Should I go with a traditional or SS hard drive?

I have a 500GB drive that’s about full and am planning to get another drive. I’m staying around the $100-$120 mark for cost which can get me a 1TB traditional hard drive or a 120GB solid state drive. My use is about evenly split between internet browsing and game playing (almost always single player).

My initial plan was to put my Steam (games) folder onto the new drive which would let me download and store a lot more games rather than needing to regularly pick installed games to cull and install new games in their stead. Obviously, having 8x the storage over the SSD would work there.

I’ve heard people go on about how great SSD drives are though and the speed benefits. I rarely shut down my computer so the 15 second boot time doesn’t mean much to me (but maybe I’d shut it down more if it was more convenient to boot it up) but the access speeds might be of benefit. Or not. I’ve never used a SSD so I have no idea. In my position, which route would you go? Are the benefits of a SSD worth giving up the extra storage?

Mainly I would say you want the operating system and swap files on the SSD, the faster access to constant use files will be a big boost to overall system performance.

Depending on what version of windows you are using it may clear 8-10GB of hard drive space on your other drive by removing the windows installation.

Go SSD, remove extraneous BS from 500GB drive to reclaim space.

well, I switched to an SSD and I won’t go back. Using a system (any system) with a spinny hard disk is frustrating; it’s that much slower. Though the way I made up for the lack of capacity is:

  1. using the 256 GiB SSD as a boot/program drive, and
  2. putting all my media on a 1 TiB hard disk and pointing my Libraries in Windows 7 to the relevant folders on that drive.

So I get the best of both worlds, IMO. I have the performance I want, the capacity I need, and with Libraries I don’t have to consciously seek out which drive stuff is on.

How easy/difficult is it to shift Windows over to the SSD? Win 7 in this instance.

Can I just move it or am I reinstalling from scratch?

Well, I’d have a 120GB SSD and 500GB hard drive so that option to make up for lack of capacity wouldn’t be available.

I swapped my mother’s hard drive with a SSD on her 10 year old system and the difference was amazing. Her computer now boots and loads programs faster than my newer system with a traditional drive.

Of course, 120 GB isn’t a lot of space to work with, especially now that games are really creeping up in size. You may have to uninstall your older games to make room for new ones.

I usually just reinstall.

Why not?

I built my computer about a year ago. I went with a hybrid drive. It kept the cost down yet everything seems so much faster. I’m sure the experts could tell you more.

This the the drive, it took some convincing from a friend to go with a seagate. It’s a company I do not trust. So far so good though. 750gig $150

I use 4 SSDs in a RAID0 config. very fast, and I like it.

For what you do and what I gather from your OP to be your computing needs, I’d honestly say go with the conventional platter type drive and get the 1TB.

This drive would give you more space for not much more money. A 128 GB will eventually get you into the same boat you’re in now with having to closely manage the space, even if used for just the system drive.

This program can move some of your less-used Steam games to the spinning drive.

Only if you can spare to give up the extra storage. If your 500 GB hard drive is filling up then an added 128 GB hard drive isn’t going to last you very long.

Do you have a DVD burner? If a 1 TB+ hard drive AND a SSD will break the bank and is absolutely out of the question, maybe you can get the SSD and a 100-pack of blank DVD’s such as this?

This is how I’m set up as well. Never going back to old-fangled HD for the system files…

I would get a SSD. Seriously, my PC at work was crazy slow. Having all the files I access frequently (including my main apps) on an SSD made it at least ten times faster.

I would look into keeping your main files/apps that you use a lot on the SSD with lesser things on the other drive (backing up things you rarely use to DVDs).

It’s worth the trouble.

Well, I wanted my games to be accessible without the usual install/uninstall shuffling that I wind up doing so storing stuff on DVD wouldn’t help much. I have some photos/music on the drives but not very much. This does make me a bit curious as to exactly what’s taking up my space – I’ll have to look into it and see if I don’t have some space hogging culprit. Is there a utility that makes it easy to see what’s taking up the most space? I know the uninstall window shows program sizes but that won’t tell me if there’s some 3GB video file tucked away on the drive somewhere.

I won’t be spending $160 even if it means double the size of the SSD. I realize that it’s a good deal (both over the 120GB model and for the drive in general) and the Amazon sale was part of my catalyst in asking. But I have a budget for this and I’m not willing to exceed it even for a good deal since “more space for games” is a luxury decision anyway and I need to stay within my boundaries.

Given that I’ve made it this far in life without knowing of the joys of a SSD, my inclination is to go with the 1TB and plan to replace the 500GB drive with a SSD sometime next year. Maybe SSDs will drop even lower by then and I can jump right into a 240GB+ model. I’m slowly accumulating parts for a second computer to replace the ancient Dell in the family room so replacing the 500GB drive will be for a worthy cause :wink:

Surprised no one has mentioned this yet -

People tend to think of SSD as the next generation of hard drives vs traditional spinning drives and that the only downside to SSD is the capacity. Not true.

SSD drives have more limited life span per cell, and are relatively fast until most of the cells have been written. Once data has been put into an SSD cell, to supplant it requires formatting it and rewriting new data over it. That takes time. Net result is that over time, as you use the SSD, it gets slower because a larger portion of the new writes are waiting for old data in cells to get formatted out. You can generally avoid it if you have an OS that supports TRIM, which formats cells more on-the-fly.

To get the best use out of an SSD, use it for the OS and program files install only. Highly transactive stuff like the Windows page file, temp files, user files - all go on traditional spinning disk. Try to keep the SSD as a read-only platform as much as possible.

Alot of the lifespan issues are less prevalent than a few years ago, Wear leveling algorithms get better by the day.

Considering that regular hard drives have their failure modes as well its not such a big deal.

It’s my understanding that SSDs have a lower number of writes available before they “wear out” (not the best term, but I can’t think of better), so longevity might be an issue unless it’s pretty much used for read-only.

If you’ve almost filled up a 500 GB drive, adding 100GB of SSD is not a storage solution; it’s a speed solution (similar to upgrading the CPU or adding more RAM). Go for it if you want to spend the money, but it won’t help your storage issues at all.

To fix your storage issues, you need either a big spinny hard drive, or a big change in how you store things (e.g. keeping a lot more stuff on DVDs/in the cloud).
My advice is to first ask yourself how much of the 500GB do you need to have backed up, how is it being backed up now (You are backing it up, right? right?), and how would you back up the 1 TB drive. The answer might help you decide whether a new bigger drive is the solution or better to change how you store things.

I don’t have many back-up concerns. Before you faint, let me explain. What’s on my computer consists primarily of:

  • Programs I own on DVD (Windows, Paint Shop Pro, etc)
  • Programs I can easily recover from the web (Open Office, Firefox, various utilities)
  • Games which are retrievable online via Steam, Amazon and other digital download services
  • Music which is also uploaded to Google Music so I can redownload from there if needed
  • Ripped movies which I own on DVD but keep on the computer for remote viewing on my tablet via Splashtop

There’s some assorted bric-a-brac as well (web images, PDFs of old magazine, etc) that I like owning but probably wouldn’t go through the hassle of relocating if they were lost but for the most part a total HD crash would be annoying rather than catastrophic. I don’t have priceless family photos, tax records, my almost completed masters thesis, the first ten chapters of my novel or related things on the computer.

You’re correct in that an additional drive is a storage solution for me. I primarily want the convenience of a larger catalog of games available to me without playing the install shuffle (which involves lengthy downloads). I thought if someone convinced me that a SSD would be life changing, I might go that way and just live with the shuffle but it sounds as though a standard HD would better suit my needs right now.

No, no, NO!!* Highly transactive stuff like page files and caches are the best files to have on the SSD. Where SSDs shine most is in small random seeks since they just read back the memory instead of having to move the drive heads all over the place. The issue of NAND mortality is a red herring. It’s a complete non-issue for real-life use. There may be certain specific applications where an SSD will run out of writes before it’s hopelessly obsolete, but life as an OS and program drive in an ordinary person’s desktop isn’t it.

A bit over two years ago I built a new computer with a 160GB Intel SSD as the OS drive. Everything that runs is on the SSD. A regular HDD holds media files, but no programs. Intel has a lovely little SSD utility program which will read back all kinds of diagnostic data. Including SMART E9 Media Wearout Indicator - 97. I’ve used up 3% of this SSD’s write cycles in the space of 2 years. If I continue writing to the SSD at my current pace, it will stop working in 2078.
*Sorry, but just a couple weeks ago we had a similar thread and I’m still on edge or something. :stuck_out_tongue:

I’m thinking of getting a SSD too. It’s surprising that you put a SSD in a 10 year old computer, though. Aren’t there more cost-effective upgrades?