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post #1 of 40 Old 07-29-2013, 05:45 PM - Thread Starter
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as the question implies, what are the benefits for the average htpc user? a lot of the info i see seems to be more aimed at a extreme user/gamer than your run of the mill setups. can you guys point me at some good charts/review that would help me decide. it appears that in the case GINMF or im not asking right.

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post #2 of 40 Old 07-29-2013, 06:00 PM
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Putting your OS on a separate drive from your data is going to give you better performance for HTPC (assuming you are going to have storage in your primary machine/case). Then it comes down to really two options...

1. A separate hard drive is going to run you about $60 or so for a 250GB model. Much slower than a SSD, takes up more room, has moving parts (noise), and produces a lot more heat.

2. A 64-128GB SSD which is going to run you about $70-$100 and be much faster, take up almost no room (I and others have been successful at mounting them almost everywhere with sticky sided velcro), has no moving parts (no noise), and produces no heat.

The real area you are going to see an improvement, in my opinion, is opening large libraries in programs like XBMC, Plex, JRiver, Media Browser, etc that are graphics intensive. Those multiple movie posters, artwork, actors, metadata, etc just feels a lot "snappier" with a SSD compared to a hard drive.

You will also get much faster startup times, reboots, installation of windows updates, transfers etc but I view these as secondary gains for the HTPC platform.

That's my opinion and in no way represents the entire forum. Others will likely disagree as they usually do.
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post #3 of 40 Old 07-29-2013, 07:58 PM
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I am doing fine with a 2.5" 500gb laptop drive for my system, and my recorded TV. If I were to build a replacement system I would go with a slim BD drive, a 2.5" hard drive and one 3.5" swappable bay. My tuner would be external .
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post #4 of 40 Old 07-30-2013, 06:02 AM
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People never talk about the two drive improvement.

Running an OS is a demanding task for and HDD. If you try to task your HDD with running an OS and also doing storage duties both are going to suffer performance. A HDD can only do so much.

Adding a second drive dedicated for OS will allow your data drive to work better, and seek media and library info much faster,

An SSD will make the experience way faster.

You HDD gets a boost in performance when you remove the duties being demanded by the OS.

For this reason it's nearly mandatory for an SSD for your OS. The performance improvement is rather extreme and very easily felt in all aspects of daily use.

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post #5 of 40 Old 07-30-2013, 06:21 AM
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Need? No. Beneficial? Yes. "Nearly mandatory" as stated above? Definitely no.
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post #6 of 40 Old 07-30-2013, 06:44 AM
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If you have ever given an aging PC a breath of life with a SSD, you'll come to the conclusion that you will not live without one again in another PC. smile.gif
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post #7 of 40 Old 07-30-2013, 06:46 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Nevcairiel View Post

If you have ever given an aging PC a breath of life with a SSD, you'll come to the conclusion that you will not live without one again in another PC. smile.gif

Absolutely true especially with an older laptop and a fresh OS install (as I type this from my Core2Duo ASUS laptop with Intel SSD)
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post #8 of 40 Old 07-30-2013, 07:01 AM
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Couldn't agree more with Nevcairiel and Assassin, once a SSD is used, you can never go back.

Although Assassin somewhat pointed this out, another area of improvement is wake speed. After adding an SSD, both my HTPCs wake much faster.
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post #9 of 40 Old 07-30-2013, 07:30 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Nevcairiel View Post

If you have ever given an aging PC a breath of life with a SSD, you'll come to the conclusion that you will not live without one again in another PC. smile.gif
Absolutely. I can't imagine building another PC without an SSD for the OS. Boot times are insanely fast and installing the OS, especially from a USB drive, makes the job so much easier.
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post #10 of 40 Old 07-30-2013, 10:20 AM
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I am using a 15k RPM SAS drive as my OS drive. Works beautifully.
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post #11 of 40 Old 07-30-2013, 10:31 AM
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Originally Posted by Mfusick View Post

Running an OS is a demanding task for and HDD.

No, it's not. If your OS is thrashing your drive, you either have too little memory, or you can't tell the difference between your apps and your OS.
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post #12 of 40 Old 07-30-2013, 11:32 AM
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Originally Posted by EricN View Post

No, it's not. If your OS is thrashing your drive, you either have too little memory, or you can't tell the difference between your apps and your OS.

I have made a 50-100gb partition on a 2tb hard drive for the os many times (back when ssds were much more expensive) and the result is quite acceptable. My in-laws htpc still has this arrangement and its working very well for them.

Not as good as a ssd + hard drive but not terrible either.
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post #13 of 40 Old 07-30-2013, 12:13 PM - Thread Starter
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as it is right now i have a 320 wd black with a 80 gb partition and the rest non-allocated. it is an old drive and starting to show some wear according to hd tune and i was thinking about replacement. my data drive are 1 tb for tv and 6 tb for movies with a 640 gb for music. as this was all piece meal i also need to get a couple 4 tb and set up some kind of RAID

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post #14 of 40 Old 07-30-2013, 12:33 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by manuetdeo View Post

as the question implies, what are the benefits for the average htpc user?

I don't think "average htpc user" is well-defined anymore. The proliferation of PC-like AV devices created off-the-shelf solutions for most of the past decade's worth of htpc use cases. Anyone still building htpcs has a very specific need or they just enjoy the hobby. Two of the common remaining uses are (A) a media player that can serve double-duty as a general purpose computer and (B) creating a client/server split to get hot/noisy/ugly boxes out of the living area and to serve multiple viewing locations.

For certain topics, like SSDs, getting the right answer for you depends on what you are trying to accomplish and what constraints you are working with. In a vacuum, that question just generates arguments about faster boot times, and the guy who manually reboots 10x per day will never understand why the guy with a scheduled monthly reboot just doesn't care.

To answer your question well, we need to know more about what you want to do, and where your cost-sensitivity is. If you are on a tight budget and want a machine that will sit in the garage and host a media collection, SSDs are a waste of money. If you want a quiet bedroom PC to run a gorgeous media browser over wifi, that's a different story.
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post #15 of 40 Old 07-30-2013, 12:59 PM - Thread Starter
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since i think im going to be splitting my data off into its own server, i think a ssd and the 640 in my case will be best for me. tb drive are getting so cheap anyways

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post #16 of 40 Old 07-30-2013, 01:28 PM
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Last generation's (core2) pc's make decent htpc for now. If you don't already have hdmi out, slap in a cheap video card with hdmi and a few larger drives for storage. Building a htpc from scratch requires some thorough analysis of what exactly you want to do with it. I have a hard time seeing a need for a ssd in a machine that will amount to nothing more than a video renderer. Video that's stored on a mechanical drive no less. My old hardware wasn't worth selling, so I made it in a hdpc as cheaply as possible.
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post #17 of 40 Old 07-30-2013, 06:50 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by EricN View Post

No, it's not. If your OS is thrashing your drive, you either have too little memory, or you can't tell the difference between your apps and your OS.

I am just too impatient for a HDD. IT's that simple.

I can barely wait for a fast HDD dedicated for storage... lol.

I don't think the average person is operating in the same territory as me with regards to impatience, and general PC speed and performance required. I find enjoyment and value in the smallest little things that normal people dismiss as unnecessary.

I can't use a normal mouse- I need to use a Razer gaming mouse on a $60 control /speed gaming mouse pad. I have to do this or I get frustrated- years of training and adjustment has made this my requirement. My hand moves very, very little to scroll from my first monitor to my third. I laugh when I see people at work run the mouse half way across their desk to get from one corner to another. LOL. F-that.

and I use 26" monitor (looking for a good 30")

My desktop is a 4770k @4.4ghz. I dual boot from SSD's, A Vector, and a RAID0 240GB (two 120GB's).

Every time I try to use a PC with a HDD I walk away in anger. I am way to accustomed to a certain performance level that using a HDD based PC is painful for me.

Even my HTPC is a 3570k on MAX IOPS toggle NAND SSD. My Work desktop is a 2600k / SSD I have used HDD's in systems with 8GB of DDR3 1600mhz and it's not any better at all. Not sure what you think RAM is doing, or how much you think you need but I know a 4GB PC with SSD feels way faster than a HDD with 8GB of ram and the same specs. I have both in my office. Nearly identical. I think your way wrong here, and say this with confidence having built and used both in my office. (employee pc's)

HDD is just plain slow- and the speed or time it takes to load a folder is increased when it's running double duty as OS and data, as compared to the same HDD used only for data on a machine with SSD for the OS. The SSD based machine loads up much faster a folder full of documents, songs, or media like videos even though the content is on the HDD. THe HDD OS machines are just plain slow- and I can't think of any real reason beyond HDD suck for OS.

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post #18 of 40 Old 07-31-2013, 04:22 AM
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I'm one of those guys that may only reboot my HTPC once a month, usually after installing Windows updates. The performance edge that a SSD gives me isn't all that critical for day to day operation because I don't really see the difference based on how I use the PC. I've always been of the mindset that the OS should be installed on either a separate drive or a separate partition to keep it away from the data or media in case of any corruption due to viruses or malware or other little nasty bits that sneak their way into my PC.

I tend to reinstall Windows somewhat frequently, usually on a different drive so I can try out new software without disturbing the current setup. Using a SSD vs. a standard drive is a world of difference in this case. Constant reboots are a must when performing a fresh install and using a SSD just makes the job go much faster. Just installing Windows updates until everything is current can take hours with a standard drive whereas using a SSD cuts that to a fraction of the time.

I don't have SSDs for the OS in every computer in my house (yet), but I usually use a SSD for the OS installation and updates and then copy the OS partition over to a standard drive when I'm done. The difference in setup times is quite considerable. I remember when I installed Windows 7 on another PC that I was going to configure as a replacement for my main PC. The main PC had a SSD but the replacement that I was installing the software on had an old 160GB SATA drive. The first time it rebooted it took so long that I thought the installation was hosed so I terminated it and started over. The 2nd time around was no different so I let it sit until it eventually booted up. That was when I realized the difference was due to using a SSD vs. a standard drive. I have sworn never to use a standard drive for installing an OS ever again as a result.
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post #19 of 40 Old 07-31-2013, 06:44 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by captain_video View Post

I tend to reinstall Windows somewhat frequently, usually on a different drive so I can try out new software without disturbing the current setup. Using a SSD vs. a standard drive is a world of difference in this case

Doing unattended installs is MUCH bigger difference. When you don't need to sit and click on crap, the drive speed is irrelevant. Even if you are doing 2-3 OS installs per year, it's well worth learning the process.
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Originally Posted by captain_video View Post

Just installing Windows updates until everything is current can take hours with a standard drive

Stop downloading and installing the same patches over and over and over.
http://www.pcworld.com/article/239634/how_to_speed_up_windows_7_installs_with_slipstreaming_and_usb.html
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post #20 of 40 Old 07-31-2013, 08:36 AM
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Originally Posted by cdru View Post

Need? No. Beneficial? Yes. "Nearly mandatory" as stated above? Definitely no.

Yup, I've been running my HTPC on a 5400rpm drive for years it works fine. The main advantage I see for SSD's is faster boot and load times, but I never really turn my HTPC off. At the very least you will want to make a separate OS and Data partition though.

In my opinion the ultimate place for a SSD is in a laptop.
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post #21 of 40 Old 07-31-2013, 08:37 AM
 
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Media Browser is much faster when an SSD is used as the OS drive. That is where I noticed the largest day to day improvement.
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post #22 of 40 Old 07-31-2013, 09:20 AM
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Originally Posted by cybrsage View Post

Media Browser is much faster when an SSD is used as the OS drive. That is where I noticed the largest day to day improvement.

+1

Night and day improvement

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post #23 of 40 Old 07-31-2013, 10:08 AM
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Love this thread guys. Thanks for the note about media browser. When the stand alone version come out I'm doing a fresh install. So what's a good cheap SSD drive to get now for an HTPC that has all media stored on a server?
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post #24 of 40 Old 07-31-2013, 10:55 AM
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Originally Posted by shepP View Post

Love this thread guys. Thanks for the note about media browser. When the stand alone version come out I'm doing a fresh install. So what's a good cheap SSD drive to get now for an HTPC that has all media stored on a server?

Define your budget or what is "cheap" ??

To me a cheap SSD is a Samsung 840 128GB for $89/$99 or a OCZ Vertex 4 / 450. A Plextor M5 might suffice too but harder to find under $100.

A "good" SSD is a Samsung 840PRO 128GB or OCZ VECTOR for $129. Clearly these are operating in a territory most other SSD's can't go.

I think 256GB is an option too these days with prices under $200.

Gone are the days of the $50 60GB SSD. Most smaller SSD cost almost as much as 128GB models that are much better so it's generally a bad value to go smaller than 128GB.
In order to hit the really low price point you get a pretty crappy SSD (but it works nonetheless and I have used them)

I have a couple Vertex3 60GB's laying around I bought when they were super cheap, but I have little use for them because they are too small. Thinking of using them to cache some HDD's in my desktop.

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post #25 of 40 Old 07-31-2013, 11:10 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by EricN View Post

Doing unattended installs is MUCH bigger difference. When you don't need to sit and click on crap, the drive speed is irrelevant. Even if you are doing 2-3 OS installs per year, it's well worth learning the process.
I usually perform the installation while I'm doing other things and stop by the PC getting the installation from time to time to click on things. The only time I really need to sit by the PC is during the first reboot if I'm installing from a USB drive. If I don't pull the flash drive before it restarts the install will start over again from scratch.
Quote:
Stop downloading and installing the same patches over and over and over.
http://www.pcworld.com/article/239634/how_to_speed_up_windows_7_installs_with_slipstreaming_and_usb.html
Very useful link. Thanks. OTOH, installing the updates isn't as daunting as it used to be. It gets to a point where many of the older updates are either superceded by newer ones or they're lumped together and installed as a group. I used to have to go through about a half dozen update sessions to get the PC up to date. Now I generally only have to go through 2 or 3 sessions.

Again, I tend to let the updates run while I'm doing other things and stop by to check on the progress or hit the Restart button when it's finished. Installing Windows and the updates don't take anywhere near as long as they used to, especially with a SSD and a USB source drive. Installing all of the drivers and apps still take the longest.
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post #26 of 40 Old 07-31-2013, 07:31 PM
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Originally Posted by Nevcairiel View Post

If you have ever given an aging PC a breath of life with a SSD, you'll come to the conclusion that you will not live without one again in another PC. smile.gif
I have an AMD BE-2300 that was slow as hell at opening files and general responsiveness. I put in an SSD and the difference is nothing short of remarkable.
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post #27 of 40 Old 08-01-2013, 05:12 AM
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Originally Posted by StinDaWg View Post

I have an AMD BE-2300 that was slow as hell at opening files and general responsiveness. I put in an SSD and the difference is nothing short of remarkable.

Everyone says this ^. biggrin.gif

This is normal smile.gif

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post #28 of 40 Old 08-04-2013, 10:36 AM
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I'm in the process of putting together my first HTPC - everything is ordered and will be here by Tuesday.

Regarding the SSD, should I only install Windows 7 (the OS of my choice) on the SSD or should I also install other HTPC software likea front-end like XBMC on it?

How many GB does Windows 7 take up when fully installed? If my SSD is 128 GB, how much space will I have left over?

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post #29 of 40 Old 08-04-2013, 12:21 PM
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Originally Posted by slateef View Post

I'm in the process of putting together my first HTPC - everything is ordered and will be here by Tuesday.

Regarding the SSD, should I only install Windows 7 (the OS of my choice) on the SSD or should I also install other HTPC software likea front-end like XBMC on it?

How many GB does Windows 7 take up when fully installed? If my SSD is 128 GB, how much space will I have left over?

Basically you want to keep all your data on your spinny drive and all of your programs on the SSD.
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post #30 of 40 Old 08-04-2013, 12:22 PM
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Basically you want to keep all your data on your spinny drive and all of your programs on the SSD.

Agreed.
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