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Upgrading to Solid-State Hard Drive: Issues?

PostPosted: Wed Jan 29, 2020 5:17 pm
by ReX
I am considering swapping out my conventional hard drive to a solid-state drive in a computer with a mini-tower configuration. I plan to do it myself, if it is not an overly cumbersome process. So here are my questions:

1. How does one set up SSDs as virtual RAM? Is this a complicated process?
2. Are there special hardware requirements for installing SSD/swapping out HDD for SDD?
3. Are there special connections that will be needed when swapping out HDD for SDD.

Essentially, I'm asking this: As someone who has a basic proficiency with electronics, is the task of swapping out HDD for SDD a difficult one? If so, I am prepared to take my computer to a professional to get the task done properly.

Thanks.

Re: Upgrading to Solid-State Hard Drive: Issues?

PostPosted: Wed Jan 29, 2020 6:36 pm
by wildweasel
Installing a solid state drive isn't really any different from installing any other hard drive; most are SATA, which requires only two plugs, both are different sizes and can only orient in one direction, and are identical to the ones commonly used on hard drives since the mid-200x's.

As far as using one for virtual memory, that's something you can do from Windows' System control panel. I don't have a Windows machine in front of me right now, though, so I'll decline from trying to write instructions from memory.

Re: Upgrading to Solid-State Hard Drive: Issues?

PostPosted: Wed Jan 29, 2020 7:43 pm
by SouthernLion
You can keep your old HDD for data storage. I have 1 M2 SSD, 2 SATA SSDs, and 1 SATA HDD. I try to keep important files on the HDD, but my OS, drivers, primary games, Premiere / Photoshop, Doom Builder etc. are all on SSDs. SSDs can wear out from constant read/write, (it's a very high number, though) so I don't know if setting it up as virtual memory is the best idea? Also, you will go nowhere near the performance of motherboard system RAM as you will a SSD over M2 (much less SATA.) Although, obviously way better than a traditional drive. But I think if you have Windows on your SSD, it would use it for virtual memory by default in the event of max RAM usage? lol

Re: Upgrading to Solid-State Hard Drive: Issues?

PostPosted: Thu Jan 30, 2020 1:01 am
by Graf Zahl
SouthernLion wrote:SSDs can wear out from constant read/write, (it's a very high number, though) so I don't know if setting it up as virtual memory is the best idea?


Well, I've been using an SSD as my main drive for 5 years now and diagnostic tools do not show any sign of wearing out. There's one important thing to remember: SSDs have wear levelling technology built in that ensures that all storage cells remain at the same level of wearing out.

So even though a number of 4000 writes per cell sounds low, with a 512 GB drive you'd have to write 512 GB of date every single day for over 10 years. Unless you are constantly compressing video data this is very unlikely to happen.

What's also often being ignored in this discussion is that the risk of mechanical failure on a magnetic hard drive is a genuine concern - and when this happens it is far worse than an SSD no longer being writable, because you cannot get the data off the drive anymore. A worn out SSD will at leaat be readable so you'd be able to back it up.

Re: Upgrading to Solid-State Hard Drive: Issues?

PostPosted: Thu Jan 30, 2020 3:54 am
by Blzut3
Drive write per day for 10 years is all great and all except most consumer SSDs today are rated 0.3 drive writes per day for 3 years or even 0.1. That said based on all systems I've looked at this is still well above what is typical. However using storage as a substitute for RAM is not typical, at least not general purpose and not with consumer SSDs.

That is at least in the way that I assume ReX is referring to given the question being asked. Which is to say, if Windows is constantly paging then an SSD is not a solution to that problem.
Graf Zahl wrote:A worn out SSD will at leaat be readable so you'd be able to back it up.

Its been a long time since I've heard of anyone testing this but back in the day when people were concerned about this the reality was a lot of drives didn't do that properly. And in the case of Intel at least, while it worked the drive intentionally bricked itself when power is removed (or was it reboot?) so you'd have to do that backup immediately. Regardless though failure rates with SSDs are much much lower in my experience in the data center, but when they do fail expect them to be catastrophic failures like any other drive. (Even if it ends up not being, it's better to be prepared for the worst.)

Re: Upgrading to Solid-State Hard Drive: Issues?

PostPosted: Thu Jan 30, 2020 4:05 am
by Graf Zahl
Blzut3 wrote:Drive write per day for 10 years is all great and all except most consumer SSDs today are rated 0.3 drive writes per day for 3 years or even 0.1.



Well, I have two SSDs in my systen - one 512 GB and one 128 GB, no magnetic hard drive - and I'm doing lots of stuff like compiling source code, or batch converting graphics.
The two drives are 6 and 5 years old respectively, but so far show no serious sign of wear.

AFAIK the rating you posted is for the controller, not the storage itself. But there we are in the same realm as with magnetic drives.

I had several magnetic HDD#s crap out on me after far less time, mostly due to mechanical failure.

Re: Upgrading to Solid-State Hard Drive: Issues?

PostPosted: Thu Jan 30, 2020 6:24 am
by R4L
I'd personally go for any SSD with D-RAM cache if you can. Faster and easier on the drive overall.

I've cloned HDDs to SSDs plenty of times with no issues. Idk about virtual memory though. You could make a RAM disk on one and I bet that would be pretty great.

Re: Upgrading to Solid-State Hard Drive: Issues?

PostPosted: Thu Jan 30, 2020 6:55 am
by Enjay
I have a cheap HD cloning device. For a friend, I plugged his old HDD and a new SSD into the cloner, left it to do its thing for half an hour then shoved the SSD back into the machine that the HDD had come out of. It booted up, I could tell that Windows was doing some reconfiguring in the background and once that was done, the drive performed as expected.

I.e. it was painless.

I too would keep the old HDD as a data storage/backup location.

Re: Upgrading to Solid-State Hard Drive: Issues?

PostPosted: Thu Jan 30, 2020 11:17 am
by Blzut3
Graf Zahl wrote:AFAIK the rating you posted is for the controller, not the storage itself. But there we are in the same realm as with magnetic drives.

The endurance rating is for the NAND flash. Otherwise not sure why it would go down every time flash technologies change (SLC->MLC->TLC->QLC).

Would be interested to know what your SMART data shows for bytes written. In my case my main drive is 500GB and over the last 2.5 years have written about 20TB. So roughly 0.04 DWPD (which I suspect is slightly inflated since I had an issue that caused log spam that went unnoticed for a few months). The Samsung 960 Evo is rated for 0.35 DWPD for 3 years, so at my current usage it should last like 26 years. Again it's been a long time since people tested this, but Samsung was a brand that was conservative on its endurance rating so it should last even longer than that.

On a machine that does purely web browsing I've seen 0.01 DWPD.

Re: Upgrading to Solid-State Hard Drive: Issues?

PostPosted: Mon Feb 03, 2020 3:22 pm
by ReX
Thanks for all the advice. My decision for the SSD swap-out is linked to a decision I need to make regarding the expandability of RAM. I might end up having to replace the entire system board so that I can get at least 8 GB RAM. In that case, I'm thinking it might be more cost effective to get a new computer.

Re: Upgrading to Solid-State Hard Drive: Issues?

PostPosted: Mon Feb 03, 2020 3:58 pm
by Rachael
Yes it would be - with a new SSD too! I have run Windows 10 on mine for a couple years now and I can't imagine how I was able to do it without one.

Re: Upgrading to Solid-State Hard Drive: Issues?

PostPosted: Mon Feb 03, 2020 4:06 pm
by Enjay
A boot up time measured in seconds instead of minutes. :biggrin:

Re: Upgrading to Solid-State Hard Drive: Issues?

PostPosted: Mon Feb 03, 2020 4:07 pm
by Graf Zahl
Unless you got a Mac. Believe it or not. My MacBook at work has an SSD but needs two minutes to fully boot up!
My Windows PC is ready to use in less than 10 seconds.

Re: Upgrading to Solid-State Hard Drive: Issues?

PostPosted: Mon Feb 03, 2020 4:22 pm
by Enjay
What on earth is the MacBook doing with an SSD for 2 minutes?

My Win10 PC is similar to yours - about 15 seconds from POST-beep to usable desktop environment.

Re: Upgrading to Solid-State Hard Drive: Issues?

PostPosted: Mon Feb 03, 2020 5:04 pm
by Graf Zahl
Good question. I have no idea. The only answer I get is "You are not supposed to switch it off."

Apple folk... :?