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Upgrading motherboard, processor and SSD

Posted on 2012-09-04
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Last Modified: 2012-09-22
I have a Vista 64 bit system with a Core I7 920 processor on a Intel DX58SO mother board.
My disk configuration is as follows:

disk 1      x2 500gb WD drives in a RAID 0 configuration
      C: 143gb
      E: 98gb
      F: 75gb
      G: 141gb

disk 2      1 tetrabyte WD
      D: 155gb (this is configured as a primary partition and I am not sure why I did so? Could it be logical?
         ASZ

disk 3      1 tetrabyte WD
      H: 100gb
      I:   441gb
      J:  390gb

I intending to upgrade to an Core I7 3770K processor on the MSI Z77A-G43 motherboard,
adding a 120gb SSD drive up front and install Windows 7.

Please advise me on how might proceed.
My tentative plan is to drop out one of the pair of RAID 0 drives and
wipe clean the C partition and erase the boot sector with Disk Director.
I realize my logical drives will completely rearranged but there isn't
anything that I can do about that.

Boot up with the new SSD drive!!

Please advise and or point me to any links that may warn of any problems upgrading to a SSD drive.  There must have been at least 10 million users who have been confronted with this task.

After reviewing this and noting that disk 2 has a primary partition can I just make that a logical partition, swap disk 2 and disk 3, leaving the old D to become maybe K and therefore not
losing my logical drive identities?  Covert the original disk 1 to a logical drive thus the  original drive C partition becoming the needed D partition!

I have always used RAID 0 on the boot drive, is there a problem with using RAID 0 on the non boot drive disk 2?
Thanks,

Jim
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15 Comments
 
LVL 14

Assisted Solution

by:athomsfere
athomsfere earned 444 total points
ID: 38365684
What are you using this PC for? Seems like a huge chunk of change to spend mostly minor performance gain... Especially if you are primarily gaming.

The SSD is a none issue, Windows 7 sees it as a standard SATA drive, no special anything there. Well worth it for the boot speed.

Otherwise, I am just curious what you need this bump in horsepower for the money you are willing to drop.
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LVL 88

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by:rindi
rindi earned 444 total points
ID: 38365699
First just install Windows to the SSD. Don't have the other disks attached while installing.

You will only need to wipe the disks with your current RAID 0 if you are going to sell the two disks. If not, breaking the RAID will leave the data and partitions on those disks unusable anyway.

Once you have windows installed, just connect the other disks and assign them the drive letters you want using diskmanagement. There shouldn't be any need to convert any of them to logical. That is only necessary when you want more than 4 partitions on one disk.

Personally I wouldn't use RAID 0 at all. It is a risky form of RAID, as you loose all data even with a small fault. You should rather use a redundant RAID level, like RAID 1 or better RAID 10 (if you need speed).
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LVL 70

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by:garycase
garycase earned 888 total points
ID: 38365832
From the sizes of the 3 partitions on your RAID array, it looks like the two drives are in a RAID-1 array -- not a RAID-0 array.     Is this correct?

In any event, I'd do the following:

(1)  Backup any data you want to keep from E:, F:, and G: to another partition (or an external drive)

(2)  Attach JUST the SSD to the new system and install Windows 7.

(3)  Now connect your other drives and, as Rindi noted, just assign the appropriate drive letters.    There won't be any problem assigning D:, H:, I:, and J: to the same partitions that they're assigned to now.    Likewise, IF the two drives in your RAID array are in fact RAID-1, then you can connect one of those and assign E:, F:, and G: to the current partitions using those same letters.

If the RAID array is in fact RAID-0 (perhaps the drives are 250GB drives ... or maybe you didn't allocate all of the space) ... then you'll lose the data from those drives.    In that case, just connect one of them (or both and create a RAID array if you'd like) ... and then create the partitions you want and copy the data back from your backups.
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LVL 70

Assisted Solution

by:garycase
garycase earned 888 total points
ID: 38365845
... one more thought r.e. the comment above questioning why you're upgrading ==>  I'm not sure I'd agree that doubling your CPU "horsepower" [from a PassMark CPUMark of 5448 to 10385] is a "... mostly minor performance gain ..."   ... but I DO agree that in most cases this additional "horsepower" won't be used.     You may want to upgrade to an SSD first -- and THEN see if you still want a CPU upgrade.     The SSD will make a BIG difference in the "feel" of the system.
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Author Comment

by:jdanielatstarstreamnet
ID: 38365858
Sorry, disk 1 is a RAID 1 (mirrowed) pair of 500gb drives.  Does this impact your suggestions?

When I break the RAID  1 and attach just one of the drives will I be able just reformat the original drive C partition and boot sector?  Do I do this under Vista before installing the
motherboard or after installing SSD and Windows 7?

Thanks
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LVL 70

Assisted Solution

by:garycase
garycase earned 888 total points
ID: 38365878
As I noted above, it did indeed look like you had a RAID-1 array if you were correct about the sizes of the disks.     Yes, when you break the array, you should see all of the data on a single disk.    No need to reformat it -- just assign a different drive letter to what's now C: and reformat just that partition.     But as I noted above, first install Windows on the SSD with ONLY the SSD connected -- this will eliminate any drive-letter issues (which can result in a system drive other-than-C:, depending on the enumeration order of your connected drives).
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Author Comment

by:jdanielatstarstreamnet
ID: 38365973
This is looking reassuring!

If I leave the original drive C as a primary partition, will the system automatically assign that as drive D when I attach after installing to the C SSD drive?  I note that it appears I can override most drive letters as I want them to correspond to my original system with multiple backups.  But if that so if it is a primary partition?
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LVL 88

Assisted Solution

by:rindi
rindi earned 444 total points
ID: 38365984
It doesn't matter if they are primary or not. You just can't change the OS partition drive-letter, and if another drive-letter has a used pagefile on, you also can't change that. But with a fresh installation the swapfile will be on C, so it won't matter. Also, normally the DVD drive will get assigned the next available drive-letter (D:\), so you'll first have to reassign that before it gets available again for a partition on another drive.
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Author Comment

by:jdanielatstarstreamnet
ID: 38366023
I need to digest all of this, do a little research in preparation for the rebuild and would like
to leave this 'question' open til then - maybe Thursday.

graycase - I have already purchased my motherboard and cpu.  How have I been misguided  in thinking that increasing my cpu power doesn't improve my overall performance?  Most of my real work on this computer is managing and editing fotos and videos with Adobe products.  Was this $400 investment a complete waste?

Thanks,
Jim
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LVL 70

Assisted Solution

by:garycase
garycase earned 888 total points
ID: 38366046
Absolutely NOT a waste -- it's simply that MOST applications don't use anywhere near all of your CPU power.    But, for example, video rendering absolutely DOES use a very high %, so you'll benefit a lot with a more powerful CPU.    Note that I said I did NOT agree with the comment that this was a "... minor performance gain ..."  ==> in fact, it's a significant increase (roughly doubling your performance).      But that's only useful with applications that are CPU-limited.

If you want to get a feel for just how much you'll likely benefit,   open task manager and pay atttention to the CPU utilization while using your most common applications.     Activities that use a significant amount of CPU will benefit a lot from the new processor -- others likely won't.    But the combination of a 3770 and an SSD will make a BIG difference in the "feel" of your system.

Just to reinforce what rindi noted in answer to your question about the partitions on your current primary drive -- you can simply connect the drive and assign whatever drive letters you want.    HOWEVER -- be sure you do the install as I suggested above ... with ONLY the SSD connected.    That will ensure it is assigned as C: ... and after that you can change any other drive letters by simply going to Disk Management and making the appropriate assignments.
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Author Comment

by:jdanielatstarstreamnet
ID: 38366065
graycase - thank you for that!  I will sleep better with that post on my mind tonight!

See you guys maybe Thursday!

Thanks All

Jim
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LVL 14

Assisted Solution

by:athomsfere
athomsfere earned 444 total points
ID: 38366177
Yes, editing, video etc is going to notice a difference. Especially threefold Adobe suites. What I was actually trying to weed out was this upgrade for gaming as I do see that often and it would not help nearly as much as a new GPU would. Adobe also likes fast disks for scratching, so I do believe you are taking a good route all in all.
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Author Comment

by:jdanielatstarstreamnet
ID: 38366224
That's good!  No, I am not a gamer although  I apprecitate the fact that most of the technology improvements are primarily directed at gamers, at least they benefit the most from them.

 Thank you for your encouraging comments!
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LVL 84

Accepted Solution

by:
David Johnson, CD, MVP earned 224 total points
ID: 38366971
Gamers are the most demanding of users, lots of video to process, which entails lots of disk access, USB devices which depend upon cpu horsepower.. which means more memory and higher output power supplies..

you can always change your drive letters back to what you want with disk management..

Windows 7 will install differently on an SSD than it will on a regular hard drive.. Good show that you are doing everything at once.. it makes things a lot easier and less problematic in the long run.
0
 

Author Closing Comment

by:jdanielatstarstreamnet
ID: 38425568
Sorry about my lack of response.  I have endured some personal issues that forced me to abandon my time plan.  Appreciate your comments and hopefully when I resume my upgrade it will suffice for the successful project.

Thanks All
Jim
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