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Advice sought - installing OS on seperate HDD

Bald Runner

Standard Member
Hi All,

I have taken the plunge and purchased new PC as a 'bare bones' kit that will come with no software at all. I have also bought Windows 7 Professional 64 bit.
I have specified (in a moment of confusion) that HDD 1 is to be a 64gb Solid State Drive whereas HDD 2 will be a normal 1Tb platter HDD.
I would like to install Win 7 on the Solid State Drive and everything else (Photoshop; MS Office, Pro Show Producer, Mozilla Firefox....etc. etc.) on the standard HDD

Is this feasible / possible? I read somewhere that it was possible and speeds the PC up somewhat. I know that some installations allow you to specify the installation directory but by default they will opt for the 'C' drive.
I really don't want to have to mess with registry entries...

Any constructive advice at a 'non expert' level appreciated.

Thanks in advance

BR
 

ncmoody

Active Member
To get the full benefit from the SSD you should install all programs to that and use the HDD for data storage.

I agree

Also move your swap to the second disk this will aid performance. make it a fixed size of twice your RAM nad do it before you use the disk for anything else, this will ensure it is contigous and at the start of the disk.

The 64Gb SSD should be more than capable of holding all your programs.

Keep an eye on the build up of files in the Documents and Settings dierctory and do not use the 'My documents' 'My Pictures' etc. directories create a proper filing system for your data on the 1TB disk.

Have you thought about a backup regimen?
 

the_beast

Active Member
Also move your swap to the second disk this will aid performance. make it a fixed size of twice your RAM nad do it before you use the disk for anything else, this will ensure it is contigous and at the start of the disk.

This is good advice for a mechanical disk based system, but with SSDs you are better with the pagefile on the SSD - random performance is where it excels, so it makes sense to put the pagefile there (MS agrees too - their is a knowledgebase article about it I can dig out if you need it).

Use the SSD for your OS and most used programs, put anything massive (larger games etc) on the HDDs. Put your media & My Documents folder on the mechanical disk also to save space on the SSD also.

One more tip - attach just the SSD while you install, then add your second drive later. Win7 has a nasty habit of putting the boot information on the wrong disk (a 100MB partition at the start of the drive). With only 1 disk this will definately be where you expect it to be, so won't run into boot issues if you swap out your storage drive in the future.
 

ncmoody

Active Member
This is good advice for a mechanical disk based system, but with SSDs you are better with the pagefile on the SSD - random performance is where it excels, so it makes sense to put the pagefile there (MS agrees too - their is a knowledgebase article about it I can dig out if you need it).

Not an expert on SSDs.
Does the above still apply, taking into consideration that the Swap on the SSD will almost certainly be fragmented and also the general advantage of not having swap and system on the same device?
If you have the time I would like to see the M$ article, I would find that interesting.
 

hyperfish

Distinguished Member
The key factor is access time.

Fragmentation is only a real issue with mechanical drives. This causes the armature to flit across the platters to access or write data. These mechanical movements increase the access time.

Then scale this up with more disc activity the flitting increases as does the access time. Moving the page file where only HDDs are installed will probably improve the overall performance.

Solid state does not have this mechanical delay and frag is not an issue. The likelihood is putting the swap onto a HDD in this setup may actually be slower.
 
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the_beast

Active Member
Not an expert on SSDs.
Does the above still apply, taking into consideration that the Swap on the SSD will almost certainly be fragmented and also the general advantage of not having swap and system on the same device?
If you have the time I would like to see the M$ article, I would find that interesting.

As hyperfish said, fragmentation is no issue for an SSD, so any application that requires a large amount of random reads will always perform better on a solid state drive rather than a mechanical one .

The relevant bit from the article:
Should the pagefile be placed on SSDs?
Yes. Most pagefile operations are small random reads or larger sequential writes, both of which are types of operations that SSDs handle well.
In looking at telemetry data from thousands of traces and focusing on pagefile reads and writes, we find that

  • Pagefile.sys reads outnumber pagefile.sys writes by about 40 to 1,
  • Pagefile.sys read sizes are typically quite small, with 67% less than or equal to 4 KB, and 88% less than 16 KB.
  • Pagefile.sys writes are relatively large, with 62% greater than or equal to 128 KB and 45% being exactly 1 MB in size.
In fact, given typical pagefile reference patterns and the favorable performance characteristics SSDs have on those patterns, there are few files better than the pagefile to place on an SSD.


From Support and Q&A for Solid-State Drives - Engineering Windows 7 - Site Home - MSDN Blogs


(actually an MSDN Blog, not a knowledgebase, but hey...
 

semo

Standard Member
You should not only put the OS and pagefile on the SSD but also your applications. Assuming you have a decent CPU (i.e. not netbook one) you will get any MS Office app start up instantaneously if they are installed on the SSD. This won't be the case if you install your apps on an HDD. Use the HDD only for bulky non essential data files (video and so on). I usually keep documents and pictures on the SSD (unless your picture library runs into 100s of GB of course)
 

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