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  1. #1
    3 Star Lounger Backspacer's Avatar
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    SSD recommendation sought

    I would like to upgrade the hard drive in one of our systems to an SSD. It is a Dell Optiplex 790 in the Ultra Small Form Factor (USFF) and running Windows 7 Pro. This is essentially a laptop without the battery, keyboard or monitor built in. It takes one, and only one, 2.5" drive.

    My main criteria are a capacity of about 250Gb, reliability, ease of doing the upgrade with space for only one drive in the system. I have seen upgrade kits that plug into a USB port and let you copy your old drive onto the new one before installing it into the system. Do those work reliably?

    Does anyone have a suggestion or advice?

    Thank you,

    --Brian

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  3. #2
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    Last october I bought a Crucial 256 GB m4 SSD. Works pretty well, with a caveat. If I have to brute force windows to shutdown, it may not boot until after some time. This seems to be a situation experienced by others, as one can infer from posts at their support forum.

    I bought the upgrade kit. Worked perfectly and it was worth the few euros I spent. Made it much easier to get the SSD setup.
    Rui
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  4. #3
    3 Star Lounger Backspacer's Avatar
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    This boot problem, do you mean you have to wait a long time or is there some magical fussing you have to do?

    And is it just that drive or is this a general problem with SSD drives?

    Thanks.

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    Crucial's support docs talk about the need to power cycle the drive. In the couple times it happened, I actually removed the drive and connected it to the usb port, using the USB / SATA cable of the kit. This usually brings the drive back in 10 to 15 mins. I haven't tried just powering up the computer and leaving it on for that amount of time, to see if that would be enough.

    Don't know why it happens with my setup, but I don't think it's a general problem with SSD drives. I have been using a new Toshiba laptop with another 256 GB SSD and the only time I had to force a shutdown, the computer booted normally afterwards. So I am convinced it may not even be a Crucial wide thing (surely that would be known).
    Rui
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  6. #5
    Super Moderator satrow's Avatar
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    For reliability, Intel, Crucial, Samsung or Plextor - though many of the others are improving in this respect, if you get the latest version!

    An easy option would be a Crucial M500 240GB and their Laptop Install Kit, the USB/Sata converter would enable use of your current drive (and any other 2.5" SATA drive) as backup or data storage once the upgrade has been verified as good. Transfer software supplied with the install kit.

    If the PC has very hard usage or you prefer additional 'safety net' features, a 'Pro' SSD line, like the Intel 520, Samsung 840 Pro or the Plextor PX-256M5Pro are worth considering.

    The Crucial troubleshooting/reset guide, if* you can find it, is good for other brands too - it's not only Crucial/Micron SSDs that suffer from occasional start up problems.

    I've had my Crucial M4 for 429.5 days uptime and 105 stop/start counts, several hard resets/power outages, and zero problems.



    * Try here.
    Last edited by satrow; 2013-08-13 at 13:03.

  7. #6
    3 Star Lounger Backspacer's Avatar
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    Whooo boy, that drive freeze would be a completely unacceptable behavior in our situation. Totally bad. Thank you for the heads up. I will be looking into this one very thoroughly before I decide to buy. At the minimum I would have to drive two hours each way to fix it and our business would be harmed during that time. At the worst I would have to fly in from our winter range in a totally different state to fix it. That's why reliability is so important.
    Last edited by Backspacer; 2013-08-13 at 13:16.

  8. #7
    3 Star Lounger Backspacer's Avatar
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    The PC in question does get moderately heavy use. Maybe more than moderate for a puny one such as it is. It is our second cash register so the Point of Sale software is running on it 8-10 hours a day. It is also our "clerical workstation" meaning that all emails, UPS shipments, and other non-POS are done on this system and those software are also running 8-10 hours a day. Finally, this is our "music jukebox" system. It plays a playlist of music that we sell all day long, feeding into the amp for the overhead speakers in the store. All but a few of the selections are MP3, those few being some older WAV files. (Yes, we do actually still sell quite a bit of music in our store. Archaic, eh?)

    If I had it to do over again, I would have bought a more potent computer for this position, but the fact is, it was our main cash register system until we added one and moved this to the second position. It was the recession and we weren't about to toss a perfectly good system. The recession is now over but I'm still not willing to toss a perfectly good system. I guess I'm just a skinflint. :-)

  9. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by ruirib View Post
    Last october I bought a Crucial 256 GB m4 SSD. Works pretty well, with a caveat. If I have to brute force windows to shutdown, it may not boot until after some time.
    I had this happen twice with a G-Force drive but after a blast from a master image (to dissimilar hardware) it hasn't occurred again; I think they may be more electrically sensitive in general than magnetic drives.

  10. #9
    3 Star Lounger Backspacer's Avatar
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    It's starting to sound like SSDs might still be a hobbyist solution, not ready for the real world...

  11. #10
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    This thread may or may not also interest you, Brian:
    http://windowssecrets.com/forums/sho...isk-vs-Samsung

  12. #11
    3 Star Lounger Backspacer's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Gerard3 View Post
    This thread may or may not also interest you, Brian:
    Yes, it does. Thank you. I notice that they recommend the San Disk for the enthusiast market. That is no recommendation for me. But they also point out that they serve the OEM market and make half of the world's flash memory, which does carry more weight with me. Performance isn't as important as reliability - I'm sure they will all blow away a hard drive in performance. Reliability is the most important criteria I have.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Backspacer View Post
    It's starting to sound like SSDs might still be a hobbyist solution, not ready for the real world...
    Sorry, that's not true. They are so good, performance wise, that they are find ways to high performance database systems. Doesn't get much more real than that.
    Rui
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  14. #13
    3 Star Lounger Backspacer's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ruirib View Post
    Sorry, that's not true. They are so good, performance wise, that they are find ways to high performance database systems. Doesn't get much more real than that.
    I keep learning, but that freeze up thing really makes me nervous. Intuitively I would expect electronic memory to be more reliable than spinning hunks of metal with heads flying over them and moving back and forth, but the fact is that disk manufacturers have been working on reliability since at least 1975 that I know of personally (when disk drives looked like washing machines) and SSDs are still new. Are they past the bleeding edge? Were those freeze up problems due to firmware which has been fixed now? I'm still sorting it out.

    I wonder whose SSDs are being used in those high performance database systems. And are they mirrored or something so that if one freezes another one takes the load or will a frozen SSD freeze the whole system? I actually used to design high availability systems for banks and utilities (~25 years ago!) and I know that they think very carefully about these things. Are they using SSDs or are these high performance systems in universities or someplace where reliability is not crucial?

    One of the things that is hardest to get people to understand about a small business is that we have the exact same basic needs as big ones. And computer reliability is just as important to us if not more so. A lost day on one of our computers in our intensely busy tourist season can cause losses of 1/2 to 1% of our total annual profit. I doubt very much if a lost day on one (non switch) computer at Verizon will cost them that much. The market would skin them alive if it did.
    Last edited by Backspacer; 2013-08-13 at 15:56.

  15. #14
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    Brian, I very much appreciate your value upon relieability. I can share with you what I have observed in countless customer reviews-- both SSD's and hard drives seem to share a corresponding percentage of thumbs up and thumbs down. Of course, the "green" hard drives are the most notorious for thumbs down.

  16. #15
    Super Moderator satrow's Avatar
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    For a little historical peek at SSD/HDD reliability and returns rates, you'd do worse than start here, there are 6 other reports in that series (under the Miscellaneous link), only the oldest doesn't include SSDs.

    Sandisk might make a lot of memory but I guess most ends up in USB thumb drives, last I read was that Micron (Crucial's parent) was #2 supplier of SSD nand, with Samsung in #1 position.

    Most of Intel's SSD output ends up in the Enterprise (workstations/servers); much of Samsung's SSD output also bypasses the retail market, Apple's notebooks being a major user.

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