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Old 19-08-2009, 14:08   #1
ColinP
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The SSD Thread (a.k.a. What is the best, fastest and most reliable SATA HD?)

I'm looking to put the fastest, most reliable HD in my PC as I can for my Windows 7 installation. 500GB will be plenty (files are all stored on an external server) - I just want to be able to run the OS and software on the best platform I can.

It'll be installed in a Dell Studio Quad Core PC.

I've been testing Win7 on a small 160GB drive from my old file server and it's fine, but I want to have my primary install on a more suitable drive.
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Old 19-08-2009, 14:55   #2
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I've always looked on storagereview when choosing a new HD for my custom build pc's. They have quite a large database of hard drives, which are thoroughly tested. I can't specifically advise on a particular model, as I haven't looked for some time now, but as yet, haven't been disappointed with any choices I've made. So can recommend the site quite highly.

EDIT: On further inspection, the database seems a little out of date. apologies for that.

Last edited by Mock; 19-08-2009 at 14:59.
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Old 19-08-2009, 15:40   #3
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500GB is a LOT of apps. Given that your data is stored externally, have you considered an SSD?
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Old 19-08-2009, 18:26   #4
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I would agree. Have installed a couple of media centre PCs lately with 2 x 1Tb media drives in RAID 1 so my clients can chill out about ever having to backup their iTunes libraries and a 60Gb SSD for the boot drives. Definitely the way to go. Very fast indeed

Ignore the super "cheap" ones and get yourself something like a Corsair M64
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Old 19-08-2009, 19:57   #5
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The best harddrive is one matched with the best psu not a stock dell job.
I'll stick with my standard comment on drives. They can all die within a month, no drive is the perfect answer. Go for whats currently on offer.
Raptors are meant to be the fastest but you pay for that speed and currently 300gb seems to be the largest at er £180
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Old 19-08-2009, 21:03   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ian turner View Post
The best harddrive is one matched with the best psu not a stock dell job.
I'll stick with my standard comment on drives. They can all die within a month, no drive is the perfect answer. Go for whats currently on offer.
Raptors are meant to be the fastest but you pay for that speed and currently 300gb seems to be the largest at er £180
Yep i have 2 of the 300gb raptors these in my win7 build using external storage and backup with the drives set as raid 0, had them about a year with no glitches in a raid 0 for my older XP box before I upgraded to the i7 chips. They are expensive though and you can get SSD now around the same price with slightly less capacity. How reliable SSD's would be is guess work though.

PSU and the rest of the system is just as crucial though as Ian pointed out.

Last edited by BaggyDave; 19-08-2009 at 21:04.
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Old 20-08-2009, 09:17   #7
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SSDs should prove extremeely reliable, and in fact shouldn't be prone to sudden failure like the mechanics of HDDs. I think the worst that could happen is a slow degredation of data quality, which really is looking at 10 years worth of use on estimates. Most drives now have something like a 25-30% spare capacity that is reserved for any cells that to degrade, which is what gives these drives such a good lifespan. From what I've read, even if you do heavily write to an SSD and use every block the worst that will happen is it will slow down write speeds as it start overwriting old blocks marked as deleted, but then you can simply erase it and start again so I gather.

Win 7 has features that optimise support of SSDs such as turning off background defragmenting (defragmenting isn't necessary on SSDs), so I think since you're installing this latest OS it should be a no brainer (cost assumed unprohibitive).

I'm currently saving for one of the Intel SSDs to replace my boot drive with when my copy of Win 7 lands from preorder - once you start reading some of the reviews/benchmarks and compare it to even 3/4 drive RAID setups I reckon you'll start to think why didn't I consider this sooner. With the small capacity it will be ideal as a boot/apps drive and it will be nice and easy to take a 1:1 drive image once its up and running too and keep that safe on a regular HDD.

Of course, no one knows for sure how these SSDs will pan out long term for lifespan and reliability, but personally I think the risks of slow degredation are much less foreboding than sudden mechanical failure.

I've got a Samsung 750Gb Spinpoint F1 with some unrecoverable sectors building up on it and that's my boot drive! It's going to need replacing soon and it's only about a year and a half old. Gotta say, I sadly don't think HDDs are as reliable as they used to be these days with such large capacities and dense platters.
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Old 20-08-2009, 10:11   #8
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DTS is now building SSDs with their own internal UPS ... now that's swanky!
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Old 20-08-2009, 10:35   #9
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Yeah I'd get an SSD if funds stretch that far.
Review of Intels new one here with a link back to a good round up of performance ones: http://www.laptopmag.com/review/stor...-x25-m-g2.aspx
The application open times (particularly under stress) are amazing compared to their benchmark harddisk.

If you want a more traditional hard disk I believe the Samsung F1 is considered the current best.

And it is a shame that storagereview stopped
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Old 20-08-2009, 12:18   #10
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Samsungs are popular with the "if i can hear the harddrive I will bang my head on the desk until the noise stops" mob mainly. Not necessarily the fastest.
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Old 20-08-2009, 12:54   #11
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The best price I've found for Corsair M64 is at Play.com

Anyone know of any better deals?
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Old 20-08-2009, 13:01   #12
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If I went the SSD route, would I be safe having an Outlook PST on the drive? Would the frequent file changes cause problems?
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Old 20-08-2009, 13:06   #13
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Quote:
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The best price I've found for Corsair M64 is at Play.com

Anyone know of any better deals?
www.usedtobepricedevilbutnowcalledsomethingelse.com (ebuyer )

Last edited by sideshowbob; 20-08-2009 at 13:07.
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Old 20-08-2009, 14:25   #14
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Thanks - I've decided to give it a go.

I have no doubt that there'll be plenty of space to install applications. I'm considering partitioning my current 1TB drive to have a separate space for local files that don't need the speed that the SSD offers and also means I can retain my current Vista installation problems for any issues I have.
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Old 20-08-2009, 14:46   #15
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If you're looking at MLC drives like the Corsair M64, you might want to consider the Crucial M225, which is a bit cheaper than the Corsair and arguably a bit quicker.
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Old 20-08-2009, 14:54   #16
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What's MLC?
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Old 20-08-2009, 15:58   #17
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What's MLC?
Multi-level cell


Like many others I guess, as Win 7 draws closer I'd be interested in opinions of using an SSD
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Old 20-08-2009, 16:21   #18
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I too am (slightly) thinking of going down this route.

64GB (best price option for me) for my boot C: Drive and will be big enough to hold the apps I use from day to day easily.

With a large normal SATA drive for my D: to put all my Data, Downloads, Games, etc...
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Old 20-08-2009, 18:26   #19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ian turner View Post
Samsungs are popular with the "if i can hear the harddrive I will bang my head on the desk until the noise stops" mob mainly. Not necessarily the fastest.
The F2 was the eco friendly, low powered, quiet one. The F1 was flip fast beating the raptors and caviar se/re's in most tests : http://techreport.com/articles.x/14200/1 though it is being replaced this month by the F3.
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Old 20-08-2009, 18:38   #20
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you can change a 1.5tb normal segate drive into the speed of a raptor but its reduced in capacity to 300gb see here http://www.techwarelabs.com/seagate_1-5tb-mod/ if speed is important and its cheaper than buying a raptor so i believe
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