MLC SSD for OS install ?
January 17, 2009 4:53 PM   Subscribe

I'm building a new PC, and I'm eyeing a Transcend ts64gssd25s-m SSD drive to put WinXP Home on (64GB); However, since it is MLC based, I have a few questions...

MLC means 10.000 cycles of lifespan, so how long will my drive last? I plan to implement various life-saving schemes (disabling indexing, relocating the swap mem, disabling the file access journal...) on top of the built-in schemes (wear levelling) but i still feel anguish at the thought of the drive dying on me in a year or two, even though the builder says in theory it shouldn't be the case. Do you have experience with this drive, or any MLC SSD drive? What can you advise me? Should I put an OS only on a SLC drive or are the dangers of MLC exaggerated?

Thank you , hivemind !
posted by Oneirokritikos to Computers & Internet (12 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
Try this.
posted by Crotalus at 5:02 PM on January 17, 2009

Could you explain your reasoning for wanting to go with SSD?
posted by odinsdream at 5:04 PM on January 17, 2009

Crotalus, thanks for the link !

odinsdream, I'm designing a pretty boosted PC for music production applications, and I thought SSD was coming down to reasonable prices (at least , for MLC), so why not have windows and my sequencer start from it? It would boost load up times, for instance. I thought it was a nice touch, which I'm complementing with terabyte HDDs for storage.
posted by Oneirokritikos at 5:07 PM on January 17, 2009

The omgwritecycles hype is based more on idle speculation and misconceptions from older flash drives than reality. Unless your use cases are far outside the norm, you shouldn't have any problems.

Before you get started installing, you might want to try partition alignment to improve performance. It doesn't seem to be widely known, but people are reporting huge gains.
posted by 0xFCAF at 5:12 PM on January 17, 2009

This article reviewing the recently SSD drives Intel released this fall has a lot of good general info on both SLC and MLC devices. Apparently a lot of the MLC drives use the same controller, and it has some, um, undesirable charactaristics. I don't know if the drive you are looking at falls into that category or not.
posted by Good Brain at 5:29 PM on January 17, 2009

Well, the OS can always be reinstalled, so if you're keeping your personal data on a mechanical drive and backing it up I wouldn't worry so much about wear failure. If you're willing to spend the premium on the SSD, presumably you'll also have the dough to replace it in two years when these things will likely be both more mature and less expensive.

Speaking personally, I don't see the cost/benefit making sense for these disks on a client machine level at the moment. Doesn't mean it won't be there in the future, though. In fact, I'm pretty sure it will.
posted by selfnoise at 5:46 PM on January 17, 2009

If you use nLite to prepare a custom Windows installer disc, it's very very easy to put the profiles root folder (normally C:\Documents and Settings) on another drive. If you do that, and put your page file on a different drive as well, then you will find that the C: drive won't get written to terribly often (by Windows standards at any rate).

That also means you'll need much much less than 64GB for your Windows drive, unless you're planning to put bags of stuff under Program Files.
posted by flabdablet at 6:34 PM on January 17, 2009

I thought SSD drives couldn't match up to read/write speed of spindle hard disks. Is this no longer the case? You'd get acoustic benefits from SSD, obviously, and a lack of moving parts is great for mobile devices... what other aspects of SSD are useful for a desktop?
posted by odinsdream at 6:57 PM on January 17, 2009

Raw data throughput is worse, but seeks are near instantaneous.
posted by gjc at 7:21 PM on January 17, 2009

If you have enough ram you can completely disable swap in windows too.
posted by damn dirty ape at 9:57 PM on January 17, 2009

I think I 've got all the data I need to minimize the impact of WinXP over the SSD, but from what I've gathered from you people and other sources, i get an even result, with as many pros as cons...I'll see if I can upgrade to an SLC drive. Thank you all !
posted by Oneirokritikos at 1:36 PM on January 18, 2009

Just for completeness, there's a really great interview on HardOCP with an Intel SSD engineer addressing many topics people are brining up here. It's lengthy, but very informative, especially the third page.
posted by tracert at 4:45 PM on January 18, 2009

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