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Old 07-14-2012, 07:23 PM   #1
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Running Calibre on an SSD

Will using Calibre extensively on an SSD cause the drive to fail much sooner than it would otherwise fail?

My current mechanical drive goes nuts when installing Calibre, converting books, downloading recipes, reading books, clicking on items in the library (i.e., loading book details) and even starting up. Also, storing the library on the drive slows down Windows searches of the drive (because it has many books).

I'm hoping running Calibre from an SSD will improve performance of all of the above tasks. But I don't want to run it on an SSD if doing so will decrease the life of the drive.

EDIT: Please see DedTV's post below. Running Calibre on an SSD probably isn't something to worry about.

Last edited by barium; 07-15-2012 at 08:28 PM.
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Old 07-14-2012, 08:03 PM   #2
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I run Calibre on a SSD, BUT, I put the Library on a separate hard drive just because of concerns you mentioned!

This will allow Calibre to do its sorting, converting, etc. on the SSD, but the actual files (I just did a conversion of over 900 PDF files to EPUB/MOBI) remain away from the SSD.

I "think" this gives optimal use of the speed of the SSD, but reduces the reads/writes of actual file data on the SSD. If you also follow some of the online SSD "Optimizations" for installation and setup, you also can see how to force caching, User Data Files, and other oft accessed stuff onto the hard drive to reduce reads/writes to the SSD.

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Old 07-14-2012, 08:39 PM   #3
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Quote:
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This will allow Calibre to do its sorting, converting, etc. on the SSD, but the actual files
Double check that... I believe Calibre will (like most programs) use the TEMP or TMP directory for it's working files, and not where the application is installed.
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Old 07-14-2012, 09:20 PM   #4
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I "think" this gives optimal use of the speed of the SSD, but reduces the reads/writes of actual file data on the SSD. If you also follow some of the online SSD "Optimizations" for installation and setup, you also can see how to force caching, User Data Files, and other oft accessed stuff onto the hard drive to reduce reads/writes to the SSD.
What's the problem with read/write to SSD? SSD is flash technology. Is frequent r/w bad for flash? First I've heard of it.
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Old 07-14-2012, 09:27 PM   #5
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I'm really not sure I can get behind this reasoning. You buy an SSD because you want the performance, but are reluctant to use it for fear or reducing it's life?

It will last a good long time sitting in it's box on a shelf, but how does that help you?

I can understand not wanting to submit it to needless cycles for stuff that DOESN'T improve performance (needless background indexing tasks or something) but otherwise, why buy it if you're not going to get it's full benefit of speeding up the stuff you do?

It would be like having an expensive sports car (or guitar) and not taking it out for fear of getting a scratch.

Use the thing! By the time you wear it out, a replacement will be 10 times the capacity and one tenth the price, anyway!

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What's the problem with read/write to SSD? SSD is flash technology. Is frequent r/w bad for flash? First I've heard of it.
Yes, certain use patterns can wear out flash memory cells unusually fast (compared to the same use patterns on magnetic hard drives) but actual life span is somewhat of an unknown, as SSDs have not been in service as long as HDDs. We're still talking years of use, though. It might end up being 5 years for an SSD vs 10-15 for an HDD or something like that.
Google "ssd lifespan."

Last edited by ApK; 07-14-2012 at 09:33 PM.
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Old 07-14-2012, 09:37 PM   #6
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I'm really not sure I can get behind this reasoning. You buy an SSD because you want the performance, but are reluctant to use it for fear or reducing it's life?
I agree, use it.
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Old 07-14-2012, 09:44 PM   #7
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We're still talking years of use, though. It might end up being 5 years for an SSD vs 10-15 for an HDD or something like that.
Google "ssd lifespan."
Just did. Thanks. I agree. If drive and battery last 5 years in my laptops, I don't notice because I've already replaced the machine with something new.
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Old 07-15-2012, 08:24 AM   #8
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It depends on how ambitious you are just how long your SSD will last. If you have a smaller collection of a few hundred works, there is no reason your drive shouldn't last a good long time. If you are a conversion maniac who has to convert the entire contents of gutenberg.org or sources in pdf, you could even find it die in months. This is one case where your mileage will definitely vary depending on how you use it.

It may be worth it financially if you work at this for a living all day, if you get that much of pickup in performance, though to my mind, the increase probably isn't worth it.

One other angle is to make sure you have enough memory so that you are never forced back into virtual memory from the SSD. A Linux/Mac installation I believe will make more use use of memory above 4GB than a Windows one will, since calibre, I believe is a 32 bit application. If that is true, then not running a ton of other memory eaters will help keep you out of virtual memory.
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Old 07-15-2012, 09:48 AM   #9
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It depends on how ambitious you are just how long your SSD will last. If you have a smaller collection of a few hundred works, there is no reason your drive shouldn't last a good long time. If you are a conversion maniac who has to convert the entire contents of gutenberg.org or sources in pdf, you could even find it die in months. This is one case where your mileage will definitely vary depending on how you use it.
And you have a source for this claim about how "it could die in months"? I'm sorry but without it I find such FUD only adds to people's paranoia.

It is a drive. Like any drive it could fail at *any* time - whether it is SSD or a hard-drive. I have had an SSD as my boot drive (with a churn of apps on it not to mention all the things like windows page files) installed for over three years now and it hasn't skipped a beat. Yes that is where my temp directory lives, and yes that is where many, many thousands of calibre conversions have been done along with the myriad of other apps I use.

Sure SSDs will on average have a more limited life - but so does *any* component no matter the technology. Just make sure you have backups and just get on with using it and enjoy the performance gains.
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Old 07-15-2012, 08:15 PM   #10
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It would be like having an expensive sports car (or guitar) and not taking it out for fear of getting a scratch.
Unless you're going offroading or lending your guitar to Pete Townshend.

But it's not a concern with Calibre. I have around 50k books in my library and tracked Calibre with Resource Monitor as I opened it and converted several hunrdrd books and it used about 1/3 as much IO Writes as Windows did during the same period. Most of the thrashing Calibre causes on a platter disk is non-sequential read operations which is pretty much what SSD are made for and they don't affect longevity.

And frankly, you aren't likely to find any program that will hurt your SSD that will run on a regular home PC. We've killed consumer SSDs in a few weeks at work by stress testing them on one of our database clusters by having it hit the thing as hard as it could 24/7 until it failed. But that server cluster has a total of 24 processors and over 768GB of RAM and is purpose built to process IO Writes.
Even with the most unruly of programs, a home PC just doesn't have the capability to really stress today's SSDs to the point they will fail anywhere near that quickly. Unless you're using something custom made to beat the hell out of your SSDs or your SSD is very poorly made, it will almost certainly outlive your other hardware no matter what you run on it.
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Old 07-15-2012, 08:29 PM   #11
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Thanks all, and especially DedTV, for the helpful responses. I will go ahead and install Calibre on my SSD.

I'm wondering if a moderator can change the thread title to "Running Calibre on an SSD," since the current title may be misleading for people who come to this thread via a search engine in the future.
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Old 07-15-2012, 08:32 PM   #12
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I'm wondering if a moderator can change the thread title to "Running Calibre on an SSD,"
Done.
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Old 07-15-2012, 10:10 PM   #13
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It'll make so little difference in both terms of performance or wear that I doubt it really matter. Just keep your library defragmented if you're using mechanical disks. Disabling aggressive(or any really) power-saving on them is also a very good idea.

I have my Calibre install on one SSD, library on another with source repos etc - performance of conversion is exactly the same as my mechanical drives (SSD's are Vertex 3's, mech are old Hitachi Deskstars which are well looked after), startup times are likely fractionally lower but not enough to care about. Can't think of anything else that would really be disk limited in some way.
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Old 07-16-2012, 09:26 PM   #14
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While I agree with all that goes before, in general terms, and particularly with regard to Calibre, it is worth reading the attachment about defraggers and SSDs. Essentially, it says that not only is it unnecessary to defrag an SSD, it is actually harmful. O&O, the producers of the German defragger O&O Defrag, go on to advise that the defraggers supplied with WinXP and WinVista cannot detect SSDs, although the one supplied with Win7 can.

O&O Defrag, on the other hand not only detects SSDs, and avoids defragging them, it will run the beneficial TRIM function on them.

Of course, O&O Defrag is not a free product.
Attached Files
File Type: pdf O&O Defrag and SSDs.pdf (116.9 KB, 39 views)
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Old 07-16-2012, 10:45 PM   #15
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performance of conversion is exactly the same as my mechanical drives (SSD's are Vertex 3's, mech are old Hitachi Deskstars which are well looked after)
I disagree. Non-CPU bottlenecked conversions run faster from an SSD than from HDD. I realized that when I had a script that kept timing out on me without the Calibre conversion finishing (max execution time: 600s/10 mins). Moved to an SSD and the whole thing finished in just 6 mins. I had to do a batch conversion of around 3,000 ebooks and the entire process finished a couple of hours faster on the SSD.

Seriously, the amount of writes Calibre does is very minimal when compared to an SSDs overall longevity. To put things in perspective, a 120/128GB SSD with a conservative 3,000 P/E cycle NAND rating is capable of at least 375TB host writes. Typical users write around 3-5GB per day. With 375TB available host writes, it will take 210 years before the NAND runs out of P/E cycles.
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