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Best way to set up my new SSD

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July 3, 2012 9:05:27 AM

Hi, so I am upgrading my old PC and pretty much exchanging all parts except my power supply and my HDD where I have all my files including Windows 7.

I bought an additional HDD (Caviar Green 2TB) and a 128GB SSD drive.

Now I am not sure how to make the most out of the SSD. Should I use it as a boot drive? I don't really boot up my PC that often so not sure I would see that big of a benefit from it.

Should I use it for SSD caching? Here I haven't found a good guide to do this. I bought the Asus P8Z77-V Deluxe and maybe it will be easy to set up with the Asus AI Suite II but not sure.

Or should I just use it as a storage device where I put the games I am playing to improve their performance? I use my PC mostly for gaming.

Also, I am having trouble finding info on SSD set ups with more than one HDD. Do they need to be in a specific RAID configuration?

As you can probably tell I am pretty new to building my own PCs (this will be my second build) so any help would be appreciated.

Thanks in advance!

More about : set ssd

a c 277 G Storage
July 3, 2012 1:01:50 PM

With all due respect and politeness, have you searched this forum for this information? I know that I, personally, have answered this question somewhere between five and twenty times. Repeat questions do let us snag more Best Answers, but they are such a waste of time. (end of rant)

SSD caching was designed to make small SSDs useful. If you have a 128 GB SSD, you should install your system on it.

With exceptions for some very specific uses, install the OS on the SSD and re-point the My Everything storage folders to an HDD (unless everything will fit on the SSD and you want to FLY). The exceptions involve uses with massive IO throughput such as Photoshop scratch directories and data/scratch directories for video editing.

Your system installation should be done with only one drive attached to the motherboard: the SSD. Win7 has a questionable feature of putting a 100 MB recovery partition on another drive if one is available. A good idea in principal, but then the system is actually booting from that HDD.

You should set the motherboard controllers to AHCI mode before installing Win7. Most controllers are in IDE compatibility mode by default; AHCI is needed for maintenance of SSDs.

Follow the excellent advice in an article like this one: http://www.computing.net/howtos/show/solid-state-drive-... . I disagree with Tecmo on a few points, but this is a great foundation.

Re-attach the hard drives. Make sure that the system does not try to boot from the previous system drive. Do not set up a RAID unless you have a specific need that a specific RAID level will address.

If you want to put the user directories on the larger hard drives, take a look at this: Nope, I just re-read that and it sucks. Create the login, create a root directory for the user on the HDD, and login as the user. Right-click on My Something (you will have to do this multiple times, as there are multiple My something folders), select Properties, and move it to the directory you created in the previous step.

There is a possibility that trying to install several large games will use up all the space on your SSD. In that case, you will have to pick one or more of them to install to an HDD instead. Levels will load more slowly for these games than for the ones installed to the SSD.

Good luck, have fun, and I hope that your new system knocks your socks off.
July 3, 2012 1:22:23 PM

Thank you so much for the reply! I did search the net for answers but I always found that the set ups described where somewhat different to mine so I wanted to make sure to get some advice specific to my situation. Selfish I know. :) 

This is just what I needed especially where you say I don't need RAID. Since I am not even exactly sure what that means it is good I don't need it. :) 

All my parts have arrived so will be putting this together tonight. I think the only really issue I will encounter is trying to reactivate my OEM version on Win 7. Haha.

Thanks again!
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a b G Storage
July 3, 2012 2:09:52 PM

Let us know how the reactivation goes! They're not supposed to reactivate OEM copy with a new motherboard.
a b G Storage
July 3, 2012 2:13:51 PM

WyomingKnott said:
With all due respect and politeness, have you searched this forum for this information? I know that I, personally, have answered this question somewhere between five and twenty times. Repeat questions do let us snag more Best Answers, but they are such a waste of time. (end of rant)

SSD caching was designed to make small SSDs useful. If you have a 128 GB SSD, you should install your system on it.

With exceptions for some very specific uses, install the OS on the SSD and re-point the My Everything storage folders to an HDD (unless everything will fit on the SSD and you want to FLY). The exceptions involve uses with massive IO throughput such as Photoshop scratch directories and data/scratch directories for video editing.

Your system installation should be done with only one drive attached to the motherboard: the SSD. Win7 has a questionable feature of putting a 100 MB recovery partition on another drive if one is available. A good idea in principal, but then the system is actually booting from that HDD.

You should set the motherboard controllers to AHCI mode before installing Win7. Most controllers are in IDE compatibility mode by default; AHCI is needed for maintenance of SSDs.

Follow the excellent advice in an article like this one: http://www.computing.net/howtos/show/solid-state-drive-... . I disagree with Tecmo on a few points, but this is a great foundation.

Re-attach the hard drives. Make sure that the system does not try to boot from the previous system drive. Do not set up a RAID unless you have a specific need that a specific RAID level will address.

If you want to put the user directories on the larger hard drives, take a look at this: Nope, I just re-read that and it sucks. Create the login, create a root directory for the user on the HDD, and login as the user. Right-click on My Something (you will have to do this multiple times, as there are multiple My something folders), select Properties, and move it to the directory you created in the previous step.

There is a possibility that trying to install several large games will use up all the space on your SSD. In that case, you will have to pick one or more of them to install to an HDD instead. Levels will load more slowly for these games than for the ones installed to the SSD.

Good luck, have fun, and I hope that your new system knocks your socks off.


Amen - I don't know if it makes me lazy but the points aren't worth hunting through my old post responses to copy and paste verbatim.

Definitely look at the tweaks article, should increase the longevity of your drive and keep your system stable. I would check the firmware installed on the drive as well and see if there is an update. Not sure if your system has the Intel RST drivers, but there are some compatibility concerns on some drive/motherboard combinations. I know Crucial/Samsung/Intel SSDs don't have any compatability issues, but I have had some issues with OCZ drives.
July 4, 2012 12:51:20 PM

I actually decided to bite the bullet and got myself a full version of Win 7 Home Premium so that shouldn't be an issue.

I hadn't heard that some SSDs have compatibility issues with certain motherboards. Will look into that. I have the Asus P8Z77-V Deluxe, hopefully that is not an issue.

I sure hope installing and using SSDs to their full potential becomes more "plug and play" in the near future. :) 
a c 277 G Storage
July 5, 2012 1:01:09 PM

I have had such good results with Asus that I simply use them for all my mobos.

As for "plug and play," I suspect that you are younger than I am. When I tinker with PCs I am amazed by how simple it is to just connect any part that meets a standard and have the whole shebang work. Gone are the days of oscilloscopes and taking volt-meter readings while freezing capacitors. Us old folks always reminisce about how hard things were in the old days, I know, but it's true. Because I simply needed my time for other things, I didn't own a computer until about when the 286 was the hot new processor.

The incompatibility problems that I hear about the most are, oddly, hard drives. I don't know if it's because this is my main forum or because everything else has the bugs worked out.
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