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Old 01-21-2010, 08:13 AM   #1 (permalink)
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Default Installing a New SSDs -- How to Make it Easy

The time has come for me to make a few key changes to my gaming rig. 1) I'll be switching to a pair of 60GB Solid State Drives (SSD) and 2) I'll be upgrading to Windows 7. A few weeks ago I decided to install a new WD Caviar Black 1TB drive to offload the files that were then clogging up my main HD. With that acomplished, my computer now has 2 HDs installed, one with just the operating system and apps, and the new drive with all my files (videos, music, etc.). I have a few questions before I make the next upgrades:

1) I'm wondering if I should:
-Set up the new SSDs in a RAID? If so RAID 0, RAID 1?
-How complex will it be to configure this new RAID and will I see any performance increases?
-Is 60gb enough to install and properly run WIN7? Or should I look for more space?

2) I'd like to use my old HD as additional storage, but I'll want to format that drive before I do
The question is then, how do I get from Vista to WIN7 using the "Upgrade" software version (cheaper), considering that I want to install WIN7 on the new SSD(s):
- Is this possible?
- Whats the best order of operations?

I feel like with the recent price drop in SSDs there will be a lot of folks looking to make the switch, and hopefully this thread can give some insight into how to make it easy. How do we get from a Vista with standard HDs to a WIN7 running on SSDs. Thanks for the help ---


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Old 01-21-2010, 09:09 AM   #2 (permalink)
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Default Re: Installing a New SSDs -- How to Make it Easy

I have set up one SSD RAID. This was a RAID 10 with 5 drives. To be honest, Solid State is just not stable enough or developed enough to perform in RAID 10 better than 10k drives. However, in raid 0 or 1 I don't forsee you having any problems. The problems I had I think were in the controller card, not the drives themselves. 60GB should be plenty to install windows 7. I would also install any applications on that drive that you use regularly (i.e. office, photoshop, etc.)

Not so sure about your upgrading question. I hate upgrading OSs and will always wipe the drive clean first. But your other concerns I don't think you have anything to worry about. I run a single SSD in my home machine and have had absolutely no issues with it whatsoever. Server solutions are a different story... but seeing that you do not want that, I think you'll be just fine.

Hope I helped in some way

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Old 01-21-2010, 09:41 AM   #3 (permalink)
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Default Re: Installing a New SSDs -- How to Make it Easy

The important thing to consider at this point is the driver support for TRIM in a RAID configuration. Currently, TRIM won't perform on RAIDed SSDs. With no TRIM support you will have to manually perform garbage collection or you will start to see a drastic degradation in performance after a while. They're working on new firmware updates to solve this issue, but I wouldn't expect stability for a while still.

With a RAID 0 you'll gain a little more speed, but honestly, SSDs are fast enough as is, so I would either spend the money on a larger SSD or save it.

To answer your questions directly:
Actually setting up the RAID should be a piece of cake. Every BIOS is different, but typically you just need to enable RAID, then set the channels that will participate in the RAID. Then on boot up you will see a RAID controller screen with a button to push for configuration (mine is F10.) This is where you will set the RAID type (1, 0, 5, etc.)

60GB might run tight on space. Just make sure to keep games and large files on a separate drive. You want at least 20% of the drive free at all times.

RE the upgrade: you can just insert the Win7 install DVD while in Vista. It will run the installer and you can choose Upgrade. It will move your existing Vista installation into a folder called "Windows Old".

If you are installing onto an SSD then you will definitely want to perform a clean install of Win7.
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