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Buying recommendations for non-gaming use?

Last response: in Storage
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April 10, 2012 4:12:46 PM

I need a SSD just for the OS. I'm finding that I can load most programs on to another partition so this should help keep C: as small as possible. I need one SSD for XP 32 bit and another for Win 7 64 bit. Since I need both operating systems for a wide variety of hardware I use, I thought it best to keep each OS on its own hard drive. Are there disadvantages to that besides the slightly higher cost? Will I be able to read and write to all my Text, Photo, Audio and Video files? I don't do any gaming but I find when I'm moving data around it presently really draws on the system resources and everything slows down. Using a e4300 Intel CPU @ the stock speed of 1.8 ghz with 2 gb of 800 mhz ram.

So I'm wondering what is recommended for smallish SSD's for these applications?

Does the controller make a lot of difference? Is there any point in getting a PCI-E hardware controller if they are inexpensive or are they inferior to the built in controllers in the SSD's themselves?

My budget is about $60 each for something around 30 gb.
April 10, 2012 4:24:47 PM

30gb will be good for xp, but you'll find it extremely hard to keep windows 7 in that small a space, as all your files will be written on to the same partition as your os, causing you to manually transfer files each time you use it.
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April 10, 2012 4:32:42 PM

Try getting used drives. 30GB is a joke for win7
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April 10, 2012 4:46:53 PM

stingstang said:
30gb will be good for xp, but you'll find it extremely hard to keep windows 7 in that small a space, as all your files will be written on to the same partition as your os, causing you to manually transfer files each time you use it.


I don't understand. Why would all my files be written to the same partition? What files are you talking about? When I create a document for example I save it on D drive. Nothing ever is stored on C drive. I use a big Sata 7200 rpm drive for all my data. Should have mentioned that of course. Sorry.
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April 10, 2012 5:04:34 PM

Cost is the biggest factor, drive size is another...

You could partition a larger single drive for Both OS, and file transfer would be fast as it is on the same physical drive. Its really a preference and personal decision which way to go.

The biggest effort in a dual boot system is using a common storage area / drive path outside of windows user directories to avoid any issues with permissions or access.

I think a bigger issue with your system is running the win 7 on only 2Gb of RAM, this is just enough for the system to run. Win XP it is no problem. File transfer generally uses ram as index space to "hold" the information from one drive to the other. That is the likely cause of your system slow down, not the hard drive performance, depending on which OS you are seeing the system slow down on.
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April 10, 2012 7:56:33 PM

Never thought the ram was the bottleneck. Can I check it through Task Manager or another program when I'm copying data? Ram use never seems to ramp up but maybe I'm not checking at the right time. CPU usage sure does though. Thankfully ram is cheap now so 4 or 8gb is easy.
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April 12, 2012 11:22:27 PM

You can track it with Task Manager in physical memory area.
Be cautious as the total available memory includes both the RAM as well as the "index" RAM which is actually your C: (or windows installed) drive. I believe the default setting is to reserve 3% of the HDD for windows RAM index, but id have to double check.
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April 13, 2012 12:17:48 AM

> You could partition a larger single drive for Both OS, and file transfer would be fast as it is on the same physical drive. Its really a preference and personal decision which way to go.

I thought that partitions and separate hard drives would have the same transfer limitations. Isn't a separate partition really treated the same by the OS as a separate hard drive? Another nice thing about separate hard drives is you can physically disconnect them from the system allowing you a further degree of control.

> The biggest effort in a dual boot system is using a common storage area / drive path outside of windows user directories to avoid any issues with permissions or access.

Yes - I've noticed this sometimes as I have a Win7 partition with an XP partition on the same hard drive. I use XP 99% of the time but sometimes permissions can be a hassle and it won't let me go in certain areas. Is there any way of avoiding this? I so wish we could have the OS and just the OS on C and everything - I mean EVERYTHING else on a different partition or hard drive. But I guess the two get intertwined so that is impossible.

As for the ram, I'll watch the memory stress in Task Manager when running Win7. Haven't noticed anything slow down much though but like I said, I hardly ever use it.

Great suggestions though. Toms has some great forums and people.
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April 13, 2012 12:19:49 AM

hwangchan said:
You can track it with Task Manager in physical memory area.
Be cautious as the total available memory includes both the RAM as well as the "index" RAM which is actually your C: (or windows installed) drive. I believe the default setting is to reserve 3% of the HDD for windows RAM index, but id have to double check.


Where do I reserve or check on the 3% for windows RAM index? Never heard of that index.
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April 13, 2012 2:00:16 PM

tom2u said:
Where do I reserve or check on the 3% for windows RAM index? Never heard of that index.


System properties / Advanced tab / performance settings

It is the Virtual memory.

Easiest way to access is to right click on computer icon in start menu. Can also be accessed in control panel / System (under classic view)

Another place to recoup some data space is recycle bin properties, I believe 10% of drive space is reserved for recycle bin, i usually drop it to 1%. Wont help speed but will give back a few Gigs.

as for your other questions:

- creating 2 partitions on a single drive will "trick" the OS to thinking 2 separate drives, but as file transfer is happening on the same physical drive, it is faster.
The bigger issue is performance loss in day to day work, as the hard drive has to "work double" in normal operation when information is being written to 2 drives at once. Windows generally writes small files constantly during use, most of these need to be manually disabled for SSD's, or at least that's how it was when they first came out, haven't checked in a while to see if the settings are automatic when an SSD is recognized as the install drive.

Personally I prefer 2 separate drives just because it makes the best use of space on each physical drive.

- Common save ground, no space can be set as default for all programs, but most programs remember your last save location, so when you change the save location of files the first time you use the program to a sharable space, eventually all your programs will save there by default, it just ruins the pre-formating of the windows user directories (picture folder displays pictures on folder) but these can be manually customized in folder options.
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April 13, 2012 8:12:20 PM

Anything you download will go to your OS partition. Everything you put on your desktop, all the data stored from websites you go to, the save files from programs installed on the same partition, all the windows updates, all the restore points unless you change the path yourself... There's tons of ways your OS partition can get filled.
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April 13, 2012 9:53:20 PM

stingstang said:
Anything you download will go to your OS partition. Everything you put on your desktop, all the data stored from websites you go to, the save files from programs installed on the same partition, all the windows updates, all the restore points unless you change the path yourself... There's tons of ways your OS partition can get filled.


Desktop is just a shortcut, data from websites could be cleared by clearing that browser's cache, don't use restore points....but the saving of files from other programs....that's a good point. Sometimes you can change the location for that but sometimes not. Thanks. The Windows installation of the future will be spartan and hopefully will never enlarge much. Predictability is so nice to work with. :) 
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April 20, 2012 7:31:41 PM

> Anything you download will go to your OS partition.

Maybe by default but any programs you download usually ask you where you want to put it and if you want to remember that location for future downloads.
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a c 307 G Storage
April 20, 2012 11:03:55 PM

tom2u - Let's slow down a bit.

You mentioned 30GB ssd's. Were you looking to purchase SATA 2 3Gb/s or SATA 3 6Gb/s s ssd's? The reason I ask is the smallest capacity for SATA 3 6Gb/s ssd's is 60GB.

Next, does your motherboard support SATA 3 6Gb/s ssd's? What is the brand and model?

Once you answer those two questions we'll take it from there.
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April 20, 2012 11:26:02 PM

I'm going to start out with the most basic unless there is an enormous performance difference. Now I have an Asus P5Q, e4300 soon to be e6750 CPU, 2gb 800mhz ram.
Looking to upgrade the mb to a DDR-3 board and go to 4 or 8gb because its so ridiculously cheap. But will stick with LGA-775 CPU's for now because they're cheap.
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