Win 7 Maybe Custom install. AMD 16 Core x2, 192GB RAM. 512GB SSD.

So, I am now running a major Image Stitching / photoshop / cad lab and I've got to install Windows 7 on many computers (about 30 of them currently).

Specs are:

Dual AMD 16 Core CPU
192GB ECC Ram
512GB SSD (Probably going to be 6 in each pc in raid 5)

I'm thinking for a proper installation of Windows 7 and to get the best speed out of the computers, is there a way of installing Windows 7 with NO page file. Would be nice to turn off Aero and all the fancy stuff so it is just the core operating system and then Photoshop, Microsoft ICE, the Cad programs.

What do people suggest? I am trying to get the most horsepower out of what I have inherited.

Don't suggest Overclocking, this is simply for the process to install Windows 7 and setting it up for the most speed.
What would you disable, enable, how would you do it?

Thank you all.
8 answers Last reply
More about custom install core 192gb 512gb
  1. OS, fastest SSD you can afford at around 256GB
    Data, Big fat 7200rpm HDD's in Raid-1

    Install everything to SSD's but working data folders, temp, pagefile and anything else that will making repetitive writes over to the HDDS'.
    Look at using junctions, especially for Windows Update Software Distribution folder.

    Do this as an admin install on one pc, when your happy, make images and clone to the others, then activate licences.

    ** One day I'll get around to putting a website up with all these tricks ;) **
  2. The hardware said is all that I have to use.

    I have only ALL SSD's, and am not able to purchase anything.

    How I set it up is up to me.
  3. What about the page file, with 192GB Ram my page file is going to be about the same?

    Does anybody recommend or suggest doing a custom install of windows by turning off options like that before hand???
  4. with 192GB of RAM a page file is a moot point. Your entire OS plus the programs you'll be running unless they ridiculous in size will be able to load themselves entirely into RAM with room to spare. As for turning off Aero and such in all honesty with that much hardware you'd not notice a difference at all. I'm assuming also if you're doing CAD you have either Quadro of FireGL cards in those machines. If so no point in trying to squeeze out literally 0.00000001% you'll gain from turning off Aero.
  5. You may already know, that you need at least win7 prof. to support 192GB ram and two cpus. Just install it on one ssd whit all the drivers. As said before, there is no need to tweak it. Set the page file to 5GB, that's it. Download and install all the updates after that. Now you can start cloning all the other SSDs from this one even better write an image of the disk to a server. Don't activate windows before that. Enter the key at first startup at any clone instead.
  6. RAID5 is slower at writing than other forms or raid.
    Also RAID degrades SSD performance as TRIM doesn't work. I think only the latest Intel shipsets do.
  7. What would you all say to this?

    Install Windows 7 onto 1 SSD then RAID the rest?
  8. This is a little tougher to answer because you are "stuck with" the hardware you have listed.

    Unless you are able to purchase or acquire a *Good* hardware RAID controller that supports TRIM over a RAID Array, using RAID is out of the question with AMD. Currently only Intel Z77/X79 and higher support TRIM on a RAID Array.

    Using an SSD or SSD's in RAID without TRIM will drastically degrade in performance over time.

    Fortunately, I just setup a very similar setup for 2 different clients and can point you in the right direction! I setup (20) 3D Rendering Workstations for a firm using MODO, 3DSMAX, and the full Adobe Suite. In this setup, the "Primary" workstation used the "viewport" to create the 3D Models/Animations and then offloaded the work to each of the 20 rendering nodes to be rendered.

    Some of the frames were as high as 80-100GB, and over 1,000 frames. So, I'm sure you can imagine RAM and SSD/HDD throughput were extremely high. In this case, each node used an 8-Core Intel CPU, 128GB RAM, and 4x 256GB SSD's... and resources were ALL at 100% usage on each node running 24/7!!

    Even using an Intel chipset however, we still did not use RAID other than 2 drives on the Primary... SSD's in RAID rarely offer a performance advantage unless there are *continuous* large file transfers (90+% of the time). Luckily, there is a secret to gaining a substantial boost in speed and throughput using multiple drives *WITHOUT* the need for RAID though!!

    What we did, and what I recommend, is to use what are called Symlinks (short for Symbolic Links) to strategically "link" each SSD. They are actually a type of "shortcut" that your OS (Win7 in this case) will use seemlessly behind the scenes.

    Windows 7 will see what it believes is just another folder on your C: Drive (or whatever letter you choose for the boot drive), but in reality - when it reads/writes to that "folder" it is just a junction to another SSD! By symlinking the correct folders, you gain parallel read/write performance similar to a RAID Array, without actually using RAID!

    The folders you Symlink to gain performance will depend on the software being used, but for example on a home/gaming PC you could use 1 drive for Win7 only, another for Program Files, one for Users, and one for a "Games" folder.

    In this scenario, you would gain parallel read/write performance from your OS, User specific settings/drivers/etc, Apps, and Games all at the same time! Because each drive is on its own SATA Port, you lose NO speed as each drive reads/writes simultaneously! In certain scenarios and when setup correctly, this method has actually proven to be much faster than a RAID setup when using SSD's!

    In your case for example, using 6 SSD's and the system specs provided. You could use:

    SSD1: Win7 Only
    SSD2: User Profiles / Appdata
    SSD3: Temp Files
    SSD4: Program Files
    SSD5: Photoshop, CAD, etc
    SSD6: File Storage

    This is just a quick example off the top of my head, to thoroughly test to find the best setup you would want to load everything on a single drive and watch which folders are being accessed the most heavily but hopefully this will give you a starting point.

    Unfortunately, Symlinks are too much to explain in detail here but there are tons of guides if you search Google for something like "how to Symlink multiple drives" that will walk you through the process. So, in summary the user (and actually the OS as well) will still only see these additional SSD's as folders in their primary boot "C:" drive. However, when the OS attempts to read and write to these folders, there will NOT be the normal bandwidth cap of a single drive! It will be able to transfer data to each folder at the FULL Speed of *each SSD* combined - very similar to what RAID would do! :)

    Also, as others have said - with that much RAM(!!), Aero and other Visual Effects will have no impact whatsoever. You can turn them off if you'd like, but in all honesty you're talking about maybe a couple MB out of 192,000. Not enough to make any impact on performance.

    As far as the Pagefile goes, this should be turned off ANYTIME you are dealing with an SSD - Whether 1 or 100 of them! It can be easily turned off in System Properties by drive letter.

    Note: It Is only ok to use a Page File when you are using an SSD + HDD. In this case you would disable it on the SSD, but enable it on the HDD.

    Also, make sure you go through the entire checklist of SSD "optimizations"... Turn off Page File, Indexing, Prefetching/Superfetching, Defrag, etc etc. There are a lot of things to cover here, but again your best bet is to search for an SSD Optimization Guide. There are plenty out there with a quick search.

    This is actually a very important step! SSD's have a finite number of writes available, the cells (whether SLC, MLC, or TLC) "wear down" as they are written to, so having indexing on for example is constantly writing to your drive and shortening its life span!

    Once you have created your Symlinks and verify everything is working, I would suggest using some type of *multi-drive* cloning software. I personally prefer Acronis because it's cheap and easy, but there are others out there. It will create an "image" on a drive which you can then use on the other systems. Just load Acronis from the CD and select the drive with the image and let it work its magic :) This is much easier in most cases than setting up an unassisted Windows Install, and Acronis 2015 can actually copy images to different hardware setups now too!

    Hope this helps make your decision a bit easier. Let me know if you have any questions...
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