Solid State Drive (SSD) vs. Hard Disk Drive (HDD) - AVS Forum
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post #1 of 29 Old 07-05-2011, 11:19 AM - Thread Starter
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For a HTPC (media playback primarily), what is the advantage of having a SSD drive as their primary drive for OS & applications versus a low RPM HDD?

I typically suspend the HTPC.
I'll be keeping my media storage on a large low RPM energy efficient hard disk.
4 GB of RAM.

OS/Apps on SSD versus partitioning the low RPM HDD for an OS/App drive? Am I going to notice a difference?

Thanks,
Jake
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post #2 of 29 Old 07-05-2011, 11:25 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by snakyjake View Post

OS/Apps on SSD versus partitioning the low RPM HDD for an OS/App drive? Am I going to notice a difference?

Thanks,
Jake

Yes, you'll notice a difference. A remarkable difference.

Having done this once, I will never build or buy another PC that doesn't have a SSD for a system and programs disk.
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post #3 of 29 Old 07-05-2011, 11:45 AM
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It really depending on your budget and what you're looking for.

In this forum most people are "ENTHUSIAST", means we will pay a bit more to get the latest and greatest, the best products we can put our hands on.

There are nothing HDD can do SSD can't or vise versa. At the end of the day, they are just a different storage device, HDD is mechanic based and SSD is a NAND-based flash memory based.

To answer your question you will see a significant speed using SSD instead of HDD. To put it in perspective, it is like dial up and DSL! It is so much faster. For me, there is no way I can go back to HDD for my HTPC OS drive.

If you are running a low budget HTPC and you are not care so much about the boot up, shut down and the app loading time... then feel free to keep using HDD. If you have few extra $ to spend and you want to have a fast load app HTPC, then SSD will be the right choice for you.
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post #4 of 29 Old 07-05-2011, 11:46 AM
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Both are very good options.

SSD is even better though but not necessarily an absolute need.


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post #5 of 29 Old 07-05-2011, 11:53 AM
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To chime in, as someone who owns both (SSD for boot drive on Desktop, mechanical HD for HTPC), I'd say based on your situation it probably isn't really a big deal to use a regular HD.

Obviously an SSD is faster, but as you said if you use sleep, the benefit of fast booting is not that important imo. Things like Mediabrowser might load slightly faster, but to me the 5-10s difference isn't worth the price/capacity difference.
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post #6 of 29 Old 07-05-2011, 11:55 AM
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SSD was the biggest change in overall PC performance that I've ever seen from a single install since the 90's, when I installed my first HDD (to replace a floppy drive). There's nothing that you can put in a PC that will have a more significant effect on performance.

That said, I don't run one in my media center PC. Too expensive, and the PC is "fast enough". For my desktop, you'd pry my X25 out of my cold dead hands; I'll never go back to a physical drive for my main computer. Thankfully, they last a long time, so I probably won't be buying another one for quite awhile.

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post #7 of 29 Old 07-05-2011, 12:05 PM - Thread Starter
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I've read a lot on the forum and not sure if "enthusiast" is appropriate. I'm an HTPC enthusiast, but I see the other "enthusiasts" doing a lot more than just being a theater PC. The people that do more than watch/listen to media might need to be called HTCP+. And this is why I get confused.

Boot:
I keep hearing about boot times, but don't HTPC users suspend instead of boot?

I'm hoping with my new system that suspends are possible. And I don't want to wait more than 10 seconds; 2-5 seconds is ideal, but not going to spend $100 for the performance.

Application load time:
Since this is strictly a media center, there's not a lot of applications to load.

Never owned a SSD, nor a 5900 RPM HDD. So not sure what to expect.

...I'm probably answering my own question. But I don't read it discussed much on the forum, and I like discussing .

Jake
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post #8 of 29 Old 07-05-2011, 12:13 PM
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I may be in the minority, but I power my systems off when not in use. And having it boot up from when I hit the power switch, including loading Nortin Internet Security, in about 15 seconds, is remarkable.

WinDVDPro, ArcSoft Showbiz and other programs start nearly instantaneously.

Sure, it's not essential. The pc could do everything it does without having an SSD.

But to me, the speed difference is worth every penny, and when I get the time, every desktop in the house will be retrofitted with an SSD. I can't wait to see MS Office load in seconds.

It's one of those things that once you've done it, you can't go back.
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post #9 of 29 Old 07-05-2011, 12:17 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by snakyjake View Post

I've read a lot on the forum and not sure if "enthusiast" is appropriate. I'm an HTPC enthusiast, but I see the other "enthusiasts" doing a lot more than just being a theater PC. The people that do more than watch/listen to media might need to be called HTCP+. And this is why I get confused.

Boot:
I keep hearing about boot times, but don't HTPC users suspend instead of boot?

I'm hoping with my new system that suspends are possible. And I don't want to wait more than 10 seconds; 2-5 seconds is ideal, but not going to spend $100 for the performance.

Application load time:
Since this is strictly a media center, there's not a lot of applications to load.

Never owned a SSD, nor a 5900 RPM HDD. So not sure what to expect.

...I'm probably answering my own question. But I don't read it discussed much on the forum, and I like discussing .

Jake

If you are just talking about wake up/return from S1 S3, I don't think it will be huge different compare to wake up, shut down and loading some heavy apps like WMC. Plenty of people like to benchmark their SSD and make sure we have the top notch performance from the SSD.

Btw, you can easily find some SSDs on sales these days for less than $100 or a HDD about $50. IMO, I think it is worth to step up to SSD for $50 less.
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post #10 of 29 Old 07-05-2011, 12:24 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by snakyjake View Post

Application load time:
Since this is strictly a media center, there's not a lot of applications to load.

SSD's still make a big difference. Things like MediaBrowser load up much faster. It won't be instant but it is a lot faster. The interface as a whole will feel a lot snappier. Even doing simple things outside of media center, like pulling up a simple explorer window, will feel much faster.

It's definitely a luxury item but I think it's worth the extra cost and I only use my htpc for watching movies. It makes the htpc feel more like an appliance rather than a computer.

I didn't realize how much I liked having an SSD until I tried to go back to a normal HD (yeah, that didn't last long).
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post #11 of 29 Old 07-05-2011, 12:24 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Zon2020 View Post

I may be in the minority, but I power my systems off when not in use. And having it boot up from when I hit the power switch, including loading Nortin Internet Security, in about 15 seconds, is remarkable.

WinDVDPro, ArcSoft Showbiz and other programs start nearly instantaneously.

Sure, it's not essential. The pc could do everything it does without having an SSD.

But to me, the speed difference is worth every penny, and when I get the time, every desktop in the house will be retrofitted with an SSD. I can't wait to see MS Office load in seconds.

It's one of those things that once you've done it, you can't go back.

Can't agree more. After I tried my first SSD few years ago, as mentioned before, I can't go back to HDD anymore. Nowadays I use the OCZ Revodrive X2, 700+ Mb/s read and 600+ Mb/s write speed, only takes 10 to 12 sec with all the apps load from a cold start, it is unbelievable fast to me, don't even have the Windows Welcome screen anymore, jump right to the desktop from BIOS :-) When I hit the Play button from MM within MC, BD usually play within 5 sec!
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post #12 of 29 Old 07-05-2011, 12:47 PM
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An SSD is definitely worth it. In addition to programs being more responsive, full anti-virus scans are much better to deal with, as are Windows updates and driver installations.
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post #13 of 29 Old 07-05-2011, 01:59 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by snakyjake View Post

For a HTPC (media playback primarily), what is the advantage of having a SSD drive as their primary drive for OS & applications versus a low RPM HDD?

I typically suspend the HTPC.
I'll be keeping my media storage on a large low RPM energy efficient hard disk.
4 GB of RAM.

OS/Apps on SSD versus partitioning the low RPM HDD for an OS/App drive? Am I going to notice a difference?

Thanks,
Jake

I chose to use a 2.5" 500GB drive for my system drive and 3 2TB drives for my media storage.
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post #14 of 29 Old 07-05-2011, 02:14 PM
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As has been continued to be stated, SSD is for much more than just fast boot times. Everything will be more snappy and everything loads almost instantaneously. 7MC TV guide with SSD is instant. With a HD it would take several seconds to load. There is no doubt you won't enjoy the benefits of a SSD. It comes down to - I wouldn't even say 'if it's worth the cost, because it is worth the cost - but can you afford one. If you can afford one, get it!

My 2 HTPCs and laptop all have SSD. Only PC without one is my server. It's backend operations that wouldn't benefit from a SSD, but I've still been tempted...

It's an excellent way to give yourself a new laptop without buying one if 3D graphics aren't a concern. I installed one in my 5 year old C2D T5700 with legacy SATA1 and it's now faster than a modern day high performance non-SSD laptop would be, minus 3d graphics.
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post #15 of 29 Old 07-05-2011, 02:38 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jrwalte View Post

As has been continued to be stated, SSD is for much more than just fast boot times. Everything will be more snappy and everything loads almost instantaneously. 7MC TV guide with SSD is instant. With a HD it would take several seconds to load. There is no doubt you won't enjoy the benefits of a SSD. It comes down to - I wouldn't even say 'if it's worth the cost, because it is worth the cost - but can you afford one. If you can afford one, get it!

My 2 HTPCs and laptop all have SSD. Only PC without one is my server. It's backend operations that wouldn't benefit from a SSD, but I've still been tempted...

It's an excellent way to give yourself a new laptop without buying one if 3D graphics aren't a concern. I installed one in my 5 year old C2D T5700 with legacy SATA1 and it's now faster than a modern day high performance non-SSD laptop would be, minus 3d graphics.

I think this post summarizes my understanding of the advantages of upgrading to SSD. The main thing holding me back from upgrading to SSDs is that I keep reading about Read cycles (85,000 or so?) and write cycles for SSDs. Does this mean that after roughly those many read cycles those memory locations will not be "usable"? Wondering how it compares to a HDD's read cycles/longeivity since I dont see HDDs with a similar (read cycle) rating?

Also is there some way the SSD notifies users that its "capacity" is diminished because certain areas are no longer readable? Does data from the unreadable (or unwriteable) area get moved to a different location?

Dont mean to thread jack and hope the response to these questions is useful to OP as well as others.

Thanks,
-Topper
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post #16 of 29 Old 07-05-2011, 03:04 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by topperdude View Post

I think this post summarizes my understanding of the advantages of upgrading to SSD. The main thing holding me back from upgrading to SSDs is that I keep reading about Read cycles (85,000 or so?) and write cycles for SSDs. Does this mean that after roughly those many read cycles those memory locations will not be "usable"? Wondering how it compares to a HDD's read cycles/longeivity since I dont see HDDs with a similar (read cycle) rating?

Also is there some way the SSD notifies users that its "capacity" is diminished because certain areas are no longer readable? Does data from the unreadable (or unwriteable) area get moved to a different location?

Dont mean to thread jack and hope the response to these questions is useful to OP as well as others.

Thanks,
-Topper

It's not read cycles that cause the wear, it's erase/write cycles. With a properly configured system where you record shows on a mechanical drive wear is not going to be an issue. I think Anand showed that even with moderate erase/writes cycles an SSD would still last for @ 10+ years, probably far longer than you'd be keeping it anyway.

Another alternative for HTPCs is the Seagate Momentus XT. It's a hybrid SSD/mechanical drive with 4GB of NAND. It uses algorithms that store the most frequently used programs/chunks of code on the NAND while everything else goes on the platters. While it's not quite as fast as a true SSD it's still noticeably faster than a regular 7200 RPM drive. It's a nice compromise because there's no need for a separate mechanical drive. It's what I have in my HTPC.
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post #17 of 29 Old 07-05-2011, 03:26 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by snakyjake View Post

I've read a lot on the forum and not sure if "enthusiast" is appropriate. I'm an HTPC enthusiast, but I see the other "enthusiasts" doing a lot more than just being a theater PC. The people that do more than watch/listen to media might need to be called HTCP+. And this is why I get confused.

Boot:
I keep hearing about boot times, but don't HTPC users suspend instead of boot?

I'm hoping with my new system that suspends are possible. And I don't want to wait more than 10 seconds; 2-5 seconds is ideal, but not going to spend $100 for the performance.

Application load time:
Since this is strictly a media center, there's not a lot of applications to load.

Never owned a SSD, nor a 5900 RPM HDD. So not sure what to expect.

...I'm probably answering my own question. But I don't read it discussed much on the forum, and I like discussing .

Jake

My i3-2100 using HDD takes a lot longer than that, more like 20 to 25 seconds. My HTPC wakes up faster than my projector can start up. In fact my HTPC boots up faster than my projector can start up. I use my HTPC for all sources to the projector Once the HTPC is faster than the projector, it does not matter anymore.
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post #18 of 29 Old 07-05-2011, 03:41 PM
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IMO, they're still not cheap enough nor big enough. Somethings almost utterly refuse to be installed to other than c drive. Quickdraw is not a test for htpc or gaming.

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post #19 of 29 Old 07-05-2011, 03:54 PM
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I just installed an Intel 320 SSD (80 GB) in my HTPC, and it blows away the HTPC experience. Yes, it is a luxury and is not required to enjoy the HTPC experience (I used a standard HDD for 2 1/2 years).

However, it is well worth the extra cost. Like the post I quoted, everything seems much faster. When I load My Movies within Media Center, I no longer have to wait for the database to load, nor do I have to wait for all the cover art to appear. Same applies to the TV listing. Now, I can truely say that any remaining lag time (minimal at best) is due to my Ceton InfiniTV tuner, and there's not much that I can do to speed it up.

Quote:
Originally Posted by mslide View Post

SSD's still make a big difference. Things like MediaBrowser load up much faster. It won't be instant but it is a lot faster. The interface as a whole will feel a lot snappier. Even doing simple things outside of media center, like pulling up a simple explorer window, will feel much faster.

It's definitely a luxury item but I think it's worth the extra cost and I only use my htpc for watching movies. It makes the htpc feel more like an appliance rather than a computer.

I didn't realize how much I liked having an SSD until I tried to go back to a normal HD (yeah, that didn't last long).

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post #20 of 29 Old 07-05-2011, 04:09 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Davinleeds View Post

IMO, they're still not cheap enough nor big enough. Somethings almost utterly refuse to be installed to other than c drive. Quickdraw is not a test for htpc or gaming.

They are large enough for the OS and apps, which is really all you'd want to use them for. For media storage an SSD would be overkill. They aren't all that expensive either if you look for deals like this one:

http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00...R&tag=at055-20

At less than $1/GB an SSD becomes a very attractive option.
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post #21 of 29 Old 07-05-2011, 04:20 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Micromain View Post

They are large enough for the OS and apps, which is really all you'd want to use them for. For media storage an SSD would be overkill. They aren't all that expensive either if you look for deals like this one:

http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00...R&tag=at055-20

At less than $1/GB an SSD becomes a very attractive option.

Newegg had a "shellshocker deal" last week on a Western Digital SiliconEdge Blue 256GB SSD for $199 - only 77 cents/mb.

If you keep an eye out, there are frequent specials on SSDs.
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post #22 of 29 Old 07-05-2011, 04:20 PM
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No going back for me. And yes, it makes a big difference even coming up from S3. I was so blown away by the performance difference, I installed one in my desktop as well as a boot drive. Sounds backwards, but the HTPC is where I want snappy response and very little power usage. It is on a whole lot more than my desktop.

Yes, it's a luxury I guess, but I sure do love it. I wouldn't tell someone on a budget it was necessary though.
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post #23 of 29 Old 07-05-2011, 04:28 PM
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SSD makes more sense then a HDD for a htpc.You want your htpc to boot quick and loading your media playback software as fast ass posslbe.Media center and other media software are usually heavy with small files like skins and plugins.Keep your HDDs in your Server or Nas.
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post #24 of 29 Old 07-05-2011, 04:47 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by snakyjake View Post

For a HTPC (media playback primarily), what is the advantage of having a SSD drive as their primary drive for OS & applications versus a low RPM HDD?

SSDs are:
1. Quicker, snappier, faster.
2. Smaller--more room for other things.
3. No moving parts, thus:
4. Are silent,
5. Consume less power,
6. Generate less heat.

However, SSDs are also more expensive, yet, I believe that it's worth it to grab a smaller SSD as the OS drive. Leave it to the larger HDDs for storage of massive amounts of data.

WANTED: 16:10 120Hz monitors for triple surround gaming/Google Earth browsing.

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post #25 of 29 Old 07-05-2011, 05:01 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by UrbanSmooth View Post

SSDs are:
1. Quicker, snappier, faster.
2. Smaller--more room for other things.
3. No moving parts, thus:
4. Are silent,
5. Consume less power,
6. Generate less heat.

However, SSDs are also more expensive, yet, I believe that it's worth it to grab a smaller SSD as the OS drive. Leave it to the larger HDDs for storage of massive amounts of data.

Yep. That's pretty much it.


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post #26 of 29 Old 07-06-2011, 02:22 PM
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As a user of SSD's from 2007. One I would not build without one. They have matured to the point where it is not an option for me. Along with speed the other plus with a SSD is they don't just die like a mechanical drive. They get to a point where you can't write to them, but you can still read your data and save it. What I'm wondering is, all these new Sandy Bridge motherboards support SATA-3 why would anyone buy a SATA -2 drive. I know it's plenty for a HTPC. But why?
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post #27 of 29 Old 07-06-2011, 03:06 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by topperdude View Post

I think this post summarizes my understanding of the advantages of upgrading to SSD. The main thing holding me back from upgrading to SSDs is that I keep reading about Read cycles (85,000 or so?) and write cycles for SSDs. Does this mean that after roughly those many read cycles those memory locations will not be "usable"? Wondering how it compares to a HDD's read cycles/longeivity since I dont see HDDs with a similar (read cycle) rating?

Also is there some way the SSD notifies users that its "capacity" is diminished because certain areas are no longer readable? Does data from the unreadable (or unwriteable) area get moved to a different location?

Dont mean to thread jack and hope the response to these questions is useful to OP as well as others.

Thanks,
-Topper

The controllers in SSD's spread the writes across the entire drive, so even if you are saving changes to the same file over and over again, the writes are to different memory locations not to the same location.

BTW, spindle-based drives constantly have sectors go bad, they just don't advertise the mean rate of sector failures for spindle drives.

In both cases if you keep track of the "SMART" data from the drives you can see how many sectors have been remapped.

Since most people around here only use SSD's for the OS and apps, there's very little writing to the drive so the write limitations of SSDs are really meaningless for that usage model.
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post #28 of 29 Old 07-06-2011, 03:28 PM
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Originally Posted by topperdude View Post

...Does data from the unreadable (or unwriteable) area get moved to a different location?
Thanks,
-Topper

Yes. The SSD controller will move data around. You will not have data become corrupt or damaged like with a spindle drive when it has sectors failing.
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post #29 of 29 Old 07-06-2011, 05:31 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TornadoTJ View Post

No going back for me. And yes, it makes a big difference even coming up from S3. I was so blown away by the performance difference, I installed one in my desktop as well as a boot drive. Sounds backwards, but the HTPC is where I want snappy response and very little power usage. It is on a whole lot more than my desktop.

Yes, it's a luxury I guess, but I sure do love it. I wouldn't tell someone on a budget it was necessary though.

I disagree about the S3 resuming being faster with SSDs. I have 2 systems a desktop pc (with Intel 320 SSD), and a htpc (without SSD). The htpc actually resumes a tiny bit faster than the desktop PC. If you're resuming from hibernate, or booting then the SSD is faster, but for S3 it's more about the bios and memory.
Also if you use a single media application (e.g. WMC), then many of the application loading benefits aren't that dramatic. A good CPU and GPU are also important (I'd say even more important...). My guide in WMC loads instantly without SSD. Accessing the media library can take a moment, but that has more to do with network shares than anything else.

To me an SSD for a htpc is overrated, but instead using it on a desktop, where you indeed open a lot of different applications shows the benefits much more.
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