Tuesday, November 18, 2008

SSDs and why I like them

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DTrain said...

Good info. Looking forward to the new products. Thanks jkk.

Frank said...

Superb info, looking batter SDD. I still looking batter upgrade for my 901 for primary SSD. Secondary SSD we can find anywhere else in market right now..

Anonymous said...

Excellent as always. Looking forward to the coming reviews.

If you could answer any of the following:

- What determines the SSD speed... the flash manufacturer, or the controller (mostly) or both? Like the new ASUS Eee 901 SSDs use Samsung flash and so do the MDD SSDs but the ASUS are much faster...

- Wear levelling implementations... how perfect are they? I can imagine the windows page file for example hammering away at one sector a lot per day, but if the wear levelling is GUARANTEED then I don't need to worry about it.

- You've often talked about how write speed is more important than read speed. So should I just ignore the read speed (i.e. MDD SLC drives are great), or are there thresholds you think are important for the read speed as well (e.g. is Dell STEC SSD "faster" in normal use than the MDD SLC drives)

- Have you benchmarked the MDD SLC drives for the Dell Mini 9?

- The mini PCIe connector on those little SSD drives... I assume they just used it for convenience and the drives are really wired up with PATA or SATA interfaces on the pins instead of PCIe. True or not? Why not just use PCIe and make the systems more flexible?

- Are there any standards on the little mini PCIe drives? Like the Dell Mini 9 has room for about a 5cm long card, while the ASUS Eee 901 apparently can take a 7cm long card (which may also be SATA instead of PATA). Are there any standards here, names for the different sizes that we can use to determine what will work on our systems?

Joao Oliveira said...

great as usual. i just hope that 2.5 sdd's became affordable soon. I would really to replace the 160gb sata disk from my m912 by and ssd but i cant afford to lose the space.

Cant wait for you reviews jkk.

Kepp up...

Frank said...

Jkk is it fit using Dell Mini 9 SSD to 901 primary SSD?

Anonymous said...

What would be good replacement for larger SSD for HP 2133 Mini-note we got because we need the 1280x786 screen (it is SuSE Linux version that when you boot it has only 300 MB space left on the 4GB installed at the factory SATA SSD)?

I would use either a 8GB or 16GB SATA replacement. HP has 3 screws on the HDD (two normal and one black one that looks like it needs a hex device, why do they do that)?

RAM upgraded already to 2GB...

Anonymous said...

thanks jkk for that video nice to see and hear this informations. i think 2009 will be a good year for ssd drives. i think the slc ssd drives which we can buy no have near enough speed for netbooks, cause they are netbooks not notebooks or desktops and i think too that 32 gb is also enough for that. if we need more space we can use sd cards or usb sticks. but i will take a eye beside your site to see whats coming.

"ssd is the future for net- and notebooks and maybe in 3 ? years for desktops, hd drives are gone" why? less power consumption, shock resistant, enough speed for mobile devices and last but not least you can´t hear them !!

Anonymous said...

I knew that all cause i´m a technician but a very Great Job for Nuubies. I agree most of your points. In fact faster Controller for MLC Products are coming, first sign is the new 16GB minipcie SSDdrive for the french Asus 901. That is what the user needs. Write/Read Speed 50/87 MB is fast enough for normal use. 2009 would be the year that bring us 32/64GB SSD in userfriendly price regions.

Anonymous said...

Could we have some eee s101 coverage especially since it has a very very fast ssd [1.8'' mlc] (same as the new fast 901 one){25 second xp boot} and the price is not extortionate especially when you are covering MID's and it is smaller than the wind and 1000H so since this is an ultraportable site it would be nice to cover it. If you dont want to cover it I understand but a reply would be welcomed.
PS keep up the good work on what is otherwise a superb site with great videos like the above.

Anonymous said...

16Gb should be enough for Vista32 Ultimate Vlited ( excess stuff removed, system restore retained ) - ~ 8Gb max , and 8Gb for User apps and Data . So I think with an HDD one should be very comfy space wise

Anonymous said...

JKK, your hibernation example didn't impress this 900HA user, you need to get your hands on a 900HA, mine is fast and hibernates much faster than the example you showed.

I like SSD's too, but after using the 900HA for a month now, I won't touch them until they get faster and larger. I think we are still 12-18 months away from that.

I also think you are in a rarefied position as you get these SSDs for free. Right now the 900HA is probably the fastest Eee on the market.

JKK said...

if i remember right, the speed of the hdd on 900ha was about the same ..?
..that ssd is 75/55 read/write but with superrior acces time ( 20 times better than your HDD )

I don't get anything for free.. i return most of the samples and pay/work for ones i keep.

..but the main thing is that both of us are happy ;)

Anonymous said...

Nice video - and useful.

technogeekchris said...

JKK, is the Dell Mini9 SSD will work on Fujitsu U2010? Can you please test it. thanks.

Anonymous said...

JKK SSD is not reliable and I have many of such experiences one of them is on the 4GB and 16GB SSD of the eee pc.

So with all respect I dont mind to hear the HD noise and to use 160GB for something like $100 with my data safe till I can trust the SSD.

x said...

JKK, I love your blog! Any comments on Samsung's 256GB SSD, and how it can affect netbooks?

Anonymous said...

Lots of good points. I appreciate the info and expert opinion. My eee 901 is my first SSD computer and I like it very much. I think it's good that you don't cover the super-high-end SSDs; they would not apply to my applications. I love the video of the open hard drive! keep on with the good work.

shaice said...

Dear JKK, I was wondering if you could told us something about the SSD in the Macbook Air: is it worth the cost? I need a macosx very portable machine for work (no hackintosh btw) so I have no choiche: HDD Air or SSD Air.

Please help me! ;-)


Anonymous said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
he said...

That hd is toast!

Anonymous said...

Am I missing some way to make web connections survive hibernation? It's usually lost on my Dell Mini; have to reboot to get it back. Which makes hibernation basically useless.

JKK said...

connection should survive automaticly..

.. i will test abit with dell.

Anonymous said...


Anonymous said...

Hi JKK, I've installed 2 Runcore SSD (32G for C: 64G for D:)in my Asus Eee PC 1000 (removed both original 8G&32G SSD) and somehow it doesn't recognize 64G at BIOS (it will recognize if I switch my C: to original 8G), I remember looking at your video "Testing RunCore SSD for Dell Mini 9" and you've mentioned you'll be testing both SSD in Eee PC, I wonder if you've had succeeded on that test and if you did, please tell me how you've done it.


Anonymous said...

great review

looking forward to more excellent reviews

Anonymous said...

Hi JK! I see you have a link to buy RunCore SSDs with the guys from Digital Discount. Very poor service! Trey will not answer (once they got your order) and force you to register with your email. Guess what, after this you start to receive junk mail, but still no answer or tech support.

Anonymous said...

JKK...are you beginning to see the end of the SSD hype cycle on the horizon?

I hope so.

You should stop pumping Flash SSD now that we all see it's a big rip-off compared to a good HDD.

In your own testing you have now seen that MLC flash gets SLOWER (and NOT faster) as the capacity of the chips increases.


The NAND Flash manufacturers have known this would happen and have been hiding it as they tricked the entire marketplace into believing that consumers would get faster computers that used less power if they only stopped buying HDD and bought NAND Flash instead.

For awhile, we believed them.

Now we are seeing that Flash SSDs make your computer slower...not faster, because (as Gene Amdahl told us 40 years ago), the speed of a system depends on the speed of the slowest part -- and NAND flash writes are WAY slower than disk. We are also now finding that there is little or no meaningful difference in battery life.


To make things worse JKK, you mislead your readers when you compare the performance of Flash SSD to HDD using an old, obsolete iPod HDD Toshiba MK3008GL for comparison.

Do your readers realize that you used a four-year old 4,200 RPM model with a 16MB/sec interface that was made ONLY for streaming low-bandwidth video in ultra-power constrained iPods?


I'm guessing you already know that if you had compared those SSD's to a REAL HDD, a recent model like the Toshiba MK1214GAH, you'd have seen that it is about FOUR TIMES FASTER than SSD and when you put one in a netbook it flat out blows the Flash SSD away in almost every performance test, INCLUDING boot time and hibernate/resume.

It's time to get off the Flash SSD bandwagon. Write performance sucks and, because of the way NAND flash works at the silicon device level, Flash performance is getting WORSE as SSDs get bigger!!!! Get to the right people at Samsung, Intel and Micron and they'll all tell you that that's just the way it is...period...end of story.

Meanwhile, HDD transfer rates get BETTER as bit densities and device capacity gets bigger.

By the way...another little turd in the punchbowl at the Flash SSD hype party is a little known power calculation that the Flash SSD makers never want to publish. It's called "watts per Gigabyte". Check it out and do some math...

Sorry to rain on the Flash SSD parade, but it's time to wake up and smell the coffee. Tell me again, why should I pay 3x more for half the capacity and no performance improvement?

Flash SSD is not dead yet but it's starting to smell really bad...

JKK said...

As you commented here too, here is my comment again:

Anon, i think you have not been following the resent news...

New mlc based SSDs intel and others are making beat any hdd...

Prices are also going down..

Have you seen my tests on runcore SSDs?

... and about slow and old drive.. just check what HP is using on their Mini 1000.

SSD party has just begun!

Anonymous said...


- On SSD-HDD Comparisons:

The HP Mini 1000 is using an old 4,200 RPM 60GB Toshiba with a maximum media transfer rate of 200-300 mbits/sec.


Once again, you keep making comparisons between latest and greatest SSDs and dog-slow, outdated, cheapest available HDDs. Newer 1.8" disks have 2x-3x faster data rate at the media -- they are more than TWICE as fast the MK6028GAL.


- On the newer MLC SSDs:

The best and fastest SLC SSD is Intel X-25E, and the best and fastest MLC SSD is Intel X-25M. FYI, the new MLC SSDs are SLOWER...not faster than SLC. Check the data at Intel.

Also...Flash SSD will...as I said...continue to get SLOWER as cell sizes (device capacity) increases.

It's just a matter of how NAND Flash works. Flash gets SLOWER as density increases -- while disk gets FASTER as density increases. So...for those of you who believe that NAND Flash SSDs are gonna get better over time...sorry to say you've fallen for the marketing, hook, line and sinker. Intel's X25 is as good as it's EVER gonna get. Newer, bigger capacity models will be slower.

- You said: "New mlc based SSDs intel and others are making beat any hdd..."

And just how fast is the MLC version of the X25 that all the hype-sters are so excited about?

Compared to a dog-slow Seagate Momentus HDD (worst-in-class), the X25-M scores a 'blazing' 119 (overall) on sysmark 2007 while the Momentus scores 111.

Wow...Intel's massively hyped new SSD is a piddling 7% faster than a slowest-in-class hard disk! I think people want more than a measley 7% performance improvement before they'll (a) spend $700 and (b) give up 250GBytes of capacity, don't you think?

I'm just waiting till someone has the guts to run a full suite of real application tests on a fast 7,200 RPM disk (like the WD models) and compare it to the letest and greatest SSD.

Oh wait...IDC already did. 7,200 RPM HDD won almost all of the real-world applications tests -- including boot time and hibernate-restore.

How's that for a turd in the punchbowl at the SSD hype party? That SSD kool-aid is smelling a little funny, no?

These are the reasons why people who actually know what's going on are spending so much money trying to find a replacement for NAND Flash...


...while the Flash SSD hypesters continue to pick your pockets as long as they can get away with it.

Do us all a favor JKK -- put down the kool-aid and stop hyping Flash SSD comparisons to old, outdated HDDs. Start publishing some real-world comparisons to the BEST HDDs, not the WORST ones. Hopefully people will then stop wasting their money on NAND Flash SSD -- and THEN the industry will get busy ramping up and reducing the cost of Phase Change Memory.

Then we can finally have SSD's that actually DO what SSDs are supposed to do and real-world users will join the party.


Anonymous said...

The "anonymous" person has missed the point I think.

The specific SSD types in discussion here may not be as fast as a fast current design harddrive. But the vast majority of UMPCs,netbooks etc. are all using slower hardware.
The performance of a fast HDD would be pointless in a netbook.

That said.. the vibration safety is THE most important part to me. If you actually use a UMPC or a netbook as it was intended, that durability is very important.

I have replaced a fair number of both laptop HDDs, and desktop HHDs mounted in yachts.
Give me a 128G SSD in a portable device anyday, especially when it used in applications like navigation which need to be fault tolerant.

For those of us who actually use portable devices in unfriendly environments, with reasonable storage size needs, SSDs are where the future is IMO.

On the other hand, if you are; a 25 yr old wanker spending all day in his parent's basement running PTP software, a visual artist working with HUGE files, or someone who still bothers playing games on a hotrod computer, then fine.. get a 1.5TB 7200rpm drive.

Anonymous said...

How come netbooks don't come out with SSD anymore? grrr; now i cannot buy a replacement for my eee900

JKK said...

T91 has ssd... and you could always trow away the HDD and buy even better SSD...

lopezvito said...

As always, love your videos and insights. Because of you, I also ordered my own runcore IV already, for my Lenovo S10 netbook. Thanks!

Anonymous said...

Hey one thing can make superior life on even MLC's by following how SLC erases i.e. marking the deletions as invalid(no tunelling) then when you write something it replaces the invalid with the data to reduce the tunelling and increase SSD life.

When will we see MLC based SSHD i.e. Solid State Hard Drives for the mobile computers like:-

1. 50 mm 160 GB for Dell Mini 9(we have till 128 GB)
2. 70 mm 250 GB for Eee PC's(then we will say bye bye 900HA)
3. 1.8 inch 500 GB for zif
We already have 1 TB Notebook SSD
4. 2 TB for desktop drives

The Extreme Moderate said...

SSDs are great, but I think the technology is still in too much of an evolutionary phase to invest too heavily in them.

The industry is doing a lot of cover-up really, and a look at Anand's experience in this space shows that. Degraded performance vs new performance is still a big deal and is really an inevitability due to the nature of how memory cells work. All they can do is work harder on faster RAM and faster controllers to make sure even degraded write performance is high.

The current drives really arent good at all degraded when it comes to random writes. Only the Intel and, to a much lesser extent, the OCZ Vertex stay ahead of a HDD when it comes to random writes in a degraded state. And degradation will definitely happen since write leveling makes sure the entire disk is written to. Garbage Collection and TRIM help, but really just reset the clock for a time. Things will quickly degrade again, so the focus must be on fully degraded performance and how that stacks up against a HDD when measuring these things.

I use a 60GB OCZ Vertex on my Vaio and do love it for battery life savings, durability (no more moving parts! hurray!) and generally HDD level or maybe slightly better performance, but I do recommend most casual users hold off a bit and even more sophisticated users do a lot of research before spending.

Great piece as always JKK! You da man!

Mike said...

After reading all the hype on SSDs I purchased n Intel SSD nd installed it in my Acer Aspire One. I used XXClone to simply copy over everything and make it bootable. I then defraged the SSD (which you're not supposed to do) but I wanted it optimized. Frankly I feel lied to. Purely from a users perspective I don't find it any faster at anything, and my battery doesn't last any longer than it did before. I originally thought it this worked out I'd get one for my Mac but in the end I bought a 7200rpm drive instead and found it to be actually faster and a lot cheaper. SSD's.. I'm not convinced..!!

Bill Zimmerly said...

Dear JKK,

I *LOVE* your videos on YouTube about the Eee PC series. I have one question for you - have you ever opened up the new, tinier 900SD model and replaced the SSD in it?

Here is the status of my effort to do that:


- Bill

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