SSD w/ Aggressive GC
Hey. I came across techgage through some useful reviews and I'm not sure if this is the right place to ask for purchase advice but here goes.
I'm looking to purchase an SSD as well as 1-2 HDDs for my system and wonder if someone could point me in the right direction. I specifically need an SSD with aggressive & effective garbage collection since I want to be able to use it with an OS that doesn't support TRIM.
My usage primarily consists of:
Gaming. A combination of old and new games.
Quite a lot of Video/Audio/Image Editing & Encoding.
My Budget: Quite limited, €250 would probably be my absolute maximum for the SSD. As for HDDs it's a bit up in the air.
Some googling has given me names such as the Kingston V100+ & V300+, SSDs with Intel G2, the latest Crucial M4 as well as the Corsair Neutron. But what would you recommend? Also, I'm interested/curious in knowing what companies have their own software for manual TRIM. (I know Intel is one of these with their Intel Toolbox)
Also, what kind of HDDs would you recommend in combination with the SSD for general storage? Your knowledge is very much appreciated :)
CPU: 6 x AMD Phenom(tm) II X6 1090T Processor @ 3214 MHz 512 kb Cache, MEM: 16 gb, GFX: AMD Radeon HD 6900 Series 2048 MB
From what I remember, there are two types of garbage collection, which can probably be best described as active and passive. The latter is the easiest to explain, it waits until the SSD is inactive (system idle) and then performs its routines, typically only when the SSD is full, or close to it. Active is a type that will clear unused blocks, even while the SSD is in use (while keeping the performance hit to a minimum). So if you want maximum and continuous performance, an active collector would be better.
After a fair bit of reading, and for the type of workload you'd be using, a non-sandforce controller would be best. Sandforce controllers tend to be rather poor with incompressible data (in terms of stability). Games and especially movies, use a lot of incompressible data. Next one to avoid would be Samsung 800 series SSDs, as they have a very low priority GC that's passive, so performance will degrade rapidly once the drive becomes full. The Crucial M4 will degrade rapidly too after the drive is full without TRIM, so that's likely out too (passive GC).
The strong Contender here is the Corsair Neutron (LAMD Controller), which has some very consistent results when full, even if it isn't strictly speaking, the fastest drive. The OCZ Vector, not to be confused with the Vertex series, is another possibility too (Indilinx Controller). I'll keep reading up on some others, if I can find relevant performance data as to long-term stability.
TRIM is a standardised ATA command, so the 'custom software' solutions are just GUI wrappers for the command. The Intel Toolbox though, just has a lot of other features and tools for analysis. If an SSD does not support TRIM, or the OS doesn't, these tools can then provide a means to manually run garbage collection across the entire drive at the user's discretion, thereby simulation the effect of TRIM.
For HDDs, it all comes back to costs and preference. I am, personally, more willing to splash a bit more cash on a drive with an extended warranty, typically 5 years. For cheap data storage, something with a 3 year warranty is about as low as I will go.
If you plan on a RAID array, WD Red drives would fit the bill. If not, and you just want storage, Greens will do. A Seagate Barracuda 3TB (ST3000DM001) is seriously cheap for a 3TB drive, but the 1 year warranty puts a sting in the tail. Again, this is all up to you, there really aren't that many choices left for hard drives. Ask a wide enough group and you'll find that everyone has had problems with all of the manufacturers. So really, it comes down to price on the day and the warranty.
Thank you, that answers my questions perfectly. Very much appreciated.
Corsair Neutron GTX seems to fit my needs pretty well, but I will take a look at reviews and benchmarks for the OCZ Vector as well as they seem to be in the same price class.
How about the Marvell controller? SSDs running the Marvell controller such as Plextor m5 Pro and also the Corsair Performance Series seem to perform well overall including torture tests. How do you think these compare to the Neutron series?
I've been looking at benchmarks for the OCZ Vector and it seems to outperform Corsair Neutron /GTX in many tests. However, OCZ has a bit of a bad rep and considering a close friend had a lot of BSOD issues with an OCZ I'm a bit doubtful about the stability of their products.
The Plextor M5 Pro also suffers from rapid degradation too it seems. Anandtech covered most of the recent drives and plotted their long term performance consistency, so you can flick through the results there...
The Micron P400M looks to be a good drive too (Micron owns Crucial). Just be aware, that it's an enterprise drive, and costs more as a result. The Crucial/Micron M500 is due out soon too, and that is likely to have similar consistency (won't know for sure till later).
I'm still not sure on the Samsung 840 Pro, its firmware issues appear to be cleared, so its a case of checking user feedback. Just make sure it's the Pro version, and not the standard 840.
And yeah, OCZ had taken a beating on reputation, their catalogue is littered with failures from dodgy Sandforce tweaks and corrupt firmware. To say they were the only ones to suffer would be silly, since even Corsair took a massive rep hit with its Sandforce Controllers. This is partly why I and many others suggest staying clear of Sandforce based SSDs, there are just too many horror stories. Now, that doesn't mean to stay clear forever, the next batch may be different, since it has been over a year since a major release or chip update. Things are more centred around 20 and 19nm NAND at the moment.
It's a bit late, but if you're still looking I would concur with Tharic's suggestion of the Corsair Neutron. Out of all the testing I've done it has one of the most aggressive background garbage collection schemes I've seen in some time. It also has very good performance... it slots in a little behind the Vector in raw performance, but it is cheaper than the Vector anyway.
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