Monday, May 2, 2011 [Tweets] [Favorites]

The Hot/Crazy Solid State Drive Scale

Jeff Atwood:

Solid state hard drives are so freaking amazing performance wise, and the experience you will have with them is so transformative, that I don’t even care if they fail every 12 months on average! I can’t imagine using a computer without a SSD any more; it’d be like going back to dial-up internet or 13" CRTs or single button mice. Over my dead body, man!

I’ve been using an SSD as my main storage for a little over a year. It’s been great so far, but I specifically bought it from Apple so that they would be responsible for the drivers and AppleCare would deal with any problems that crop up.

5 Comments

"I specifically bought it from Apple so that they would be responsible for the drivers and AppleCare would deal with any problems that crop up."

Yup. I expect 3 years of good performance from the SSD in my MBP, and that's why I paid for a BTO model.

But Atwood's point is still true. The difference an SSD makes in read-world usage is pretty phenomenal. The speedup it provides takes place precisely where the rubber meets the roads in terms of making 'teh snappy' real for the user.

Yeah, I don’t understand why I keep reading that it only affects the boot time. For me it made almost everything much faster.

"Yeah, I don’t understand why I keep reading that it only affects the boot time. For me it made almost everything much faster."

Benchmarking is an art, not a science.

If you're spending most of your time waiting on Photoshop filters to run, or movie compression to happen, or if you want a better FPS rate in your game, mainstream benchmarks will tell you a lot, and SSD's won't help you all that much considering the expense.

But if you're like me, and you hit a keystroke, that tells QuicKeys to read a file, that then tells it to read a compiled AppleScript file, that then talks to System Events and executes logic, an SSD is the difference between instant and lag.

The single biggest win in SSD's for me is simply making my ~/Library/ into 'level 4 cache'. That means there is no lag after I say, "Computer, do this." Benchmarking doesn't measure that, but it's what 'teh snappy' is all about.

And, of course, if you ever get into a VM swap situation, an SSD will make a huge difference too in making swap into 'level 4 cache' too. There are big wins in a bunch of different places that benchmarking isn't concerned about.

Put a small SSD in every box with a directly logged in user, buy 'good enough' 5ghz WiFi gear to handle networked access to your big cheap platters, and you hit the value sweet spot.

Hell. OS X with an SSD finally gets 'teh snappy' back to where it was with OS 9...

Marco agrees with us.

The SSD is the most important performance increase to happen to personal computing in a very long time.

The old benchmarking tools just don't see the revolution, and the old benchmarking tools are what the reviewers rely upon.

(Pun not originally intended, but once I noticed it, I was happy with it.)

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