Sign in with
Sign up | Sign in
Your question

Setting up for gaming, one or two harddrives?

Last response: in Storage
Share
February 6, 2011 2:02:14 AM

Hello

Until I build a new computer I am using a Dell XPS 420 with Vista and a 320gb hd.

It is mostly full, about 40 gb left. It is full from music and movies, tv shows from iTunes.

I have some games installed on it already.

Question, should I get a separate harddrive for installing the games onto or should I just get a external harddrive and put all of the music and movies, tv shows onto there?

Buying a inter hd will be cheaper and if I go that route I will put Windows 7 onto it.

Which way is better?
February 6, 2011 2:27:27 AM

IMHO, I would recommend getting a second, faster hard drive, installing windows 7 like you said, move all your stuff over temp to your new windows installation to a temp dir on the desktop, format the old drive, move those files back and use the old drive as internal storage and install only programs/games on your main drive. But don't skimp on your hdd you chose. If you are a enthusiast, you already know what to get. If not, what you get will be determined by what you want to do. If you want to play Crysis on maxed out settings (or even the new one out next month), you will need more than just a hdd upgrade. But if you just want a taste, I would say grab a WD velociraptor. That will boost that machine a bit beyond what it is now.

With the advances in hardware coming faster and faster, you will soon feel the need to upgrade completely, but for now, my suggested hdd option will be good for gaming on most titles right now.

Just one enthusiasts opinion.

:D 
February 6, 2011 2:39:38 AM

Chinsane said:
IMHO, I would recommend getting a second, faster hard drive, installing windows 7 like you said, move all your stuff over temp to your new windows installation to a temp dir on the desktop, format the old drive, move those files back and use the old drive as internal storage and install only programs/games on your main drive. But don't skimp on your hdd you chose. If you are a enthusiast, you already know what to get. If not, what you get will be determined by what you want to do. If you want to play Crysis on maxed out settings (or even the new one out next month), you will need more than just a hdd upgrade. But if you just want a taste, I would say grab a WD velociraptor. That will boost that machine a bit beyond what it is now.

With the advances in hardware coming faster and faster, you will soon feel the need to upgrade completely, but for now, my suggested hdd option will be good for gaming on most titles right now.

Just one enthusiasts opinion.

:D 

Cant afford the raptor right now, have to upgrade gpu and psu.

Any suggestions from WD? 500gb or 1 Tb, which is better?
Related resources
February 6, 2011 2:53:58 AM

In that case, the WD Caviar Black 500GB is what I use in my old gaming box, which I now use as my recording studio machine. That and the 1TB version are pretty close in read/write times, so performance is moot between the 2 (I also own 2 of the Caviar Blk 1TB drives in the same puter as the 500), they are all great, reliable drives and are actually pretty fast for a 7200RPM drive. That machine ran 24/7 for 2 years before I built my newest box without so much as a bad sector on any of the drives.

I guess it just boils down to how much space you want.

I myself would NOT recommend partitioning these drives into multiple drives if you want gaming performance. I've found through trial and error that Windows 7 does not like it when you do this. It is best to leave the drive whole and install from there.

Back your fresh install up to a separate hdd when you complete your updates/drivers so should somewhere down the line it gets hosed, you can restore it back to before you started adding to it.

February 6, 2011 3:00:59 AM

Chinsane said:
In that case, the WD Caviar Black 500GB is what I use in my old gaming box, which I now use as my recording studio machine. That and the 1TB version are pretty close in read/write times, so performance is moot between the 2 (I also own 2 of the Caviar Blk 1TB drives in the same puter as the 500), they are all great, reliable drives and are actually pretty fast for a 7200RPM drive. That machine ran 24/7 for 2 years before I built my newest box without so much as a bad sector on any of the drives.

I guess it just boils down to how much space you want.

I myself would NOT recommend partitioning these drives into multiple drives if you want gaming performance. I've found through trial and error that Windows 7 does not like it when you do this. It is best to leave the drive whole and install from there.

Back your fresh install up to a separate hdd when you complete your updates/drivers so should somewhere down the line it gets hosed, you can restore it back to before you started adding to it.


How do I do that?
February 6, 2011 3:06:42 AM

If you will be running Win 7 Ultimate, there is a complete pc backup option you can use (altho some scoff at it...I have used it and it actually does quite well), or you need to get some backup utilities like Norton Ghost, Acronis ect. I think even Nero and Roxio offer PC backup utilities with their software bundles, but have never used them, so I cannot comment on how well they do.

Google for pc backup software and you will find lots to choose from. Some free, some close to free, some not so close to free. I'm sure there's a post or 2 on here and even an artcle on which do what and how well they do it.
February 6, 2011 3:31:20 AM

Chinsane said:
If you will be running Win 7 Ultimate, there is a complete pc backup option you can use (altho some scoff at it...I have used it and it actually does quite well), or you need to get some backup utilities like Norton Ghost, Acronis ect. I think even Nero and Roxio offer PC backup utilities with their software bundles, but have never used them, so I cannot comment on how well they do.

Google for pc backup software and you will find lots to choose from. Some free, some close to free, some not so close to free. I'm sure there's a post or 2 on here and even an artcle on which do what and how well they do it.



Ok so I run the back up software and it saves it to th new hd I am formatting?
Afterwards just put back on the old hd after it is formatted and keep the new hd as the main.
How do I switch the new hd to the main, of course connect it to the correct plug, but how do I let the mb know which one is the main one when doing all of this? So I would go to Dells website to download all of the drivers for my computer?
February 6, 2011 3:54:31 AM

Here are some helpful steps for what you want to do:

1. After you purchase your new HDD, shut down and unplug your PC, open the case and remove either the power or SATA connector from your existing HDD to remove any confusion when booting/installing Windows 7 (or whatever OS you will be using...you stated Win 7 earlier). If you know which SATA connector on your Motherboard is 0, set your new drive there, but this is not super important.

2. Once Windows is up and running after install, you can run all of your updates via Windows Update, then you can either go to Dell and see about getting your device drivers or find out who makes what in your box hardware wise and go directly to them for your drivers (which I think is the better option as Dell lacks in driver support for desktop PC's). Once all drivers and updates are installed, move to step 3.

3. Shut down the PC and unplug the cord (or flip the switch on the PSU if equipped) and plug your old HDD back in. Upon reboot, enter your BIOS and verify that your new HDD is the first boot device in the list, then save and exit. When the machine reboots, You might see a screen asking which OS to boot to, you might not. If so, choose your new OS from the list (Windows 7). Once in windows, make a folder on your desktop, name it whatever (ex: Old Files), then explore your old HDD for all the files you want to save and copy/paste them to this folder (do NOT CUT/PASTE as you run the risk of losing your stuff....like I did once...). Once this is done, proceed to step 4.

4. Once you are sure you have everything you want to save from your old drive, go to Start/Computer and right click on your old HDD (it is important to make sure you chose the right one...but windows typically won't let you format your C:, but it is windows...) and select Format. It will pop up the dummy box "Are You Sure" and you can label the drive if you like or just click "Restore Defaults" button. It is up to you if you want to tick the "Quick Format" or let it do the long, slow one. Then click Start.

5. Once your format is complete, copy/paste you saved files back to this drive. Once this is done, delete the folder off your desktop (be sure to empty the recycle bin as well).

6. Now it's up to you if you want your backup to be a fresh Windows install, or one with all your programs installed. A fresh install backup takes up roughly 32 GB give or take, so this is what I do, you can always reinstall your programs. You can make a folder on your "old" drive labeled "Backups" or whatever you want and set this directory as where your PC backup will be saved. Once you complete your backup, proceed with installing all your software on your new, fresh Windows installation.


If you are computer savvy, you can get Sandra and this will tell you all your hardware on your machine. This will help you identify where to go for drivers. I know Dell sucks for Win 7 support for desktop PC's. If you follow these steps, you will have all your files on your old drive, now used as a storage drive as well as a fresh install of Windows ready for recovery if needed. Some would suggest saving to an external drive to avoid possible virus infection of the image, but I've never had this issue.

If you have any other questions, feel free to ask.
February 6, 2011 4:16:46 AM

Chinsane said:
Here are some helpful steps for what you want to do:

1. After you purchase your new HDD, shut down and unplug your PC, open the case and remove either the power or SATA connector from your existing HDD to remove any confusion when booting/installing Windows 7 (or whatever OS you will be using...you stated Win 7 earlier). If you know which SATA connector on your Motherboard is 0, set your new drive there, but this is not super important.

2. Once Windows is up and running after install, you can run all of your updates via Windows Update, then you can either go to Dell and see about getting your device drivers or find out who makes what in your box hardware wise and go directly to them for your drivers (which I think is the better option as Dell lacks in driver support for desktop PC's). Once all drivers and updates are installed, move to step 3.

3. Shut down the PC and unplug the cord (or flip the switch on the PSU if equipped) and plug your old HDD back in. Upon reboot, enter your BIOS and verify that your new HDD is the first boot device in the list, then save and exit. When the machine reboots, You might see a screen asking which OS to boot to, you might not. If so, choose your new OS from the list (Windows 7). Once in windows, make a folder on your desktop, name it whatever (ex: Old Files), then explore your old HDD for all the files you want to save and copy/paste them to this folder (do NOT CUT/PASTE as you run the risk of losing your stuff....like I did once...). Once this is done, proceed to step 4.

4. Once you are sure you have everything you want to save from your old drive, go to Start/Computer and right click on your old HDD (it is important to make sure you chose the right one...but windows typically won't let you format your C:, but it is windows...) and select Format. It will pop up the dummy box "Are You Sure" and you can label the drive if you like or just click "Restore Defaults" button. It is up to you if you want to tick the "Quick Format" or let it do the long, slow one. Then click Start.

5. Once your format is complete, copy/paste you saved files back to this drive. Once this is done, delete the folder off your desktop (be sure to empty the recycle bin as well).

6. Now it's up to you if you want your backup to be a fresh Windows install, or one with all your programs installed. A fresh install backup takes up roughly 32 GB give or take, so this is what I do, you can always reinstall your programs. You can make a folder on your "old" drive labeled "Backups" or whatever you want and set this directory as where your PC backup will be saved. Once you complete your backup, proceed with installing all your software on your new, fresh Windows installation.


If you are computer savvy, you can get Sandra and this will tell you all your hardware on your machine. This will help you identify where to go for drivers. I know Dell sucks for Win 7 support for desktop PC's. If you follow these steps, you will have all your files on your old drive, now used as a storage drive as well as a fresh install of Windows ready for recovery if needed. Some would suggest saving to an external drive to avoid possible virus infection of the image, but I've never had this issue.

If you have any other questions, feel free to ask.


Thanks helps a lot.

I want to keep old programs because it came with Office, Photoshop Elements and some other software free, full version. I do not have the install disk anymore so if I delete them, they are gone.

February 6, 2011 4:32:10 AM

Unfortunately, yes. BUT, there is an awesome program out there called Magic Jellybean Keyfinder. This program sniffs out all your CD Keys from your registry for most of the installed programs on your machine. I think the free version does some 300+ programs. This lil program has saved my butt more than once for lost keys.

http://www.magicaljellybean.com/keyfinder/

Grab the freebie and run it before you start your mission. Copy all your keys it comes up with to a notepad. Follow the instruction from the site/help files for how to use this program. It's super easy and a lifesaver....oh...and it's FREE!
February 6, 2011 4:40:26 AM

Chinsane said:
Unfortunately, yes. BUT, there is an awesome program out there called Magic Jellybean Keyfinder. This program sniffs out all your CD Keys from your registry for most of the installed programs on your machine. I think the free version does some 300+ programs. This lil program has saved my butt more than once for lost keys.

http://www.magicaljellybean.com/keyfinder/

Grab the freebie and run it before you start your mission. Copy all your keys it comes up with to a notepad. Follow the instruction from the site/help files for how to use this program. It's super easy and a lifesaver....oh...and it's FREE!


Thanks I will do that.
!