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New to SSD, what should I expect?


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I installed Windows 7 today on a Nova 128GB from an Acronis Image file. Everything went well and runs fine, but I don't see an increase in performance over my old 7200 rpm drive. My bencharks on ATTO look great, so I don't understand why my system doesn't seem snappier. Is there some other bottleneck in my system?


Abit AN8-SLI

AMD FX-60 @ 3.0Ghz

3GB Corsair XMS PC3200




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A systems performance is dependent on how well everything within the box hangs together and cooperates with each of the other components that make up the whole.


In a high end system with fast CPU, blazingly fast memory, hyperspeed motherboard and eye melting graphics card/s the bottleneck has always been the spinning jenny hard drive. With the advent of the SSD that bottleneck has been eased considerably.


I note that you are using, in computer terms, an old CPU - the FX 60 found its heyday in around 2005/2006 so at four to five years old it is a granddad compared to the youthful i3', i5's and i7's along with their slightly slower cousins the Q range quads and the AMD equivalents.


Perhaps a system upgrade is in order to get the best performance out of your super fast SSD - from your ATTO benchmark your drive is cruising along nicely, I would hazard a guess that the rest of your system is having a hard time keeping pace with it. If you have the cash to spare go for a new i5 system, the i5's are getting astonishing results and even better praise from the IT community and they are very reasonably priced.


Maybe not the answer you were hoping for, but hope it helps ;-)

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Hi Fivehead1


I agree that the overall machine specs and how they interact (re Davyc response) can help. The best of everything = 1 rocking machine; But the drive should help with overall responsiveness of any disk related IO on even on a slower machine.


As an non SSD example, I have a P4 (think its a 512 mhz machine with 256 meg of ram), which I used for ftp and other upload/downloads which is another local subnet (if it gets hacked or tanks.. oh well.. restore from backup, patch, and walk away). Swap file use was killing it, I Upgraded the aging 8 meg 80 gig drive to a 32 meg cache WD Black Sata drive (using a PCI Sata adpater card), and the performance increase dramatically


Basically what I'm trying to say, is that if there's Disk I/O bottlenecks, then you should see improvement; but if what your running has very little in the way of disk bottlenecks, then the benefits of the drive may not be fully realized.


One of the things I like about SSD, is the <1ms seek time which allows the SSD to jump around without the same physical thrashing, and delays noticed with physical platter disks. If a platter Disk takes 10 ms to jump around (for which the computer has to wait), and the SSD drive takes < 1ms, then the SSD drive should show an improvement of 10 times when random disk IO is occurring).


Factor in the 128 meg of cache on the P128 to help cache writes when the drive is degraded/dirty allows the P128 to perform better than the 1st gen SSD I've previously tested with. (I've intentionally dirtied the drive multiple times to simulate worse case scenarios, and the degrade SSD performance is usually above Physical disks as long as the 128 meg cache isn't exhausted)


I've tested with the P128. and every machine I've put the drive into, has noted a performance gain. (slowest was a 1.7 AMD mobile HP laptop with 2 gig of ram).


I also have a Acer One Aspire with a really crappy 8 gig SSD drive 1.6ghz N270 Atom?). Its really fast under XP, up until the drive becomes completely dirty, then it tanks with the whole machine freezing for minutes at a time (MS Steady State helped to manage this)


Even crappy SSD's work pretty well until you dirty the whole disk at which point they can cause noticeable stutter, pause, and freeze the machine)


One thing to note, is that Windows 7 has been optimized for booting and getting to the desktop very quickly. (thats the impression I've experienced on the Windows 7 machines I've tested on).


The only thing I've recently noted with the P128 I'm testing currently, is some occasional small stuttering with the latest P128 firmware which might be TRIM related (haven't been able to peg it down though). its not a deal breaker for the average user, as the over all benefits out weight the occasional small stuttering.




With respect to your machine, I'd boot the machine, run task manager, go to the Performance tab, Select View/ShowKernelTimes, and then use the machine while keeping an eye on the over-all CPU and the kernel portion. If your not maxing the CPU out all the time, then there may be some other issue not currently apparent, or there's not enough concurrent IO, or the disk read/writes aren't above what your original drive was doing.


Also note, under windows, stuff gets cached, so if its been loaded then there is a chance that the next time its loaded, it could come from memory and not from the drive (which would be faster). Once stuff is loaded into windows cache, not even the SSD drive can compete ;-). IE. load up firefox for the 1st time, then exit, then load it for the 2nd time.. 2nd Time should be faster (SSD or Physical platter)


Additionally, If you have your old drive still (and is bootable), Use the new SSD for a while, then swap the Old drive back in for a little while and do similar stuff as what was done on the SSD (just be careful about downloading critical data such as email). You should notice a difference going back to the old drive (I personally do every time I yank P128's to give them to their new owners. :-)


One application (that comes to mind) which showed huge performance gains, was searching email and generating indexes under Thunderbird email (about 25 gig worth). Full body searches are way "stupidly" faster, and I'd say indexing email folders with the SSD was at minimum 5 times faster over the Physical platter drive.


My personal overall feeling of SSD, is that it makes the machine smoother, as concurrent disk IO is handled much better than physical patter disks (the fact that these drives can do read/writes in the hundreds of megs is icing on the cake)


Basically, Mileage will vary based on what loads are put against the drive, and how much of it is concurrent.



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One more thing


Just looked at your Atto results


The 1st write looks to be less than expected (2461)


Does this always occur?


When I get a chance, I'll look online into your Nova 128 Specs and see how they stack up against my P128. If its a lesser drive, it should still have good writes, as long as trim is working and you haven't completely dirtied the drive (which trim should correct)



Also, whats t

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Here's another thing to try to get a feel for the SSD strengths.


From a freshly rebooted PC using the SSD drive:

- make a bunch of short cuts to stuff that you run on your DESKtop and group them in the same area of the desktop (word, IE, Firefox, Auto cad, Adobe, Corel, windows movie maker,ect)

- Run the Atto test with a queue depth of 10

- While its running, start opening stuff (basically go through the list of short cuts and click on them switching back to the desktop as required)


Then preform the same test using your Original platter drive following the same steps above.


This should give you an idea of the differences between the drives. Its night and day on anything I've tested. Under the platter drive, I was able to click on most of the short cuts before stuff started to load, Under the SSD drive I had to keep switching back to the desktop so I could see the next short cut to click.


You could also run an anti virus scan of SSD drive, setting it to scan everything, and set it to an aggressive scan (if the option is available). Then use the machine.


Good luck.

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Just checked the Corsair web site for the differences, and based on what I've read, the drives look similar in overall performance


From what I can see, the differences between the Nova and Performance SSD are:


64 Meg verses 128 meg cache

Indilinx Barefoot controller verses the Samsung controller

270MB/s reads verses 220

195 MB/s writes verse 180

OS trim support verse OS Trim and firmware trim support




- I believe the P128 has 2 data channels to read/write from (concurrent operations); but couldn't see any details on the Nova

- Looks like the Nova comes with a 2.5 to 3.5" drive bay adapter.

- NCQ is mentioned with the Performance; but not with the Nova drive.


Would be curious on how the difference in cache memory would effect the performance of the drive under high load and when the drive is completely dirty (might have to get one of these drives for testing :-)


Should run similar to my P128 under normal conditions, with the Nova most likely posting better throughput.

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PS: I've just re-read Davyc's post (might of misinterpreted it a bit:-)..


I think the questions that needs to be initially asked are:


1) What did you consider slow about the PC? (What is the root cause or reason)

2) What were you expecting from the SSD upgrade?

3) What applications do you run?

4) How hard is the machine pushed?

5) When pushing the machine (the spot where you'd were expecting the SSD to improve on), If you look at you PC's disk activity light, is it always going or seldom.

6) Hows the CPU usage of the machine (taskman)


I've had people with computer issues, wanting to upgrade. After having a look at the machine found that it was more than enough for their needs, and that the issue was something else. One such example was a AMD 3000 (I think) machine which was brutally slow, which was actually the result of a windows update issue which would cause 100% CPU Usage for hours. Another machine was AVG antivirus incoming email scan getting stuck in a endless loop causing 100% CPU


SO Per DavyC, if your bottle neck is CPU, or Graphics, or internet, then the SSD most likely wont improve on these (unless theses processes are mixed in with lots of random disk access which exceeds your previous hard drive's limitations).


You've upgraded from a K-Car to a Porsche but they'll go similar speeds in rush hour traffic :-)

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Thanks a lot for your very descriptive answers. I really appreciate your time and effort.


There is nothing wrong at all with the performance of my computer or the SSD drive. I think I just had higher expectations due to the reviews that the SSD's are getting on the various online retail sites. A lot of the reviewers say that going from a platter to a solid state is a night and day improvement, but it just isn't for me.


I use my computer for a little bit of everything...web browsing, media playing, and gaming. The CPU does not max out unless I do something intensive such as play Crysis or make an image with Acronis. I have over 2GB of RAM free after Windows loads, so my resources aren't maxed. An area where I do notice an improvement is loading and shutting down Windows.


Thanks again for your time. It is so nice to see someone so willing to help a stranger.

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SSD's are superfast in comparison to spinning drives, but they won't make most day-to-day computing any faster. The main areas of improvement that an SSD brings is in lowering boot-times, loading 'some' programs faster and generally reducing the amount of power required to operate (very useful for laptops). Any high end software that requires fast disk access will benefit, but things like web browsing, using office or playing music will see little if any benefit from using an SSD.


I've noticed that installation of some programs is faster, the general snappiness of some programs is noticeable ... but, on the other hand, I've also noticed that some programs actually take longer to load than they did on a spinning drive and most others are about on par.


The other difference that is being well touted (and deserved too) is that SSD's are more realiable, in general, than spinning drives; that's not to say that they won't or can't fail, but they are less likely to fail than spinners. As with any new technology the benefits are usually balanced with the downsides - until the advent of TRIM SSD's were prone (and still are prone without TRIM or G/C) to performance degradation due to the nature of their structure and makeup. The other major downside is, as far as the consumer is concerned, is the price; as the technology improves and manufacturing methods change and adapt the prices will drop and this will encourage more people to use SSD's.


The point to remember, as always, is that a computer is only as good as the sum of it's parts and how well they sit together - individual components can give a boost, but when they work well together with everything else in the box then your computing experience is enhanced.


I'm using a Quad Core Intel at the moment, but I am looking at the i5's as they are getting excellent reviews .... it's because I am hooked on technology that I'm considering a new computer, but I doubt very much that upgrading to an i5 will improve my productivity or run my programs any better - I'll just 'feel' better for having a new box lol ;-)

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