Opinions on the SSDs

Dr. Mario

New Member
I was thinking about using the SSD, there are some good things; no moving parts (except for the MEMS oscillator and the fan), lower latency between NAND flash and the SoC (think hard drive arm seek time - 100x faster than the hard drive's seek times - seek time here is within 5 - 20 nanoseconds).

However, there are few caveat emptors that kinda kept me away from it (I have couple NAND flash-based products here, 16GB SDHC memory cards and a few jump drives - they don't see that much works compared to what the SSDs must endure throughout its life - Linux usually take easy on the SSD, as swap spaces are rarely used) and I know how the flash works.

Here's a short summary: a floating-gate transistor that's left uncharged (or discharged during erase) is summarily read "0", to write a "1" the buffer network in the bus controller applies 5 to 20 Volts to gate and drain of the floating-gate transistor, depositing the charges on the middle gate (not connected to anything at all), and the controller check its state, making sure it's "written" as "1", it apply the charge on the gate using voltage as low as 10% of the original programming requirements, energizing the transistor substrate below the floating gate. If it's discharged or left untouched, applying the voltage to the gate doesn't do anything at all, hence "0".

Now as high voltage is involved, there's always a risk of wearing the transistor down as you hammer the charge into it hard, in order to set the floating gate as "1". The life expectancy of the flash chip (the Silicon die) is pretty long compared to the hard drives (in order of few decades to 100 years), however the rewriting cycle is shorter than a regular hard drive; 250,000 to 10 million cycles before it fails completely.

Now, I want to hear some of your opinions and expert advices before I decide to go with SSD (even though I would prefer to wait for the magnetic RAM based SSDs as they have no rewrite weardowns, it's all magnetic like a hard drive, a primary advantage I want as I deal with "constantly moving data" like video editing). Your rundowns of the pros and cons would be appreciated. (better to have more than one data set so I can park the percentage before I consider that it's worth the risks.)
 

Grummer

Active Member
my opinion is SSD isa great but too dear at the moment, and not quite enough capacity for video editing, un less you want to 'borrow' o treat it ike ultra fast dvd ram...and write the "end of editing session" to actuall HDD....
if that is do-able then i think would be worth it but right now RAMs are and can be in order of 16-32 GBs not exactly a cheap option either. have experience with 4 gb not with 8 so i cant even comment. but ideally if i can get 16gb cheap rams on my i5 lappy i would! and leave out SSD for another year or two = they will drop in price/raise in performance and not only thid,hobbyists/hackers will start sharing free/low cost appz to do ,borrowing effects i betcha (prob already have i dunno i didnt look first , only sawyour post)
G
 

Dr. Mario

New Member
Hmm. Grummer, good point. DVD-RAM (and BD-RE [Blu-ray Disc Rewritable] is also a DVD-RAM only larger in capacity size, and I have the BD-RE burner) can only do much, and that's not counting in the error correction (pretty important) but again the SSD have at most 1 - 4 GB in unformatted data space for the ECC, the same thing that BD-RE and DVD-RAM have to do.

And, SSD is nice but it's the flash that holds it back: I am pretty sensitive about its "rewrite until failure" cycle. In other hand, MRAM have NO REWRITE FAILURE, even after trillions and trillions of rewriting cycles.

Also, I have 8 GB DDR-II DRAM on my motherboard, a nice benefit worth reaping. (I have Windows 7 x64 here.)

There are things such as DRAM-based SSDs, but I am not green into this idea as it will lose the data instantly if the battery hiccups (Lithium-ion batteries are also dangerous when abused stupidly - not my thing: I had to deal with ballooned Lithium Polymer battery, hate it.) - hence the flash and MRAM SSD are two of my choices.

Evo Dragon, thanks for the optimization guide - that would come in handy for both MRAM and flash SSD.

NOTE: If the SSD is found proven to contain the larger (several GB to a few TB in whole-system capacity) MRAM, you guys don't have to worry about pagefile and Temp folder, but I know it still can actually benefit from it as it doesn't have to do anything except just read the contents on those MRAM ICs during Windows boot-ups and it also would be less likely to interrupt the video editing session as the SSD will be "yours" for the taking.
 
as long its not a sandforce technology. i'm fine with marvel ssd. they dont give any issue since they can give us a each firmware. more reliable, possibly can help running it about 3 or 4 year.
 

Dr. Mario

New Member
Hmm. That's also a good point. Some potentially obsolete SandForce SSD controllers (which regrettably still finds its way into the newer SSDs) have some defects in either the DMA controller or there are few nastier variety firmware bugs that make our data magically disappear (I remember Intel SSDs had that nasty bugs which left its angry users with 8MB space or worse, it's gone into the 5th Dimension).

Marvell SSD controller is quite nice: the latest one have dual-core ARM Cortex R7 Out-of-Order processors in it, which helps with the complicated jobs; FFT-based error correction, NAND flash mapping, data NCQ scratchpad and data R/W requests.

I have heard of some using PowerPC 603e-based SSD controllers too (I don't know if it exists but if it does, then I gotta give that SSDs the crown for being hard to find).
 
Hmm. That's also a good point. Some potentially obsolete SandForce SSD controllers (which regrettably still finds its way into the newer SSDs) have some defects in either the DMA controller or there are few nastier variety firmware bugs that make our data magically disappear (I remember Intel SSDs had that nasty bugs which left its angry users with 8MB space or worse, it's gone into the 5th Dimension).

Marvell SSD controller is quite nice: the latest one have dual-core ARM Cortex R7 Out-of-Order processors in it, which helps with the complicated jobs; FFT-based error correction, NAND flash mapping, data NCQ scratchpad and data R/W requests.

I have heard of some using PowerPC 603e-based SSD controllers too (I don't know if it exists but if it does, then I gotta give that SSDs the crown for being hard to find).
dont forget they improved trims and earned a feature for getting hdd with a ssd to be faster together. thats what my friend did who live in oregon. but it only will work on intel mobos not amd mobo. i was like argh.
 

Dr. Mario

New Member
Smells like conspiracy (don't forget Intel's practices were and are controversial).

But regardless, this is no longer the case, as AMD UEFI do allow this now. (Motherboard designers usually like to see that we get the lion's shares of that nifty optimizations.) Could be wrong, but hey.
 

Dr. Mario

New Member
Yea.

I have stuck with the hard drives for one of the few reasons; it's already reliable for the repeated rewrites but since the magnetic cells have been successfully diffused at 16 nanometers, I am starting to consider the MRAM SSD once it's ready.

And, also I want to reveal to you folks why the secure erasure won't work: the CPU inside the SSDs are programmed to ignore that Secure Erase command, since the secure erasure asks for repeat erasure, even at the sector Table-of-Contents - that could also either flash-fry the flash chips or render the FAT (or NTFS) table unreadable, in which some poorly-written firmware would be left in the shower. I had to ponder why, though. Regular formatting or CCleaner's "Wipe free space / whole drive" bypass that protection, however.
 

Dr. Mario

New Member
Yeah, just pointing out the secure erasure turn-downs for the security paranoids.

Crucial Vertex 4 was what I looked at this morning, quite nice. I want to try it out, however, I would rather to try out the old, tossed out SSDs that still work (such as the toss-out from the PC upgrades) first to get the feels for the NAND endurance before I risk popping out $140 - $1,000.
 

Dr. Mario

New Member
Yeah. The reason for your faster boot time is very simple: The SSD controller can collect the data quickly - about 800MB/s for SATA III model, 30% of it goes to the ECC checksum compares, so that clearly means the throughput can be parked at 500 - 600MB/s for the user and system data as the 10 : 8 encoding is normally used for ECC schemes. And the traces between SSD controller and NAND flash ICs are quite short - about 1.5 inches being the longest distance traveled.

And, there are also the Chuck Norris version of SSDs, like this example: Newegg.com - Computer Hardware, Hard Drives, SSD, Internal SSD, PCI-Express 2.0 x4

(and, yes I know, they use Sandforce controller - I don't know unless someone let me take a look at the Sandforce processors on their SSD card, in order to be able to read the model number and die revision, before I yell, "Farce!")
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Produ... 600171532&IsNodeId=1&name=PCI-Express 2.0 x4
 

Dr. Mario

New Member
Mine's SATA-II, though but it's no biggies.

And, the Optical SAS Interconnection (basically a SCSI fiber optics) will also be used for the SATA 4, meaning the SSDs will be able to sustain 1,000MB/s to 1.2 GB/s bandwidth just by using laser. And yes, it will still have SATA I - III port aside the Optical SATA port for the compatibility with current and legacy motherboards, just a bit slower than what you will get with the SATA-IV IO.
 

Dr. Mario

New Member
And, I am curious about operating temperature about the SSD (better to just read the SSD outright than just do the R/W benchmark to reduce the risks). I have the Radio Shack Infrared thermometer which I use to check the temperature of the electronics, like the chipsets on a PC motherboard but I don't have the SSD that I can crack open its case to measure the temperature of the NAND chips directly (SMART isn't always honest). The RS thermometer I own is that one: http://www.radioshack.com/product/index.jsp?productId=4288088

The hotter the NAND flash chips are, the shorter their lives. So, I would recommend to keep the SSD cool with the hard drive fans, optional with most DIY PC cases, like Cooler Master cases for example.
 

Dr. Mario

New Member
I guess, that's it, folks. Thanks for your replies. But if you want to give me some information, such as "how long have you owned the SSD, and did you lose data suddenly or slowly" or something like that, keep posting, I would appreciate it.

Also, if you have old SSD that you are planning to throw away after getting a better and larger model, PM me, and we will figure it out. I would like to do some experiments on it before I decide to buy new Crucial Vertex 4 SSD, so I would except what to do with it (such as finding what FS will actually work better [yes, I can access Linux Ext2/3 on Windows 7 using ext2fsd driver] for this SSD in my PC). Sometimes it's better to do something on old hardware first before we risk new ones.
 
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