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Parts needed for SSD upgrade situation

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November 25, 2012 7:19:33 AM

The 120gb Sata-II SSD I currently run Win 7 on is getting low on space. I would like to add another SSD, of the Sata-III 6GB/s variety, that can be used to run Win 8 (or Win 7, and then put Win 8 on the Sata-II SSD I mentioned), and thus have Win 7 and Win 8 running in a dual-boot config.

It should be noted that I have:

- ASUS P6T mobo, which only has Sata-II ports, all of which are being used.
- Both one PCI and one PCI-X 16 slots to work with (ie. they're open).
- Only those "older" red Sata cables, which I presume won't support a Sata-III 6Gb/s SSD.

Given my situation, my assumption is that I'll need:

- A PCI-X (preferable to just PCI) Sata-III card with at least two internal ports (4 would be nice).
- One of those 3.5"-to-2.5" HDD kits to hold the two SSD's securely.
- At least one Sata-III 6Gb/s Sata cable to connect the Sata-III SSD I'll be buying to the port on the Sata-III PCI-X card.

Are the above assumptions correct? If so, can anyone recommend matching products, especially for the PCI-X Sata-III card?

Please let me know if I'm overlooking something or generally being a buffoon. Thanks in advance!

Best solution

a b G Storage
November 25, 2012 8:11:36 AM

Are you sure you mean PCI-X ? As in the old high bandwidth server version of PCI ? Or do you mean PCI-E(xpress) ? I assume you mean PCI-E, but be careful when you order/search.

Both PCI and PCI-E to SATA are cheap. The PCI are usually SATA and the PCI-E 1x are SATAII or SATAIII. Keep in mind these are maxiumum substained transfer rates which these days people have finally figured are nearly irrelevant. The biggest issue will be to make the chipsets support all the extra features of a modern SSD, like TRIM, and the general high end SATA specific NCQ and TCQ. This is more difficult to discern. However, a little research shows some ambiguity on whether your motherboard supports trim, at least on the RAID controller (even when not set to RAID).

In the end, the random read write is the most important, be it SATA I II or III. Connect the SSD's to onboard SATAII and figure out something for the rest (like the $10 PCI-SATA card). BTW, sadle SATA cable colors are meaningless, they should have gone the USB route, but didn't. I use a sharpie to lable my cables, or you could pay more to get a specific color that only has meaning to you.

Lastly a recommondation on card, outside of getting the cheapest (their all about $10-15) you could get a XBOX360 compatible card (if this means anything to you) otherwise I've always been happy with Promise for comsumer grade price/performance and found their customer support and drivers adequte for my needs.
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November 25, 2012 9:16:40 AM

Thank you, abbadon_34, for setting me straight and providing that extra information. Yes, I was referring to PCI-E (the 16x variety, if that means/changes anything).

So, if I understand you correctly, it would be better to connect my SSD's to the on-board SATAII ports, versus those offered by whatever PCI-E SATAIII card I get? More bandwidth that way?

Thanks again.
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a b G Storage
November 25, 2012 9:33:13 AM

Short answer, yes.

Given time, effort, and random chance/luck, I would say connect it on board. While SSD's have amazing bandwidth, their greatest advantage IS NOT bandwith, i.e. sequential transfers, as most usage is not sequential. The biggest advantage is random seek, and random transfer, which is where most usage is. Most people measure the 4k depth queue @ 1-32, or the IOPS.

A large sequential transfer gives and impressive number, but is rather rare and unimportant on a daily basis. So while SATAIII has a faster theoretical bandwidth, and some SSD's are that fast, it is more import to have features that enable good random transfers and drive health. If you found a card that had all that and SATAIII that would be perfect, but you're not going to notice much difference.
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November 25, 2012 9:37:43 AM

Color me learn't! Thanks for the info, abbadon_34. Very helpful.

Boy, thus far in my searches, I'm not coming up w/ many SATAIII PCI-E cards that have more than 2 SATA ports. If you happen across one with 4 ports, help a brotha out. Thanks again.
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a b G Storage
November 25, 2012 9:47:11 AM

No problem. 2 ports is standard for a basic card, unless you go for more expensive raid cards.
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November 25, 2012 10:23:29 AM

Best answer selected by confuxion.
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