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New'ish workstation build


geek-accountant
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Currently my main system is a AMD Phenom II x4 with 8gig of ram. C drive is a 500gig SATA drive and the D drive is a 1.5tb SATA drive. I am way behind on the BYOB podcast and just got to the one talking about SSD drives and now I want one. :D

 

What I would like to do is remove both drives from my system, install a SSD as the C drive and then install two 2tb drives in RAID 0 configuration as the D drive (not worried about loss of data since I have WHS backing this system up every night). Then restore the data to both drives from my WHS backup. I have done this type of swap before, but without the SSD and RAID part. Is the restore from WHS as straight forward as with regular drives and no RAID? I will be using the RAID controller on the motherboard which is an Asus M2N-SLI Deluxe board.

 

As an additional problem, my 500gig C drive only has 78gig free, so I will have to move a LOT of files off of it before I begin.

 

Thanks for the help and let me know if I posted this to the wrong forum.

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The restore should see the RAID 0 just like it would any other LUN and the System drive is a one for one restore so no issue there. Why a RAID 0? No redundancy and some say an increase in speed but I've never really seen any.

 

I would go with a RAID 1 with those two drives; carve out a Page File Partition for the SSD and redirect the temporary internet files over there also. The balance would be for your data.

 

The BYOB guys will chime in but there is an excellent section on SSD purchases. Price is inviting on the older models but depending on what your system has to do, that may suffice. If you do high end tasks, you may need one of the latest generation drives. One other to consider is one of the WD Black Caviar Drives for the OS instead of an SSD. Other than boot times, you may not see much of a difference.

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Since I have WHS backing up my systems every night, I don't see the need for RAID 1 on any of the workstations. I never heard that before about RAID 0 though. I always thought you got around 80%+ speed improvement with RAID 0

 

I mainly use my workstation computer in my home office for the following task:

 

Photo editing (Lightroom and Photoshop)

Excel spreadsheets

Video editing (Adobe Premier Elements)

Web browsing

Quicken

Virtualbox (various VM's)

 

My thinking was to put my main programs and the OS on the SSD drive and everything else on the D drive with RAID 0. Thinking that RAID 0 will help with the reading and writing while working in Lightroom and Photoshop, plus some of the other programs.

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I'm not saying you will not get an increase, just that I have not. "Your mileage may vary".

 

I would redirect those VM's to be on your D drive, just like your data.

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My suggestion is that you configure your raid, move all the stuff you want to move, slim down your "C" drive to all the data to fit on the new SSD, then either clone it or download a trial version of acronis and back up the drive and restore it to the SSD. WHS will not allow a restore to a smaller drive. Ultimately the best way is to move everything over to your new configuration and do a fresh install on the SSD. This will save you pain and allow for the best performance. Since you are moving some much stuff it should not be that big of deal to do a fresh install.

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A fresh install is not out of the question, but it comes with pain also.

 

I have actually done a WHS restore to a smaller drive. I converted my HTPC from a 500gig to an 80gig drive. The key was that there was less than 80gig of data on the 500gig drive. I had heard before that going to a smaller drive doesn't work, so I was a bit surprised when it did.

 

Do you feel the cloning process for the D drive data is a cleaner or easier process than just doing a WHS restore? I didn't really think about that, but now that you bring it up I am thinking it may be the faster route to take.

 

One of the reasons I am trying to avoid a re-install of the OS, is I am afraid I will lose some of my settings or have to spend a great deal of time getting everything back to the way I like. For example, I have Lightroom and Photoshop setup just right for me and every time I do a re-install something does come back right. Plus, this install of Win7 is only about 6 months old, how much could have gone wrong in that amount of time? :rolleyes:

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Guest no-control

You dont mention what size SSD you are going to get, but I'll jump in with my opinion as well. Here's how I would spend your money tongue.gif

 

This assumes you can keep you C: drive relatively clean and compact. Buy 120gb SSD and then buy 2 WD 2TB Black drives and place in RAID0. I'm really going to shy you away from doing a restore or reimage, as a clean install is the way to go, but will provide the option as a plan B. My install time for W7+updates, Office2010, & CS4 was under 1.5hrs total most of which was downloading updates. So unless you have some really crazy windows settings, fresh install. Setup as follows:

 

Prep existing files first:

  • migrate (not backup) files to WHS this is just data you want to keep
  • Make a list of what goes where, SSD should have programs have long load times or lots of disk access ie Adobe CS, Office, etc... All other programs should go on the RAID
  • This assumes that 13gb is enough scratch space for Premier but if you need more adjust accordingly. If you need a lot more its going to have to go on the RAID
  • I only break up the RAID into 2 partitions for simplicity. IRL I would probably use 3 1TB partitions to mitigate defrag Programs/access/data/unallocated for future expansion

 

You are going to create four partitions

  • First is the O/S & programs they will go on the SSD as your C: which should be ~100GB
  • The second partition is the balance of your drive space on your SSD ~13GB Label as you wish this will be a scratch drive for Pshop & Premier
  • The third partition is the first 2TB of the spindle drives in the RAID0 this is your "fast access" the outer portion of the platters. Place VM's and VHD's here along with less essential programs, internet temp files etc...
  • The fourth partition is the last 2TB of the RAID this is your storage.

Should look like this:

System Reserved 100 MB

Local Disk (C:) 100 GB

Scratch (D:) 13 GB

Programs (E:) 1863 GB

Data (F:) 1863 GB

 

This would be the ideal distribution and execution. It also is the faster of the 2 options.

 

Plan B is the same as above but without the clean install.

 

  • Clean out the PC of all junk files, dead programs, small programs etc... Just keep the core of what you use and what you want to load fast, quicken can go etc...easy to restore data and reinstall doesn't take long.
  • Move everything except programs to a folder on WHS
  • Since W7 isn't capable of compacting a drive really small, download and install the free version of perfect disk
  • Use perfect disk to make the existing C: volume as small as possible
  • uninstall PerfectDisk and back up to the WHS
  • Install SSD as per Plan A
  • restore from WHS to C:
  • Install RAID 0 and setup partitions
  • Install programs into the fast access portion
  • Migrate data back to data partition

Much longer because you're move data all over the place. The acronis option to reimage saves a step, but acronis isn't as obvious on how to shrink a partition.

 

PM me if you need more help with this

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Ok, you got me thinking about just doing a clean install. I don't dread the Windows part, it's all the other things I have running just like I want. I also like your ideas on the partitioning of the drives.

 

Time to head over to Newegg and start looking at SSD's.

 

Also, something else you mentioned made me realize something. I mentioned above that I have been able to do a WHS restore to a smaller disk. However, in the case where I did go from a 500gig drive to a 80gig drive, the 500gig drive had very little use and therefore most likely was not as spread out all over the drive. Could that be the reason I was able to restore to a smaller drive?

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Just checked out those WD Black drives. Very nice. I guess I always did my Newegg sorts by lowest price and never even looked at these. I did a little further research and these looked great. However, they do cost a bit more than green drives so this build may take a bit longer than I originally thought.

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