Need Assistance with PC Specs

Started Jun 13, 2013 | Discussions
WatsonPhoto
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Need Assistance with PC Specs
Jun 13, 2013

My current PC is around 6 years old and facing some service pack update issues. D800 files are growing and Lightroom 5 was just installed. So I thought it would be time for a new PC. I am a little out of touch with some of the new PC technology. I have taken a quick estimate of what's needed but would appreciate some feedback on the direction and components.

SW to be installed: Windows 8, Lightroom 5, Nik Software, Adobe CS4 Design premium package, Office 2010, Canon imaging software. Note: I am not a gamer. The only game I will load is BGblitz for backgammon. Image library is currently around 50,000 images of varying sizes from 10 mb in size to 120 mb) Image previews will be set to delete after 30 days on Lightroom to manage the size of the preview cache) I prefer to build better when getting a new PC as I don't usually do upgrades mid-cycle. Based on below, am I on the right path?

Hardware

Mini ITX case or something smaller

ASUS motherboard or other --> suggestions

Memory 16.0 gb --> any suggestions

Graphics card --> looking for cheaper card that supports 1080p video. Under $100.

Intel CPU --> suggestions

Primary OS: Windows 8 (I don't want to get into a discussion about IOS, Win7 or Win8)

Samsung 840 Pro 128 gb (is this big enough)

Second SSD: Lightroom catalogue and previews cache

Samsung 840 Pro 256 gb

Third SSD: Temporary storage for image processing before it is moved off to USB3 drive for archival

Optical drive --> whatever is cheapest

4 port USB3 add on

Main image storage areas will be on USB 3 disk drives (existing)

Should I put the users directory on the second SSD or on a USB 3 drive?

Nikon D800
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Chris Noble
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Too complicated
In reply to WatsonPhoto, Jun 13, 2013

WatsonPhoto wrote:

My current PC is around 6 years old and facing some service pack update issues. D800 files are growing and Lightroom 5 was just installed. So I thought it would be time for a new PC. I am a little out of touch with some of the new PC technology. I have taken a quick estimate of what's needed but would appreciate some feedback on the direction and components.

SW to be installed: Windows 8, Lightroom 5, Nik Software, Adobe CS4 Design premium package, Office 2010, Canon imaging software. Note: I am not a gamer. The only game I will load is BGblitz for backgammon. Image library is currently around 50,000 images of varying sizes from 10 mb in size to 120 mb) Image previews will be set to delete after 30 days on Lightroom to manage the size of the preview cache) I prefer to build better when getting a new PC as I don't usually do upgrades mid-cycle. Based on below, am I on the right path?

Hardware

Mini ITX case or something smaller

ASUS motherboard or other --> suggestions

Memory 16.0 gb --> any suggestions

Graphics card --> looking for cheaper card that supports 1080p video. Under $100.

Intel CPU --> suggestions

Primary OS: Windows 8 (I don't want to get into a discussion about IOS, Win7 or Win8)

Samsung 840 Pro 128 gb (is this big enough)

Second SSD: Lightroom catalogue and previews cache

Samsung 840 Pro 256 gb

Third SSD: Temporary storage for image processing before it is moved off to USB3 drive for archival

Optical drive --> whatever is cheapest

4 port USB3 add on

Main image storage areas will be on USB 3 disk drives (existing)

Should I put the users directory on the second SSD or on a USB 3 drive?

Every additional element makes a system more unreliable.

Go with one 256 GB SSD for everything except your image files that should be on one SATA HDD. Use USB drives for backup. You don't need the graphics card. Get a Gold rated power supply to reduce cooling requirements. Intel i7 processor and 16 GB RAM are ample.

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AShimon
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In reply to Chris Noble, Jun 13, 2013

Chris Noble wrote:

WatsonPhoto wrote:

My current PC is around 6 years old and facing some service pack update issues. D800 files are growing and Lightroom 5 was just installed. So I thought it would be time for a new PC. I am a little out of touch with some of the new PC technology. I have taken a quick estimate of what's needed but would appreciate some feedback on the direction and components.

SW to be installed: Windows 8, Lightroom 5, Nik Software, Adobe CS4 Design premium package, Office 2010, Canon imaging software. Note: I am not a gamer. The only game I will load is BGblitz for backgammon. Image library is currently around 50,000 images of varying sizes from 10 mb in size to 120 mb) Image previews will be set to delete after 30 days on Lightroom to manage the size of the preview cache) I prefer to build better when getting a new PC as I don't usually do upgrades mid-cycle. Based on below, am I on the right path?

Hardware

Mini ITX case or something smaller

ASUS motherboard or other --> suggestions

Memory 16.0 gb --> any suggestions

Graphics card --> looking for cheaper card that supports 1080p video. Under $100.

Intel CPU --> suggestions

Primary OS: Windows 8 (I don't want to get into a discussion about IOS, Win7 or Win8)

Samsung 840 Pro 128 gb (is this big enough)

Second SSD: Lightroom catalogue and previews cache

Samsung 840 Pro 256 gb

Third SSD: Temporary storage for image processing before it is moved off to USB3 drive for archival

Optical drive --> whatever is cheapest

4 port USB3 add on

Main image storage areas will be on USB 3 disk drives (existing)

Should I put the users directory on the second SSD or on a USB 3 drive?

Every additional element makes a system more unreliable.

Go with one 256 GB SSD for everything except your image files that should be on one SATA HDD. Use USB drives for backup. You don't need the graphics card. Get a Gold rated power supply to reduce cooling requirements. Intel i7 processor and 16 GB RAM are ample.

There are definite benefits to having multiple drives in a single system. While, purely statistically speaking, you are correct that the more items in the system makes it more unreliable -- it is worth noting that a modern computer system has millions of parts, tens of thousands of individual connections, and it's all made as cheaply as possible. Yet, computers today have achieved a very low failure rate.

In the real world, his setup will most likely run for years without issue. Whether that extra SSD is a sensible choice is up for debate. Personally, I would just go for the 512GB 840 Pro and be done with it.

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Chris Noble
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In reply to AShimon, Jun 13, 2013

AShimon wrote:

There are definite benefits to having multiple drives in a single system.

For the OP's needs, if he has ample RAM, one SSD for high traffic and one HDD for intermittent traffic, the additional benefit of additional drives is vanishingly small.

While, purely statistically speaking, you are correct that the more items in the system makes it more unreliable -- it is worth noting that a modern computer system has millions of parts, tens of thousands of individual connections, and it's all made as cheaply as possible. Yet, computers today have achieved a very low failure rate.

No actually, it is not worth "noting that". HDDs are the #1 failure mechanism, and SSDs are the #1 wear mechanism. You are missing the forest for the "millions and tens of thousands" trees.

In the real world, his setup will most likely run for years without issue. Whether that extra SSD is a sensible choice is up for debate. Personally, I would just go for the 512GB 840 Pro and be done with it.

More expensive than what I suggest, and a single 512GB SSD (rather than a 256 GB SSD and a 1TB HDD) will not give him the amount of online storage he will need.

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Jim Cockfield
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I'd reduce the drives (as SSDs have virtually no latency)
In reply to WatsonPhoto, Jun 13, 2013

Go with a single larger SSD and be done with it.

Unlike systems with physical hard drives, you don't have the latency problems (heads needing to move to different locations and wait for the platters to spin to the desired locations to find the data needed) with an SSD.

So, I think you'd see a negligible benefit by installing multiple SSDs and trying to split i/o between them. With physical hard drives, that was a great strategy. With SSDs with virtually no latency, I think you're "barking up the wrong tree".

IOW, I think the benefit of multiple SSDs is likely to be *very, very* small.  I'd personally go with a single, larger SSD instead in that type of setup.

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Sean Nelson
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Re: I'd reduce the drives (as SSDs have virtually no latency)
In reply to Jim Cockfield, Jun 13, 2013

Jim Cockfield wrote:

Go with a single larger SSD and be done with it.

I totally agree with Jim's reasoning.   Not only that, but with two SSDs you end up with the potential for the kind of "partioning" you get when you have multiple discrete storage pools - one drive can fill up even though the other drive has a lot of space available.   Using a single large volume rather than two smaller volume avoids that possibility.

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kelpdiver
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Re: I'd reduce the drives (as SSDs have virtually no latency)
In reply to Jim Cockfield, Jun 13, 2013

Jim Cockfield wrote:

So, I think you'd see a negligible benefit by installing multiple SSDs and trying to split i/o between them. With physical hard drives, that was a great strategy. With SSDs with virtually no latency, I think you're "barking up the wrong tree".

This is true for the 3rd one.  But there are sound reasons for separating the OS still onto the simpler 128G drive and keeping the data separate.  Smaller backup, easier to rebuild/upgrade or to relocate the data drive to a different machine.  And unlike with hard drives, you're paying nearly the same per gigabyte at the 120/240/480 sizes, so there's not a cost penalty for the second SSD.   Pairing a 840P 128 and a 512 840P does pretty well.  May still need a hard drive for mass data- or a network location to write to as I have done.

OP: if you go to 3 SSDs, you'll want to look for motherboards with more than 2 SATA6 ports.  Likely with the latest haswell chipset, less common with the prior ones.

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Jim Cockfield
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faster speeds with larger SSDs
In reply to kelpdiver, Jun 13, 2013

When looking at smaller consumer mlc based SSDs, they're slower (especially on the write side).

Not only are larger SSDs faster, their life expectancy is much longer (256GB or larger SSDs are rated for many more p/e cycles compared to smaller models).

So, I'd definitely avoid using 128GB SSDs just to split out i/o, as I think you'd see better overall performance by sticking with 256GB or larger SSDs instead, especially given the lower latency you see with modern SSDs now.

IOW, the performance bottlenecks you see with smaller SSD models is likely to be greater than the benefits of splitting i/o between multiple drives, given the lower latency you see with SSDs anymore.

Again, personally, I'd go with a single larger SSD instead. You'd get faster throughput that way (especially for writes), without the hassles associated with trying to segment data between multiple drives, and you'd probably get a better price/performance (GB/Dollar) ratio, too.

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theswede
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Re: Need Assistance with PC Specs
In reply to WatsonPhoto, Jun 13, 2013

Mini ITX case or something smaller

Smaller is hard to get with good performance as you move into laptop parts. Mini ITX is a good compromise.

ASUS motherboard or other --> suggestions

Any ASUS or Gigabyte socket 1150 ITX motherboard with Z87 and a displayport will last you a long time. At a quick look something like the ASUS H87I-PLUS will do nicely.

Memory 16.0 gb --> any suggestions

Fine for now. If you wish to feel safer, get it as 2x8GB and make sure the mother board has 4 slots and you can expand if need be in the future. But 16Gb will be good for quite a while.

Graphics card --> looking for cheaper card that supports 1080p video. Under $100.

Integrated Intel is excellent for your needs. No need for a discrete GPU.

Intel CPU --> suggestions

i5 or i7 as your taste dictates. The i7 has slightly better performance, but mostly in tasks like video encoding, compression and encryption. You won't see much difference for your tasks. That said, you will see a small difference.

Primary OS: Windows 8 (I don't want to get into a discussion about IOS, Win7 or Win8)

No worries there, a modern 1150 board will work extremely well with both Windows 7 and 8.

<snip SSD>

I agree with the other assessments that three SSD's is pointless. There may be a case for two, as the motherboard has multiple fast SATA ports to saturate, but I doubt that will make any practical difference for reasons already mentioned.

That said, if you wish to save the money from getting one larger SSD you can get two. I use that setup for the sole reason I consolidated two systems and thus ended up with two SSD's and it works fine. But the only real gain is it might be a bit cheaper.

Optical drive --> whatever is cheapest

Why? What will you use it for? Install the OS from USB stick, and after that, when will you use an optical? If you really need one, buy a USB one and keep in a drawer to take out when needed.

4 port USB3 add on

Your motherboard will probably have 4 USB4 ports, and you can use 2 more on the case if it supports that. So you have 6 USB3 ports and probably more USB2 ports than that from the get go.

Main image storage areas will be on USB 3 disk drives (existing)

If you're not accessing several of them at once you can keep them on a USB3 powered hub with no ill effect. That might be a bit slow if you copy items between them, but otherwise it will perform well.

Should I put the users directory on the second SSD or on a USB 3 drive?

Absolutely not on a USB3 drive. That will cause all manner of "interesting" problems.

Jesper

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WatsonPhoto
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Re: Need Assistance with PC Specs
In reply to theswede, Jun 13, 2013

Thanks everybody, there are definitely some good points raised. I have decided to go with two larger SSD's. I do want to separate the OS from the user data. I will likely go with the 256 gb for the OS and 512 gb for the user data + Lightroom files. 512 gb will also be big enough to handle the temporary storage of new images until I archive them off to the USB3 drives.

The sizing discussion on the SSD's was also very good. It also made me realize that I have to shrink my Lightroom previews cache and start doing some pruning of images as well. I will be using the convert to DNG lossy compression feature for some of my older material. This was material scanned in from negatives which only holds personal value. I tested and the file size shrinks from 120 mb down to 16 mb. I will probably change my selection and archiving strategy as well. Final selections will be retained in full DNG format and all others will be saved using DNG lossy compression or deleted.

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kelpdiver
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Re: faster speeds with larger SSDs
In reply to Jim Cockfield, Jun 13, 2013

Jim Cockfield wrote:

When looking at smaller consumer mlc based SSDs, they're slower (especially on the write side).

There is a little truth here, but wrapped inside a terribly inaccurate generalization.

Most SSDs have 8 channels of memory (Intel instead does 10).  The smallest capacity drive may only have 4 channels, and that can make a marked difference to the claimed performance metrics.  This used to be a problem for the 60gb units.  The M4 64gb was substantially slower in writes than the 120/240/480.  Note that it looked like the 480 was too big and suffered as a result - lot of negative reports.

with the newer M500, the densities doubled the 128gbit dies and now the 128G is the lower performer on writes, with a claimed 130MB/s versus 250/400 for the bigger ones.  IOPS is also down, but no desktop user is going to care - the queue depths aren't that high.

The 840 pro also has only 4 channels for the 128, but I suspect the use of dram memory blunts the difference as it is only 20% slower than the 8 channel offerings.

You always will have to look at the particular models.  My 64gig M4 beat up my 128gb Vertex 2...badly, even if it trailed its bigger capacity m4s.  You have to look at the figures and unfortunately it's not always immediately visible if a particular model has 4 or 8 channels, or 8 on each side of the PCB board.

Not only are larger SSDs faster, their life expectancy is much longer (256GB or larger SSDs are rated for many more p/e cycles compared to smaller models).

Now you're making stuff up.   P/E cycles are largely based on the manufacturing density.  Each time they go to a small process (which enables higher capacity), the p/e rating has declined.  The older less dense memory chips had higher endurance.  Back when we still were afraid of write endurance bogeyman, a lot of people were upset at the change from 34nm to 25nm, and the 40% decline in p/e cycles.

So, I'd definitely avoid using 128GB SSDs just to split out i/o, as I think you'd see better overall performance by sticking with 256GB or larger SSDs instead, especially given the lower latency you see with modern SSDs now.

IOW, the performance bottlenecks you see with smaller SSD models is likely to be greater than the benefits of splitting i/o between multiple drives, given the lower latency you see with SSDs anymore.

To reiterate, the reason for a separate OS drive was not about performance, it was about separating static content (OS + apps) from data.  If you just want to make a system image, you don't want to back up the data.  If you want to try a different OS or upgrade, pull the current OS disk, insert the new one, and go at it.  If you want to back out, you just put in the original drive.  But when you have multiple drives with Windows installed on a system, I get worried that Redmond is going to screw things up.  I'm sure you've encountered it going after non windows OS installs in the past.

And let's be honest - the OS/app disk is largely a write one drive.   Read performance is what matters to the user experience.  The install process is limited by the the speed of the dvd and the cpu, so there may or may not be an actual penalty in the install.  But the read speeds do not usually differ at all between the different capacities of a model line.   For the samsung 840 pro, the 128 writes at 390 instead of 520.  It still reads at 540.  I'm sure some synthetic tests can amplify that difference, but real world results...little difference.  Not enough to override any organizational planning.

Again, personally, I'd go with a single larger SSD instead. You'd get faster throughput that way (especially for writes), without the hassles associated with trying to segment data between multiple drives, and you'd probably get a better price/performance (GB/Dollar) ratio, too.

And to repeat again, the GB/dollar doesn't vary much.  The 480s cost roughly twice the 240s which are roughly the 120s.  When there is a sale, you see some inflection points that may favor a particular size over the others.  For quite some time, the 480/500G class commanded a premium price.  That is likely true now for the 960/1tb class as people are clamoring to remove physical drives entirely.

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kelpdiver
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Re: Need Assistance with PC Specs
In reply to WatsonPhoto, Jun 13, 2013

WatsonPhoto wrote:

Thanks everybody, there are definitely some good points raised. I have decided to go with two larger SSD's. I do want to separate the OS from the user data. I will likely go with the 256 gb for the OS and 512 gb for the user data + Lightroom files. 512 gb will also be big enough to handle the temporary storage of new images until I archive them off to the USB3 drives.

I talked extensively in the last post saying that for the OS, the 128 versus 256 performance question is largely silly.   But if the $120 dollars isn't a deal breaker, you do ensure no capacity issues.   My OS install with CS6 and lightroom and catalogs (and backups) and various third party plugins is running close to 100gb right now.  Buying a 120-128 now isn't very future proofed.  Of course I could take a few steps to clean up excess catalogs (or move them entirely) and keep the page file for Windows small.

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malch
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Re: Too complicated
In reply to Chris Noble, Jun 14, 2013

Chris Noble wrote:

Every additional element makes a system more unreliable.

Go with one 256 GB SSD for everything except your image files that should be on one SATA HDD. Use USB drives for backup. You don't need the graphics card. Get a Gold rated power supply to reduce cooling requirements. Intel i7 processor and 16 GB RAM are ample.

+1 for this recommendation and the reasoning behind it.

One other point that hasn't been made... each SSD will consume a SATA port and preferably a 6Gbps port. Your system will have a small and finite number of these and you don't want to fill them all up from the outset since that will restrict your future options when you need to add more bulk storage capacity for video or whatever.

Keep it simple. One large SSD plus appropriate HDD's for bulk storage.

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theswede
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Re: Too complicated
In reply to malch, Jun 14, 2013

One other point that hasn't been made... each SSD will consume a SATA port and preferably a 6Gbps port. Your system will have a small and finite number of these and you don't want to fill them all up from the outset since that will restrict your future options when you need to add more bulk storage capacity for video or whatever.

The motherborad will have 6 SATA 6Gbps ports. Putting 2 or 3 drives in from the start is not going to restrict anything.

Keep it simple. One large SSD plus appropriate HDD's for bulk storage.

Or two SSD's. Same principle. Rotating platters are for servers.

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Jim Cockfield
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Re: faster speeds with larger SSDs
In reply to kelpdiver, Jun 14, 2013

kelpdiver wrote:

Jim Cockfield wrote:

When looking at smaller consumer mlc based SSDs, they're slower (especially on the write side).

There is a little truth here, but wrapped inside a terribly inaccurate generalization.

Most SSDs have 8 channels of memory (Intel instead does 10). The smallest capacity drive may only have 4 channels, and that can make a marked difference to the claimed performance metrics. This used to be a problem for the 60gb units. The M4 64gb was substantially slower in writes than the 120/240/480. Note that it looked like the 480 was too big and suffered as a result - lot of negative reports.

with the newer M500, the densities doubled the 128gbit dies and now the 128G is the lower performer on writes, with a claimed 130MB/s versus 250/400 for the bigger ones. IOPS is also down, but no desktop user is going to care - the queue depths aren't that high.

Yea... that's probably why they dropped the 64GB model from some reports. Here's a review discussing it:

http://techreport.com/review/24666/crucial-m500-ssd-reviewed

The 840 pro also has only 4 channels for the 128, but I suspect the use of dram memory blunts the difference as it is only 20% slower than the 8 channel offerings.

Well... suit yourself. But, when sequential writes for the 128GB is rated at 390MB/Second versus 520MB/Second for the 256GB model, I'd opt for the larger drive model.

>>Not only are larger SSDs faster, their life expectancy is much longer (256GB or larger SSDs are rated for many more p/e cycles compared to smaller models).

Now you're making stuff up. P/E cycles are largely based on the manufacturing density. Each time they go to a small process (which enables higher capacity), the p/e rating has declined. The older less dense memory chips had higher endurance. Back when we still were afraid of write endurance bogeyman, a lot of people were upset at the change from 34nm to 25nm, and the 40% decline in p/e cycles.

Yea... my bad. The P/E cycles per cell are the same. But, if you look at articles about expected drive endurance, a 256GB model is expected to last twice as long as a 128GB model given the same write activity (GB/day).

See this article on the subject:

http://www.anandtech.com/show/6459/samsung-ssd-840-testing-the-endurance-of-tlc-nand

So, personally, I'd avoid using multiple 128GB or smaller SSDs just to split out i/o, as I suspect you'd see better overall performance by sticking with 256GB or larger SSDs instead, especially given the lower latency you see with modern SSDs now.

IOW, the performance bottlenecks you see with smaller SSD models is likely to be greater than the benefits of splitting i/o between multiple drives, given the lower latency you see with SSDs anymore.

To reiterate, the reason for a separate OS drive was not about performance, it was about separating static content (OS + apps) from data. If you just want to make a system image, you don't want to back up the data. If you want to try a different OS or upgrade, pull the current OS disk, insert the new one, and go at it. If you want to back out, you just put in the original drive. But when you have multiple drives with Windows installed on a system, I get worried that Redmond is going to screw things up. I'm sure you've encountered it going after non windows OS installs in the past.

And let's be honest - the OS/app disk is largely a write one drive. Read performance is what matters to the user experience. The install process is limited by the the speed of the dvd and the cpu, so there may or may not be an actual penalty in the install. But the read speeds do not usually differ at all between the different capacities of a model line. For the samsung 840 pro, the 128 writes at 390 instead of 520. It still reads at 540. I'm sure some synthetic tests can amplify that difference, but real world results...little difference. Not enough to override any organizational planning.

The OP is talking about buying 3 separate SSDs, which sounds overly complex to me.

You can use folders to separate working data, etc., versus using multiple SSDs for that purpose.

Yea... perhaps having the OS and Programs on one SSD (where mostly read activity is occurring) could make sense for organization purposes. But, I'd just use more than one partition on the same drive instead to accomplish the same thing; and I wouldn't go to the extreme the OP is discussing (3 different SSDs), as you could use folders on a larger SSD for data separation purposes.

Again, personally, I'd go with a single larger SSD instead. You'd get faster throughput that way (especially for writes), without the hassles associated with trying to segment data between multiple drives, and you'd probably get a better price/performance (GB/Dollar) ratio, too.

And to repeat again, the GB/dollar doesn't vary much. The 480s cost roughly twice the 240s which are roughly the 120s. When there is a sale, you see some inflection points that may favor a particular size over the others. For quite some time, the 480/500G class commanded a premium price. That is likely true now for the 960/1tb class as people are clamoring to remove physical drives entirely.

The new Crucial 960GB drive is tempting due to it's very low cost/GB (less than 63 cents/GB since you can buy it for $599.99), and it's probably more than most users need for working data (and you could use cheap spinners for archive and backups).

So, yep... I can see where users are probably going to migrate to using an SSD only. I've got Samsung 830 SSDs in a laptop and netbook right now, but I haven't taken that step with my primary desktop yet.

Hopefully, we'll see similar price drops from other drive makers soon, too.

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kelpdiver
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Re: faster speeds with larger SSDs
In reply to Jim Cockfield, Jun 14, 2013

Jim Cockfield wrote:

Yea... perhaps having the OS and Programs on one SSD (where mostly read activity is occurring) could make sense for organization purposes. But, I'd just use more than one partition on the same drive instead to accomplish the same thing;

The new Crucial 960GB drive is tempting due to it's very low cost/GB (less than 63 cents/GB since you can buy it for $599.99), and it's probably more than most users need for working data (and you could use cheap spinners for archive and backups)

A separate partition doesn't let you substitute the OS with another drive, or migrate the data to another computer.  It does allow for separate backups, but I view the other as important.

I saw that Crucial 599 bit as well - interesting as it doesn't use TLC like the Samsung 840 non pro.   However, I'm not sure you can actually buy it at that price.   Crucial's own site lists it at that price, but out of stock.  Others listed it as considerably higher prices. But if not true today, it will be soon enough.  For photographers, 1TB probably gets the job done fine.  The video people and the event photographers still need more, but the rest of us would be doing just fine.

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AShimon
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Re: Agree to Disagree
In reply to Chris Noble, Jun 14, 2013

Chris Noble wrote:

AShimon wrote:

There are definite benefits to having multiple drives in a single system.

For the OP's needs, if he has ample RAM, one SSD for high traffic and one HDD for intermittent traffic, the additional benefit of additional drives is vanishingly small.

Not everyone lives in your world, apparently. I see the benefit of using SSD for storage to be increasingly beneficial. Not sure how anyone could argue against the benefits of SSD storage, except for cost.

While, purely statistically speaking, you are correct that the more items in the system makes it more unreliable -- it is worth noting that a modern computer system has millions of parts, tens of thousands of individual connections, and it's all made as cheaply as possible. Yet, computers today have achieved a very low failure rate.

No actually, it is not worth "noting that". HDDs are the #1 failure mechanism, and SSDs are the #1 wear mechanism. You are missing the forest for the "millions and tens of thousands" trees.

I'd like to see the statistics on HDDs being the #1 failure mechanism and SSD being #1 wear mechanism -- you pulled those statements out of the clouds, I think. I have certainly replaced far more failed PSUs than failed HDDs in the 12 years I have been servicing and building PCs. In fact, looking at my records for the last two years, I have not replaced a single HDD due to failure. Most of them were SSD replacements.

In the real world, his setup will most likely run for years without issue. Whether that extra SSD is a sensible choice is up for debate. Personally, I would just go for the 512GB 840 Pro and be done with it.

More expensive than what I suggest, and a single 512GB SSD (rather than a 256 GB SSD and a 1TB HDD) will not give him the amount of online storage he will need.

I never suggested that his only drive be the 512GB, nor did I flesh my suggestion out very well. I meant to say that rather than purchase two SSDs for his machine, just purchase a single larger one.

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RedFox88
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Re: Need Assistance with PC Specs
In reply to kelpdiver, Jun 14, 2013

kelpdiver wrote:

) and keep the page file for Windows small.

I haven't used Virtual memory,aka pagefile or swap file, for years.  It was needed when RAM was 4 MB (megabyte not gigabyte) but isn't needed anymore with computers having 4 to 16 GB of very fast RAM.

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kelpdiver
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Re: Need Assistance with PC Specs
In reply to RedFox88, Jun 14, 2013

RedFox88 wrote:

kelpdiver wrote:

) and keep the page file for Windows small.

I haven't used Virtual memory,aka pagefile or swap file, for years. It was needed when RAM was 4 MB (megabyte not gigabyte) but isn't needed anymore with computers having 4 to 16 GB of very fast RAM.

some amazingly angry people on the internet on this subject, along with wildly differing conclusions between none and 1x memory for large memory footprints (and even more for lower ones)  I've gone without, but the hedge bet is leaving a tiny 1-4G one in case a rare write is attempted.

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teseg
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Re: Need Assistance with PC Specs
In reply to WatsonPhoto, Jun 15, 2013

All I know is there are over the counter deals to be had with Intel I7 or 6 or 8 core AMD CPUs along with 1.5T 7200 rpm HDD for under $700... this includes 6 SATA3 6mbs sockets, 10GB+ RAM and +450Watts of power. Spend a little more than $200 more for the best 256GB SSD and install, and for $900 and great simplicity you get:

  • The latest Technology everything (and BTW, that also includes USB3 ports)
  • An SSD big enough for all programs + a place to drop your working files + allocate buffer on the SSD to keep it quick
  • An HDD big enough to warehouse/archive all the photo folders you have already worked hard... when done working them on the SSD, just drag and drop to the HDD... done.
  • For another $100 you can acquire a 1T+ USB3 external drive for auto-backup

So for $1K you will have a system that can keep you for many years to come, as I do not see photo-processing software creating leaps of incremental CPU workload in the near future and I know for certain the AMD FX-6200 or AMD FX-6300, as "inferior" as they are, are powerful enough to make quick work of LR4, GIMP, Photo Ninja, etc... with 24MP files.

I speculate the next hardware bind will emerge when better cameras start using 48MP-96MP sensors, and all these people who filled their SATA connections with 120GB - 256GB SSDs can use those things as coasters for their milk after having to upgrade in size or realize that having a very large HDD for warehousing/archiving reams of old RAW files really starts to make more sense. Of course, at that point, CPUs (no matter I7 or lesser AMD chips) will be neutered. I think we'll have a few years until this trend emerges.

In summary, some of the desktops on the market (from the major brands) have hardware components significantly discounted vs. the retail price you would pay to assemble yourself... the biggest challenge is uninstalling bloat ware at start up.

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