Your New Year's Resolution - Put an end to spinning rust and buy yourself a SSD
I'm still using the Ultimate Developer PC 2.0 that I built last year. THE most important aspect of that build was not the super-fast processor or the fancy video cards. It was, and continues to be, the SSD. There is no other single thing that you can do to your computer that will make it feel faster than getting an SSD. If you need terabytes of storage, get an external drive, or a SAN like I did. But if you want to waste less time compiling, get an SSD. I know you want a terabyte, but get 160gigs or 256gigs if you can afford it.
Here's some compilation results from last year where I put the Ultimate Developer PC up against a now 4 year old laptop with an SSD.
In this case I'm building NHibernate 3.0 from the command line. The older laptop is the far level and the new PC is the far right. Yes, the new PC is twice as fast, but if you look at the number of seconds spent building, the laptop does OK and that's directly due to the SSD upgrade.
|Times are in seconds||Lenovo W500 w/ SSD||Ultimate PC 1.0||Ultimate PC 2.0|
|MSBuild /t:rebuild /m||24.98||25.57||12.53|
I love my SSDs so much that I haven't done any upgrades to my machines other than SSDs. The argument is usually "SSDs cost too much." That WAS true. You can get a REALLY nice middle of the road Intel SSD for under $200 now. I've got two Crucial RealSSD C300's that are 256 gigs in two different machines and they are now under $400. They are so worth it, more than any other upgrade.
UPDATE: I'm told by Damian Guard that the newer Crucial M4's are even better, both Crucial M4 128gig and Crucial M4 256gig.
When I upgraded my laptop's HD to an SSD it went from about 68 megs a second read to 110 megs a second. At that point I was limited by the SATA bus on that older laptop.
On a desktop machine with a newer SATA bus I get 230 megs a second (that's megabytes not megabits) and that's not even what the max on the drive can get. If I put it on a 6Gb/s SATA bus it's not impossible to see 300 megs a second or more. Of course, it all depends on what kinds of writes you're doing, sequential vs. random, plus block sizes, but since I'm not Anand, I'll leave that detail to him.
Point is this. Do yourself a favor and breathe new life into your computer with an SSD. You deserve it.
Here's the way to think of it. A $400 SSD will cost you just over a dollar a day if it lasts a single year. It will likely last at least 3 to 5 years, but still, if it lasts a YEAR. That's a dollar a day for hours of daily unmitigated joy. What other upgrade in your life could you do for $400 that would totally change your computer life AND give you time back? Well, a few, but I hope you see the point.
Drink one less coffee a day and get an SSD instead and you'll be as productive as two cups of coffee! ;)
There's only one downside to SSDs in my experience. When they do die, and all things do, there is no warning. SSDs don't make noise, or cough or make head sounds. SSDs don't give you warning, they just die. Instantly. So, always have complete image backups of your systems. If a drive dies, you should be able to get back up in a few hours.
Do it. It's the holidays.
Sponsor: This week's ComputerZen feed was kindly sponsored by DevExpress. Do check out their new stuff like DXv2 and perhaps check out a free trial of their complete suite of Developer Tools. I've personally been a huge CodeRush fan for years.
Scott Hanselman is a former professor, former Chief Architect in finance, now speaker, consultant, father, diabetic, and Microsoft employee. He is a failed stand-up comic, a cornrower, and a book author.
I went to an SSD (OCZ Vertex 4) on my recent laptop last year, and it has been unaltered joy since, perf-wise. I stopped hibernating altogether, since shutting down/booting up is such a breeze.
Opening the Visual Studio solution I work with daily is now bearable, and I have not seen my machine slow down to a crawl like it used to with spinning rust. Windows feels like it should, it just disappears in the background, leaving you to use it without wondering what the hell it is doing right now. A big part of the daily frustration went away right there.
I have had some issues with the machine not booting up after Windows Update sessions in the beginning (twice), but it has not happened in a long while.
And size is not such a problem. Mine is 240 GB, and I keep it reasonably full. I just don't load it with junk and offload videos, music and the heavy stuff to a NAS at home. Worst case, some laptops make room for two disks, so that you can have a small SSD for system and critical stuff and a 500 GB HD for big data.
Scott is right, treat yourself. You will NOT regret it.
Has the previous failure anything to do with too many writes (Code rebuilds)?
I nearly hit buy on a 120GB from SanDisk that was very briefly available for 120 bucks at buy dot com (not available anymore), but held back due to lack of positive reviews!!!
But thanks for the egging :-)... Maybe Santa will get me one ;-)...
Does it really make that much difference with the SSD drive being the drive that Windows is installed on?
Oh, and it's also a bit about stubbornness: VS.NET's performance is so incredibly poor on HDDs because it's own I/O model is stupid: it runs heavy I/O code in parallel, making the HDD step all over the place, causing slowness. I simply want MS to fix that, instead of me having to spend $$$ on what's effectively a poor patch for this problem.
Am I right in sating that a fragmented harddrive shouldn't have much impact on access time for an SSD, but the extra writes associated with constant defragging would limit the lifetime of the drive?
Visual Studio + SSD = VSoS (Visual Studio on Steroids)
For those without a SSD you'll notice more often than not the hard drive is the bottleneck.
I've also noticed for Visual Studio 2010 you really need to have more than 4 gigs of memory to keep Windows from constantly using the swap file.
It was hard to justify the investment, until I did it. I am now going to get a 256 M4 for my workstation and put the 128 in my laptop, without even flinching at the price. Amazing.
The biggest benefit of an SSD is that Windows boots up faster and seems more responsive - little things like launching an application or visiting a webpage were more snappy. Compilation, not so much.
WHOOOSH! The difference is simply staggering, guys I work with have brand new i7 laptops with platter disks in and I can knock the pants off them most of the time. Not just VS but IIS, Team City and Virtual box running servers. It takes quite a bit to slow my machine down and when it does, really I am taking the mickey and a quick run along the task bar closing things that I simply haven't bothered to close and I am back in business. To give an idea, Visual Studio 2010 starts quicker on my laptop than Angry Birds does on my iPhone.
I was already using Dropbox, Github and a leased Exchange mailbox, so when my old platter drive failed (which was the reason for the upgrades in the first place) I popped out, bought the SSD card and hybrid and started a new install. The WIN7 install was only about 10 -15 minutes end to end and I was back up and running with VS2010, SQL Server, IIS and Virtual box in about 3 hours.
All in the drives and memory have set me back about £450 but a new laptop would be between £750 and £1500 and still probably wouldn't have an SSD, something that I have now come to think of as essential. A bit like Cruise Control on my car, until I had it I didn't get it, now I have it it's mandatory on any new vehicle I buy.
I have exactly the same SSD as yours, with firmware 0007 and my scores were different:
Minimum (Read): 237.1 MB/s
Maximum (Read): 278.9 MB/s
Access Time: 0.124 ms
Burst Rate: 156.4 MB/s
I must admit I'm on the bandwagon yet; the North Bridge chip on my mobo is burning up, and some quirky stuff is happening here and there after a fresh install, so I'm waiting to build the next "bestest computer ever" in Spring. But I cannot WAIT to have a solid SSD and x64 OS going. Fuzzy feelings.
I have had reliability issues with OCZ Vertex 2 but then again, the company replaced the drive quickly each time. I own several vertex 2 and 3 so for me, reliability doesn't matter much. When one goes bad, I simply restore my latest image onto the new drive and I am ready to go in less than an hour.
The fact is, unless you are editing video, audio or compiling Chrome, you are never going to notice the difference between an i3 and an i7. And the price difference can be 20x.
But they will definitely notice a 128GB SSD. And the price is only twice as much as a cheap HDD. In fact, I was able to build each machine for about $330, and they absolutely scream.
Just wanted to point out to be careful to make sure to get a drive that supports TRIM since without that your drive is definitely not going to last "3-5 years".
Otherwise, you may need to resort back to the manufacturer's tools.
Probably cost & reliability, the same reason people avoid SSD! Also, this particular solution uses SATA2 but I believe it does support combining two connectors in RAID0.
For those that worry about reliability, ALL HARD DRIVES DIE. Spindles do not guarantee slow death.
"If you don't have a backup of it, you don't care about it."
..Then I fix the hard drive... :P
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It's soooo fast!
I don't want to throw my comp through the window anymore.