4 Replies Latest reply on Apr 10, 2013 6:27 PM by Jim_Simon

    Revisit SSDs instead of platter drives


      The knock on SSDs has been the high cost per GB compared to platter drives.  But SSDs have come down considerably in price.  And for users who might not need the space of a platter drive, I wonder now if SSDs are more of a valid option to replace some if not all platter drives?  I have a couple of Samsung 830 256gb SSDs I picked up for $155 each.  I also have a Samsung 830 128gb SSD - got it for $70.


      I already swapped one of the 256gb SSDs into my video editing rig - it replaces the 325gb platter boot/app drive.  I am liking how it makes the PC feel snappier.  The other 256gb and 128gb SSDs were intended for installation in my other PCs.  But now I am wondering - maybe I should use one or both in some configuration in my video editing rig?  For example, what about this?:


      A) Keep the already installed 256gb SSD to hold the OS, applications, but also have it hold the Windows swap file along with the Adobe/After Effects scratch/working files.  I cut down the size of Win 7 to around 11gb.  And even with Adobe CS5 and some other apps installed, the SSD still has approx 180gb of free space left.  An SSD is not like a platter drive in terms of access, so why not take advantage of the 180gb unused space and speed of the SSD for swap/scratch files?  Wouldn't that be faster than a single platter drive?


      B) Then install the other 256gb SSD to hold the media I am working on.  I am not a professional who has huge amounts of media/footage files.  So I think a 256gb SSD is fine to hold the footage that is being used for editing.  Later I would archive footage off of the SSD anyway - after completing a project.  So, I could take advantage of the fast read of the media/footage files when they are needed for editing/effects work, which again would be faster than a single platter drive that is having to seek for source footage during the editing/effects work.  And the swap/scratch files would be on the non-footage drive, and so would not reduce speed when reading of footage is required at the same time as writing to page/scratch files.


      Would not the above setup provide for a fast and snappy editing/effects work experience compared to non-raid platter drives?  If the size is sufficient for my use, does it really matter if I could have 1TB of additional space with a platter drive - if I would never use that extra space?  (Keep in mind additional platter drives and raid is not a free lunch either - there is cost involved compared to single platter drives.)


      The one area I am not so concerned about is render speed.  As a non-professional, I am fine if rendering takes some extra time, and I can go get a coffee or work on something else while waiting, compared to a professional who is on a deadline.  So I might use one of my 500gb or 1TB platter drives to hold any rendered output.


      Am I way off base with my proposed two 256gb SSD Premiere/After Effects setup?  Would including that additional 3rd 128gb SSD in the mix provide any advantage, in terms of shuffling where I would place the OS/apps/swap/scratch files?  Or perhaps there is some space issue I am not aware of that would necessitate use of larger platter drives?  Thanks for any ideas.

        • 1. Re: Revisit SSDs instead of platter drives
          Jim_Simon Level 9

          If you find those capacities sufficient, go for it.


          Personally, I'd find them way to small to be practical for my work.

          • 2. Re: Revisit SSDs instead of platter drives
            Indio22 Level 1

            Agreed, it very much depends on the user needs.  For example, I took 10 days of video footage on vacation in Hawaii - 720p at 60fps.  The sum size of that footage is 20gb.  So it would fit no problem on the 256gb SSD.  I could fit several other vacation footages as well, along with some of my animation project footages, on the 256gb SSD.  I could be working several of these projects at once if needed.  (Although I would eventually move footage to disk backup storage on a server anyway, so it wouldn't need to clutter up the SSD forever.) 


            So for my usage, terabytes of platter drive arrays for footage is probably not needed.  Why not take advantage of fast access times of the SSD for reading footage.  Isn't that what folks are doing when they RAID 0 platter drives to hold footage - trying to improve the read speeds for performance?  In the past, with SSDs in the $300+ range - might not have made sense to go SSD.  But with fast 256gb SSDs going for $150 or lower, if you don't need the platter space, seems like you can get a nice performance boost using an SSD - without having to resort to raid arrays of platter drives.  I might give it a try and see how it goes.

            • 3. Re: Revisit SSDs instead of platter drives
              JFPhoton Level 3

              .....be aware that there is a difference between SSDs concerning their controller. It has been reported that  SSDs with Sandforce controllers suffer in speed when writing "incompressible data"......like already heavily compressed digital video files.   Supposedly, the write performance on a sandforce SATAIII SSD can drop down into the 100MB/sec. range....which may be a problem if many video tracks are on a timeline. It is recommended to use the more expensive SSDs with a Marvell controller that maintains a high write speed with "incompressible data, ( i.e. Crucial M4, Plextor Pro Series, Samsung Pro series, etc.)

                     However, with my own system......I bought a 456 GB M4 for CHEAP on sale and use it in my SATA II laptop as the second drive......for media. Windows resource monitor shows over 300MB/sec. write speed to my old SATA II Corsair Force 120  SSD....which is in an external USB 3 dock.

              The Sanforce issue does not seem to be present on my gear.

                     I agree....SSDs may almost be there.....the speed benefit provided eliminates RAID cards and performance drops due to filled ,spinning HDDs...not to mention the mechanical failures that have plagued HDDs!!!

              • 4. Re: Revisit SSDs instead of platter drives
                Jim_Simon Level 9

                They're still quite pricey at 'useable' capacities, though - 1TB and larger.