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Build Advice Should I split up an SSD arrangement for workstation/gaming purposes?

Discussion in 'Hardware' started by Whitesky, 11 Feb 2021.

  1. Whitesky

    Whitesky Minimodder

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    Looking to upgrade my rig in a few months, and trying to plan out how to arrange my drives. Right now I basically ceased gaming as my old 128Gb SSD held not only OS and all programs, but Steam + games too. That didn't last long.

    Docs are all comfy on two 1Tb WD Blacks.
    1. For the update, I'm looking to do a dedicated 1-2Tb Samsung Evo SSD for Steam & games.
    2. Replace OS drive with at LEAST 250Gb+ SSD
    Those changes alone will free things up.

    So here's where I'm confused.. I also use this rig as web development workstation, which means I have WAMP/Apache/Sql localhost. Right now it's on one of the HDD's, which isn't great.. so I assume I could move this over to the new OS/programs SSD.

    I also want to get into 3D modelling / video / photography editing.. and those will eat up a TON of disk space (not to mention scratch drives), so not sure whether I should use a dedicated SSD for these sort of things? Would include: Unreal Engine, 3D Studio Max, models and resources etc.

    Is there any practical purpose of splitting these "realms" of usage onto separate SSD's? Such as:
    1. 128Gb SSD: OS/Adobe CC/essential programs
    2. 128Gb SSD: Localhost server development
    3. 2Tb SSD: Steam/games
    4. 1Tb SSD: Unreal Engine & 3D software/projects
    Or do I just dump everything into:
    1. 2Tb Not Games
    2. 2Tb Games
    (lol)

    If this is a stupid question or I'm overthinking it, go ahead and tell me
     
  2. Gareth Halfacree

    Gareth Halfacree WIIGII! Staff Administrator Super Moderator Moderator

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    I'd have a 2TB stuff and 2TB other stuff, personally. If you're trying to cram four NVMe drives into a single system, you'll likely run out of PCIe lanes (on consumer-grade hardware, anyway, HEDT and workstation are a different matter). Plus, last I checked Windows still struggles sometimes when things aren't installed on the C: drive - remember when Windows Update cheerily deleted everyone's files if they'd moved them from the default location?

    If you're using SATA drives, or mixing SATA and NVMe, PCIe exhaustion is less of an issue, granted - but it still feels pretty pointless to have four smaller drives in a desktop system.

    There are arguments that having more drives means you lose less in the event of a drive failure, but that's bunk 'cos A) having more drives increases the chances of experiencing a drive failure, and 2) you've got functional and fully-tested backups of everything, right?

    My desktop, for comparison, has a 1TB NVMe SSD for OS, programs, and stuff (300GB free), and a 2TB SATA hybrid drive for more stuff (299GB free, amusingly.) Anything that won't fit, which so far is nowt I've needed, can live on the 6TB mirror in the server.
     
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  3. Whitesky

    Whitesky Minimodder

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    Thanks for the reply, I had a suspicion splitting up was leaning towards pointless. How about this though, I haven't really looked in years for SSDs how wear and rewrites used to lower drive life. My localhost server performs countless tiny writes constantly.. from cron entries, sql, logging, background tasks. I'm honestly not even happy it's running on one of my older WD Blacks. Would this be a good idea to move onto a separate drive? That way I would keep a potential usage hog nice and safe from core OS/programs drive.
     
  4. Gareth Halfacree

    Gareth Halfacree WIIGII! Staff Administrator Super Moderator Moderator

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    I wouldn't worry, personally, but if you want to minimise writes without spending extra dosh just use tmpfs. I have /tmp mounted as tmpfs, so nothing ever gets written to disk (unless I run out of RAM, in which case it'll end up in the swapfile).

    Now, that does mean the contents of /tmp is lost on reboot, naturally. For /var/log, you might not want that - so there are options like Log2Ram which puts /var/log into a tmpfs but synchronises it with the disk once a day, or on shutdown/reboot.
     
  5. Bloody_Pete

    Bloody_Pete Technophile

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    My MP510 has a MBTF in the millions of hours and 1700TBW, so it could write away at full pasce and still take ages to kill it. And even if it does it'll onnly be write failure, modern drives fail into a read only mode I believe. Personally I'd just what it all on the biggest one you can afford and then partition it in system if you want any sepperation. I lived the 'lots of small SSDs' life and it was hateful, as you'd be juggling software, OS updates, user files, etc and personally I have a lot better things to do with my life than that faff! Grab a 4TB, hell even a 8TB gen 3 if you can afford it, use it, enjoy it, love it. Andthen dedicate you time to seting up proper backs, as that'll do you far better in the event of failure than multiple drives ever would!
     
  6. Paradigm Shifter

    Paradigm Shifter de nihilo nihil fit

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    Given the three SSD deaths I've experienced have been a) sudden and b) completely fatal, I would not want to bet money or data on any SSD failing into read-only.
     
  7. Bloody_Pete

    Bloody_Pete Technophile

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    Which is why I specified the time would be better spent seeing up proper backups...
     
  8. wyx087

    wyx087 Homeworld 3 is happening!!

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    +1 on RAMdisks

    For Windows, this is a good free RAMdisk software. https://sourceforge.net/projects/imdisk-toolkit/

    I have 20GB of dynamically allocated RAMdisk on my 32GB RAM. It has a TEMP folder and Windows temp files are written into there, reducing OS writes (as per /tmp mentioned by Gareth). Windows fast boot doesn't actually erase the contents....... usually. You can also save and load the contents into a file on reboot if you really want.


    If write cycles worries you, there are 2 ways to reduce the worry:
    1. buy high endurance drives like Corsair MP510
    2. buy bigger than necessary drives, eg. get a 2TB drive and treat it like a 500GB. Bigger drives tend to have proportionally bigger write endurance, it also spreads out the write over much larger number of flash cells.
     

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