How do you choose a SSD?

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soccerdad

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How do you choose a SSD?

#1

Post by soccerdad » Thu Mar 08, 2012 10:02 pm

I am looking to get my first SSD and am not sure what is important to make sure I get. What features are must have and who makes a good budget minded model. Not looking for anything too big, just for the OS and what ever I need for WMC7 joy. From what I have read, there are several different ways companies build them and how they work. Where should I start?

Thanks!

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newfiend

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#2

Post by newfiend » Thu Mar 08, 2012 10:48 pm

I would start here.. I have been using Tom's site for years.. http://www.tomshardware.com/reviews/ssd ... ,3139.html
Make sure it supports TRIM (The SSD) most of all the newer ones should now anyway, but make sure whatever you pick does.
You will want to use ACHI mode for your SSD, Read your mainboard manual and make sure it supports AHCI (it should most likely).
I have had one since I built my HTPC.. Love it. Best addition to my system I have ever made other than the Ceton Tuners.
And one last note, whatever you buy make sure you have the latest Firmware on it before installing Windows 7.
If you need a firmware update you will have to wipe the entire drive to update it so make sure its up to date before installing.
newfiend~

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#3

Post by Diverge » Thu Mar 08, 2012 11:09 pm

I think the most important thing to know when picking SSD's is to know what controller it uses, and check to make sure there are no compatibility problems with specific motherboard chipsets that you might be using it with. For example, sandforce controllers hads lots of issues with specific chipsets. I'm not sure if they ever 100% fixed them, but if you were considering a SSD that uses sandforce you should do the necessary research before pushing the buy button :P

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#4

Post by Beradon » Thu Mar 08, 2012 11:39 pm

newfiend wrote:I would start here.. I have been using Tom's site for years.. http://www.tomshardware.com/reviews/ssd ... ,3139.html
Make sure it supports TRIM (The SSD) most of all the newer ones should now anyway, but make sure whatever you pick does.
You will want to use ACHI mode for your SSD, Read your mainboard manual and make sure it supports AHCI (it should most likely).
I have had one since I built my HTPC.. Love it. Best addition to my system I have ever made other than the Ceton Tuners.
And one last note, whatever you buy make sure you have the latest Firmware on it before installing Windows 7.
If you need a firmware update you will have to wipe the entire drive to update it so make sure its up to date before installing.
newfiend~

Both truth and misinformation in this post. I've done tons and tons of research into SSDs in the last few years, and have purchased a number of them. I own 2 first gen OCZ Vertex drives, an OCZ Solid 3, Agility 3 and 2x Patriot Pyro drives. I've also recommended a number of drives to friends recently.

Memory Controller

First, there are some things to consider when selecting a solid state drive. First and foremost is the SSD memory controller. There are a few major makers out there currently:

Indilinx: This was one of the first that made SSDs affordable, they are now owned by OCZ. They offer decent performance at reasonable prices, but they arent the fastest.

Sandforce: These are some of the fastest NAND memory controllers on the market right now, many many manufacturers make drives based on these controllers, and specifically the SF-2281 controller. Those manufacturers include Patriot, OCZ, Kingston, Adata, and a number of others. While extremely fast, the 2281 controller has been known to have some stability issues, fortunately firmware updates have corrected most, if not all, of these issues. Be sure if you purchase one of these that you have the most up to date firmware, but that really goes for any SSD... more on this in a minute.

Intel: Well, what can I say, its Intel. They make very reliable SSDs, but again they arent the fastest. They also cost quite a bit more than either of the other two, but the price buys you stability in droves. Plus, they are backed by the 800 lb gorilla that is Intel. Intel's earlier line of drives had Intel controllers and Micron memory. Their newest drives are actually Sandforce based, but they have a custom Intel-only firmware.

Marvell: Well known makers of memory controllers and system chipsets of various sorts, chances are almost every motherboard you own has at least one chip on it made by this company. Again, they arent the fastest, but they are known to be extremely stable. You will find Marvell controllers in the Crucial M4 series of SSDs.

Micron: Less known for controllers, but more for the NAND memory they supply themselves and other companies. Micron has a venture with Intel supplying Micron memory to some of the Intel drives. In addition, Micron, being the owner of the Crucial brand, makes the memory for the Crucial C300 and M4 drives.

Samsung: Samsung makes their own controller. Its quick, but these drives tend to be expensive. Samsung is one of the few that makes and manages its entire line (NAND memory, controller and the drive Itself). As I mentioned, even Intel has stepped away from certain aspects of it, as some of their drives use Micron memory and an Intel controller, while others use Intel memory and a Sandforce controller.

There are a few others but most of them arent worth mentioning as they havent made a name for themselves either in terms of price, performance or stability.

Memory Type

Which leads me to the next point. The TYPE of memory in the drive. There are two major types of memory. Synchronous and Asynchronous NAND memory, the former being the faster of the two. There are a few technical details that I'm going to skip on this point to keep the post brief, but here are the basics. Synchronous NAND memory tends to be higher binned and has a faster speed in terms of both read and write performance, but it will cost you more because of the type of controlling it needs over Asynchronous memory. Fortunately Asynchronous memory is also very very quick, and in 99% of cases you wont be able to tell the difference in speed from the synchronous conterpart, so as long as you've selected a good memory controller in a drive made by a trustworthy brand, this part will not be terribly important in most cases.

Examples of drives based on Synchronous vs their Asynchronous counterparts:

(These are all based on the SF-2281 controller simply because they are easiest to find)

OCZ Vertex 3 (synchronous) 550MB/s read 500MB/s Write
OCZ Solid 3 (asynchronous) 500MB/s Read 450MB/s write

Patriot Wildfire (Synchronous) 555MB/s Read 520MB/s write
Patriot Pyro (asynchronous) 550MB/s read 515MB/s write

You'll notice that the numbers arent terribly different and in most cases you wont notice a difference between them, its usually going to come down to price. There is also usually a line of drives that sits somewhere in the middle, for OCZ its the Agility 3 and for Patriot its the Pyro SE. These can have either asynchronous or lower binned synchronous memory, just do your research and you'll find out which they have.

There's one other thing to mention here, SLC memory vs MLC memory. I'm not really going to go into this because all of the drives you will consider buying are based on MLC memory. SLC memory is just too expensive and usually reserved for enterprise server environments.

Interface/Speed/IOPS

Interface speed is worth mentioning, although it probably wont be an issue. The newest SSDs are all SATA III (6gbps) based and will all but saturate that interface. If your motherboard supports it, then you should select a drive that can interface at that speed. If you have an older board, it wont hurt you to select an SATA III based SSD, but you wont be able to take full advantage of the speed.

You'll see a measurement called IOPS (or I/Os Per Second). This measurement can affect how quick the drive is, basically dont select a drive with low IOPS, but spending extra for a "Max IOPS" drive is not worth it either, such as OCZ's Vertex 3 "Max IOPS" drive. The speeds are the same and usually higher IOPS drives are only important in enterprise server situations where tons and tons of reads/writes per second can be happening.

TRIM

As was mentioned TRIM is something that your drive should have (every drive and controller maker I've mentioned previously supports TRIM on all of their current generation drives). What TRIM does is this: When you delete something from a hard drive or SSD, only the reference to that file is deleted, but technically the file is still there. The reason this matters is somewhat important. Spinning magnetic hard drives can simply write over top of the file that used to be there by re-aligning the magnetic polarity to contain the 1s and 0s of the new file. SSDs cannot do this, the reason for this is simply the way flash memory works as opposed to magnetic storage, I wont go terribly in depth, but suffice to say since the drives arent magnetic they need some special consideration. Since SSDs still have that file sitting in the memory, they must go back through and delete that file (write 1s to those memory blocks) in order to maintain performance in the future for that section of the drive. If you do not have a drive that supports TRIM, the next time you write to that portion of the drive it will have to spend time deleting those memory blocks before it can write to those blocks again. Over time as a drive without TRIM is used the overall performance of the drive decreases because more and more of those memory blocks will contain old data that must first be deleted before being rewritten. TRIM does this automatically and actively without costing you any performance. Subnote: If you have RAIDed your drives, RAID controllers cannot pass TRIM information (yet) so if you choose to RAID SSDs then you WILL gain performance, however it falls to the drive's garbage collection routines to clean up the drive later rather than actively cleaning up the drive with TRIM on the fly.
One quick note: TRIM requires OS support. Windows 7 was the first to actively support TRIM.

Here's a link to the current OSes that support TRIM:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/TRIM#Opera ... SD_support

Garbage collection, Wear Leveling and maximum writes

Garbage collection goes somewhat hand-in-hand with TRIM and wear leveling. All solid state drives perform this on some level (except for the oldest ones). What this means is if there is anything left after a deleted file, it will take idle time from your system to clean out those leftover memory blocks. This is also important because Garbage Collection and TRIM are tied closely with something called Wear Leveling. NAND memory chips can only be written to a certain number of times, and as you can imagine, most people dont write and delete from their entire hard drive over and over, but rather just a small segment of it. The garbage collection and wear leveling routines also move data around on the drive to allow for proper wear of all the NAND chips so that you dont find yourself in a situation where certain NAND chips have far fewer write cycles left than the rest. The reason this is important is because, as I mentioned, you can only write to NAND chips a limited number of times (dont worry, its way more than you'll likely use in the lifetime of your SSD). But just know that its important to have. If a NAND chip runs out of write cycles the data on that chip does not disappear, but rather it becomes read-only.


Firmware

Since SSDs are relatively new in terms of the computer industry, they are still constantly figuring out better ways to do things, make them more stable, faster, better wear leveling, etc. Firmware updates can improve all of these things. HOWEVER, unlike what was mentioned above, the VAST MAJORITY of firmware updates are NOT DESTRUCTIVE, which means you will NOT lose your data. Just be aware that SOME firmware updates are (and as with anything, think about it before just doing it, there will always be some risk of data loss with any sort of firmware update, and this is not just limited to SSDs). The drive manufacturer will tell you if your firmware update is destructive, just pay attention before doing it. As mentioned though, it is good practice to perform firmware updates BEFORE you install Windows or whatever OS you install on the drive because you cannot do firmware updates to a drive you are booting from. You CAN however perform updates to a drive if you boot from another medium (Linux firmware update CD such as the case with OCZ, a floppy, USB boot drive, etc), it just means a little more of a hassle. And of course, if you do choose to update firmware on a drive that has data, even if the firmware update is non-destructive, you should probably backup your data



FINALLY

Now that I've thrown all this at you (and I think I forgot a few things, so I may edit this) the question you asked is basically "which SSD?"...

That's really for you to decide:

Below per brand is sorted from synchronous to asynchronous and more expensive to less expensive. Although you'll find that some drives like the Intel, Samsung and Kingston drives are disproportionately more expensive than the rest. Those three actually have more control over the actual memory chips in their drives than you'll find with other makes, because they make their own memory.

OCZ's Drives:
SF-2281 based
OCZ Vertex 3
OCZ Agility 3
OCZ Solid 3

Indilinx based
OCZ Petrol
OCZ Vertex Plus (many times you'll find these on sale as well. Its an older Indilinx based drive and not really worth purchasing)

Patriot's drives:
Patriot Wildfire
Patriot Pyro SE
Patriot Pyro

Corsair drives:
Corsair Force GT
Corsair Force 3

Kingston:
Kingston HyperX

Crucial
Crucial M4 (Marvell based)

Intel
Too many to list (Intel based)(Sandforce based on some of their newest drives)

Samsung
Samsung 830 (Samsung Based)

There are a number of others, but these are the big ones.

You can find excellent deals on SF-2281 based drives currently as there are rumors of Sandforce releasing a new controller soon, however I wouldnt be too concerned about that. Since current drives already pretty much saturate the 6gbps bandwidth of SATA III then chances are the new controller will just have improved wear leveling and possibly a few other features. Right now is an excellent time to look into purchasing a SSD.

A quick note on purchasing these drives. While the prices are good, basically all of them are with mail in rebates, and usually a limit of one on those rebates. In terms of price, its generally considered a good price if you are paying around $1 per gigabyte or less.
Last edited by Beradon on Tue Mar 13, 2012 2:14 am, edited 13 times in total.

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newfiend

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#5

Post by newfiend » Fri Mar 09, 2012 12:03 am

Well I am glad to see that they are making advancements as far as firmware for SSD's go.. I was unaware that this had happened. When I updated my firmware on my SSD it was the Destructive type that wipes the drive. (Sucks IMO) but it is what it is. I agree though that checking for updated firmware is important to see what issues it may address. Some SSD's/OS's do not work correctly w/o the updated firmware.
Lot's of good info above and I agree that the Memory Controller is also important.
Thanks for the informative post.. and sorry for the misinformation regarding firmware.. learn something new every day. :)

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#6

Post by Beradon » Fri Mar 09, 2012 12:08 am

newfiend wrote:Well I am glad to see that they are making advancements as far as firmware for SSD's go.. I was unaware that this had happened. When I updated my firmware on my SSD it was the Destructive type that wipes the drive. (Sucks IMO) but it is what it is. I agree though that checking for updated firmware is important to see what issues it may address. Some SSD's/OS's do not work correctly or at all w/o the updated firmware.
Lot's of good info above and I agree that the Memory Controller is also important.
Thanks for the informative post.. and sorry for the misinformation regarding firmware.. learn something new every day. :)
No worries, just wanted to be sure all the information that I could supply was out there.

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#7

Post by Beradon » Fri Mar 09, 2012 12:46 am

I'm realizing I forgot a section, a somewhat important one on size.

Size

So there's a bit to consider when it comes to SSD capacity. The basic sizes are these: 60 gig, 120gig, 240 gig, and on up from there (usually to prices no one but the richest can afford). (You'll also find some middle sizes, 40 gig, 90 gig, 180 gig, but these are less common)

Now, why this is important. Windows takes up roughly 15-17gig in an unadulterated install, if you choose more features obviously it will take more space. Also consider that many programs require you to install to the C drive whether or not you want them to.

I never recommend going with less than 120 gig when purchasing a drive for a few reasons. So, in addition to the issue of Windows taking up almost ~15gig, and the fact that some programs wont give you an option of installing elsewhere, is the fact that your profiles will exist on that drive unless you choose to move them as well. And moving profiles is somewhat of a pain in the butt, so unless you know what you're doing with this, you'll need space for it. Also, remember, only the things you install on the SSD will gain the performance of the SSD, so keep this in mind if choose to install a large game or something else on the drive, that could eat up another large chunk of space on that drive. I understand that this is a Media Center/HTPC consideration in this thread so some of these points are moot, but I'm just throwing this out there for information purposes in case someone chooses one for another machine.

Finally, a good rule of thumb is to leave roughly 10% of the drive available. Not only does Windows run better with this (and actually requests that you leave more space open if you are cutting it close), but also, the wear leveling of the drive is assisted by leaving approximately that much space open. Now some drive makers actually over-provision their drives (they report the drive has 120 gig available but is actually 128 gig, with 8 gig being user-inaccessible) but its still a good idea to do anyways. The lack of drive overprovisioning is why you'll see some manufacturers report that their drives are 128 or 256 gig instead of 120 or 240gig.


Post corrected from points made below and my own misstatement.
Last edited by Beradon on Fri Mar 09, 2012 4:50 am, edited 2 times in total.

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#8

Post by richard1980 » Fri Mar 09, 2012 1:35 am

Beradon, your first post above was excellent! Even though I'm not in the market for an SSD right now, I really enjoyed reading your post, and I appreciate how thorough you were. However, I have to disagree with your 2nd post. I currently run an Intel X25-V (40 manufacturer GB, 37 actual GB), and I've never used 30 GB on this drive with W7 HP. And I've had as much as an 8 GB page file, and not once have I ever hit 30GB. Looking at my current utilization, I am using 15 GB, and that's with no page file and several extra programs in addition to W7. So I don't know why you would say W7 requires 30GB. Additionally, even if we assume that W7 does require 30GB, there's no reason to purchase an additional 90GB of storage space for a purpose built HTPC. If it was a work PC, a general use PC, a gaming rig, etc., the OP might actually use those extra 90 GB. But it's not. It's an HTPC, and the OP is not going to use that much storage space on the OS drive. If it were me, I would go with something smaller (40-80 GB) and spend the rest of the money on other improvements to the system....a Blu-ray drive, more spinning disk space, software, etc. At least those things can be taken advantage of.

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#9

Post by Beradon » Fri Mar 09, 2012 4:38 am

You know, in re-evaluating my own Windows installation I'm realizing its not that large either, but the point remains that with the price of SSDs it is actually far more cost effective to get a 120 gig than a 60 or 90 gig.

I'll correct my post.

(Honestly, I think I had some other things in mind when I was writing that piece, cause most of the people that have asked me about this are World of Warcraft players and the WoW folder is just a touch under 30 gig, and can be quite a lot more depending on the number of patches downloaded, interface addons and such. For example, my wow folder is 22gig but at one point it was 35 gig before I cleaned it up. All of those people were wanting the performance in WoW for loading times and such.)

You'll almost never find a 60 gig at or less than $1 a gig, in fact most are quite a lot more $80-90 for a 60 gig, whereas for the additional $20-30 you can get a drive that is twice the size. It seems that the 120gig size is the sweet spot in the price because none of the 60 gig drives are $1/gig, a lot of 120gig drive are right at or barely over (or many times, under) $1/gig... and the 240 gig drives are quite a bit more than $1/gig.

So yes, I misstated the size of Windows, should you want anything else to gain the performance of a SSD (maybe not in an HTPC environment) it would still be a wise choice to have a larger drive.

Some price examples, across multiple sites to not show favoritism:
(in fact Newegg's prices are worse right now on most SSDs)

Out of stock on the 60 for this one but the price is there:
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.a ... 6820233194
60 gig Corsair Force 3 $104
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.a ... 6820233206
120 gig Corsair Force 3 $129 after rebate

http://www.tigerdirect.com/applications ... CatId=5300
Patriot Pyro SE 60 gig $99 after rebate
Last edited by Beradon on Fri Mar 09, 2012 4:54 am, edited 5 times in total.

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#10

Post by Beradon » Fri Mar 09, 2012 4:39 am

Continuation of last post because apparently there is some restriction on the forums for only 3 URLs per post? What a weird post restriction.

http://www.tigerdirect.com/applications ... CatId=5300
Patriot Pyro SE 120 gig $129 after rebate


http://www.tigerdirect.com/applications ... CatId=5300
Patriot Pyro 60 gig $64 after rebate
http://www.tigerdirect.com/applications ... CatId=5300
Patriot Pyro 120 gig $114 after rebate (less than $1 a gig)

Yes, the last example is the closest to $1/gig on the 60, but its less than that for the 120, so yes the price difference is greater, but so is the value on the 120.

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#11

Post by mcewinter » Fri Mar 09, 2012 3:20 pm

Cost per gig is somewhat moot seeing that SSDs are mainly used as an OS drive; you only need enough space for the OS. I prefer to purchase Intel SSDs mainly for peace of mind and I also like the intuitive SSD toolbox. I think it's worth mentioning that the latest version of SSD toolbox upgraded the firmware on my HTPC without incident or know-how for that matter. The initial reason for me choosing Intel is that they tend to come with the latest firmware. I just purchased a 60 gig and it came with the latest firmware which is pretty fresh out of the gate; my first SSD (80g) came with current firmware when I bought it. My .02

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#12

Post by Beradon » Fri Mar 09, 2012 4:34 pm

It really depends on the person what they use their SSDs for. As I mentioned, the people I've suggested them for most recently use them for not only their OS drive but also to game from. Again, I understand this is an HTPC forum, but they are definitely not limited to solely the OS. In fact, I'm currently purchasing components for a new desktop build for myself. Among which I've bought 2x 120 gig Patriot Pyro drives which I will run in RAID 0, attaining me upwards of 1000MB/s read speeds and 240 gig of SSD space.

In addition, currently in my desktop, my laptop, and in my girlfriend's PC that I built, I have WoW and SWTOR loaded on the SSDs to increase the speed of game loads, whether its the loading of the game right after login or one of the many times the games load when switching areas.

As for latest firmware; I've never received a drive that has less than the most recent firmware from any manufacturer I've purchased recently. In fact, I've received drives that actually have *newer* firmware than what was available for download simply because they started shipping drives with newer firmware before posting that same firmware for end user download.

But yes, I agree, Intel SSDs are stable, but they also cost quite a bit more than other brands.

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#13

Post by mcewinter » Fri Mar 09, 2012 5:59 pm

Sorry, I wasn't trying to debate what is the best size. I was looking at it more from a cost standpoint and a HTPC standpoint I guess. Cheaper is cheaper; dollars per gig applies less in an HTPC unless it is a multipurpose machine as you described. I just purchased a 60g for about $115 while I paid $180 for my 80g andI don't feel the extra 20g offers much of an advantage if any for my purposes so I opted to save money.

If I were to equip my laptop with a SSD I would certainly go with a significant increase in space over my last purchases.

That's good to know that most drives are updated to current firmwares, there are so many drives these days it's hard to say if there is a rapid enough turn around rate to stock newly loaded firmwares.

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#14

Post by Beradon » Fri Mar 09, 2012 8:06 pm

True enough, money is money, although if you think about it, something I've seen a number of people ask about on here is if their hard drives are fast enough for multi-stream recording on Live TV, an SSD with a bit more space would definitely help that situation, although it still wont give the amount of space a 1TB spinning drive would, if they archive to a WHS box then it would at least assist with initial recording. A 120gig would likely be ideal for someone in that situation since recoding multiple streams can be gigs in size and a smaller drive might be pushing the limits.

I can see what you're saying though, many situations you're just looking for boot speed and not to augment storage, so a small drive would work out.

As for the firmware, so long as its a drive from a major manufacturer, I dont see it as being an issue, although its always a good idea after a person receives their drive to be sure its updated, because they could receive old stock or, with how quickly they release firmware updates, there might just be a newer one anyways

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#15

Post by Mandrix » Fri Mar 09, 2012 8:42 pm

I found that my Corsair Force 60 was not compatible with my Asrock Pro3-M unless I wanted to use it in IDE mode. AHCI is the preferred mode.
I don't know if the incompatibility was due to it being a SATAII drive, but I replaced it with a Crucial M4 and it works fine.
I put the Corsair back on a Gigabyte P67 mobo and it works fine in a SATA III header.

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#16

Post by soccerdad » Fri Mar 09, 2012 9:15 pm

Wow, great information. I read it then when shopping. I am looking for a 64GB one since that seems to fit my needs best. I understand the value per GB of the bigger ones, but the 64 should work. I found this one at Tiger Direct. http://www.tigerdirect.com/applications ... CatId=5300
But from the description, I can't figure out what controller it has, or if it is any good. The price is great with rebate it is only $60.
There is also an OCZ one there for the same price. http://www.tigerdirect.com/applications ... CatId=5300 You listed this one so I assume it would be OK. The only drag is that it does not look like either one has a drive adapter for a PC case.

Any thoughts? Thanks

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#17

Post by Beradon » Fri Mar 09, 2012 10:33 pm

The controller in the Patriot Torqx 2 is a Phison. I'm not real familiar with that brand.

The OCZ Agility 3 you linked is a far better (and newer) drive than the Torqx 2, the current generation Patriot drives are called Pyro or Wildfire, the Torqx is previous gen.

And no, most dont come with adapters to fit inside a 3.5" drive bay, you'll have to buy one, but they are relatively cheap.

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#18

Post by erkotz » Thu Mar 15, 2012 9:18 am

Be careful with 64GB - it's a bit on the small side by the time you start putting programs and updates on it. I'd personally recommend 120+GB. I know I personally upgraded my desktop from 80GB to 160GB recently, and I don't game - if you install games, you may want more still. I personally like the Intel drives (and some of those do come with 3.5" mounting rails). Knock on wood, they have been solid for me. There's some other manufacturers (Samsung) I won't touch with a 10 foot poll. Be *VERY* suspect of drives that claim they provide "TRIM-like behavior" - I know at least some of them do it wrong (can cause NTFS corruption in certain situations). I would insist on actual ATA TRIM support.
Quality Assurance Manager, Ceton Corporation

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#19

Post by WarrenH » Thu Mar 15, 2012 5:25 pm

Buy a cheap Intel, you won't see any difference regardless of what the hype says

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#20

Post by mcewinter » Thu Mar 15, 2012 8:32 pm

erkotz wrote:Be careful with 64GB - it's a bit on the small side by the time you start putting programs and updates on it. I'd personally recommend 120+GB. I know I personally upgraded my desktop from 80GB to 160GB recently, and I don't game - if you install games, you may want more still. I personally like the Intel drives (and some of those do come with 3.5" mounting rails). Knock on wood, they have been solid for me. There's some other manufacturers (Samsung) I won't touch with a 10 foot poll. Be *VERY* suspect of drives that claim they provide "TRIM-like behavior" - I know at least some of them do it wrong (can cause NTFS corruption in certain situations). I would insist on actual ATA TRIM support.
That's sound advice in a mulipurpose machine, but it may be wasted money in a HTPC unless one was to repurpose the drive. A lot of us here have dedicated HTPCs. On my 80g and 60g I am using less than half of the capacity.

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