I’ve heard they break easily, so I’m questioning:
1) if it’s time to get one or wait for the technology to mature?
It’s generally mature enough.
- if they do break can you recover data from them like a normal hard drive? What causes them to malfunction/break/become a fancy brick?
They tend to have worse data recovery rates than spindle drive because they can’t be walked sequentially to attempt a binary sequencing recovery.
Usually it’s just the memory banks not being able to take it anymore, like any solid state memory it has a limited number of times it can be switched around before it fizzles.
If the table goes, recovery is tough to impossible, even with a well levelled drive off a good firmware, if a few cells die, it will normally give some warnings and only the data in there is lost.
- is there a superior brand/manufacturer?
Samsung is more or less ahead. Not necessarily on price, but they aren’t overly expensive either.
The 840 and 840 pro are very, very well regarded.
- can you make a raid with them? and is the process any different from normal hard drives?
Yes you can, no it’s no different.
Do you really need (and can support) 800 MBps sequential reads though?
- worth the price in performance for 3D or stick with the HD?
SSDs will make paging faster, boot/shutdown faster, and file intensive tasks faster.
Very, very little in 3D is capped by file I/O. Your app will launch faster, and if you have many apps open at the same time and incur in frequent paging that might feel snappier. That’s it.
- how energy efficient are they compared to a HD?
Assuming with HD you mean a magnetic/spindle drive, power requirements are a complete non-issue on workstation hardware for small storage.
A well tuned, fast SSD drive like the 840 will be on par or insignificantly more hungry than the more power savy spindle drives (like the red). You are talking minuscule draw and very cheap idling. Compared to your CPU or videocard it’s a spit in the ocean
They will be slightly less hungry than a fast spindle drive, but it remains kind of irrelevant.
and it case it’s important: i do 3D in Maya, mostly rigging, and a little bit of PS and AFX.
Other than possibly loading and flipping large numbers and res of images, you will notice no difference other than what outlined above (smoothness of an app picking up from a heavy paging in and out, and reduced start times).
Rigging in maya you will see no difference whatsoever.