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Thinking about drive configurations

Discussion in 'Techno-Magic' started by Ragusa, Sep 24, 2009.

  1. Merlanni

    Merlanni Veteran New Server Contributor [2012] (for helping Sorcerer's Place lease a new, more powerful server!)

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    I failed my save. I purchased a ssd. The silence is overwhelming. Also got the 64 bit win 7 and 4 extra ram.
     
  2. Blackthorne TA

    Blackthorne TA Master in his Own Mind Staff Member ★ SPS Account Holder Adored Veteran Pillars of Eternity SP Immortalizer (for helping immortalize Sorcerer's Place in the game!) New Server Contributor [2012] (for helping Sorcerer's Place lease a new, more powerful server!) Torment: Tides of Numenera SP Immortalizer (for helping immortalize Sorcerer's Place in the game!)

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    The CPU performance hit seems pretty minimal with the onboard RAID chipsets. Even when rebuilding the array I don't see anything other than spikes of 4% on one CPU every few seconds.

    The main problem with RAID 5 (on the onboard chipset at least) is the write performance is not very good. The read performance is excellent though.
     
  3. Ragusa

    Ragusa Eternal Halfling Paladin Veteran

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    Merlanni, you bastard, you beat me to it! I can't do that before November!

    My plans are set btw: I'll buy an Intel X-25 M G.2 @ 80 GB size (160 GB would be better, I know, but too expensive). As a next step, around the end of the year (not pressing, but I imagine the sticks will be difficult to get in the future, so I better get them now): An additional set of 2x2 GB RAM Apogee DDR-2 1000+ GT

    I got an e-mail today informing me that my Windows 7 has shipped, and with it I'll get an NWN package (that I also ordered) in English, replacing my German set, and cough, my English back up. I'll get Dragon Age in November, and I will install it when I got my SSD. Looking forward to that :bigeyes:

    BTA,
    I don't yet know what I'll do with my two Barracudas. For starters I'll use them as file dumps, and perhaps even set them up as RAID-0 again. As for the RAID performance I only have the word of my computer guy, but then, he has that interest to sell me stuff ;) What's keeping him in check, however, is my limited budget, and to be honest, my tastes in electronics are somewhat more exotic than what he tends to offer me i.e. the stuff I like is more costly than what he offers me as 'good enough' ;)

    I'll do some research on RAID controllers in the meanwhile. They appear attractive to me because, of the six SATA ports my motherboard has, only three are free for HDD, one is being blocked by my graphics card - the remaining two are being used for my optical drives. And then of course, if they boost my system even a little bit, that's just awesome. I think a year ahead and about of two cheapish 120 GB + second or third generation MLC SSD on a RAID-0 using a RAID controller (I have no idea whether Win7 and TRIM will work through a RAID controller on a RAID btw. It's more about the appeal of the idea).
     
    Last edited: Oct 22, 2009
  4. Merlanni

    Merlanni Veteran New Server Contributor [2012] (for helping Sorcerer's Place lease a new, more powerful server!)

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    I got a cheapish not so good one. A Kingston V 64 gig. It was on sale and I wanted to get two small hdd for raid costing me 80 euro's. The ssd was 109. I am happy with it.
     
  5. Ragusa

    Ragusa Eternal Halfling Paladin Veteran

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    Seeing that the price of the DDR-2 modules I bought last year has remained for most of the time constant and that 1066+ DDR-2 appears to be less and less available, I have spontaneously decided to buy another 4GB earlier than intended. I do now have 8GB RAM - achieving my initial goal when I bought my computer a year ago - to quadruple core stats. To get the idea ...

    Athlon XP 3000+ (~2,66GHz) -> Quad Core 9450 (4x 2,67 GHz)
    2 GB SD-RAM -> 8GB DDR-2
    100 GB HDD PATA -> 500 GB HDD SATA-II
    ...

    After that I will only add the aforementioned Intel X-25 M G.2 SSD (which as far as speed goes will also quadruple on the HDD in about everything but writing large files), and then, in two years or so, a new Graphics Card - preferably with four GPUs and at least 4 GB RAM ;) Quadrupling, you know ... well, and if that gets anywhere near affordable, perhaps something like this :shake:
     
  6. Ragusa

    Ragusa Eternal Halfling Paladin Veteran

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    Merlanni,
    I'd be most curious about your experiences with your SSD. How do you perform maintenance on your (raided ?) SSD(s) as they afaik don't support TRIM.

    I have been tempted previously to change and reassess my SSD priorities. It is basically an issue of how to weigh priorities. In the end I still come to the same result.

    • Basically the Intel drives give an overall better "everyday use" system performance. Intel's latest firmware upgrade was withdrawn because it was buggy, and while it does improve the comparatively slow writing performance of the 160GB version by 27%, it doesn't affect the 80GB version that I want to buy. And even then the 160GB will be considerably slower than the competition, while still being clearly superior in small random, writes. Still, it somewhat lures me into considering the 160GB version, even though that is twice as expensive and it them becomes far harder to justify. Sadly, the Intel drives are hard to come by and not available in number, that inevitably means waiting times when ordering.
      .
    • The competitors using the Indilix and Samsung controllers are all faster in sequential reading, but far inferior to the Intels at random writes. None of them do yet support TRIM.
      .
    • SLC drives, in particular the most affordable one, the OCZ Agility EX, are good, but very pricey. The Agility EX is superior to the X-25 M drives, available only in 60GB, and for that twice as expensive for 20 GB less than the X-25M 80 GB. The 60GB Agility EX cost about as much as the 160GB X-25 M. While I obviously fancy the performance, I can hardly justify to my self doling out that much. Also, the Agility EX doesn't support TRIM as of now.

    Overall my preference is still for the X-25 M 80 GB for a performance boost through "means other than RAID-0". The idea is to buy an ok SSD now, and get a great one with SLC later. I don't so much care about long term usability as in two years (that the drive has warranty) I'll be able to get a larger and faster (probably SLC) drive for far less than now. I anyway predict that with the advent of SATA-3 we will pretty soon see a new generation of SSD with still superior performance. In light of that, and with reliability in mind, RAID-0 becomes increasingly unattractive.

    My tax refund turned out as predicted :) so while I am willing and able to buy now, I rather wait a bit and see how the firmware thing turns out.
     
  7. Merlanni

    Merlanni Veteran New Server Contributor [2012] (for helping Sorcerer's Place lease a new, more powerful server!)

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    Well, I got a Kingston 64 gig ssd V serie with an improved version of the dreaded Jmicron chip. It is a lot slower in the tests as the ocz vertex or intel x25. Sometimes half as slow.

    I use it not only for windows and Kaspersky but things live java and drivers. Games and windows put a lot of files on it. The games and other programs are installed on my spinpointf1 750 gb. Still those games put the savegame on the ssd.

    I cannot tell if the speed of windows and application are due to the 64 bit and 8 gig. Most likely both. When I open a picture viewer like picasa I get the pictures instantly even if they are located on the spinpoint.

    Startup is fast, silent and reliable. So far I got what I wanted. Windows 7 recognizes the ssd and knows not to defrag it. A few more tweaks were suggested by the magazine I subscribe to. I disabled superfetch and prefetcher.

    I am happy with it, but still I will wonder how much better a ocz vertex would have done. I paid 109 euro for it. http://www.alternate.de/html/produc...Speichermedien&l2=Solid+State+Disk+ +&l3=SATA
     
  8. Ragusa

    Ragusa Eternal Halfling Paladin Veteran

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    So, do I understand you right - you have a single drive no RAID? And, does your drive support TRIM or do you have to use a tool like OCZ's wiper?
     
  9. Merlanni

    Merlanni Veteran New Server Contributor [2012] (for helping Sorcerer's Place lease a new, more powerful server!)

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    Single drive, no raid. Trim after firmware upgrade. Not found at website. No tools used yet. I hear OCZ has a few tools, wonder if they can be used on Kingston drives.


    I went to Alternate to get a deal for an OEM win7 64 for 77 eur. I decided to get 4 extra ram and two small hdd's for a raid setup for win7 only or a second spinpoint f1 for overall raid. I found two 320 gb for 40 each, but that little fellow on my shouder got to me. An extra 30 for the kingston does not hurt, does it?. I was weak and went over budget.

    To my own surprise no regrets yet. I live 45 KM under Rotterdam, and that region is crawling with pc stores.
     
  10. Ragusa

    Ragusa Eternal Halfling Paladin Veteran

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    Hah. I just ordered the 80GB Intel SSDSA2MH080G2C1, for € 192 including shipping, meaning I will stay about in budget. The drive is somewhat hard to come by actually - out of stock in eight out of ten stores currently, with up to two weeks waiting time or more. With a little luck it will arrive here on November 9 or so - with Dragonage :)
     
  11. Merlanni

    Merlanni Veteran New Server Contributor [2012] (for helping Sorcerer's Place lease a new, more powerful server!)

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    Nice ssd. good price.

    BTW When I installed win 7 it got very silent. I thought for a moment nothing happened. With your faster ssd it will be less severe.
     
  12. Ragusa

    Ragusa Eternal Halfling Paladin Veteran

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    Looking forward to see how it will behave. Probably next Tuesday, I'll pop a bottle of Sekt on the occasion of building in my SSD, installing the official Windows 7 and Dragon Age. It will certainly get me into the right mood for gaming, not to mention that next Wednesday I won't have to get up early :)

    I read that the installation of Windows 7 on the Intel takes some 17 minutes. I need to see that with my own eyes to really believe it. In terms or reading speeds it will beat my late twin 7.200 rpm/32 MB cache Barracuda RAID-0 by 25%. It will write slower though. Slow writing is about the only shortcoming of that drive, and probably Intel will only address that with the next generation G.3 drives some time next year (in that sense, if Kit is right and SSD prices do indeed continue to fall ... ). For the time being, I hope that, at least, they'll make a firmware upgrade that, as with the 160GB drive, boosts the read speed of the 80GB version as well.

    Only thing to kill that plan would be the SSD arriving late, say, because the shop lied about availability.

    ---------- Added 16 hours, 43 minutes and 23 seconds later... ----------

    Meh, my gut feeling was right - why should the only shop sporting availability while having a decent price have a significantly different delivery time (i.e. 12-14 days) than the ones with comparable prices? That is strongly suggested by the (only) other shop where it was listed as available wanting ... € 257 - probably for a reason. :nolike: The invisible hand of the market ... Considering that the company communicates fast, it is very likely that the 3-5 days mentioned were just a clerical error and not (successful) deception.

    That means not only that I have to wait for the drive but also that I will have to wait to play Dragon Age :nolike:

    And I don't even have someone to blame for that ... :mad: ... oh, let me think: INTEL will be my bogeyman, because these scumbags not only market a product before they can maintain availability, they also write crappy firmware upgrades that they have to withdraw, and that only offer performance improvements for the 160 GB drives i.e. half their products of the affected line. That SSD of theirs better rocks or I'll get an OCZ one next! :bigeyes: I feel better already :bigeyes:
     
  13. Merlanni

    Merlanni Veteran New Server Contributor [2012] (for helping Sorcerer's Place lease a new, more powerful server!)

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    On Thursday I had my day off. Drove to the only store that has the ce edition and went home again. I had to go to hockey, but the rest of the day it was Dragon Age.

    The ssd is worthy, no worries. The waiting is terrible.
     
  14. Erod Gems: 14/31
    Latest gem: Chrysoberyl


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    Seems like this thread is going more in the direction of general SSD discussion. So I am going to jump on the bandwagon as well since I recently placed an order on one of those new and shiny Intel SSDs. Originally I was going to wait for some months but I got too annoyed at Windows XP and the slowness of my old drive. Unfortunately the delivery is going to take some weeks as the availability of these drives is, well, zero.

    But that leaves time to ponder on some issues with the drive setup; namely partition alignment with SSDs to achieve maximum efficiency. The older 50 nm Intel drives (as well as most others) use a 512 k erase block size while these newer 34 nm drives apparently have a 128 k erase block size. Which would mean to at least align the partitions on a 128 k boundary. The new and shiny Windows 7 drive management tool can apparently do this stuff all by itself (as well as currently being the only OS to natively support TRIM). But that does not help me as I will be installing Kubuntu and have to do it manually with fdisk.
     
  15. Ragusa

    Ragusa Eternal Halfling Paladin Veteran

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    As for availability - same here. Originally I was told it would take 3-4 days, after which I was then told to wait some more 8-10 days, day ten of which was yesterday ... alas, I got reassurance I would get preferential treatment as soon as the drives become available - whenever that will be, that is. I hoped I would be able to use them and set up my new system until next Thursday. I'm sceptic about that.

    I will use the SSD for my system partition, but I'm wondering where to put my games.

    Of course, start-up, texture loading and the like would greatly benefit from the remarkable read speed the 34nm Intel SSD offers. On the other hand, leaving the games on a dedicated HDD (a 250GB Seagate Barracuda 32MB/7.200 rpm 24/7 drive - i.e. with them latest firmware and an average transfer rate of 82MB/sec; haven't tested the refurbished on with the latest firmware yet) would perhaps already offer them enough performance reserves to run very smooth. I fear that in mid term the answer to my 'problem' will be a second SSD.

    For now, my HDD will have to do, and my solution will probably be to install, if necessary, my 'primary game' on the SSD, and 'secondary games' on the HDD.
     
  16. Ragusa

    Ragusa Eternal Halfling Paladin Veteran

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    [​IMG]
    I am sick of my hard drive troubles. It is thus decided that I will acquire two new HDD, 640GB to 750GB capacity and they will run independently (i.e. non-RAID), one as a game/storage drive and the other as a dedicated backup drive. It will either be some Samsung or a Western Digital Black Power or Green Power. I am leaning towards the Western Digital Black Power 640.
     
  17. Chandos the Red

    Chandos the Red This Wheel's on Fire

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    Ragusa - I have 2 WD 640s that I use for a multi-boot system (not RAID). I had to RMA one with WD after only about 6 months of running. They were very good about replacing it, but I did not get a new one, but a rebuilt drive. So far I've had no issues and both drives are running just fine.

    It is becoming pretty well-known that it is the shipping that is causing a lot of the HDD problems that people are having. For instance, Newegg does not pack the drives very well and some shippers are very rough on the drives. It is no longer wise to choose the free shipping options and instead, pay for the more premium shipping, at least here in the US. Fed Ex is considered to be such a shipper here, while UPS has issues with the way it handles it packages.

    Take a look at the reader's reviews on this thread:

    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16822136283
     
  18. Ragusa

    Ragusa Eternal Halfling Paladin Veteran

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    Chandos,
    what WD's do you have, green, blue or black?

    PS: It isn't about shipping I presume, the drive arrived here in very good packaging with about 5 inches of Styrofoam and a robust card box (which, however, doesn't say anything about how the drive went from repair shop to distribution centre).

    PPS: I imagine that the SSD for system and a dedicated drive for games will give me many of the benefits of a RAID-0 without the obvious drawbacks (lack of redundancy). If that thinking is unsound, someone may please point that out.
     
  19. Chandos the Red

    Chandos the Red This Wheel's on Fire

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  20. Kitrax

    Kitrax Pantaloons are supposed to go where!?!?

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    What's the difference? The "Green" moniker makes me assume that it's low-power (and probably slow as a snail)...but what are the "Blue" and "Black" versions?
     
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