Yet Another Cycling Forum

General Category => The Knowledge => Ctrl-Alt-Del => Topic started by: Bledlow on 12 March, 2021, 03:22:44 pm

Title: HDD + small SSD - worthwhile?
Post by: Bledlow on 12 March, 2021, 03:22:44 pm
Looking to replace a desktop with something fairly modest, but that isn't going to take forever booting up & doing routine stuff.

Mrs B & I aren't data hogs, but SSD only seems to give a choice between too little storage & a bit more than we want to spend*. Some of those on the market have an HDD with a smallish SSD. How much difference is that likely to make?

*Everything's failing right now: fridge-freezer & washing machine replaced in the last few weeks, plus collapsing garden wall rebuilt. It's not that we don't have the cash, but it's triggered my miser reflex. ;) Oh, & Mrs B's laptop is getting rather dodgy.
Title: Re: HDD + small SSD - worthwhile?
Post by: Kim on 12 March, 2021, 03:33:42 pm
Having your operating system on a modestly sized SSD and your data on spinning rust is an entirely reasonable proposition.

My desktop has (IIRC) a 64GB SSD, which is more than sufficient[1] for the Debian OS and a couple of VM images.  All my data lives on the spinning-rust RAID array on the server.

Spinning rust fails, but so do SSDs occasionally, and humans make mistakes, so you need backups anyway.


[1] Barakta's experience with Windows suggests that this is a bit on the small side, due to the greater bloatiness of Windows applications.
Title: Re: HDD + small SSD - worthwhile?
Post by: ian on 12 March, 2021, 03:57:25 pm
It's what I do – 250 GB SSD plus 4 TB USB disk (and a smaller one for backup). My Macbook has a 125 GB which is getting into wearing skinny jeans in middle age territory. If a disk goes belly-up, I'd rather be able to restore either data or the system, rather than demangle an entire terabyte of unruly digital fauna.
Title: Re: HDD + small SSD - worthwhile?
Post by: Polar Bear on 12 March, 2021, 04:02:27 pm
I'm a convert to ssd.  Spinning rust is both noisy and slow as well as generally less reliable.

I started with a 250gb ssd and then added a 500gb ssd when funds allowed.  And then another.  These days I'd go for a minimum 500gb as a start point.   That's just my pov mind.
Title: Re: HDD + small SSD - worthwhile?
Post by: mcshroom on 12 March, 2021, 04:31:59 pm
The HDDs I have are slowly migrating to USB enclosures, with much smaller SSDs replacing them. I don't know what I'd actually use the 2TB in one of the laptops for anyway, it only does a bit of light office work and web browsing.

I also tend to use somebody else's computer cloud storage, mainly for the ease of access between phone, laptop and desktop.
Title: Re: HDD + small SSD - worthwhile?
Post by: Bledlow on 12 March, 2021, 10:55:29 pm
The old desktop has 1 TB or so, the majority of which isn't used. Irritatingly, one seems to get oversized HDDs if one wants something that has a more than snail paced processor & more RAM than our rather cheap old desktop.
Title: Re: HDD + small SSD - worthwhile?
Post by: Morat on 13 March, 2021, 12:30:11 pm
Depending on the type of SSD you're looking at, they can be very reasonable nowadays. For a desktop, https://tinyurl.com/28e37jux (https://tinyurl.com/28e37jux) (amazon link) would make a perfectly good C: or boot drive for £30. I had a 128Gb C: drive for years but it started to get uncomfortably full.

You can pay a lot more for the "Stick of Gum" shaped nvme/M2 drives which are rated a lot faster but unless you're really stressing your PC you won't notice the difference.
Title: Re: HDD + small SSD - worthwhile?
Post by: Bledlow on 14 March, 2021, 07:56:11 pm
Just spotted a physically small desktop with a 500 gig SSD (big enough, I think) & enough ports for less money than some of the PCs with spinning things I've been looking at. Tempting . . .

Need a new monitor or an HDMI to VGA converter, but that's not a big problem.
Title: Re: HDD + small SSD - worthwhile?
Post by: Kim on 14 March, 2021, 08:46:28 pm
Need a new monitor or an HDMI to VGA converter, but that's not a big problem.

If the monitor has a DVI port, HDMI is electrically identical, and suitable cables are easily obtained.
Title: Re: HDD + small SSD - worthwhile?
Post by: Polar Bear on 14 March, 2021, 08:57:27 pm
I have been using a vga to hdmi lead on an older box for years.  Works well.
Title: Re: HDD + small SSD - worthwhile?
Post by: Kim on 14 March, 2021, 09:00:44 pm
I have been using a vga to hdmi lead on an older box for years.  Works well.

That's a less optimal solution, as it's an extra conversion and maintains an analogue signal path.  Not that it really matters unless you're worried about latency or another thing to go wrong, but if the monitor's got a digital input you might as well keep things simple and use that.

It's impressive how cheap the converters are these days.
Title: Re: HDD + small SSD - worthwhile?
Post by: StuAff on 14 March, 2021, 09:17:17 pm
Had the SSD boot/HD data setup since 2013, when I got my (now deceased) Mac Pro 2009 model. My current 2012 model actually has three SSDs (SATA, not NVME) in it- main Mac OS boot drive, Windows 10 (which is much better,- even more so than Mac OS- on an SSD, even when limited to 300 MB/s by bus speed), the third being blank at the mo. My user folder is about 2TB so spinning rust remains the best value option. Every time I boot from HD I get reminded how much faster solid state is.
Title: Re: HDD + small SSD - worthwhile?
Post by: Bledlow on 15 March, 2021, 12:07:58 am
Need a new monitor or an HDMI to VGA converter, but that's not a big problem.

If the monitor has a DVI port, HDMI is electrically identical, and suitable cables are easily obtained.
It doesn't. It's an antique. Bought secondhand in a hurry when we suddenly became monitor-free, a couple of desktops ago. Like our antique HP printer (low running cost: so many were sold that compatible cartridges are plentiful), I'm sometimes surprised that it still works. It's lasted much longer than its new-bought predecessor. It'll fail one day. Until then . . .  converters are amazingly cheap.

We have a spare old monitor that has a DVI-D port as well as VGA, but that's kept as a temporary emergency backup. Small screen.
Title: Re: HDD + small SSD - worthwhile?
Post by: Bledlow on 15 March, 2021, 09:17:22 am
Ah well. I won't need an HDMI to VGA converter. Guess what happened when I switched on the PC to start work this morning? I was tempting fate with "I'm sometimes surprised that it still works".

Blank screen. Then the power on light on the monitor went off. Dead as a dodo. I plugged in the spare (glad I resisted Mrs B's suggestion that I should chuck it out) & all is sweetness & light, though the smallness of the screen & limited number of pixels are a bit retro.

The two PCs I was dithering over last night both come with the option of a reasonable-looking discounted monitor (choice of three or four), which simplifies matters.

[Edit] But I'd have to wait until late April for the discounted monitor . .  :(   So getting something else.  This old nearly square (5:4) thing has nice colour & contrast, in the meantime.
Title: Re: HDD + small SSD - worthwhile?
Post by: Chris S on 16 March, 2021, 01:43:09 pm
I've just bought a new PC that apparently has no rotating media at all. The boot drive is a 500Gb NVMe drive, and the data drive is 2Tb NVMe.
Title: Re: HDD + small SSD - worthwhile?
Post by: Kim on 16 March, 2021, 01:54:23 pm
I've just bought a new PC that apparently has no rotating media at all. The boot drive is a 500Gb NVMe drive, and the data drive is 2Tb NVMe.

What, no 3.5" floppy?  ;D
Title: Re: HDD + small SSD - worthwhile?
Post by: Mr Larrington on 16 March, 2021, 01:56:59 pm
No Sinclair Microdrive either.  What fresh madness is this?
Title: Re: HDD + small SSD - worthwhile?
Post by: Bledlow on 16 March, 2021, 03:56:25 pm
And where's the Zip drive?
Title: Re: HDD + small SSD - worthwhile?
Post by: ian on 16 March, 2021, 04:24:58 pm
Pah, I'm storing my data on a C15 audio cassette.
Title: Re: HDD + small SSD - worthwhile?
Post by: Lightning Phil on 16 March, 2021, 04:47:47 pm
What no external Iomega 800Mb tape drive?

(http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/51CjxvYdedL.jpg)
Title: Re: HDD + small SSD - worthwhile?
Post by: Kim on 16 March, 2021, 04:53:52 pm
I'm holding out for SyQuest[1] cartridges.


[1] That's the one with the bargain-basement Wesley Crusher and the talking dolphin.
Title: Re: HDD + small SSD - worthwhile?
Post by: Lightning Phil on 16 March, 2021, 04:56:26 pm
Pah, I'm storing my data on a C15 audio cassette.

Oh the delights of loading and saving games to the humble audio cassette.  I can hear the sounds even after more than 40 years.
Title: Re: HDD + small SSD - worthwhile?
Post by: ian on 16 March, 2021, 05:01:07 pm
I'm pretty sure I used to have a chunkmonster Seagate external MO drive that connected via the printer port (and wouldn't have been much slower if I'd connected it to next door's computer's printer port with spaghetti). That offered a hitherto unbelievable number of MBs. Or would have done, if the actual MO disks were not made out of pure unobtainium.

That said, I can find no historical reference to this device so it may have been a fevered dream (though oddly I remember buying it from the big electronics store in NYC, quite excitedly because I was sure they'd put the wrong price on it).

I can also remember the cassette noise. Glorious, you'd spend 20 minutes loading a game, play it once, think 'nah, don't fancy this' and start over.
Title: Re: HDD + small SSD - worthwhile?
Post by: Mr Larrington on 16 March, 2021, 06:07:00 pm
What no external Iomega 800Mb tape drive?

(http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/51CjxvYdedL.jpg)

I think I've still got one of those, or at least some tapes for one.  But no Babbage-Engine capable of talking to one.
Title: Re: HDD + small SSD - worthwhile?
Post by: Bledlow on 16 March, 2021, 06:15:26 pm
Does it have a punched card reader? I don't think that counts as rotating media.  ;D I remember a British manufacturing company which was famous in its niche still using them when the Berlin Wall came down. It had just been bought by a German rival . . . .

IIRC when I was first learning we were told that hardly anyone still used paper tape except the National Girobank. That was several years earlier.

I have a single 5.25" floppy which is reputed to have some software on it. No reader for it?
Title: Re: HDD + small SSD - worthwhile?
Post by: Kim on 16 March, 2021, 06:18:55 pm
(https://i.imgur.com/DspXMZk.png)

I studied Cobol at an evening class in the '70s. After we had written the 4 divisions (IIRC) out, the teacher would get the white-coated technician to go to the compter lab and input this onto the computer and we would get a piece of tape something like this as the result. Is there an external drive I can feed my tapes into?

I believe that what you need is a bedstead.
Title: Re: HDD + small SSD - worthwhile?
Post by: CommuteTooFar on 16 March, 2021, 06:22:34 pm
(https://i.imgur.com/DspXMZk.png)

I studied Cobol at an evening class in the '70s. After we had written the 4 divisions (IIRC) out, the teacher would get the white-coated technician to go to the compter lab and input this onto the computer and we would get a piece of tape something like this as the result. Is there an external drive I can feed my tapes into?


I was really impressed the first time I saw a proper paper tape reader on a computer. An optical reader rather than the 10 chars per second readers I had seen before.  This one, open the lid, place start of tape in guide. Close lid. Press button. Then 10 seconds later a huge pile of tape on the floor (or basket if you expected it). 1200 chars per second is vey impressive on a mechanical device.
Title: Re: HDD + small SSD - worthwhile?
Post by: CommuteTooFar on 16 March, 2021, 06:51:19 pm
When I built my current computer I bought an nvme SSD 1GB and a 2TB Hard disc. When I had something I wanted something that I might wanted to put on other storage I just bought a sata SSD and used that.  The Hard disc remains unused since I bought it. Although relatively inexpensive it was a waste of money.
Title: Re: HDD + small SSD - worthwhile?
Post by: ian on 16 March, 2021, 08:18:04 pm
I'm pretty sure I have a USB 3-inch floppy (so, so wrong) drive in the drawer, though I'm not risking the nest of sleeping cables to find out if it's still there. I think it came with some ludicrously pricy ultrabook I bought in the early noughties that had rather daringly for the time ditched an internal floppy disk drive.

I still have fond memories of the integral tape player in my Amstrad 464. It took me a metric fucktonne of paper rounds to buy that computer.
Title: Re: HDD + small SSD - worthwhile?
Post by: DaveReading on 17 March, 2021, 09:13:35 am
I'm pretty sure I have a USB 3-inch floppy (so, so wrong) drive in the drawer

Unless you're a former Amstrad CPC user, you probably don't.

Come to that, I don't think USB had been invented then.
Title: Re: HDD + small SSD - worthwhile?
Post by: ian on 17 March, 2021, 09:33:37 am
Fortunately, I've been confident enough not to need to measure it, but I'm reassured it's bigger than I imagined.
Title: Re: HDD + small SSD - worthwhile?
Post by: Lightning Phil on 17 March, 2021, 09:38:45 am
I remember in 1989 backing up system data to 5.25 inch floppies before we cut over a live sales system.  Happy days.
Title: Re: HDD + small SSD - worthwhile?
Post by: CommuteTooFar on 17 March, 2021, 10:36:13 am
If you want really to struggle with 5.25 floppy discs you need Apples implementation. Most floppy systems used MFM (Modified Frequency Modulation). This required an extra chip to do the electro magic. Apple decided they did not want to pay for that. They chose the GCR recoding which did not need a special chip.  The end results the same drive technology could only manage small amounts of data slowly.
Title: Re: HDD + small SSD - worthwhile?
Post by: Kim on 17 March, 2021, 01:29:23 pm
I'm pretty sure I have a USB 3-inch floppy (so, so wrong) drive in the drawer

Unless you're a former Amstrad CPC user, you probably don't.

Or the Amstrad word processors.  I didn't realise the CPC used them too (I only remember the one with the built in cassette drive and the hilariously short curly monitor cables).
Title: Re: HDD + small SSD - worthwhile?
Post by: TimC on 17 March, 2021, 01:32:58 pm
Pah, I'm storing my data on a C15 audio cassette.

Oh the delights of loading and saving games to the humble audio cassette.  I can hear the sounds even after more than 40 years.

I still own a fully-operational (well, it was last time I looked a couple of years ago) Yamaha CX5M MSX computer that uses a separate cassette tape drive.
Title: Re: HDD + small SSD - worthwhile?
Post by: CommuteTooFar on 17 March, 2021, 02:18:29 pm
Pah, I'm storing my data on a C15 audio cassette.

Oh the delights of loading and saving games to the humble audio cassette.  I can hear the sounds even after more than 40 years.

I still own a fully-operational (well, it was last time I looked a couple of years ago) Yamaha CX5M MSX computer that uses a separate cassette tape drive.

Yeah but you could of uploaded your data across the midi interface to your synthesizer.
Title: Re: HDD + small SSD - worthwhile?
Post by: TimC on 17 March, 2021, 02:44:54 pm
I probably could but, as I say, I haven't even looked at it in a couple of years, and I'm not going to any time soon. I keep it for nostalgic reasons, not as a tool. One day when I really haven't got anything better to do, I might fire it up again and see whether it's actually usable, but I won't worry about it if it's not. It's one of those things that's probably only of real interest to a museum, but I've no idea if there's a museum of electronic music equipment!
Title: Re: HDD + small SSD - worthwhile?
Post by: Bledlow on 19 March, 2021, 01:10:40 pm
Got a new PC with an SSD. Starts up instantly. Excellent! No flailing around on spinning rust while it thinks about doing something.

Went for something fairly basic, but with a 512 GB SSD. Can easily expand memory if needed for storage. Should do for a few years. Copying stuff over now.
Title: Re: HDD + small SSD - worthwhile?
Post by: Jaded on 19 March, 2021, 01:32:27 pm
Must root around into e loft and find my Sinclair Microdrives.

I'll bet they are stored with the Z88 EPROMS
Title: Re: HDD + small SSD - worthwhile?
Post by: Polar Bear on 19 March, 2021, 01:35:26 pm
Got a new PC with an SSD. Starts up instantly. Excellent! No flailing around on spinning rust while it thinks about doing something.

Went for something fairly basic, but with a 512 GB SSD. Can easily expand memory if needed for storage. Should do for a few years. Copying stuff over now.

Excellent stuff.

On our two desktop machines I have installed Akasa caddies which allow you to hot swap in 2.5 inch drives.  I use ssd drives as the caddy is connected to sata ssd port on the main board.  It'd good for image copies, data backups and sharing between machines.
Title: Re: HDD + small SSD - worthwhile?
Post by: Jaded on 19 March, 2021, 01:55:45 pm
I've just trashed (drilled through) and SSD that I've had since 2017. It is hosed. That's the first SSD failure I've had.
Title: Re: HDD + small SSD - worthwhile?
Post by: Polar Bear on 19 March, 2021, 02:48:39 pm
What brand if you don't mind me asking.  4 years seems a short life unless you were really pounding it of course.
Title: Re: HDD + small SSD - worthwhile?
Post by: Jaded on 19 March, 2021, 04:54:16 pm
Crucial, and I've checked - no warranty, it is three years  :(
Title: Re: HDD + small SSD - worthwhile?
Post by: Polar Bear on 19 March, 2021, 05:15:02 pm
That's a shame.  I can recommend the ever so slightly pricier Samsung EVO drives with 5 year warranties.
Title: Re: HDD + small SSD - worthwhile?
Post by: Bledlow on 26 March, 2021, 08:16:41 pm
Having had my first SSD for a week now, I'm still surprised sometimes by how quickly it starts, opens things, etc. Pleasantly surprised of course. Installed something today which said I should restart, so I did - & forgot that no longer means "do something else for a while". I was getting up from my chair & realised I might as well sit down again.  ;D

And quietly, as well. No noise of spinning thing winding up to tell me it's working.
Title: Re: HDD + small SSD - worthwhile?
Post by: Polar Bear on 26 March, 2021, 08:32:33 pm
Nice isn't it.

We have two Quiet PC machines with ssd's and no cpu fans.  Lovely Nofan copper flower cpu coolers.  The only noise noticeable is the clunk from the dvd drive at startup on mllePB's machine.  My blu-ray equipped system doesn't even do that.
Title: Re: HDD + small SSD - worthwhile?
Post by: Bledlow on 23 May, 2021, 10:26:16 pm
Pretty happy with the new PC, but I have one little niggle.

It's not a problem at the moment, but the storage is a bit limited, & I've been thinking of something which would take a fair bit of it, leaving less margin than I'd really like. There's a bay for a SATA drive*, & I thought that future-proofed it: I could pop a spinning thing in if I needed it. But now I've got used to SSD speed, & especially latency. So . . .  could I put a SATA SSD in there? I know it'd not be as blisteringly fast as the NVMe one the computer came with, but it'd be faster than a rotating HDD, wouldn't it? Just for data - programs would go on the PCIe  NVMe device, alongside the OS.

Can anyone tell me why I shouldn't do it?

*Says "SATA AHCI, up to 6 Gbps" in the spec. The SSD already in the computer is "PCIe Gen3.0x4 NVMe, up to 32 Gbps"
Title: Re: HDD + small SSD - worthwhile?
Post by: perpetual dan on 24 May, 2021, 08:18:09 am
The reason I had for choosing a spinning disk in that position was that it would cost an awful lot for the data I expected to accrue over the life of the computer. Photos, music and data for sciencing, neither of which is small. In any case, for large files the latency gets dominated by the throughput.

I mitigated this by having part of my nvme SSD as a cache for the spinning disk. That way the project I’m working on now gets faster.
Title: Re: HDD + small SSD - worthwhile?
Post by: pcolbeck on 24 May, 2021, 08:22:02 am
Should be fine. I have a ridiculously beefy Lenovo Workstation with 56 CPUs and that could be specced with both NVMe and SATA as a standard build. Currently don't have the NVMe as I bought it second hand without it and the Lenovo one with a the custom bracket etc is too spendy and I don't need the extra speed (I need CPU not disk speed). I just have a SATA SSD in there.
Title: Re: HDD + small SSD - worthwhile?
Post by: Solocle on 24 May, 2021, 08:24:57 am
My current setup is a 250GB NVMe SSD with a 4TB HDD, but I really need to upsize.

I actually added a 120GB SATA SSD, which I use for video processing, but that came from an old laptop, I backed it up onto my spinning rust before deployment.
Title: Re: HDD + small SSD - worthwhile?
Post by: pcolbeck on 24 May, 2021, 08:26:24 am
Oh and be careful there have been a couple of NVMe standards and they aren't cross compatible (the connections are different).
Title: Re: HDD + small SSD - worthwhile?
Post by: Polar Bear on 24 May, 2021, 08:30:06 am
Pretty happy with the new PC, but I have one little niggle.

It's not a problem at the moment, but the storage is a bit limited, & I've been thinking of something which would take a fair bit of it, leaving less margin than I'd really like. There's a bay for a SATA drive*, & I thought that future-proofed it: I could pop a spinning thing in if I needed it. But now I've got used to SSD speed, & especially latency. So . . .  could I put a SATA SSD in there? I know it'd not be as blisteringly fast as the NVMe one the computer came with, but it'd be faster than a rotating HDD, wouldn't it? Just for data - programs would go on the PCIe  NVMe device, alongside the OS.

Can anyone tell me why I shouldn't do it?

*Says "SATA AHCI, up to 6 Gbps" in the spec. The SSD is "PCIe Gen3.0x4 NVMe, up to 32 Gbps"

My system has an m.2/nvme drive as drive C and a 2.5 inch sata ssd as my data drive.  And I add in a further 2.5 inch sata ssd using the Akasa hot swap caddy referred to upthread. 

I had to help the FiCL recently and was mildly shocked by the noisy spinning rust.  Both of our machines and both of mllePB's work laptops are ssd and thus there is very little noise from the hardware real estate.  Bliss.
Title: Re: HDD + small SSD - worthwhile?
Post by: Canardly on 24 May, 2021, 08:50:54 am
An SSD as boot drive will speed things up considerably. Crucial UK has some offers on atm all of which include free cloning software.  NVME is also available of course if your mobo supports it.
Title: Re: HDD + small SSD - worthwhile?
Post by: Polar Bear on 24 May, 2021, 09:34:59 am
Samsung do free cloning software too.  I'd expect most brands to offer cloning software. 

I stuck a Crucial ssd into my 2012 Acer laptop well before Covid and it is still going strong.  Must be close to it's 3 year warranty now.  A friend in need has been using the machine for the past 14 months and when we last checked all was well.  I am mildly surprised but very pleased with a 2012 Intel i5 dual core with 8gb ram is still more than gutsy enough for the usual browsing, admin, social media and video conferencing demands of 2021.
Title: Re: HDD + small SSD - worthwhile?
Post by: Bledlow on 24 May, 2021, 11:50:12 am
An SSD as boot drive will speed things up considerably. Crucial UK has some offers on atm all of which include free cloning software.  NVME is also available of course if your mobo supports it.
It already has an NVMe SSD as boot drive, on which all the software sits. I'm thinking of a SATA SSD for data.
Title: Re: HDD + small SSD - worthwhile?
Post by: philip on 24 May, 2021, 12:01:50 pm
Yes, you can use a SATA SSD in place of a spinning SATA disk. They have the same electrical connections and the same screw holes for mounting.
Title: Re: HDD + small SSD - worthwhile?
Post by: lissotriton on 24 May, 2021, 12:43:14 pm
Just remember to buy a 3.5"/2.5" drive adapter, if you will be using it in a desktop PC. Can get one for a few quid on eBay.
Title: Re: HDD + small SSD - worthwhile?
Post by: Bledlow on 24 May, 2021, 02:17:49 pm
Thanks. I hadn't thought of that (doh!). Yes, it's a desktop with space for a 3.5" HDD.
Title: Re: HDD + small SSD - worthwhile?
Post by: Afasoas on 11 June, 2021, 03:51:30 pm
Just a note about Crucial drives. I bought a pair of their CT1000MX500SSD1 (1TB) SATA SSD drives and they constantly report "1 Currently unreadable (pending) sectors"
It turns out to be an annoying firmware bug. It's transient and crops up every couple of days.

I'm cautious of some of the cheaper brands as I've seen a few interesting failure modes. I've seen about 20 transcend SSDs die within a year (100%) failure rate. Also, with some of the cheaper drives, I've found the SLC/TLC caches to be very small and when they wear out, the slower NAND is much much slower, in fact for some random accesses slower than a decent spinny disk.

Not something to cheap out on.
That said, I tend to put the smallest/cheapest/well reviewed/sufficiently benchmarked drives into my laptops and desktops as I don't store any important data on them.