Anybody Else Using An SSD?

Anybody Else Using An SSD?

PostBy: wlape3 On: Thu Mar 31, 2011 9:42 am

I recently installed an SSD with a PCI-E interface in my desktop PC. Boot up and access times are much improved but performance has been disappointing in other areas such as PC games, even those using a lot of disk access. Any thoughts? Seems like my computer is still access the regular hard drives while some games are running inspite of the fact all of their files are now on the SSD. Perhaps there is something I need to modify in my boot sequence/configuration?

Will
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Re: Anybody Else Using An SSD?

PostBy: KLook On: Thu Mar 31, 2011 10:21 am

Interesting question Will, I assume the SSD is an external hard drive with faster access because of the PCI-e? I also game alot and am interested in the answer to this one, cant offer any help personally. Maybe try a tech forum? There are a bunch out there.

Kevin
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Re: Anybody Else Using An SSD?

PostBy: mozz On: Thu Mar 31, 2011 5:13 pm

You should be using the ssd on the sata interface to be the quickest. I don't know the speed of pci-e.
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Re: Anybody Else Using An SSD?

PostBy: pvolcko On: Thu Mar 31, 2011 5:42 pm

If you're still getting lots of HDD access, that may be memory swapping being done by the operating system. How much RAM do you have in the system and how much does the game say it recommends? How much RAM on the video card vs how much the game recommends? Do you have a dedicated video card or is it one built into the motherboard (integrated graphics will generally use system memory for video memory, further increasing your need for system RAM).

Also, if your OS is installed on the HDD then you're still going to get a lot of access hits on it for games and applications as a lot of shared libraries and whatnot are located there. However, those generally will be loaded at the beginning of starting the app/game or during loading sequences, where it should have little impact on playability.

16x PCIe is around 16 gigabytes/sec vs SATA2's 3 gigabits/sec (402MB/s) vs SATA3's 6Gb/s (804MB/s). Depending on your motherboard and the SSD PCIe card you got, it can be using anything from 1x to 16x PCIe. But even in the 1x variant, it has more potential bandwidth available than the latest SATA3 standard offers. And I don't believe flash technology has gotten to the point where it can saturate 1GB/s offered by 1x PCIe, so no worries on that regardless.
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Re: Anybody Else Using An SSD?

PostBy: mozz On: Thu Mar 31, 2011 7:09 pm

"In contrast, PCIe is based on point-to-point topology, with separate serial links connecting every device to the root complex (host). Due to its shared bus topology, access to the PCI bus is arbitrated (in the case of multiple masters), and limited to 1 master at a time, in a single direction. Furthermore, PCI's clocking scheme limits the bus clock to the slowest peripheral on the bus (regardless of the devices involved in the bus transaction). " "As a point of reference, a PCI-X (133 MHz 64 bit) device and PCIe device at 4-lanes (x4), Gen1 speed have roughly the same peak transfer rate in a single-direction: 1064MB/sec."

There all this stuff about priority and transfer speeds. Pci is for peripherals. I always thought that the ide or sata was where you ran your OS and storage from. I can't see any type of pci bus being faster than ide or serial, you would see hundreds of manufacturers making hard drive for the pci-e bus, you don't. The motherboard i am running is a server board from Tyan, has ide, sata, regular pci and pci-x slots(133mhz), i don't see how pci-e is as fast as you say. A true SSD would have a ide or sata interface, anything else and you are converting or transferring through a slower speed. If the drive is big enough hook to the sata and put everything on it, use your platter drive for storage, music pictures etc.
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Re: Anybody Else Using An SSD?

PostBy: pvolcko On: Thu Mar 31, 2011 11:05 pm

There is no good reason to make a HDD that plugs directly into PCIe, the drive is too slow to really utilize it (makes more sense to use a SATA card plugged into a PCIe slot and attach multiple drives to utilize the bandwidth available on the PCIe interface) and power, size/weight, and cooling issues make it a less than ideal option. SSD's on the other hand are fast enough to saturate a SATA1 and probably a SATA2 interface. They are also small enough (and no moving parts, clearing mounting/stability issues) and power requirements are such that they can be fed off the pcie bus directly, leaving SATA connections for HDDs, optical drives, etc.

I'm not saying its the best idea in the world or that I'd buy one, but there is some sense to it.

And we're off topic. :) How to make wlape3 stop using his HDD so much despite the programs being on the SSD (and possibly his OS, as he did report improved OS boot times, suggesting it is located on the SSD too)?
pvolcko
 

Re: Anybody Else Using An SSD?

PostBy: wlape3 On: Fri Apr 01, 2011 9:49 am

Hi Guys,

Thanks for all the information. The SSD in question is an OCZ Revo2 drive with 149 GB of formatted space available. The OS is Win7 Ultimate 64bit and is installed on the SSD. I have about 6 other SATA2 drives, one SATA3 (but no SATA3 interface yet) and 2 legacy PATA drives. My system memory is 8 GB of DDR2 PC800 and I am running a Phenom I quad black edition processor at about 2.4 GHz.

When I was researching SSDs I looked at SATA2 and SATA3 interface units. As Paul pointed out, the SSDs are generally faster than these interfaces and you need something with more bandwith and speed to get the most out of them. With all the drives already in the system the PCI-e 4 interface SSD looked pretty good to me at the time.

My graphics card is a GeForce 7600 with 512 MB of RAM and is PCI-e X16. The PCI-e x4 slot is blocked by the video card fan so I have the SSD plugged into the 2nd PCI-e x16 slot (the MB is an ASUS SLI nForce 590 type). My video card is the oldest component I have and should probably be upgraded. The game itself requires 128 MB of video RAM and a 1 GHz processor so I am well above the minimum. The game in question slowed down to a crawl soon after installation (everything including the OS was a fresh instal) until I wiped the empty space on the drive. PCI-e interfaces do not use TRIM so SSD maint is a must to maintain speeds for apps with a lot of writes.

The page file is disabled on the SSD (as per recommendations from the manufacturer) and I regularly clean the drive using CC clean. When formating or wiping an SSD it is recommended to do a quick format only and wipe using a single write of random 1's and 0's.

Now that you have more info, does anything else come to mind?

Will
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Re: Anybody Else Using An SSD?

PostBy: EarthWindandFire On: Fri Apr 01, 2011 11:30 am

I read this article a few months ago.

http://wattsupwiththat.com/2011/01/09/m ... rade-evah/
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Re: Anybody Else Using An SSD?

PostBy: mozz On: Fri Apr 01, 2011 12:02 pm

Funny how that shows the burst rate of the regular hard drive is almost twice as fast as the SSD. Also the cpu usage is 1 % on the hard drive and 21% on the SSD, other than that the SSD "seems' to have better specs. Have you ever gone into the bios and tweaked the memory speed settings?
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Re: Anybody Else Using An SSD?

PostBy: wlape3 On: Fri Apr 01, 2011 12:20 pm

Haven't touched the memory settings. The board is running on Auto for those although I have tweaked the CPU a little since it is a black edition.

Both banks of my dual channel memory are matched sets and both have OEM heat sinks for OC'ing. I'm not a bigtime gamer so I haven't tried pushing the limits on this one. Maybe it's a project for the weekend :D

Any thoughts on how to proceed with the tweaking?

Will
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Re: Anybody Else Using An SSD?

PostBy: mozz On: Fri Apr 01, 2011 1:59 pm

I'm no expert on getting the best settings but the memory itself will have the timings written on it or on the manf, website. Do a google search for tweaking the settings, i'm sure there are a lot of do's and don'ts.
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Re: Anybody Else Using An SSD?

PostBy: pvolcko On: Fri Apr 01, 2011 5:06 pm

While the SWAP on the SSD is disabled, do you still have it enabled one or more of the HDDs? If it is, try running with it also disabled. This may degrade performance, espcially if you have a lot of apps running in the background, but for a OS load and playing a game it shouldn't be bad.

Also, see if there are any device properties for the drive in device manager that may help with performance. For instance, if there's a checkbox for maintaining the data "safety" as if it were a removable storage device, make sure it is unchecked so write-behind caching is enabled. Any PCI bus mastering options should be reviewed and set for performance.

If you can, maybe rearrange your video and SSD cards so the SSD and vidcard are not both on a 16x interface. I'm not sure of the configuration issues, but it is possible the SSD is designed to only utilize 4x or some subset of lanes, and by being on a potentially shared 16x lane interface with the vid card, it is forcing the video card to a much lower bandwidth.

Make sure you have latest drivers for the SSD and the motherboard (north bridge, south bridge, etc.) and the video card. There may be some conflict/incompatibility at play that new drivers will resolve.

Maybe try installing the game on the HDD instead of the SSD. There may be an unexpected set of read/write patterns going on with the game that the SSD or its drivers don't handle well, which the HDD backed by on drive and OS caching may well handle better.
pvolcko