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Optimal Configuration for 1 SSD and 2 HDs?

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March 9, 2012 10:38:23 PM

Hello, and thanks for reading.

I have three drives for my Win 7-64 system:

1. Mushkin Chronos Deluxe 120 GB SSD
2. Western Digital Caviar 1TB SATA 6
3. Western Digital Caviar 250 GB SATA 2

My motherboard (ASUS P8Z68-V) has two SATA 6 GB/sec. and four SATA 3 GB/sec. connections. #1 and #2 above are connected to the 6 GB, while #3 and my DVD drive are connected to the 3 GB.

I currently have the Win 7-64 OS, drivers, page file (currently 8.5 GB) and a multitude of relatively small basic programs installed on the SSD (#1). I also have a single game loaded on it, which takes up about 15GB space. Altogether, the drive is now 48 GB full, with 64 reported free (meaning Win 7 shows the disk as having a total capacity of 112 GB, not 120 GB). Why I lose approx. 8 GB from the 120 GB the product claims, I've no idea (perhaps the product specs are "inflated"). I'm also not exactly sure how to account for the full 48 GB — 15 GB is Win 7, 15 GB is the one game I have installed, 8 GB is the page file, and the rest appears to be about 2-3 GB at the most. That adds to 41 GB maximum, not really close to the 48 GB reported.

My intention is to put the games I wish to run fastest on what remains of the SSD. Other games and applications will go on the #2 drive. And data files, downloads, etc. will go on #3 drive.

Is this the best use of the drives? And, given the above set-up, is there any value in partitioning the #2 1TB drive (will it add anything meaningful in terms of performance)?

Thanks very much,

ELB
March 10, 2012 1:33:11 PM

Nobody has any experience with this?
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a c 119 G Storage
March 10, 2012 3:12:55 PM

The setup you have now is probably the way to go and you don't want to fill up the SSD because that will make it start to slow down so the OS and one game is good. You can turn off hybirnation and that will free up some space also move the page file to the second hdd or reduce it you don't need an 8gb page file. When you format any drive you lose capacity in the format it's just more noticeable with a SSD because they are small sizes.
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March 10, 2012 5:32:06 PM

Thanks for the reply. Much appreciated.

What about partitioning my 1TB drive, which will contain the majority of my games? Any value in that?

And if there is, is there a particular size partition that makes a difference? (I could do two of 500 GB, but that may still be far enough away from the "outside" of the platter to have no noticeable effect.)
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Best solution

a c 152 G Storage
March 10, 2012 6:14:49 PM

Drive makers call 1 gigabyte 1000 megabytes. The computer works out 1 gigabyte as 1024 megabytes.

This the the "Loss' you see. It is the same for hard drives as well. My 128(Your 120gig drive is actually better since it most likely has an 8 gig over provisioned section to work with. That helps overall performance as the drive fills, but it is best to always leave some free space on a SSD) gig M4 shows 119.

128033222565 bytes / 1024 = 125032443.9111328 kilobytes
125032443.9111328 kilobytes / 1024 = 122101.9960069656 megabytes
122101.9960069656 megabytes /1024 = 119.24023055524 gigabytes

A 2TB hard drive shows up as 1.81TB

So that part is normal.

A agree with the user above, you have it setup well.

One thing you can do to save space, would be to move your desktop and documents folders to one of the hard drives(the drive depends on the space needed).

Partitioning a drive can lead to better throughput as well as faster access times(this is the thing that SSD's are so amazing for), but you need to partition it VERY small. This is known as short stroking.

http://www.tomshardware.com/reviews/short-stroking-hdd,...
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March 10, 2012 8:44:57 PM

nukemaster said:
Drive makers call 1 gigabyte 1000 megabytes. The computer works out 1 gigabyte as 1024 megabytes.

This the the "Loss' you see. It is the same for hard drives as well. My 128(Your 120gig drive is actually better since it most likely has an 8 gig over provisioned section to work with. That helps overall performance as the drive fills, but it is best to always leave some free space on a SSD) gig M4 shows 119.

128033222565 bytes / 1024 = 125032443.9111328 kilobytes
125032443.9111328 kilobytes / 1024 = 122101.9960069656 megabytes
122101.9960069656 megabytes /1024 = 119.24023055524 gigabytes

A 2TB hard drive shows up as 1.81TB

So that part is normal.

A agree with the user above, you have it setup well.

One thing you can do to save space, would be to move your desktop and documents folders to one of the hard drives(the drive depends on the space needed).

Partitioning a drive can lead to better throughput as well as faster access times(this is the thing that SSD's are so amazing for), but you need to partition it VERY small. This is known as short stroking.

http://www.tomshardware.com/reviews/short-stroking-hdd,...


Perfect. I'll read up on that. And I take it that, with the SSD, a RAID set-up (which I've never done, so pardon my ignorance) is either not sensible or not possible.

As for creating that VERY small partition, I can't see it as worth it for me. I like my games, and certain load stutters (I experienced this a great deal with Oblivion), I either have to put up with or load that particular game to my SSD (even then, I may experience this issue, I predict). But as for faster level loads and whatnot, I just don't think it's worth it to me to tinker around that much with the setup. So, I will leave my 1 TB drive as a single drive, especially as data files will go on my second, slower 250 GB drive, as I said).

Thanks again,

ELB

Thanks,

ELB
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a c 152 G Storage
March 11, 2012 12:21:41 AM

The thing that stands in the way of SSD raid is that not all SSD's perform great after lots of writes. Trim helps this out but is not supported by many raid controllers.

Background(or Idletime) Garbage Collection can take care of this, but is not always as effective.

Raid with SSDs is not out of the question, many users still do it with good results.

http://www.tomshardware.com/news/Intel-RST-SSD-TRIM-RAI...
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March 11, 2012 5:33:17 PM

Put the SSD on SATAIII and the HDD(1 TB) also in SATAIII and the next HDD on SATAII. Install the OS on SSD and all the softwares and data(games, videos, photos etc. on the HDD).
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March 12, 2012 1:57:11 PM

I want to thank everyone for the thoughtful and helpful input.

As I noted before, it seems that my current set-up is solid, though I could tweak it some to recover some space (page file especially) for my SSD. Any sense as to what size page file I need, if any at all (I currently have 8 GB of top-tier RAM)?

It also seems like I should have TRIM and background garbage collection enabled. How does one check this?

And if I did proceed with a RAID 0 w/TRIM set-up, what kind of benefit could I reasonably expect?

Finally, I now understand the basics of short-stroking. Can't see it as worth it for me, but I appreciate the info.

Thanks,

ELB
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March 19, 2012 12:20:42 PM

Best answer selected by ELB.
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