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Old January 21, 2010, 05:08 AM
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Hi guys,

If this question has been asked/answered before I do apologize. I heard that Raid can improve data transfer rates but what I would like to know is if boot times/load speeds will improve as well.

The kind and knowledgeable posters have convinced me to go for the Kingston 40 gb SSD drive but because it's relatively inexpensive, I think I'm going to get two of them. I just haven't seen a lot of info regarding access times with 2 or more SSD's in raid configurations. I've only heard the potential advantages in terms of data transfer rates.

Either way, I'll most likely still go for 2 of them as I need a drive for games as well as a boot drive. I've got a WD Black 1tb unit I'll use for movies/games storage but I really will want to take advantage of the SSD speeds, especially for gaming.

Advice would be appreciated. Thanks !
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Old January 21, 2010, 06:53 AM
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You have to load the OS and stuff into memory when booting the computer so faster drives will speed booting. That's not the only factor so you may not notice a significant difference. Windows 7 boots off my single SSD in about eight seconds but the BIOS takes about another fifteen seconds of screwing around before that even starts. Shaving a second or two off my load time would not net me a significant improvement especially considering it takes less than thirty seconds all told and it's something I do about once a week.
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Old January 21, 2010, 09:44 AM
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So two 40gb SSD's in Raid configuration will provide faster boot/load times ? That's what I really wanted to know. I understand that transfer rates improve when multiple SSD's are 'raided', but will programs/games load faster as a result ?

I've got a Western Digital 1tb black hdd and at the moment, Windows takes about 55 seconds or so, from start up to getting into Windows....then another 5-10 seconds to load a few apps on start up. I don't just want an SSD for faster boot up times but mainly for responsiveness and for much quicker load times in games.
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Old January 21, 2010, 09:48 AM
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program load faster if they are on the SSD ..... for the game I don't know how many you have, but 40 and 80 GB is not illimited, you will have to make a choice to keep some application / game on the WD,
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Old January 21, 2010, 10:07 AM
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I understand that games and programs will load faster with an SSD. I just need someone to help me answer my other question : Will connecting 2 SDD's in RAID improve load times/boot times in addition to higher transfer rates or does it only affect transfer rates ? If someone could answer that I would appreciate it.

FYI, I realize 40 gb's is small....but I rarely keep games on my hdd once I've finished them, but since I've got a 1tb hdd, I'll use it as my storage. I just figure that at the price, I might as well get a second 40 gb unit. The way I'm thinking is that 80 gb's should be more than enough for me keeping Windows 7 Ultimate, a couple of apps and 6-8 games while still having 15-20% of storage left, which I believe is required...

Edit : just another question I thought I'd ask; I've heard of Trim....and that apparently with current SSD's the sequential write performance suffers after extended use unless you use a specific program to tidy up the drive, so to speak.

So my next question is, do SSD's get worse load/boot times as time goes on, or are they only susceptible to lower write performance ? Thanks again guys, appreciate the advice.

Last edited by Olorin; January 21, 2010 at 10:13 AM.
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Old January 21, 2010, 11:02 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Olorin View Post
I understand that games and programs will load faster with an SSD. I just need someone to help me answer my other question : Will connecting 2 SDD's in RAID improve load times/boot times in addition to higher transfer rates or does it only affect transfer rates ? If someone could answer that I would appreciate it.

FYI, I realize 40 gb's is small....but I rarely keep games on my hdd once I've finished them, but since I've got a 1tb hdd, I'll use it as my storage. I just figure that at the price, I might as well get a second 40 gb unit. The way I'm thinking is that 80 gb's should be more than enough for me keeping Windows 7 Ultimate, a couple of apps and 6-8 games while still having 15-20% of storage left, which I believe is required...

Edit : just another question I thought I'd ask; I've heard of Trim....and that apparently with current SSD's the sequential write performance suffers after extended use unless you use a specific program to tidy up the drive, so to speak.

So my next question is, do SSD's get worse load/boot times as time goes on, or are they only susceptible to lower write performance ? Thanks again guys, appreciate the advice.
Let my try my best to answer your questions in the order you asked them.
Do SSD = faster load time (Os and game). Yes, most programs will be MUCH faster. Even the worst offenders like Adobe Photoshop load faster when run from an SSD. Will raiding SSDS result in an across the board increase in speed. Yes. Will it be a NOTICEABLE across the board increase. No. When you get below a certain level of load time the differences almost become academic. I.E. will you notice a program took .5 a second to load vs .6? Will it be a doubling of performance? No. Doubling of performance is a myth. It will be an bigger increase in sequential (the one area the Intel 40GB is weak) BUT only a minor improvement in small r/w performance. I am actually not a fond lover of raid for ssds as the down sides can be bigger than the rewards. The Intel/Kingston 40Gb SSD is probably one of only a few where I even recommend it and then I always say: Try ONE and see if its fast enough, if its not....THEN get a second one.

Single SSD or Raid'ed IF the data is not on the SSDs it will not help load times. So put only the data and apps you use the most on the SSD.

TBH the 40GB from intel/ kingston is the ONLY non OCZ SSD that I recommend Raid'ing to anyone. This is because OCZ has ITGC which does work in raid and has less performance hit when compared to TRIM. BUT those 40Gb'ers are so damn cheap its awfully, awfully tempting!

Yes 15-20% is a good number to use for free space. The more free space the more room the controller has to work with and cell wear levelling. This sounds bad but my laptop running win7 ultimate, adobe, office 2k3,2k7 and some other programs still have over 50% free space on my Agility EX 60GB.

TRIM is what keeps slow downs from happening. So if you run in AHCI on win 7 w/ MS drivers you shouldnt ever have to worry about slow downs. BUT the kingston SSDnow V 40gb doesnt have the latest firmware YET so you will have to update it when it is available. Intel controllers take longer to get into a degraded state and even then the hit to performance is not as drastic so their is a very good chance that you will never get to a degraded state before the firmware update comes out....and even if you DO get to a degraded state there is a good chance that real world differences/slow downs/etc will be minor.

Even worse is that TRIM at the OS level does not work right now on RAID'ed drives. Nor does manual TRIM via the Intel toolbox (something which will probably require a kingston version to work on kingston SSDNow V 40gb's!). BUT once again it will take even longer to GET to a degraded state and two drives RAID'ed in a degraded state is still VERY potent. You probably will never notice it. IF you do notice it. Backup your data, break your raid, run the toolbox and do a manual trim...remake your raid and then reload your data. This sounds more complicated than it really is BUT its not for peeps wanting "plug and play" drives. But than again Raid is never without its downsides ;)

Read speed is the same regardless if the drive's cells are in virgin or used state. It only effects write speed...BUT bootup and most apps DO write an amazing number of small updates during their load up. Everything from time stamps on down...require WRITES. So yes and no, degraded state WILL effect all loading speeds of OS and applications but not because it effects READ speed ;)
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Last edited by AkG; January 21, 2010 at 11:10 AM.
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Old January 21, 2010, 11:22 AM
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Wow ! Thanks for all the info AkG. Very informative and you obviously spent a good deal of time typing it, so thanks very much. So by the looks of things, a firmware update should keep the drive in tip top shape...so slow downs affecting boot times/loading shouldn't be an issue even without firmware revisions.

Thanks for explaining the situation with RAID. I actually just read a review on the Kingston 40 gb unit in RAID and it actually took 10 seconds extra to boot up Vista...compared to a single drive. Crysis loaded 1 second quicker in RAID configuration but the transfer data speeds were much higher. So it looks like with the Kingston units at least, RAID doesn't really improve load times that much and can even make things worse (10 sec worse is a hell of a difference). I think I might stick with 1 drive then.... : ) I think you're right, AkG, two drives might be worth too much trouble.

I just don't want to worry about my performance dropping sharply after 3-6 months or later but according to you it's not really going to affect things too much and firmware revisions will improve things further. As I understand it, TRIM control is being offered on some SSD models so it does it's own 'spring cleaning' internally. I don't know how the Kingston operates....or if a program would be needed to do the same thing. There is just so much info out there and my mind is trying to soak up everything as quickly as possible. Too quick and I'll have a melt down....lol :D

Last edited by Olorin; January 21, 2010 at 11:33 AM.
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Old January 21, 2010, 11:44 AM
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NP Olorin. glad to help. :)

ATA T13 TRIM is a command sent by the OS. You will need A) to be in AHCI mode (MS drivers and few others but definitely MS supports this) B) a TRIM capable/enabled SSD (ie trim has been incorporated into the firmware) BUT mainly C) win 7 or other trim capable OS. If you have all this you SHOULD be golden :)

TRIM is literally done at the hardware level so you dont have to do anything....once it is setup. IF you install win7 onto a SSD it should enable TRIM commands to be sent BUT you need to make sure that you are in AHCI mode in your BIOS and USE the AHCI drivers....its easier to install fresh when in AHCI mode as windows will use the MS AHCI driver automatically this way. Then you definitely will be golden :)

Some peeps run the manual TRIM as soon as they updated to the latest Intel firmware and assuming Kingston releases their own branded version of the Intel Toolbox...or Intel allows the Kingston branded versions to work with the toolbox I think this is a good idea as that way you are starting out fresh. YMMV.

The Kingston firmware update SHOULD be out soon...hell I'm surprised it has taken them this long! Wouldn't be surprised if Intel is being tardy in releasing the firmware to Kingston on purpose...as they do now have their own branded version of the 40GB out now


Quote:
Originally Posted by Olorin View Post
Wow ! Thanks for all the info AkG. Very informative and you obviously spent a good deal of time typing it, so thanks very much. So by the looks of things, a firmware update should keep the drive in tip top shape...so slow downs affecting boot times/loading shouldn't be an issue even without firmware revisions.

Thanks for explaining the situation with RAID. I actually just read a review on the Kingston 40 gb unit in RAID and it actually took 10 seconds extra to boot up Vista...compared to a single drive. Crysis loaded 1 second quicker in RAID configuration but the transfer data speeds were much higher. So it looks like with the Kingston units at least, RAID doesn't really improve load times that much and can even make things worse (10 sec worse is a hell of a difference). I think I might stick with 1 drive then.... : ) I think you're right, AkG, two drives might be worth too much trouble.

I just don't want to worry about my performance dropping sharply after 3-6 months or later but according to you it's not really going to affect things too much and firmware revisions will improve things further. As I understand it, TRIM control is being offered on some SSD models so it does it's own 'spring cleaning' internally. I don't know how the Kingston operates....or if a program would be needed to do the same thing. There is just so much info out there and my mind is trying to soak up everything as quickly as possible. Too quick and I'll have a melt down....lol :D
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Last edited by AkG; January 21, 2010 at 11:53 AM.
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Old January 21, 2010, 01:08 PM
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"B) a TRIM capable/enabled SSD (ie trim has been incorporated into the firmware) BUT mainly C) win 7 or other trim capable OS. If you have all this you SHOULD be golden :)"

Just responding to this part of your post. I'm not sure if the Kingston is a Trim capable/enabled SSD.
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Old January 21, 2010, 02:57 PM
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Not just yet as Intel just added in TRIM to their latest firmware, BUT as soon as kingston releases their branded version of the update...it will be an TRIM enabled device. ;)
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