I am a big gamer and that is the main use of my Rig and I am just looking at what would be the best set up for my rig to help games load faster and possibly perform better. I am going to focus on just my Hard drives right now as I have other work I need to do on the rest of the system.
Two Western Digital Black 750GB drives in Raid 0 (this is where my OS and games and Apps are installed.)
Four Western Digital Blue 640GB drives in Raid 5 (this is where all my media and kid pics and vids sit. I am hoping to move this to a NAS shortly)
Available hardware including primary drives in use.
Two Kingston 128GB SSD
Three Western Digital Black 750GB
Four Western Digital Blue 640GB
So my question is what would be the best set up for hard drives? I would like to install all my games on the SSD but in steam alone I have over 300GBs so they won't fit.
Depending on the amount of games and your system spec, a SSD would be the best option for speed! It will load the games and internal maps quicker than a hard drive could. However, it won't help with FPS or lag in your system due to your internet system (granted you play on online games).
I would look at either the Vertex 2 for a SATA II motherboard or Vertex 3 for a SATA III capable motherboard.
Well... If you can't get rid of some of your Steam games (games you never play any more), I would go with the SSD route or leave it as is with the current RAID0 setup (adding a 3rd drive won't add a major boost to performance).
Another option is, go with the SSD and download the games you play on the SSD and delete when not using... so basically only keep the games you play download and uninstall when no using. It is a lot of time installing and reinstalling but gives you the speed of the SSD.
Running a SSD in RAID0 is just like a hard drive... example... two 128GB drives will give you around 240GB of space. You won't take a performance hit, as long as the drives Garbage Collection does it's job (TRIM not support in RAID... at least now but the new Intel RST might have that support when released ).
The SSD's are fast enough without having to RAID them. Like the OP said, load the games you use the most on only one SSD and try to leave some room for installing and uninstalling certain games. You have also the option of Ramdisk, if you have an extra 8 Gb of ram space that would only load while you play each individual game and it would erase itself after shutdown, that is what I am going to do once my new Vertex 3 gets in is setup Ramdisk to load games I only play once in a while and only use up less than 8 gigs. The speed gain in raid on ssd's is not that noticable and Ramdisk is. I would keep the rest as is, but down the road get all HDD's 6.0 also for raid and that will make a big difference. And like stated above, you will degrade your SSD'd without trim/GC in raid. That will bring down the whole system speed over time. You need idle time for trim to work right and make sure you have all the tweaks done to SSD's like disabling restore and caching.
Box I am typing from has a 2TB Seagate Barracuda XT and a Vertex 3. I can boot to either. It takes 15.6 seconds to boot to Windows from the SSD, 21.2 seconds to boot to the HD. While I can notice the difference with a stopwatch if I am paying attention, otherwise I really don't notice anything as I'm occupying myself with other things as it loads.
I'm bit surprised that no one has come up with the Windows equivalent of PowerRun. That was a Palm Treo program that let you move all your infrequently used programs out of main memory to an internal SSD card.....to launch those programs, PR would swap them back to main memory and back out again when closed.
The way I have set up the box above is as follows:
C:\OS (and current active games / programs - only the stuff that shows advantage on SSD)
However, what I do is install games to C:\[insert game folder name here]. The ones that are used frequently stay there. The ones not being used I cut / paste as in C:\WhackAttack to D:\WhackAttack. Some games will actually continue to run that way; others I just cut / paste back in when I want to revisit them.
Thank you all for your input. It looks like the best setup for me is this:
2 128GB SSD raid 0 (more for space than performance)
1 750GB for other apps
1 750GB for data
Does this look good? I am planning on moving all of my 640's to a NAS so I dont have to turn my PC on to access the files. Would it be better to just put the 750s in a raid 0 and put all my data on them? I have zero need for redudancy as I do not store anything I cant install again on this computer.