause problems.)
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Re: Computers - Solid State Drive vs. Hard Disk Drive

Post by squirm »

02nz wrote: Sat Apr 18, 2020 1:14 pm
squirm wrote: Sat Apr 18, 2020 1:12 pm SSD's are getting much slower due to 4 bit cell technology, unless they have a large cache or other cache technology so be careful.
That's only true for QLC drives, and in real use (i.e., not copying 100GB all the time) it makes no significant difference. And most drives on the market are not QLC, esp. outside of entry-level SSDs.
Um okay, whatever, the HP I just looked at was $1300 and had a QLC with Optane, hardly entry level as you say. But whatever.
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Re: Computers - Solid State Drive vs. Hard Disk Drive

Post by stimulacra »

Everything about SSDs is better than HDD. Except price.

My primary job involves a lot of video editing and I'm handling terabytes of data weekly. Migrating to an SSD workflow makes tasks go 3-5x times faster and makes my life much easier.
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Re: Computers - Solid State Drive vs. Hard Disk Drive

Post by squirm »

anon_investor wrote: Sat Apr 18, 2020 12:50 pm
02nz wrote: Sat Apr 18, 2020 12:38 pm
anon_investor wrote: Sat Apr 18, 2020 12:35 pm Overall current tech SSDs are flatout better all around. The down size is it costs more than an HDD for the same amount of storage space.
On systems that allow it, a good compromise is using an SSD for Windows and frequently used documents, and HDD for larger files that don't need to be modified often (e.g., music and videos).

But SSDs have gotten so cheap that even this is often unnecessary. An m.2 500GB NVME drive is around $60 these days.
I did just that for my father in law instead of getting a new computer when is old HDD started to go on his desktop. Installed the OS on a cheap 256GB SSD and bought a cheap 4 TB HDD to store all his digital photos.
I did that for my FIL too, except used 2 TB drive for his photos and videos, works out good for him.
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Re: Computers - Solid State Drive vs. Hard Disk Drive

Post by 02nz »

squirm wrote: Sat Apr 18, 2020 1:19 pm
02nz wrote: Sat Apr 18, 2020 1:14 pm
squirm wrote: Sat Apr 18, 2020 1:12 pm SSD's are getting much slower due to 4 bit cell technology, unless they have a large cache or other cache technology so be careful.
That's only true for QLC drives, and in real use (i.e., not copying 100GB all the time) it makes no significant difference. And most drives on the market are not QLC, esp. outside of entry-level SSDs.
Um okay, whatever, the HP I just looked at was $1300 and had a QLC with Optane, hardly entry level as you say. But whatever.
Not sure why the attitude, but anyway QLC drives are definitely limited to entry-level SSDs, because they are cheaper to manufacture. Intel 660p, Samsung QVO, Crucial P1 are the main QLC drives, and they're all priced at the entry end of the market. Midrange and higher-end drives (e.g., Western Digital SN550 or 750, and all Samsung drives except the QVO) do not use QLC. Now of course a manufacturer might choose to use a budget SSD in a premium laptop, as 99% of buyers looking at that laptop don't know the difference between an Intel 660p and Samsung 970, and as I said in real use (as opposed to benchmarks) the difference is not significant, so HP is happy to save money by going with a QLC drive.
Last edited by 02nz on Sat Apr 18, 2020 1:28 pm, edited 2 times in total.
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Re: Computers - Solid State Drive vs. Hard Disk Drive

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Re: Computers - Solid State Drive vs. Hard Disk Drive

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Re: Computers - Solid State Drive vs. Hard Disk Drive

Post by Luckywon »

02nz wrote: Sat Apr 18, 2020 1:16 pm
Luckywon wrote: Sat Apr 18, 2020 1:13 pm
02nz wrote: Sat Apr 18, 2020 12:33 pm
An SSD is also silent (HDDs make at least some noise) and is generally more reliable than HDDs, and basically shock-proof.
I know almost nothing about computers so take what I write with a grain of salt but I was shocked at how much noise an SSD laptop I recently purchased made. Turns out it has both SSD and HDD components. From what I saw, this was the case with the majority of "SSD" laptops. I returned it. It took three tries before I ended up with a laptop that remains quite most (not all) of the time and that was by spending a lot of money ($2200) for a laptop with a very large SSD.
There are hybrid SSD+HDD drives but these have become less common as SSD prices have fallen dramatically. I wonder if what you heard might have been "coil whine" (Google for more details). This comes from the computer's other electronic parts (generally NOT from the SSD), and it can sound a lot like the clicking of a hard drive.
Interesting, perhaps. On youtube I didn't find too much-there are some videos from several years back where this noise seems higher pitched than what I was hearing.
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Re: Computers - Solid State Drive vs. Hard Disk Drive

Post by Sandtrap »

Electron wrote: Sat Apr 18, 2020 12:31 pm A Solid State Drive certainly boots an operating system much faster than a conventional Hard Disk Drive.

What advantages have you seen after boot?

I'm wondering what kinds of applications might benefit from the additional speed.
On average consumer computers and laptops, not specialized use, Hard Disk Drives have gone the way of VHS tapes and Betamax.
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Re: Computers - Solid State Drive vs. Hard Disk Drive

Post by beastykato »

I'll echo what most have said here. I build computers for people as a small side business of mine. I primarily focus on gaming PC's but I build and modify pre-built systems for any application.

I would not build or acquire a PC for ANY of my customers without an SSD in them in 2020. They just dramatically increase the speed and responsive of the entire system because you don't wait on a physical arm that must move and seek out the required information on the disk. Building a system without one is crazy in my opinion. I still use physical disks as secondary drives for large file storage, but never for a operating system drive.

Processing power has really not improved that much over the years. I literally have upgraded PC's for people with Intel Core 2 Duos and Quads and 1st generation Intel i3/i5/i7 processors by putting a $20 SSD in them. These processors I'm talking about are over a decade old and they are still more than adequate for basic users; it was simply the input/output interfaces that held them back. The old hard drives and antiquated slow USB ports were the primary limitation, but upgrading them to a SSD completely alleviated the data transfer issue.

Just for example Core 2 Quad processors are still fast enough to play games like the new Call of Duty and Apex Legends. They are so old though that they don't possess the necessary data instruction sets to run the games. So, many gamers were up in arms at the game developers who they felt were trying to "force" them to buy new hardware by not allowing the games to run without those instruction sets. I'm just stating this as an example how most people grossly overestimate their processing power and memory needs, when it's simply quick access to the file system that's choking their performance.

Moral of the story... if you have an old PC that's slowing down on you just buy an SSD. You most likely do not need a new computer at all.
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Re: Computers - Solid State Drive vs. Hard Disk Drive

Post by Electron »

Thanks all for the information.

I upgraded the first of my two desktop computers. The first system runs Windows 10 with an i5-4440 processor and 8 GB memory. The SSD is a 256 GB Samsung 860 EVO. The interface is SATA which is not as fast as NVMe. Even so, I've seen Windows boot in 10 seconds.

One disappointment is that Excel spreadsheets don't seem to open very fast. Microsoft Office installs at over 2 GB so maybe this is just a case of inefficient software. The spreadsheets range from 500 KB to 25 MB.

Browsing the web seems no faster but that is likely limited by Internet speed. I have seen disk diagnostics including chkdsk run extremely fast.
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Re: Computers - Solid State Drive vs. Hard Disk Drive

Post by wander »

Hard drive manufactures are going for next generation SSD. Current SSD has speed limitation due to SATA connection. It is not a big deal to personal computers, but faster data is more critical to servers.

I upgraded my laptops with SSDs, SSD is faster and more reliable if you often carry laptops around. Although laptop is intended for carried around, I notice that laptop hard drives fail often. I find desktop hard drives are more reliable because they are stationary so I don't see adding a desktop SSD is necessary . Adding SSD to laptop is nice, and with fanless design, the laptop becomes noise free.
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Re: Computers - Solid State Drive vs. Hard Disk Drive

Post by oldcomputerguy »

Interestingly, I recently suffered an issue with the hard disk containing my home partition on my primary Linux machine, it threw some errors and corrupted the filesystem, making the home directory unreadable. (Thank goodness for backups. :wink: ) I pulled the drive and replaced it with an equivalent-sized SDD, and while I was at it I pulled the disk hosting my Windows 10 installation and replaced it as well with an SDD.

I can't honestly say that I see a huge speed-up on the Linux side, because most of the files I keep in my home directory are relatively small (LibreOffice documents, PDFs, etc). I was already booting the OS from its own dedicated SDD.

However, when I booted up the migrated Windows install, my eyebrows reached for the ceiling. Before the change, I could start Windows booting then go make a cup of coffee in my Keurig and warm up a muffin in the toaster oven waiting for the bootup to finish and the system to become usable. Now, from boot start to fully operational takes between fifteen and twenty seconds. Money well spent.
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Re: Computers - Solid State Drive vs. Hard Disk Drive

Post by dbr »

I finally replaced the creaky old desktop and went with a 2TB NVMe drive. I think it is kind of the no brainer thing if like me you keep computers for a long time but tend to buy up when I do replace one. Fusion drive seems like a neither fish nor foul compromise.
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Re: Computers - Solid State Drive vs. Hard Disk Drive

Post by 02nz »

With desktops and many laptops it's advisable to do the upgrade yourself. For my HP ProBook, the cost to upgrade from a 500GB HDD to same capacity SSD was around $300, rather absurd given that 500GB SSDs go for around $60 retail.

Unfortunately some laptops are hard to open up, and a few have SSDs that can't be upgraded at all. Microsoft's Surface Pro 7 has a non-replaceable SSD, and the extra cost to go from 128GB to 256GB is a mind-blowing $300, a roughly 20-30X markup!
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Re: Computers - Solid State Drive vs. Hard Disk Drive

Post by patrick013 »

A Western Digital Blue (WD Blue) is on my wish list to replace a 2.5" HD.
The cost isn't bad. The cost for the circuit board style of SSD is certainly
higher. But the newer laptops all seem to have the smaller type of SSD
cards rather than the SSD's that fit into the standard 2.5" slot. Which
makes for a smaller laptop possible with even smaller power drain.

So it looks like a good improvement, most manufacturers claim 1,000,000
hours MTBF or more so the units should last quite long.

To replace my 2.5 incher I have to remove 15 screws from the laptop
which I don't normally do of course.
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Re: Computers - Solid State Drive vs. Hard Disk Drive

Post by Electron »

patrick013 wrote: Sat Apr 18, 2020 5:44 pmSo it looks like a good improvement, most manufacturers claim 1,000,000 hours MTBF or more so the units should last quite long.
My 250 GB Samsung 860 EVO is specified for 150 TB written (TBW) or 5 years. The 1 TB drive is specified for 600 TBW or 5 years.

These numbers are related to the erase and write limitations with all NAND memory cells. As a result, you may be able to extend the life by purchasing a larger drive.

I'm also using Samsung's Magician software utility which has features to monitor and extend the life of the drive.
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Re: Computers - Solid State Drive vs. Hard Disk Drive

Post by toast0 »

One thing to point out, which I don't think anybody touched on. From my experience, SSDs fail a lot less often than traditional hard drives, but when they do fail, they often fail completely --- the drive goes from working fine one day to being 100% inaccessible the next day. If you've had a traditional hard drive go bad, they usually start with increased noise, and some trouble reading some files, and if you had neglected your backups, you usually have an opportunity to do one last go to get most of your data. Don't expect that from an SSD. Find time to get an automated backup set up, because if you're unlucky, you will need it.

I would say an SSD is practically required for Windows 10, even after booting, the OS likes to read a ton of stuff from the disk, and any other disk I/O is going to be slow. Windows 7 was not so bad (an SSD was very nice on Windows 7, but a traditional drive wouldn't usually be noticed outside of bootup and starting large programs/games)
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Re: Computers - Solid State Drive vs. Hard Disk Drive

Post by tibbitts »

02nz wrote: Sat Apr 18, 2020 12:47 pm
tibbitts wrote: Sat Apr 18, 2020 12:44 pm I'm not seeing the advantages to the extent everyone else is, after replacing HDDs in all my laptops (old, new) with SSDs, but SSDs are better. I'm needing a couple cheap external 4TB drives now and not seeing that in SSD just yet - anybody want to estimate how long I'll have to wait? I'm at 70% with my 2TB drives. I know, I could clean out my files - but that would probably take more time than waiting for cheap 4TB SSDs.
You could do a search for the biggest files. There are probably a smaller number of files that are eating up a lot of space. A matter of seconds or minutes, which is definitely less time than waiting for cheap 4TB SSDs (current cost around $500, not sure what your definition if cheap is).
All my files are roughly the same size, as they are raw images. I'd have to carefully examine each one to decide which to keep or discard. I keep 3 copies so $500 is still pricey.
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Re: Computers - Solid State Drive vs. Hard Disk Drive

Post by cjking »

02nz wrote: Sat Apr 18, 2020 1:18 pm
nisiprius wrote: Sat Apr 18, 2020 1:03 pm Unfortunately, way too many applications want "things" to be on the system drive and you can get into odd, squirrelly territory trying to convince them to put their "libraries" and such on an external drive. Plus, an internal system drive has less risk of problems and glitches due to, say, not mounting quite fast enough when a system starts up. So I think you want generous capacity on the system drive.
Not sure if this is maybe a quirk of MacOS as I don't use that OS, but on Windows 10 this is handled pretty well, and it's very easy to redirect the library (e.g., videos, pictures, documents) to a different drive. I always do and have never had an issue. (Moving installed applications to a different drive is a different matter and will almost always cause problems.)
I know how to relocate libraries, but I have my libraries inside Onedrive, and I found that Onedrive does not like to be relocated off the system disk. It can be done, I seem to remember, but it's not as straight-forward as relocating libraries. My cut-off for the amount of complexity/non-standardness I'm willing to embrace is will I remember in a year's time how to recreate what i did, without the help of Google? Relocating Onedrive off the system disk failed that test.

DW has a PC with 128G SSD, which isn't enough to store the amount of phone pictures she takes. I have signed us up for Office 365, which gives us each 1Gb of Onedrive cloud space, so I can leave all her libraries within Onedrive on the system disk and just let files-on-demand manage which are stored in full locally. I've set up a task that uses robocopy to mirror the contents of her Onedrive directory to a USB-attached external hard drive, so we do have a full local backup of all her files, in addition to the cloud copy. The robocopy backup only takes a few seconds to run each time, as it is able to skip everything previously backed up, even if the full version of the source file is held only in the cloud. (Her files are also backed up by file history, to the same external drive.)
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Re: Computers - Solid State Drive vs. Hard Disk Drive

Post by lazydavid »

tibbitts wrote: Sat Apr 18, 2020 10:07 pm All my files are roughly the same size, as they are raw images. I'd have to carefully examine each one to decide which to keep or discard. I keep 3 copies so $500 is still pricey.
Your workflow might be best served by an external array or NAS with an SSD cache in front of 2-5 HDDs.
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Re: Computers - Solid State Drive vs. Hard Disk Drive

Post by MarkerFM »

toast0 wrote: Sat Apr 18, 2020 9:57 pm One thing to point out, which I don't think anybody touched on. From my experience, SSDs fail a lot less often than traditional hard drives, but when they do fail, they often fail completely --- the drive goes from working fine one day to being 100% inaccessible the next day. If you've had a traditional hard drive go bad, they usually start with increased noise, and some trouble reading some files, and if you had neglected your backups, you usually have an opportunity to do one last go to get most of your data. Don't expect that from an SSD. Find time to get an automated backup set up, because if you're unlucky, you will need it.

I would say an SSD is practically required for Windows 10, even after booting, the OS likes to read a ton of stuff from the disk, and any other disk I/O is going to be slow. Windows 7 was not so bad (an SSD was very nice on Windows 7, but a traditional drive wouldn't usually be noticed outside of bootup and starting large programs/games)
Good point about the sudden failure. I swapped out the traditional hard drive in my laptop when it decided to stop working after it had a bit of a hard landing (I accidentally set the laptop bag down too sharply on the floor; no external or other internal damage). A computer tech was able to recover the drive to a new one, then I did a data migration to a new SSD and installed that. I also bought a small (credit card size) external SSD that I use to create a disc image of the laptop once a month. So if the main drive fails, I can just migrate the backup to a new SSD and use my cloud backup to replace any files created or modified since the last disc image.
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Iowa David
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Re: Computers - Solid State Drive vs. Hard Disk Drive

Post by Iowa David »

I recently swapped a HDD on a 2014 Mac Mini with a SSD and it runs like a brand-new computer. Not only did I get the increase in storage, but the computer runs much faster. This upgrade will give us at least another 2-3 years of meaningful use.
"Just a 1 percent difference in expenses makes an 18 percent difference in returns when compounded over 20 years." The Boglehead's Guide to Investing
02nz
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Re: Computers - Solid State Drive vs. Hard Disk Drive

Post by 02nz »

cjking wrote: Sun Apr 19, 2020 6:04 am I know how to relocate libraries, but I have my libraries inside Onedrive, and I found that Onedrive does not like to be relocated off the system disk. It can be done, I seem to remember, but it's not as straight-forward as relocating libraries. My cut-off for the amount of complexity/non-standardness I'm willing to embrace is will I remember in a year's time how to recreate what i did, without the help of Google? Relocating Onedrive off the system disk failed that test.

DW has a PC with 128G SSD, which isn't enough to store the amount of phone pictures she takes. I have signed us up for Office 365, which gives us each 1Gb of Onedrive cloud space, so I can leave all her libraries within Onedrive on the system disk and just let files-on-demand manage which are stored in full locally. I've set up a task that uses robocopy to mirror the contents of her Onedrive directory to a USB-attached external hard drive, so we do have a full local backup of all her files, in addition to the cloud copy. The robocopy backup only takes a few seconds to run each time, as it is able to skip everything previously backed up, even if the full version of the source file is held only in the cloud. (Her files are also backed up by file history, to the same external drive.)
It's pretty easy to choose a location other than on the system drive for OneDrive - it prompts you for the location upon initial setup. Since you've already set up OneDrive on that computer, you'll need to go into OneDrive settings (right click on the icon in the taskbar), and click "Unlink this PC" to go through setup again. Choose the location you want (e.g., I have mine on D:\OneDrive), and then you can redirect the music/pictures/video etc. folders to inside the OneDrive directory, so they remain automatically backed up.
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Re: Computers - Solid State Drive vs. Hard Disk Drive

Post by ubermax »

I have a Lenovo laptop with SSD but a Seagate spindle external for backups - the SSD is fast but I heard and not sure if it's true that it's easier to recover data from a spindle drive than from a SSD in the event of a crash .
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Re: Computers - Solid State Drive vs. Hard Disk Drive

Post by glock19 »

While I don't run any programs that require high speed data transfer, I do like a quite desktop computer. I run 2 small SSD's for Win 10 and basic programs. While I store data on these drives, I do backups to multiple external HDD's (monthly) and a flash drive (weekly).

By cooling the desktops with 140mm fans, using a quite power supply, and having no spindle drives, I have a super quite machine that boots very fast. These issues may not be as important to others.
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Re: Computers - Solid State Drive vs. Hard Disk Drive

Post by 02nz »

ubermax wrote: Sun Apr 19, 2020 10:46 am I have a Lenovo laptop with SSD but a Seagate spindle external for backups - the SSD is fast but I heard and not sure if it's true that it's easier to recover data from a spindle drive than from a SSD in the event of a crash .
It depends on the particular situation that caused the failure. But SSDs are overall far more reliable than HDDs. It seems strange to choose the less reliable technology because in the event of failure it MAY be easier to recover data (which would be expensive in any case, and you should have a secondary backup, e.g., in the cloud).
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Re: Computers - Solid State Drive vs. Hard Disk Drive

Post by ubermax »

02nz wrote: Sun Apr 19, 2020 1:48 pm
ubermax wrote: Sun Apr 19, 2020 10:46 am I have a Lenovo laptop with SSD but a Seagate spindle external for backups - the SSD is fast but I heard and not sure if it's true that it's easier to recover data from a spindle drive than from a SSD in the event of a crash .
It depends on the particular situation that caused the failure. But SSDs are overall far more reliable than HDDs. It seems strange to choose the less reliable technology because in the event of failure it MAY be easier to recover data (which would be expensive in any case, and you should have a secondary backup, e.g., in the cloud).
You're so focused on responding that you didn't read my post , I said my laptop has SSD with Seagate spindle external for quick backup and If need be I can fit all my data on a 64 gig stick - you're probably someone who's never had a SSD crash and thinks it'll never happen - there's another poster above who also mentioned that SSD crashes are total wipeouts and the data is hard to recover - complimentary cloud storage is never enough and why pay for extra when hard storage is inexpensive and reliable .
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Re: Computers - Solid State Drive vs. Hard Disk Drive

Post by Tubes »

toast0 wrote: Sat Apr 18, 2020 9:57 pm One thing to point out, which I don't think anybody touched on. From my experience, SSDs fail a lot less often than traditional hard drives, but when they do fail, they often fail completely --- the drive goes from working fine one day to being 100% inaccessible the next day.
I can verify that!

I had my first and only SSD failure last year on a cheap little Zotac box that was in use for 3 years or so. The SSD is actually soldered on.

I actually had 1 day of warning. I was getting some strange behavior when listing files. I figured it was a Windows bug and I decided to skip it. I should have immediately copied my volatile files (mostly documents folder) but didn't. The next day, the box would not boot. The SSD was toast, which I was able to verify after booting from a second drive. Totally inaccessible.

The good news I that my Quicken data was automatically backed up to a thumb drive every time. And I only create a few documents since my previous backup, so it wasn't too bad.

I repurposed the one slot available on the Zotac as a bootable SSD drive and it has been good since.

I still am all in on SSDs. Just now I realize they can fail. There are tools to check their health and are worth looking into to assure things like wear-leveling haven't gone crazy. This is especially true if it is your daily computer and has a few years on it.
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Re: Computers - Solid State Drive vs. Hard Disk Drive

Post by Electron »

I just ran some tests opening an Excel spreadsheet with very interesting results. My older system with 4th generation Intel i5 and 8 GB memory has the same copy of Windows 10 installed on a solid state drive and a conventional hard drive. The spreadsheet opens in 4 seconds in each case with no noticeable difference. This system is using Microsoft Office 2013.

Excel performance may be limited by CPU performance and memory rather than disk. I read that later versions of Excel use all processor cores available and create a separate calculation thread for each processor.

My other Windows 10 system has a 9th generation Intel i5, 16 GB memory, conventional hard drive, and Microsoft Office 2019. The exact same spreadsheet opens in 2 seconds or less which came as quite a surprise. A solid state drive does not appear to offer a performance advantage in this particular case.
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Re: Computers - Solid State Drive vs. Hard Disk Drive

Post by TN_Boy »

Electron wrote: Thu Apr 23, 2020 12:57 pm I just ran some tests opening an Excel spreadsheet with very interesting results. My older system with 4th generation Intel i5 and 8 GB memory has the same copy of Windows 10 installed on a solid state drive and a conventional hard drive. The spreadsheet opens in 4 seconds in each case with no noticeable difference. This system is using Microsoft Office 2013.

Excel performance may be limited by CPU performance and memory rather than disk. I read that later versions of Excel use all processor cores available and create a separate calculation thread for each processor.

My other Windows 10 system has a 9th generation Intel i5, 16 GB memory, conventional hard drive, and Microsoft Office 2019. The exact same spreadsheet opens in 2 seconds or less which came as quite a surprise. A solid state drive does not appear to offer a performance advantage in this particular case.
I doubt if opening a spreadsheet is enough of a test. How big is the spreadsheet? Remember excel is going to read the spreadsheet into memory and then do operations on it. Unless the spreadsheet is very very large and fragmented (forcing many random I/Os) the difference between reading it in from an SSD versus a HDD is minimal.

The computers are sufficiently differently that the comparison between them doesn't tell you much.

Generally I don't think of spreadsheets manipulation as being I/O intensive. The excel app is likely far bigger than any spreadsheet you are using. Actually, I don't think of excel as being all that CPU intensive either.

Did you open the spreadsheet by clicking on the file, or have excel open already and ask it to open a file? For the first test were there two different spreadsheets, one on the HDD and one on the SDD?
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Re: Computers - Solid State Drive vs. Hard Disk Drive

Post by azanon »

The better question is SSD vs. NVMe drives. SSD's are extremely cost effective now and so far beyond HDDs now, that I'm surprised that they're still selling in volume except maybe for those who need very high capacities (3-4TB or more)

NVMe drives are the latest thing and even faster, but are not quite cost effective yet. But if i were building a brand new system today, my main drive with the OS would probably get an NVMe drive.
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Re: Computers - Solid State Drive vs. Hard Disk Drive

Post by 02nz »

In addition to TN_Boy's comments, note that you really need to do a restart of Windows before each test (of opening Excel), otherwise the system is fetching much or all of what it needs from memory rather than from the SSD/HDD. (BTW, on your older system, do you really mean that you have Windows and all programs on an SSD, and another copy of Windows and all programs on an HDD? That is theoretically possible but would be an unusual arrangement, and I wouldn't see the point unless you were running different operating systems on the same computer.)
Last edited by 02nz on Thu Apr 23, 2020 1:25 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Computers - Solid State Drive vs. Hard Disk Drive

Post by 02nz »

azanon wrote: Thu Apr 23, 2020 1:21 pm The better question is SSD vs. NVMe drives. SSD's are extremely cost effective now and so far beyond HDDs now, that I'm surprised that they're still selling in volume except maybe for those who need very high capacities (3-4TB or more)

NVMe drives are the latest thing and even faster, but are not quite cost effective yet. But if i were building a brand new system today, my main drive with the OS would probably get an NVMe drive.
You mean SATA vs NVMe drives. (NVMe drives are still a type of SSD.)

NVMe drives are much faster than SATA SSDs in benchmarks, but in real usage there's virtually no difference, except for copying large files. But there's little difference in price now, so if a system supports NVMe there's no reason not to get it.
Last edited by 02nz on Thu Apr 23, 2020 1:26 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Computers - Solid State Drive vs. Hard Disk Drive

Post by Afty »

An SSD is the best bang-for-buck upgrade you can make on a computer. More so than a faster processor, more memory, etc. It makes everything feel instant. No more waiting while the hard drive grinds away. The SSD can handle much higher concurrent loads, so you can multitask without disk I/O holding you back.

I've been using an SSD since 2013 and have not had any reliability issues. Initially I went with a small 256 GB SSD and a 2 TB hard drive for larger files. Eventually I upgraded to a 1 TB SSD (a Samsung 850 EVO) and store everything there for convenience.
Last edited by Afty on Thu Apr 23, 2020 2:41 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Computers - Solid State Drive vs. Hard Disk Drive

Post by fwellimort »

Afty wrote: Thu Apr 23, 2020 1:26 pm An SSD is the best bang-for-buck upgrade you can make on a computer. More so than a faster processor, more memory, etc. It makes everything feel instant. No more waiting while the hard drive grinds away. The SSD can handle much higher concurrent loads, so you can multitask without disk I/O holding you back.

I've been using an SSD since 2013 and have not had any reliability issues. Initially I went with a small 256 GB SSD and a 2 TB hard drive for larger files. Eventually I upgraded to a 1 TB SSD (a Samsung 840 EVO) and store everything there for convenience.
+1 to this

Once you use a SSD, there's no going back. SSD should be the bare MINIMUM today.
I don't care about all this 'technical jargon' about computers (and I studied computer architecture, etc. in college as a computer science major) but as a customer, there's a world's difference between an SSD and a HDD.
Maybe HDD is more reliable (when you lose your files) but I have yet to have experienced a SSD (or HDD) crash on me.
But I do admit if both drives crash, with an HDD, you can recover while with an SSD, the content might be gone for good. In real world experience... well, like I stated, no experience with a crash on either hard drives all my life.
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