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I am trying to choose between a laptop with only HDD and one with 120GB SSD + 500GB HDD. I know that SSD-s are faster, of course. But, what are the practical, user-side advantages of this. Which operations on a computer are swifter?

For example, here are several use cases.

  1. Check out the linux kernel to the HDD (OS is on the SSD). Configure and build it.
  2. Install Neverwinter Nights 2 on the SSD. Play.
  3. Download a DVD-quality movie to the HDD. Play it.
  4. Lounch Eclipse IDE. Open some files, compile another project at the same time (working directory on HDD).
  5. Open a 5000 page PDF (on the HDD). Scroll with the slider 1111 pages.
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1 Answer 1

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The SSD does not have any appreciable seek time. This means that operations that open lots of files or read a lot of data will occur faster.

Operations that don't really require a lot of data, e.g. fixed data rate like music and movies, will probably be unaffected.

So in your cases above, I don't expect much improvement overall.

I would expect significant improvements if your moved your source trees to the SSD (case 1 and 4). The others: I don't expect much improvement unless your HDD is seriously fragmented.

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Also - lots of people make a big deal out of the much faster boot times of an SSD (5 seconds as opposed to 30). –  davidgo Mar 12 '13 at 8:16
    
I decided I do not need an SSD. It would have been 30% if the price of the laptop. –  Vorac Apr 9 '13 at 13:08

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