Winstep

Software Technologies


 Winstep Forums


Print view
Board index : Winstep Forums : Articles  [ 68 posts ] Go to page 1, 2, 3, 4, 5  Next
Author Message
 Post subject: New system arrived: 3 X25-M SSDs RAID 0 benchmark inside!
PostPosted: Tue Jan 12, 2010 6:25 pm 
Offline
Site Admin
User avatar

Joined: Thu Feb 26, 2004 8:30 pm
Posts: 8609
This is going to be very good news for all 64 bit Winstep users: last night I went to pick up my new system running the 64 bit version of Windows 7 Ultimate.

The idea, as it happened with Vista, is to turn that into my main development system - quite a different thing from occasionally dual-booting from Vista into Win7 to add the odd feature. I'll be eating my own dog food, which will 'force' me to add better Win7 support, and, more importantly, better 64 bit support. It worked really well for adding Vista support to Xtreme when I moved from XP to Vista.

I've been planning this move for quite some time, and, since installing a new OS means a lot of work re-installing all my applications, I decided to wait until the time was right to upgrade the hardware as well so I could do it all at once.

One of the things I definitely wanted was an Intel SSD on the new system. Problem is, besides being expensive, SSD drives have little storage capacity. On my current system (from now on described as the 'old' system) my main system drive is a 300 GB WD Velociraptor, of which 112 GB are currently in use (I obviously use a secondary 500 GB hard drive to store large movies, music, etc...).

Anyway, the point is that I needed a main system drive not only with enough room to hold my current data but also with enough spare room to 'breath', since I don't intend to upgrade again for the next couple of years or so.

A single Intel 160 GB SDD was too tight. I could have opted for two 160 GB SSDs in RAID 0 for a total of 320 GB of storage space, but I decided instead for 3x80 GB Intel SSDs in RAID 0 for a total of 240 GB.

240 GB offers me plenty of room to 'grow' and three 80 GB SSDs are cheaper than two 160 GB SSDs, with the added benefit that, because SSD RAID 0 arrays scale so well, the RAID 0 array will actually be 3 times faster! It will also be maximizing the bandwidth usage of the ICH10R chipset (in other words, I would get no speed benefit if I installed a fourth 80 GB SSD).

For those of you curious about these things, here are the benchmark results of my new 3x80 GB Intel SSD's in RAID 0:

Image

This was my first practical experience with a RAID array, by the way! :D

For the motherboard I opted for an ASUS P6T Deluxe v2, plus a Core2 i7 920 CPU and 6 GB of triple channel 1866 Mhz DDR3 OCZ RAM.

I was surprised how easy it was to overclock the 920 to 4.2 Ghz, and this at stock voltage! Running 100% stable after hours of stress testing with Prime95.

The cooler is a HUGE Noctua NH-U12P SE2 (not my primary choice, but they didn't have the one I wanted).

I also decided to get a really good tower case so I didn't have to swap the new system components with those in the Thermaltake Armor+ case of my old system (which would also mean moving the old system components into a cramped spare mid tower case I have here). I ended up getting the ANTEC Twelve Hundred. Like the Armor+, it is an extremely well built case with lots of room and ventilation (and also very pleasing to the eye).

For now I'm still using the old system, of course, as it takes time to re-install every application and tweak the new system just right until I can take the final plunge. I still don't have a real feeling of the raw speed of the new system, but let me tell you that seeing Photoshop CS2 load completely in 4 seconds flat was an eye opening experience. :P

_________________
Jorge Coelho
Winstep Xtreme - Xtreme Power!
http://www.winstep.net - Winstep Software Technologies


Back to top
 Profile WWW 
 
 Post subject:
PostPosted: Thu Jan 21, 2010 4:28 pm 
Offline

Joined: Sun Jul 24, 2005 4:54 pm
Posts: 392
Hey Jorge:

Which graphics card did you get for the new system? I can imagine the joy (+ some probable frustration) you must be getting from setting up such a kick-ass system.

I currently have 2 velociraptors in RAID 0 with a Pentium4 chip + GeForce 7950 GT + 2 MB RAM. You would be amazed at how well this system performs. I am happy with this system but it is now 5 years old and I am kind of waiting for something drastic to fail. Since I have everything critical backed up on an external drive, I could install what I would need on my wife's laptop if my system fails & I need to order a new system.

I look forward to a new chip + SSD ( 2x80 GB in RAID 0) + Windows 7. How are your SSDs performing? What are the conditions for which I would consider a 64 bit system?


Back to top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject:
PostPosted: Thu Jan 21, 2010 8:02 pm 
Offline
Global Moderator

Joined: Tue Oct 13, 2009 3:19 pm
Posts: 266
john-r wrote:
Hey Jorge:

Which graphics card did you get for the new system? I can imagine the joy (+ some probable frustration) you must be getting from setting up such a kick-ass system.

I currently have 2 velociraptors in RAID 0 with a Pentium4 chip + GeForce 7950 GT + 2 MB RAM. You would be amazed at how well this system performs. I am happy with this system but it is now 5 years old and I am kind of waiting for something drastic to fail. Since I have everything critical backed up on an external drive, I could install what I would need on my wife's laptop if my system fails & I need to order a new system.

I look forward to a new chip + SSD ( 2x80 GB in RAID 0) + Windows 7. How are your SSDs performing? What are the conditions for which I would consider a 64 bit system?


I'm amazed your system would even run Windows XP with 2 MB RAM.............. :P


Back to top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject:
PostPosted: Thu Jan 21, 2010 8:15 pm 
Offline

Joined: Sun Jul 24, 2005 4:54 pm
Posts: 392
XP only needed 1 MB. My system runs just about any game out there without any significant issues -- albeit obviously not at max settings. Truely amazing. I have played & enjoyed demo of "Call of Duty 4"; Far Cry2; Crysis; Played the complete "Far Cry" & "Call of Duty 3"; etc...

I run Corel Paint Shop Pro X & Corel Painter IX.


Back to top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject:
PostPosted: Thu Jan 21, 2010 10:18 pm 
Offline
Global Moderator

Joined: Tue Oct 13, 2009 3:19 pm
Posts: 266
john-r wrote:
XP only needed 1 MB. My system runs just about any game out there without any significant issues -- albeit obviously not at max settings. Truely amazing. I have played & enjoyed demo of "Call of Duty 4"; Far Cry2; Crysis; Played the complete "Far Cry" & "Call of Duty 3"; etc...

I run Corel Paint Shop Pro X & Corel Painter IX.


I think you mean GB... Because 2MB RAM is like the DOS era.....


Back to top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject:
PostPosted: Thu Jan 21, 2010 11:06 pm 
Offline

Joined: Sun Jul 24, 2005 4:54 pm
Posts: 392
Of course. I stand corrected!


Back to top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject:
PostPosted: Fri Jan 22, 2010 12:16 pm 
Offline
Global Moderator

Joined: Tue Oct 13, 2009 3:19 pm
Posts: 266
john-r wrote:
Of course. I stand corrected!


Heh, you're welcome. Apparently 2MB is even before the DOS timeperk!!!! XD


Back to top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sat Jan 23, 2010 12:03 pm 
Offline
Site Admin
User avatar

Joined: Thu Feb 26, 2004 8:30 pm
Posts: 8609
john-r wrote:
Which graphics card did you get for the new system? I can imagine the joy (+ some probable frustration) you must be getting from setting up such a kick-ass system.


Actually the video card in the new system is the one I had in the old (a nVidia 8800 GT with 512 MB RAM). I simply got a low-end 9500 GT with the new system and then swapped that out with the old.

A 8800 GT for now is more than good enough, and, anyway, I haven't had time to play games (not that I don't like to play games, just that I can't afford, in terms of time, to get addicted to any right now, hehe).

When things calm down I might think about getting an ATI 5870 with Eyefinity. :D

As for 'frustration', yes, I'm having my share of it on the new system. For starters, the power supply of the external WD My Book 1 TB USB drive just stopped working (the only thing I did was disconnect the drive while I moved some disks from the old to the new system).

Then I couldn't get the eSATA WD My Book to work correctly on the new system, neither connected to the JMicron nor to the Marvell eSATA controllers. The damn thing would just disconnect itself randomly.

I have had nothing but grief and trouble with the Western Digital external drives. In the end, I just got another LaCie D2 Quadra, and both it and its sibling have been working flawlessly ever since (if a bit hot - 49ºC - these drives are enclosed in an aluminium case with no openings for air to circulate). As for the eSATA WD My Book, I just connected it to my older PC (where it works correctly) and I am now using it to make backups of the rest of the systems I have here.

The USB WD drive is now sitting on a shelf waiting for a replacement power supply from WD (they better honour their warranty!).

Another thing that has been giving me grief is Acronis True Image 2010. I was waking up to a hung, non-responsive system. At first I thought it was because of an unstable overclock (I always overclock my systems, managed to take this i7 920 all the way up to a stable 4.2 Ghz, but I didn't like the maximum temperatures so it's now down to 'just' 4 Ghz) but then learned it was actually because of an incompatibility between some Win7 updates and Acronis SnapAPI drivers.

The eSATA WD My Book issue really had me climbing up a wall, though.

john-r wrote:
I look forward to a new chip + SSD ( 2x80 GB in RAID 0) + Windows 7. How are your SSDs performing? What are the conditions for which I would consider a 64 bit system?


The SSDs are performing great so far, haven't had any trouble with them.

One thing to note: HD Tach was showing an average read speed of 200-250 MB/s at the begining, which puzzled me until I flashed all drives to the latest firmware and turned on the RAID volume write-back cache (which was off by default). HD Tach and the other disk benchmarks then started showing me an average read rate of 700-750 MB/s, which is about right for a saturated ICHR10 controller.

I thought it was the new firmware that did the trick (one of the SSDs had a mismatched firmware version) until I turned off the write-back cache yesterday to troubleshoot something here and noticed HD Tach was back down to 200-250 MB/s.

Looks like the write-back cache might have a huge impact on SSD performance, but I have yet to test this in something other than a synthetic HDD benchmark.

As for you going 64 bit, I would say go for it (although, in my opinion, MS has made a lousy job isolating 32 bit apps from 64 bit apps), the main advantage being that you are no longer limited to 3-4 GB RAM.

As for Windows 7 itself, I have mixed feelings about it: personally I don't like the new taskbar much, but, then again, there is always NextSTART to fix that! :wink:

_________________
Jorge Coelho
Winstep Xtreme - Xtreme Power!
http://www.winstep.net - Winstep Software Technologies


Back to top
 Profile WWW 
 
 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sat Jan 23, 2010 5:17 pm 
Offline
User avatar

Joined: Fri Mar 19, 2004 1:25 am
Posts: 233
kutagh wrote:
john-r wrote:
Of course. I stand corrected!


Heh, you're welcome. Apparently 2MB is even before the DOS timeperk!!!! XD


wasn't DOS run in 640K with a highmem available to 1024?


Back to top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sat Jan 23, 2010 10:08 pm 
Offline

Joined: Sun Jul 24, 2005 4:54 pm
Posts: 392
I think the system I am configuring (see below) is way OVERKILL for what I do. Mainly Internet, a little gaming, & digital art (not PhotoShop). However, when I can get a system such as this one at this price, why not go for it?

* HDD1: 2 Intel 80 GB SSD's in RAID 0
* HDD2: 1 Western Digital Velociraptor 150 GB
* VIDEO: An ATI Radeon HD 5870 1 GB
* CPU: Intel Corei7-920 2.66 Ghz
* FAN CONTROL: NZXT Sentry-2 Fan Touch Screen Fan Control & Temp.
Display
* AUDIO: Creative Labs SB X-Fi Xtreme Audio 24-BIT PCI Sound Card
* POWER: Corsair 650 Watts CMPSU-650TX - Quad SLI Ready
* MEMORY: Corsair Dominator 6GB (2GBx3) DDR3/1333MHz Triple
Channel Memory
* MOTHERBOARD: 3-Way SLI Support) Asus P6T Intel X58 Chipset
SLI/CrossFireX Mainboard Triple-Channel DDR3/1600 SATA RAID
* CPU FAN: XtremeGear HP-1216X Five Heatpipes Direct Core Contact
Copper Heatsink CPU Cooling Fan
* CASE FANS UPGRADE: Maximum Enemax 120MM Case Cooling Fans
17 DB
* CASE: CoolerMaster Storm Scout Gaming Mid-Tower Case
w/ Transparent Side Panel
* WARRANTY: 3 Years

PRICE (w/free delivery): $2,480.

I could get free liquid cooling. But, I do not want that.
This seems to be an incredible deal. CyberPower is a well respected company. Their prices beat the competition by a lot.

Anyway, I simply ask myself if I should be getting a lesser system for possibly up to a thousand dollars less? The above system though is definitely very seductive. So, given that I can afford the above, would I nevertheless be crazy to get it? For my computing needs, would I even detect any difference between this system and one costing significantly less? Any opinions?


Back to top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sat Jan 23, 2010 11:30 pm 
Offline
Site Admin
User avatar

Joined: Thu Feb 26, 2004 8:30 pm
Posts: 8609
One thing I would change in that list: the Velociraptor. You already have speed with those two SSDs in RAID 0, what you need now is storage space. For the same price of the 150 GB Velociraptor, you could get a 500 GB hard drive instead.

As for speed. Ah well. Speed is nice, but... let me tell you this: I 'know' my new system is lightning fast. However, I wouldn't be able to tell when programming, browsing the Internet or using Outlook, because those apps and tasks do not require super fast processors to function at maximum efficiency.

In the end it all boils down to this: you want it and you can, then go for it. A system such as that should also give you quite a few good years of service before it starts to feel sluggish. And if you like playing games, then, oh yeah, definitely go for it! :wink:

_________________
Jorge Coelho
Winstep Xtreme - Xtreme Power!
http://www.winstep.net - Winstep Software Technologies


Back to top
 Profile WWW 
 
 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sun Jan 24, 2010 12:58 am 
Offline

Joined: Sun Jul 24, 2005 4:54 pm
Posts: 392
Thanks for input Jorge.

1. I remain a little confused over the term storage. I think it means where I would keep my photos, videos, documents, digital art files. I plan to move the "My Documents" folder to the storage hard drive (I read how one can do that). I presume that OS + programs should be on the RAID 0 drives. Correct?

Does having the "storaged" files on a slower storage drive affect the speed with which programs ,which run those files & which are on the RAID 0 drives, run these files? If not, then agreed, I do not need the WD Velociraptor. By the way, I don't need much storage space.

2. Actually, I think my digital art programs in fact would benefit from a "faster" system. Now, when I use digital brushes at a large brush size, the system slows down considerably - which is a pain. Also, when I apply special effects, the same thing!

That plus games is enough reason to go for the gold!

Thanks again.


Back to top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sun Jan 24, 2010 12:38 pm 
Offline
Global Moderator

Joined: Tue Oct 13, 2009 3:19 pm
Posts: 266
john-r wrote:
Thanks for input Jorge.

1. I remain a little confused over the term storage. I think it means where I would keep my photos, videos, documents, digital art files. I plan to move the "My Documents" folder to the storage hard drive (I read how one can do that). I presume that OS + programs should be on the RAID 0 drives. Correct?

Does having the "storaged" files on a slower storage drive affect the speed with which programs ,which run those files & which are on the RAID 0 drives, run these files? If not, then agreed, I do not need the WD Velociraptor. By the way, I don't need much storage space.

2. Actually, I think my digital art programs in fact would benefit from a "faster" system. Now, when I use digital brushes at a large brush size, the system slows down considerably - which is a pain. Also, when I apply special effects, the same thing!

That plus games is enough reason to go for the gold!

Thanks again.


Generally the advantage of a 10.000 RPM drive above a 7.200 RPM drive isn't that huge until you have to load big files, where it becomes noticable I'm not sure but I think around 50MB files for gaming it would affect loading times.


Storage, where you put all your data. You basically got a 160GB drive for your OS+programs (but the data is written striped so it speeds up considerably since it can write on the two drives simultaneously. If you want more secure drives to prevent data-loss, you need RAID 1...). Generally, I only need 40GB for the OS (win7 x64 ultimate) plus the programs and still got around 7,5GB left on my windows partition (I didn't bother moving the documents/downloads folder to a different partition... Sometimes have to clear up the bigger files I downloaded in the downloads folder but aside from that..)

I would recommend though to get two additional drives of 100GB, 250GB or any size above the 100GB, same size, and put them in RAID 1 to prevent data loss as best as possible. Even software RAID 1 is better then nothing (Windows calls it 'mirroring' a volume). Read more about RAID 0/1 here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Raid_0#RAID_1


Back to top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sun Jan 24, 2010 1:40 pm 
Offline
Site Admin
User avatar

Joined: Thu Feb 26, 2004 8:30 pm
Posts: 8609
Personally I think automatic regular backups are way better than a RAID 1 (mirror) configuration. The purpose of RAID 1 is not so much to keep your data safe but to recover quickly in case of a hard drive failure.

If you delete a file by mistake on a RAID 1 array, that file is still gone forever because the array mirrors changes in real time.

_________________
Jorge Coelho
Winstep Xtreme - Xtreme Power!
http://www.winstep.net - Winstep Software Technologies


Back to top
 Profile WWW 
 
 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sun Jan 24, 2010 3:44 pm 
Offline

Joined: Sun Jul 24, 2005 4:54 pm
Posts: 392
Thanks for additional input guys. However, I misled you in not pointing out that I routinely backup to an external WD Passport drive.

Having said that, I return to my original question:

Quote:
Does having the "storaged" files on a slower storage drive affect the speed with which programs ,which run those files & which are on the RAID 0 drives, run these files? If not, then agreed, I do not need the WD Velociraptor.


Furthermore, given that I routinely backup, is there any great advantage to having a separate "storage" drive?

Also, is there any advantage of partitioning the RAID 0, for example by putting all Game programs on one partition? That is what I have done with my current config. I currently store data + programs + OS on my WD Raptor RAID 0 with a separate partition for Games.


Back to top
 Profile  
 
Post new topic Reply to topic Board index : Winstep Forums : Articles  [ 68 posts ] Go to page 1, 2, 3, 4, 5  Next
Display posts from previous:  Sort by  

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 2 guests


You cannot post new topics in this forum
You cannot reply to topics in this forum
You cannot edit your posts in this forum
You cannot delete your posts in this forum
You cannot post attachments in this forum

Search for:
Jump to:  
cron