Home | Blog | Software | Reviews and Features | Forum | Help | Donate | About us
topbanner_forum
  *

avatar image

Welcome, Guest. Please login or register.
Did you miss your activation email?

Login with username, password and session length
  • December 02, 2016, 08:27:43 PM
  • Proudly celebrating 10 years online.
  • Donate now to become a lifetime supporting member of the site and get a non-expiring license key for all of our programs.
  • donate

Author Topic: SSD usage recommendations  (Read 5834 times)

Eóin

  • Charter Member
  • Joined in 2006
  • ***
  • Posts: 1,401
    • View Profile
    • Donate to Member
SSD usage recommendations
« on: February 21, 2011, 05:03:27 AM »
SSDs have been discussed here a bit recently. I'm now looking to get a 120gb one and do a full reinstall of Windows (7 x64). I wondering what partition layout, filesystem, etc is recommended.

Here are my own initial thoughts -

  • Obviously Windows and Program Files go on the SSD as they're fairly static.

  • Temp?
    That's a hard one, if I had more than 8 gbs ram I'd consider a ram drive, but could I get away with one as it is?

  • Development work?
    This is the really hard one, I primarily use the machine for dev work, and compiling C++ programs is processor and disk intensive so I'd love to get a speed up. Also compiling binaries seem to suffer horrendously from fragmentation, so here an SSD could shine. On the other hand though, would the excessive use kill the drive?

  • Documents?
    I suspect these should go on a a mechanical drive, I'd need the extra space anyway.

  • AppData?
    This is a bit harder, most AppData is small config file, I really feel like they'd benifit from the SSD. On the other hand, one unruly program using it's appdata folder as a workspce could really mess things up.


Those seem to be the key decisions. Anyone have thoughts, is there anything I big I've missed?

f0dder

  • Charter Honorary Member
  • Joined in 2005
  • ***
  • Posts: 9,029
  • [Well, THAT escalated quickly!]
    • View Profile
    • f0dder's place
    • Read more about this member.
    • Donate to Member
Re: SSD usage recommendations
« Reply #1 on: February 21, 2011, 06:14:40 AM »
I have 8GB ram and use a 512meg ramdrive for temp - it's enough for most situations, and when it isn't it's fairly easy to relaunch whatever lame installer with TEMP pointing to mechanical storage. Dunno if I'd put TEMP on a SSD.

Development work definitely goes on the SSD. Yes, you have a fair amount of writes when building, but you're buying a SSD to speed up your computing work, not just to stare at it at pat it.

As for documents, depends on what kind. I have "My Documents" on the same partition as my development work, but the "documents" I work with are all fairly small (largest files being "several megabytes"). For really huge stuff like VM images, I go for mechanical storage.

My AppData is on SSD as well, simply because I can't be arsed to move it elsewhere, except for a few things from badly behaved applications that find it reasonable to dump several hundreds of megabytes in AppData, and stuff like FireFox profile+temp that goes to my ramdrive.

Short version: you want to minimize unnecessary wear & tear, but you want to speed up your everyday operations as well.

Which SSD are you considering? As far as I can tell, OCZ Vertex2 is currently the best bang for the buck, but do be sure to read this recent tomshardware aticle (I've just made it to page 2, so don't have any conclusions).
- carpe noctem

Renegade

  • Charter Member
  • Joined in 2005
  • ***
  • Posts: 13,220
  • Tell me something you don't know...
    • View Profile
    • Renegade Minds
    • Donate to Member
Re: SSD usage recommendations
« Reply #2 on: February 21, 2011, 06:26:35 AM »
I was using 1GB for a RAM drive and had BSODs every now and then. It also ran out of space when using Photoshop.

Just what happened for me anyways.
Slow Down Music - Where I commit thought crimes...

Freedom is the right to be wrong, not the right to do wrong. - John Diefenbaker

f0dder

  • Charter Honorary Member
  • Joined in 2005
  • ***
  • Posts: 9,029
  • [Well, THAT escalated quickly!]
    • View Profile
    • f0dder's place
    • Read more about this member.
    • Donate to Member
Re: SSD usage recommendations
« Reply #3 on: February 21, 2011, 06:28:31 AM »
I was using 1GB for a RAM drive and had BSODs every now and then.
Which ramdisk product?

It also ran out of space when using Photoshop.
Photoshop is a pig :), but can't you redirect it's scratch locations to elsewhere but %TEMP%?
- carpe noctem

Eóin

  • Charter Member
  • Joined in 2006
  • ***
  • Posts: 1,401
    • View Profile
    • Donate to Member
Re: SSD usage recommendations
« Reply #4 on: February 21, 2011, 06:42:52 AM »
Yeah you're right, no point point just staring at it :) I'll be putting the dev work on it. I suppose once off large builds like for the Boost Libraries could be done on a mechanical drive if I'm really bothered.

As far as I can tell, OCZ Vertex2 is currently the best bang for the buck.

Well that's actually the one I ordered, so no changing my mind now. I didn't have much of a selection for my set budget.

Speaking of ramdisks, I've toyed with ImDisk without issues, it's free, regularly updated and is signed so it's works with x64 without hacks.

f0dder

  • Charter Honorary Member
  • Joined in 2005
  • ***
  • Posts: 9,029
  • [Well, THAT escalated quickly!]
    • View Profile
    • f0dder's place
    • Read more about this member.
    • Donate to Member
Re: SSD usage recommendations
« Reply #5 on: February 21, 2011, 06:44:28 AM »
I suppose once off large builds like for the Boost Libraries could be done on a mechanical drive if I'm really bothered.
Or a one-off ramdrive, it really helps speed up building boost.
- carpe noctem

SKA

  • Charter Member
  • Joined in 2006
  • ***
  • default avatar
  • Posts: 223
    • View Profile
    • Donate to Member
Re: SSD usage recommendations
« Reply #6 on: February 21, 2011, 07:03:23 AM »
Eóin

You should know OCZ sneakily changed to ship 25nm SSDs under same name OCZ Vertex 2 , but which may not have same performance as 34nm versions sold earlier.    Read more about this here:

http://forum.noteboo...ver-lack-change.html  

SKA

Edit : just saw f0dder already told you of this issue via tomshardware link, sorry !
.
« Last Edit: February 21, 2011, 07:11:21 AM by SKA »

Eóin

  • Charter Member
  • Joined in 2006
  • ***
  • Posts: 1,401
    • View Profile
    • Donate to Member
Re: SSD usage recommendations
« Reply #7 on: February 21, 2011, 07:06:49 AM »
Hmmm, that's a bit sly. Anyway, it still seems to be the best of the choices I had availible so I'm not going to get upset  :)

edbro

  • Charter Member
  • Joined in 2006
  • ***
  • default avatar
  • Posts: 426
    • View Profile
    • Donate to Member
Re: SSD usage recommendations
« Reply #8 on: February 21, 2011, 07:10:27 AM »
I just installed an SSD last week into my machine. I did not do a full install. I used a cloned copy of my previous install.

I moved my pagefile and my temp directories to my other hard drive in the system. I also have a 3Gb RAM disk and I direct my Chrome cache to that. Chrome is the only app I use the RAM disk for.

Renegade

  • Charter Member
  • Joined in 2005
  • ***
  • Posts: 13,220
  • Tell me something you don't know...
    • View Profile
    • Renegade Minds
    • Donate to Member
Re: SSD usage recommendations
« Reply #9 on: February 21, 2011, 07:23:18 AM »
I was using 1GB for a RAM drive and had BSODs every now and then.
Which ramdisk product?

It also ran out of space when using Photoshop.
Photoshop is a pig :), but can't you redirect it's scratch locations to elsewhere but %TEMP%?

SoftPerfect RAM Disk

And It's just a pain to switch the disk up to a larger size or to change the disk if it runs short. For most things, it's ok. However, it's not uncommon to run out of space. I just can't be bothered, so I don't use it anymore.

Things have been fine since. (Photoshop is a pig, as always though.)
Slow Down Music - Where I commit thought crimes...

Freedom is the right to be wrong, not the right to do wrong. - John Diefenbaker

f0dder

  • Charter Honorary Member
  • Joined in 2005
  • ***
  • Posts: 9,029
  • [Well, THAT escalated quickly!]
    • View Profile
    • f0dder's place
    • Read more about this member.
    • Donate to Member
Re: SSD usage recommendations
« Reply #10 on: February 21, 2011, 01:17:20 PM »
SKA & Eóin: read the tomshardware article I linked, there's perfectly good reasons why capacity is reduced (better ECC); speed seems to be linked to this as well, but can hopefully be remedied with newer firmwares. It's "a bit unfortunate" that OCZ did the 34->25nm change without introducing a new SKU, but:

1) reducing capacity is the proper & responsible thing to do, and other companies probably aren't doing it.
2) OCZ will replace a 25nm SSD with a 34nm SSD free of charge.

It's a bit of a blooper, but I've got respect for how OCZ have handled the situation. They generally seem like decent people - previously, they've done cool stuff like sacrificing the sequential read/write speed (which marketing fsckheads love) in order to gain random I/O speed, after Anandtech took up the issue with them. This put them at a marketing disadvantage compared to other SSD makers, but meant their drives were faster in real-world situations.
- carpe noctem

Eóin

  • Charter Member
  • Joined in 2006
  • ***
  • Posts: 1,401
    • View Profile
    • Donate to Member
Re: SSD usage recommendations
« Reply #11 on: February 21, 2011, 02:19:23 PM »
Fascinating article, it'll be interesting to see what type of drive I get, though it most likely will be the new 24nm ones. From those benchmarks though I can't see myself being too bothered if it is the 24nm model.

SKA

  • Charter Member
  • Joined in 2006
  • ***
  • default avatar
  • Posts: 223
    • View Profile
    • Donate to Member
Re: SSD usage recommendations
« Reply #12 on: February 22, 2011, 04:01:38 AM »
Maybe OT but SSD related :

File remnants remain on SSDs after deletion:
http://www.theregist...drive_erasing_peril/

SK

f0dder

  • Charter Honorary Member
  • Joined in 2005
  • ***
  • Posts: 9,029
  • [Well, THAT escalated quickly!]
    • View Profile
    • f0dder's place
    • Read more about this member.
    • Donate to Member
Re: SSD usage recommendations
« Reply #13 on: February 22, 2011, 04:42:45 AM »
Maybe OT but SSD related :

File remnants remain on SSDs after deletion:
http://www.theregist...drive_erasing_peril/
No wonder, given that flash drives use (and require) overprovisioning for speed and wear-leveling... but it's definitely something to keep in mind.
- carpe noctem

Eóin

  • Charter Member
  • Joined in 2006
  • ***
  • Posts: 1,401
    • View Profile
    • Donate to Member
Re: SSD usage recommendations
« Reply #14 on: February 22, 2011, 06:01:13 AM »
OT perhaps, but very interesting.

Stoic Joker

  • Honorary Member
  • Joined in 2008
  • **
  • Posts: 6,294
    • View Profile
    • www.StoicJoker.com
    • Donate to Member
Re: SSD usage recommendations
« Reply #15 on: February 22, 2011, 07:00:52 AM »
Zoiks! That is a bit of a disturbing revelation. Apparently the only truly safe way to dispose of an old thumb-drive is with a hammer...  :-\

f0dder

  • Charter Honorary Member
  • Joined in 2005
  • ***
  • Posts: 9,029
  • [Well, THAT escalated quickly!]
    • View Profile
    • f0dder's place
    • Read more about this member.
    • Donate to Member
Re: SSD usage recommendations
« Reply #16 on: February 22, 2011, 09:49:44 AM »
Zoiks! That is a bit of a disturbing revelation. Apparently the only truly safe way to dispose of an old thumb-drive is with a hammer...  :-\
I wonder if thumbdrives employ over-provisioning? The recent fast ones might have taken a few clues from how SSDs work, but I wouldn't be too worried with older/slower drives.

Then again, pendrives are damn cheap, so you might as well put a hammer to the ones you don't use anymore :)
- carpe noctem

Stoic Joker

  • Honorary Member
  • Joined in 2008
  • **
  • Posts: 6,294
    • View Profile
    • www.StoicJoker.com
    • Donate to Member
Re: SSD usage recommendations
« Reply #17 on: February 22, 2011, 12:41:46 PM »
Zoiks! That is a bit of a disturbing revelation. Apparently the only truly safe way to dispose of an old thumb-drive is with a hammer...  :-\
I wonder if thumbdrives employ over-provisioning? The recent fast ones might have taken a few clues from how SSDs work, but I wouldn't be too worried with older/slower drives.

It seemed (to me) to be what the closing statement of the article was implying:
Quote from: From the Article
Right now, SSDs are most often encountered in USB thumb drives, and it's not unusual for them to hold as much as 32 GB of data. An increasing number of laptops by default ship with SSDs installed as the primary storage mechanism. Flash storage underpins that vast majority of smartphones, as well.

Sure it could be a bit of a (sensational) stretch ... But there are just some conversations I don't want to have... ;)
« Last Edit: February 22, 2011, 12:50:23 PM by Stoic Joker »

f0dder

  • Charter Honorary Member
  • Joined in 2005
  • ***
  • Posts: 9,029
  • [Well, THAT escalated quickly!]
    • View Profile
    • f0dder's place
    • Read more about this member.
    • Donate to Member
Re: SSD usage recommendations
« Reply #18 on: February 22, 2011, 12:49:37 PM »
Oh geez, I missed that highlighted part of the article. Hm. I wonder if the research was done with SSDs or thumbdrives...
- carpe noctem

Stoic Joker

  • Honorary Member
  • Joined in 2008
  • **
  • Posts: 6,294
    • View Profile
    • www.StoicJoker.com
    • Donate to Member
Re: SSD usage recommendations
« Reply #19 on: February 22, 2011, 12:52:17 PM »
They were SSD's. There is a link at the bottom to a pdf of the quite detailed research paper.

4wd

  • Supporting Member
  • Joined in 2006
  • **
  • Posts: 4,471
    • View Profile
    • Donate to Member
Re: SSD usage recommendations
« Reply #20 on: February 22, 2011, 04:22:00 PM »
It's amazing, I was thinking of exactly the same thing re. the security of SSDs, a few months ago when there was a thread here about the merits of SSD for a new system.

I'm wasn't sure I was interested in going for SSD for my main system drive back then given the security concerns.  Now that they've been confirmed, I'm even less inclined.

After all a 150GB Velociraptor is the same price as a 64GB SSD and given that I don't have a pagefile, (which I wouldn't have with an SSD either), I'm wondering just how beneficial the SSD would be given I currently have a 50GB OS partition and the rest of the drive, (590GB), is given over to relatively infrequently accessed data.

Maybe I would be better off with a 'Raptor.

f0dder

  • Charter Honorary Member
  • Joined in 2005
  • ***
  • Posts: 9,029
  • [Well, THAT escalated quickly!]
    • View Profile
    • f0dder's place
    • Read more about this member.
    • Donate to Member
Re: SSD usage recommendations
« Reply #21 on: February 22, 2011, 04:29:02 PM »
Security concerns, 4wd? It's simple: if you are going to toss out the SSD, put a hammer to it. Or, if the SSD supports the ATA "secure erase" command (and does it properly), that'd be safe.

You cannot compare Velociraptor and SSD performance, they're worlds apart. Sure, Velociraptors have OK sequential read/write speeds (even if lower than most SSDs), but as soon as you start doing random I/O or multiple streams, it's performance dies just like all other mechanical drives.
- carpe noctem

Eóin

  • Charter Member
  • Joined in 2006
  • ***
  • Posts: 1,401
    • View Profile
    • Donate to Member
Re: SSD usage recommendations
« Reply #22 on: February 22, 2011, 04:39:45 PM »
Another related question is one of encryption, I wonder if using TrueCrypt full disk encryption is worthwhile, or even advisible?


4wd

  • Supporting Member
  • Joined in 2006
  • **
  • Posts: 4,471
    • View Profile
    • Donate to Member
Re: SSD usage recommendations
« Reply #23 on: February 22, 2011, 04:48:27 PM »
Security concerns, 4wd? It's simple: if you are going to toss out the SSD, put a hammer to it. Or, if the SSD supports the ATA "secure erase" command (and does it properly), that'd be safe.

I wasn't specifically talking about EOL of the product, eg. you're silly enough to leave your laptop on display in the car or someone nicks your PC from home.

I thought one of the points of the article was that Secure Erase wasn't properly implemented in some controllers and there was no way you could verify it had done it.

Quote
“The danger, however, is that it relies on the controller to properly sanitize the internal storage location that holds the encryption key and any other derive values that might be useful in cryptanalysis,” the researchers wrote. “Given the bugs we found in some implementations of secure erase commands, it is unduly optimistic to assume that SSD vendors will properly sanitize the key store. Furthermore, there is no way to verify that erasure has occurred (e.g., by dismantling the drive).”

And that's even using drive encryption, at least with a HDD I can verify to a very high percentage that any data I wiped using one of the many secure wipe programs will indeed be unrecoverable to the general public.

I'll have to fully read the pdf but do they specifically mention any SSD controllers to either use or avoid?

Sorry, I know the random access will give the SSD the advantage over the HDD, I was just wondering if it was worth it in my case.
« Last Edit: February 22, 2011, 04:51:09 PM by 4wd »

f0dder

  • Charter Honorary Member
  • Joined in 2005
  • ***
  • Posts: 9,029
  • [Well, THAT escalated quickly!]
    • View Profile
    • f0dder's place
    • Read more about this member.
    • Donate to Member
Re: SSD usage recommendations
« Reply #24 on: February 22, 2011, 05:33:07 PM »
Quote from: 4wd
I wasn't specifically talking about EOL of the product, eg. you're silly enough to leave your laptop on display in the car or someone nicks your PC from home.
Then you're no better (or worse) off than with a mechanical drive :)

Quote from: 4wd
I thought one of the points of the article was that Secure Erase wasn't properly implemented in some controllers and there was no way you could verify it had done it.
Well, yes - that's the short version. There's some drives that don't support Secure Erase, and one that says it does but doesn't do anything. For the rest of the drives, you need to build custom hardware to get at the data - and you'll only be able to get at a (low) percentage. In other words: this isn't an attack you should fear as a normal person, people are only likely to launch an attack like that against really high-profile data.

Quote from: 4wd
Quote
“The danger, however, is that it relies on the controller to properly sanitize the internal storage location that holds the encryption key and any other derive values that might be useful in cryptanalysis,” the researchers wrote. “Given the bugs we found in some implementations of secure erase commands, it is unduly optimistic to assume that SSD vendors will properly sanitize the key store. Furthermore, there is no way to verify that erasure has occurred (e.g., by dismantling the drive).”
And that's even using drive encryption, at least with a HDD I can verify to a very high percentage that any data I wiped using one of the many secure wipe programs will indeed be unrecoverable to the general public.
Keep in mind that for the AES-encrypted drives, what the paper says is that they can't verify the AES key has been wiped from storage. Now, I haven't studied the ATA specs in detail, so I'm not sure how this is stored, but hopefully it's stored in encrypted for and unlocked with the passphrase you send to the drive... so this isn't something I'd lose sleep over as a normal user, but it definitely something drive makers will want to address ASAP to retain enterprise trust.

Quote from: 4wd
I'll have to fully read the pdf but do they specifically mention any SSD controllers to either use or avoid?
I only skimmed the paper, but as far as I can tell they don't drop any names :(

Quote from: 4wd
Sorry, I know the random access will give the SSD the advantage over the HDD, I was just wondering if it was worth it in my case.
Hard to tell - depends on what you do. Even without special needs, it does speed up everyday stuff a fair amount... the problem is that you get used to it, so after half a year it doesn't feel zippidy fast anymore, but all HDD based computers seem like slugs :)

Eóin: I don't think wear-leveling + TrueCrypt is a problem for us regular people, as even if somebody seized or systems, they wouldn't be subjected to heavy and expensive crytpanalysis. I dunno if there's even any public AES attacks that can utilize knowledge of multiple encrypted blocks, or if it's only in the secret NSA backdoor labs ;). But it's definitely a valid concern as well.

It sounds likely that TrueCrypt can cause performance or even lifetime degradation of drives - consider that SandForce controllers emply compression to enhance both, and encrypt "has a peculiar tendency" (;)) to make data uncompressable.
- carpe noctem