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Should I do 3 disk Raid 0 or SSD?

Last response: in Storage
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July 26, 2011 5:03:22 AM

Hi Guys,

I need some advice with regards to an upgrade that I am planning. But before that I will give you a quick rundown on what I already have.

CPU: i7 2600k (OC’d to 4.4ghz)
RAM: 6gb 1333mhz
OS: Windows 7 Home Premium (64bit)
PSU: 875watt
HDD 1: 1 x 1TB Seagate Sata2 (OS & Programs)
HDD 2: 1 x 1TB Seagate Sata3 (Data)

Basically I have a small amount of cash (about $150) that I can use to buy either an SSD or 2 HDD’s from Seagate (exact same model as my data drive). If I buy the SSD, the biggest I would be able to get would only be about 64gb due to my limited funds. Problem there is my OS & Programs alone takes up about 130gb already. The other option I am thinking about it is buy 2 more HDD’s (Sata3, which would be exactly the same as my data drive) run them in Raid0 (with 3 HDD’s), install the OS, all my programs and all my data on the Raid0 drive and use my existing Sata2 drive as an internal back up. I should mention that I also have an external drive which I use as back up for all my data as well.

I mainly use my PC for gaming and multimedia. Installed games alone have taken up about 70gb on my OS drive. I am leaning more towards the Raid0 and I have considered that it is unreliable due to failure etc etc but don’t think it is too much of an issue as I would be having back ups anyway. Any inputs?

More about : disk raid ssd

a c 315 G Storage
July 26, 2011 12:38:33 PM

Go with the SSD. RAID0 will improve transfer rates, but have no affect (effect?) on access times. SSDs have fabulous access times. So an OS on an SSD that can transfer 200 MB/sec will feel snappier than an OS on a RAID of HDDs that can transfer 200 MB/sec.
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July 26, 2011 12:53:57 PM

If I get the SSD I can only fit about 60gb of my program files in there. I need 130gb of SSD space at least for OS & Programs. Otherwise I may run into problems running programs that are installed in a separate drive other than the OS drive. Unless it is possible to do? Would there be a way to install other programs on a separate disk from the OS?
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a c 315 G Storage
July 26, 2011 1:04:03 PM

Frandaman said:
If I get the SSD I can only fit about 60gb of my program files in there. I need 130gb of SSD space at least for OS & Programs. Otherwise I may run into problems running programs that are installed in a separate drive other than the OS drive. Unless it is possible to do? Would there be a way to install other programs on a separate disk from the OS?

It is possible. (I'm going to have to find that thread again. It's on my desk at home, but I'm not at home). One of our members recently posted a Win7 registry tweak that will let you install a program on a drive other than C : even if the installation process does not prompt for an installation location.

Edit: Here's the thread: http://www.tomshardware.com/forum/forum2.php?config=tom... . My thanks to the experienced JohnnyLucky.

If the installation process does prompt, just tell it to install somewhere on D :. If it does not prompt, you have to look back and find that lovely tweak that changes the default installation location. If I find it, I'll post an edit. Once the app is installed in a location on some other drive, it will run stably unless that drive goes down or its drive letter changes for some reason.

But. The point of installing to an SSD is that it improves program load and system startup times. If you install your big apps to the HDD, then these big apps will load just as slowly as they do today. It may be worth your while to wait until you can afford an SSD large enough for all of your installs.
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a c 386 G Storage
July 26, 2011 2:09:34 PM

Also, it's a bit trickier to recover files from a raid array (especially raid 0) than it is to recover data from a single drive should something go awry.
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a b G Storage
July 26, 2011 5:33:39 PM

I would take a closer look at what you are storing on the drive and see if there is a way to reduce the amount of storage you need on your high performance volume. What programs really require better IO performance? Which ones are the ones you utilize most often?

Another option is looking into a Z68 based chipset and using a smaller SSD as a cache for a larger slower volume. This will give performance somewhere in between the SSD and the other storage but allow you to utilize the full capcity of the slower storage while speeding up access.
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July 26, 2011 10:56:29 PM

WyomingKnott said:
It is possible. (I'm going to have to find that thread again. It's on my desk at home, but I'm not at home). One of our members recently posted a Win7 registry tweak that will let you install a program on a drive other than C : even if the installation process does not prompt for an installation location.

Edit: Here's the thread: http://www.tomshardware.com/forum/forum2.php?config=tom... . My thanks to the experienced JohnnyLucky.

If the installation process does prompt, just tell it to install somewhere on D :. If it does not prompt, you have to look back and find that lovely tweak that changes the default installation location. If I find it, I'll post an edit. Once the app is installed in a location on some other drive, it will run stably unless that drive goes down or its drive letter changes for some reason.

But. The point of installing to an SSD is that it improves program load and system startup times. If you install your big apps to the HDD, then these big apps will load just as slowly as they do today. It may be worth your while to wait until you can afford an SSD large enough for all of your installs.


Cool. I'll read it and see how I go. If I can have the OS only on SSD then that would be really cool. I don't mind the other programs being on the mechanical drive. As long as I can boot in to the computer quickly then I'm happy.
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July 26, 2011 11:01:00 PM

tokencode said:
I would take a closer look at what you are storing on the drive and see if there is a way to reduce the amount of storage you need on your high performance volume. What programs really require better IO performance? Which ones are the ones you utilize most often?

Another option is looking into a Z68 based chipset and using a smaller SSD as a cache for a larger slower volume. This will give performance somewhere in between the SSD and the other storage but allow you to utilize the full capcity of the slower storage while speeding up access.


The bulk of my programs are games. It takes up about 70gb. My OS and other programs take up about 50gb. So a 60gb SSD would do my fine as long as I can install the games on a separate HD but I am still researching whether that is okay to do. Investing in a new motherboard is probably out of reach for me at the moment considering that my current mobo is only 3 months old.
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