15 Replies Latest reply on Apr 23, 2010 3:07 PM by ECBowen

    Are SSD's a good option?

    DVDmike Level 1

      It looks like you can get a good Intel 80GB SSD for  $225 now.  (http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16820167023&cm_re=x25_v-_-20-167-023-_ -Product)


      In recent years, I have been using RAID-1 for my OS as installing the software and plethora of third party plug-ins is the most time consuming portion of setting up a new PC.  And if it fails, a nightmare to reinstall, especially when you consider activation issues.  So I have chosen to keep a second copy of the OS in case a drive fails.  Since I started this practice, I have not had a failure (yet).


      With no moving parts, are SSD's fail safe enough where I would not need to worry about drive failure?  And if so, could I go to a RAID-0 structure to increase capacity and speed without really worrying about drive failure?  How much faster would my system run if I went to RAID-0 SSD instead of RAID-1 7200 PM SATA?


      Assuming a positive answer to the preceding question, would 160GB be adequate space for Win 7 654 pro, CS5 master collection, Lightroom and many plug-ins?  The problem is that in recent years, it seems that Adobe is writing more and files to the "Application Data" folders on the OS drive by default.  For some plugins that have huge libraries of files, I have starting using a free data disk to "install" them.  Although this saves space on my OS drive, I am not sure if this is a good practice or not.


      Does the performance of SSD's decrease as you fill up your drives like disk drives do?  Since there are no disks inside, I'd have to guess that they do not as long as they are defragged.  But is this true?


      I've got two unused 500GB SATA 7200 drives that I was planning on using for my RAID-1 OS drive.  If there would likely be no real speed benefit over time to using SSD's or if 160GB would likely not be enough space or if RAID-0 SSD is too risky, I'd rather not spend the money.


      Does anyone know enough about SSD's to know the answers to any of these questions?

        • 1. Re: Are SSD's a good option?
          DVDmike Level 1

          And for basically the same price, you can get 1 160GB SSD and eliminate the RAID-0 issue.




          As long as I have enough ram, will SSD's only speed up OS and program load times?

          • 2. Re: Are SSD's a good option?
            Harm Millaard Level 7

            For video editing there are no benefits to SSD's. They are costly and have limited capacity without any discernable performance gain. Maybe in two or three years time it will be different, but for now it is only a hype.


            Just consider the cost of 2 TB SSD storage, around € 5,300 over here. A 2 TB disk is around € 265, so you can get 12 disks plus a very good raid controller for far less which will give you over 850 MB/s transfer rate and gives you 24 TB instead of only 2 TB.

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            • 3. Re: Are SSD's a good option?
              DVDmike Level 1

              I realize that it is just system boot and program loads that it would benefit.  I guess the questions that I need help with are


              1) how much is the benefit to starting programs and booting,  Is there any benefit to booting if you have regular 7200 RPN SATA data drives?

              2) how reliable are SSD's really and if can I reasonably eliminate RAID-1 with confidence

              3) is 160GB is enough space for Win7 / CS5?


              I realize that on OS SSD will not help speed up rendering.  For PPro, my system just needs to be fast enough to play back timelines smoothly.  (I can do final renders overnight if needed.  With the type of comps that I do in AE, I think that my renders will still be CPU bound.),  I think the rest of my system will be fast enough to make PPro quite usable (I hope!)

              • 4. Re: Are SSD's a good option?
                Harm Millaard Level 7
                1) how much is the benefit to starting programs and booting,  Is there any benefit to booting if you have regular 7200 RPN SATA data drives?


                It will make quite a difference, but does it matter whether booting takes 10 seconds or 2 minutes for the price difference? It is only a once a day action.


                2) how reliable are SSD's really and if can I reasonably eliminate RAID-1 with confidence


                I don't know.


                3) is 160GB is enough space for Win7 / CS5?



                • 5. Re: Are SSD's a good option?
                  Scott Chichelli Level 3

                  SSD's do make windows snappier (not effecting video)


                  with CS4 the temp files caching to an SSD (OS) would make it faster to a point

                  now with CS5 it caches to the render drive so it would no longer matter

                  i have not seen in CS5 where you can direct your temp files like in CS4.


                  so basically a rich mans toy....




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                  • 6. Re: Are SSD's a good option?
                    DVDmike Level 1

                    Of course you are correct Harm.  It really does not help me get my work done any faster to start the OS and programs faster.    But it sure would be "fun" to have this speed!  Plus, I am used to having to shut down and restart programs as I go from LR/PS to PP/AE.  Maybe once I am running a good 64 bit system with 12GB, this will not be needed and starting and stopping programs will be a thing of the past anyway.



                    Still trying to talk myself into it, it would save some energy and noise to replace two disk drives with one SSD.


                    i have not seen in CS5 where you can direct your temp files like in CS4


                    Scott, I assumed that I would be able to do this eventualy with another small SSD later.  But thanks for setting me strait on what you have seen so far with pre-released CS5.

                    • 7. Re: Are SSD's a good option?
                      Scott Chichelli Level 3

                      and again never raid your OS drive..... unless raid 5 on a good controller.... raid 1 is a bad idea for an OS

                      • 8. Re: Are SSD's a good option?
                        Harm Millaard Level 7

                        There are two kinds of temp files used by PR.


                        1. Media cache and previews that are set in Preferences.


                        2. Real temp files that are determined by the Windows environment variables TEMP and TMP. These you have to change in the Windows Control Panel.

                        • 9. Re: Are SSD's a good option?
                          DVDmike Level 1

                          never raid your OS drive..... unless raid 5 on a good controller.... raid 1 is a bad idea for an OS


                          Why?  I do not want to have to run incremental backups and if I have a drive failure, I don't want to have to go back to Adobe, microsoft, and everyone else who requires activation and try to get a new activation code after reinstalling everything.  As it has been said here, once the OS starts and programs load, there is no advantage of having fast OS drive.  Conversely, I would assume that there is no disadvantage to having a slightly slower OS drive once the programs are loaded?  OS data security is much more important to me than a slight OS speed improvement.  What am I missing?


                          A few years back, I used to have my editing machine running on RAID-5 OS with 15k drives and SCSI u320 and a nice SCSI Controller.  After going to raid1 with 7200 RPM SATA drives, my read/write speeds tested were roughly the same.  RAID 1 is just easy and requires less physical drives than RAID 5.  Now that was then and this is now, so there may be differences that I am not aware of.

                          • 10. Re: Are SSD's a good option?
                            Scott Chichelli Level 3

                            nothing to do with speed....

                            raid 1 is a poor mans redundancy and a bad one at that.

                            its prone to failure, rarely do the rebuilds work right when you do lose 1 drive (onboard controller)

                            same would hold true for raid 0-1 (in fact worse) and rebuild times are very slow and you cant use the system while rebuilding.


                            what is so hard about using a program like Paragon to do nightly incremetal back ups automatically at night while you sleep

                            to an ext drive?  thats the BEST way to protect your OS.


                            i have a raid 5 array, plus nightly back up to a raid 5 Drobo (NAS) PLUS weekly back up to external... now thats security.


                            almost all my other systems have an ext drive to back up nightly or weekly. add to that i use Carbonite.


                            if you think i am paranoid you wont once you lose data.


                            but raid 1 is a joke... (yes i am blunt)




                            • 11. Re: Are SSD's a good option?
                              Bill Gehrke Adobe Community Professional & MVP

                              With my experimental system I have recently benchmarked with PPBM4 three different OS/Application combinations.  The first was the 150 GB WD VelociRaptor drive, the second configuration was four each OCZ 30 GB SSD drives in RAID10, and the last configuration was two Seagate 300GB 15,000 rpm 6Gbit/sec 15K.7 SAS drives in RAID 0.  Of course the last one would not be a practical operation configuration it was just an extreme test bed solution.


                              Since the source of the benchmark numbers is one second intervals you get results of plus or minus one second results so each run of the encoding benchmarks were averaged over ten tests and then at least three runs in each configuration of the total test were averaged


                              I could not see any significant difference in the tests on each of the three configurations. As others have said it they may make starting up and loading application slightly faster but once your application is up in memory the SSD or other high speed device does not offer any performance advantages.  What I could not easily test is the long term effects on the SSD's  The SSD solution does offer wonderful power/heat/noise saving potential.

                              • 12. Re: Are SSD's a good option?
                                DVDmike Level 1

                                I do realize that we are talking about RAID-1 in a windows environment.  But back in the late 90's and early 2000's, I used to run a large datacenter.  I was responsible for all technology (hardware, software, phone systems, disaster recovery, etc.)   Our core system ran on the VMS OS cluster  and used a large disk array with dozens or drives in RAID5 and RAID 0+1 (we called it 0+1, not 10).  We occasionally had disk failures with the 15000RPM SCSI drives.  Real time data redundancy was crucial as we taking orders via the internet for, and executing, trades.  If we missed someone's trade due to any loss of data, we would be liable for making up the difference in the trade value whenever we finally traded it.  These were institutional trades, so it was common to trade millions of dollars at a time.  We kept track of assets totaling over 10 billion USD.  I can tell you that when we had a RAID 0+1 drive fail, it was a simple procedure and it was relatively fast and we noticed almost no performance slowdown.  However, whenever a raid 5 drive failed, there was defiantly a slowdown and decrease in system performance for anything touching that array.  We never lost data due to a hard drive issue.  And we had a lot of RAID 0+1 drives set up.


                                I do realize that this thread is about Windows systems.  But it seems to me that if the disk controller takes care of the raid and the low level I/O that it would not matter what OS we are talking about and  that there is nothing inherently wrong with RAID-1 where one should not be able to rely on it for fault tolerance of a single drive.


                                I have only had one drive issue for a raid 1 setup on a windows system.  And the rebuild of the new drive worked flawlessly using the MB controller.  So I do not have enough experience to say that it will continue to work every time. For my editing machine, I am willing to take a significant amount of risk for my OS drive.  RAID 1, for example, only really would help at all if only one drive fails.  It would not help for a massive surge that wacked both drives.  It would not help with OS corruption.  To recover from these issues, you need to have good backups and be diligent.  For what I am doing, this is overkill for me.  I am willing to live with that kind of catastrophe.  In the case of a catastrophe, my data is much more important.  I use a NAS to backup important data files and all of my project files and LR cattalos.  If my house burns down, I am toast on everything because I have no offsite backup.


                                So for me, RAID-1 is more of a peace of mind convenience for one possible disaster that is (apparently) easy to remedy and not costly, it is not a full end all backup solution.  If I loose my OS, it is a pain in my tush.  But its not so bad that I really need a complete enterprise disaster recovery procedure.  But if I am kidding myself into a false sense of security that RAID-1 is totally unreliable on the windows platform, then I should bag it altogether.  If anyone else has any good or bad experiences with recovering from a raid-1 1 disk failure, please post!

                                • 13. Re: Are SSD's a good option?
                                  ECBowen Most Valuable Participant

                                  The problem with raid one is if the disk fails over time. Raid 1 fails if the partition table is corrupting over time where as raid 5 does not because of the parity bit and check. If a drive fails immediately then raid 1 protects you fine and gets you up and running quickly. If it fails over time then the data on both drives will corrupt over time as the controller reads from both and saves data to both. That is why raid 1 is really an entry level raid and was never meant for enterprise storage. Most enterprise storage admins use raid 6 or large Jbod's in Raid 6. I have not looked at the Raid 50 standard yet and I am interested in what that brings to the table. But that is the simple explanation as to the draw back of raid 1. Also if you had performance issues with your Raid 5 then you did not have the right controllers. Raid 5 even in degraded states is considerably faster than raid 10. with the equivalent amount of disks.

                                  • 14. Re: Are SSD's a good option?
                                    DVDmike Level 1

                                    Thanks EC. that is good information.  I don't think that back when I was running what we called RAID 0+1 that RAID 6 had been finalized Yet.  But we had the best controllers money could buy for a VMS system back then.  Maybe things have improved since 2002 with RAID-5, but I could physically see the increased disk activity via the activity lights of the drives in the cabinets during the rebuild process.  This disk activity correlated exactly with users' poor performance.  We had hot spares in the RAID-5 arrays so we did not even have to physically replace a drive.  But I guess that what you are saying is that during a disk rebuild of a raid-5 array, there should never be any increased disk activity due to the rebuild if your raid-5 is set up correctly?  Because if increased disk activity to support a build of the replaced drive is needed, I don't see how this could not affect an array's performance?


                                    If using RAID 1 on a system on my little windows machine, is there a way in windows to know if your partition is failing over time?  I just run the system disk check periodically.  But perhaps this does not tell me what I need to know.  If it is starting to fail, how does one fix it?

                                    • 15. Re: Are SSD's a good option?
                                      ECBowen Most Valuable Participant

                                      NP, there is increased disk activity during the rebuild but controllers now days handle it differently. Also the drives are faster with more Cache and NCQ makes the rebuild affect other operations allot less. Current controllers have much faster CPU's with 512 MB DDR2 on them. Current Controllers with NCQ would not lose any data during rebuilds and allow raid 5's in rebuild to handle the same data stream a raid 10 can. Also now the background priority settings can further adjust the load on the controller during rebuild. Raid 6 reads even faster than raid 5 which makes the rebuild process even less intensive and you have 1 extra level of parity.


                                      SMART was created really for just that. The problem is current SMART is really in it's infancy and has allot of bugs. It trips prematurely flaging a drive as failing when the drive is really ok. It can cause a drive to drop out of a raid that is completely normal. There are allot of problems with it currently which is why I normally have my guys disable the SMART support on the board. The only real way to try and compensate for drive failure over time causing partition corruption is imaging. Really a raid 5 can corrupt as well if controller gets confused (long explanation as to how this can happen) so you want a secondary image backup anyway for even raid 5 arrays. I currently run a raid 6 volume for our server with a hotspare and backup to a NAS raid 5 with imaging software and another backup on an external E-Sata that only happens once a week incase of complete and total failure of everything else. That is really the best advice I can give is use Imaging software to backup your raid 1 consistantly and that should minimize some of the failure over time risk.


                                      BTW running a sector by sector chkdsk will often catch the corruption so that isnt a bad idea.