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SSD vs RAID HDD and other configurations

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September 30, 2011 7:54:33 PM

I'm in a bit of a pickle. My current primary OS HDD is a 74GB 10k WD Raptor (yeah...scary old). I think for the safety of my day to day computing that it's probably time for a new storage drive. I also have a 320GB WD drive for my games and additional storage. In total I'm using a wee bit over 250GB though I could probably clean that up a bit. I was thinking of a few possibilities. The first was that I get a 256GB Crucial M4 SSD and offload the 'junk data' elsewhere. I thought of getting a RAID 0 setup with two WD RE4 500GB by itself as well. Another setup was to get a small SSD as an OS/Temp file drive and a single WD RE4 as a games/storage drive. Basically you get the idea of whether to stick with a hybrid combo or go full out one way or the other. Opinions, thoughts, questions?
a b G Storage
September 30, 2011 8:15:59 PM

What exactly are you looking for in an upgrade? Cheapest upgrade? Performance oriented upgrade? Just something to get by?

With a new SSD - all your applications will have a nearly lightning quick response time (vs HDD). Somewhat costly, but a good investment in terms of responsiveness). If storage is of no concern - I would get an SSD.

Going with a newer HDD - it will be cheaper, but you will be able to get oodles of storage vs SSD. It will be much slower, but the ability to hold tons of data is there.

Basically it comes down to how much you want to spend, and how much storage or performance you want.
a c 504 G Storage
September 30, 2011 8:16:52 PM

Use the 256GB Crucial M4 as your O/S drive, the 500GB WD RE4 as your games/storage drive, and your existing 320GB WD as a backup drive.

If you want to go the hybrid/combo route you need a Z68 chipset motherboard.
Use a 64GB Crucial M4 as your cache drive, a 500GB RE4 as your O/S drive, another 500GB RE4 as your games/storage drive, and the 320GB WD as your backup drive.
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September 30, 2011 8:31:32 PM

Huh, didn't even know that 'hybrid' type setup existed; my definition was just having a SSD as the OS and a HDD as the games/storage drive; interesting. Cash is a limiting factor, with the 256GB M4 deemed as very expensive. I was thinking about cramming everything on there and possibly use the 320GB as a backup. I guess the main matchup would be two WD RE4 500GB in RAID 0 vs the Crucial M4 256GB. In both cases I'll use the old 320GB for backup.
a b G Storage
September 30, 2011 8:38:05 PM

Get the SSD. I compared my Crucial SSD to Velicoraptors in RAID 0 and the performance difference was to much to ignore. Use your 320 GB as a storage drive. If you get the SSD you wont regret it. A bit of data management has allowed me to use a 120 GB comfortably so your 256 GB option should be more than enough.
September 30, 2011 8:44:29 PM

Wamphryi said:
Get the SSD. I compared my Crucial SSD to Velicoraptors in RAID 0 and the performance difference was to much to ignore. Use your 320 GB as a storage drive. If you get the SSD you wont regret it. A bit of data management has allowed me to use a 120 GB comfortably so your 256 GB option should be more than enough.


I'm starting to lean towards this option a bit more as I would really like the noise to kick down a notch. The 320GB isn't bad but the old Raptor is really loud under load. I think I can squeeze my games and OS on the M4. I figure a fresh install of Win 8 will be about 20GB so that'll leave roughly 240GB for games. I'm pretty sure I know the answer to this but with SSDs you don't have to apply the 5% capacity loss rule as you do with HDD, right? As in you buy a 500GB but only get about 475-480GB of usable storage.
a c 504 G Storage
September 30, 2011 8:50:06 PM

Don't cram everything on a 256GB SSD. Performance will suffer on any SSD that's nearly full.

Get a 128GB M4 instead of the 256GB and get a RE4 for games/storage. Buying those 2 will be cheaper than getting a 256GB M4.
a b G Storage
September 30, 2011 8:58:38 PM

I don't reccomend filling up an SSD completely. Some SSD's have a problem when you fill them right up, and have problems reading and writing (the problem of it being much slower).

As for the "capacity loss" it still applies to SSD's as well as HDD's. This is because software registers 1KB as 1024bits versus hardware manufactureres consider 1KB 1000Bits.
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