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Laptop with SSD and HDD. Readyboost, boot drive, and other options

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November 26, 2011 8:01:41 PM

My gaming laptop is finally being put out to pasture due to a failure of the video card. I've ordered a new system from Sager custom laptops (specs below). It comes with a 500gig HDD installed, and a slot for a 2nd drive where the optical drive would otherwise go (I'm going for no optical drive, I have an external and haven't used it in months). I'd like to salvage the 64gig SSD from my old system, but I'm not sure what to do with it.

Option 1: Install SSD as boot drive, use HDD as storage.
This is my default option. The SSD boots lightning fast, and my games run quickly as well. My problem here is that I have very little to store on 500gigs. I don't have movies or music that I keep locally. On the other hand, for my programs 64gigs runs out of space really fast, with only a few games installed usually. I could use the SSD as boot and the 500 gig for my games, but I worry that I'm defeating the purpose of the faster drive if I do that. My boot time will be fast but will my game experience be slowed down by having them installed on an HDD? Will initial load times be slower but the games run just as fast?

Option 2: Use HDD as boot and SSD for games
This one I'm not sure of. Will I, again, be defeating the purpose of the faster drive if I have my operating system and programs installed on different speed drives? Will I bottleneck at the slower speed? The nice thing about this option is that I've heard Sager installs are free of bloatware, so I wouldn't have to spend my first day of ownership doing the traditional reinstall of everything.

Option 3: Use HDD for everything and SSD for "readyboost."
I had never considered this option, but someone on another forum suggested it. He said the 'readyboost' would speed up overall performance, and make good use of the drive. He said that I should partition the SSD into at least 2 separate drives and use both of the virtual drives for readyboost. I've done little research on this yet, does anyone have any ideas? Like option 2, this would prevent me from needing to reinstall everything my first day.

Option 4: Use HDD for everything and leave the caddy bare.
My biggest problem with my old system was heat (the old graphics card melted down about once every 6 months, even with optimizations and a cooling fan lapdesk). I could just use the HDD, forget the old SSD, and keep the caddy bare.

Thanks in advance for any comments and suggestions.

System specs:
Display 15.6" Full HD LED-Backlit Display with Super Glossy Surface (1920 x 1080)
Video & Graphics Card 2GB GDDR3 Nvidia GeForce GT 555M GPU with Optimus Technology / Embedded Intel HD Graphics
CPU Processor 2nd Generation Intel® Core™ i5-2430M Processor ( 3MB L3 Cache, 2.40GHz)
Operating System Genuine MS Windows® 7 Home Premium 32/64-Bit Edition ( 64-Bit Preloaded )
Memory 8GB Dual Channel DDR3 SDRAM at 1333MHz - 2 X 4GB
Primary Hard Disk Drive 500GB 7200rpm SATA 300 Hard Drive

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a b D Laptop
a c 167 G Storage
November 26, 2011 8:30:11 PM

I vote for option 1.

The best value of a SSD is for small random i/o. That is what the os does mostly. Past booting, you will see faster access to the catalog, logging, temp files, and the myriad of small i/o that the os does constantly. You should have room for at least a couple of your currently active games. Install the overflow on the 500gb drive when you must.

Option 5.

Instead of a 500gb hard drive, why not get a second SSD for the space? With the high cost of hard drives now, you can buy Intel 320 drives at 80, 120, and 160gb for $ per gb after rebate. Helps with your cooling issue also.
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November 27, 2011 2:48:37 PM

Thanks for the reply. You know you make a good point with the 2 SSDs. I've actually got another one, a 32gig that originally came with my old system (I replaced it with the 64 when I installed windows 7). I wonder if I could install windows on the 32 and everything else on the 64. I survive now by juggling what games I have installed, this would give me more room than I currently have and let me gain the benefits of the SSD. I could put the 500 in the external enclosure I have the 32gig ssd in now.

I just wonder if windows 7 will install on 32 gigs :p 
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a b D Laptop
a c 167 G Storage
November 27, 2011 6:03:26 PM

akjone02 said:
Thanks for the reply. You know you make a good point with the 2 SSDs. I've actually got another one, a 32gig that originally came with my old system (I replaced it with the 64 when I installed windows 7). I wonder if I could install windows on the 32 and everything else on the 64. I survive now by juggling what games I have installed, this would give me more room than I currently have and let me gain the benefits of the SSD. I could put the 500 in the external enclosure I have the 32gig ssd in now.

I just wonder if windows 7 will install on 32 gigs :p 


Probably. I installed w7 32 bit on a 40gb ssd in a laptop, and as I recall, it took 14gb.
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December 7, 2011 12:02:07 PM

Best answer selected by akjone02.
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