I would appreciate your advice on the following.
I consider upgrading my internal hard drive. The most important aspect for me is performance. In terms of capacity, I’m quite happy with what I currently have (500 GB) as I can’t fill even half of it. I’d prefer to keep costs to a minimum so I don’t currently consider SSD drives. First, a little more information on my system:
Motherboard ASUS P7P55D PRO with SATA 3 Gb/s ports
Processor Intel Core i7-860 (8M Cache, 2.80 GHz)
Memory Corsair Vengeance DDR3 PC3-12800 8GB in dual channel configuration
Hard drive Western Digital Caviar Blue WD5000AAKS (SATA 3 GB/s, 7200 RPM, 500 GB, 16 MB cache)
Which of these two options would give me more performance boost?
1) 2 WD Caviar Blue drives in RAID 0.
The problem with this setup is that WD5000AAKS is no longer available in the local market. Currently the closest match to it is WD5000AAKX that has data transfer rate of 6 Gb/s. Should the drives in RAID 0 be identical? Will I have any problems with pairing these two together?
2) 1 WD VelociRaptor WD5000HHTZ (SATA 6 Gb/s, 10000 RPM, 500GB, 64 MB cache).
Will the first option give me better throughput and thus more performance boost considering that SATA ports of my motherboard have only 3 Gb/s transfer rate?
The two drives in RAID0 will outperform a single Velociraptor.
If you can't even fill half of it, get a 256 GB Crucial M4. We have them at work for $189, so I am sure you can find some online for about the same, depending where you live.
Food for thought, I have two drives in RAID 0 as my mass storage, and I only get about 200mb read and writes.
Here is a pic I took showing performance according to CrystalDiskMark.
The second set of performance numbers was using RAM caching. Not relevant to what you are doing. Also, the 4K speeds is what is most noticeable as far as performance. Even the old crappy Vertex 2 I had smoked the RAID drives in that area. That is all the tiny random access stuff that the OS is doing and some games/programs. Mostly OS. Also effects when you are moving folders of files. The big numbers at top are pointless aside from moving big files like movies.
I have to admit that using small capacity SSD as primary drive starts making more sense to me now. How difficult would it be to manage the space if I’ll use SSD as a boot drive and my current HDD as a storage? Will I be able to install some [less critical] applications and game files to HDD if there won’t be enough space on SSD and still get a performance boost?
I just came across another solution, which is using small capacity (up to 60 GB) SSD caching drive in combination with HDD. The SSD is not directly accessible and it acts as a cache for files the system needs often. Since the operating system isn’t being installed to the SSD directly, you avoid the drive space problem of the dual-drive configuration mentioned above. It requires motherboard to support Intel’s Smart Response Technology, which my motherboard does not as it has P55 chipset. But I was told that Corsair, OCZ, and Mushkin all make 60 GB accelerator SSD for use with motherboards that don’t support Smart Response Technology. Will this give me measurable performance boost or is it just another “temporary” measure?
Simple, just tell software to install to the HDD instead. Not hard. Move files as needed. Also moving the user files to the HDD is a good idea.
If you have the ram to spare and a 64-bit OS, you can get a pretty nice speed boost by putting things like your temp directory and browser cache into a ram drive. I set up a 10GB ram drive and it makes putting those things on an SSD seem slow.
NOTE: When doing RAID, you really should use a RAID specific HDD, but you can't beat RAID 0 for price vs. performance.
Reliability wise IMO the Velociraptor would be a better choice. Blue's really are not meant to be ran in any RAID config. Velociraptor drives these days are classed as Enterprise drives AFAIK.
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