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Windows 7: Torrent writes and SSD

12 Jan 2013   #1

window 7 64 bit
 
 
Torrent writes and SSD

I wanted to confirm just how much more writes torrents do.

my options are these
-torrent directly onto a SSD
-torrent onto a 8-20gb of ramdisk, and then move the file onto SSD upon completing the file

imho both have same amount of writes because of file size so for both options it should not matter which one I choose, thus former is better cause easier to set up and less work required. however I can't help to think torrenting actually writes more than just direct file transfer, and quite more at that too. I do not understand how torrent works and even if torrent writes more, how much more and why does it write more?

thanks for your help!

My System SpecsSystem Spec
13 Jan 2013   #2

Windows 7 Ultimate x64
 
 

Normally, I would expect the client to just write the size of the download file only, and hardly anything else. It just download the pieces in any order it wants and builds the file from there, but overall I don't think it does much more than that. After finished downloading, it will still be reading for seeding until the torrent is no longer valid or you stop it. Clients also keep statistics of how much you upload and download and writes those to disk (this is negligible however, comparable to the cost of keeping history of a web browser).

Some clients does what is known as "preallocation", that is create a dummy file large enough to hold the whole file, but filled with garbage, just to speed up and reserve the space for the incoming data. I'm not sure (and maybe it's client specific), but those techniques may zero the file before saving it, effectively writing all the data twice (one for the initial allocation, the second for the real data when it arrives).

Technically, torrents work by connecting you and all people that want to download a file and people that already have that file. By connecting to all those at the same time instead of a central server that gives everything, a lot of bandwidth is saved and generally greater speeds and availability is achieved. After you finished downloading, you begin to upload and share to others what you have. More here: BitTorrent - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Anyway, why are you concerned about how much does it write to disk?
My System SpecsSystem Spec
15 Jan 2013   #3

window 7 64 bit
 
 

Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by Alejandro85 View Post
Normally, I would expect the client to just write the size of the download file only, and hardly anything else. It just download the pieces in any order it wants and builds the file from there, but overall I don't think it does much more than that. After finished downloading, it will still be reading for seeding until the torrent is no longer valid or you stop it. Clients also keep statistics of how much you upload and download and writes those to disk (this is negligible however, comparable to the cost of keeping history of a web browser).

Some clients does what is known as "preallocation", that is create a dummy file large enough to hold the whole file, but filled with garbage, just to speed up and reserve the space for the incoming data. I'm not sure (and maybe it's client specific), but those techniques may zero the file before saving it, effectively writing all the data twice (one for the initial allocation, the second for the real data when it arrives).

Technically, torrents work by connecting you and all people that want to download a file and people that already have that file. By connecting to all those at the same time instead of a central server that gives everything, a lot of bandwidth is saved and generally greater speeds and availability is achieved. After you finished downloading, you begin to upload and share to others what you have. More here: BitTorrent - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Anyway, why are you concerned about how much does it write to disk?
thanks for the detail info and I think the biggest impact here is preallocation and I have thought of that before. I use both Vuze and bittorrent to download most things nowadays, sometimes browser direct download, ffox and rarely IE.

reason is SSD gets killed with mass downloads, especially with newer SSD with lower 2*nm size when compared to 3* size doesn't last as long even with better SSD controller. currently I have two SSD in raid0 for my laptop as boot drive, storage is two blackscorpio HDD in raid 0 for speed/storage but I'd like to move those two HDD to SSD for solely performance sake. instead of having transferring file to external backup at 100-150MB/s I would like to see 250-500MB/s since my externals are all raid setups. it certainly is a waste of money lol

that aside, a 32/34? nm crucial 256gb SSD known for its durability died after 1 year of straight torrent nearly at 24/7, I won't do as much as 24/7 but something along the line. I'm looking at intel's latest HET-MLC SSD which is said to have at least 14 petabyte of endurance from just a 800gb drive and if thats the case it'll last me a good while but torrent always gets me worried though.

edit: i do about at least 2.5-3TB of downloads and file sorting and bunch of other work in less than half a year..
My System SpecsSystem Spec
.


15 Jan 2013   #4

Windows 7 Ultimate x64
 
 

I would then worry about what disk you buy then. If it can't support a simple download without dying I think it's a very bad disk to begin with. What's more problematic, the OS itself writes far more than any download regularly to disk, due to swap file, temporals, hibernation, logs and a few other things, so any unreliable unit as yours would die anyway.

But back to the point, the torrent isn't different in what it writes to disk as a regular HTTP or FTP download. It just writes the data as it becomes available (difference is that it's in a random order) but no much more than a normal download. Then after it begins seeding, which can produce a very high number of reads (not writes) which aren't present in normal downloads of course.
If preallocation worries you, look at the options of your torrent client, it should have an option to disable it and only create a file as it becomes available. No idea how to do that exactly in Vuze or Bittrorrent, as I use uTorrent myself (which has that option).

With so crappy disks, why not simply download the files to a normal HD instead? It should not have any performance difference in the download itself, as local hard disks are much faster than internet connections, and then move to SSD if you want thereafter.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
16 Jan 2013   #5

window 7 64 bit
 
 

Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by Alejandro85 View Post
I would then worry about what disk you buy then. If it can't support a simple download without dying I think it's a very bad disk to begin with. What's more problematic, the OS itself writes far more than any download regularly to disk, due to swap file, temporals, hibernation, logs and a few other things, so any unreliable unit as yours would die anyway.

But back to the point, the torrent isn't different in what it writes to disk as a regular HTTP or FTP download. It just writes the data as it becomes available (difference is that it's in a random order) but no much more than a normal download. Then after it begins seeding, which can produce a very high number of reads (not writes) which aren't present in normal downloads of course.
If preallocation worries you, look at the options of your torrent client, it should have an option to disable it and only create a file as it becomes available. No idea how to do that exactly in Vuze or Bittrorrent, as I use uTorrent myself (which has that option).

With so crappy disks, why not simply download the files to a normal HD instead? It should not have any performance difference in the download itself, as local hard disks are much faster than internet connections, and then move to SSD if you want thereafter.

I have most of my writes disabled as much as possible includes log files, temp files, hibernation and bunch of others. whats left are bunch of other background writes which I probably have no control of, or disabling them would means not using OS, this includes Appdata since I still want to benefit from fast snappy storage I leave Appdata on my SSD.

bolded text is what I needed to know and confirm it so I dont fear SSD dying on me. also I got confused and thought bittorrent is utorrent. I use utorrent so how do I turn off preallocation? as for downloading to HD thing, which is what I am using right now and trying to change it, so not an option lol
My System SpecsSystem Spec
16 Jan 2013   #6

Windows 7 Ultimate x64
 
 

In uTorrent you disable preallocation by going to Options menu => Preferences => General => untick Pre-allocate files. This should not create anything on disk until the data actually arrives from another peer.

Aren't you putting your downloads in the SSD directly? Or are you using a normal spinner disk for that? With the normal HD, the bulk of activity will go to that disk of course and no torrent client (or any other download type) would ever touch the SSD for anything. I always tough that you throw your downloads to the SSD directly.

Particularly, uTorrent writes to any folder you download to (on that particular disk only) but also a little on AppData to keep its statistics about upload/download, torrent list, activity and ratio. This should be negligible even for the most unreliable disks.


Attached Images
 
My System SpecsSystem Spec
16 Jan 2013   #7

Windows 7 Ultimate x64
 
 

Here's another screen shot from Utorrent's options that may benefit this discussion. Vuze and other client's may have similar options.
Name:  UtorrentDiskCache.PNG
Views: 28
Size:  67.2 KB


My System SpecsSystem Spec
16 Jan 2013   #8

 
 

Torrents aren't going to kill your SSD

The guys already have you covered on the pre-allocation side of things.

The only reason I don't use SSD's for torrenting is that of space.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
16 Jan 2013   #9

window 7 64 bit
 
 

@Alejandro & Duzzy, thanks for screenshot those really help. my current setup is two SSD as OS, two HDD where torrent downloads to and would like to change those two HDD to two SSD. My OS drives are both SLC SSD but its only 256gb togther and not enough, so I have to have eMLC or HET-MLC SSD for storage which s3700 comes in in about couple of months.

just a question though in Duzzy's screenshot I left it on default cause I was told it's best to let the client manage itself. default was at 4MB iirc and I see yours as 256MB, is it better? or how does it work?


@Smarteyball torrent may not kill SSD but "killing it" isn't really correct. as I mentioned earlier SSD may not die after 2 years of straight torrent, but as it gets closer to being dead, it slows down considerably. average transfer rate could go from 300-350MB/s for a high end SSD to 150 when it's nearly dead. so to get real good performance even after couple of years I'd need real durable SSD with enterprise flash, ie 32nm+ size or at least 10k P/E cycle, ontop of that bigger the better.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
17 Jan 2013   #10

Windows 7 Professional 64bit SP1
 
 

Many torture tests have shown some higher end SSD's to outlive their specifications 10x over. If you set the directory to one of the HDD's, the SSD will never see any of the torrent.....there is no reason why movies, music, pictures should be on an SSD because they don't benefit from the performance increase over a HDD. Also, when you talk about average transfer rate, if you are referring to those "awesome" Sequential read/write speeds, just remember you can only transfer as fast as your slowest component, which will be your HDD. To utilize those fast sequential read/write speeds, you need to transfer from SSD to SSD. Quite a few people don't realize that.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
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