Performance of software installed on SSD vs HDD

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  1. archz2's Avatar
    Posts : 271
    Windows 10-64 bit (version 1909 build 18363.628)
       #1

    Performance of software installed on SSD vs HDD


    I have 230 GB Nvme ssd on my laptop as well as 1TB hdd. I have kept my SSD strictly for windows 10 and software installation. All my downloads, desktop files go straight to HDD.

    I was having a discussion with my friend who stated that performance of windows installed on SSD significantly speeds up the performance. But whether the software is installed on HDD or SSD, it doesn't make a difference. This did not seem right to me. I feel that software installed on SSD will perform better in comparison to a scenario in which it's installed on HDD.

    What is the truth?
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  2. dalchina's Avatar
    Posts : 33,704
    Win 10 Pro (1903) (2nd PC is 21H2)
       #2

    If the program's components (traditionally exe,dlls) are loaded into RAM, that's where they are executed from. Potentially the disk is not involved in some cases once the program is loaded.

    Any speed difference due to the disk transfer rate applies during
    a. the program loading (in practice, not very much difference in my experience)
    b. actual paging to disk - should that occur whilst the program is running, bearing in mind that virtual memory management is a lot more involved that just paging to disk
    c. disk intensive operations

    For example, creating a disk image of a SSD is much faster than for a HDD for a comparable image.

    Where most people note the difference is in the boot time.

    Note that if a PC has enough RAM for most purposes, the page file's performance is of little consequence.
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  3. pparks1's Avatar
    Posts : 1,940
    Windows 10 Pro
       #3

    Well.....anything coming from the SSD is going to be faster. It's not up for debate, discussion, etc.

    Let's take a game for example. I have Call of Duty, Cold war installed and it's taking up 161GB of my SSD. I have a 2TB SSD that's about 50% free...so space isn't my primary concern. There is no question after a boot up that launching the game for the 1st time and loading to the menus is faster coming from SSD. Once I get to menus and the game is running, i'm predominately waiting for online stuff to take place (game lobbies, map selection, others to spawn in). So, the game load time is not the be all end all here. Whether I have an SSD or an HDD, my gaming experience and start times are going to be practically the same.

    So, the above example shows that the question is
    1. do you "care", or does it matter to you, the speed of launching the game and getting into the menus.


    For desktops, I try to keep away from HDD's if at all possible. I prefer NVMe because it's silent and takes no power cable or data cable. It plugs into the mobo and it's clean. I put in a single 2TB drive when I built and I have another slot free for another 2 or 4TB later.
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  4. archz2's Avatar
    Posts : 271
    Windows 10-64 bit (version 1909 build 18363.628)
    Thread Starter
       #4

    dalchina said:
    If the program's components (traditionally exe,dlls) are loaded into RAM, that's where they are executed from. Potentially the disk is not involved in some cases once the program is loaded.

    Any speed difference due to the disk transfer rate applies during
    a. the program loading (in practice, not very much difference in my experience)
    b. actual paging to disk - should that occur whilst the program is running, bearing in mind that virtual memory management is a lot more involved that just paging to disk
    c. disk intensive operations
    For example, creating a disk image of a SSD is much faster than for a HDD for a comparable image.
    Where most people note the difference is in the boot time.
    Note that if a PC has enough RAM for most purposes, the page file's performance is of little consequence.
    I'm using laptop with 16GB RAM, 231GB SSD (NVMe) as the main C drive partition while 1TB HDD is the D drive of my laptop. I only use C drive for software and windows installation in order to have maximum speed.

    I do not play games at all. I want to install Maya, Blender and Twinmotion on my D drive in order to avoid running out of storage space on C partition. That's why I am asking.

    I want to use Maya and Blender strictly for 3D modeling while Twinmotion for rendering. Maya and Blender combined will probably take up 5GB of space while Twinmotion will consume 15-16GB of space.
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  5. Ghot's Avatar
    Posts : 14,042
    Win 10 Home 10.0.19044.1387 (x64) [21H2]
       #5

    Generally for rendering engines, more RAM will speed things up.
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  6. pparks1's Avatar
    Posts : 1,940
    Windows 10 Pro
       #6

    archz2 said:
    I do not play games at all. I want to install Maya, Blender and Twinmotion on my D drive in order to avoid running out of storage space on C partition. That's why I am asking.


    Since you have a finite amount of space on your NVMe, and it's not huge.....my advice would be to install these big apps onto your 1TB drive and see how the performance is. If you find that opening them is super sluggish and you wished it was significantly faster, than uninstall and move it over to your SSD. It's not going to be a significant impact on the application once it's loaded.
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  7. archz2's Avatar
    Posts : 271
    Windows 10-64 bit (version 1909 build 18363.628)
    Thread Starter
       #7

    pparks1 said:
    Since you have a finite amount of space on your NVMe, and it's not huge.....my advice would be to install these big apps onto your 1TB drive and see how the performance is. If you find that opening them is super sluggish and you wished it was significantly faster, than uninstall and move it over to your SSD. It's not going to be a significant impact on the application once it's loaded.
    [/COLOR]
    Aha! Right. I should do a practical instead of just theorizing. �������� Thanks.

    - - - Updated - - -

    Ghot said:
    Generally for rendering engines, more RAM will speed things up.
    Of course. More RAM, a better graphics card, a larger SSD surely makes thing speedy. I do not intend to spend any money right now on any computer hardware. �� I forgot to add earlier, I want to mostly work with still rendering, not animations.
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  8. Paul Black's Avatar
    Posts : 15,100
    Win 10 Pro 64-bit v1909 - Build 18363 Custom ISO Install
       #8

    Hello @archz2,

    It is one of these scenarios where a bit of trial and error is involved, and also depends on your system specifications etc. I know a few people than run these types of things from an alternative location [ Disk or Partition ] without any real downside or performance issues. If you find that they are slow to perform, then just add them to your SSD, which is about 50-60 % quicker than HDDs.

    I hope this helps.
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  9. Posts : 1,231
    Windows 10 Pro
       #9

    I first started using an SSD for the OS and applications nearly 6 years ago and would not wish to go back.

    Many people think of loading and running an application as 2 distinct phases. That is not the case. When an application is started all of the code and data is not initially loaded. Application code is loaded only as needed and then retained in memory as long as possible, consistent with system memory requirements. This saves a lot of time and memory, particularly with large applications. The process isn't particularly efficient but is better than the alternative of loading everything on application startup. In Windows this method has been used since the introduction of NT in 1993. Linux has always used it and the Mac since 20+ years ago.

    When an application starts the system will be loading code form the applications exe and it's associated DDLs, as it is needed. This is almost certainly different than it appears on the disk so this means a great deal of head movement on a conventional drive. Even a fully defragmented drive won't help much. Prefetch helps with this but only that.

    Since an SSD has no moving parts it's seek time is very fast and that means better performance. An SSD also has faster transfer rates but that is only a secondary benefit.

    An SSD has an added benefit on laptops in that it is much more resistant to physical shocks. Many a conventional drive has been damaged by what was thought to be a minor fall.
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  10. pparks1's Avatar
    Posts : 1,940
    Windows 10 Pro
       #10

    LMiller7 said:
    I first started using an SSD for the OS and applications nearly 6 years ago and would not wish to go back.
    Yeah, when SSD's became the rage, I wasn't necessarily convinced that they would make a huge difference. Around 2009/2010, I bought an 80GB Intel X25-M Gen 2 and put that into a Windows 7 box to experiment. if memory servers me correctly, this drive was around $325 at the time.

    Needless to say, I was blown away. As you said, it's not the read and write speed that really mattered (this drive was around 250-300MB/sec) as it pre SATA 6. What really mattered was that random access time dropped from around 12-14ms, to 0.1ms. Thus, the ability to get from file to file so fast, is what made the drive incredible. It wasn't the boot speed that was astounding, but rather it was just apps opening instantly, and things like malware scans finishing hella fast !!!!!

    I haven't had an OS and app drive on non SSD since that day. I've got spinner drives that I use for storage, I've got some in my server as space is more important than speed.
    I also haven't had an SSD fail. Even that 10 year old Intel drive is still around and working. It's just to small to do anything productive with.
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