Does SSD really make a big difference?

donline

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Hi folks, so does SSD make a big difference compared with HDD, and if so, in what way and how much of a difference? Also, what's the best way to take advantage of this difference (i.e. best to store files in a certain way)?

I can choose between two systems, one which has SSD and one which has 1TB HDD (systems below). As a side note, if you have any feedback on these systems that would be great thanks.

1) i5-6300HQ (2.3 GHz), 15,6" Full HD IPS, 8GB RAM (DDR4), 1TB HDD, 4-cell lithium ion (60Wh)
2) i7-4720HQ (2.6 GHz), 15,6" Full HD, 8GB RAM (DDR3), 256GB SSD, 4-cell lithium ion (44Wh)
 
SSD;s are fantastic, I'd never go back to a HDD boot drive again. That said for file storage I still use a standard HDD (desktop). I also put my games on the HDD.

As for SSD's, they improve your boot times, you'll go from say a 1 minute boot time (to login screen) to 8 seconds or so. After you login, you computer will be ready in seconds (the desktop will render almost instantly), most startup tasks will launch within a few seconds of login, etc. I've seen computers with HDD's for the OS that take over a minute after login to get all your startups loaded and for the HDD activity to settle down.

Any applications that are installed on the SSD will launch "instantly", like Excel, Word, any software really. HDD's can take up to 30 seconds or more to launch these programs. Just now I clicked Excel 2016 (which is installed on my SSD) and it took just under 2 seconds to get to the template selection window, and when I select a Blank template, it instantly loads. You will never have this with a HDD, at least not if it's the first time you've loaded the application.

Moving files around is also quicker if you are moving them from one location of the drive to another. Of course if you are moving files to or from your SSD to a HDD, then you're still bottlenecked by the slower drive.

Access times are measured in less than 1mS vs 15ms or higher. This make a huge difference when dealing with many small files.
 
The SSD will make a HUGE difference in how the system feels for speed. Files load and save much faster and you can "feel" it. You are talking about a HDD that loads at a max speed of maybe 200MB/s where an SSD will load at 550MB/s. It also accesses files quicker than a HDD does. There is also no noise from a SSD compared to a HDD.
 
SSD;s are fantastic, I'd never go back to a HDD boot drive again. That said for file storage I still use a standard HDD (desktop). I also put my games on the HDD.

As for SSD's, they improve your boot times, you'll go from say a 1 minute boot time (to login screen) to 8 seconds or so. After you login, you computer will be ready in seconds (the desktop will render almost instantly), most startup tasks will launch within a few seconds of login, etc. I've seen computers with HDD's for the OS that take over a minute after login to get all your startups loaded and for the HDD activity to settle down.

Any applications that are installed on the SSD will launch "instantly", like Excel, Word, any software really. HDD's can take up to 30 seconds or more to launch these programs. Just now I clicked Excel 2016 (which is installed on my SSD) and it took just under 2 seconds to get to the template selection window, and when I select a Blank template, it instantly loads. You will never have this with a HDD, at least not if it's the first time you've loaded the application.

Moving files around is also quicker if you are moving them from one location of the drive to another. Of course if you are moving files to or from your SSD to a HDD, then you're still bottlenecked by the slower drive.

Access times are measured in less than 1mS vs 15ms or higher. This make a huge difference when dealing with many small files.
 

adast

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With SSD your windows will load up faster, File Copy Write Speed will be faster then a normal hdd if you are willing to pay more for a performance.
And for HDD if you dont really care how fast a computer boots up or opens programs and dont want to spend more money
thats my opinion from view but wait and see what others says
 
D

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This is completely incorrect so please stop posting it. Under normal desktop conditions an SSD will last for years. Like more than 50 depending on drive size and writes per day.

The 850 Evo is an TLC drive. TLC has a lower lifespan than the MLC flash found in higher end drives. Even the 120GB version will last for over 20 years writing 20GB a day to the drive.

http://www.anandtech.com/show/8747/samsung-ssd-850-evo-review/4

Techreport got over 1 petabyte of writes out of their test drives.

http://techreport.com/review/27909/the-ssd-endurance-experiment-theyre-all-dead



 
Lot 's of these SSD myths keep circulating. Turn off this service and that service, shut of the page file, etc, etc. SSD's under normal consumer use will outlive most consumer HDDs by a factor of 10.

In this particular instance what I'm about to say is irrelevant (unless there are two drive bays in the SSD laptop), but I do try and keep my user files on the HDD as well as the previously mentioned games. This is in an effort to keep my SSD less than 75% full. Above 75% I find write speeds tend to suffer when doing lots of writing because the OS and drive don't have enough time to garbage collect and perform the TRIM function. Of course if the drive has sufficient overprovisioning, then you might get away with having it more than 75% full before running into write speed slow downs. And of course it goes without saying, if you never do a great deal of writing to the drive at one time, you may never experience this as the drive and OS will most certainly perform garbage collection and TRIM when the drive isn't in use.
 
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I do agree with keeping at least 20% of the drive as free space. Many drives come with utilities that overprovision for you. The Samsung Magician in particular is excellent.

I don't even use mechanical drives anymore. I never moved them over when I upgraded to Skylake. I keep my games on my primary drive and I have going back to 2010 when I got my first SSD, a 120GB OCZ Vertex 2.
 
Yeah, I can't do that, my STEAM library alone is over 600GB, 73GB for Origin and non-STEAM games and another 70GB of user files. So I'd need a 1TB drive for all that and I wouldn't have much room left with all that and Windows too.

Some day SSD's will come down to close the same price / GB as HDD's are now and storage capacities will go up. Then I'll only have HDD's for backup solutions.
 
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I only install what I'm playing at the time. I have no idea how much space ~250 games from Steam alone would take up :p Just Witcher 3, Fallout 4 and Rise of the Tomb Raider are 120GB+. Those are the installs I moved over to the new rig.
 

donline

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Thanks techgeek
Sounds like SSD does make a huge difference with speed.
I was wondering what you think between the following two systems (one has SSD and one doesn't):
1) i5-6300HQ (2.3 GHz), 15,6" Full HD IPS, 8GB RAM (DDR4), 1TB HDD, 4-cell lithium ion (60Wh)
2) i7-4720HQ (2.6 GHz), 15,6" Full HD, 8GB RAM (DDR3), 256GB SSD, 4-cell lithium ion (44Wh)
Which would you pick and why? Thanks!
 
Well if you are asking which is better, then I'd say the one with the i7. Although it's an older gen CPU when compared with the i5 6300HQ, the i7 4720HQ is a quad core with hyperthreading and has a higher clockspeed. The i5 6300HQ has a slightly higher IPC than the 4720 which might make up for the deficiency in clockspeed under certain loads.

The difference between DDR3 and DDR4 isn't a factor as far as performance, though it might have a slight affect on battery life. The i5 overall might be a little better on battery life, and it comes with a better battery.

As a performance junkie, I'd go with the i7, because of the SSD and the better CPU. Does this laptop have an empty drive bay so that you can add an internal HDD later? This would be ideal as 256GB is plenty for Windows and your user files, but if plan on storing games, or lots of programs, music, etc, then you might need to look at an internal drive, or a portable drive to supplement the storage that's included.
 
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^ Agreed. The i7 is faster despite being slightly older and the SSD will make a huge difference in a laptop especially. The i7 does have a slightly weaker battery but the SSD will help even that out as it uses less power than a traditional HDD.
 

donline

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Thanks techgeek! Really appreciate your guidance.
I was leaning towards the i7 system so I'm glad you also preferred that one.

I'm not sure that either system has an extra drive bay, but I plan to purchase an external/USB 1TB HDD for extra file storage and backup. Would that be fine? I'm debating whether to get an external enclosure + HDD, or just buy an 'all in one' external HDD. Any brands or specific products you can recommend? I was also wondering if 2.5" vs 3.5" inch HDD makes any difference.

Thanks again!
 
Do you have a link to the i7 laptop? Or a make and model number?

As for external drives, either has it's pros and cons. With a roll your own (enclosure + HDD), you have the possibility of later putting a larger drive in it to increase it's capacity assuming the firmware will support it. The downside is that this option is often more expensive. So as you guessed it the opposites are true of the OEM external HDD's. Cheaper, but you are stuck with the size they are.

As for brands, I've had a few issues with Seagate internal drives in the past year, so I am off them for awhile. However I also had my My Book 4TB that I bought fail on me (luckily inside warranty), but I bought it at Costco, so I didn't even have to RMA it, I just returned it to them. I've got another My Book 4TB and a My Cloud 4TB (NAS) drive and both have been pretty good. I also have another My Book 2TB on my DVR which is 5 years old and still working great. Time will tell for the two 4TB drives if they are going to last though as I've only had them not quite a year.

As far as 2.5" vs 3.5", there isn't a whole lot of difference as far as performance goes. Maybe a slight edge to 3.5" drives depending on the drive in the enclosure. However with external HDD's, performance isn't the primary concern. The 3.5" drives tend to have the larger volumes but since you are only looking at 1TB, then you can easily go with a 2.5" drive. All the 3.5" externals I've had have a separate power brick, so they are slightly more "complicated" to set up and it definitely makes them less portable. On the otherhand 2.5" drives "can" be powered by the USB port(s) they are plugged into. I say "can" and port(s) because depending on what version of USB port you are using, can affect this. Please see the next recommendation for further explanation.

Make sure you get a USB 3.0 version external HDD or enclosure. USB 3.0 is 10X faster than USB 2.0. More importantly, the transfer rates aren't limited to the USB interface when you go with USB 3.0. In most cases the best you can hope for with USB 2.0 drives is 20-25MB/s which is 1/4 to a 1/5th of the speed of the drive inside the enclosure. USB 3.0 will put the throughput bottleneck on the drive, so you'll be transferring data at a maximum of the drives speed which could be as high as 150MB/s with a good HDD. The other thing that is good about USB 3.0 is that they increased the amount of power the USB port can supply to the device connected to it. When drives started to use more power than a USB 2.0 port could provide, the drive either needed an external power brick, or it had a two headed USB cable so that it could draw power from two USB ports. Neither solution was ideal and certainly added complexity and made it less portable / convenient.

Hope that helps.
 

donline

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Thanks techgeek!

Here's the i7 laptop model number: ASUS X550JX-DM257T
(there's also ASUS X550JX-DM266T but I can't see what the difference is between these).
https://www.komplett.se/product/853766/datorer-och-surfplattor/barbara-datorer/gamingdatorer/asus-x550jx-156-full-hd-matt# (May need to plug this into translation ;)

Really appreciate your guidance on the external drives. That's a good point with going for USB 3.0 (the laptop has two USB 3.0 ports, plus one USB 2.0). I was also thinking about buying a USB 3.0 Hub (something like this: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Release-Anker-Ultra-Slim-4-Port/dp/B00Y25XFGK/ref=sr_1_1?s=computers&ie=UTF8&qid=1462354708&sr=1-1&keywords=usb+3 - with 10W adaptor perhaps?) if that would be a good idea?

I think I might go with the OEM external HDD and try Western Digital like you suggest (I've seen quite a few people like their products).

Thanks!




 
Well the only difference I can see regarding those two models (DM257T DM266T) is the DM257T has a brushed aluminum finish and the DM266T is a matte black finish. The hardware looks exactly the same. One thing to note is that neither (according to the information I found) has an optical drive. However the manual shows that it at the very least has a bay. If this is the case, you may have an option to add an internal HDD along with the SSD at some point. There are adapter available to fit optical bays that you install a HDD or SSD into. So it could be something you look into after you get it if that option interests you. Not to say that you don't need some sort of external HDD, I always recommend an external backup solution.

As for the USB 3.0 hub. if you plan on more than two USB 3.0 devices then you certainly may want to have one. Now the one you linked to has the option to be powered with the 10W adapter as you indicated. However from what I can tell, it supplies power to the hub through one of the USB ports. If this is the case, you lose one of the ports to the power adapter. If you intend to go this route, you might want something more like this:

StarTech.com 4 Port Black SuperSpeed USB 3.0 Hub

I've had good luck with StarTech in Canada, but this is just for reference, you could pick another manufacturer that provides a similar hub. I'm sure the one you have linked is fine, it just looks like you'll lose one of your ports to the charger. I also prefer the power and USB port that goes to the computer to be on the back and the expansion USB ports to face forward, though that is more of an aesthetics thing.

As for an external HDD, here is a link of a pretty plain jane WD drive:

WD 1TB Elements Portable External Hard Drive - USB 3.0

But if you want choice:

WD Portable HDD's

The second link has some pretty fancy models, though I'm sure the cheaper one I provided in the first link will probably be sufficient. I purchased one of these for a friend that I worked with. As far as I know he still uses it and that was 4 years ago.
 

donline

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Thank you so much techgeek!

Yes, same here, the only difference I could see between those two models was the finish (I prefer the aluminium look).

I already have an external DVD drive which I can just plug into a USB connection, so that should be covered (but as you say, no optical drive built into those laptops).

I was speaking with someone today and they said that the RAM can be increased up to 12GB. At the moment there's 4GB DDR3L 'soldered' + 4GB DDR3L added, so I guess the 4GB 'added' would be taken out and replaced with an 8GB SODIMM. Someone also said to me that both SODIMMs should be exactly the same? Not sure if that meant in GB size or just speed and architecture (i.e. 1600MHz and DDR3L). So I'm not sure about that?

That looks like a great USB Hub you suggested, thanks! (I didn't realise the one I found supplied power via the USB port, which sounds less than ideal to me).

And perfect with the external HDD, that's exactly what I'm looking for and will go with that one, cheers.

Thanks again!
 
No problem, glad I could help.

As for the RAM, it looks like there is only the one DIMM slot, so you'd be correct, to get to 12GB, you'd have to removed the 4GB SO-DIMM and install an 8GB one. As for them being exactly the same, it would be just that it's DDR3L. If you are upgrading to 12GB, there is no way to match the size as the "soldered" on will only be 4GB. The L in DDR3L denotes the operating voltage, which is lower than DDR3. Well actually DDR3L can operate at the same voltage as DDR3, but DDR3 can't operate at DDR3L's lower voltage. I assume that if you install a 8GB SO-DIMM, the first 4GB will work in dual channel mode with the soldered on memory, and the last 4GB will be mapped higher and operate in single channel mode. The manual doesn't say anything about this, but this is the most common solution to these types of configurations.

As for the optical drive, I think the bay is there, but neither model actually has a optical drive in it. Meaning you could in theory get a optical bay adapter to add a HDD if you wanted. Again, you'll only be able to confirm that once you have it.

I did a little more research on that Anker USB 3.0 hub with power adapter. It looks like it may have a port on the back side of the hub for the AC power adapter. It's not pictured explicitly, but this photo I think implies that the power adapter is plugged into the back of it:



 

donline

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Thanks techgeek!

What does "I assume that if you install a 8GB SO-DIMM, the first 4GB will work in dual channel mode with the soldered on memory, and the last 4GB will be mapped higher and operate in single channel mode" mean? What is dual-channel mode and single-channel mode and how does this affect the system's performance?

The guy said this to me: "In the case of integrated memory at 4GB, you are best to leave system memory at 8GB where (hopefully) the memory chips are the same. This is referred to as Dual Channel memory architecture and always works best with 2 matching memory components. I would leave it untouched at 8GB." - Do you have any thoughts on this?

Yep, I've got a feeling that the bay is there also (and that there's just some kind of placeholder in there to begin with)... will check once I have the laptop.

That's great, it does look like the Anker USB hub has a port on the back for the power adaptor so that should be fine yes? :)

You mentioned about a manual, do you have a link where I can download the manual for this specific laptop?

Thanks again!




 

Mr_Limo

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Totally agree this is the way to go. OS & Apps on SSD, data on rotational media. SSD's are NOT more reliable than HDD's but they are a ton faster.
 
Dual channel mode is where the IMC treats two DIMM's as a double wide bus, so instead of the IMC having to make two separate transactions (one to each DIMM), it makes a single transaction (either read or write) to both DIMM's. This way it has nearly double the transfer speed over single channel.

Here is a quick link, the description is somewhat technical, but it should make it clearer:

Everything You Need to Know About the Dual-, Triple-, and Quad-Channel Memory Architectures
Read more at http://www.hardwaresecrets.com/everything-you-need-to-know-about-the-dual-triple-and-quad-channel-memory-architectures/#S5RP4eKXlVLFPadF.99


As for what this "guy" said, there may be a thread of truth. Mixing RAM can cause issues with POST'ing or system stability. So the manufacturer (ASUS in this case) who paired the SO-DIMM with the soldered memory have done the hardware qualifying for you. So adding a different SO-DIMM could cause conflicts. That's not to say that it will. As for dual channel mode, it can have a direct affect on performance in memory intensive tasks. I was also guessing about the mapping the additional 4GB higher in the memory map. Many motherboards and laptops will do this, but nothing in the manual says specifically that it will do this. It could force the entire memory subsystem to work in single channel mode.

I will provide the link to the User Manual for the laptop. It is a generic manual for the X550JX, not specific to either the DM257T or DM266T sub part numbers:

X550JX Manual

As for the Anker power adapter, I think it will be fine.
 

donline

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Thanks techgeek, really appreciate all your guidance.

It sounds like it may be safer to just the leave the RAM as it is, so as to avoid any conflicts or instability. I guess the only way to check if it would be fine to add RAM would be to contact ASUS about that specific laptop...

Thank you for the link to the User Manual, it's a nice detailed reference.

I'll try the Anker USB hub with power adaptor and see how that goes.

Thanks again and have a great weekend! D

 
No problem really glad to assist.

As for RAM upgrading, I think contacting ASUS would be a start. The other option would be once you've got the laptop, get the part number off of the SO-DIMM that is supplied and see if you can source the same RAM in an 8GB SO-DIMM. However for right now 8GB is pretty much the sweet spot for most users, including gamers. So unless you do some very memory intensive tasks like photo editing, or something like that, 8GB should be plenty. I've got 16GB, but I've never seen my free RAM go below 10GB. I never close Chrome and typically have like 20 tabs open at any one time. I leave this open while I game without issue. So with 8GB, as long as don't go too crazy, you'll be fine.

Once you get everything, be sure to let us know how it all worked out.
 

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