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I'm going to build my next gaming system.

I do not care for the load time of Windows 7. It could take 15 mins, I'd just do something else meanwhile. So I'm thinking I put the SSD disc only for my games (and some programs usualy installed in C:\Program files.

My theory is that once Windows is loaded, all the vital parts are already in memory and having a SSD for the Windows partition will not speed things up significantly, after it has loaded. I also intend to redirect %TMP% and %TEMP% to this SSD disk.

Any thoughts? Is there are better way to get the most out of your SSD, for gaming.

Note that I'm only going for 1 SSD at the moment. Ill have 2 TB of diskspace on regular SATA disks.

Update

System built and I've played around with a few directory links to the SSD. Windows is located on a SATA on the 6 GB/s interface. It starts slowly and turns off slowly, as expected, compared to the games and few programs I have on the SSD.

Update #2

I choose to put my user profile on the SSD disk as well. I did however put all temp directories and cache directories on the SATA to prevent degrading the SSD disk as there are many frequent small read and writes. Its a nice addition to the overall user experience.

All in all im happy with it.

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1  
partitions, no. directories, yes. –  Journeyman Geek Dec 8 '11 at 0:46
    
@Journeyman Geek the more i think about your comment the more i agree with it. Coulld you elaborate on which directories you mean, in an answer? –  artifex Dec 9 '11 at 8:51
    
well, i run a windows XP, dual drive, non SSD system. However, with windows 7, symlinks means that you can move directories to different partitions as needed. I would, theoratically use the SSD for booting if possible though –  Journeyman Geek Dec 9 '11 at 9:15

3 Answers 3

up vote 8 down vote accepted

Realistically you should only need to install the games themselves to your SSD by passing an alternate path to the installer. Some games like to store their save files in %USER%\Saved Games so you may want to soft-link (junction) that directory to your SSD as well. Move existing content in Saved Games to your SSD, then run something like:

mklink /J "C:\Users\You\Saved Games" "D:\Saved Games"

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Nice catch, didn't think about the save games under Users. –  artifex Dec 7 '11 at 18:15
    
Junctions(symbolic links) are amazing for mixed environments like this. –  Jeff F. Jul 10 '12 at 19:26

That's how I originally intended to set up my system. But I decided to install Windows 7 on the SSD as well, since it was so expensive and I didn't want it to just benefit games. However, Windows has chomped up 15GB of my 64GB SSD, and it keeps growing! As I have been installing games on Steam, I've had to move others off to a harddisk.

Installing the games on an SSD has improved load times significantly (in multiplayer games I'm usually the first one in!), but I really haven't noticed any speed-up in Windows in general. When I reinstall I'm definitely leaving Windows on a disk and reserving the SSD for things that really need it.

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A bit OT in relation to this question, but you can keep Windows from bloating by routinely removing temporary files (Disk Cleanup), disabling system restore, reducing your page file size, reducing or removing space reserved for the recycle bin, etc. –  Garrett Dec 7 '11 at 19:27
    
I have actually done (most) of these things (not sure about system restore). Disk cleanup only frees a few MB, I removed the page file (there is one on the harddisk), disabled hibernation, and reduced the recycle bin limit, but Windows is still enormous. –  Brian Dec 7 '11 at 19:36
    
That's just life, especially in the 64bit world where everything is larger. –  Garrett Dec 7 '11 at 21:38
    
This is what im trying to avoid, nice to see that you really havent seen any speed up in windows. It confirms my theory –  artifex Dec 7 '11 at 23:16

In general, you want directories that are read often (eg %windows%) but rarely written to in SSDs (where you can benefit from the high read speed), as well as boot related things - such as the windows 7 boot partition - least on most setups i have seen.

This is one place where i suggest trial and error. Install the system as per normal. Install software as per normal. Keep smaller or commonly used software on the SSD (for better startup times). Move bulk software such as games to another drive - if i were using a dual drive windows 7 system, steam mover - as recommended by lifehacker seems a good idea. If moving something has a major unwanted effect on performance, move it back.

I also note if you arn't worried too much about writes, you could move off old games to the other drive, and keep things you're playing now in SSD.

I personally keep my pagefile on my larger storage drive (since i don't actually seem to use it much) and let windows manage it.

Rule of thumb is - if its important or speed sensitive, SSD If its big, regular drive.

I'd note another alternative is the smart response technology in z68 and other motherboards, which uses the SSD as a cache without user intervention - this probably would work better in your use case if you have not already built the system

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