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SSD (Sata II) for Win 7

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July 30, 2011 4:49:57 PM

Hi all,

I would like to update my system as follows

(1) I want to install an SSD dedicated to running Windows 7 and some oft-used software (Photoshop, Lightoom, Office Applications, etc.). I am willing to spend $300-400 on the SSD.
(2) I have two WD Caviar Black 1TB harddrives, and I would like to set them up in RAID 0, and use them to store photos, videos, and assorted applications (games and other less frequently used programs, etc.). I have a back-up drive, so I am totally content losing whatever I store in RAID 0 should it fail.
(3) Upgrade from Windows Vista to Windows 7.

Here is my current setup:

Asus Rampage Formula (X48) (Sata II)
Q9450
8gb Corsair 6400C4DHX 4-4-4-12 Ram
Radeon 4870
2X WD Black Caviar 1TB (not in any RAID formation)
Corsair 650TX
Windows Vista Home Premium 64bit

I tried muddling through the various forum posts and reviews and I gather that not all SSDs are created equal, and that not all play nice with Windows 7. It seems Intel is the way to go, but so is Sandforce, and Intel doesn't use Sandforce??? I also can't figure out what metric is most important to me given my intended use for this drive (running my OS and a few often-used applications).

Any help or recommendations are much appreciated.

Thank you.

More about : ssd sata win

a c 303 G Storage
July 30, 2011 5:54:43 PM

You probably ought to read a brand new Tom's Hardware article about solid state drives that was published yesterday:

http://www.tomshardware.com/reviews/ssd-reliability-fai...

If you are not planning to upgrade the motherboard this year, then a SATA II 3Gb/s ssd would be appropriate. Currently I am recommending the Samsung 470 series because the ssd's have been available for a while and there are no reports of any performance problems or issues.

Here is a link to the ssd database:

http://www.johnnylucky.org/data-storage/ssd-database.ht...

Scroll down to the Samsung section and click on the links to read the technical reviews.

I normally recommend the Intel 320 over the Samsung 470 but under certain conditions there is a bug that might reduce ssd capacity to just 8GB. Intel is aware of the bug and is working on a firmware fix.
July 30, 2011 10:19:28 PM

Are any SATA III drives backward compatible with SATA II? Is there a drive I can buy today with the plan of using it once I build a SATA III machine in a few years?
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July 30, 2011 11:15:55 PM

So I did some research, which answered some questions, and raised a few new ones.

It appears that the two best SSDs for me would be the Samsung 470 or the OCZ Vertex 2. The Intel 320 seems to have less impressive specs, although I understand that Intel drives are the Toyota Camry of this category (dependable, generally liked).

Question as to capacity: seems like 120-8 is the bare minimum for my purposes. There is not much of a savings per GB going from ~120-8 to ~240-56. Should I just get the OCZ Vertex 2 at 120GB for 169 bucks? http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Or will I need more capacity?
a c 303 G Storage
July 31, 2011 2:02:06 AM

SATA III 6Gb/s ssd's are backward compatible with SATA II 3Gb/s ports on a motherboard. No problem with that. However, ssd performance will drop to SATA II 3Gb/s levels.

A 120GB ssd is the capacity of choice. Plenty of room for Windows 7, software applications, and utilities. Windows 7 Pro 64 will use up around 20GB if you use the space savings tweaks. I have all of the software you mentioned except LightRoom. I also have additional photo and video utilities, web publishing software, System Mechanic Pro, and a couple of utilities. My grand total comes out to just a little bit over 30GB. I store raw images and finished photos on a separate hard drive.

Gmes can use up a lot of space very quickly. Otherwise 120GB should be plenty of space, Just remember to store data files and images on a separate hard disk drive.

The OCZ Vertex 2 has had it's share of problems.

July 31, 2011 3:23:56 PM

Thanks, JohnnyLucky. Another question that occurred to me: when I built my system three years ago, I had purchased an OEM version of Windows Vista Home Premium (64 bit). If my plan is to install an SSD and use it as my OS drive with Win 7, should I seek to purchase a new OEM version of Windows 7, or will an upgrade work? My concern is the my Vista OEM won't install cleanly on the new SSD. Does anyone have experience with this?

Thanks again!
July 31, 2011 3:27:54 PM

Nevermind, just saw that the OEM version of Win 7 Home Premium 64 Bit is cheaper than the upgrade. Problem solved.
a c 303 G Storage
August 1, 2011 12:33:30 AM

I don't know about upgrading from Vista to Win 7. I have an OEM version of Win 7. I did a clean install on my ssd. Perhaps someone else might have an answer.
August 1, 2011 12:35:04 AM

Thanks, JohnnyLucky, but I figured out the answer to my own question: Win 7 OEM is cheaper than Win 7 upgrade. Go figure.
August 13, 2011 11:46:06 PM

Hi all, I purchased the Samsung 470 and Win7 Home Premium 64 bit. Today was install day. I can't seem to get Win 7 up and running.

This is what I did:

(1) I installed the SSD
(2) I started up regularly just to make sure everything was running
(3) I restarted, went to Bios, and set my SSD as boot desk
(4) I installed windows 7
(5) Windows 7 gets past the start screen, and then just goes to a blank black screen. I can move a pointer, but nothing else.

I am trying to reinstall Win 7 now. Any other steps I should take?
a c 303 G Storage
August 14, 2011 1:42:19 AM

Did you remember to change to ACHI mode in the system BIOS?
Did you check to see if you needed a BIOS update?.
Is the correct driver installed?
August 14, 2011 1:49:46 AM

Thank you for the reply!

I did not change to ACHI mode. Will try that now. How do I know whether I need a BIOS update?
August 14, 2011 2:25:32 AM

Changing to AHCI mode didn't fix it. In fact, my computer would just go into a perpetual restart loop. I will try to load up Vista and install the latest bios and drivers for the SSD.
August 14, 2011 10:37:38 PM

All, I managed to solve the problem by uninstalling my two HDDs and leaving in just the SSD (set to AHCI). After Win7 successfully booted, I reconnected the two HDDs.
!