1

I am looking at making some changes to my computer. I currently have a machine running on the X79 chipset and I am using a dedicated RAID controller. The controller is an LSI MegaRAID 9260-8i SAS / SATA controller. I am using it due my rotten luck with drive controllers failing. This thing is rock solid.

However due to my dislike for the X79 platform I am looking at going with a z97 platform and thought I would take a look at my storage setup and maybe consider adding an SSD to the picture. My current setup is 4 WD black 1TB drives with the LSI controller running them in a RAID 5 setup.

Originally my intent was to move to a native SSD for my OS and boot like most people. However I learned that the RAID controller I have has the ability to use an SSD as a cache for the spinning disks. They call it CacheCade.

I am trying to determine what the difference in performance would be between the SSD cache vs a native SSD?

I am using my machine for gaming mostly. But I am also run a few virtual machines and light—very light—programming.

Cost is not really a major concern since I can spread things out I am looking mainly for the performance boost when loading games and VMs. I imagine the native SSD does my little good for game loading performance if I was to use a separate spinning disk for my storage since the 2 never touch, right?

0

I'd recommend splitting boot and My Documents (Microsoft now (for now) refers to My Documents as "User Files" to D:. While unlike XP there is no more right-click/properties option to move the My Documents folder it is still entirely possible.

I'd recommend C:\ RAID 0/1 with SSDs and then migrate your RAID 5 as your D:. This has an added benefit of not having to worry about losing your files if you get some super-nasty virus that forces you to wipe your C:. For me 512GB SSDs would have been fine. Here is my setup...

C:\ 750GB SSD, single drive

D:\ 512GB SSD RAID 1, My Documents to prevent losing data if I need to wipe C:\ clean.

E:\ 1.5TB Mechanical RAID 1, old mass-storage.

F:\ 4.0TB Mechanical RAID 1, newer mass-storage.

The process to move the My Documents folder to another drive takes about five minutes for me (experienced) and probably twenty minutes for those trying it for the first time.

  1. Create a second Windows user that will not be using the D:\ for My Documents. You need this in case you screw up the user.

  2. Create a third user, log in to all three users at least once (so the settings are applied). clone settings from one user (that is not logged in) to the other user that is not logged in. Switch and repeat and all three users will have the same settings. If you've got other users then obviously don't override their stuff. You'll need to unhide protected operating system files (Windows Explorer-->Tools-->Folder Options-->View Tab).

  3. Log in to the user where the D:\ will become the My Documents folder.

  4. Get a copy of Registry Toolkit which will automate the registry process a bit. There are three find and replace operations you will need to complete and there will be some left-overs that you don't have to worry about. The only thing you DO need to concern yourself with is if you delete the user in Windows then Windows will automatically start to delete your files in that location in spite of the fact that you told it not to (use Recuva, by the same people who made Crap Cleaner if this happens). In that case either open the task manager and kill the process sucking up CPU or preemptively disconnect the drive, boot to the other user and delete the failed attempt if you failed to get this working.

  5. The first find and replace you need to find C:\Users\USERNAME with the hard drive included as there are good reasons we're not finding just Users\USERNAME. Open Registry Toolkit, click on the icon at the top-left, in search for paste the correct path for C:\Users\USERNAME, replace it with D:\My Documents, do not check ANY settings below/left, check ALL Serach/Replace checkboxes below/right, in the next tab apply to all data types and finally in the Replace tab set it to No Prompts. I recommend calling the D:\ folder My Documents as you can change the Windows Places (I use Desktop, My Documents, My Computer, E:\ and F:\ for my places and they're all useful in those open/save dialog windows that uses them).

  6. Pay very close attention to this part so you don't have to trash the user and start over! Now you need to open the registry (Start-->Run-->regedit or create a shortcut to regedit on the desktop). If it is the full path including the C:\ then change C:\Users\USERNAME to D:\My Documents. If you only see a partial match Users\USERNAME then you need to immediately stop and look for the home drive and change it separately (once or twice). If you do not have permission to change a value then it is something from the Windows Update installers, you can safely ignore these; just scroll down to the bottom of the folder on the left/navigation panel and make sure you resume (F3/find next) from there.

  7. Log off and log back on (presuming D:\My Documents exists to other users even if it is not assigned as My Documents to them). If you did it correctly you should immediately see the ten thousand icons on your desktop and all your Windows user preferences (AppData) will carry over.

I use a spare 128GB SSD to test stuff out but also to have a clean clone of Windows 7 in case the copy on my 750GB drive dies for some reason. From scratch it takes me about three days to recover to about 95% of my typically usage and downtime is extremely expensive for me. The fact that Microsoft removed this option (not sure if it's in Vista but it is available in Windows XP) is one of the worst decisions they made.

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.