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Is SSD better than RAID?

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November 10, 2013 12:01:49 PM

Would an SSD be better than two HDDs with RAID configured, performance wise and gaming wise? Also, If I plan to backup my computer should I use a SSD or an HDD converted into an external one?

More about : ssd raid

a b G Storage
November 10, 2013 12:06:50 PM

ssd better than raid, more fault tolerant, and faster, a lot faster.

for backup, as you don't need to access it often, slower is ok, so raid 1 your two HDDs and use them.
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a c 155 G Storage
November 10, 2013 12:06:51 PM

I had 3 drives in raid0 and even a cheap SSD was faster.

Raid0 increases sequential read/writes, but does not actually help random access times.

SSD's have near instant access times. For backups. I tend to use external hard drives since they are just holding data and not actually being used for performance(backup and restore is sequential as well).

The best of both worlds is to use SSD(more than one if needed) for Windows + Programs + Games and a hard drive for all your files(desktop/documents/ect). Hard drives offer much more space per dollar.
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November 10, 2013 12:10:11 PM

So I should probably settle with SSD and maybe an external hard drive? However, I do believe my HDD is set as IDE mode, would that be a problem with the SSD?
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a c 318 G Storage
November 10, 2013 12:10:48 PM

An SSD is far superior for your OS than raided HDDs, for most games a single HDD will do.

Use an external drive for backup, but always safely eject it when done and don't leave it running all the time unless it is on a UPS -- power outages can corrupt USB drives pretty easily.

Another backup solution that is quite sturdy (more than USB) is adding an ICY Dock like THIS to dock your HDD with a direct motherboard SATA connection. Then just store the drive in an anti static bag when not in use or leave it in the dock powered off.
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a c 155 G Storage
November 10, 2013 12:43:44 PM

You should make the switch to AHCI mode for the SSD.

Google comes up with this link. I have done this in the past from IDE to AHCI and RAID to AHCI(you must have your raid volume cloned to the SSD first)
http://www.ocztechnologyforum.com/forum/showthread.php?...

Windows 8 is slightly different if you have it.

All in all the recommended solution is to do a fresh install of Windows if you can(I am lazy and have cloned over more systems than I have fresh installed).
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November 10, 2013 4:24:30 PM

SSD vs Raid is not as easy as sugggested above.

First of all games keep increasing in size, my Bf3 is now 35GB. I am currently using about 400 GB of games. If you want all of those on SSD you have to be a big spender...

Second issue is that games are designed to deal with "slow" hard drives. So you dont really gain much. There are hardly any games that benefit from SSD for load times. In my case only BF3 managed to get a nice boost (2minutes>1minutes) but only on the first map load. The second map is all in VRAM and RAM.

The advantage of using Raid 0 to store your games is that you create a good performing platform for installing your games with the exception of games that use a lot of tiny files (namingly: League of Legends and ALL Valve's games, so DOTA2, Portal, L4D, etc).

SSD is superior as OS drive but you cannot fit your games on it.

Personally I use an SSD OS drive combined with Raid 0 storage for most of my games. Even my old Spinpoint F3 raid 0 reaches up to 250 MB/s during installation of games :) .


ps: If you are using a hard drive it is important to defragment. Best case scenario you use defragging software such as O&O Software to sort your files based on /name. After that all files of one game will be near each other on the same physical spot. Since your game raid 0 is not the OS hdd it will only be accesing your game files. The result is something called shortstroking which will boost your IOPS greatly. Basically this is caused by the fact that the "head" does not have to much as much.

Note to others: Game load and install times are SEQUENTIAL operations 95% of the time. You can confirm this by checking out your games and the windows resource monitor. Most games package their files into large archives. For example TDU2 has <300 files with 10 GB size. The only exception is for games that do not package properly.
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a c 155 G Storage
November 10, 2013 8:52:37 PM

If you happen to play MMO games, the SSD can help as MMO loads tend not to be sequential.
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November 11, 2013 5:44:36 AM

As suggested above though, games such as battlefield or maybe even skyrim take up a lot of gigabytes and a typical ssd has 120-240gb. Would the more you store on a ssd decrease its performance? Even by a bit?
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a c 155 G Storage
November 11, 2013 6:53:48 AM

You can have some performance degrading if the ssd is too full to allow it to perform self maintenance. Most users recommend 15-20% be left free for the drive to have room to create clean cells.

SSDs do not write as fast when they have to first remove data and then write it.

To make them selves faster they try to pull all data together(sort of like a defrag, but NEVER defrag ssds) allowing the drive to have a section of flash ready to write(This is made worse my the fact the the flash does not wire a single bit at a time on consumer[MLC vs SLC] drives so if it already has data in the cell, it has to read it,erase it then write it with the old + new data). Unlike a hard drive when data just overwrites anything that was in that section in the past, SSDs have to erase first if data was still in that location. This is why older drives that do not support trim or do background garbage collection would get degraded performance more quickly.

As long as you keep some free space for the SSD to manage it self(keep a nice pool of free space) it will perform best.

Please note that 120gigabyte SSDs are almost always 128 with 8 gigabytes of over provisioning(same applies for larger drives 240 = 256, 480 = 512 and so on) that can be used to help with this task and replace any flash that fails in the future. Some drives will have even more over provisioning to allow them to work at peak performance when right full.
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