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Topic # 128629 17-Aug-2013 12:19
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Hi team,
I've got a desktop which is about 4 years old now, I'm not a "power user" (i.e. not much gaming at all, no extreme video processing etc) but do like to multitask a lot of programs, loads of Chrome tabs at once, a bit of C# programming, etc. I appreciate my system is a bit out-of-touch (AMD!) but for the moment if I can do a couple of little upgrades to get a bit longer out of it, then that would be ideal.

It's at the point where the HDD is appearing to get a wee bit sluggish. What I'm considering is getting a cheap SSD to re-install the OS (Win 7) and the "core" programs I use often, in the hope that this might speed things up a lot for a relatively small outlay.

I see computerlounge have one for as little as $90... http://www.computerlounge.co.nz/components/componentview.asp?partid=19640

My system specs:
ASUS M4N78 motherboard
AMD Athlon 7750 Dual core 2.7GHz
4GB DDR2 RAM
HDD: Western Digital WD5001AALS-00L3B2 (500 GB, 7200 RPM SATA 32MB Cache)

Any feedback appreciated thanks (i.e. I'm just assuming a "modern" SSD would be compatible with my motherboard etc)

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  Reply # 880045 17-Aug-2013 12:28
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more ram - maybe another 4GB, 128GB ssd, so you can have music and documents and most of your regular programs on the SSD with room to spare (having lots of room to spare on an SSD is really important iirc)

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  Reply # 880046 17-Aug-2013 12:28
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You don't want mSATA: $90 for 30GB is expensive, your mobo won't support it and 30GB is really pushing it for windows 7 + apps.

I'd just get a 120GB Samsung 840 ~$150.

http://www.computerlounge.co.nz/components/componentview.asp?r=p&partid=18010

You can use it for a while - My first SSD is still going strong through 3 system upgrades.


If you want a bit more life from that system a 955 BE from trademe might be worth looking at (I think your mobo would support it...)

xpd

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  Reply # 880058 17-Aug-2013 12:42
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+1 on the Samsung

Testing one at work atm in an i3, and that machine boots in under 30s :)




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  Reply # 880096 17-Aug-2013 13:40
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I have a 400GB Mushkin and it is running great! Machine boots faster than it takes for the BIOS to do all its silly checks.





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  Reply # 880106 17-Aug-2013 13:49
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I have a 60gb intel 330 that I've had for about 9 months, ~6 year old asus motherboard (AM2!), and it's the best upgrade I've ever got. It takes longer to POST than boot Win7.

More RAM is nice, you might even find it gives you an improvement, but I'd suggest go for the largest capacity SSD that you can now and think about upgrading the RAM later.

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  Reply # 880262 17-Aug-2013 19:39
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sidefx: 

I'd just get a 120GB Samsung 840 ~$150.

http://www.computerlounge.co.nz/components/componentview.asp?r=p&partid=18010



I've installed ~4 Samsung 840's in older PCs to give them a new lease of live with good results in the last couple of months.

The 120GB Samsung 840, it's great bang for buck and an ssd is the single biggest upgrade you can do to any PC.

Samsung's data migration software works very well for cloning your OS/C: drive to the ssd. I did have one stubborn case where the Samsung software couldn't create an image where I used Macrium Reflect Free instead

http://www.samsung.com/global/business/semiconductor/samsungssd/downloads.html


The basic process goes like this
0: Ensure you have a recent backup of everything (you should be doing this regularly anyway)
1: Power off, install the SSD 
2: Power on, check Windows has initialized the drive in Disk Management
3: Install Samsung Magician, check for/install firmware upgrade for the SSD
4: Install Samsung Disk Migration Software and clone your OS/C: to the SSD
5: Power off uninstall the old drive, I also like re-jig the connections to make sure the SSD is on first SATA plug (usually SATA0 or SATA1) on the mobo so there is less confusion about which drive to boot from.
6: Power on and it should boot from the SSD
7: Check the tuning option in Samsung Magician to optimize windows settings for SSD usage.

Later you can plug your old hdd drive back, format it and use it for data.


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  Reply # 880319 17-Aug-2013 21:32
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I like the AData ones. They come with some ghosting software for you to install if you are replacing an old HDD. Wont matter since you are reinstalling windows.

You can extend the life of an SSD by writing to it less - they are best for reading which is why you install the OS and software on them, but set your temporary internet files and other such directories, as well as your data as the old HDD.




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  Reply # 880400 18-Aug-2013 08:15
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Don't just copy a HDD into a SSD as suggested. In an ideal world when you install Windows 7/8 it will detect a SSD as system disk an install support for TRIM, a very important feature that is more important than storing temp files in other drive.

Installing on a SSD will also disable some services that aren't needed anymore because they existed to make HDD faster, which is not something you need to do with SSD.

Also if you install a SSD in your system you should enabled AHCI on BIOS to support TRIM, and if the system was previously installed on a HDD with AHCI off then you won't have this on the SSD. You can turn AHCI on/off but need to install drivers.

Overall, if you are installing a SSD as a system disk, install fresh, don't use an image of an existing HDD. And don't worry about moving temp files to HDD because that will make the whole system pretty slow. The number of writes needed to kill the flash memory is pretty high and you probably won't have this problem for years. TRIM support is just to level the utilisation so that problem doesn't occur.




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  Reply # 880465 18-Aug-2013 11:02
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I wouldn't say "Don't just copy to a HDD to a SSD" as theres a place for both methods, but yours (freitasm) is the best if possible. Older bios/chipset and OS combinations rule out a lot of the benefits (trim, ahci).

To some people their current software configuration means everything to them, and/or it would take too long, or not even be possible to get back to how it was.

I've only tried the samsung Clone software once, on a Windows Vista Dell, and it didn't work (I might have skipped step 3 of Ragnors instructions). Otherwise their drives seem decent.

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  Reply # 880467 18-Aug-2013 11:05
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Yes, of course there are lots of caveats. I change laptops every twelve months and have been using SSD for the last three years (including desktops). Regardless of what comes installed I always do a fresh install of everything. I toyed with the idea of booting from a VHD to avoid having to reinstall things (and rely on the OS layer hypervisor to actually do the TRIM, etc). Might do this next time and avoid reinstalls for a longer time.




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  Reply # 880476 18-Aug-2013 11:27
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I would suggest a 120GB+ SSD drive as well, any smaller and one can potentially run into space issues later - , typically I use the ADATA units (they were cheap at the time) but anything will work.

Your current setup will mostly be I/O bound as that is the nature of using a mechanical drive. However, you only need to increase performance of the OS drive and primary swap-file - there is no need to go looking for the fastest SSD out there as they wont offer any real additional performance, nor is there a real need to have an SSD as a secondary data drive (I have found that mechanicals work fine in this role)

As pointed out above, if you have the license key and OS media and the install files for your software it is always worth doing a clean install.




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  Reply # 880504 18-Aug-2013 12:18
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If you have a mechanical drive as a storage one, you will often find that it goes to sleep and takes an eternity to wake back up (6-8 seconds of frozen explorer windows etc) if it is on defaults and allowed to spin down when idle after a short time.

Other than that, SSD is the best upgrade possible IME with many craptastic old computers, including a dire-slow core2duo laptop that is now quite acceptable despite only having 2.5 gigs of ram since swapping is so fast now.

Just backup more often, SSD's seem to die with zero warning, whereas a HDD will normally give you a while of erratic performance before it totally goes byebyes. In saying that, crashplan can run without a noticiable problem on a SSD, whereas on the HDD it would really slow things down and the HDD would end up thrashing away like a jackhammer if crashplan was doing its thing.




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  Reply # 880660 18-Aug-2013 18:22
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I read that SSD tend to go 'read-only' when they hit the end of their life, is this true or do people find they hit deaths that they can't recover data from?

Oh, and I tell my HDDs to never go to sleep. I figure the lower number of spin ups/downs might be a good thing, even if the power consumption & constant rotation isn't.

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  Reply # 880662 18-Aug-2013 18:28
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Not been the case for anyone I know, mine are all still holding up just fine, but I really dont know if there is anything that I can do to get stats on remaining lifespan.

Total controller failure seems to be the norm, other than that a massive chunk of the drive deciding to not read (like about 20% of it) was one interesting failure. Got lots of movies back off it but some were just toast.




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  Reply # 880709 18-Aug-2013 20:04
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Good to know, luckily anything important goes on the HDD. OS and programs can always be reinstalled, although I might do backups a little more often now.

My Intel 330 comes with the 'Intel SSD Toolbox' which gives 'Drive Health' and 'Estimated Life Remaining'. It's just reading some 'smart' data though. And I don't think that all brands of SSDs store the relevant data in the same addresses.

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