Let's compare two options, using today's prices over here:
1. Samsung Spinpoint F4 320 GB for around € 30, or
2. SSD with 120 GB capacity around € 190
The read speed of the SSD will be about twice as fast as the F4, but the write speed can be slower, for instance the Intel X25M.
If you were to use 2 F4's in raid0, the read speed would be comparable to SSD and the write speed similar to the fastest SSD but faster than the majority of SSD.
Generally boot times and loading a program will be faster with an SSD, but the question is whether that is relevant for an editing rig. Normally you boot once a day and you only start PR or AE once or very few times per day. In my case the major boot delay is in loading/initializing the Marvell Bios for the on-board array, the initializing of the Areca array and the staggered spin-up of all my disks, which causes a delay of 1.5 second per disk. So before the Windows kernel is starting to load, around 55 seconds have already passed and that is not accelerated by a SSD. So in my case the question is whether a boot time of say 60 seconds with an SSD or 65 seconds with a conventional disk is worth the additional € 160 in the example above. That is almost the equivalent of a GTX 460.
Next year the situation will probably change significantly with the new generation of SSD's, that have further enhancements and most importantly a doubling of storage capacity for around the same price.
Just my 0.02
I think you have a really good point there Harm.
Thanks so much, gentlemen. The depths of your applicable knowledge astounds me. I'm glad I get to tap into those depths.
Harm is absolutely correct, but there is more to the SSD story. Though I agree that they're not economically practical for media, I personally find them to be worth it for the C-Drive for Windows 7, applications, and for AE and PPro Project files. You don't generally want to use a raid setup for the OS, so the best alternative for raid type I/O speed is an SSD. The additional advantages of SSDs that have yet to be pointed out in this post:
1. NO MOVING PARTS!
2. No heat generation
3. Very small footprint, allowing more airflow through the cabinet
4. Lower power draw than a conventional drive (which matters more for laptops).
5. No defragging necessary.
Additional benefit #1, the no moving parts, is what ultimately made me spring for the SSD. Yes, I paid $550 for a paltry 256Gb, but the read speed is a blazing 355Mb and the write speed is 215. More importantly for me is the confidence I have in its reliability which I don't have for hard drives. I think the final decision toward getting one is simply the cost vs. benefit. I have consistent tight deadlines, so the high cost of the SSD wasn't much of a factor to me.
With Windows 7, you really don't need to boot up the PC everyday in my opinion. With my PC I just put it on Sleep mode (most new PCs/motherboard have S3 sleep mode enabled in BIOS by default) and this shuts down everything (hard drive, fans, etc.) except the LAN and USB ports. Waking up the PC via clicking the key, movement of the mouse, or via sending magic packets over the LAN/Internet takes a few seconds and I am back to the desktop. Nowadays I only reboot my PC after I get prompted by Windows because a patch requires a reboot or after installing a software package that requires a reboot. I do close most of my applications before I put the PC in sleep mode though.
With high density 1 TB drives plus the fact that Windows 7 (and Vista) has Superfetch caching means launching applications (including Premier Pro) also take only a few seconds.
This is the reason I am satisfied with HDDs and feel that there is no real need for SSDs given the huge price and capacity differences.
Do you need an SSD? Of course not.
Are there benefits to having a SSD? Of course there are.
The biggest problem with SSD's right now is not are they faster, are their benefits? There most definitely are, and some big advantages at that. The biggest issue with them right now is the fact that they just cost way too much. I built a dual xeon x5660 setup for work, and I used an SSD for the OS drive. When spending $8000 on a computer, another $500 for faster boot and load times is worth it in my opinion.
But spending that same $500 when building a $2000 build, you can get a lot more for your money elsewhere. Raid 0 for OS and programs is fine, in fact, that is about the only thing I would feel comfortable with putting on a raid 0 drive (other than temporary data). That stuff is the most easily replaceable of all data on the hdds, so Raid 0 is a fantastic option for a system drive, and a very economical one for most people, which is I think why Harm tends to not suggest SSD's, and it's a very good argument for one. But it does put a large power draw on your system, you're dealing with two phsycial disks which that can lead to a lot of potential issues. And Harm is right in saying some SSD's have slower write speeds, thats not really the case anymore, and with a system drive you are doing very little writing so that really will have no impact.
My biggest issue with SSD's right now is they rate at which they are advancing though. They dont' hold their value near as long, they are just finally becoming economical, and well the newer ones that are coming out are getting substantially faster.
The one thing why I personally would rather go SSD than a phsycial disk is yes, the $/GB might be WAY higher. But I don't store any data on my system hdd anyway, so if I can get a nice 120gb SSD for $200 (which you can find Vertex 2's for which are great SSD's) or 2x1tb for $200, I'd lean towards the SSD. I'm not messing right Raid, typically the speeds are slightly better, and at that point I don't care about the price/gb, I care more about the $/MB/s.
It's up to you whether the SSD is worth it, if you leave your comp on and don't close premiere it probably is not worth it. If you are constantly loading large programs, then yes it could very well be worth it.