"My builder says that these drives have proved the most consistantly reliable (most important) and fast performers of all the SSDs they have tested,"
They are indeed reliable.. they have a great reputation. But they are far from the fastest.
"Also, just to adjust your expectations a little, there are very few, perhaps not any, SSD's that are actually more than a tiny bit faster on some tasks than a large fast high-end conventional hard drive in actual use, so don't expect a miraculous data read/write speed increase over, lets say, a 2GB WD Black Caviar drive. "
Yes, they are 'more' than a tiny bit faster. They're hugely faster. Providing they're properly configured.AS SSD Benchmark
, one of the top three benchmarking utilities used by review sites reveals some interesting results. It runs a set amount of routines and data on each test, and then documents various measurements. On a recent (last two months) 2tb Western Digital Caviar it takes the test 221 minutes to run. The exact same routines and data on my Crucial C300 SSD (256g version) takes 92 seconds. The WDC drive scores a total of 23 points. The best 7200rpm laptop drive scores about 2. My C300 Crucial scores 630.. and when not as loaded as it is now it scored 672. See the attached results for both the C300 SSD and WD Caviar complete data scores.
Traditionally, for most people, the bottleneck in their systems is the disk drive. We're used to waiting on the drive. With a quality SSD we hurdle that bottleneck and approach new ones we've never thought much about before. Usually, after disks comes ram, then CPU, then video card (ability to render in a certain time), and then bus. Even monitors can become bottlenecks. I find monitors with hardware LUT's faster than more common monitors.
If a system with a SSD, assuming it's properly configured, doesn't feel that much faster than with a hard drive.. the first place to look is ram. Both the amount, speed, and configuration. The difference between common DDR3 1366 and DDR32333 is huge. Once we load our images and begin processing them, then the drive means every little. Because they're now in ram. However, the speed and config of the ram becomes vital. And so does the ability of the video card to render a screen and the bus to transfer the data of the entire system.
Solve one bottleneck, then identify the next. Solve it, there's another. It never ends. But you can do quite a lot with the apparent speed/feel of processing images with ram. If you render video then video cards become a huge factor.
Anyway.. with a SSD you should feel a huge difference, in disk intensive tasks, over any mechanical hard drive out there. If not, there is a lot you can do in other areas to improve performance. The hard part is knowing which part of which task is using the disks, video card, ram, etc.. the most. They're always being used, but weighted differently depending on task.
It's a lot of fun to go through this process, a bit frustrating at times, and it can be expensive. Overclocking enters into things too to get the most out of ram and the cpu, but also the bus speeds.