Looking at the large array of SSD and massively varying prices and specs, what exactly is the best approach to take from your own experience and knowledge on the subject matter.
Looking at the specs, there are 3 main factors from a speed point of view; Write / Read and IOps
Then there is the capacity and price.
As an example;
An Intel 520 series 480GB is 520MB/s write and 42K IOps and 806ukp
An OCZ Agility 3 240GB is 500MB/s write 525MB/s read and 85K IOps @ 227ukp.
It must be better to get the 2x240 cheaper units and Raid Stripe these into one disk, than buy the larger single disk? In fact you could buy 3 smaller disks for the price of the one larger which would give you a 720GB rapido stripe set for the price of the single larger (and smaller) disk.
It is bonus time of the year, and i've got money burning a whole in my pocket (i think) so seriously considering a purchase here, but want to maximise bang for buck.
The main thing to consider is actually the controller inside the unit. There have been countless bugs and problems with controllers and firmwares, the last one with a new unit only a few weeks ago, causing data corruption and other reliability issues. So basically the first thing I would look would be user reviews and reports for bugs/errors/problems. Also, I would only purchase a unit that is not a brand-new model, but instead that has a few months of life so potential problems have been found (and hopefully fixed) already.
Regarding RAID setups, they may give you some benefit if individual disks themselves do not use all the SATA bandwidth. With SATA3 that shouldn't happen, but it depends on your motherboard. In other words, it might be that a single uni already fills most of the bandwidth, so using two units in RAID0 would not give you an enormous benefit.
Also, don't consider SSDs as indestructible. Quite the opposite actually. Jeff Atwood said that he has never seen a SSD last more than one year or so. So do backup your data.
As eager as I have been to use an SSD as a primary drive, I have been reluctant because of reported high-failure rates as you note by quoting Atwood in your message. And by the relatively higher cost here in Thailand.
It is interesting to me that just today I saw, on-line, on Thailand's kind of wannabe version of NewEgg, SSD's (Kingston brand) offered with a 3 year warranty: before today I had seen only offerings of SSD's with only a 1 year warranty.
Given climate/humidity extremes here (in even a pretty well heat-shielded room, with air-con in use during the worst weather) local consensus is that most every IDE or ATA hard-drive will fail within two years of intensive use. Failure within two years has been my experience on almost every drive I've used here, even ones used, more rarely, as back-up drives.
Fortunately we can buy hard drives here with three and five year warranties, and, interestingly, replacement can be quite prompt (as you may know many companies manufacture hard-drives here in Thailand, or did until the recent flooding of the large industrial estates where most of them were manufactured were damaged by this year's severe flooding).
Now, if I went down to Bangkok, and really shopped-around in the giant emporia, maybe I'd find SSD's from other manufacturers being also offered with three year warranties, so take this single observation with a grain of salt.
"Your theory is crazy, but it's not crazy enough to be true." Niels Bohr
not sure I can quote speeds at you Dave - my Sony Vaio Z-Series has
64GB x 4 SSD, in a Raid 0 Partition, giving 256GB - its been around the world once, and on plenty of trips up and down Aus, without missing a beat. While I realise I should back it up, its a sweet machine that hasnt yet given me any issues
Remember that when you're using striping, whether in Raid 0 or Raid 5, the controller will write a whole stripe every time you write anything to disk, so striping might slow things down in many scenarios.
I always recommend Raid 0 or 5 for storage only. For OS I recommend plain disk or mirroring.
The Intel disk is about 10% faster, and it's entirely up to you whether it's worth it or not, I personally wouldn't care.
But very noticable is the lower power needed for the Intel drive, which is definitely making a difference in a laptop.
I've had an Intel SSD for a couple of years now as my C:\ drive with no problems - actually, it's fantanstic
I bought an OCZ Vertex 3 MI a couple of months ago to use as my dev drive. Again no problems, but it's not noticibly faster than my VelociRaptor.
So my experience is that the price premium is warrented when you are reading lots of small files spread out randomly on the disc ( i.e. your C:\ drive ), but there's not much to be gained when the files are larger and accessed in order.
So, I wouldn't buy a large SSD at the moment - what are you going to put on it? I'm actually considering using the OCZ as a mirror ( RAID 1 ) for my C:\ drive. I'm not that impressed with it in its present role.
Putting your C:\ drive on any SSD will make your machine a lot quicker. I have no tolerance for machines that make me wait, but app load times are quick enough on a single SSD that I don't even notice. I don't think even halving the load times would be good bang-for-buck - they're quick enough already.
Also, my 120GB C:\ drive still has 40GB free even after a couple of years - why do you want 480GB? Continuous writes will degrade SSDs, so you want it to be mostly read-only. So you need to move your pagefile and hibernate file somewhere else, which is a big chunk of most C:\ drives.
I just mirrored my C:\ drive and thinking about it, not having to spend a week reinstalling everything if the old disk goes kaput is worth more than half a second off the VS load time.
So I guess I'll try Dell next, but unfortunately I still have to struggle with this hunk-o-junk I bought from HP for at least another year.
Model: HP Pavilion dv8
I've had so many issues, especially after 2 years, it's like HP designed the thing to start breaking after 2-years of 8hours/day usage.
Quick-Launch Keys that have a mind of their own (rendering my wifi & bluetooth useless, since the keys switch them on/off at random)
Charger issues - this is the one problem I've ALWAYS had with all my HP's, their chargers die after 2 years, like clockwork, like it was designed to do so, 4 co-workers/family got HP's more or less the same time as I did and we all started shopping for replacements chargers at the same time.
Endless other related power issues - The laptop would be charging but not know it, thinking it's running on battery, forcing me to change all my power schemes so that the system performance isn't affected. And when the laptop is charging, don't dare disconnect it, because it will not resume charging easily. (Note that this still happens at random even after replacing the battery and the charger)
Finger-print reader - Must be disabled else SSMS (SQL Server Management Studio) is unstable as hell and crashes for every second query you run. Too random? That's what I thought but Google it to check me up. Once I disabled the finger-print reader, SSMS worked like a charm.
Despite what other people have said, Dell isn't any better. I've had problems with every business laptop I've had from Dell, and I've had 4 different models. Thankfully, it wasn't MY money spent on them.
Hell, in one Dell laptop I had to replace the keyboard 3 times (about 5 months apart for each), for the same problem. The same block of keys on each stopped working.
In my experience, Dells Latitude series is working well, and the support really works, but you'll pay for it.
While their cheapo models sucks Elephant balls, and their support is on that level too.
On the other hand, my limited experience of HP is similar. It's the support level that makes the difference.
Also, always check the "keep the harddrive" option. Otherwise, if the harddrive crashes, they will keep it and replace it with a clean drive. And one thing I've learnt is that even people that claim that they take backups, don't.
Absolutely normal... and Win7 64bit can support quite a bit of RAM depending on the version. See here.[^] Usually the big limiter nowadays is how much the motherboard can support (the home versions are artificially limited, once again, thanks M$).
I don't know if I agree... some of the most stable code exists in free linux distributions. I wouldn't say that Microsoft servers are better than Linux ones... as a matter of fact, look at the numbers, I'm sure there's a lot more servers running Linux than there is servers running MS Server.