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This is buggin me (Purchasing advice)


NfiniteZERO

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So, I picked up a P256 drive when I got my 3-pack of Windows 7 and I have very much fallen in love with my laptop again. It's amazing you can pack that much pure awesome into a 2.5" drive casing.

 

The problem is now that I'm looking at doing an upgrade to my tower and I can't decide what I want to do. Right now the present RAID setup I have pushes ~150MB/s reads and I know that one SSD will absolutely blow that out of the water... but I keep thinking "what about two of these?" and start drooling on my keyboard.

 

The perspective candidates are the P256 for a single drive, and the RAID version would be 2 P128s in RAID 0. I'm using the on board RAID from AMD's SB700.

 

Any input is welcome and appreciated.

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I had 2x P128 (old firmware) in RAID 0 and have since switched to 1 256 Gb Indilinx drive because of very bad write speeds and stutters after a month of use. My write speeds are still very good with the TRIM enabled firmware from Indilinx (+150 Mb/s) where as my P128's are in the 70-80s. Get one X256 would be my recommendation.

 

Also TRIM is not supported in RAID. Just something to think about.

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I had 2x P128 (old firmware) in RAID 0 and have since switched to 1 256 Gb Indilinx drive because of very bad write speeds and stutters after a month of use. My write speeds are still very good with the TRIM enabled firmware from Indilinx (+150 Mb/s) where as my P128's are in the 70-80s. Get one X256 would be my recommendation.

 

Also TRIM is not supported in RAID. Just something to think about.

 

Thanks for the input pnapp. I have been pondering about the X-series myself but looking at the reviews at Newegg steered me away from them (lots of bad press out there - X256 has the worst reviews on it) and guided me to the P256 for my first purchase. The issues that I saw on this forum didn't help either I'll admit, but it seems like the problem has been solved so I don't need to worry anymore. (EDIT - Seems Newegg doesn't have anymore X236 models anymore. Dang)

 

I have also been pondering the debacle that is TRIM. I know Corsair has been working on getting it out to us in the field and I'm a fairly patient computer guy. Considering that I'll be doing an overhaul of my system in the next year or two, I'd be comfortable with a RAID setup since by that time (in the ideal world) that the RAID firmwares out there should be updated to support TRIM. I know Intel's Matrix should be sporting it soon, though I can't say about AMD's Promise-based controller.

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I recently built a RAID 0 with two P128s.Initially it ran well,but very quickly the write speeds degraded.The garbage collection that these drives are supposed to feature did not work in the array either.I eventually decided that this was not worth the increase in the read speeds. In the array,the reads were running around 225 (HD tune pro). So,I imaged the drive,removed one of the drives and re-imaged on a single drive..now my reads are around 214.More importantly,the GC now appears to work,so the writes are more consistent. Even more to the point of the practical use,the system actually appears faster when I'm using it.In hindsight,I should have waited until all the wrinkles were ironed out before jumping into the SSD arena.Neither the single drive,nor the RAID 0,doesn't feel any faster than my old Velociraptor RAID0 did.
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DEFINITELY do the X128s if you are RAIDing them. The Indilinx controller is better designed for RAID arrays and the benches show it. Also, Indilinx supports TRIM (Corsair hasn't released it yet, but they have it supposedly) natively and Samsung is still working on the firmware, if they ever get it. Look at my post with the benchmarks from my RAID array and you won't be able to deny for performance in RAID go X128 x 2.

 

Here is my benchmark post: http://forum.corsair.com/v3/showthread.php?t=82327

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DEFINITELY do the X128s if you are RAIDing them. The Indilinx controller is better designed for RAID arrays and the benches show it. Also, Indilinx supports TRIM (Corsair hasn't released it yet, but they have it supposedly) natively and Samsung is still working on the firmware, if they ever get it. Look at my post with the benchmarks from my RAID array and you won't be able to deny for performance in RAID go X128 x 2.

 

Here is my benchmark post: http://forum.corsair.com/v3/showthread.php?t=82327

 

Those are some impressive benches man. What settings are you using for stripe size and NTFS cluster? I know my AMD chipset is nowhere near Intel's ICHx but I'd be extremely happy with those kinds of numbers!

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128K Cluster for the Raid and 32K Allocation for the format just do a quick format.

 

Peculiar...I've tried a similar setup with my normal hard drives in RAID but I ran into a lashup while trying to reinstall Vista to do my Windows 7 upgrade.

 

The stripe size was set at 64k and I was going for 16k clusters to keep a 4:1 ratio and I got an error saying that "Windows could not find a suitable drive for installation." I had the RAID drivers loaded and everything was setup right, but only after doing a quick format to the 4k cluster was I able to install Windows.

 

Seems that the Vista boot loader (and Windows 7 as well) doesn't like anything above 4k for a cluster size. (I read about it here - http://www.wilderssecurity.com/showthread.php?t=184377)

 

Since the RAID setup will be my system drive as well, will I be stuck with 4k clusters on my stripe? Or is there a better boot loader out there? I know there are ways to get around it but with my copy of Disk Director won't load on Win7 (but Davyc pointed me to an older build that will load he thinks. Haven't had time to try)

 

I know it's a lot to digest, but I am looking forward to getting this setup right and really go for broke with this setup.

 

Again, very appreciative of all the help so far :D:

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  • Corsair Employees
SSD drives will be different than a spinning HDD because of the actual cluster size on the platters, this setting has shown to provide the best performance with 64 Gig and 128 GIG SSD drives, I posted the results in one of the stickie's but you are welcome to try what ever you like.
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Just use what Ram Guy said above and check out my new forum post and you'll see insane results (exact same settings)!!! The forum post is called MUST READ X128s FIXED

 

Congrats on getting it working! Must be a real load off your chest.

 

I have thought about what RAM GUY said, and it's making as much sense to me as dividing by zero. Doing a quick format for the 32k cluster (or anything over 4k for that matter) and install Windows Vista/7 on it as a clean drive (either RAIDed or single) will come back with that error I mentioned earlier. ("Windows cannot find a suitable drive for installation") Like I mentioned in a previous post - been there, done that, and it wasn't fun. I spent hours on Google with a ton of different word combinations to find out why it was doing it when I found that link I posted earlier. If you don't know where I'm coming from, check it out. Particularly, this part right here: http://www.wilderssecurity.com/showpost.php?p=1119772&postcount=47

 

From what I've read and understand, it's not an HDD or SSD thing. It's the boot loader for the OS. It don't like NTFS clusters over 4k. XP/Win2k had the same deal as I recall.

 

I did some early morning (read - 2AM MDT) checking and I do have hunch I'm going to test out in the morning or when I have time. I'll post more when I can but I really need to get some sleep.

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By George, I think I've got it.

 

Okay, so with my tower - wiped my RAID and set about reinstalling Windows 7.

 

Using DISKPART to partition/format the drive to max capacity (w/ 32k clusters) - "Windows cannot find a drive that meets it's criteria for installation." Same error I got before.

 

Deleted and let Windows 7 setup that "hidden" partition on the first 100MB. Before I go to the next phase of the install, I hit Shift+F10 to open a command prompt w/ Admin rights.

 

Ran DiskPart and did the following (commands bolded):

 

sel disk 0 ;;my RAID

list partition

Which shows:

;;Partition 1 - 100MB Offset=1024

;;Partition 2 - (remainder of drive) offset=101MB

 

sel partition 1

active ;;Flags the hidden partition as the partition with the boot loader

sel partition 2

format fs=ntfs unit=32k quick override ;;Remainder of drive quick-formatted to 32k clusters, override is to cut all open handles.

assign ;;gives the partition a drive letter for the next part

 

Exited out of DiskPart and ran Chkdsk to verify my cluster settings. Sure enough, 32k. Windows 7 just got done installing as I type this. Everything seems to be in order. So, that's one mystery solved.

 

Anybody know how to make $1000 disappear without drawing undue attention so I can buy my X-series drives already? :D:

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I have not ran into this and have installed Windows 7 50+ times on many SSD's drives and I have never had to use any of these extreme measures to format the drive. Windows 7 will use the correct alocation on any SSD drive I have tested and has worked fine with default settings on any drive I have tested. Only in a raid configuration have I had to tweak the settings to get optimized performance but I will try to duplicate this in the future and post anything I find.
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GPARTED would have done that from you from a bootable Linux environment. That would have saved you a ton of headache. Sorry, I didn't come up with that earlier. Sounds like you got it now though.

 

No worries man. Honestly, I think I was just under information overload because I had the answer right in front of me but I just didn't see it. Then the answer hit me like a ton of bricks and I decided to give it a dry run before I ordered the drives. I'm glad I did, so now I know what to do when they get here.

 

Truth be told though, it's better to use the Rescue mode for Win7 or Vista to partition the drives. Just looking all over the web and I see re-images gone bad because the offset for the drives defaults to the old WinXP value of 32kb. Trust me, I am for less headache all the time.

 

Going to order the drives but for now, I'll post the current benchmark for my machine in ATTO. Hopefully we'll see some major improvements.

ATTOCurrent.JPG.53ec72594decd15d488442139b2ef376.JPG

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Looks solid, better than I was getting before the X128s.

 

As for the other comment, extreme measures? In all reality you're right all you should have to do is run Win7 setup and it should work, but with the performance issues SSDs inherently have you must use other tools to regain performance. If you've loaded windows 50+ times and haven't securely wiped (HDDERASE) the SSD(s) you have, then that explains the need to reload Windows 50+ times! If you botch your partitioning on accident, it happens in the quest to gain ultimate performance, then sometimes you need to go to a more "extreme measure" or use the tools designed for people that have the technical proficiency to use them and not destroy their hardware. Windows uses "dummied" up versions of the programs described in some of these threads to minimize liability. When you want stuff done thoroughly sometimes you must go to more powerful apps. Windows does not allow you to securely wipe a SSD at all. The only way to do it is from applications like GPARTED or HDDERASE.

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I have not ran into this and have installed Windows 7 50+ times on many SSD's drives and I have never had to use any of these extreme measures to format the drive. Windows 7 will use the correct alocation on any SSD drive I have tested and has worked fine with default settings on any drive I have tested. Only in a raid configuration have I had to tweak the settings to get optimized performance but I will try to duplicate this in the future and post anything I find.

 

Hrm...from what I've understood doing a quick format in Windows setup with a RAW drive will end up with a cluster size of 4k by default. That is, unless you cut into DiskPart like I did.

 

I just made an image with TI on my laptop with the SSD so I will try testing this out in the afternoon with a clean install to the SSD, barring anything that comes up between now and then.

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Looks solid, better than I was getting before the X128s.

 

As for the other comment, extreme measures? In all reality you're right all you should have to do is run Win7 setup and it should work, but with the performance issues SSDs inherently have you must use other tools to regain performance. If you've loaded windows 50+ times and haven't securely wiped (HDDERASE) the SSD(s) you have, then that explains the need to reload Windows 50+ times! If you botch your partitioning on accident, it happens in the quest to gain ultimate performance, then sometimes you need to go to a more "extreme measure" or use the tools designed for people that have the technical proficiency to use them and not destroy their hardware. Windows uses "dummied" up versions of the programs described in some of these threads to minimize liability. When you want stuff done thoroughly sometimes you must go to more powerful apps. Windows does not allow you to securely wipe a SSD at all. The only way to do it is from applications like GPARTED or HDDERASE.

 

Oh crap, I need more coffee. Meant to say partition the drives, not format them! Sorry for the miscommunication - I'll fix my post.

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If you've loaded windows 50+ times and haven't securely wiped (HDDERASE) the SSD(s) you have, then that explains the need to reload Windows 50+ times!
I think he's talking about many system builds, not 50+ times on the same system.
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Order just went through and will be here soon (next day hopefully).

 

I'm off to ask forgiveness from the account manager and balancer of the checkbook...wish me luck guys :sigh!:

 

You'll need it if she's like mine! I still am catching hell for the SSDs, the new motherboard that's virtually the same as the old and since I was already in hot water I made it boil with the Razer Megalodon!:evil:

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