after 3 weeks, my Crucial M4 SSD failed. this prompted me to do some more research and reflect on the lack of obvious performance improvement from the SSD (with admitted limited comparison testing). i found Ian Lyons blog www.computer darkroom.com/blog/will-an-s (don't guarantee the address) which gives some very detailed results of SSD vs hard disk - the conclusion being that the SSD can have about a 10% benefit as best.
my conclusion from experience and other research is that the only way to significantly improve performance is with faster processors and more cores (assuming adequate memory -i've got 16gb, but 8gb may be enough).
since a significant amount of my photography is international with little support available, the potential unreliability of the SSD is unacceptable and the upside of the experience was SSD failure within the return period rather than in Patagonia in Feb
1. My Crucial SSD's (4) have never failed. (3) are nearly 3 years old and (1) six months. However, I've noticed an usually large failure rate in the forums.. and not so much from the SSD electronics, but because of the way the firmware conflicted with other parts of the system. Because of the relatively short validation periods I never recommend them for my builds.
2. Without even reading this test (I have, the blog has been around a while) we know that SSD's are I/O devices, or devices that read and/or write. Therefore they WILL offer tremendous advantages in the I/O portion of our workflow. We can only give a percentage of improvement if we GUESS about the workflow, we must know the detailed workflow to know how much benefit an SSD offers. For instance, someone tethered to a computer in the studio shootiing products, one every 60 seconds, probably won't notice an improvement at all. But a sales rep showing off his portfolio through use or LR's catalogue and preview images , and who uses SSD's for the catalogue, data drive, cache.. will notice big changes.
Still, SSD's improve other parts of your system enough so that a modern system will almost always include an SSD for your system drive, and workstations will add at least one and sometimes two more SSD's for catalogues and data.
3. RAM is critical to workflow and I'm glad to see Adobe finally address this in the referenced article. Unfortunately it's true that for most people the most speed changes comes from the CPU and RAM selection. Too bad Adobe hasn't yet engaged the GPU's most of us have.
4. I use SSD's BECAUSE of their LOW failure rate (and of course the speed increases) in relation to HDD's.. precisely because I travel internationally and find myself in remote areas often. SSD's easily take more physical abuse (drops. bumps, vibration) and because they don't generate heat (a result of using much less power) my systems run cooler and for longer times on the batteries. One small laptop I used recently would only last 3.5 hours watching movies on an international flight. After replacing the HDD with an SSD I achieved 9 hours on the return. For all these reasons, much higher reliability, they use less power, generate less heat, I find them highly desirable for international/rough&tough type use. So, I wouldn't necessarily base your decision on the single sample you've tried.