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how to set up ssd and a regular drive

Posted on 2011-09-03
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I am asking a "related question" and since I have never done this, will reiterate a bit, as I am not sure whether it stays part of the original question and posts, or if it is completely disconnected from the original post.  

I am considering using an SSD as my HD to pick up speed on my trading computer.  To be cost conscious I am thinking of using the SSD for the OS and programs and thinking of using a regular HD for all other storage, just to save money.  How should I decide what goes on the SSD? OS, apps and database on the SSD and any other storage to go onto regular HD?  Anything else I should consider?
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Question by:rodynetwork
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Callandor earned 250 total points
ID: 36479226
The OS in general should reside on its own partition, so that you can perform restores in case it gets corrupted without having to save everything else.  The OS rarely gets updated, so you can make weekly or monthly backups of it without losing anything.  If you save things in the default C:\Documents and Settings folder, you will run out of space fairly quickly.

Since the SSD is there for speed, anything that you want to run faster should sit on it.  Databases can grow very large, depending on the content, so be aware of that in your plans.  A hybrid hard drive (basically a combination of a small SSD and a regular hard disk) can speed up things, but you can also look into hardware SATA RAID controllers for a boost in performance there.  The good controllers aren't cheap, though, so you may not want to go this route if you're on a budget.

Did you check the list of SSDs on the TomsHardware link?  You want a SandForce controller or an Intel controller; beyond that, it's a matter of features and size.
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by:rodynetwork
ID: 36479290
Yes, thanks for that list.  I will plan on SandForce or Intel controller.  As for what  to put on the SSD, one partition for the OS and another partition for my charting program and database and then everything else go on a second HD?
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by:Callandor
ID: 36479355
Yes, keep the SSD for the things that really need to be fast.
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by:nobus
ID: 36479729
depending on the size of your database(s) you may use  even 2 or 3  SSD's
a small one for OS, bigger one for application, largest for database
assuming you want to pay for 3 SSD, and the size fits your needs
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by:nobus
ID: 36479734
you can also - as said - use a hybrid disk like momentus :  http://www.anandtech.com/show/3734/seagates-momentus-xt-review-finally-a-good-hybrid-hdd
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by:garycase
ID: 36480722
There are two optiosn, depending on how much control you have over the database used for your trading:
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Option 1 (Preferable if you have good visibliity into the database and can control where it's kept):

I'd load Windows 7 first, using ~ 75GB of your SSD for the OS and programs ... this is more than enough for a very well loaded system.

Then make a single additional partition on the SSD, and relocate your documents folder to that partition.    It doesn't sound like this is a system that you keep music & pictures on;  but if you do, I'd relocate those folders to a 2nd "real" hard drive, as these can "eat" a lot of space, and don't require the performance of the SSD.

Install your trading program, and configure it to keep its data on the 2nd partition on the SSD.

Now make an Image of the C: partition (store it on the 2nd hard drive);  and set up a backup of the data partition on a daily basis.    You only need to update the image when you install new programs (or make major updates).    If you even get a bad corruption (virus; install gone wrong;  etc.) you can simply restore the image and all of your data will still be current.
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Option 2:  Just install everything to a single partition on the SSD.    This has the advantage of not having to be concerned with the configuration of your trading program (or others) ... but is slightly less convenient in the event of a corrupted system that require you to restore an image.

After you're done and have everythign configured, make an Image of the SSD and store it on your 2nd drive.   Now set up an automatic backup of your data to a backup folder on the 2nd drive [Be sure this includes your documents, pictures, music, database, etc. => everything you don't want to lose].

If you ever get a system corruption that requires you to restore from the image, it's almost as simple as with Option 1, but requires one very-important additional step:   First, restore the image;  but then, immediately after you boot from the restored system, copy all of your data from the backup folder back to the C: partition.    [The key advantage of Option 1 is that this step isn't required, since the data wouldn't be modified with a restore.]
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Either of those approaches will work fine.
Note that when I say to install '7 to a single partition, the installer will actually create two partitions -- a very small (100MB) partition followed by a partition of the size you select that actually contains the OS.   This is normal.   [There's a way to force it to not do that, but just let it do its "normal" thing]

The key thing is to not keep stuff on the SSD that occupies a lot of space but doesn't contribute to enhanced performance [the most obvious examples of this are pictures, music, & videos].
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by:garycase
ID: 36480747
... one other thought:   Since you're building this system from scratch, did you notice my comment in your last question vis-a-vis the performance of a new Sandy Bridge CPU (i5-2500k or i7-2600k) compared to the Athlon you were considering?     A Sandy Bridge based system using one of those CPU's will blow away anything you can get from AMD -- the 2600k scores 9925 on PassMark's CPUMark, compared to 4069 for the fastest Athlon quad core (Athlon II X4 650), or 4708 for a Phenom II X4 980,   Even the AMD hex-cores can't compete -- a Phenom II X6 1100T scores 6301.     The less-expensive i5-2500k beats them all as well -- it scores 7352.
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by:rodynetwork
ID: 36484326
garycase, yes, I am returning the amd board and ordering an intel z68 board and processor to build with an ssd.  Very glad you offfered that input.
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by:rodynetwork
ID: 36484558
garycase, can you make an idiot proof recommendation?  I have been looking at boards adn processors on Tiger Direct.  Is this the right board?

Gigabyte Z68A-D3H-B3 Intel Z68 Motherboard - ATX, Socket H2 (LGA1155), Intel Z68 Express, 2133MHz DDR3, SATA 6.0 Gb/s, RAID, 7.1-CH Audio, Intel HD Graphics, Gigabit LAN, SuperSpeed USB 3.0

Also, I want to have 3 slots for running up to 3 graphics cards so that I can run up to 6 monitors.  This was the first board I came across that seems to work for what I want.  Am I looking at the right board?

This processor:

Intel Core i7-2600K BX80623I72600K Unlocked Processor - Quad Core, 8MB L3 Cache, 1MB L2 Cache, 3.40 GHz (3.80 GHz Max Turbo), Socket H2 (LGA1155), 95W, Fan, Retail

This ram:

OCZ Gold Low Voltage Dual Channel Kit - Memory - 4 GB : 2 x 2 GB - DIMM 240-pin - DDR3 - 2133 MHz / PC3-17000 - CL10 - 1.65 V - unbuffered - non-ECC
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by:rodynetwork
ID: 36484589
Will a 750W PSU be Ok with all that? The graphics boards I use are a coupl e years old, a Geforce 9400 GT and a Geforce 9500 GT.
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by:garycase
ID: 36484897
I've noted used that specific Gigabyte board, but it should be fine.    I've used many Gigabyte boards and they're generally excellent, so I see no reason to expect anything else with this board.

Note that the 3 PCIe x16 slots are PHSiCALLY x16 slots, but only one operates at x16 speed -- the other two operate at x8 and x4 (and it's likely the x16 is reduced to x8 when the other slots are in use -- that's fairly common).    That's fine -- video cards will still work fine;  and for what you want to use this for you the bandwidth is PLENTY high enough.

The memory you listed should be okay, but I've found you're less likely to have issues if you stick with 1.5v modules (the DDR3 standard).    I'd also get 2 x 4GB modules (8GB total)

A 750w PSU is plenty as long as you're not planning to use high-end graphics cards  (which there's NO reason to use for your application).    Use a quality unit with active PFC and 80+ certification.
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by:rodynetwork
ID: 36484989
Cards I have laying around are

Geforce 7200, 9500 and 9400.  Will those cause a lag, or are they good?  I can spend  a little on higher end cards, if I pick up speed. I have the following at Tiger Direct, but if I don't need to spend the money, could go with out:

Visiontek 900333 Radeon HD 5770 Killer NIC Combo Card - 1GB GDDR5, PCI-Express 2.0, CrossFireX Ready, Dual-DVI, HDMI, RJ-45, Built-on Killer NIC E2100

Also, is this the right ram?
Corsair CMX8GX3M2A2000C9 XMS3 8GB DDR3 RAM Kit - 2x 4GB, PC16000, 2000MHz

This SSD

OCZ OCZSSD3-2VTX180G Vertex 2 Series Solid State Drive - 180GB, 3.5", SATA II, 3.0Gb/s
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by:Callandor
ID: 36485192
Since you aren't playing 3D games, those cards should be fine.

Corsair RAM is very reliable and should work with your setup.

The OCZ Vertex2 is a very good model, but has been bypassed by the newer SandForce 2200 controller versions.  Since you're starting out with SSDs, you may want to try the higher performance models - Kingston HyperX, Patriot Wildfire, OCZ Vertex3 or Corsair Force GT, if you can afford them.  They go up to 550MB/sec with SATA3 interfaces: http://www.fastestssd.com/featured/ssd-rankings-the-fastest-solid-state-drives/
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by:rodynetwork
ID: 36485331
I found these.  Are they the ones you are referring to?  Also, is 120 GB big enough for the OS and my charting program and database?  I think the database is less than 5 GB.

Kingston SH100S3/120G HyperX 2.5" Solid State Drive - 120GB, SATA III 6Gb/s, Stand Alone
Patriot PW120GS25SSDR Wildfire 2.5" Solid State Drive - 120GB, SATA III 6Gb/s, Includes 3.5" Bracket
OCZ Vertex 3 Series MAX IOPS Edition - Solid state drive - 120 GB - internal - 2.5" - SATA-600
Corsair CSSD-F120GBGT-BK Force GT Series Solid State Drive - 120GB, 2.5", SATA III, 6Gbps
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by:rodynetwork
ID: 36485405
Do I have the right ram selected for this board? Spec is saying 1.5V DDR3 and the RAM has something about 1.65V

OCZ Gold Low Voltage Dual Channel Kit - Memory - 4 GB : 2 x 2 GB - DIMM 240-pin - DDR3 - 2133 MHz / PC3-17000 - CL10 - 1.65 V - unbuffered - non-ECC

Also, garycase was saying it has only one PCIe x16, but doesn't it say it has 3 of them?

Gigabyte Z68A-D3H-B3 Intel Z68 Motherboard - ATX, Socket H2 (LGA1155), Intel Z68 Express, 2133MHz DDR3, SATA 6.0 Gb/s, RAID, 7.1-CH Audio, Intel HD Graphics, Gigabit LAN, SuperSpeed USB 3.0(2.9 lbs)
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by:garycase
ID: 36485660
The RAM is okay -- but you'll likely have to set the voltage in the BIOS for reliable operation.    The DDR3 spec is 1.5v, but virtually all higher-speed modules (above DDR3-1600) require higher voltages, which are NOT automatically set by the SPD info.

The card has 3 PCIe x16 slots PHYSICALLY ... i.e. the sockets are 16-lane sockets, so a PCIe x16 card will plug in okay;   but ELECTRICALLY they don't all aupport 16 lanes.     As I noted above, it's fine to use the cards in them ... they'll work fine -- just won't be using all 16 lanes.    But for the cards you're planning to use, the bandwidth will be just fine.

The cards you have "laying around" are all fine -- PROVIDED they're all PCIe cards.
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by:garycase
ID: 36485710
... as for the SSD.    The Vertex-3 is very nice => but as I noted earlier, you're not likely to notice the difference between it and a Vertex-2.    I had two identical systems here that I built for friends using i5-2500k's and the same motherboard (with SATA-III) slots ... we used a Vertex-3 for one and a Vertex-2 (friend already had it) for the other -- both 120GB units.     I could NOT tell any difference between the two in normal use.    The Vertex-3 unit booted perhaps a second faster (8 seconds vs. 9) ... but loading programs; copying files; etc. you simply couldn't tell the difference.    You could see the difference on benchmarks (HDTune, PCMark, etc.) ... but simply couldn't tell it in normal useage.     Based on that experience, when I upgraded my wife's system a few weeks ago, I opted for the better value Vertex-2 ... and have been completely satisified with it.

While I've been very happy with the Vertex-2 and -3 drives, I still think the best, most reliable SSD on the market is the Intel 320 series.   They're only SATA-II units, but they are rock-solid and have far fewer reported issues than most other drives.   But the Vertex-2's are very good units and are notably less expensive.
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by:rodynetwork
ID: 36485735
How zeroed in on the RAM should I be as far as speed and channels?  I am seeing DDR3 dual channel, DDR3 triple channel. Also, the speed of the ram, whether 1333 or 1600 or 2000 or 2133, how much difference does that make? As for voltage, most that I look at don't say anythign about the voltage.  Is it a simple thing to adjust in the BIOS?  I am not very well versed in this, but have gone into BIOS to change a few settings, so can probably do it if it is fairly obvious once I get in.
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by:garycase
ID: 36485761
There's no such thing as "dual channel" RAM or "triple channel" RAM.    Those are marketing terms used to sell matched sets of memory modules for use in board that supply dual or triple channel operation.

Personally, for that board, this is what I'd buy:
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16820233142
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by:rodynetwork
ID: 36485916
after reading and comparing some stuff, I think I want to go with this SSD. Will I have problems with it only being 120GB?

Patriot PW120GS25SSDR Wildfire 2.5" Solid State Drive - 120GB, SATA III 6Gb/s, Includes 3.5" Bracket(0.6 lbs)
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by:Callandor
ID: 36486070
120GB is more than enough for an OS drive and some extras; 60GB would suffice for an OS, so you have at least 60GB for applications.

I personally have ordered a Corsair Force GT SSD, and will be comparing it against my Vertex2 - it was only $135 for 60GB.
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by:rodynetwork
ID: 36486100
why did you go with Corsair over Patriot or OCZ or Kingston?
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by:Callandor
ID: 36486338
The price was right and it was a top performer - I would have considered the others if the price was comparable.  When I purchased my Vertex2, it was about the same price.
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by:garycase
garycase earned 250 total points
ID: 36486795
Any of the name brands that use the SandForce controller should be fine.    There have been MAJOR improvements in SSDs the past 2 years compared to the previous generations ... any of the ones Callandor or I have mentioned will be fine.

In my personal systems, I've got 2 Vertex-2's, a Crucial M4, and an Intel X-25.    In systems I've built for others, we've used Vertex-2's, Vertex-3's, Intel 320's, and Crucial M4's.    ALL have been superb units.

One thing to be cautious about when comparing units:   because of the internal structure of the NAND cells, it's really only valid to compare units of the same size.    For example, a 240GB Vertex-3 will notably outperform a 120GB Vertex-3, which will outperform a 60GB Vertex-3.    As I noted above, however, most of this difference is "measurable, but not noticeable"
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