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I know that there are similar questions but I was wondering if I could get a little more information about this.

The SSD disk is not cheap at all so I wonder if I'd really notice the difference. I basically use my desktop machine for development purposes.

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SATA 2 provides real-world performance of about 300MB/s. That's pretty close to the real-world speed of typical SSDs. – David Schwartz Oct 16 '12 at 14:01
up vote 5 down vote accepted

I wonder if I'd really notice the difference.

Hell yes. There is a big difference. Both in price, size and performance.

SATA-1,2 or 3 matters a lot less. Having an older SATA interface on your motherboard will slow down benchmarks and set a cap on sequential reads (e.g. reading a large movie).

However the big advantage of SSDs is random I/O. These kinds of access do not come close to the performance ceiling of SATA-2, let alone SATA-3.

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You will most definitely notice it! I'm a developer as well, and a couple of years ago when I upgraded, even with the high price and small space of the SSD, I considered it the single best upgrade I had experienced in years.

If you upgrade machines in the future, you can bring your SSD with you.

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Did you use SATA II when you upgraded? – StackOverflower Oct 16 '12 at 13:02
Yes, I had an older desktop, and only upgraded the disk. It was instantly a huge improvement. – G_P Oct 16 '12 at 13:05

I wonder if I'd really notice the difference

Oh yes. I have attached results of two of my drives both SATA II. The Seagate is a 5200 RPM drive, but it seems to perform better than my older 7200 RPM drives. But for the sake of comparison I used two newer drives (both under 6 mos old) to give you an idea.

As far as cost - the per gig cost difference for platter vs. SSD is great, but, for me, I found the OCZ for $.54/GB and the seagate was $.16/GB. But for $65, I felt is was worth the cost.

Crystal Disk Mark results for a seagate 1 TB drive and a OCZ Vertex Plus R2 120GB

Seagate Results (AHCI Enabled)

CrystalDiskMark 3.0.1 x64 (C) 2007-2010 hiyohiyo

Crystal Dew World :

  • MB/s = 1,000,000 byte/s [SATA/300 = 300,000,000 byte/s]

       Sequential Read :   105.395 MB/s
      Sequential Write :   102.510 MB/s
     Random Read 512KB :    29.256 MB/s
    Random Write 512KB :    46.686 MB/s

    Random Read 4KB (QD=1) : 0.304 MB/s [ 74.1 IOPS]

    Random Write 4KB (QD=1) : 0.748 MB/s [ 182.7 IOPS]

    Random Read 4KB (QD=32) : 0.359 MB/s [ 87.8 IOPS]

    Random Write 4KB (QD=32) : 0.754 MB/s [ 184.1 IOPS]

    Test : 1000 MB [E: 16.1% (225.3/1397.3 GB)] (x5) Date : 2012/10/14 21:11:03 OS : Windows 7 Home Premium Edition SP1 [6.1 Build 7601] (x64)

OCZ Vertex 120 GB Results

CrystalDiskMark 3.0.1 x64 (C) 2007-2010 hiyohiyo

Crystal Dew World :

  • MB/s = 1,000,000 byte/s [SATA/300 = 300,000,000 byte/s]

       Sequential Read :   240.114 MB/s
      Sequential Write :   160.529 MB/s
     Random Read 512KB :   140.087 MB/s
    Random Write 512KB :   155.941 MB/s

    Random Read 4KB (QD=1) : 16.242 MB/s [ 3965.4 IOPS]

    Random Write 4KB (QD=1) : 31.987 MB/s [ 7809.4 IOPS]

    Random Read 4KB (QD=32) : 42.707 MB/s [ 10426.5 IOPS]

    Random Write 4KB (QD=32) : 31.443 MB/s [ 7676.6 IOPS]

    Test : 1000 MB [C: 21.7% (25.0/115.2 GB)] (x5) Date : 2012/10/14 20:59:59 OS : Windows 7 Home Premium Edition SP1 [6.1 Build 7601] (x64)

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Most operations you do on your PC fall into the "random 4kb reads/writes, at low queue depths" category. This is where any HDD behaves poorly due to relatively large seek times. So, in this category, even the low-end SSDs will beat any HDD.

Take a look at AnandTech's review of Western Digital's VelociRaptor (1TB version, 2012 model), for example. Even for a hard disk which is one of the fastest platter disks around (as of 2012), the 4kB random write chart looks something like this:

 Intel 320 Series SSD 160 GB:        58.6 MB/s
 WD VelociRaptor 1TB                  2.7 MB/s
 Hitachi Deskstar 5K4000 4TB          1.4 MB/s
 Seagate Barracuda XT 3TB             1.2 MB/s

Even a really fast (for year 2012 standards) OCZ Vertex 4 SSD will have 4kB random write speeds in the range of ~200 MB/s, which is well below SATA III 600 MB/s max throughput (and still 100 times faster than a Velociraptor).

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