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-   -   is it stupid to build a HTPC with a SSD drive only? (http://www.avsforum.com/forum/26-home-theater-computers/1591090-stupid-build-htpc-ssd-drive-only.html)

Ou8thisSN 07-04-2014 10:54 AM

is it stupid to build a HTPC with a SSD drive only?
 
So I know SSD Drives have a finite amount of write cycles. I currently have 2 computers that I use as HD Homerun clients hooked up to two TVs, both with a samsung 840 pro ssd in it. It runs great but am I needlessly ruining the drive? Do all of you have a hybrid system in your builds, where you set the DVR drive to a HDD?

whiteboy714 07-04-2014 10:59 AM

My HTPC's have SSD's but I don't have the dvr buffer on them. I just use small SSD's (bought them a while ago) for the OS.

I don't think its worth it price wise to get the amount of space you need. As far as killing the drive idk. I'm sure someone here runs the buffer on an SSD.

mcturkey 07-04-2014 11:46 AM

You will not kill an SSD with writes until long after it has been replaced with vastly superior storage, even if you are buffering 4 tuners 24/7. That would be 200-300GB/day in writes, which means that a 250GB 840 Pro's 3000 P/E write cycles would last you 9 years. That assumes, of course, that it keels over right at the end of that rating, which it could easily exceed. As I highly doubt you are buffering 4 tuners 24/7, you shouldn't worry about this. It's been a non-issue on modern SSDs for the last several years in the consumer/client space.

Andy_Steb 07-04-2014 12:39 PM

My bedroom HTPC is built with hand-me-downs from my other systems. It runs media center pretty much 24/7 with the live TV buffer writing to the SSD.

It has a 64GB Adata S599 that I bought 4 years ago. It currently has 27959 hours and 23.63 TB of writes on it.

Mfusick 07-04-2014 02:55 PM

<- SSD only in mine.

ajhieb 07-04-2014 03:50 PM

I have a 64GB SSD in my system with 8 CC Tuners. I use a HDD for recording/buffering. While life of the drive is a minor concern, I mainly do it because the SSD doesn't have nearly enough space to be useful for HD DVR storage.

FWIW, my understanding of the wear-leveling algorithms means that if you have an SSD that is mostly full, and you write heavily to the "free" portion, the wear leveling algorithm will significantly reduce the overall life of the drive as it shits data around on the drive to keep one spot from getting worn out. The thing to remember, that the hypothetical of rewriting the entire drive from beginning to end, 24/7 is actually the best case scenario in regards to wear leveling (as wear leveling wouldn't even be used in that scenario) A much worse usage case would be if your SSD is 2/3 full, and the remaining third is rewritten constantly which will cause the wear leveling to constantly shift the "static" data to different places on the drive, cause actual writes for every one requested write.

Having said all of that, it still likely won't reduce the overall life of your drive to a point it will fail before you retire it in lieu of some newer/better/bigger/faster drive.

EricN 07-04-2014 07:15 PM

At this point, just use ssds unless you need more TB per dollar or more TB per drive bay than ssds can offer. Write-cycles are a moot issue. Consider ssds the default solution and hdds are for meeting specific needs.

Mfusick 07-04-2014 07:52 PM

Stardog I think has had a cheapo 60gb SSD (think like $50 model) and been using it for live DVR for years without issue. At least I think I recall him saying that. I wouldn't be afraid of wearing out NAND with writes- I've yet to see that happen. It would take a lot of use for a lot of years- by the time it was a factor the controller probably already crapped out or the market shifted to something else (sata express or PCI express SSDs ) so it won't be a big deal anyways.

Ou8thisSN 07-04-2014 08:06 PM

okay thanks for chiming in; if you guys arent using one I dont need to worry about it, that puts my mind at ease. I'd say each computer gets less than 20 hours a week on it, so I guess I wont be exploring adding a HDD (which i didnt really even want to).

StardogChampion 07-04-2014 08:34 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Mfusick (Post 25500074)
Stardog I think has had a cheapo 60gb SSD (think like $50 model) and been using it for live DVR for years without issue. At least I think I recall him saying that. I wouldn't be afraid of wearing out NAND with writes- I've yet to see that happen. It would take a lot of use for a lot of years- by the time it was a factor the controller probably already crapped out or the market shifted to something else (sata express or PCI express SSDs ) so it won't be a big deal anyways.

I still have that one going (MicroCenter 64GB) but now in the basement HTPC that's usually only on for running on the treadmill. It was in my main HTPC and then my bedroom HTPC for years.

I now have an older Intel 180GB SSD in my bedroom HTPC so there's a little more room for recordings before they are swept to the server. For my livingroom HTPC I have a 120GB SSD and a 3TB HDD where the buffer/recording go so I can store copy-protected content locally on that PC instead of on the server until I figure out a better scheme for having the recording show up in MediaBrowser w/o showing up on every HTPC.

One caveat is we always hit the stop button before turning the TV off to free up the tuners for others to use so none of these are buffering 24/7. They are only buffering when they are actually being watched so a few hours a day, maybe more in the winter or bad weather?

captain_video 07-05-2014 07:47 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by StardogChampion (Post 25500610)
One caveat is we always hit the stop button before turning the TV off to free up the tuners for others to use so none of these are buffering 24/7. They are only buffering when they are actually being watched so a few hours a day, maybe more in the winter or bad weather?

I do the same thing. I have three Intel NUCs used in conjunction with a SD HDHR Prime. I originally had 64GB drives in two of them but needed an external HDD to set up a RecordedTV folder. Nobody really uses these for recording TV shows, but just watching live TV requires the folder so the show being watched can be buffered to a drive.

I recently added the third NUC and decided to upgrade the other two with 120GB SSDs. This makes for a much tidier setup since I had to use a powered USB hub to add the external HDD. The HDDs were 2.5" laptop drives in external USB cases, but they required two USB connections to work. The NUCs only have three USB ports and two of them were being used with a Lenovo 5902 keyboard/trackball remote and an IR receiver. This meant that I had to use an external hub to add the extra port.

shortcut3d 07-06-2014 09:21 AM

Anandtech has an article looking at the lifespan of even the cheaper Samsung EVO. The EVOs get approx. 7 yrs at 50 MiB per day to reach its P/E life.

The limitation with SSD is the storage capacity. I configured my HTPC with iSCSI when I was using an Intel NUC for WMC DVR. This gave me access to a 4TB iSCSI LUN for recording, buffer, etc. iSCSI only struggles with IOPs. Throughput can be a sustained 110 MB/s.

blueiedgod 07-07-2014 09:25 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Andy_Steb (Post 25492474)
My bedroom HTPC is built with hand-me-downs from my other systems. It runs media center pretty much 24/7 with the live TV buffer writing to the SSD.

It has a 64GB Adata S599 that I bought 4 years ago. It currently has 27959 hours and 23.63 TB of writes on it.


With 64 GB drive, you don't have any room for recordings, if you are running WMC7 off it.

Andy_Steb 07-07-2014 09:36 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by blueiedgod (Post 25551649)
With 64 GB drive, you don't have any room for recordings, if you are running WMC7 off it.

I do all my recordings off of my main HTPC. The recordings are automatically moved, renamed and sorted to my 20 bay file server.

I technically could do the same thing with the bedroom PC (20 GB free space), but I prefer to manage all the recordings in one place..

Dark_Slayer 07-07-2014 11:28 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Ou8thisSN (Post 25490266)
So I know SSD Drives have a finite amount of write cycles. I currently have 2 computers that I use as HD Homerun clients hooked up to two TVs, both with a samsung 840 pro ssd in it. It runs great but am I needlessly ruining the drive? Do all of you have a hybrid system in your builds, where you set the DVR drive to a HDD?

HDHomerun or HDHR Prime?

If you are watching OTA on a homerun you can surely use serverWMC, and you'd only be recording / buffering on one machine. Perfect if you have a windows server, or an htpc you don't mind acting like a server. I use serverwmc with Comcast, but without comcast, charter, or fios then cablecard isn't a likely candidate for serverwmc

techmattr 07-07-2014 01:39 PM

The first gen no-name SSDs would die constantly as a live TV buffer. They did for me anyway. Current SSDs will probably outlast HDDs. Especially new VNAND drives. I would have no worries with 840 Pros as a Live TV buffer.

Mfusick 07-07-2014 08:29 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by techmattr (Post 25558114)
The first gen no-name SSDs would die constantly as a live TV buffer. They did for me anyway. Current SSDs will probably outlast HDDs. Especially new VNAND drives. I would have no worries with 840 Pros as a Live TV buffer.


Go big or go home ... :D

Ou8thisSN 07-07-2014 09:07 PM

so Im getting another HTPC. Now which SSD should I get? The 850 pro or the EVO? It's going to be in the theater room, so it'll mostly just be used for football (ie maybe 10 hours of use a week for 4 months).

mcturkey 07-08-2014 04:18 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Ou8thisSN (Post 25568426)
so Im getting another HTPC. Now which SSD should I get? The 850 pro or the EVO? It's going to be in the theater room, so it'll mostly just be used for football (ie maybe 10 hours of use a week for 4 months).

I'd go with whichever ends up being cheapest. As long as you're going with a brand like Samsung, Seagate, Micron, Intel, or SanDisk, you should be fine.

aliaskary77 07-08-2014 04:32 AM

the 850pro is almost double the price of the evo, but also has a 10 year warranty. its supposed to have very consistent throughput. i ordered 2 840 pros for my new workstation as raid0. the next morning heard about the 850 pros. cancelled the order and got the 850pro preordered.
for htpc, i think evo would be fine, higher capacity at lower cost.

techmattr 07-08-2014 04:55 AM

The only big difference between the Samsung 840 and 850 is the VNAND in the 850's. They'll basically last forever.

Mfusick 07-08-2014 10:12 AM

You do get what you pay for, if you want a really fast high performance SSD with a 10 year warranty that's proven to be both very reliable and also one of the very highest performance available then get the PRO Sammy.

If you want a really good value SSD get the normal Samsung EVO.

Both are good depending on your priorities. Keep in mind 10 years is an eternity so if you bought another better one in 4 years for the same price you end up at the same cost and having 2 SSD's. The next one probably would be higher performance. I never worry about "forever" in PC stuff. A few years is all I worry about with almost anything I purchase. After 3-4 years everything is obsolete anyways so it's have a very low value. You can buy 3-4 year old PC tech used on ebay all the time, it's dirt cheap because no one wants it.

The PRO is worth the money if what it offers is something you want or need. If you don't want or need it then save your cash and get the EVO.

Ou8thisSN 07-08-2014 12:14 PM

Well I have all these spare 7200 rpm HDDs just sitting around, i figured I could convert them into an external drive and use that as the live tv buffer/dvr. If I went that route (and dont notice any slowness overall), then I dont need the endurance of the 850, and could get by with just the EVO.

at this point i think it's best to wait till Broadwell ships and then see what I can get. I may as well wait a few more months.

spivonious 07-10-2014 12:00 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Mfusick (Post 25495098)
<- SSD only in mine.

Shouldn't have any problems with write lifetimes. I'm running SSD only and wish I had gotten a bit bigger than 64GB. I can record 2.5 hours HD. I have a script that copies the recording to my file server when it finishes so I'm never storing any files long-term on the HTPC.


Key benefits of going SSD -> lower temps, faster loads

ilovejedd 07-10-2014 07:13 PM

Ever since 120-128GB SSDs became affordable, I've been going SSD only on my HTPC builds. While I do have a file server for media storage and scheduled recordings. The SSDs on the HTPCs handle live TV buffer and "impulse" recordings. Even after a couple of years of operation, all my SSDs still register 90+% health per CrystalDiskInfo.

Seriously, I really wouldn't worry about NAND endurance unless you're using, say, a Samsung 840/840 EVO 120GB and are continuously recording high bitrate 1080i streams 24/7.

19 Mb/s ~= 8.5 GB/hr ~= 204 GB/day ~= 75 TB/yr

840/840 EVO rough estimate of TBW at 1,000 P/E cycles
120 GB: 120 TBW
250 GB: 250 TBW
500 GB: 500 TBW
1 TB: 1,000 TBW

C17chief 07-11-2014 05:27 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Ou8thisSN (Post 25568426)
so Im getting another HTPC. Now which SSD should I get? The 850 pro or the EVO? It's going to be in the theater room, so it'll mostly just be used for football (ie maybe 10 hours of use a week for 4 months).

I think you are putting way to much thought into it. SSD will def increase boot times and stuff like that on an HTPC...MAYBE menu transitions and that sort of thing slightly...but for playing and recording video, will make ZERO difference compared to a regular hard drive...ANY SSD, nevermind trying to split hairs picking between SSD's. Longevity as pointed out should be several years on ANY SSD on average used constant like that, and of course any of them will have a number of them that die much sooner as well, so pretty much a lottery there long term.


For HTPC use, as far as SSD's go, I'd just get the cheapest you are comfortable with. While I'm not against using SSD for recording/buffer, it is not my preference to use one as such. Even if you don't need much space, it is still MUCH more cost effective to split it up. Instead of even $100 for say a 240 or 256gb single SSD to run it all on, you could pick up a 128gb for $50 and a 2TB regular hard drive for $50...set everything up on the SSD with the exception of recording/buffer pointing to the hard drive, and have the same overall performance with 8x the storage space for the same money.

nvmarino 07-11-2014 10:14 AM

With all these comments about SSD endurance I'm surprised no one has linked to the Techreport SSD Endurance Experiment yet...

techmattr 07-11-2014 12:03 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by nvmarino (Post 25662441)
With all these comments about SSD endurance I'm surprised no one has linked to the Techreport SSD Endurance Experiment yet...

That's because these tests no longer give us any useful information. Every tech forum did their own version of SSD endurance tests a long time ago starting with 2nd Gen devices and found that SSDs were going to last way longer than originally thought. XtremeSystems started one way back in 2010 and followed up with a huge long term endurance test a year later and found that most drives will last way beyond a Petabyte. That was over 3 years ago... an endurance test at this point is only going to weed out any duds on the market. The tests unrealistically torture the drive until it fails. Under those circumstances they still last way beyond their relevancy and they'll last much longer without being tortured. So in most cases the deal $$ you can get on a drive is much more important than anything else. Basically just get the best deal on a Samsung, Corsair or Crucial and you're good to go.

nvmarino 07-11-2014 03:45 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by techmattr (Post 25665321)
That's because these tests no longer give us any useful information. Every tech forum did their own version of SSD endurance tests a long time ago starting with 2nd Gen devices and found that SSDs were going to last way longer than originally thought. XtremeSystems started one way back in 2010 and followed up with a huge long term endurance test a year later and found that most drives will last way beyond a Petabyte. That was over 3 years ago... an endurance test at this point is only going to weed out any duds on the market. The tests unrealistically torture the drive until it fails. Under those circumstances they still last way beyond their relevancy and they'll last much longer without being tortured. So in most cases the deal $$ you can get on a drive is much more important than anything else. Basically just get the best deal on a Samsung, Corsair or Crucial and you're good to go.

So providing credible references to back up the claims of anonymous internet posters in an internet forum is not useful? Interesting... Maybe they don't give YOU any useful information, but I'd bet that YOU are not someone who is going to post a question about whether or not using an SSD in your HTPC is a bad idea because of their limited lifespan. There are obviously still lots of people who are under the impression that SSD endurance is a thing to be concerned about. There's obviously a lot of data out there to validate - I was simply providing the Techreport article as one reference that covers most of the modern tech in an easy to digest article (or series of articles...). And it's a hell of a lot easier to digest the information when it is presented in an article as it is on techreport vs. an XtremeSystems thread.

On the tests themselves, considering many of the technologies that increase the capacity and drive down the price of SSDs also have the unfortunate side effect of decreased lifespan, I don't agree that these tests "no longer tell us anything useful". If nothing else, they provide a way to back up claims that even though smaller processes reduce endurance, there's still nothing to worry about. Maybe once we reach the end of the process shrinks these tests will become completely irrelevant, but I suspect we'll continue to see them until then, and people will continue to read them.

techmattr 07-11-2014 07:27 PM

You asked a question and I provided the answer.... All anyone asking this question wants is anecdotal evidence of SSDs wearing out under normal circumstances. They want to be able to judge their usage scenario against the wear out lifespan of someone else's experience. That evidence doesn't exist because it doesn't happen. These test don't provide us that answer. They just stick the idea that SSDs wear out in people's heads. Do we need HDD endurance tests to tell us how long an HDD is going to last? Of course not. It's no different for SSDs. People have a false preconceived notion that SSDs will wear out before they are done using them because of the terrible quality of the 1st generation of SSDs.


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