Why you should buy an SSD
SSD prices are dropping, it’s about time you got one
It’s cheaper to buy an SSD now than ever before according to a recent MyGaming SSD pricing comparison, and important people such as Grant Rau from Kingston SA reckon we’ll see even lower SSD prices in future. So what’s your reason for not buying and SSD?
SSD’s make everything fast
Have you ever timed how long your computer takes to boot up? Next time you power up see how long it takes to get into your operating system after all of your background processes have initialised (MSN, Skype, Anti-virus, tray tools and whatever else you have that loads after boot).
My laptop with an SSD takes 15.7 seconds, while my desktop with SSD comes in at a slightly slower but still respectable 20.1. I’ve already fragged my first noob in CoD by the time you’ve booted and opened up Steam; something to consider.
You should also consider the impact on day to day tasks and system responsiveness. Opening up a Word or Excel document takes a fraction of a second; notoriously sluggish Steam loads in record times; and Firefox is completely responsive even when you have multiple windows with 30+ tabs open in each. Well, that last one is RAM (and Firefox bug-free) dependant too, but if the systems are the same, an SSD will win every time.
The SSD really comes into its own when you open resource intensive tasks though, particularly games. Load times for Battlefield 3 and Modern Warfare 3 were less than half of what they were on a standard hard drive and the same can be applied to nearly every other game type out there. Unsurprisingly, Minecraft servers can really put a strain on your hard drive, but watch them fly when things are loaded onto an SSD.
Games aren’t the only resource intensive programs that really benefit from SSDs. Any PC user who works with high resolution DLSR photography or video editing for example, will know that applying complex processors to a large file takes on average around 400 years to complete, give or take a decade. This is substantially reduced by a good SSD; though if this is your route you should make sure you can get an SSD that can reliably handle aconstant load.
The catch isn’t actually that bad
There have typically been two factors that have turned away consumers from SSDs; high prices and low capacities.
The price for these drives is slowly reducing to the point of affordability, however space still remains limited. For anything over a 240GB drive you’re looking at paying in organs, but that’s not such a bad thing if you’re willing to put in some effort.
My first SSD was a 60GB G.Skill Phoenix Pro, and it went in my gaming rig as the primary hard drive. After the OS and essential applications were installed I was left with 20GB to play around with, which meant that aside from Minecraft, most of my games had to sit on another drive (in my case, a 1TB western Digital Black Sata 6Gbps).
Despite the games not being on the SSD, load times actually improved, and working in a Windows environment was a pleasure. Without games on the primary drive I had plenty of space for all sorts of resource intensive apps. The only stumbling block which I needed to get used to was making sure I didn’t drag and drop files onto my desktop.
I’ve since upgraded to a 256GB in both my gaming rig and my work laptop, and life couldn’t be better. I have all of my primary games on the SSD, including some of my often used Steam games. I store the files for seldom played games on a separate hard drive, and transfer them over to the SSD when I feel like playing. A bit of maintenance, but the gaming experience this provides me with is worth the extra effort.
SSDs in the 120GB to 256GB range are now affordable (well mostly), and gaming on them can be a great experience. Making efficient use of the space provided isn’t difficult, and after the first week you’ll wonder why you thought it was such a mission in the first place.
You need to experience one first
At this point in time, everyone who has an SSD is attending a performance party – one that you’re not invited to. Rather than joining in the fun, you have to sit by and listen to, “you had to have been there” as they describe just how great this party is.
No amount of convincing can fully prepare you for the speed increases an SSD OS drive will bring, and that’s not where it ends. If you’re disappointed at the performance increases, go back to using a standard hard drive for your operating system after a few weeks of SSD goodness, you’ll start saving for your next upgrade then and there.