I was told that putting my OS on an SSD and my mass storage onto a HDD would share the wear and tear over two devices and reduce the risk of failure. Is this true? If it is, how do I do this? This is my first build so I'm a bit confused by this.
It's True! Most of us use a SSD for our OS and main programs and HD's for everything else. Simply install both drives and when you first turn your system on, you need to go into the BIOS and establish that the SSD is the third in the boot order: USB, optical, then your SSD. All of these devices can boot an OS or any program that is designed to boot before your OS. Since your USB connectors and Optical device won't normally have a bootable program inserted, the system quickly ignores them and goes straight to your SSD to boot the OS. When you first get your system up and running the HD will not show up in "My Computer". Simply go to Disk Management and "Format" your HD. Right click on the rectangle that represents your HD and you can format the whole disk or choose a smaller amount of data space to create a smaller partition and then do it again to finish. You can make several partitions if you like. The SSD does not have to formatted simply because the Windows OS install disk formats the drive for you. As a general rule it is best to have a SSD that is twice as big as you need if you want the highest performance. 128 GB SSD's are usually big enough, although 240 GB drives have come way down in price and will almost always be a bit faster than a 128GB drive of the same brand and model.