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Gaming with SSD versus SSD/spindal drives

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November 16, 2011 1:58:47 AM

Hello,
This is a general question for those a little more advanced than I. I'm in the mist of designing a game machine. My question is about SSDs. Really about SSD/spindal drives. The biggest SSD drive I've seen with in $ reason is 256. Is this large enough to run windows and games? Or should I consider the combo drives with windows on the ram part, my games (4 Call of Duty, 2 Battlefield) on the spindle part. Looking for some guidance. Any suggestions appreciated.
a b G Storage
November 16, 2011 12:57:56 PM

256 Should be fine for Windows and games, assuming you aren't talking about installing 20 games or something like that. A lot of people are able to get by with the 120g drives which are quite a bit more affordable.

Windows starts at ~20gigs and slowly grows from that point. Games vary a good deal, but ballparking 15gigs per game is probably a good estimate that is on the high side.
a b 4 Gaming
a b G Storage
November 16, 2011 1:25:36 PM

A 120 gig drive would be large enough to run Windows and several games apps, etc.
Just add a secondary drive to store things that eat up lots of drive space, like pictures, video, and music files. Speed isn't a real big deal using these file types anyway. Be sure to turn off the Windows Restore feature, it can grow to a huge amount of space in very quick time and hog most of the space on your SSD. Why they did not design that feature so that it could save the restore file to another disk........I guess there must be a reason.
Rely instead on backups to your other drive, or an external drive to be safe.
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November 16, 2011 1:38:22 PM
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Windows (with restore points and hibernating disabled, and no/little virtual memory) will take ~15GB. I know people like to say higher numbers, but it isn't that hard to trim it down. That leaves tons of space for games. Really no one can tell you what is big enough for you since it depends on usage. I think 64GB is the minimum you can get by with, and 128GB is the current sweep spot.

Personally, I'd get a 128GB SSD + 1TB HDD over a 256GB SSD. Since I can't really afford a 128GB SSD I'm going to get a 64GB SSD and re-use my old 250GB HDD and everything else is going on my multi-TB file server.
November 23, 2011 1:41:09 AM

Thx guys, 3 excellent answers, how am I supposed to pick the 'best'? Good points on the restore which although I've adopted a decent freebie backup app I haven't turned off restore as of yet and wouldn't of thought of it eating drivespace. Hibernation bothers me tho', it too can't be redirected off the system drive/partition? If not, guess I'm going to forgo that little pleasantness too. So 128 gig is my action. So be it. Thx again guys, appreciate you hanging around to point us dummies in the right direction. Since you all gave me excellent advice and I figure Tom's Hardware is going to bug me until I select a 'best', I'm going to draw cards for the winner. Wish I could give you all 'best answer', you all pointed out things I hadn't thought of.
November 23, 2011 1:42:11 AM

Best answer selected by jesferkicks.
November 23, 2011 1:23:52 PM

You could just use sleep mode if this is for a desktop. Sleep takes a tiny bit more power, but achieves more or less the same functionality.

oh, I it doesn't seem like anyone addressed this, but I would never buy a hybrid drive. HDDs are much more likely to fail than SSDs because of their moving parts. Why waste a perfectly good SSD because the HDD portion broke? Doesn't make sense to me when you can create the same exact thing with two separate parts and Intel Smart Response technology.
November 25, 2011 7:34:27 AM

nordlead said:
You could just use sleep mode if this is for a desktop. Sleep takes a tiny bit more power, but achieves more or less the same functionality.

oh, I it doesn't seem like anyone addressed this, but I would never buy a hybrid drive. HDDs are much more likely to fail than SSDs because of their moving parts. Why waste a perfectly good SSD because the HDD portion broke? Doesn't make sense to me when you can create the same exact thing with two separate parts and Intel Smart Response technology.



Yeah, hadn't thought of sleep mode, but to tell the truth I haven't read up on either it or hibernation. Guess I'm going to have to do that.

Excellent point on the hybrid, also a point I hadn't thought of. Need to bone up on this too. I've had computers ever since the Tandy 1000 days but really only became serious about the inerds after Activision began fleecing me for the Call of Duty games and I'm hooked. High-end games benefit from high-end systems so I've decided to 'get smart'. Again about the hybrid. Out of the half dozen or so machines I've owned I've never lost a harddrive. Even my current machine has two of its four harddrives scrounged from two machines I had before. So that brings to question, how long will these SSDs live? Are they slowly degradable like a flash or will they last almost forever like a ram stick? I wonder what comparison SSD life would be to HD spindle life. These aren't questions I'm begging answers to, just wondering out loud. Thanx much for your input. I like this forum. Seems to have some smart folks willing to help us mere mortals. :pt1cable:  :pt1cable: 
November 25, 2011 11:21:30 PM

I haven't had many HDD's fail, but I have one in the process of failing right now but it is still in use.

They have a limited number of write cycles (like a USB stick or SD card) because they are flash based. I'm not sure what the count is, but I'm fairly sure it is 10k or higher. SSD's are much bigger than those other flash devices so it takes a lot longer to generate enough content to wear out the drives. They should last on average longer than HDD's. However, some of the brands/models have bad drivers that make them fail much faster than they should, but others like the Samsung, Intel, and Crucial are much more reliable.
November 27, 2011 2:19:42 PM

nordlead said:
I haven't had many HDD's fail, but I have one in the process of failing right now but it is still in use.

They have a limited number of write cycles (like a USB stick or SD card) because they are flash based. I'm not sure what the count is, but I'm fairly sure it is 10k or higher. SSD's are much bigger than those other flash devices so it takes a lot longer to generate enough content to wear out the drives. They should last on average longer than HDD's. However, some of the brands/models have bad drivers that make them fail much faster than they should, but others like the Samsung, Intel, and Crucial are much more reliable.


Interesting. If the SSD's last longer, or as long, as HDD's then jeez we're talking several years. AS i mentioned earlier, 2 of my four harddrives are over 4 years old and my machines get used alot everyday. I wondered if the SSD's were degradable that performing acts such as defragging might not be a good idea. But if they last as long as you say, guess that wouldn't be a concern. How do you know one of your drives is about to go belly up? Is your SMART data indicating such? Just wondering, never had one go bad on me so wouldn't even know what to watch out for.
November 27, 2011 8:25:14 PM

defragging is not needed and is a bad idea. Defragging is to keep files close together so that you don't have to wait for the HDD heads to move and the disk to spin. Since neither of those latencies exist on a SSD, there is no need to defrag. Also, defragging will do a lot of writing to a SSD so it is bad for them and should be disabled for that drive.

I'm assuming you are referring to how I know my HDD is about to fail. I know mine is going to fail because I can hear loud clicking while the heads move (much louder than when new or even a few years old). That indicates the parts aren't moving like they are supposed to. Also, I've had a few bad sectors that had to be marked off so they aren't used any more. Typically once sectors start going bad, you'll get more in a short timeframe. I have no clue exactly when it'll die, but it is a ticking time bomb. Luckily I have all my data on a file server and not on my failing drive.
November 28, 2011 6:04:01 PM

nordlead said:
defragging is not needed and is a bad idea. Defragging is to keep files close together so that you don't have to wait for the HDD heads to move and the disk to spin. Since neither of those latencies exist on a SSD, there is no need to defrag. Also, defragging will do a lot of writing to a SSD so it is bad for them and should be disabled for that drive.

I'm assuming you are referring to how I know my HDD is about to fail. I know mine is going to fail because I can hear loud clicking while the heads move (much louder than when new or even a few years old). That indicates the parts aren't moving like they are supposed to. Also, I've had a few bad sectors that had to be marked off so they aren't used any more. Typically once sectors start going bad, you'll get more in a short timeframe. I have no clue exactly when it'll die, but it is a ticking time bomb. Luckily I have all my data on a file server and not on my failing drive.


LoL, christ I'm a dumbxxx! Didn't even think about no heads to bounce around looking for file fragments in a SSD. Well, that was embarrassing. Sometimes I wonder how I can even manage a doorknob. Anyway, I'll endeavor to be more robust in actually thinking about what I'm writing before I touch the keyboard in future posts. Mind in gear b4 mouth in motion.

About signs of a failing hard dive. Head movement clicking is one I hadn't thought of. I did figure on maybe some sort of spindle bearing squeak. And my computer's calendar reminds me to check the SMART indicators from whatever time schedule I gave it but there seems to be virtually no difference in the readings between my 4 year old drive and the 2tb'er I bought last month. Was looking at the seasonal sales for SSD's. Looks like they're down to a buck a gig now which is good. Still not real conformable with windows on only a 128 gig drive though. One of my list of things to learn is the virtual os I hear so much about. My system only eats 40 gigs now but thats with virtually all utilities and apps not in the programs file directory. I've got XP3 and ubuntu to virtually mount and am not sure if they have to be loaded with win7 or not. Just something else to look up. Think I'm going to wait a couple months to see if the 256ers become reasonable. Again, I thank you for your time, knowledge and your patience in being my sounding board. Hope the holidays treat you well.
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