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SSD for application only?

I'd like to move to SSD and i'm curious about what differences I would see (if any) between the two configurations below.

1) 40GB SSD for OS, regular HD for everything else

2) 40GB SSD for OS, 40GB SSD for applications, regular HD for everything else

Do you think any differences between these two would be noticeable?

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marked as duplicate by BinaryMisfit Feb 19 '10 at 10:52

This question has been asked before and already has an answer. If those answers do not fully address your question, please ask a new question.

Depends what you mean by "everything else". Office apps? Which ones? Gaming? What sort of game? Development? Databases? VMs? Also, what spec is the rest of the machine, and what OS are you running? – David Spillett Feb 12 '10 at 18:11
What kind of applications would these be ? – Sathya Feb 12 '10 at 18:14
Well when i say everything else for the first configuration i mean anything that is not installed by the initial OS install. For configuration 2 i mean anything that is not installed by the initial OS install or any applications I may install after that. Basically any saved documents, music, movies etc. The machine will be used for development mostly (Visual Studio and SQL Server), but will also have MS Office apps and some games. I can't tell you exactly which Office apps or games. It will be running Windows 7 and i'm not exactly sure on the specs for the rest of the machine yet. – Abe Miessler Feb 12 '10 at 18:15
up vote 1 down vote accepted

Found this post which seems to answer my question.

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If you make the move to SSD, both OS and applications should be on SSD. One larger SSD would likely be fine. Only data and in some cases, application libraries, should stay on regular HDD. Virtual machines, games and temporary working folders perform great on SSD, but when space gets limited you may move these away first.

All I am really saying is I think you may regret your choice if you don't pick a SSD big enough to put both OS and apps on it... once you notice how your OS is faster but while applications don't benefit from the same treatment.

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I would immediately rule out option two. Although in theory you could get double the bandwidth* with two drives (similar to how RAID0 can improve performance), it would probably be better to get a single SSD with 80GB. This is because SSDs tend to be faster the more free space that is available (as mentioned in an earlier answer).

SSDs excel at random read/write performance, and usually perform well at sequential read/write. You would probably overall sacrifice the former, for a potential improvement to the latter (with two 40GB SSDs rather than a single 80GB SSD).

*but only when reading to or writing from both drives at the same time

Edit: These are just speculations, but referring to the configurations in the question: (2) should provide better performance than (1), due to the potential for increased bandwidth and parallel access. But it’s also worth considering configuration (3): a single 80GB SSD for OS/apps. (3) would obviously be preferable to (1) due to the larger capacity (which leads to better random write performance). (2) should offer better sequential read/write speeds than (3), e.g., when copying a large file from one SSD to the other. I’d also expect random read performance to be slightly better for (2) than (3) (when both the OS and an application simultaneously need to access the drives/drive).

But (3) may offer better random write performance than (2), because one large drive is preferable to two smaller drives - the more free space the better. (3) should also be slightly cheaper than (2). I’d also say that random write performance is the critical advantage of a good SSD versus a HDD; it’s a much more common operation than copying a large file between two SSDs. So I’d buy the option with the best random write performance (at a reasonably cost). But obviously benchmarking is needed to verify my hunch...

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Could you clarify what you mean in paragraph 2, sentence 2 for me? Are you saying that configuration 1 would (potentially) sacrifice performance vs configuration 2? – Abe Miessler Feb 19 '10 at 0:13
Thanks for the clarification! – Abe Miessler Feb 22 '10 at 18:58

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