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Megatasking w/ Virtual Machines, need harddrive advice

Last response: in Systems
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May 10, 2008 4:02:21 PM

I'm back! and need help!!

So, my current system specs are:

Gaming Rig:
eVGA 680i SLI (pending 780i SLI)
Intel e4300 @ 1.8GHz @ 2.7GHz (pending Q9450)
4GB G.Skill DDR2 800MHz RAM
eVGA 8800GTS 640MB (pending nex-gen AMD Radeon 4K Card)
Sound Blaster Audigy 2 (scrapping... no need)
74.4 WD Raptor GB SATA HDD 8MB Cache (OS + Games/Apps)
250GB WD Caviar SATA HDD (8MB Cache) (Music & Installation/Data Files)
250GB WD Caviar SATA HDD (redundant backup, both HDD's)
Lite-On DVD DL+/- Burner w/ Lightscribe
Antec Super LANBoy case
3 x 18.3" Gateway Flat panels (3840x1024)
1 x 19" Gateway Flat Panel (1280x1024)
Running: WinMCE 2005, UT2K4, Unreal 2: MXP, AoM: TT, AoK: TC, D2: LOD, Caesar 3 & 4, AoE3: TS, B&W2, RCT 3: Soaked!, GuildWars + Expansions, Maple Story, Slingbox Media, Stepmania, Sony Acid & Sony Vegas, Remote Adimn, Orb, VMWare Virtual Desktop management, and tons of multimedia editting applications.


Here's what I'm doing... I run virtual machines for two of the games I play most often... i found it's the easiest way to manage my limited-resolution full-screen games (Maple story and diablo II... both capped resolutions at 800x600... diablo II can be played in a window, but maple story can't be forced into it without using dxwnd, which is often detected by GameGuard anti-hack program and people can be banned for using it...) Full screen games that can utilize my uber-resolution are fine (3D FPS and RTS games)...

I also utilize virtual machines because sometime in the future i'll be migrating to vista ultimate 64-bit to take advantage of my extra RAM (which I'll be adding another 4GBs for a total of 8GB), and some games aren't very vista friendly, where-as major virtual machine programs (like VMWare and Virtual PC 2007) ARE compatible =]

At any rate, I'm running out of room on my 74GB Raptor, and my 250GB Caviar drives, so it's time to replace them... I was thinking about getting a 150GB Raptor and running my high-texture games off of it, as well as my virtual machines (now thinking of either 1 additional 150 for high-texture games, using my 74GB Raptor for smaller games, or getting a new 300GB VelociRaptor when they become available... maybe even more than 1 of either drive)...but since I usually run 2-3 virtual machines at once, while playing a movie on another screen, I decided to ask for advice first...

Currently, my rig runs great with 2 Virtual Machines running Maple Story (the main game I play using this setup) and a hard-drive stored video playing on screen 3 or 4... occasionally, one of the two virtual machines gets choppy, which i blame on harddrive fragmentation, but both virtual machines are stored on my raptor, with the videos I play stored on my caviar, so it could also be due to read/write access being performed by the single drive...

So, in terms of a hard-drive setup, what would be the best way to get 2 smooth-running virtual machines and a video running at the same time? I figure 3 harddrives would be a good start, 1 virtual machine per drive, and storing all the media data on the 3rd... haven't tried it yet though, because I'm running out of space. Any educated feedback is appreciated. Solid State Disks are not an option, as I'm trying to increases storage space... I'm open to suggestions of larger drives, faster drives, multiple drives, or RAID Arrays... which would be best for my application and why?
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May 18, 2008 2:49:08 PM

bump, c'mon certainly someone has experience with VIRTUAL MACHINES
May 18, 2008 5:18:40 PM

the strange thing about this is that when it freezes, the HDD access light appears on my chassis... I thought it might be indexing the files, since when inside of VMWare's Virtual Machine, windows seems to be oblivious to keystrokes... so I disabled the indexing service entirely, and unchecked it on all physical drives, and even disabled indexing inside the virtual machines themselves... this seemed to fix the issue for a short time, but after a reboot, it came right back...

Windows is currently installed to my 74GB Raptor, and so are both VM's that I use... however, I only have about 16% HD space left on that raptor... I have my swap file set to 2-4GB (2048-4086) and that's PER PHYSICAL DRIVE...

I'll move one of the virtual machines to the other drive, since I have about 20% left on my 250GB drive, and I'll see if that helps...

Also, my rig went back to stock speeds (1.8GHz C2D) because I upgraded the RAM from PC800 to PC1066, and I was doing a burn-in (I just... forgot to overclock it again after my burn-in period)... I'll bump it back up to the 2.7GHz it was running at previously and see if that helps

I'm also going to be grabbing one of the 300GB VelociRaptor's soon, so I'm eager to see the difference there =P~

thanks for the suggestion but I'm still open to move feedback... how's your ultra-underclocked PC running?
!