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I am wondering if you can give an opinion on either recommending a SSD 280/270 (80Gb) hard drive or go for a hybrid drive e.g. a Seagate Momentus XT hybrid (250Gb)?

I ultimatly would like to use mirror RAID and put Windows 7 ultimate onto this disc. I am a .net developer so I am looking for speed in reading/writing/compiling lots of small files.

Can any one recommend one over the other?

Speed is the most deciding factor here and not size and I am not looking for buying recommendations just an overview why I should choose one over the other.

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I remember one guy who's selling PC mentioning here that all hybrid HDDs he sold had really really poor reliability. It may be worth looking up that answer. – AndrejaKo May 8 '11 at 17:36
Hbyrid is slow. Buy an SSD. Seriously. – Shiki May 8 '11 at 17:46
The new OCZ RevoDrive hybrid drives are smokin' fast, desktops only – Moab Dec 8 '11 at 17:59
@Shiki: Slow in terms of what? Hybrid is fast with common use. Tests don't represent actual computer usage. SSDs shine in tests but hybrids come very close with everyday use. Who cares if copying of huge files (like movies etc.) is slow... He's a developer. His Visual Studio should load fast, so should his projects... Compilation is done in memory so there's no difference whether he uses a hybrid or an SSD. This has been proved by Joel Spolsky. – Robert Koritnik Jan 17 '12 at 7:48
@RobertKoritnik - You can also use a ramdisk for this purpose, which will be faster anyway. (I put my NetBeans cache/user dir and IntelliJ folder to my ramdisk, and use a general hard drive.) Netbeans like VStudio does a lot of read AND write operations (cache, etc). So a ramdisk is generally a cheaper, faster choice anyway. – Shiki Jan 17 '12 at 18:13
up vote 4 down vote accepted

I would go with SSD all the way. I have upgraded my system from 7200 to SSD Intel X25M - 160gb and it flies in Visual Studio comparing to what it used to be. Hybrid drive won't give you such a boost. The only problem is space. On 160gb drive i still have around 40gb free I doubt i will fill it, as i tend to store other files on external drives. So 80Gb may be sufficient but to be safe I would go for 120-160gb. But if you're short on budget just go with 80GB and keep yourself some external drive for some large files (VM's or so).

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Realize that the hybrid discs, while they use SLC flash (rather than the lower performing MLC), only use the flash for READ performance boosting. So they will not improve the write performance of the disc.

If you're a developer, I can't imagine you not running on SSD. I made the switch when the first gen Intel X25-M drives came out (reducing from a 500GB mechanical down to the 80GB -- once I removed music and my photos, which I really didn't need to carry everywhere with me), I fit on there pretty easily. Those first gen drives had some performance problems which the newer ones have completely solved. The performance is definitely more snappy, though you really take the most advantage of them when doing many simultaneous I/Os, like building with a lot of concurrent jobs running at once ("make -j8", that sort of thing).

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@Rippo: SSDs don't speed up compilation unless you use extremely small amount of RAM in your machine which I seriously doubt since you're considering SSD upgrade. – Robert Koritnik Jan 17 '12 at 7:46
@Robert Koritnik That's simply not true. Look at the amount of writes when compiling with either Visual C++ or GCC. Look at all of the object files, precompiled headers, PDBs, binaries and temp files that get created. Even for a small to medium sized project there can be GB of them. – user33339 Feb 9 '15 at 2:30
My comment was based on this blog post from Joel Spolsky – Robert Koritnik Feb 9 '15 at 5:31

I already tested boot time over SSDs and the Seagate XT, on my tests both had the same windows Seven boot time. I would choose XT, first because price (the lower price XT had the same performance for boot time then SSD), second cause is because you will have both positive points of SSDs and HDDs, SSDs have fast acess times for reading but low times for writting, and HDDs have slow times for reading and medium (acceptable) times for writting (when you coping a divx for HDD for example)....

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He's going to develop on that machine. Which means he needs fast access to libraries / compiling time etc. Also my SSD seems to be a lot faster on writing then my old HDD so don't see SSD loosing in any of the two areas (read/write). – MadBoy May 11 '11 at 7:19

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