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Is it time to transition to SSDs for standard replacements?

I have always been somewhat reticent to transition to newer technology but maybe the time has come for standard installations of SSD drives. I usually have a preference for replacement hard drives that I keep in stock. For the last couple of years my drive of choice has been the Seagate SSHD Hybrid 1 TB drive. Before that it was the 320-500 Scorpio Black. I have yet to have a failure with either of these drives. Now Louis is poo-pooing anything mechanical. The prices of these drives have come down to where I'm considering a new standard. One of my concerns is backward compatibility to 1.5 & 3 Gb/s. I would appreciate input as to what others are using and why. Maybe even a drive or drives that iFixit should stock.

UPDATE 10/25/16

Although I have not transitioned my preference for the SSHD drives, I did add a 512GB SanDisk X400 SSD to my MacPro 2009 as the main boot drive and been very pleased with the performance. I started with a 256 but filled it in two weeks, so moved up. But for mass storage I still have a couple of 2 TB SSHDs and one standard 3TB.

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You shouldn't have any compatibility issues. If the laptop is not SATA III ready, it'll run at the speed the laptop accepts. Look at Samsung and SanDisk for SSD's. I prefer Samsung's warranty but I have concerns for my use case so I would probably get the SanDisk drives.

As to spinning drives and SSD's vs keeping all SSD stock I would still keep stock of both and offer the choice. If the client wants an SSD they can have it but they also have the choice of a spinning drive if they want it.

As to the viability of SSD's, I have to agree with Louis. I got my SSD for $100.00 at the time and it runs so much better then the stock drive my laptop came with. However, I would not put one in a low end or ancient laptop since it seems like a waste.

My rule is anything less then a C2D gets a spinning drive. At the point you get to the C2D it's a matter of the price. When I got the laptop, it came with a spinning drive. I can confirm the SSD makes a HUGE difference.

One note on Haswell Dells: These utilize IRST. It has to go or your SSD speeds and usable size take a hit.

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True, most SSD's now are auto sensing so they will match the systems SATA port speed. But, that is not true on many of the newer MacBook Pro's when you want to put in a dual drive setup (replacing the optical drive). This is were you need a fixed speed SSD drive (SATA II).

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Sadly, you'll need to get a different HD drive as the stock drive Apple uses is SATA III which won't work in the optical drive carrier for the same reason (the SATA ports clock signal is off, between SATA II & SATA III). Then you have the issue of crash guard. The optical drive SATA port doesn't offer it so the drive needs it onboard. The stock drive doesn't offer it so while it will work on the short term (as long ad you don't bang the system) over time it will crash and burn.

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I'm still on the fence here. I'm sure in the next few years I'll have a different slant.

For now SSDH's are still our preferred drive as we get most of the benefits of each technology.

Yes, SSD's are the direction moving forward & they are faster! But, there is still some bumps that need to be overcome before I recommend them as an upgrade. Besides the value of the given system also weighs into this. A Core Duo system makes little sense unlike the newer i5/i7 based system.

  • TRIM services within OS-X needs to work without turning off drive signing (TRIM Enabler)
  • The price for 1 TB drive needs to be around $200
  • The standards mess needs to settle down.
  • The standards group needs to make changing out drives as simple as SATA

What I want is a standard marking on the M.2 blade drives telling me the number of lanes and the firmware type. That way each computer company lists what there systems M.2 interface requires. Similar to how SATA defines SATA I, SATA II, & SATA III.

Next, I want a SATA to M.2 carrier. So I can swap out HD's for SSD's. Forget all of these different SATA SSD's. Yes, I know it won't be as fast but I then have a common SSD drive format to stock and the cost of them will drop due to the mass production of a smaller set of units.

This is all common sense stuff... I really don't understand why four years in we are still so far in the dark.

And, yes I'm spouting off a bit here and I know this is not the right group of people who can bring change here.

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mayer, I am with Dan on that one. I really do not care who is poopooing on what. It does not make any economical sense to go that route yet. I am sure that within the next few years things will change and be much more standardized, compatible and cheaper. Until that time I keep my TB drives and do not worry about being a trendsetter ;-) or saving a few second on boot up etc. Just my 2 cents.

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How I'd do it is on desktops you use 256GB SSD's as boot drives and then put a 1-2TB WD Black drive in for applications and data. Right now, 512GB+ SSD's are too expensive, so I say go in the middle. In laptops that's a different story, unless you have an mSATA slot. If you do, get a mSATA SSD and keep your hard drive. I don't use Seagate. I've seen them go bad in short order before, as in 1-2 years after the 7200.11 mess. Never again with Seagate.

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My philosophy is whatever works for you , works. I am good with what I got.

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I wouldn't force it on people, but I'd provide it as a option. If they want it, then it's done. But if they want a large SSD and no hard drive it would be special order for the SSD since most people want 256GB. I went SSD in my laptop. I think they're more logical in laptops since they get banged around.

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TRIM services kicked us hard when Yosemite killed TRIM Enabler. I guess we want our cake and eat it to ;-} We were unwilling to disable driver signing a feature we really wanted in Yosemite. We had installed in our 2011 and other iMac's a second drive (SSD). When and if Apple allows TRIM Enabler to work we'll go back with the dual drive configs on the iMac's. The only rub here is we are moving off of the iMacs and jumping to Mac Pro's for the engineering group and Mac Mini's for most everyone else. While we were taken aback when Apple soldered the RAM on the newest mini model we can live with it. We can at least manage the storage which is your primary issue.

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Now if Apple would only allow 3rd parties to sell compatible M.2 SSD's so we have some options (larger & cheaper).

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I consider anything using a mechanical drive as an operating system drive broken. If you don't, your standards are too low!

There is no reason to be an inherent lag in everything you do in a modern system because of one obsolete, cheap component. Processors and memory bandwidth have come too far to be limited by one obsolete piece of junk that can't keep up. When you look at latency and bandwidth specifications for every pthet part of a modern computer, and then those same specifications for a mechanical hard drive; it is far enough behind to be considered broken!

If on a budget buy a six year old core 2 duo computer and an ssd, it will work faster than a new octo core i7 using a hard drive unless you're doing batch video encoding or something.

For storage I use hard drives because I am not independently wealthy and no need for fast storage on archival medium. But for os drive, at $90 for 250 gb... cmon. Most customers who say nah to an SSD after seeing my laptop with two in raid 0 say yes. You can't fully appreciate just how terrible hard drives are as operating system media in 2015 until you use a good ssd and then go back to the spinning junk. Hard drives belong in large archival storage sites, along with tape backups and other slow bs.

In terms of price, a lot of the time we are talking apple products which carry premium cost anyway. If you can afford to pay $300 or $500 or $1000 more for the same specs as a pc counterpart then you can probably spend $90 on an os drive thst won't spin for ten seconds when you open Thunderbird or a large video session. Or ecen come back from a saved session with lots of browser tabs. A lot of people still accept this lag as just part of owning and using a computer, the same way I used to accept snow on the television because of ota analog broadcasts being the only option to watch seinfeld... thank god for progress!!! I can now forget all of that ever existed. ;-)

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@Louis - I love my microwave oven it makes cooking very fast. But, it took a quite a few years for the technology to work its way into our everyday use. Yes, I love the speed of booting up a system with a SSD too. But, the point here is more than what we yearn for and what makes sense economically. SSHD's are a good 1/2 step into SSD's while they are not able to hold everything in the SSD cache the base OS and some Apps do manage to run quite fast. For many people this will be enough. If people can afford making the big jump with 1 TB SSD's then all the power to them. Most of us are not that wealthy, nor can justify them now. Yes, this will change its just not the time. We should re-visit this a year from now to see if the dust has settled by then.

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Louis, thanks for your input, specifically what brand of drives are you using and what size are they.

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I use mushkin and crucial. SSHDs are good for boot speed only, I need the machine to be fast after I boot it. It's a good gimmick for customers since you can impress them with the boot but real world it is still a dumpy old hard drive.

I am not suggesting using SSDs for backup and storage, just for the OS. And unless you have 10000s of plugins and programs, a 250 GB SSD for $90-$110 will do, and is far from breaking the bank.

I remember when a 256 GB SSD was almost $1000, and those times are long gone.

I offer people 120, 240, or 500 depending on pricing. People who are cheap of course get old HDDs. It is easier to sell HDDs because people think space is the bottleneck, that they need more free space. But when properly explained and showcased, SSDs sell themselves.

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mayer will be eternally grateful.
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