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Windows 7: Switching To SSD Questions


06 Mar 2012   #1

Windows 7 Ultimate 64bit
 
 
Switching To SSD Questions

Hello,

I've had my current system for about a year now, so it's rather new.
Only I definitely found, looking into hardware and performance in the recent years, that HDDs are primitive.
Because the laggy performance is so pronounced, that it's really clear it holds back the rest of the system.
So, I'm interested in SSDs, of course, only here are a couple of questions:

First of all, if I only replace my system-drive, don't the remaining HDDs still hold back the performance?
Because I have programs installed on a different drive, since I basically just made a small partition for "C".
And I also have a whole separate HDD for games.
But I'm not familiar with how much "performance" programs and games use.
All I noticed in the 'Drives Meter'-gadget, is how the graph-line of the C-drive is often pushed to the max.

Then second, when I have an SSD, can I simply transfer or copy the C-drive exactly to the SSD,
then of course assign the drive-letter C to the SSD later on, and everything will simply work (but faster)?

And finally, would you be able to recommend a smaller SSD that is fast enough (so not record-breaking) but not too expensive?
I think I'll need one of 128GB, as some programs and games temporarily use space on it.
But if there's a size between 60 and 128 GB, I think that should work too.

Plus, also any tips on what technologies or specifications to look out for or avoid?
Because I've read about problems with the earlier SSD before, not sure if there are still issues with more current SSDs.
I'd rather avoid these kinds of issues than be surprised later and having to cope with them...


Here's an example: http://www.corsair.com/ssd/force-ser...ard-drive.html

This one looks good to me, and I found it for about 150 US Dollars including shipping.
But then, I have no idea if it's actually a good product, as I don't know what to look at.
I might just go with this one if it's a good choice. So any helpful answers are appreciated.


Greetings.

My System SpecsSystem Spec
.

06 Mar 2012   #2

Microsoft Community Contributor Award Recipient

Windows 7 SP1, Home Premium, 64-bit
 
 

You can clone your existing C to an SSD or you can make an image of your existing C and restore that image to the SSD. However, I'd guess most people do a clean install to the SSD.

Try to keep all applications and Windows on the SSD in order to take advantage of the SSD speed.

Install games to an HDD if you have to for space reasons. I don't game, but I understand that game loading will be slowed down by the HDD, but gaming performance is not affected.

HDDs will still restrict performance to the extent they are read from and written to, but the SSD will nonetheless significantly improve overall responsiveness of the system.

The current hot choices for SSDs appear to be the Crucial M4, Intel 320, and Samsung. Size depends on your personal situation, but a lot of people are using SSDs of 60 or 80 GB--for Windows and applications only. Data going on a separate spinning drive.

The important specification is 4-8 kb random write access. Brands do differ from each other, but they are ALL much faster than a standard spinning drive and you wouldn't be likely to notice major performance differences between SSD brands from the current generation. I'd pay more attention to reliability, support, and price.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
06 Mar 2012   #3

Windows 7 Home Premium 64bit
 
 

Agree with ignatzatsonic here but would like to throw in my 2cents in regards to gaming

The SSD will help games load a bit faster, but gameplay will be the same once loaded whether its on a SSD or HD. You will not gain or loose any FPS.
The SSD will only allow the game to load a second or 2 faster, which in many cases is not worth the space.

But, I have found that with having games on a seperate HD, and the OS/Apps on a SSD, they actually load a bit faster off that HD than they would with everything on the mechnical drive.

I think this is due to the fact that drive is just sitting idle with no other overhead and can focus soley on loading the game only. It doesn't need to deal with anything else and is a bit more responsive.

There are however, a handfull of a games where this is a bit different. Anything that is constantly streaming DATA on the fly can benefit in game from the SSD. The most common scenario are open world games that are loading the world as you move around.
Still, even if you have these type of games on thier own HD, performance will still be improved VS everything on a single drive.

The majority of games however, load a map or level, and thats it. its all from memory then.


In a nutshell, a large majority of games will show not show enough improement to justify the SSD space, aside from loading a second or so faster. They simply do not benefit to the extent the OS and programs do. Although, as mentioned, some games may benefit more than others.

If you can afford the SSD space for all your games, by all means go for it.
But, your better off using it for OS/APPS with games being a afterthought if budget allows. You wont miss much.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
.


06 Mar 2012   #4

Windows 7 Ultimate 64bit
 
 

Yeah, well the goal is just to get better general system-performance,
not to really get faster games or anything.
Although, one funny thing I read quite some time ago,
is that when they tested 'Assassin's Creed' on an SSD, the horses ran faster.
I'm not sure how to see this, as if the game runs at normal speed,
but only the horses faster than regular speed or what. But it's still funny... :P
To be honest, I think there are a fair share of games that would benefit from SSDs then.
'Assassin's Creed' is probably one of them.
Some others that definitely "stream-as-you-go" are 'Grand Theft Auto IV' and 'Far Cry 2'.
I do have these 3 specific titles.

But yes, they will probably only experience SSD-speeds at the time that SSDs are more of a standard.
I would just be happy when my computer finally stops lagging after every click to open something.
Loading a (large) file I can understand, but I don't need it to take forever when opening Explorer or Firefox or Winamp or name it.
Those moments are definitely times when the HDD suddenly becomes very active.
It's even lagging at this very moment, every time when I type and I hear the drive rattling, it freezes the typing. (I don't know what it does sometimes?...)
I'm tired of that, especially when having a very clean computer today in 2012. So yes: HDDs = old.

But anyway, so the C-drive on my current HDD can be copied directly to an SSD.
And yes, I'd like to do that because I think it would be a hassle to setup everything again,
like the many preferences and settings in Windows and many programs.

Have to make sure it has 4 to 8 kb of random write access.
Like the Corsair has "85k IOPS (4k aligned)", I guess that's good?

Nothing more than that though? Like the type of "controller" or anything?...


I just found something weird.
I found this one right: Force Series
And then I also found one that is like one "class" up, it's like the GT-version: Force Series
But look at the specifications, there is no difference, but the GT-version IS more expensive.
Am I missing something?

Also, as for the specifications, are "550 MB/s sequential read — 500 MB/s sequential write" good numbers?


Something else though:
Is this something to look at now I still have HDDs?: http://www.corsair.com/ssd/accelerat...che-drive.html
So it's a cache-drive rather than a SSD replacing the HDD, like it explains there.
Or is this just sort of a "hybrid" nonsense product and a waste of money?


Thanks for your replies.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
06 Mar 2012   #5

Windows 7 Home Premium 64 bit
 
 

Another thing to think about is your motherboard controller, is it usb 3.0 capable then yes you will get 550 mb write speeds, but if your motherboard controller is only usb 2.0 capable then you will only get 300 mb write speeds. The later 3.0 SSD is backward compatible but you will only get the lower write speeds.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
06 Mar 2012   #6

Windows 7 Pro-x64
 
 

One suggestion: Do your research on the manufacturer's SSD forums. Don't rely on third party reviews of disks when new. Also, there's a few "older" drives lingering in the market place for a reason--Nobody wants them or they're refurbished. I think you might change your mind about your current example.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
06 Mar 2012   #7

Windows 7 Ultimate 64bit
 
 

Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by 1Bowtie View Post
Another thing to think about is your motherboard controller, is it usb 3.0 capable then yes you will get 550 mb write speeds, but if your motherboard controller is only usb 2.0 capable then you will only get 300 mb write speeds. The later 3.0 SSD is backward compatible but you will only get the lower write speeds.
I don't get this. Because what does USB have to do with it?
I mean, no, my motherboard isn't 3.0-"capable", but when I put a PCI-card in it with 3.0 it is, isn't it?
Just like I had this old Pentium 4 Dell with USB 1.1 and I put a USB 2.0 card in it.

Doesn't the speed it can reach depend on the SATA-connection? The 300 and 600 thing?
I think my motherboard has SATA300 though. But couldn't this be changed with a PCI-card as well?
I think I've seen ones that have USB 3.0 on them for the outside and internal connectors for SATA600.
Like this: http://www.asus.com/Motherboards/Accessories/U3S6/
Only then I have to be honest, I'm not sure if it would still be limited by the fact that the native SATA on the motherboard is II or "300".
I would think it doesn't matter as it then goes through the PCI-bus...


Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by carwiz View Post
One suggestion: Do your research on the manufacturer's SSD forums. Don't rely on third party reviews of disks when new. Also, there's a few "older" drives lingering in the market place for a reason--Nobody wants them or they're refurbished. I think you might change your mind about your current example.
Hm, OK. I'll keep that in mind.

Could you expand upon your suggestion to look for another one than the Corsair though?
My System SpecsSystem Spec
06 Mar 2012   #8
Microsoft MVP

Windows 7 Ultimate X64 SP1
 
 

As Ignatz said the best choices are Crucial M4, Intel 320, and Samsung 830. I would stay away from and with the Sandforce controller which the newer Intels will have. Samsung has its own in house made controller and is very speedy all around.
I also would recommend a full clean install, you'll get the best performance with it even if a hassle. Remove all other drives when installing though. As a minimum I would suggest 60-64GB for your OS and move your user file and app data to another clean drive during install. If you want to have several much used apps, I'd suggest a 120-128 GB SSD to handle them. Here's an excellent tut by Kari for moving files during install. User Profiles - Create and Move During Windows 7 Installation
My System SpecsSystem Spec
16 Mar 2012   #9

Windows 7 Ultimate 64bit
 
 

So I just got my first SSD today. I finally went with the OCZ Vertex 3, as many reviews are positive and consumers are very pleased with it as well.

Now, I just need to make it part of my computer.
But... So cloning the C-drive directly to the SSD should work, as was said before, but I don't get the following:

How does it work when changing the drive-letters?
I mean, I copy all the data from the C: on the HDD to the, I don't know, N: on the SSD.
I will probably use a program to be on the safe side, it would most likely verify if everything was copied correctly.
Only then, I will need to make the N:-drive into C: so the system will know to use that one as the main system-drive right?
But where and when do I do this? Because, if I'd simply do it in Windows, will it prompt me to restart since it's the system-drive?
Or does it have that capability to instantly switch? Which I have my doubts about, because what happens when there's nothing on the new C-drive?
Will it try to keep booting from nothing forever and ever?

This is really confusing, or maybe it's just the way I think it is and it will be a problem when you make an empty drive the C-drive.
Which I of course wouldn't do, but still, will it just instantly start using the new drive once I designated the letter to that drive, or even right after rebooting?

Or, will I even have to disconnect the HDD that had the C:-partition on it first?
Thinking of it, maybe it will even be made clear to the system that C: will be moved to another location by the program I'll use?
I have EASEUS Partition Master, so would that work?
My System SpecsSystem Spec
16 Mar 2012   #10

Microsoft Community Contributor Award Recipient

Windows 7 SP1, Home Premium, 64-bit
 
 

If you use a cloning program and it works as advertised, the cloning process would mark the SSD as the active C drive. The old drive would no longer be C.

I don't know if EaseUS Partition Master has a clone capability---I'm not sure it does.

Macrium 5 has cloning capability. And probably certain versions of Acronis.

The other choices:

1: Make an image of the current C and restore that image to the SSD.

2: clean install to the SSD.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
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