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Flash Drive v. Hard Drive For New Laptop

Flash Drive v. Hard Drive For New Laptop

Old Jan 31, 11, 8:22 am
  #31  
 
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Originally Posted by nkedel View Post
Reinstalling a clean copy of Windows is, for many of us, the first step to using a new machine regardless of whether we're using the original disks.
+1 ^
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Old Jan 31, 11, 11:56 am
  #32  
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Originally Posted by deubster View Post
Of course, [replacing the hard drive] is easier on some models than on others.
Boy, you can say that again. [...] instructions that involved removing the screen, the keyboard, darn near disassembling the entire box before you could remove the hard drive. Never again.
Ouch. That sounds like the process of replacing memory in my netbook -- which is under the motherboard, but there's no door, so it requires disassembling EVERYTHING. Oddly enough, upgrading the hard drive is pretty easy: three screws for the keyboard, pop the keyboard up, and the HD is right there.

Considering the OP is talking about a Sony, I'd look at what's involved in swapping. $650 is only marginally above market for a 256 GB SSD, and may be WELL WORTH THE PRICE to have it installed.
...sounds like a very good idea. Alternatively, get a techie friend to look up the service manual for him, if he's not comfortable with the idea himself.

The only problem with it is that at current costs and my upgrade rate, I'd expect a 160gb+ SSD to last through more than one machine.
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Old Jan 31, 11, 12:53 pm
  #33  
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Originally Posted by Braindrain View Post
Fry's isn't exactly the best for deals. Most laptops still carry a warranty after user-serviceable upgrades.



Considering I can buy a 240GB SSD drive for $400 here, I would call an extra $250 is a rip-off.
Depends on the drive. Not all SSDs are equal--check the performance ratings. Make sure both the drive and the OS support the TRIM command or you'll find your machine slowing down over time. (I know XP doesn't support TRIM, 7 does, I don't know about Vista, I have no idea on Macs.)
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Old Jan 31, 11, 1:07 pm
  #34  
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I use a 500gb hard drive that I bought a couple of years ago for $80. There is no way on earth I can justify paying 10X that much (or more) for a SSD.

Performance *might* be faster on SSD, but it really depends on what you're doing. There are a lot of bottlenecks that can cause performance issues, and the hard drive might be one of a very small factor.

For most budget minded / value minded folks, SSDs are still not practical or realistic.

My laptop with a 500gb 5400rpm (not even 7200rpm) hard drive, performance is good enough for what I do most of the day - office documents, web browsing, youtube, etc etc.

For data reliability, I use the savings from buying a SSD to set up my own NAS, and back up my data regularly to prevent any worries about losing data. Heck for the amount of money you save, you can buy an extra laptop!!
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Old Jan 31, 11, 2:07 pm
  #35  
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Originally Posted by nkedel View Post
What hassle? Most Windows machines come out of the box with manufacturer-provided crapware; I've not worked with Sony in while, but in the past, they've been more guilty than most of that. Reinstalling a clean copy of Windows is, for many of us, the first step to using a new machine regardless of whether we're using the original disks.
From the Sony website (can't find a way to directly link to this paragraph):
Fresh Start

Fresh Start provides a basic computing environment where specific VAIO® applications (like VAIO® Media Gallery and VAIO Picture Motion Browser), trial software and games are removed from your unit prior to shipment. Any additional software applications added to your notebook will not be affected by this option.

Originally Posted by Loren Pechtel View Post
Depends on the drive. Not all SSDs are equal--check the performance ratings. Make sure both the drive and the OS support the TRIM command or you'll find your machine slowing down over time. (I know XP doesn't support TRIM, 7 does, I don't know about Vista, I have no idea on Macs.)
What does "TRIM" do?
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Old Jan 31, 11, 2:09 pm
  #36  
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Originally Posted by deubster View Post
Boy, you can say that again. I've changed out hard drives in Dells and Lenovos for years and am used to removing a screw, sliding out a tray, changing the drive. Recently a friend asked me to help him change out his laptop hard drive and I said, "No problem." He brought over a Sony. After much looking at the laptop and online, I finally found instructions that involved removing the screen, the keyboard, darn near disassembling the entire box before you could remove the hard drive. Never again.
Do you happen to remember which model it was? Is this supposedly true of all Sony laptops?
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Old Jan 31, 11, 3:34 pm
  #37  
 
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Originally Posted by Landing Gear View Post
Do you happen to remember which model it was? Is this supposedly true of all Sony laptops?
I don't remember the exact model. It was a VAIO A-series, I think. I looked for the YouTube video that had guided me, couldn't find the exact one. Looks like most Sonys require removal of all the bottom screws, then remove the keyboard, then take the HD out from the top of the opened laptop.
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Old Jan 31, 11, 4:05 pm
  #38  
 
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Speed is a great advantage, if you need it.

Disadvantages are price and limited write cycles. How limited, I do not know yet. But on average, an USB flash drive will last about two years until you start to have problems.

For a desktop, I recommend Solid state for operating system and programs and traditional hard drives for data storage.

For laptop, toss up. But remember, had a solid backup plan. For $50 a year, carbonite rocks!
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Old Jan 31, 11, 4:25 pm
  #39  
 
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Originally Posted by deubster View Post
Boy, you can say that again. I've changed out hard drives in Dells and Lenovos for years and am used to removing a screw, sliding out a tray, changing the drive. Recently a friend asked me to help him change out his laptop hard drive and I said, "No problem." He brought over a Sony. After much looking at the laptop and online, I finally found instructions that involved removing the screen, the keyboard, darn near disassembling the entire box before you could remove the hard drive. Never again.

Considering the OP is talking about a Sony, I'd look at what's involved in swapping. $650 is only marginally above market for a 256 GB SSD, and may be WELL WORTH THE PRICE to have it installed.
^ The only laptop I purchase now is a (refurbished) Lenovo for that exact reason. Easy to replace the hard drive.
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Old Jan 31, 11, 8:34 pm
  #40  
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Originally Posted by Loren Pechtel View Post
(I know XP doesn't support TRIM, 7 does, I don't know about Vista, I have no idea on Macs.)
Vista does not.

Most SSD manufacturers have userspace tools you can run that support TRIM on XP and Vista.

Also, some manufacturers have built things into the drive firmware to improve performance with XP/Vista without those tools. Reports vary on how effective they are.

Linux supports TRIM only on newer kernels and filesystems (notably ext4.)

Originally Posted by UALOneKPlus View Post
I use a 500gb hard drive that I bought a couple of years ago for $80. There is no way on earth I can justify paying 10X that much (or more) for a SSD.
Do you really need that much space in your laptop? If so, SSD is not for you, but on the other hand, most people don't by a long shot.

An 80gb SSD from some manufacturers is less than twice that much money; the benchmark Intel model (no longer the best, by any means) is about $170.

Originally Posted by Landing Gear View Post
From the Sony website (can't find a way to directly link to this paragraph):
Fresh Start

Fresh Start provides a basic computing environment where specific VAIO® applications (like VAIO® Media Gallery and VAIO Picture Motion Browser), trial software and games are removed from your unit prior to shipment. Any additional software applications added to your notebook will not be affected by this option.
Good deal. Do they charge extra for the privilege?


Originally Posted by jbdk View Post
Disadvantages are price and limited write cycles. How limited, I do not know yet. But on average, an USB flash drive will last about two years until you start to have problems.
I've had production systems with pre-TRIM Intel drives running 24/7 for more than two years now. An average SSD will last a great deal longer than two years, unless you are running an incredibly write-heavy workload.

Under an incredibly write-heavy workload -- for example, what are in essence supercomputing applications -- I've heard stories of SSDs failing a lot faster than that: if you are writing terabytes of new data to disk every day, SSDs are either (A) not for you, or (B) a consumable. Most people write no more than a few gigabytes of new data per day.)

For a desktop, I recommend Solid state for operating system and programs and traditional hard drives for data storage.
For most users, I don't see the value proposition of SSDs for desktops; durability is not an issue, and striped RAID is cheaper, and practical where it is impractical in a laptop. You can get a 4-drive RAID 0 or RAID10 (4-way striped or mirrored + striped 2-way each) for the cost of a single SSD.

Where the random-access performance of SSDs is valuable enough on a desktop (certain sorts of applications, including software development - our developer desktops now come with an SSD) you typically need to include those applications' data (eg your source code and your IDE caches) on the SSD as well as just the applications and OS.
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Old Jan 31, 11, 8:49 pm
  #41  
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Originally Posted by deubster View Post
I don't remember the exact model. It was a VAIO A-series, I think. I looked for the YouTube video that had guided me, couldn't find the exact one. Looks like most Sonys require removal of all the bottom screws, then remove the keyboard, then take the HD out from the top of the opened laptop.
Wow. That's awful. I've replaced hard drives on Toshibas multiple times which is, perhaps, the only good thing about Toshiba.


Originally Posted by nkedel View Post

Most SSD manufacturers have userspace tools you can run that support TRIM on XP and Vista.
What is this "TRIM" that people keep mentioning?

Originally Posted by nkedel View Post

Good deal. Do they charge extra for the privilege [Sony Fresh Start]?
Not as far as I can tell.
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Old Jan 31, 11, 9:14 pm
  #42  
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Originally Posted by Landing Gear View Post
What does "TRIM" do?
The Achilles heel of SSDs is their terrible erase performance. They only can write fast if they are writing to a block (and their blocks are far bigger than a sector) that is completely zeroed.

What the TRIM command does is allows the OS to tell the drive what space can be zeroed even though it's part of the visible space. Without this the drive will in time get slow due to the need to erase blocks before writing. (This is *PARTIALLY* overcome by having a declared size smaller than the real size but TRIM does a far better job of handling this.)
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Old Jan 31, 11, 9:18 pm
  #43  
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Originally Posted by jbdk View Post
Speed is a great advantage, if you need it.

Disadvantages are price and limited write cycles. How limited, I do not know yet. But on average, an USB flash drive will last about two years until you start to have problems.

For a desktop, I recommend Solid state for operating system and programs and traditional hard drives for data storage.

For laptop, toss up. But remember, had a solid backup plan. For $50 a year, carbonite rocks!
SSD drives fare far better than flash drives as they have wear-leveling and backup blocks.

With a flash drive some blocks (directories in particular) get written far more than the rest of the drive and when one burns out the drive has had it.

With a SSD, though, the controller will sometimes move things around so that heavily-used directory block gets something put on it that almost never gets written. (Think of anything in Program Files for example.) Also, when a block actually does burn out the drive swaps in a spare and the user never knows it. Only when there are no more spares does the problem actually show up.

If the numbers are to be believed this should allow a SSD to have a multi-decade lifespan no matter how abused.
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Old Jan 31, 11, 9:21 pm
  #44  
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Originally Posted by nkedel View Post
Where the random-access performance of SSDs is valuable enough on a desktop (certain sorts of applications, including software development - our developer desktops now come with an SSD) you typically need to include those applications' data (eg your source code and your IDE caches) on the SSD as well as just the applications and OS.
Yeah--I'm building a machine now with a SSD for the OS and things like source code. I'm still setting stuff up (and I suspect I have a bad MB, besides) so I haven't seen how the compiler performs but what I have seen it absolutely screams.
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Old Jan 31, 11, 9:36 pm
  #45  
 
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Since SSD drives are still too expensive for me, I would rather spend the money on upgrading my Laptop with the MAX memory and the FASTEST 500gb harddrive
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