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SSD O/S with HDD RAID0 with HDD backup

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October 15, 2011 2:04:53 AM

I am presently setting up my newly acquired HP xw6600 Workstation - specs below:

O/S - Win 7 Ultimate x64

MOBO - HP 0A9CH - Dual LGA771
- Chipset - Intel 5400B
- Southbridge - Intel 6321ESB, Rev.09
- BIOS - 786F4, v01.35

CPU - 1x Intel Xeon E5405 Quad @2.0GHz (Planning on upgrade to 2x E5472 Quad @3.0GHz)

RAM - 8x 1GB PC2-5300 667, FB-DDR2

GRAPHICS - XFX GeForce 9600GT, 512MB (To be upgraded, maybe ATI FireGL V7700)

STORAGE - 2x 1TB Spinpoint F3, RAID0, with O/S installed
- 1x 1TB Spinpoint F3 (As yet unused, but soon to be for Backup)


I am gradually gathering info about what I need to know to suit my requirements as I progress with upgrading and personallising my workstation, although I still have plenty more to learn.
I am wondering if there would be any advantage to installing the O/S on a separate SSD added to the existing hardware, or would it be a costly, maybe pointless, exercise. In fact is it possible? I could also do with some advice on setting up the backup HDD.
Any info and helpful pointers are welcome. But if anyone just wants to baffle me with science/figures/pie charts etc. then I would rather you didn't bother.

Cheers.
October 15, 2011 6:37:45 PM

http://nvelo.com/products.html

http://www.ocztechnology.com/ocz-synapse-cache-sata-iii...

Hello Dumpystig...

Although my system requirements are a bit different from yours, it appears we have both been looking for a similar solution.

The two links are for a recently released caching solution. These just hit the market this month. I am considering the Cache drive (64gig @ $150 approx on newegg) to use in conjunction with a hdd combo of some sort.

Like you, if I understand you correctly, I was going to have at least 2 drives in Raid0 but I also like the extra speed of the SSD. Were there no budget considerations, I might run a different raid setup with 4 SSDs so that if two failed I could still reclaim my data. However, I am going with a super cheap (almost already obsolete!) build with an AMD multi-core and this choice prevents me from taking advantage of the Intel caching solutions that have worked so well with SSDs.

I have NO experience with Dataplex software yet, but have exchanged several emails with their VP of sales and based only on that contact and OCZ's customer service (with all the SandForce controller problems they have had..it was ONLY their customer service quality that saved part of the day for them before they issued enough firmware updates to begin to solve THAT problem!) I decided to investigate seriously the Synapse Cache drives.

It will be several weeks or a month before I actually purchase the drive and included software so my disclaimer is that I have no personal experience with the product yet but I plan to jump on into it unless I see many comments that suggest the drives are defective.

Happy hunting. I wish SSD and HDDs could be meshed together in a Raid solution but I have no knowledge of how that could work or even if it does. Replies would be helpful and I will follow this thread.

Notice on the Dataplex page that the software is supposed to work with "any combination of SSD and HDD".
Sorry for the OCZ charts...lol...but they are necessary to demonstrate how the software identifies the "hottest" files and keeps them at the ready for you.

Also, it may not be that you will be gaming on your workstation and you may already know this..."speeding up your pc" via SSD won't make your games play faster. Certain aspects of the game which are located on your hard drive will load faster, ie, maps, etc...but the ultimate bugger-up in speed for online gaming is your ISP. No SSD will help that. Best of luck!
October 16, 2011 9:15:15 AM

Hi gman_52, that's an interesting reply you posted.

Yes, the SSD with RAID0 will be for startup and general speed improvements - hopefully. I've looked at your links and I would like to see what you decide on and the outcome with your setup. BTW, you don't say what your setup is, wana share?

I'm also in a similar position as yourself; only just purchased my workstation so spare buying cash is limited at the moment, therefore this will be a more deliberated purchase.

Gaming really isn't my bag, I'm wanting to get into picture/video editing, CS5 etc.. Right now I'm trying to find out if particular CPU's will run on my mobo, before a reasonably priced upgrade slips away from me. Over the coming months I also hope to upgrade my graphics card and possibly add more RAM.

I'm more a 'researcher' type - instead of making a rash purchase of the-most-up-to-date-fastest-prettiest-everyone-else-is-getting-it-right-now piece of kit I much prefer to do my homework and be more certain that it's what I want and will do it's job without any (or the least of) problems.

I will be back with any developments I have and it would be good if you did the same. I wait to hear how your process develops, so good luck.

And I'm still open to advice or suggestions from anyone else regarding my original post.
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October 16, 2011 4:41:15 PM

Hi dumpystig,

My current setup is a combined curse and blessing..lol. The "curse" has to do with its age and lack of speed since I built it over 6 yrs ago...1 gig DDR1, ATA 66, single core Sempron on a Gigabyte K8U board with 8x vga and a single sata 1 7200 rpm..which works for surfing and email and little else. I have another box with the same board but twice the ram and a higher speed Athlon 64 single core and a larger graphics card that will run some 3D games (Quake, Riddick Butcher Bay, etc...older versions) but it will not run my DAW (Presonus Studio One Pro) without bogging down after creating 3 tracks with Delay, Reverb, Compression, etc...that's my "thing"...composing, mixing and mastering music tracks, so on the second box I require major changes! The audio workstation's number of tracks that can be recorded and number of processing devices that can be assigned and run on each individual track is limited ONLY by the processing power of the computer on which it is installed. Audio apps like mine and video apps like yours have similar processing needs.

The "blessing" part has to do with the fact that even DDR2 would seem like a HUGE improvement..haha..so, I am really going to feel the speed increase for very little money. I have a parts list for a $250 upgrade ballpark for the first Sempron system.

The music studio upgrade is closer to $1200 for the "ultimate" and could probably be done for $750 or less. I don't require great graphics for the cheap one, so I'd do the onboard Nvidia graphics solution for the no-gaming, internet, email and small office apps. Here are my two tentative lists...$250 is the target but may be just a shade more...

In the existing Apevia case:

1 49.99 motherboard http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

2. 39.99 500 watt p/s http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

3. 87.99 Phenom II dual core http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

4. 34.99 Cheap 8gig DDR3 http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

5. 68.99 Cheap SSD (*see note below) http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Total= $281.95 before tax and shipping, so probably a tad over $300 all-inclusive.

I already have Win7 64 bit but may just put UBUNTU 11.04 on this one. Also, I have a wireless (802.11n) card that will work well on this particular board. It requires a manual install in Ubuntu but have the command lines already saved and ready to input again.

The cheap motherboard is Sata II but has a PCIe slot that can accommodate a SATA III controller card for another $30, and can handle a decent video card should I ever see the need for more than the onboard graphics. This board judging by the reviews can play limited HD1080, but again even that much quality isn't necessary for anything much other than the occasional YouTube Tech conferences that I attend online and I usually do that on my newer laptop which handles HD nicely. This is where diagnosing the personal need and usage of the build comes into play.

*Cheap SSD...the story on these particular ssds has been horrific. I am buying this one for this non-critical system because I have done enough research and OCZ has fixed the majority of the problems. Current buyers who are still having problems seem, for the most part, not to do their homework on the firmware installation and available fixes. OCZ has great customer service and most likely prior to install I will have a conversation with them to confirm the correct order to update the firmware and settings changes in BIOS for my specific system. I already have an SATA II 550gig 7200rpm Seagate in this box which I will use as storage and I use a Seagate Go Flex USB 500gig external drive now for backups. I am ready to get my feet wet with ssd and since this is non mission critical and the cost of the drive is so low this minute I have no problem forking over the money even if it fails.

The better setup for the Digital Audio Workstation will be built around Christmas and many things could change pricewise in the next few months.

I will decide which AMD 990 chipset by then. There are several fine boards out there and it is just a matter of choosing the right one for me. The display for my DAW is just a little graphics intensive so I probably don't need an SLI or Crossfire setup..a good single card will do .. probably in the less than $150 range..which supports DX11..I'm going back and forth between the 8 core, 6 core, 4 core choice right now. I'm not so blown away by the current Zambezi test results.

This is where the "blessing" comes in again...I will be so amazed at the speed gain of anything above a single core that I will not spend much time worrying about buying the 8core if a 4 core will do for MY purposes. Again, shopping for myself and my needs. I'm an old fart and don't care if my neighbor has more or less computer than I do as long as mine just gets the job done for my specific needs.

I'll go ahead and get the 16gig ram, probably do the Synapse Cache with 4 smaller (500gig?) hdds in Raid 1+0. I have a firewire 400 audio interface so I'm looking for a board that has onboard ieee1394 and decent audio output. It will require a large power supply and I'm puttting it in a mid tower case with quiet fans, Corsair or Lian-Li with probably 850 watts. The condensor mics in my music room are extremely sensitive and my old case fans, power supply fans and even the CPU fan just scream over the sensitive mics when trying to get a vocal or acoustic guitar track. Right now all that is subject to change depending on sales and new product releases between now and Christmas. I'm somewhere between $750 and $1200 depending on my final choices. Anything I save will go towards outboard audio gear anyway (microphone preamps, etc) so the motivation is there to buy what I need vs what I want.

I'll get back with you with a progress report. I should be buying the first system components within a week.

I have traditionally steered away from Intel purely due the prices. I should also mention that in the recent benchmarks against the 8core Bulldozer/Zambezi at AnandTech...I have turned an eye towards the Z68 chipset running the 2500K processor. Keeping an open mind on it for now as well. When it comes to the week before I buy, I will narrow down the field.

Happy Trails!
October 16, 2011 5:56:38 PM

Yeah that's it, with a few minor differences. Mine has only 1x E5405 @2.0GHz fitted, and no Linux for me - Win 7 Ult x64.
I've had it nearly 2 weeks now but done very little apart from giving it a quick test run and then dismantling all the innards and hardware. everything has been vacuumed/cleaned/brushed/washed/serviced so that I know I'm starting from a clean slate, at least as far as my ownership is concerned. But it was already in fantastic condition, it's been well cared for over its 44 month lifespan.

Since I got it most of my time has been spent researching specs, viable upgrades etc. Coincidentally within the last hour I have just purchased 2x E5440 Quad Xeons @2.83GHz. I'm now looking for a second heatsink/fan combo to match the existing one on the E5405. But that will be it then for a little while; I can only afford so much and once I source and pay for the heatsink /fan I will have to wait a while before any further outlay. And then there's Christmas nearing....

You definitely have a similar attitude to mine - research and compare before jumping in with the open wallet...
I'm very keen to see what cache option you go for and what the initial outcome turns up, hopefully it will be a good result and I can learn from your experience. Sorry if I'm letting you be the guinea-pig...
October 16, 2011 6:05:13 PM

DOH! Just noticed your second post - reading it now...
October 16, 2011 6:31:20 PM

Been over to newegg and here come the less expensive AM3+ motherboards that used to be rated for only 6 cores..this will be an interesting time. A week ago the primary Bulldozer options were around $92 at the lowest end. Now there is a Bulldozer capable stampede in the $50 area offering limited 2-slot ram and onboard video options, but with 8gig ram and an 8 core processor and a single video card with say ATI Hybrid quite a lot of power could be accessed on the cheap side! Check out the falling prices! And processors should also begin at least a little down pricing as well, so by Christmas or January tax refund there will be a lot of upgrading going on! http://www.newegg.com/Product/ProductList.aspx?Submit=E...
November 20, 2011 12:28:35 PM

Are you any further ahead with your original RAID 0 setup? I've just got myself a 160GB SSD so I'm now trying to achieve my original goal of OS on SSD plus 2x 1GB Spinpoints, hopefully with all 3 drives on RAID 0 or just the Spinpoints on RAID 0. Still trying to find out if the first option is possible, plenty more googling to do.
!