Upgrade path to SSD

It's time for me to make the jump to SSD. My 2 year old machine is slowing down and it's in need of a fresh installation. I figure I may as well go for an SSD and maybe squeeze another couple of years out of my machine.

I have a fairly powerful system (specs below) and currently the C drive is a Raid 0 Marvel 1TB. I would like to Install more RAM to Max out my board (since rarely but frequently enough I have low memory warnings) and the SSD. I also need to send back a faulty Video card, but that's another story.

In regard to the SSD, I already know there is no way that I can keep the OS and all my programs on the SSD.

in fact, my computer sort of performs triple duty:

1) Web development work, for which I need a set of programs plus acres of storage space.
2) Graphic Design work, ditto as above
3) Audio Video editing, some for work some for pleasure
4) gaming. More specifically Sim Racing and I have pretty much every car racing simulator that came out since the late 90's.

as I said, no way I can install the entire Adobe suite, all my video games and all the various utility programs I use frequently as well as some I don't use frequently but I like to have handy because when I need them I need them in a hurry.

In addition, I know from experience that it takes me about a week to install my OS, configure it and install all of my programs. in that week I have to be able to continue working and I also need to use at least 2 of my racing simulators because I belong to a league that races twice a week.

What that means is that I would like to install the SSD + Windows but keep a dual boot until I am 100% sure that everything is working OK.

--- What would be the best strategy to handle all these needs? Would buying a 250GB SSD + a 120GB one to use for my videogames make sense at all or would I be better off buying a larger SSD? And what do I do with the MArvell RAID I have now? Wouldn't I be better off taking the Raid off and use both HD as storage? Or one for storage and the other for non mission critical programs?

---- Are there any contraindications to having a dual booth for a while? Would my Videogames really benefit from running off an SSD or is the advantage negligible?

basically I don't want to spend too much money and waste too much time if the gain at the end is negligible. For instance, I already know that of my games, only 3 or 4 would benefit from running on the SSD. Those older than 3 or 4 years would be a waste of resources as they cannot run faster than they already do. But there are some new ones coming out that I am sure would work great off the SSD.

One last question: is there a good consensus as to what SSD brand is the most reliable?

I have been reading this forum and I already learned a lot. But I didn't quite find a situation quite like mine, with the RAID, the games, etc.

Any help will be appreciated.

OS: Windows 7 Professional Professional Media Center 6.01.7600 (64-bit)
Processor : Intel Core i7 970 3200MHz - (OC to: 3502.34MHz) - Number of Core : 6
Physical Memory : 6144MB (3 x 2048 DDR3-SDRAM ) Corsair
Video Card : NVIDIA GeForce GTX 460
Hard Disk : Seagate ST32000542AS ATA Device (2000GB)
Hard Disk : MARVELL Raid VD 0 SCSI Disk Device (1000GB)
DVD-Rom Drive : Optiarc DVD RW AD-7260S
Monitor Type : ViewSonic VX2235wm - 22 inches
Mainboard : Asus P6X58D-E
Physical Memory : 6144MB DDR3-SDRAM
Network Card : Marvell Semiconductor (Was: Galileo Technology Yukon 88E8056 PCIe Gigabit Ethernet Controller
Mainboard : Asus P6X58D-E
Bios : American Megatrends Inc.
Chipset : Intel X58
Physical Memory : 6144MB DDR3-SDRAM
LPC bus : Yes | PCI Bus: Yes | Bus PCI-Express: Yes | USB Bus: Yes | SMBus/i2c Bus: Yes
Bus HyperTransport: No | Bus QPI:Yes | Bus CardBus :No | Bus FireWire:Yes
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More about upgrade path
  1. If you go with SSD you should use the internal Intel SATAII Port, should be faster in real world compared to your Marvell Controller.
    Turning on AHCI is mandatory
    I can recommend the Samsung 830 256 GB, which is available for $200.
    Dual boot is possible, just select the right drive in BIOS, but it would be good to unplug/turn of your HDD before installing Win7.
    You can also install the games/apps you don't much on a hdd, so you can spend your money for something else.
    Games only start faster most of the time.
  2. Thank you so much for your replay. My Motherboard has 2 internal pots:

    Intel® ICH10R controller :
    6 x SATA 3Gb/s port(s), blue
    Support Raid 0, 1, 5, 10

    Marvell® PCIe 9128 controller : *1
    2 x SATA 6Gb/s port(s), gray

    I assume you are talking about using the Intel SATA 3GB. Isn't that a SATA III port?

    I also have to admit that I had no idea what AHCI was, but I looked it up and I assume I activate that in the BIOS? Or do I have to cast a spell.

    I guess my last sentence gives away the fact that I am not an expert when it comes to computer hardware. I manage and I can fix a great many things. I even built a whole computer a few years back, but I am always trepidant when I work on my machine.

    That's why I am worried. This is my main machine. I use it for work, gaming, pastime, art. My whole life is here and I would like to get it done as soon as I can without turning it into a brick if I can help it.

    One more question: Is 250GB enough for a Windows installation? That's assuming that the bulk of my programs will be installed on a D: drive and only a few on the C: drive. I would feel better if it was a bit larger. Are there any contraindications to larger SSD? How about buying 2 of them, one for programs and one for the OS? Is that silly?

    Well, thank you so much. I am going to be hunting for SSDs. Any brands I should stay away from assuming I cannot find a Samsung?
  3. Windows itself is about 20-25gb's so 250 is plenty big.
    You never mentioned how much free space you have on your 1tb drive currently.
  4. Get a SSD for your OS and either stick with your HDD or get a new one for data storage.

    SSD's boast faster booting time where as they can have arguments with some data and programs so use a HDD for your data.
  5. popatim said:
    Windows itself is about 20-25gb's so 250 is plenty big.
    You never mentioned how much free space you have on your 1tb drive currently.

    Well, I just bought a Samsung 250GB and it arrived a couple of days ago.

    My otehr drives are pretty full. I have my current Cdrive with is 80% full then I have my "Documents" drive which is also around 75% to 80% full. Then I ahve an external drive where I keep non mission critical stuff (The document drive is backed up on carbonite and on a NAS) .

    The problem I see is that I cannot use the current document drive if I am going to dual booth the computer for the transition period. Windows should not let me define one OS "my Documents" folder as the document folder for the SSD OS. At least I seem to remember that.

    Therefore my plan was to go out and buy a 2TB drive to serve as a documents + programs drive for the new OS while keeping the older one pretty much untouched. I know there are still going to be issues with the drive letters since now I'll have 2 more HD but I should be able to manage that.

    My goal is to have the dual boot for only as long as I feel I have transitioned from my old to the new OS. At that point I should be able to reclaim a lot of my HD space, delete the prgram files in the old OS and move all the documents to the new Docs drive (For a while I'll probably just have my documents on 2 separate drives).

    Does that sound doable? Am I forgetting anything?
  6. Interesting! We usually don't get questions about ssd's for professional work. Typically the questions are posted by novices, gamers, and enthusiasts.

    You mentioned web development, graphic design, audio video editing, and Adobe which indicates you work with incompressible data.

    Which web development, graphic design, and audio video editing applications do you use? Your answer will help in making a recommendation.
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