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New build - SSD/HDD & SATA connectors

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July 15, 2012 5:28:00 AM

Hi guys. Working on my very first custom build and installing storage drives. I have a 128GB OCZ Vertex 4 and a 2TB Seagate 7200 6 GB/s. Adding those to my Gigabyte GA-Z68X-UD3H-B3 which has SATA connectors for the following: SATA 6 GB/s by Intel Z68 chipset x2; SATA 3 GB/s by Intel Z68 chipset x3; GSATA 6 GB/s by Marvell 88SE9172 chip x2.

I only got more confused reading through the mobo manual, as it sounds like these two drives ought to be connected strategically to the board for proper RAID configuration.

If I didn't care so much about my new baby, I'd probably toss both drives into the SATA 6 GB/s by Intel and call it a day. But I'm hoping I can get a nice, quick answer from you wonderful people! Thanks!

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a c 523 G Storage
July 15, 2012 7:08:43 AM

Congrats on your 1st build.
Your motherboard has 4 SATA 3 (6Gb/s) ports. Connect your Vertex 4 to one of the 2 Intel 6Gb/s ports, not one of the 2 Marvell 6Gb/s ports.

Your Seagate is SATA 3 compatible, not SATA 3 capable. No hard drive can spin fast enough to achieve SATA 3 speeds; so you will get the same performance if you connect it to a SATA 2 port, or a SATA 3 port. Whichever one you chose make sure it's an Intel port.

You never want to create a RAID array with a HDD & a SSD. Forget about RAID and just use both drives separately.

Make sure the ports your drives are connected to are in AHCI mode for best performance.
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July 15, 2012 3:08:42 PM

Best answer selected by uberchemist.
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July 15, 2012 3:13:48 PM

Thanks Dereck! I assumed the answer would be quite simple and I was making it more complicated than it actually was. I'll do some research on AHCI and figure that one out myself. These forums ROCK!
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a c 523 G Storage
July 15, 2012 5:23:13 PM

uberchemist said:
I'll do some research on AHCI and figure that one out myself.


SATA ports can have 3 settings (modes): IDE, AHCI, & RAID.
Any SSD needs to be in AHCI mode for best performance.
Your motherboard manual will show you how to change SATA modes on the Intel ports.
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July 15, 2012 5:38:32 PM

Thanks again, plan to do a lot more reading through all the various manuals I've collected! Just to confirm, the best mode for SSDs AND HDDs is AHCI? I may also add a second HDD to my system later on, any particular setting/configuration I should pursue? Is this is where RAID comes into play?
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a c 523 G Storage
July 15, 2012 5:54:23 PM

Yes, your HDD will have better performance in AHCI mode as well.

If you're combining 2 or more identical drives to create a RAID array then the ports the drives are connected to have to be in RAID mode.

If you're using Intel SRT (Smart Response Technology) to boost the performance of a HDD with an operating system installed on it by using a small (64GB and less) SSD as a cache drive, then the ports your drives are connected to have to be in RAID mode.

Since you have a 128GB SSD and you will be installing your O/S on it, there's no need for Intel SRT, and therefore your ports should be in AHCI mode.
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