Better Upgrade if On a Budget: SSD vs RAM - AVS Forum
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post #1 of 38 Old 11-14-2010, 07:32 AM - Thread Starter
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What do you think is the better upgrade for a HTPC if you could only fit 1 into your budget?


SSD?

or

Additional RAM? (Upgrade from 2GB to 4GB for instance)



Also, if you picked SSD what is the minimum size you would go with for your OS?
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post #2 of 38 Old 11-14-2010, 07:45 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by assassin View Post

What do you think is the better upgrade for a HTPC if you could only fit 1 into your budget?


SSD?

or

Additional RAM? (Upgrade from 2GB to 4GB for instance)

RAM is generally the most cost effective upgrade. And lots of RAM can help with slow disk speed because the O/S will use extra RAM for a disk cache.

Mike
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post #3 of 38 Old 11-14-2010, 07:58 AM
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I would vote for do neither if you're on a budget. As to the choices, I doubt you'd notice a difference with the ram, so by definition the SSD would be better if you're going to do one or the other.

There's also this thread on SSD's in HTPCs: http://www.avsforum.com/avs-vb/showthread.php?t=1287685
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post #4 of 38 Old 11-14-2010, 08:37 AM
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I think you will see a larger speed improvement with an ssd than going from 2 to 4gb's of ram.
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post #5 of 38 Old 11-14-2010, 10:05 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by whiteboy714 View Post

I think you will see a larger speed improvement with an ssd than going from 2 to 4gb's of ram.

Not sure if this is completely accurate...

Yes, there will be faster PC startup times, and applications might load a bit faster if the OS is not using too much virtual memory...
But once everything gets loaded into memory, there is no difference from there on.

Having 4G of RAM will definitely reduce the chances of the OS using plenty of virtual memory...

Price is another issue of course, apart from the SSD being quite expensive at this point in time, you will also need to do complete OS re-install...

The choice is up to you and your "budget" anyways...
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post #6 of 38 Old 11-14-2010, 10:22 AM
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If its just an OS you only need 30gb or so. They dont make them smaller or you could get a 20gb one maybe but it might be close. But 2gb of ram is not as much as a small SSD would be. I would make sure your system can use the extra 2gb first I assume this is 64 bit?
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post #7 of 38 Old 11-14-2010, 10:24 AM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ogormask View Post

I assume this is 64 bit?

Of course.

FYI - Looks like a 32GB SSD is about $90 where a 160GB HDD is about $40.
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post #8 of 38 Old 11-14-2010, 10:54 AM
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absolutely SSD. Anyone who says different has never actually done enough research or has never used an SSD.
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post #9 of 38 Old 11-14-2010, 11:39 AM
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I would say 2-4GB first, then SSD...IF you use apps that will use the extra memory. So, if you are a gamer, then 4GB first. If this is a strict HTPC, then SSD.

If the choice were 4-8GB or SSD, it would be SSD.
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post #10 of 38 Old 11-14-2010, 03:59 PM
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SSD. I can't see an HTPC getting faster with a standard HDD and 4GB compared to an SSD and 2GB, not for the typical applications of an HTPC anyway. If you are using RAM-intensive programs/processes then yeah the 4GB will start to make a difference, but for typical HTPC tasks the SSD will make it faster.

That said, I do like the other guy's answer above--if you're on a tight budget, doing neither is not going to end in catasrophe or an unusable HTPC (well depending on what you're using it for of course).
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post #11 of 38 Old 11-14-2010, 09:57 PM
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Do you run more apps than the typical media viewing stuff?

You can open the Resource Monitor (there is a button in the task manager under the performance tab) and check the hard faults per second. If that number is consistantly high, say well into the 100's/sec, under higher PC usage times then memory will help. If you see it close to 0 all the time then memory will be of no help. You might see some the number jump only as you start apps but that seems fairly normal so don't worry about that.

The hard faults/second basically shows you how many memory pages are swapped per second. So, the higher the number the more often your computer is swapping memory pages out of ram.

I have 4gig with 256meg assigned to my onboard video. I often see over 2gig of memory use but my hard faults/sec is always 0 except for some jumps when starting programs.

Peter
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post #12 of 38 Old 11-15-2010, 05:16 AM
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X-bit labs asked and answered this question.

http://www.xbitlabs.com/articles/sto...sd-vs-8gb.html
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post #13 of 38 Old 11-15-2010, 06:38 AM
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Personally... ....I'd take the $100 or so and pay for the next year of Netflix.

-Suntan
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post #14 of 38 Old 11-15-2010, 06:47 AM
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SSD, tom's hardware did a test between the same system being upgraded with an SSD compared to going from 2 to 4gig of ram. SSD made a much bigger impact...even on games.
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post #15 of 38 Old 11-15-2010, 10:19 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Eopian View Post

X-bit labs asked and answered this question.

http://www.xbitlabs.com/articles/sto...sd-vs-8gb.html

umm, this compare was going from 4gig to 8gig...

Just in case this is not obvious, most of those benchmark tests do not require over 4gig of memory when running so it make little to no difference between 4gig or 8 gig. However, check the resutls of that Adobe Photoshop CS5 chart when more memory was required. That graph shows just how much extra memory will help when the system reaches the point it needs more memory.

So, once again it depends on your specific computer usage and I'll stand by the hard fault check. If you're are page swapping then memory will help.

I found that going from 2gig to 4gig made a huge performance difference when my system was showing a few 100 up to 1000's of hard faults on a continuous basis.

I would think a SSD would have more benefits for what I consider a fairly typical HTPC. However, you have not defined the usage you consider typical.

Peter
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post #16 of 38 Old 11-15-2010, 06:13 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JoshDorhyke View Post

So, once again it depends on your specific computer usage and I'll stand by the hard fault check. If you're are page swapping then memory will help.

I think the OP should simply add more memory without checking the hard faults and then complain it did not make a difference...

...wow, I just had a strange feeling of deja vu!


But I agree with you that going to SSD will have more benefits for most people...
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post #17 of 38 Old 11-15-2010, 06:43 PM
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You didn't give any information on what you were trying to achieve, and what, if any, problems you currently have.

For a basic HTPC, I wouldn't really recommend either, if you aren't gaming or using the HTPC for ripping/encoding. You are fine with 2GB of memory. Are you trying to run Photoshop while watching HD movies? What would you be using the extra memory for? As for the SSD, it improves start up times. How often are you resetting the HTPC? I guess it can be a slight improvement if you watch live TV a lot, and use the PC sleep function to turn it on and off, and you are impatient (do seconds matter to you?)

But if you are on a budget, I don't see either upgrade necessary or even worth the money. If you explained why you wanted to upgrade, what you were trying to achieve, and what, if any problems you have with your current setup (you can tell us the specs if you want), we could probably give you better upgrade advice.
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post #18 of 38 Old 11-15-2010, 06:56 PM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cybrsage View Post

I think the OP should simply add more memory without checking the hard faults and then complain it did not make a difference...

...wow, I just had a strange feeling of deja vu!

Great post. Constructive and insightful. And relevant to the topic.

Hard faults are for nerds. Give me real world.
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post #19 of 38 Old 11-15-2010, 10:34 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by assassin View Post
Great post. Constructive and insightful. And relevant to the topic.

Hard faults are for nerds. Give me real world.
You missed the reference, I am referencing another thread. No biggie, though.
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post #20 of 38 Old 11-15-2010, 11:59 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by assassin View Post

Quote:
Originally Posted by ogormask
I assume this is 64 bit?
Of course.

FYI - Looks like a small 32GB SSD is about $90 where a 160GB HDD is about $40.
W7 64bit and a small 32Gb SSD is not a good combination.

The W7 64 bit install is bigger than the 32bit one.
The 64bit system has the overhead of the 32bit emulator.

The dataset is quite large in \\Windows\\winsxs. It is about 7Gb
on my W7 64bit office machine. The \\Windows directory is about 15Gb.
My W7 32bit on my HTPC is 9Gb and WinSXS is 4.5 Gb. HTPC has a 32Gb SSD.
Both W7 installs are home premium.

A lot HTPC apps are still 32bit.

If you fill up the SSD it will wear out more quickly.
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post #21 of 38 Old 11-16-2010, 01:34 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by assassin View Post
Great post. Constructive and insightful. And relevant to the topic.

Hard faults are for nerds. Give me real world.
His post was sarcastically correct. If you are not seeing many hard faults with the RAM you have, you will not likely see much of a "real world" improvement by adding more.
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post #22 of 38 Old 11-16-2010, 06:54 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by assassin View Post

Great post. Constructive and insightful. And relevant to the topic.

Hard faults are for nerds. Give me real world.

I guess that makes you're just as much of an idiot as the poster in the other thread then.

Hard faults are real world. They tell you what your computer is doing while you are using it the way you use it. Apparently, you can not be bothered to click your mouse a few times and open a simple program.

What exactly would make this check dumb yet using a benchmark program realistic??

I change my response. You should take a $100 bill, roll it up and smoke it.

Peter
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post #23 of 38 Old 11-16-2010, 06:55 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cybrsage View Post

You missed the reference, I am referencing another thread. No biggie, though.

I got the reference. Apparently the OP in that thread is back...

Peter
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post #24 of 38 Old 11-16-2010, 07:34 AM
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I am running 4gb of ram and a SSD, if on a budget I would upgrade the ram over a SSD if you do anything besides just watch movies.

2Gb is enough to watch movies and not much else.
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post #25 of 38 Old 11-16-2010, 07:38 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Calcvictim View Post

I am running 4gb of ram and a SSD, if on a budget I would upgrade the ram over a SSD if you do anything besides just watch movies.

2Gb is enough to watch movies and not much else.

Even assuming that's correct, the question asked was about upgrading an HTPC. Without knowing that the OP does more than watch movies (or TV shows), I don't see how anyone can say that the ram should be upgraded.
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post #26 of 38 Old 11-16-2010, 07:57 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Karyk View Post

Even assuming that's correct, the question asked was about upgrading an HTPC. Without knowing that the OP does more than watch movies (or TV shows), I don't see how anyone can say that the ram should be upgraded.

The OP did not say anything about what he does, you can just as easily assume that the OP records live tv and then converts it to watch on a stand alone dvd player. Saying HTPC really doesn't say anything, hence my description and reasons.
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post #27 of 38 Old 11-16-2010, 10:36 AM
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@JoshDorhyke: Easy. The OP may not have known what hard faults were and just assumed it was a nerd term, or that it can easily be checked.
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post #28 of 38 Old 11-16-2010, 10:43 AM
 
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Didn't mean to cause a problem...was really just looking for a chuckle.
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post #29 of 38 Old 11-16-2010, 11:55 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by vladd View Post

@JoshDorhyke: Easy. The OP may not have known what hard faults were and just assumed it was a nerd term, or that it can easily be checked.

Post #11

What part didn't I make clear enough so I can expand the description next time? Also, doing a search is very easy if my explanation wasn't clear enough and you actually want to learn something new.

http://www.lmgtfy.com/?q=%09hard+faults+per+second

Next time I think I'll just post that link. It's become obvious the people asking questions such as this don't want to actually learn and the responders probably all know this already.

Peter
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post #30 of 38 Old 11-16-2010, 12:22 PM
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I was giving the OP the benefit of the doubt. I missed post #11 and it's possible that he did as well. cybrsage's post only quoted part of your post. (I vote for blaming it all on him.)
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