Standard HD vs. SSHD

ChrisB1990

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Dec 9, 2015
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Hi, I do alot of gaming and I was looking into buying a SSD but cant afford a large one. I noticed the Seagate Firecuda SSHD and I am curious how much faster it is compared to a standard HD. Is the entire drive faster or just the partitioned solid state portion? I dont know much about them. Any info would be appreciated!
 

Dugimodo

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SSHDs cache regularly accessed files in the SSD part of the drive to speed up access to them. They boot up nearly as quick as a proper SSD and launch some things like the browser very quickly if you use them a lot, For the rest of the time they act and feel like a regular drive. They are a compromise and perform like one, better than a HDD some of the time but never quite as good as an SSD. They are best suited where you can only have a single drive and can't afford a large enough SSD.

The most common thing to do these days is buy a smaller SSD for the OS & maybe a couple of games and put everything else on a conventional drive. All an SSD does for most games is make them load levels and start up slightly faster - not really that impressive for the cost.

I was using 2 x 512GB SSDs for windows and games until my game library outgrew the 2nd SSD. I swapped to a 2TB WD blue for my steam games library and yeah sometimes I notice the load times, but not enough to worry about. A few games I play a lot are still on the other SSD though.

A 120-256GB SSD is enough to make your PC feel really snappy in general use, and a regular HDD is good enough to keep games on. Unless you have the money to go all SSD of course.
 

Dugimodo

Distinguished
SSHDs cache regularly accessed files in the SSD part of the drive to speed up access to them. They boot up nearly as quick as a proper SSD and launch some things like the browser very quickly if you use them a lot, For the rest of the time they act and feel like a regular drive. They are a compromise and perform like one, better than a HDD some of the time but never quite as good as an SSD. They are best suited where you can only have a single drive and can't afford a large enough SSD.

The most common thing to do these days is buy a smaller SSD for the OS & maybe a couple of games and put everything else on a conventional drive. All an SSD does for most games is make them load levels and start up slightly faster - not really that impressive for the cost.

I was using 2 x 512GB SSDs for windows and games until my game library outgrew the 2nd SSD. I swapped to a 2TB WD blue for my steam games library and yeah sometimes I notice the load times, but not enough to worry about. A few games I play a lot are still on the other SSD though.

A 120-256GB SSD is enough to make your PC feel really snappy in general use, and a regular HDD is good enough to keep games on. Unless you have the money to go all SSD of course.
 
SSHDs typically come with 8GB of NAND cache. SSDs are only about 4x faster at sequential files, but 30-100x faster at 4k (small) files. So there's little point wasting cache space on sequential files. They will mostly cache your small files, which are what kills HDD performance (most HDDs can barely hit 1 MB/s at 4k read/writes).

So the 8 GB cache will go a long ways, and speed up access to a lot of files (since it'll be used mostly for small files). As mentioned above, it's enough to make Windows boot times similar to a full SSD. Likewise, if you have programs or games which need to read lots of small files to start, these will start at near-SSD speeds as well.

What won't be cached are larger files, rarely-accessed (or first-time accessed) files, and recently written files. Those will be read as slowly as a regular HDD. Likewise, writes are not cached, so it will act like a HDD for writes. The degree to which a SSHD will speed up a game depends on how the game stores its data files. If it makes one big binary blob like GW2, then it's not going to be much faster. If installs hundreds of thousands of small files on your disk, the SSHD or SSD will help a lot.

My general recommendation is to get a SSHD only if your system can take a single drive and you need multi-TB storage like a HDD but don't want to give up SSD-like speeds. If like most desktops your system can take multiple drives, just get a small SSD. Install Windows and your regular programs on the SSD. Large programs like games should remain on the HDD. If there's a particular game you're playing frequently, you can temporarily move that to the SSD (fairly easy with Steam). When you lose interest in that game or start playing a different game, move it back to the HDD and move the new game to the SSD.
 

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