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Advantage of splitting OS and games on 2 SSDs

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April 19, 2012 3:44:07 PM

Hi everyone,

I am going to build my new PC very soon and I didn't find this information yet . On my current PC I figured it was better to put the OS on 1 HDD and games on another HDD and Data on a 3rd one. This helped to minimize the repositioning of the HDD heads while accessing a lot of data at the same time.

Now , my question is since SSD are very strong on random access will I benefit of splitting OS+Office and games on 2 seperate SSD?

I am aiming for
1 Mushkin Cronos Deluxe : OS+Apps
1 Mushkin Cronos Deluxe : Games
1 Velociraptor : Swapfiles, Temp files, etc...
1 Green WD : User Accounts , Data, etc...

What do you think? With current SSD do you we still need to move swapfiles , pagefile or temp files off the SSD?

Regards,
a b G Storage
April 19, 2012 4:39:46 PM

You probably wouldn't benefit. Like you said, SSDs have very strong random access. IIRC larger SSDs tend to be faster in general than their smaller counterparts.

It is a good idea to put swapfiles, temp, etc on a platter though, especially if you want to minimize write cycles. (you can also turn swapfile off entirely if you've got a ton of ram, to force some extra utilization, I did this ok with 12gigs only had one bad game that complained)

I wouldn't bother splitting them up on seperate drives unless your getting two anyway.
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April 19, 2012 4:56:03 PM

You won't really see any performance benefit by doing that. However, if you were to do Raid 0 and stripe the games and OS across BOTH disks as one single volume you might see an appreciable improvement:

C:\ = Mushkin 1 and 2

That is what I would do in your case. OS and games on a single, two SSD volume. When I had 2 SSDs in Raid 0 I noticed an improvement in file access and performance. Unfortunately I ended up needing gobs of space, so I pulled one SSD and put in a 750gb WD Black.

Also, there is no noticeable benefit realized by moving the swap file to another drive for gaming and general use.
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a b G Storage
April 19, 2012 5:08:58 PM

The downside to raiding SSDs is that you lose TRIM so your performance will degrade over time.

EDIT:
Also note that using file system links can help making effective use of smaller drive spaces. I typically keep a single steam game on my SSD, I simply move the game, then using mklink /D, I create a link from my steamapps folder to the game, and nobody is the wiser.

You can also use a hardlink to move your windows users and program data folders off drive. Google "Moving Windows 7 users directory" and you'll find a good guide on lifehacker for doing this.
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a c 316 G Storage
April 19, 2012 6:53:00 PM

Actually, you would get the best results buy not buying two SSDs. If you buy a twice-the-size SSD from the same line, you will get better performance, with less work on your part, than you would from a RAID0 (an idea that I loathe) or two SSDs and manually placing different apps on different SSDs.

As to the reasonable comment from DjScribbles that "It is a good idea to put swapfiles, temp, etc on a platter though, especially if you want to minimize write cycles," my personal preference is to put these on the SSD. Yes, it may only last me six years instead of eight, but during those years anything that needs scratch space will fly. Stress that SSD. Make it work for you.
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a c 311 G Storage
April 19, 2012 7:08:47 PM

^5 +1 what WyomingKnott said.

The current consensus is purchase the largest capacity solid state drive you can afford.
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a c 99 G Storage
April 19, 2012 7:18:11 PM

^ +1 +2: Totally agree.

Typically, the larger the SSD, the better the performance, I have experience. I just dropped my RAID 0 array for a single larger SSD. I don't even notice.

For example: the new Intel 520 SSD, when refering to IOPS (what really matters): 180/240GB performs about twice as fast than the 120GB, which performs about twice as fast as a 60GB.
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April 20, 2012 1:08:20 PM

Best answer selected by Grendalf.
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April 20, 2012 1:13:59 PM

Thank you everyone for your inputs.

I will go with DjScribbles and WyomingKnott told and get a 240 GB Cronos Deluxe and a big data drive + user's account.

In the end what is the point to try to extend the life of SSD to 10 years when I know for sure I will upgrade it in less than 5 years! It will cost less and I will get better performance ;) 
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a c 99 G Storage
April 21, 2012 7:24:59 AM

Exactly! Just got an SSD, now use it, I always say.
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April 21, 2012 4:42:22 PM

djscribbles said:
You probably wouldn't benefit. Like you said, SSDs have very strong random access. IIRC larger SSDs tend to be faster in general than their smaller counterparts.

It is a good idea to put swapfiles, temp, etc on a platter though, especially if you want to minimize write cycles. (you can also turn swapfile off entirely if you've got a ton of ram, to force some extra utilization, I did this ok with 12gigs only had one bad game that complained)

I wouldn't bother splitting them up on seperate drives unless your getting two anyway.


Every professional out there recommends *not* turning off the swapfile, ever. Even the kernel developers say there isn't a single "normal" situation where a desktop should turn off their swap, no matter how much memory you have.

The Windows kernel will ALWAYS have at least a 128MB swap, even if it's "turned off", as Windows cannot run without at least 128MB. The way the kernel handles the swap also means it will be swapping more often with the 128MB, which means you're going to increase IO on average.
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