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Bought new SSD, fresh OS install but first... (beware noob questions)

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October 31, 2012 9:01:06 PM

Howdy

Recently got a 256GB samsung 830 SSD from Amazon, and I'm keen to add this to my system and put in a fresh install of Windows 7 64 bit. Some background on my rig is below, please don't point out my noob buying policy or ask by what mechanism I decided to buy component x,y or z because I can assure logic doesn't come into it. I'm mainly a gamer, I don't use this thing for work or anything, but I have a typically British internet connection which means I would rather not go downloading everything from scratch if I can help it (If I can keep the contents of my game drive without having to format it, I'll be happy as a sand boy).

Asus Sabertooth X79 mobo
i7 3820 cpu
16GB Corsair 1600mhz RAM
Palit GTX 580 3GB
Corsair TX750W PSU

Asus dvd drive.
1TB WD caviar black (currently boot drive, will be relegated to misc stuff once SSD is in, will probably format this and start again)
1TB WD caviar black (contains steam and games etc, will not be formatting this lot with luck)

All running apparently fine and trouble free. Now the noob questions. Please note I will not be interested in RAID tomfoolery on my machine, I'm not bright enough to do it, and if a drive fails I'll bin it and re-download what I need, I do not have sensitive personal data or photos or anything that important on the machine, only games and save games which if lost would not be the end of the world.

Currently both WD HDD are connected to the intel sata 3 ports on my mobo. The DVD drive is in a sata 2 port. As some of you may know the Sabertooth X79 has two intel Sata 3, 4 intel sata 2 and 2 Marvell sata 3. According to the manual for 'every-day' use I am supposed to make use of the marvell ports. Can someone please advise which ports I am best off using for what device please? Bear in mind, 4 device: Samsung SSD, The caviars, and the DVD drive.

Next up, what advice can you guys give me for a solid and sensible W7 install? This will be the third time I have messed with a build and installed W7 from 'new'. No other components are changing so I'm hoping no nonsense regarding windows 7 product keys will result. I understand from other threads and general internet reading that bios on my board has to be set to AHCI. Am I correct in assuming my sabertooth has defaulted to this? Next, I read that the drivers for intels X79 sata controller are not included in the W7 DVD, and that if I want good performance, I will have to install these drivers rather than let windows install some generic ones?

Thanks for your help on this, also any other general pointers etc or even a step by step guide as to how to go about doing a fresh install of W7 would be good, just please don't get too technical. I might have managed to slot two rigs together and self taught myself that much, but the deeper mysteries of software etc scare the hell out of me.

Lastly, I have just updated my bios version in preparation for the new SSD.

Many thanks

Ollie
October 31, 2012 9:09:14 PM

1-disconnect all HDD's and plug the SSD into one of the brown ports, plug the DVD into the other brown port

install windows on the new SSD

after all installed, motherboard drivers installed and all windows updates installed, use the 2 gray ports to connect your HDD's to
October 31, 2012 9:22:08 PM

Well do you mind installing windows again clean or do you want to keep all your old stuff?
Was your board not on AHCI (aka SATA) when you installed windows the first time?
I don't know much about about how to back up and reinstall windows, but I know that there is a registry edit that you can use to change your windows install from IDE to SATA compatible.
Also, SSDs die after a certain number of writes. You want to turn off defragmentor, indexing, and system protection/restore points.
Related resources
a b B Homebuilt system
October 31, 2012 9:23:36 PM

I will try to see if i can help you with some pointers.

-The Intel ports are always what you want to use for your primary storage.
-Hard drives are not fast enough to saturate 3gigabit/sec sata let alone 6 so that will not be an issue.
-Steam games should be OK, All you should have to do is install steam to that location so that all its needed registry entries are in place.
-AHCI is normally the default for your bios, but it may be worth checking to be sure.
-If you have a USB stick, you can keep the Intel drivers on it ready if they are needed when installing windows 7. The drivers are called floppy, but you can extract them to a USB stick and be good to go(I did not need anything to install on a Z68 chipset).
http://downloadcenter.intel.com/Detail_Desc.aspx?Produc...
-disconnect the 2 other drives when installing just so things do not get messed up. I have seen windows see another version installed(even on another drive) and just share its boot loader, this is not what you will want.
October 31, 2012 9:57:20 PM

If I were building a gaming only computer I don't think I'd even invest in an SSD. Most of the articles talk about how fast they are and it's true but the only time you'll notice the difference is during booting and game launch and between game levels. After a few days you won't even notice those few instances of increased speed. The real reason for investing in an SSD (IMHO) is reliability. No moving parts. Who cares if a HDD full of STEAM games crashes? Nothing lost.
October 31, 2012 10:21:50 PM

Ok guys, just checked, bios is set to AHCI mode by default at present. I don't recall Windows asking for anything specific when it was installed last time around, either. I have got intel rapid storage technology running in Windows though. In fact I also have the Marvell drivers and Asmedia ones, too.

It is my intention to re-install windows on the new drive and have a fresh and proper installation for once and take advantage of the speed and have an optimised OS.

How would I go about turning off defragging/indexing etc? Would Samsungs own utility look after the drive on its own? Is there any advantage in having intel RST installed or not?

Will windows boot properly from the SSD a second time around after I have hitched the two HDDs up? Also, the caviars are Sata 3 64mb cache drives, will they not be designed to run on sata 3 ports?

Any other ideas or suggestions or bits of software I might find useful etc would be helpful, thanks.
a b B Homebuilt system
October 31, 2012 11:25:19 PM

1. You most likely got drivers from the MB CD after installing Windows. I recommend the site(Asus) for your next set of drivers as they will be newer.

2. Good choice

3. Auto Defrag will turn it self off and windows will enable some other SSD optimization it its own. You can take it further with some guides on the net. I do NOT recommend fully removing the page file. I set mine to 4gigs. Remove the hibernate file if you do not use it(more free space).("powercfg -h off" in the command prompt). Removing indexing is done in the drives properties in my computer. I have left if on one of my SSD's to see if it has any long term effect.

4. On many board you have to reset the boot order when adding a drive back into the system. This is done in the bios on the BOOT menu from Advanced mode(UEFI).
The drives will work fine of SATA 3(6gigabit) 2(3gigabit) and 1.5gigabit. I have 2 SATA 3(6 gigabit) drives(WDC Black 2TB and Seagate LP 2TB) on SATA2(3 gigabit) ports without any issues. You can leave on on the SATA 3 port if you want as you are only getting one SSD.

I find with modern versions if Windows SSDs work very well without much extra setup. I have not used the Samsung software because the 830s did not sell here until after i got my M4s. I was waiting, but a sale made me jump the gun a bit.
November 1, 2012 5:27:04 PM

Hi Nuke

Thanks so far.

Next questions then.

Intel RST drivers. They are for my X79 chipset I understand. Do I have to install these using the F6 method during windows OS install or can I just install the drivers in windows later and they will take the place of the generic Windows 7 AHCI jobs.

Next, my samsung drive. Is it best to connect the drive right now, and update the firmware on it (using samsung utility), then disconnect all the drives, put the SSD back in and fresh install windows onto it, OR, can I just install windows fresh and THEN update the firmware when windows is up and running using the samsung software?

My sort of initial plan is to F6 install the intel drivers during the new OS install. Connect the SSD to the intel Sata 3 port, and the DVD drive to another one (Sata 2) then once windows is up and away, I'll turn the thing off. Connect my two mechanical drives in the Marvell ports (both Sata 3) and then boot up as usual, and have a good clean up of both old drives.

Can anyone see a flaw in my plan? With all three drives connected, it will have two windows installations, won't the machine try to boot from the old drive? Or will selecting which drive I want to use as priority (SSD or DVD-ROM) negate this risk?

Sorry I am seemingly so in the dark. You must be having a good laugh knowing I have a very high spec motherboard but no real clue how to make use of it. I haven't even dared try over-clocking yet, either.
a b B Homebuilt system
November 1, 2012 6:40:28 PM

1. Yes, the RST drivers replace the windows generic (msahci) ones.

2. Update the drive before installing installing windows. You have the current version to use for this so yes. do it that way for sure.

3. If windows sees the drive, The F6 method will not be needed, but have the drivers on a flash drive in case you need them.
I would still recommend the Intel ports as the 3rd party ones have to run from the cpu -> chipset -> controller and the Intel ones are cpu -> chipset(they are built in). Overall the Intel ones tend to be faster(and let you see the status off all drives in the RST software), you can always test it out and see what works best for you.

4. You plan should work just fine. After you add the new(old) drives(back into the system), just recheck in the bios. Ho actual harm is done from booting the old version of windows(legal reasons aside. it is the same board after all). If it happens, just make the change in the bios and you will be good.

5. Don't worry about questions, Everyone was new at one point.

If you get real stuck(in the bios setups), Asus has the ability to take bios screen shots to a flash stick. So I can always post you some screens if needed :) 

EDIT.

One other thing, if you have a card reader. disconnect it if you do not want it to take lower letters(you can always remap drive letters later if you want as well).
November 2, 2012 9:29:38 PM

Hi Nuke, can you please link me to the actual files I need to stick on a USB drive to do the F6 installation please? I read on the intel website I should use Asus's own ones as they are better suited to my rig?

Maybe I am getting confused. Intel Rapid storage technology is a driver/utility that works in your OS yes? What I need is the drivers to install so my chipset runs properly and not just using the old Windows ACHI ones? My problem is I am not sure which files to put on the USB.

Thanks.
a b B Homebuilt system
November 2, 2012 10:30:23 PM

For 64-bit Windows you will need
f6flpy-x64.zip
For 32-bit Windows you will need
f6flpy-x86.zip

You just unzip those(all the files inside can go into a folder on the flash drive.) Windows will pick the right ones if needed(should be iaAHCIC.inf I think).

Either way you need more then just the INF file. so copy it all.
November 2, 2012 10:42:24 PM

Thanks, can you tell me where to download these? I have been on the Asus website and for the X79 sabertooth it gives you a download zip which is crammed full with different versions and I have no clue which collection to use. Yes I have 64 bit W7.
a b B Homebuilt system
November 3, 2012 12:44:40 AM

The files you need are

iaAhci.inf
iaAhci.cat
iaStor.inf
iaStor.cat
iaStor.sys
TxtSetup.oem.

They are in the Driver\Disk\Win_Vista7_x64 folder.

They say to just copy it to the root of your flash drive/CD/DVD(XP used floppy only), You should be able to use it from a folder, but how can I argue with Intel :) 
!