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Archive 2013 · SSD uses...
  
 
godfather
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p.1 #1 · p.1 #1 · SSD uses...


I currently have a SSD as 4th drive in my mac pro. It is currently being used as a dump drive when I download pictures, rip videos, etc. Basically used as a temporary storage drive filling it to ~80% capacity and then moving the files to a different drive for permanent storage. I remember reading a few years ago that SSD drives can have problems with some uses/files where performance drops off after usage.

Is there a problem using the drive as a temporary dump drive for massive files? Should I be formatting (or another program) the drive on occasion? I format my CF mem cards after every usage...not sure if something similar is needed for a SSD.



Jan 18, 2013 at 01:59 PM
Bifurcator
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p.1 #2 · p.1 #2 · SSD uses...


I've read a little bit about this SSD early death (massive slow-down) problem too. It seems to be related to the number of writes the memory cells receive in combination with the accumulated uptime (hours) and the quality slash type of memory the unit uses.

It's like the more you use it the slower it gets until that curve takes a sharp downward turn.

Formatting or defragging should only make it worse so I don't think there's anything you can do - just use it and be happy until which time it becomes slow, error-prone, or will no longer mount. AFAIK SSD drives don't suffer slow-downs from fullness or fragmentation like HDDs do.



Jan 18, 2013 at 03:00 PM
sjms
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p.1 #3 · p.1 #3 · SSD uses...


what version of the OS?

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/TRIM_(SSD_command)



Jan 18, 2013 at 03:18 PM
binary visions
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p.1 #4 · p.1 #4 · SSD uses...


^ As suggested there, any recent OS should recognize the SSD and should be doing cleanup to prevent the slowdown. Some SSDs do their own garbage collection in firmware as well, so it depends on what drive you have. That's typically what people talk about when they refer to SSDs slowing down after usage.

What Bifurcator is talking about is the limited lifecycle of flash memory. Can't do anything about that, but current drives last a really long time before that becomes an issue, so I wouldn't stress about it.

What you may want to evaluate is whether you're using the drive to its biggest advantage, though. File storage really isn't where a SSD excels. You'd be much better off loading your OS or applications on it, to leverage the extremely fast read speeds of the SSD.



Jan 18, 2013 at 04:03 PM
BenV
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p.1 #5 · p.1 #5 · SSD uses...


It's already been mentioned, but using it as a 'dump' drive is just a horrible idea. SSD's are incredibly fast and should have your main programs/OS on the drive.


Jan 18, 2013 at 05:25 PM
15Bit
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p.1 #6 · p.1 #6 · SSD uses...


There are two issues here:

1. Slowdown - On spinning magnetic drives new data simply overwrites old in a single operation. On an SSD a memory cell already used must be explicitly erased before it can be written to again. This means that when the SSD is new and all the cells are blank, it writes out data fast, but when it has been used for a while (or is close to full) it slows down because each write operation is more time consuming when the erase is included. The solution to this is TRIM, which runs in the background erasing memory cells that have had their data deleted. For most of us this fixes the problem completely (though you need an up to date OS to support it). Only on drives which are close to completely full, or on high i/o servers, do you see the slowdown (because the TRIM process can't keep up).

2. Lifetime - Each memory cell in an SSD has a finite lifespan in terms of write cycles (read cycles are to all intents unlimited). Depending on the drive this will lie in the range 2000-10000 writes probably (enterprise drives can have much higher values, but cost a lot more). Though this sounds like quite a low number, when you sum it up over the whole drive it actually equates to many years of use for a normal desktop computer (intel used to quote >5 years lifetime at 5Gb/day for their X25 drives). Most drives also have some "spare" memory that can be swapped in for failing cells, which further extends the lifespan. Another advantage of SSD's is that the wear rate is a function of physics, so memory failure can be quite well predicted and many manufacturers have tools that will tell you remaining lifetime. Currently the majority of SSD failures are firmware related, not hardware. There were a lot of problems with Sandforce-based drives a couple of years ago, and even Intel had a drive that failed under certain circumstances. I think SSD firmware is maturing now though and i can't think of any scares in the last year.

I also think that running an SSD as a scratch drive is probably a bit of a waste of the performance - you'll feel the speed more if you use it as a boot drive. Of course, adding a second SSD to use for scratch is possible...



Jan 18, 2013 at 05:44 PM
GCasey
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p.1 #7 · p.1 #7 · SSD uses...


Interesting info here!

Our younger son built his own computer two years ago and installed a SSD drive for the operating system (Windows) and programs, plus he uses the regular drives for files. He's had no problems, and he uses it a great deal. He likes the operational speed of the SSD. "When you click on something, it's there!"



Jan 18, 2013 at 05:54 PM
godfather
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p.1 #8 · p.1 #8 · SSD uses...


Thanks for all the responses so far. I'm running Lion on my mac...

This was an older intel drive that I had collecting dust for the past couple years so it is a small 80 gig drive. I'm planning on buying a ~250 gig for my main drive although my current drive is fairly fast. Not sure how easy it is on a mac to transfer to a new drive without reinstalling everything.

Not really worried about the life of the drive as it's only worth a few dollars. More concerned with it not failing on me (loss of data) as I'm working on it.



Jan 18, 2013 at 09:10 PM
sjms
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p.1 #9 · p.1 #9 · SSD uses...


also check out firmware updates for it.


Jan 18, 2013 at 09:49 PM
Ho1972
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p.1 #10 · p.1 #10 · SSD uses...


binary visions wrote:
What you may want to evaluate is whether you're using the drive to its biggest advantage, though. File storage really isn't where a SSD excels. You'd be much better off loading your OS or applications on it, to leverage the extremely fast read speeds of the SSD.


BenV wrote:
It's already been mentioned, but using it as a 'dump' drive is just a horrible idea. SSD's are incredibly fast and should have your main programs/OS on the drive.


I take a slightly opposing view. Having an SSD as the system drive gives the illusion of speed as the computer boots and loads apps in a flash, but that's the only time large amounts of data are read from the disk -- once everything is loaded in RAM, the SSD has little or nothing to do. Now, if you have everything located on the SSD (PS scratch, pagefile, LR catalog and ACR/LR preview cache) and other I/O intensive data that is utilized during the course of work, i.e., image editing, then the SSD will speed up that work in a more tangible way. It takes a pretty large SSD to accommodate the system as well as working files, but having everything on one disk isn't optimal even for an SSD.

I've experimented with this and I've decided I don't care if Photoshop loads in 2 seconds as opposed to 7.5, what I care about is how it performs while I'm using it. So I've got my system loaded on a Raptor and utilize two SSDs which host all the files I listed above, plus the Color Efex Pro swap, NX2 thumbnail and edit cache, user temp files and my working images (work in-progress). I suppose I'll eventually adopt an SSD for my OS and apps as well, but for now I see no downside to using a spinner for those chores. I can tell you that Photoshop runs no faster when it's installed on an SSD as opposed to a spinner and neither does LR if it's configured correctly. I figure using a spinner for the system disk costs me less than 30 seconds a day after a reboot and much less thereafter once my main apps are cached in RAM. I can live with that.



Jan 19, 2013 at 01:48 AM
 

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Sven Jeppesen
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p.1 #11 · p.1 #11 · SSD uses...


BenV wrote:
It's already been mentioned, but using it as a 'dump' drive is just a horrible idea. SSD's are incredibly fast and should have your main programs/OS on the drive.


+1



Jan 19, 2013 at 03:13 AM
spdntrxi
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p.1 #12 · p.1 #12 · SSD uses...


Load you main OS on it and keep firmware updated.. backup often.


Jan 19, 2013 at 05:13 AM
BluesWest
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p.1 #13 · p.1 #13 · SSD uses...


Not sure how easy it is on a mac to transfer to a new drive without reinstalling everything.

Simple, just use a program such as Carbon Copy Cloner or SuperDuper.

John



Jan 19, 2013 at 05:03 PM
spdntrxi
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p.1 #14 · p.1 #14 · SSD uses...


BluesWest wrote:
Simple, just use a program such as Carbon Copy Cloner or SuperDuper.

John


yep.. simple. I just did it this week going from 256gb SSD to 512gb SSD.. used CCC (trial version even)



Jan 19, 2013 at 05:09 PM
BluesWest
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p.1 #15 · p.1 #15 · SSD uses...


Having an SSD as the system drive gives the illusion of speed as the computer boots and loads apps in a flash

An SSD does what it's supposed to do: enable the computer to boot faster and the apps to load in a flash. Those speed increases are not an illusion.

I suppose that if you don't mind waiting two minutes for the computer to boot or your programs to launch, an SSD might be considered an expensive luxury. Personally I'll never build or buy another computer without one (or -- as the prices come down -- several).

John



Jan 19, 2013 at 05:09 PM
godfather
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p.1 #16 · p.1 #16 · SSD uses...


Well I'm on the lookout for a cheap(er) 256 gig drive! Thanks for all the help!


Jan 19, 2013 at 05:39 PM
Ho1972
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p.1 #17 · p.1 #17 · SSD uses...


BluesWest wrote:
I suppose that if you don't mind waiting two minutes for the computer to boot or your programs to launch, an SSD might be considered an expensive luxury.


As I said, I have two SSDs in my system so I see the value, but not for the OS and apps. FYI, on a reboot (rare) it takes me 36 seconds to get to the login screen. Thereafter, the computer is in sleep mode when I'm not using it so wait time is negligible when I resume work. After all my apps have seen an initial launch, it takes a total of 12 seconds to fire up Photoshop, Lightroom, InDesign and Bridge, for an average of 3 seconds per app.

Seems quick enough to me given that I don't get paid for how fast my apps load.



Jan 19, 2013 at 06:00 PM
Bifurcator
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p.1 #18 · p.1 #18 · SSD uses...


For me I only need speed for huge data transfers. 50 to 500GB and such. And I don't care at all about app load or boot times.

So I have 3 RAID0 stripe sets (6 drives) occupying all of the internal connections on my MacPro (the machine I actually use daily) and the boot drive is either a single USB thumbdrive or a Single 1.5TB connected to the same USB 2.0 buss. This way I can boot the system into any OS version or configuration I like just plugging in a different thumb drive or exchanging the 1.5TB cradled drive with another from the shelf.

Even though the system and apps are coming in over slow USB 2.0 I get similar times to those listed above.

About 1/2 a minute from power-on till I can see the desktop and begin.
6 seconds to load Photoshop (with a lot of plug-ins!) the second time around.
Bridge is always instant.
And so on...

I'm casually looking into getting a USB3.0 card but it's not very important.

The Barracuda 3TBx2 RAID0 sets are faster than the fastest SSD for writes and about the same (neck and neck) as the fastest SSD for reads but there's 6TB of space (probably 4TB of fast space). Given that each Barracuda 3TB drive cost me exactly $100 maybe it's just self-evident why I've not decided to keep any SSD drives in my configuration? And of course if I want faster than SSD speeds I could always configure the 6 three terabyte drives into two 3-drive RAID0 sets - and that would be about the same price as one 256GB SSD only of course it would be 9TB.











PS: Sorry I missed the issue about TRIM - confusing the concern with lifespan.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=V3Xs6WjhuPY




Jan 19, 2013 at 09:27 PM
skid00skid00
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p.1 #19 · p.1 #19 · SSD uses...


godfather wrote:
Not really worried about the life of the drive as it's only worth a few dollars. More concerned with it not failing on me (loss of data) as I'm working on it.



Even when SSD's 'fail', you can -still- read all the data off of the drive.

But you're still wasting a great drive...

I have 2 80 GB intel SSD's, and 2 HD's. Overclocking and RAM tuning made little difference, the OS SSD and swap file SSD made a HUGE difference.



Jan 19, 2013 at 11:21 PM
skid00skid00
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p.1 #20 · p.1 #20 · SSD uses...


...And while a previous poster said that SSD's don't speed up PS, they DO speed up the image cache (creating and retrieving).

And since swap files are ALWAYS in use, and SSD's *are* the perfect use, you get speedups with everything that goes to swap.

Re: the old wive's tale that SSD's are destroyed by swap files, Microsoft themselves state in a white paper that the swap works the fastest on an SSD. My 2 drives are indicating they'll last another 20 years of use!



Jan 19, 2013 at 11:26 PM
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