RAID vs Boot SSD vs Cache SSD vs RAMDisk

Hello guys, I am new to building computers and I would like to know how to get "snappy" performance from my HHD.

I have the following components:
Phenom II x4 965 3.4GHz Quad Core
ASRock 970 Extreme3
WD Blue 1TB 7200RPM 64MB
16GB (4x4) G.Skill RipjawsX 1333MHz 7-7-7-21
ASUS HD7770 OC Edition (don't know if that's relevant)

I would like to know what would be the best option for me to have faster read speeds with a budget of about $100.

I could buy another HDD the same as the one I have but I am not sure I would like a extra 50% chance of losing everything on my HD.

With a SSD as a boot drive, I was under the impression it would only make the boot times faster but I saw some results that looked like it was speeding everything up, is that right?

With a proper Cache SSD kit (apparently they last longer?) would that be faster than using a SSD as a boot drive?

I still don't understand totally but with RAMDisk or RAMDisk caching I saw that 16GB to 32GB of ram was recommended. I went with 16GB but I am thinking even if I can store anything on there, half of that I'm not really going to see much gains on unless its used as a cache but I am not sure will it shorten the life of my ram?

What would be the best option for me?
8 answers Last reply
More about raid boot cache ramdisk

    You can pick up this SSD for under $100 and load your OS onto it and improve your system performance. This will be the easiest and best way to get better performance from your PC. Just make sure that you change the sata mode in the bios from IDE to AHCI and don't fill the SSD past 80% capacity.
  2. Thanks for your quick reply.

    I am from Australia and Newegg does not deliver here.

    Is there any reason to get a 120GB SD if its just for the OS?
  3. Well not knowing the prices where you live it would be hard to recomend a SSD but if you can pick one up for aroung your budget price and try to make it the largest that you can. The reason for that is stated in my first post and that is for the capacity.
    Once you load Windows and depending on which version , that Windows install can take close to 50gb of space. Windows 7 64 bit Ultimate would be the one that takes up the most space. By having a 64 gb or 90 gb SSD your now constantly monitoring the capacity and free space left so that you don't go over the 80% , once you go past that then it could start to afect the performance and slow it down some. What you'll have to be doing is making sure that everything you download or install goes on the secondary drive. There will always be Windows updates and driver updates and programs that can't be changed from thier defau;t destination opf the C drive. The lowest I would go is 90 gb and any lower and the drive will fill up pretty fast.
  4. Yea, SSDs are a HUGE improvement for boot/load/seek times over HHDs. I used to run a two disk raid 0 setup and getting a SSD was the biggest upgrade I have done on my PC outside of updating gpus/cpus. I picked up a 120Gb a year or so ago and I normally have room for Win7/ MS Office/ Adobe CS5.5 (or another small game)/ and 3-4 games depending on size. Everything else I put on my 1TB HHD.

    One thing to look out for is the speed of the SATA controller on your mother board. You will want to check if it is a SATA 2 (3.0 gb/s) controller or a SATA 3 (6.0 gb/s) controller. A SATA 2 controller will limit a SATA 3 SSD. They are still backwards compatable, you will just be limited on your speeds (which are still much higher than a 2 disk raid).
  5. OK thanks guys for the replies.

    My motherboard says "5 x SATA3, 1 x eSATA3", so a SATA 3 SSD should be fine?

    A little concerned with the SSD and having to make a decision every time I install something if I want it to be fast or slow, thats kind of why I was interested in the SSD as the HDD cache.

    With a SSD for the OS vs a SSD for the cache what would be the benefit of having the OS on it as opposed to having all my most frequently used programs/data on one?

    In my mind the caching sounds better but I don't know as its all new to me.
  6. Yep, you'll be fine. Don't cashe - it's a royal pain to set up (Think as bad as trying to install one of the less documented versions of linux) and not amazingly beneficial. The nice thing about having windows on the drive is that it makes everything feel faster. Things like your internet browser open instantly, windows feels more responsive, ect...
  7. Yep, you should get full speed out a SATA 3 6.0gb/s SSD.

    "A little concerned with the SSD and having to make a decision every time I install something if I want it to be fast or slow"

    You will ask yourself that alot at first, lol. Eventually you will find a happy point. For me, primarily a gamer, it was the OS and anything that was a multi-player game where loads matter (mmo/fps) then it went on the SSD. Any single player games I toss on the HDD, unless I know I am going to be spending quite a bit of time in it (currently AC3).

    I do not have any experience with disk caching so I'm not going to pretend and talk out of my arse about that.
  8. I had an HDD with and SSD as a cache. And it took me about 3 seconds to get it up and running (after installing the physical drive that is). IF you have Intel RST then all you gotta do it click on accelerate. Thats it. It makes the drive 100 percent faster than before but the read access times are still slow. Since then I have went to a 256Gb ssd and it makes that 200 percent better. And it only cost me 170 bucks. Just don't be stingy and spend the extra 50 bucks and get a 256Gb SSD and end all the guessing. Itll be worth is trust me. Wondering what to do what to do is a waste of time. Just buy an SSD and get it over with. Then you know you got the best and no more worrying
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