So I currently have 2 velociraptors in a RAID 1 setup. One of them just died so I'm looking to upgrade. Rather than just getting another velociraptor I started thinking about SSDs. Can I just swap in SSDs one at a time in place of my velociraptors? I have the Intel ICH7R/DH SATA RAID Controller. I don't know a whole lot about this stuff, but I assume this is a SATA II controller? For an extra $80 or so per drive the SSDs should give me a nice performance boost right??
Yes, SSDs will work with that controller and the performance will be greater than the Velociraptor, but you may not see the maximum advertised performance of the SSD with that controller. You definitely will not see maximum performance if you buy a SATA III SSD.
Right, that makes sense. So I should be looking for SATA II SSDs then right? Will there be a significant noticable reduction in the time it takes apps to load etc. even with this relatively old controller?
On a related note, should I consider upgrading the RAID controller too, or is my relatively old motherboard the bottleneck here?
Yes, your motherboard is the bottleneck.
If your money is tight and you won't be upgrading again in awhile then get SATA IIs. Otherwise get SATA IIIs and you'll be set for whenever you upgrade your motherboard.
The SSD will be considerably faster than your velociraptors for boot times and program installs and opening programs. It will not improve game performance and will not help working inside the programs. Do not recommend sticking 2 SSDs in raid 1 as you lose trim.
The real advantage of the SSD is in access time (0.2 mSec) and in the much higher random small file read/writes.
Thanks for the reply, that sounds like something worth doing.
I'm still using XP which doesn't support TRIM as far as I know, so I guess there's nothing I can do about that. I do like the convenience of RAID 1 when a drive dies (I seem to have bad luck here) so I guess there's no reason not to stick with a RAID 1 setup. Will it be noticeably slower without TRIM?
I read this on wikipedia:
"More recent SSDs will often contain internal idle/background garbage collection mechanisms that work independently of TRIM; although this successfully maintains their performance even under operating systems that do not (yet) support TRIM, it has the associated drawbacks of increased write amplification and wear of the flash cells."
Any idea which SSDs have this functionality? I don't mind the extra wear and tear.
OK so now I'm off to do more research and find the "best" SATA II SSD for my setup...
You may not " I don't mind the extra wear and tear." but your SSD may as it goes bumb in the night.
Don't fight it, go with Win7, initally a pain as you have to do a fresh install of operating system and programs - O WAIT, you have to anyways. Windows 7 is worth it (and yes I was one of the die hard XPers.
Normally a SSD is just used for a boot/program drive. Use your raid1 HDD for all of the data you create.
With this concept the back up of the "C" drive only needs to be down periodically, like once a month, or 6 Mon. And with windows 7 this is SO SIMPLE a cave man can to.
With win 7 you just go to the control panel and select back up C drive. Takes about 10->15 minutes. Then if C drive crashes, just pop Installation disk in and select to restore from image, again a 10-> 15 min operation and ALL programs are there, no reinstall operating system nor programs, no reactivation.
On a good SATA II look at the Intel 320's, Intel reliability. BUT Make sure it has the LATEST firmware as previous firmware has a bug that cause the SSD to shrink from a 120 Gig to a 8 Mb drive - thats like trying to fit 5 lbs of shxx in a 1 oc bag. and ofcourse requires an RMA
Why would I have to reinstall everything from scratch "anyway"? My system is working great and configured just the way I want it, I'm just trying to upgrade the drives. Am I missing something here?
For what it's worth, I have my system configured similar to what you describe except I've partitioned the drive into a C and D drive. C is backed up once a month and my D drive with all my data, etc. is backed up daily.
Starting with scratch with a clean install would be a nightmare for me in terms of reloading and configuring all my programs, data, etc. I don't have a lot of data (my entire system is probably only 25GB) but tons of programs and custom configs/settings etc. So I can easily run everything on a relatively small SDD RAID (I don't use this system for photos, videos, "entertainment", etc.)
On further reading it seems like either of the Intel G2 drives or the Kingston V+ 100 series (which was supposedly designed for XP) should do the trick just fine.
As far as my not minding the wear and tear, I just meant in the sense that if the drive only lasts 2 years instead of 3 years I'd rather take that over having to install Windows 7 and start from scratch.
Read up on ssd partition alignment - XP will not do must do manually. Not just about Trim. You will find that moving to an ssd, you can image the HDD and install image to SSD, but not many recommend that most recommend a clean install.
That said, you indicated "nightmare" and yes I can understand that - but easyer than IMPOSSIBLE, which is where my wife was with her system. Was XP and she had several programs that (1) lost installation disk(s) and (2) Required that the Current version (She started at version 1 and current version is like 10) which would have required 10 installations be installed, opps Also required a serial port and/or a parallel port dongle and hardware no longer supported.
1st bought her a "cheap" Vista system. Had to buy a program that would migrate all of her programs to the new computer. Lousy computer, so I built her a low end system and stuck win 7 on it - Bought a 2nd program that migrated all her programs to the newer computer.
And I'm not really tring to get you to move from XP, it was a great operating system and as you said you have it configured the way you want it and yes it is a real pain. I feel at some point you will want to migrate to win 7 and this is the best time.
Thanks for the reply. I didn't know that about the partitions.
Maybe I will just buy another raptor for now and revisit this in the future. I need to get this done today (I'm about to run to Frys now). I don't have the time to install Win 7 and start from scratch right now as I have projects that need to be done in the next few days, etc.
I do have images of my C and D drives. Seems like I could just setup a new RAID with the 2 new SSDs, create my C and D partitions, and restore my backups to them. Why is that generally not recommended??
You probably could, depending on size, will your software resize the partitions on the fly, if so you could try - but expensive if it does not work.
Some say going from HDD -> to SSD is fine, but most recommend (Which means not set in stone). Staying with the same motherboard is means that primairly the only draw back is partition alignment. As with XP you alread know that you lose trim, not a show stopper in it self.
Myself, as much as I love SSDs (have eight), in your case I to would be tempted to stay with HDD. and when upgrade system move to SSD and win 7
Even a win7 upgrade will not pass the TRIM command through your ich7r controller. I think ich9+ is required.
Why not save the ssd upgrade for a platform/win upgrade? Not sure I'd buy another raptor if it were me but... You're not me. I would set a date or cash situation for the upgrade. Save your cash and/or wait for the go date and do everything at once. Buy a cheap wd blue if you need the storage.