So I'm a gamer looking to upgrade my hard drives. I've read a bunch of conflicting info on SSDs and velociraptors.
Basically I want to know what the best setup is for gaming.
Option1: Get an SSD (vertex 3 or M4) and put OS and games on it.
Option2: Get and SSD for OS and another SSD drive to put the games on separately.
Option3: Get two inexpensive SSDs and put them in raid0 for OS and games.
Option4: Get an SSD for OS and a WD velociraptor for games.
I've read some good things about the speed of the Vertex 3, but the reviews on Newegg are terrible (i.e., random restarts, BSODs, etc.). I also heard that due to the nature of SSDs, a velociraptor would actually be better for gaming because the gaming files are large and SSDs are only faster for smaller files.
IMO, the best and most economic friendly combo is a decent sized SSD (60GB or more) for your OS and most played games/ longest loading times with a HDD (Samsung F3 Spinpoint for example) for everything else. Velociraptors IMO are not worth buying for a gaming build. If you do go with this choice, I recommend getting a Crucial M4 SSD.
1) 120GB SSD for Windows
2) 2TB WD Green drive for games
1. 60GB SSD is not enough for Windows. It will be for a while but Microsoft updates, backups etc will fill up the space. I know.
2. You will manually assign the games when installing. I made two folders on my hard drive right away: "GAMES" and "STEAM"; I manually install to Games, but the Steam folder is only setup once when you install Steam. It handles things after that.
3. Hard drives only really affect the initial game load and level loads. I prefer the WD Green drive for noise and price.
I thought SSD would be super amazing so I investigated. They tested a new SSD (Vertex 3?) and I was shocked at the results. Here's the results for the game that the hard drive or SSD mattered LEAST:
Result of game loading:
Time to start game: 120 seconds
SSD involvement: 2 seconds
The CPU and graphics cards were actually the bottleneck! They were optimizing textures etc. I also wonder if some of that wasn't some video cutscenes that couldn't be disabled.
I never saw a result that said to me HEY I MUST GET THAT.
(I did install Starcraft 2 to my 3xRAID0 Vertex 2 array (700MB/second max). I didn't feel way faster than when it was on my hard drive. I doubt it was 2x faster. I'd thought it would have been 30x faster. Even if the game used 1400MB of RAM which is doubful, if the drive was the bottleneck were talking only a couple seconds for an SSD which is fast even with small file size... )
Acronis True Image:
You can use the free version from Western Digital if you have a WD drive in your system (doesn't seem to work with RAID).
Create an occasional IMAGE of your Windows drive on your secondary drive in case the main drive fails.
Don't RESTORE an image that hasn't been Activated yet. There's no penalty to restore an Activated copy (it's an exact image) but there's a limited number of Activations for Windows. That's another great reason to make a backup. You don't want to keep restoring from scratch.
I have 4 2tb hard drives set up in raid 0+1 and it just doesn't seem that fast to me. So it sounds like I should just get an SSD and then set up 2 of those in a raid0 for games and then 2 for raid1 for storage.