Hi Steve,

So I'm writing for your advice now, but first a little background info about myself.  I'm working with IT network support in Bangkok since almost 10 years now and before did the same type of job back home in Denmark.  Having 20+ years experience in IT why am I then asking you for advice you may wonder.  It seems to me that you get access to a large range of IT products related to regular workstations of course with your focus on imaging software.

Now to the question. I'm looking for a SSD hard disk for my desktop machine where I would like to keep the regular HDD for data storage and only use SSD for OS (Windows 7), since I'm on a low budget I have planned on trying to stay within 4000 THB with the product purchased locally in Bangkok.  My desktop is primary used for web browsing and maybe a VMware virtual machine running for some testing at times.  It's just a low end Core 2 Duo 1.8GHz with 2GB ram but since I don't really have enough time (or don't take the time) for image editing so it works fine for me.

Btw. I just changed the VGA card to HIS 5450 after your positive review.

 

Now to the question. I'm looking for a SSD hard disk for my desktop machine where I would like to keep the regular HDD for data storage and only use SSD for OS (Windows 7), since I'm on a low budget I have planned on trying to stay within 4000 THB with the product purchased locally in Bangkok.  My desktop is primary used for web browsing and maybe a VMware virtual machine running for some testing at times.  It's just a low end Core 2 Duo 1.8GHz with 2GB ram but since I don't really have enough time (or don't take the time) for image editing so it works fine for me.

 

So what SSD would you recommend from this list:

  • Intel X25-V 40GB
  • Kingston SSDNow V Series (SNV125-S2)
  • Kingston SSDNow V Series (SNV125-S2BD)
  • OCZ Vertex2

Or more specific what product do you have experience with already.

I'm leaning towards either Intel or OCZ SSD but not really sure how to choose.  From the research I done they both seem to have good remarks, but the OCZ is a fairly new product so there could be a surprise hidden.  As I said the budget should be around the 4000 bath mark, so that would mean 30-40 GB, that should actually be fine for my setup since I currently have 30GB system partition using approx 50%.

 

Now having asked for your advice I would of course also be happy to share some of my knowledge on Windows server, storage, firewall etc.  if you should ever need that.  Thanks for the great website and news letter on Stick's site.  I hope you are not leaving Thailand anytime soon as it seems Stick is considering...

Best regards

Kim

 

From the list you gave, a list I notice includes the most popular models available locally, I’d say the OCZ and the Intel are the two best choices.  The Vertex 2 will give you better performance than the Intel.  Both support TRIM and both have 3 year warranties if I’m not mistaken.  So the Vertex 2 unless cost comes into play.  The Vertex 2 is a mature product, and in fact much better performing Vertex 3 will be out soon as they’re now currently in reviewers hands.  I’m not fond of the Kingston SSD’s, they underperform for their cost.

 

Hi Kim –

Nice to hear from you. 

You’ve quite a bit of IT experience!

Next to an adequate amount of RAM, an SSD will give you the most performance for the cost than any other upgrade out there.  And consider, an SSD will remain valuable long after you retire your current desktop, so it might be worth getting a better/bigger one than planned.

From the list you gave, a list I notice includes the most popular models available locally, I’d say the OCZ and the Intel are the two best choices.  The Vertex 2 will give you better performance than the Intel.  Both support TRIM and both have 3 year warranties if I’m not mistaken.  So the Vertex 2 unless cost comes into play.  The Vertex 2 is a mature product, and in fact much better performing Vertex 3 will be out soon as they’re now currently in reviewers hands.  I’m not fond of the Kingston SSD’s, they underperform for their cost.

Something else to keep in mind, you already know that once a mechanical hard drive becomes more than 50% full, it starts to lose performance.  SSD’s experience this too, but more towards greater than 80% full.   So don’t plan on using your SSD to full capacity, and don’t forget to factor in the size of your page and cache files which can really benefit from the speed advantages of an SSD.

If you won’t be installing a fresh install on your new SSD, and plan on just restoring a backup copy/image, be very careful on sector size.  Win7 automatically sets this correctly, but old images upgraded from XP or Vista might not be the right size.

Some tips:  Make sure the new SSD is set up as an AHCI driver in your system BIOS, and you’re using the Microsoft AHCI 1.0 driver.  This really makes a difference in performance.  Also, turn off any disk caching, it’s not longer needed.

Thanks for reading the column.  It’s always good to get feedback.

Let me know how this works out for you.

Steve

 

Thanks for the advice.  Looks like I should go for the Vertex 2 60GB properly then.  That would also leave some space for running virtual machines on the SSD.  That must be very fast then.  I recently did a fresh install of Windows 7 so still haven't decided if I fresh install again or image the existing disk. Most like going to do a fresh install also to ensure I'm using AHCI driver for the SSD.   I let you know the results of my exercise when completed.

 

Hi Steve,

Thanks for the advice.  Looks like I should go for the Vertex 2 60GB properly then.  That would also leave some space for running virtual machines on the SSD.  That must be very fast then.  I recently did a fresh install of Windows 7 so still haven't decided if I fresh install again or image the existing disk. Most like going to do a fresh install also to ensure I'm using AHCI driver for the SSD.   I let you know the results of my exercise when completed.

Next week it will be busy with Installing MS Forefront TMG proxy server and later a migrate a old Fedore server to Ubuntu 10.04 including LDAP etc.

Best regards

Kim

 

Hi Kim –

If you formatted your current hard disk using the Win7 disk, then you should be fine to copy an image over to the new drive.  The AHCI driver is included in the standard Windows Install.  What often happens though, is if your computer has another SATA  controller with its own driver, then it will use it and you’ll need to use your device driver utility to manually revert it back.  No big deal, nothing to do a fresh install over.

I’m sure you’re going to be very pleased with your new SSD.  But I caution you, it’s addictive.  Once you experience them then your work computer, laptop, all the computers you use will become irritating.. ;o)

Steve