Question How much improvement will a SSD be for storage?

Jun 18, 2020
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I am just upgrading my desktop to a i5-10400 and my current drive setup is a 250GB SSD boot drive and a 4 TB HDD for file storage. I actually just upgraded from a 1 TB to the 4 TB less than a year ago because the 1 TB was almost full mostly from pictures and videos. I also have any other documents or data files on the HDD and only Windows and the program files on the SSD. Would I get much better performance getting a SSD for storage? I don't want to spend several hundred on a large drive but if it makes a big difference, I could probably go for a 1 TB SSD since they are under $100 and store just my pictures and other documents/data files on there which is well under 1 TB. I would have to keep videos that I don't access that much on the HDD still. Let me know if you think that would make a big improvement with loading and viewing stuff.
 
Jun 18, 2020
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I would not worry about bulk storage, pics, things like that coming off HDD. I would not load games or edit content stored on a HDD, would (and do) utilize SSD for that.
I guess with the pictures, it just seems to lag when I scroll through them, or view them, or edit them. Maybe it is due to my old CPU so I can see how that improves when I change that out.
 

jojesa

Illustrious
I would not worry about bulk storage, pics, things like that coming off HDD. I would not load games or edit content stored on a HDD, would (and do) utilize SSD for that.
I wouldn't use a SSD for storage unless you are constantly writing and ready large files.
I would suggest though, to get a bigger SSD for the OS and programs and have your files backed up (two locations).
 
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Jun 18, 2020
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I wouldn't use a SSD for storage unless you are constantly writing and ready large files.
I would suggest though, to get a bigger SSD for the OS and programs and have your files backed up (two locations).
So should I replace the main OS drive with something like a 500 GB M2 drive and then just use the 4 TB for all of my data? What will that do by having a bigger OS drive?
 
Jan 15, 2021
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I am just upgrading my desktop to a i5-10400 and my current drive setup is a 250GB SSD boot drive and a 4 TB HDD for file storage. I actually just upgraded from a 1 TB to the 4 TB less than a year ago because the 1 TB was almost full mostly from pictures and videos. I also have any other documents or data files on the HDD and only Windows and the program files on the SSD. Would I get much better performance getting a SSD for storage? I don't want to spend several hundred on a large drive but if it makes a big difference, I could probably go for a 1 TB SSD since they are under $100 and store just my pictures and other documents/data files on there which is well under 1 TB. I would have to keep videos that I don't access that much on the HDD still. Let me know if you think that would make a big improvement with loading and viewing stuff.
If you need bulk storage to stash files and access them occassionally, get a HDD with storage to your requirements, if you use for games or with files you will use daily, then definitely go for SSD.

The speed advantage personally for me is much more worth than the available space. Luckily you can get a good HDD and a good SSD for good prices today.
 
Reactions: TravisPNW
A HDD is a very good device to store large sequential files such as videos.

Pictures are very much smaller and are good stored on a ssd.
Thumbnails open instantly.

A ssd is a very good place for windows, and to store apps and files that are frequently used.

m.2 is a size format, it does not indicate speed.
But, only m.2 ssd devices can run at pcie speeds.

Most of what we do is small random I/O(think thumbnails)
For that, all ssd devices are very good and the performance difference between sata and pcie devices is really quite small.
If budget is an issue, a conventional sata ssd is still very good.
A ssd will be some 40x faster in random I/O and 4-10x faster in sequential.

But sequential performance is not what synthetic benchmarks imply.
For example, I saw a test of game load times using different devices.
In a 20 second load, the sata devices were about 2 seconds slower than a pcie device.
 
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jojesa

Illustrious
So should I replace the main OS drive with something like a 500 GB M2 drive and then just use the 4 TB for all of my data? What will that do by having a bigger OS drive?
Which motherboard do you have?
Get a SSD large enough to house your OS and apps with at least 50% empty space for future expansion.
If you have up to 200GB of data when calculating your OS and apps, then a 500-512GB SSD will do.
If you play games and you could afford 1TB go for it. Current games take a lot of space and they get bigger every day.

Also don't pay too much attention to speeds higher than 1200MB/s, you won't see any difference in performance on daily tasks (boot time, opening apps, loading games, etc).
 
Jun 18, 2020
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Which motherboard do you have?
Get a SSD large enough to house your OS and apps with at least 50% empty space for future expansion.
If you have up to 200GB of data when calculating your OS and apps, then a 500-512GB SSD will do.
If you play games and you could afford 1TB go for it. Current games take a lot of space and they get bigger every day.

Also don't pay too much attention to speeds higher than 1200MB/s, you won't see any difference in performance on daily tasks (boot time, opening apps, loading games, etc).
I have this Gigabyte B460 HD3. Currently, my boot drive has 157 GB on it and 75 GB free and I and I only have the OS and programs. The 4 TB data drive is only 25% full.

So are you suggesting just replacing my boot drive with something liked this 500 GB drive for $65 or even this 1TB drive for $100? I don't play any games. Mostly just use this for general stuff, web browsing, etc. but also plan to start working on photos and videos more (editing, creating, organizing).
 

jojesa

Illustrious
I have this Gigabyte B460 HD3. Currently, my boot drive has 157 GB on it and 75 GB free and I and I only have the OS and programs. The 4 TB data drive is only 25% full.

So are you suggesting just replacing my boot drive with something liked this 500 GB drive for $65 or even this 1TB drive for $100? I don't play any games. Mostly just use this for general stuff, web browsing, etc. but also plan to start working on photos and videos more (editing, creating, organizing).
I would get the 500GB WD NVMe SSD.
Also have a backup plan (external HDD)...data deem important should be in a least two locations.
 
Jun 18, 2020
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I would get the 500GB WD NVMe SSD.
Also have a backup plan (external HDD)...data deem important should be in a least two locations.
Ok so just to get this straight...get the 500 GB you mentioned and just store my OS and programs on it only, or put some data on it as well? And then keep all the big picture and video files on the 4 TB? I do back that up to an external drive and also to a backup cloud service so I am covered there. Would I need to buy a heat sink for that drive or is it necessary?
 

jojesa

Illustrious
Ok so just to get this straight...get the 500 GB you mentioned and just store my OS and programs on it only, or put some data on it as well? And then keep all the big picture and video files on the 4 TB?
I would use the 500GB for OS and apps only...but it is up to you.
You could use your current 250GB SSD for files (pictures, videos ,etc..) that are frequently access.

Would I need to buy a heat sink for that drive or is it necessary?
A heatsink is not necessary.
 
Jun 18, 2020
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I would use the 500GB for OS and apps only...but it is up to you.
You could use your current 250GB SSD for files (pictures, videos ,etc..) that are frequently access.


A heatsink is not necessary.
Ok, thank you. So just because I am trying to learn more about this, what is the purpose of having the 500 GB drive for OS and programs if it is going to be well below 50% full?
 

USAFRet

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Ok, thank you. So just because I am trying to learn more about this, what is the purpose of having the 500 GB drive for OS and programs if it is going to be well below 50% full?
The applications you use is not a static thing. Next year, when you want to start in on video editing, that extra space will be good for the cache file and plugins.
Or, start on some programming. Installing VisualStudio Community can take 150GB.

There is nothing wrong with keeping your current 250GB, if it fully fits your needs.
But needs and wants change.
 
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jojesa

Illustrious
The applications you use is not a static thing. Next year, when you want to start in on video editing, that extra space will be good for the cache file and plugins.
Or, start on some programming. Installing VisualStudio Community can take 150GB.

There is nothing wrong with keeping your current 250GB, if it fully fits your needs.
But needs and wants change.
Adding to those important points above, an SSD needs empty space (at least 15%) to maintain advertised performance speeds and life expectancy.
 
Reactions: TravisPNW
Jun 18, 2020
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The applications you use is not a static thing. Next year, when you want to start in on video editing, that extra space will be good for the cache file and plugins.
Or, start on some programming. Installing VisualStudio Community can take 150GB.

There is nothing wrong with keeping your current 250GB, if it fully fits your needs.
But needs and wants change.
Well I guess for $50, and since I have to reinstall anyways, is a small price to pay. I think it is worth getting that 500 GB M2. Thanks everyone for your help.
 

TravisPNW

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Aug 26, 2020
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I have 6TB across 3 SSDs for Windows, games, and frequently used programs. It's a new build with future proofing in mind and currently with about 20% combined SSD usage.

I have 22TB of HDD (12TB and 10TB) for pictures, videos, and other media related content where load times aren't a concern. The 12TB drive is a backup of the 10TB... which is currently about 60% full. I'm good to go for a few more years at my current rate so all is well. I am a videophile and that's why the massive HDD capacity is required. (y)
 

jojesa

Illustrious
Well I guess for $50, and since I have to reinstall anyways, is a small price to pay. I think it is worth getting that 500 GB M2. Thanks everyone for your help.
If you are planning on performing a clean Windows installation...disconnect all drives and just leave the drive where Windows is installed. You could connect them back after Windows is installed.
By the way, you could clone your 250GB into the 500GB SSD.
 

USAFRet

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Mar 16, 2013
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-----------------------------
Specific steps for a successful clone operation:
-----------------------------
Verify the actual used space on the current drive is significantly below the size of the new SSD
Download and install Macrium Reflect (or Samsung Data Migration, if a Samsung SSD)
If you are cloning from a SATA drive to PCIe/NVMe, install the relevant driver for this new NVMe/PCIe drive.
Power off
Disconnect ALL drives except the current C and the new SSD
Power up
Run the Macrium Reflect (or Samsung Data Migration)
Select ALL the partitions on the existing C drive

If you are going from a smaller drive to a larger, by default, the target partition size will be the same as the Source. You probably don't want that
You can manipulate the size of the partitions on the target (larger)drive
Click on "Cloned Partition Properties", and you can specifiy the resulting partition size, to even include the whole thing

Click the 'Clone' button
Wait until it is done
When it finishes, power off
Disconnect ALL drives except for the new SSD
This is to allow the system to try to boot from ONLY the SSD
Swap the SATA cables around so that the new drive is connected to the same SATA port as the old drive
Power up, and verify the BIOS boot order
If good, continue the power up

It should boot from the new drive, just like the old drive.
Maybe reboot a time or two, just to make sure.

If it works, and it should, all is good.

Later, reconnect the old drive and wipe all partitions on it.
This will probably require the commandline diskpart function, and the clean command.

Ask questions if anything is unclear.
-----------------------------
 
Jun 18, 2020
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The applications you use is not a static thing. Next year, when you want to start in on video editing, that extra space will be good for the cache file and plugins.
Or, start on some programming. Installing VisualStudio Community can take 150GB.

There is nothing wrong with keeping your current 250GB, if it fully fits your needs.
But needs and wants change.
One more thing on this...

So if doing video editing, even if the main video files are stored on the HDD, the cache file while manipulating them will be on this drive so it will be faster and not matter that they are actually stored on the slower drive. Is that correct?
 

USAFRet

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Mar 16, 2013
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One more thing on this...

So if doing video editing, even if the main video files are stored on the HDD, the cache file while manipulating them will be on this drive so it will be faster and not matter that they are actually stored on the slower drive. Is that correct?
In most applications, you can designate where that is.

I have one of my smaller SSD (250GB 840 EVO) dedicated for exactly these things.
Hitfilm Express cache, Paintshop Pro cache and plugins, Lightroom cache and catalog, Rhino3D cache....

The cache file use depends on what the application uses it for.
Generally, temporary memory location.
 
Jun 18, 2020
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Ok guys, thanks for the help. I ended up ordering a 500 GB M2 and will just replace the 250 I had. Maybe I will keep the 250 in there too just to store more accessible files or something but keep the bulk on the 4 TB. I like to keep it separate too because about once a year or so I will just wipe the OS drive and reinstall Windows and everything runs like new.
 

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