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Add in SSD for gaming

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September 27, 2011 3:52:00 AM

Okay so here's the question.

Recently I went back to playing Oblivion, and I've gotten into modding and everything, but with the way my computer is set up, it really takes a long time in game for things to load up. (Blame it on the 5400rpm Momentus XT). The folder size is around 17GB. So with Skyrim coming out, and a whole 'nother slew of mods on the way, I'm thinking I might migrate these to a SSD. Now, I'm not really looking for anything big. 40GB might do it, though 64GB would keep me in the clear for a good long time. Any suggestions? I could hook up through SATA 3, but the card would eat away at the PCI-E lanes from my HD 6950, which would be lame, so I'm probably thinking SATA 2.

Also, does anyone know the repercussions of running a disc image vs. an actual CD-ROM when it comes to access times, loading times etc? Does the computer even read from the disc in game any longer?

Thanks a bunch.

In case it helps: Sabertooth i55 (LGA 1156 (x16 or x8/x8)), Core i7-870, 8GB RAM @ 1600, Radeon HD 6950.

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a c 283 G Storage
September 27, 2011 4:41:59 AM

I just happen to have the Asus Sabertooth 55i in my own personal pc. I think you are getting PCI-e based ssd's and SATA 2 & 3 based ssd's mixed up.

A PCI-e based ssd would be inserted into a PCI-e 2.0 x4, x8, or x16 slot on a motherboard. If a PCI-e based ssd is inserted into the available slot on the Sabertooth 55i, then the PCI-e slot for the video card and the PCI-e slot for the ssd are reduced from x16 down to x8 mode. For the typical user or casual gamer the reduction in video card performance would not be noticeable. The actual performance hit is only about 2% to 5%. Depends on the configuration.

The Asus Sabertooth 55i does not have SATA 3 6Gb/s capability. The motherboard only has SATA 2 3Gb/s connections. SATA 3 is backward compatible with SATA 2 but performance would be limited to SATA 2 3Gb/s.

You have two options. The first is install a PCI-e based ssd and ignore the slight reduction in video performance. The second option is to purchse a SATA 2 3Gb/s ssd that will not reduce video performance.

There is something you should know about ssd's and gaming. An ssd will load the game quicker. It will also load maps, charts, and similar data quicker. That's about all. It will not improve FPS or actual game play.

If you decide to purchase a SATA 2 3Gb/s ssd, then I recommend the Samsung 470 series. They may not be the fastest ssd's but they do have a stellar track record. They are problem free and reliable.
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September 27, 2011 10:17:33 AM

+1^ Hundred percent also when asking about access time from disk and images images will render starting load time quicker along the SSD however the disk boot is only for the initial boot thereafter data is accessed from the drive, so from quick game booting the hdd will be rendered slightly quicker then the DVD drive.
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September 27, 2011 12:23:09 PM

Thanks guys.

This all sounds about right. When I was referring to SATA 3, I was actually referencing an addon card that came bundled with the board that provides SATA 3 and USB 3 connectivity. I think, in essence, it would be the same as a PCIe based SSD. As far as the actual game goes, I think an SSD would vastly improve the experience. I do often experience slow down in the game, and it has nothing to do with the FPS, but more to so with the game taking so long to load the content. Having a lot of mods just does that apparently. I think it might be worth the immersion to have everything load faster.

I also figure that a smaller drive that wasn't too expensive would be the way to go. That way I could just swap out whatever programs I have loaded on it whenever is most convenient. I already have a large collection of HDDs hanging out inside my PC; the thought of trying to migrate to a new boot drive is pretty daunting to me. I'll have to check out the Samsung, though I am interested in smaller SSDs at a slightly lower price point as well. Though it's tempting that it's on sale today...
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September 27, 2011 3:14:39 PM

Dont settle for to small as you might regret the space, i would personally recommend 90GB but thats my opinion i guess =)
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September 27, 2011 4:11:45 PM

The advantage of SSDs for gameing is quite limited based on testing that Anandtech did. You might want to also read Tom's SSD review for compatibility and reliability issues with SSDs. Basically SSDs are immature technology that is not yet reliable.

http://www.tomshardware.com/reviews/ssd-solid-state-nan...
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September 28, 2011 8:41:45 AM

Im sorry but against reviews i have found SSD'S way more reliable then disk drives you can easily outweigh the disadvantages of disk drives i have had my Intel X25 SSD for 2 years now and have not had a days trouble. This also goes for my customers who have bought SSD'S from me they are more then happy with the products and have no issues thus far.
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