Will putting a SSD drive speed up my Win2K server?

I have an old Windows 2000 Server I'd like so speed up (as much as practical on a low budget)..
I have run perfmon and established that the server is short on RAM and disk speed.
I plan to upgrade server RAM from 2Gb to 6Gb.
Will there be a benefit in more RAM? The motherboard can take up to 12Gb.

I also want to add an inexpensive 32Gb SSD (Solid State Drive) and have Windows use it as page file.

Motherboard = Tyan S2721-533 V1.02 (with two Intel Xeon of 2.40GHz)
Boot drive = SCSI
Datadriver RAID 5 setup with 8 SATA dives.

Will the SSD speed up things?
Who is Participating?
Gary CaseConnect With a Mentor RetiredCommented:
The X-25 has both read and write speeds about double that of the Transcend.   It's MTBF is also twice as long (2,000,000 hrs vs. 1,000,000 hrs).

On the other hand, the Transcend is a very nice drive ... and although its transfer rates aren't any faster than a typical hard drive (and indeed are slower than a 15K drive), the near-instantaneous access would still make this faster than a hard drive for the swap file usage you envision.    And it does have the advantage that you can get an IDE version, so you can utilize the motherboard's IDE connection and bypass the PCI-X bus.
It will speed things up if your system is exceeding the RAM limitations and having to access the swapfile often.  Otherwise you likely won't see a speed improvement.

I would add the ram first, then analyze your system performance.  If you are still accessing your swapfile excessively, adding the SDD will give you a nice boost in access time for your swap.
nadishAuthor Commented:
I'm glad you mentioned RAM limitations. What are the RAM limitations of Tyan S2721-533 motherboard + Windows 2000?
Is it 3Gb like other Windows systems or higher?
If I went right up to maximum of 12Gb is there a benefit?
Improve Your Query Performance Tuning

In this FREE six-day email course, you'll learn from Janis Griffin, Database Performance Evangelist. She'll teach 12 steps that you can use to optimize your queries as much as possible and see measurable results in your work. Get started today!


Looks like 4GB is the max W2K server (regualr version) will support, but if I'm not mistaken, you can use VMWare to create virtual servers that can each utilize up to 4GB or whatever the other OS supports....and the max that you MB supports.
If you installed 12GB of RAM it would allow you to use 12 GB before it swapped to disk.  If you are regularly exceeding the ram you have installed, you would see some benefit by upgrading RAM. Otherwise it will just go unused.
Gary CaseRetiredCommented:
Windows 2000 Server is limited to 4GB.
Windows 2000 Advanced Server will support up to 8GB.
Windows 2000 DataCenter Server supports up to 32GB.

... so it depends on exactly which version you have.

There's no 3GB limit in Windows systems => the limit is 4GB of address space; but because certain system-level functions must be assigned to the upper end of that address space before addresses can be allocated to memory, systems with 4GB of memory installed will typically only "see" 3.2-3.5GB  (the highest I've seen is 3.7GB; the lowest about 2.5GB).

An SSD would probably help; but the inexpensive SSDs are almost certainly multi-level cell devices (MMC), which are much slower than the SSC units.   There are also certain access modes that can cause extensive delays with SSDs (there's a common problem with Outlook 2008 running on SSD devices, which causes dramatic slowdowns).   You may want to use a high-speed 15K SCSI disk for this purpose instead -- it would likely give you a very notable bump in performance; especially if you created a small swap partition as the first partition on the disk (the fastest part of the disk).   Simply having the swap file on its own disk (separate from the OS) and having it on the fastest part of that disk (the outermost cylinders) will make a VERY nice difference in performance from your current setup.
>> I also want to add an inexpensive 32Gb SSD (Solid State Drive) and have Windows use it as page file.


Limited lifetime.  See http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Solid-state_drive and the section labeled Disadvantages.
Brian PiercePhotographerCommented:
Waste of money

Win2000 Standard and only see 4Gb of RAM and can only actually use about 3.5gb - so anything more is wasted money. (Virtualisation is pontless - your machine "does not have the guts" to support it.

Putting the page file on a SSD not help much either - marginal at best

Put your money towards a better machine.
If your OS is 32-bit you'd have to use PAE to go over 4GB.
Frankly with a 32-bit OS I'd take it to 4GB and call it good.

SSD's have a short lifespan compared to conventional hard drives.
If you want a separate drive for a swap file I'd use a 7200RPM IDE drive on one of your on-board ports.

Hard drive speed with never be anywhere near the interface's advertised speed if that's what you were thinking. The bottle-neck for HDD speed is the head-disk transfer rate which is something less than about 100Mb/sec for 7200 RPM drives. [SCSI, IDE, SATA are all the same on that.]

Make sure your SATA controller is not sharing BUS bandwidth with your giga-LAN or SCSI.
Your PCI-X slots are all on different BUSES. One shares BUS bandwidth with SCSI and another shares with the Giga-LAN. [see pic]

I would save your money up for an upgrade to a server board that supports CPU's with Core architecture.
The one you have is using the old Netburst architecture CPU's which is pretty slow in comparison.

Scratch Giga-LAN sharing with PCI-X. - boo boo.

Red goes to SCSI.
Green and blue are PCI-X slots with dedicated BUSES.
Orange is IDE. [where suggestion would put swap file.]
nadishAuthor Commented:

our Data drive is a 3Ware 12port Escalade SATA Raid controller with RAID 5 setup with 8 SATA dives.
I was planning to add the SSD drive just as an independent drive (not part of the RAID set) on this controller.
Is this a good idea?

I could add a second PCI SATA controller as well.
Your thoughts?
Gary CaseRetiredCommented:
You indicated you have a SCSI boot drive => you'd be far better off buying a second, 15K SCSI drive to use for your page file instead of an SSD ... for reasons I noted before (inexpensive SSD drives are MLC) as well as the other reasons listed in other posts (notably the longevity issue ... although with the newer SSC devices that's much less of an issue). Since you don't need a large drive for this, something like this would work fine: http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16822116002
nadishAuthor Commented:
Dear GaryCase
I am getting very tempted to splash out on the SLC Intel X25E.
I acknowledge that it isnt good value.

If price WASNT taken into acccount, would you put in the Intel X25E or the 15K SCSI?
PCBONEZConnect With a Mentor Commented:

I understood exactly what you are doing.
My thinking/priorities were low cost and keeping the page file from sharing the BUS.
Small IDE drives are cheap, you already have the port, and it's on a different BUS from your OS, LAN, and RAID. - Not super high performance but will still be better than what you have now with the page file sharing OS drive.

gary's idea will do almost the same thing.
- Your page file drive will share BUS bandwidth with your OS drive.
- The 15K drive will be much faster than a 7200 RPM IDE. [More RPM means faster head-disk transfer.]
- SCSI drive will probably cost more.

A second PCI SATA controller would work too but probably won't give much more of a boost that the IDE drive would.
Depends on where you put it about sharing bandwidth with something else.
Gary CaseRetiredCommented:
Well ... the X-25E is an outstanding SSD (probably the best one currently available) -- although it hardly meets the criteria you stated in your question ["... I also want to add an inexpensive 32Gb SSD  ..."].

But if price isn't a factor, I'd go with the X-25E rather than the SCSI drive.  The 3.3 ms of the 15K drive is outstanding, but hardly compares with the near-instantaneous access of the X-25 -- most page file accesses will be DONE with the X-25 before they'd even start with the SCSI drive !!

... and Intel rates the X-25 for 1 Petabyte of random writes ... so it'll probably outlast your system before the write durability issue will be a factor.   [That's 1024 TB ... or with a typical 4KB page file write that's 274,877,906,945 page file writes => over 8 years at 1,000 writes/second (you'll come nowhere near this average).

So on the surface the X-25 seems like the better option.   One factor to consider:  If you connect this through the Escalade controller you'll be competing with the RAID-5 array for bus bandwidth.   I assume the Escalade is a PCI-X board, so that's probably not a problem ... but you should be aware of this.
nadishAuthor Commented:
I'm learning a lot from you guys.
Thanks for the awesome responses.

I was initially planning to use a low-cost MLC until I discovered all it's limitations.

I also looked for DRAM drives on the web but couldnt find any. Not sure if they've gone off the market.
Surely a DRAM drive would be cheaper than the Intel SLC SSD.

Are there any DRAM drives still around that substitute for the expensive Intel SLC SSD??
Gary CaseRetiredCommented:
As far as I know, Gigabyte never shipped the I-RAM II, which was supposed to quadruple the capacity of the I-RAM.   You can still find some I-RAM boards available [e.g. http://www.provantage.com/gigabyte-technology-gc-ramdisk~7GIG9072.htm ], but with a 4GB max it's not as large as I'd like.   The board plus 4GB of DDR RAM will cost ~$250, so although it's less than the Intel X-25E, it's not a better value on a cost/byte basis.   I'd just spend an extra $200 and get the 32GB X-25E:  http://www.amazon.com/dp/B001J2LQBU/ref=asc_df_B001J2LQBU763198?smid=A2YLYLTN75J8LR&tag=nextag-ce-tier6-delta-20&linkCode=asn
nadishAuthor Commented:
Last question (I hope).
I was offered the Transcend 32 GB SOLID STATE DISK  2.5" ATA IDE SLC TS32GSSD25-S at around half the price of the Intel X25E.

Do you know how the Transcend would compare with the Intel??
nadishAuthor Commented:
Whoops it was the
not the IDE I was thinking about.

Since the motherboard has IDE PATA should I use that connection?
nadishAuthor Commented:
Great work guys. Much appreciated.
Question has a verified solution.

Are you are experiencing a similar issue? Get a personalized answer when you ask a related question.

Have a better answer? Share it in a comment.

All Courses

From novice to tech pro — start learning today.