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Thread: A Windows 7 Build with SSD, but a New Way

  1. #1
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    A Windows 7 Build with SSD, but a New Way

    OK, so first the reason for my rebuild.

    Recently I upgraded my Nvidia Driver to 295.73 - while this is a good driver and boosts FPS in most games, I found a MASSIVE slow boot problem where the driver initialization adds 30 seconds to the boot after the welcome screen. There isnt a fix for this @ all, in fact this issue is actually quite rare for most people with Nvidia cards, so it may even be link to a certain driver update train eg; Driver xxx.xx  Beta Driver  WHQL Driver etc etc. A Driver sweep and old drivers does not cure the problem, it persists across all drivers versions now, so the only cure in my eyes is a full reload, which is quick in-any-case when it comes to windows 7.

    The brightstupid Idea behind this build.

    SSDs, I have a few, they are fast and amazing for any PC build, but they have a problem (albeit long-term) with write cycles, or a problem that they have a limited amount of writes before failing.
    While you could argue that this would take forever and youd replace the drive(s) long before it happens, I prefer the idea of maintaining a good standing with the drive and limit the volume or writes as much as possible, thereby improving the lifespan of these drives as dramatically as I can.
    Ja, Ja, Ja, whatever, whats the idea already? Ok, its simple but Im hoping VERY effective;

    The Idea
    Build the Windows 7 install on RAID-0 Magnetic (Traditional or normal hard drives) drives, then use NTFS Symbolic link/Junction to move the Windows and Program Files Folders onto the SSD RAID-0 that I have.
    This way, all non-static and temp files/logs/events etc, do not need to be considered and in-fact greatly simplifies the admin required to get the system up and running at high speed without having to consider where all these temp files are!

    The Hardware.
    Why on earth? Well, intel have yet to release Intel RST 11.5, the driver that supposedly finally implements TRIM in RAID-0. SSDs tend to slow down after time without the garbage collection running(TRIM) and especially noticeable with RAID-0 where garbage collection is all but non-existent. So heres my hardware.

    Asus Sabertooth P67
    Intel Core i7 2600k (ocd to 4.5Ghz)
    8Gb Corsair Vengeance 1866Mhz DDR3 CL9
    2 X OCZ Agility 3 - - - In RAID-0 (SSD)
    2 X Seagate 1Tb - - - In RAID-0 (Magnetic)
    1 X Intel X-25 Gen2 80Gb - - - stand alone (SSD)
    The rest is unimportant.

    So, Im currently doing the necessary backups before wiping things clean, secure-erase dumps etc etc etc. I will then set up the Magnetic Drive RAID-0 for primary Boot and install Windows 7, thereafter build the RAID-0 SSD with the two Agility drives and then boot with WinPE3 for the Copy of Windows and Program Files Folders, with a Junction, so that the actual DATA exists on the SSD RAID Volume, which makes the system boot faster. Yes there are some Log files and what have you there, but most of the small writes that cause the problems are in the Documents and settings which will stay on the Magnetic drive.

    This is how its gonna start, I will update the progress and let you know if it works.

    I've only been wrong once, and that's when I thought I was wrong.

    -

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    Re: A Windows 7 Build with SSD, but a New Way

    Interesting notion there Slippo, I'm keen to see how you get on. I'm particularly interested in how your boot times compare with having a traditional Windows install on the SSD.

    One of the reasons that I've not considered running 2xSSDs in RAID 0 is the mentioned lack of TRIM on RAID 0. IMO though, if you have only one SSD to install onto, I wouldn't bother going with the approach above. The limit in the number of write cycles shouldn't be a problem, especially if your SSD is properly set up in Widows - i.e. no defrag, no superfetch etc. The wear leveling should manage write cycles in each chip well enough to prevent problems through the lifetime of the drive (still to be proved of course, but that's my belief).

  3. #3
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    Re: A Windows 7 Build with SSD, but a New Way

    I've been monitoring the write cycles/Write actions and there are so many that it's mind boggling, most notibly in the [C:\Users] aka [C:\Documents and Settings] aka [user profile] - you are looking at hundreds (sometimes thousands) of writes ALL the time.

    It's actually quite scary in terms of SSD write cycle hits.
    [Just about every click you make is written to a file - yep, you can close your mouth now]

    In anycase, I'm going to try this out and see what happens

    I've only been wrong once, and that's when I thought I was wrong.

    -

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    Re: A Windows 7 Build with SSD, but a New Way

    That is quite shocking.

    Hmmm, let me know how you get on...

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    Re: A Windows 7 Build with SSD, but a New Way

    Lol every click is an event and every event is recorded..... not that shocking... If you could isolate the clusters that is writing too, that may be more enlightening.

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    Re: A Windows 7 Build with SSD, but a New Way

    Some more thought - and well, a better way.

    1. Install Windows 7 on SSD RAID-0 [success]
    2. Boot into recovery mode off DVD, select command prompt
    3. robocopy /copyall /mir /xj c:\users d:\users (D is my magnetic drive RAID-0)
    4. rmdir /s /q c:\users (delete the users folder on the SSD)
    5. mklink /J c:\Users d:\Users (create an NTFS hard link (junction) pointing c:\Users to the D drive
    6. Restart and enjoy lack of massive writes.
    I've only been wrong once, and that's when I thought I was wrong.

    -

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    Re: A Windows 7 Build with SSD, but a New Way

    huh?

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    Re: A Windows 7 Build with SSD, but a New Way

    Quote Originally Posted by Geth
    huh?
    ditto

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    Re: A Windows 7 Build with SSD, but a New Way

    I understood 1, 2, 3, 4, 5 and 6, but not the words after them

    me thinks that at some point I may need to learn more.

    @ lee - wouldn't this work for normal install on SSD or is there an easier way? (to avoid write cycles)

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    Re: A Windows 7 Build with SSD, but a New Way

    I think we need to wait until Master Lee has finished what he's doing, tested it for perfect performance, and then written an 'SSD installation for Dummies' guide that we can all understand.

    Until then, I've installed my OS on the SSD, and data on an HDD. Write-cycles be damned

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