A few questions before purchasing my 2nd SSD

This post might get long so Ill put a quick summary at the bottom.

About a month ago, I decided on getting an SSD for my OS (Windows 7 64 bit) and to install FFXIV on since I hear SSDs are good for MMOs. I bought the Corsair C300 64GB SSD. I didnt realize the benefit or I would have gotten a bigger drive right from the start. I now find myself wanting to install a lot of applications on it which will sap up my already limited space on the 64GB drive.

Im now reading that FFXIV might exceed 30GBs once expansion packs start to hit. That would really pack the SSD and I dont want to do that. Because of this, Im thinking about getting a 2nd C300 64GB strictly for FFXIV. This is where Im starting to feel lost.

First off, this will be storage setup if I buy the new SSD:
-64GB Crucial C300 SSD: OS drive + startup programs + applications (C: )
-64GB Crucial C300 SSD: Strictly FFXIV drive (E: )
-WD Caviar Black 640GB: Games, movies, photos, misc programs (D: )
-Samsung F3 1TB: Backups of the above (F: )

Does anyone see any problems with that?
Should I run the 2 SSDs in RAID?

If I do run in RAID, there are some things I dont quite understand. Let me know if I have this right.
If I have 2 64GB SSDs:
RAID0 would let me use 128GBs with both drives working together. If one dies, I lose everything. Its like having one single hard drive.
RAID1 only lets me 64GBs but in case of failure, I can use the other one and not lose my data.

Im going to want to use all 128GBs so RAID1 seems out of the question. Would putting them in RAID0 give me that big of a performance increase that its worth it to reinstall Windows again even though I just did that? I also do not have a 6GB/s mobo so my SSD speeds are already limited but still faster than a mechanical drive.
Would I be better off just using the two 64GB drives separately?

Also, when I first bought the SSD, I was told to use AHCI mode because theres a performance increase with that so I did. Now Im reading that AHCI doesnt support TRIM yet. Is this true? When I run the command in Windows to verify if TRIM is working(fsutil behavior query DisableDeleteNotify), windows reports back with a "0" which means that it is. Is that all I need to do to verify its working as it should?

Lastly, I had to buy the Scythe Bay Rafter to get the 2.5 SSD into a 3.5 bay. The Scythe Bay Rafter is big enough to fit 2 SSDs but Im unsure of how safe that is packing them so close. This is what it would look like:
Is that ok?

Sorry for the long post. I really appreciate and feedback anyone can give. Thanks.

My rig:
Mobo: GA-P55-UD4P (SATA2, 3GB/s)
CPU: Intel i5 750
GPU: Radeon HD 5850
RAM: 2x2GBs Gskill DDR3 1333
PSU: Antec EA 650

Quick Summary without the detail:
-Mobo only supports 3GB/s, Am I better off putting 2 SSDs in RAID0 or should I just use each SSD separately?
-Current SSD is in AHCI mode. Windows 7 reports back that TRIM is enabled. Does TRIM work with AHCI now?
-Is it safe to mount 2 SSDs on top of eachother in a 2.5 to 3.5 bay rafter?

Thanks in advance!
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  1. Best answer
    Good questions, and I don't think it's long winded.

    My answers:

    1.) Each SATA port has a bandwidth limit of 3.0Gbps, so if even in RAID 0, each channel will be below the limit. For instance, I have 2 Intel X25-V 40Gb in RAID 0, and my read benchmarks peaked at over 400MBps, well over a single channel, but I have 2 drives, thus 2 channels/ports.

    2.) YES! TRIM works in ACHI. ACHI is Intel based, so it doesn't work on NVidia chipset motherboards. I've read it's about a 10% increase in speed/performance.

    3.) YES, it's safe to mount 2 SSD on top of each other, in the bracket shown. SSD don't create (as much) heat as HDD do. My 2 are in a mobile hub, so it's enclosed. My case fans still blow over the enclosure, but it really isn't doing anything for my SSDs, just my HDDs.

    As far as RAID 0 vs. 2 SSD, first make sure than you can install FFXIV on any drive other than "C". If you can install to "D", I'd go with 2 seperate SSD set up. When SSD are in RAID, and part of an array (hence in RAID 0), TRIM is not supported. There are ways around this, but basically you lose 15-20% of total space available. (In my seet up, I only use 64GB of the 80GB available, 'cause they're in RAID 0, so no TRIM.)

    BTW: You can change drive letters after you put in the SSD, if you wanted it as drive letter "D", and change current "D" to "E". Else, if you can install FFXIV to "E", I'd leave it.
  2. First off, thanks a lot. You helped clear up some things.
    I ordered the second SSD and should have it tomorrow. Now I just need to finally decide what to do with it.

    I just ran the FFXIV beta test setup.exe and it gives me the option to choose which drive I want to install to. I think that itll be safe to assume that the final game will also have this option when it releases.

    Because of this, you think Im better off going with 2 separate SSDs instead of RAID0?

    Basically, my setup would look like my original idea of this:

    jedwards16 said:

    -64GB Crucial C300 SSD: OS drive + startup programs + applications (C: )
    -64GB Crucial C300 SSD: Strictly FFXIV drive (E: )
    -WD Caviar Black 640GB: Games, movies, photos, misc programs (D: )
    -Samsung F3 1TB: Backups of the above (F: )


    Any reasons why Id be better off using the 2 drives separately?
    Does the speed boost gained from a RAID0 setup outweigh the pros having TRIM support?

    Again, thanks a lot.
  3. Even though my set up is different, I'd go with 2 seperate SSD, no RAID.

    The speed gains of 2 x SSD in RAID 0 don't outway the lost of TRIM, IMHO.

    RAID 0 isn't exactly twice the performance, but TRIM keeps the drive "clean."

    I went with RAID because the drives are only 40GB each, with slower read/writes than the large single, and the 2 were cheaper than the one at the time. If I had my way, I now get a Intel X25-M 80GB, instead of the 2 x Intel x25-V 40GB, in RAID 0, at the same price point.
  4. That settles it then. I did some further reading as well and decided that RAID would give me enough of a boost either. Thanks so much again.
  5. Best answer selected by jedwards16.
  6. following is the xchange i had w/ intel (regarding RAID0ing 2 X25Ms):

    since TRIM wont work, what should i do in order not to get the performance decay ?

    Intel Rep :
    in this case what you would do is back up your data whenever you notice a slow down of the performance (depending on the use, after 2 to 6 months) then run a low level format, then add your data again.

    what about making a smaller partition ? if so, how much smaller ? any advice on how to partition it ? will it work on windows XP64 ?

    Intel Rep :
    the partition does not influence in what happens with the SSD every time data is moved or erased, since what happens is that the data is erased from that part, but the space where the data was, is still held. this 'space' is what you need to get rid of, trim detects these spaces and flags them as available again.

    so, there's no maintenance-free form of RAID0 on the X-25Ms ?

    Intel Rep :
    not at the moment. This is due to no RAID controllers can work with TRIM yet.
  7. What the "norm" is, as far as "What to do with SSDs in a RAID 0 array", we advise the following (per many replies from user sub mesa):

    Once the array is set up, and your are intalling the OS, only partition the drive to 80-85% of the full capacity, and install the OS there. Leave the other 15-20% of the drive unallocated and unformatted. The drive will use this space as "free", to help it "self-optimize."

    Thus, with my 80GB RAID 0 array, I partitioned only 64GB (80%) for the OS, and left the other 16GB unallocated and unformatted in Windows 7. I have not noticed any real slow downs due to lack of TRIM, but on occasion, it has booted up slower, but them seems to recover. I've benchmarked my drives, and once had a maximun read level of over 400Mbps, more than twice each single drives rate! But, averages are about 300-340Mbps reads, and that still rocks!

    I'd stay away from RAIDing SSDs, unless you really know what you are doing. A single SSD will still beat ANY mechanical hard drive. And the load times are way faster!
  8. If not planning on moving to sata6 might consider vortex 2. Ref

    We have the same MB (I made the choice between P55 and P55A.
    If You are NOT planning on a 2nd GPU (Xfire) then I would suggest getting a Asus U3S6 Pci-e 4 x Card. You can install it in second PCI-e x 8 Slot. (As P55 does not have a PCI-e 4 X slot. But with this card you could not Raid0 your 2 SSds.
    There is probably a simular card that includes Raid support at a higher cost.

    On Raid0:
    The more important 4 K random read/writes and access time are not improved very much, if at all.
    Sequential read/writes do have an improvement, So as long as the files are large files and or "Lie" in a sequential pattern, Raid 0 not a biggy. As foscooter indicated, his primary reason for the Raid0 set-up was to increase the size of his boot drive.
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