Not The Answer, but Step I The Right Direction?

Started Mar 23, 2013 | Discussions
HDProman Contributing Member • Posts: 937
Not The Answer, but Step I The Right Direction?

I am very aware the best solution to speeding up an older computer is a complete upgrade or new computer.

Current budget considerations do not include the funds for a complete system upgrade.

A quick overview of my current system.

Graphics: NEC PA241W monitor with included SpectraView II calibration system, and NVIDA GeForce GTS 250 graphics card. No on board graphics so the graphics card is not optional.

Processor and Ram: Intel Core 2 Quad CPU Q9550 @ 2.83 GHz and 8GB DDR2 PC2-6400 (400 MHz). I could upgrade to 16GB, but only at a very high cost, $300 and per a previous post I probably would not see much of an improvement.

Boot drive is WD sata2 500 GB with 93GB of used space.

OS: Windows7 Professional 64bit.

Windows Experience Index average rating 5.9

Break down of scores: Processor 7.3, Memory 7.3, Graphics 7.0, Gaming Graphics 7.0, and Primary hard disk 5.9.

Can I do something about the 5.9? Like replace the C drive with a OCZ 256GB Vertex4 SSD?

I realize my MB is SATA2 and this will limit the SSD speeds, so I considered getting a Apricom Velocity Solo x2 SSD upgrade kit. Unfortunately this kit needs a PCIe 2 slot and the only one my motherboard offers is being used by the video card. I do have PCI slots available but it is my understanding those will not work.

If I install a SSD on SATA2 this should work but with a hit on the speed. I can learn about cloning my C drive and installing the SSD and because the model is SATA3 I could use this drive when I am able to upgrade the rest of my components.

My main program I am hoping to speedup is Adobe Lightroom4. This drive would include the program, catalog, previews and maybe the last 6 months of raw photos. According to my calculation this should fit within the 256GBs of this SSD.

Am I on the right path? How should this drive affect my Lightroom experience?

Should I proceed or wait until I can upgrade everything.

-- hide signature --

Newbie, having fun.

Leica X2
If you believe there are incorrect tags, please send us this post using our feedback form.
malch Forum Pro • Posts: 14,260
Re: Not The Answer, but Step I The Right Direction?

HDProman wrote:

My main program I am hoping to speedup is Adobe Lightroom4. This drive would include the program, catalog, previews and maybe the last 6 months of raw photos. According to my calculation this should fit within the 256GBs of this SSD.

Adding a SSD will certainly help. SATA2 .v. SATA3 won't be a big deal on this system so I wouldn't worry about that too much. I would certainly consider a clean Windows install onto the SSD since performance in the goal.

However, I fear the overall improvement in LR4 performance is not going to prove the most exciting thing you've ever encountered. LR4 just hogs CPU cycles big time and that will still be something of a bottleneck. So just don't expect too much.

On the plus side, it will be rather easy to transfer your SSD to a new machine with a more powerful CPU at some point down the road.

Jim Cockfield Forum Pro • Posts: 16,333
Motherboard brand/model?

What is your Motherboard brand/model (or brand/model of computer if it's an off-the-shelf system from Dell, HP or similar)?

That would give us a better idea of what slots are available and what their specs are.

You can find a relatively inexpensive PCIe card with SATA III ports now. Some are as low as $15.

But, even using an SSD with SATA II is still a lot faster than a physical hard drive. For example, many nicer modern SSDs will give you around 275MB/Second via SATA II (around twice as fast as a physical drive for write and read speed, with dramatically more I/Os per second and very little latency, because you don't have any drive head movement with an SSD).

Now, if you have a MB with a spare PCIe slot that supports a card with SATA III ports, you could probably improve performance some (and some of those cards are very inexpensive).  But, even using SATA II, you should see a nice improvement over a physical drive in more than one area (and don't just look at MB/Second, as there are many other areas that represent how well a drive performs).

As for a drive model, personally, I'd look a reliability. I have a couple of the Samsung 830 series models, as they have a terrific reputation in that area.

But, if buying a brand new SSD (since the 830 is discontinued now), I'd go with a Samsung 840 Pro (not the standard 840), as the 840 Pro uses the same type of controller and memory as the older 830, with even better performance, and the 840 Pro also has a 5 year warranty.

The Samsung 840 Pro is not the cheapest SSD around. But, reliability is more important to me (and it also outperforms the vast majority of SSDs on the market now).

IOW, I wouldn't go with a cheaper SSD just because you're using SATA II.

-- hide signature --

JimC
------

malch Forum Pro • Posts: 14,260
Re: Motherboard brand/model?

Jim Cockfield wrote:

You can find a relatively inexpensive PCIe card with SATA III ports now. Some are as low as $15.

I wouldn't bother. A SSD with SATA2 will still take seek and latency out of the loop. At that point, LR4 will be bogged down on CPU big time. No point spending any money on PCIe cards and all of the potential conflicts, driver hassles etc.

Invest your time tuning LR and trying to develop a more efficient workflow with it. That's probably going to have the greatest impact.

OP HDProman Contributing Member • Posts: 937
Re: Motherboard brand/model?

Does this help?

http://www.dpreview.com/galleries/3642323431/photos/2480825/page-7.jpg

http://www.dpreview.com/galleries/3642323431/photos/2480826/page-10.jpg

Inside View

http://www.dpreview.com/galleries/3642323431/photos/2480824/20090805_mycomputer_0002

Top two PCIe slots now are occupied with USB3 expansion cards. One is connecting my 2 USB3 WD external backup drives and the second connects my Lexar USB3 memory card reader. When booting my computer I get a warning that the card reader could be faster if connected using a Super speed USB3 port. I have checked and the expansion cards are WD components and Super speed USB3 capable so I assume the problem is my connection via PCIE version 1. Am I correct, just another reason to be looking at a system upgrade.

The expansion slot below the video card in now empty, no longer need the eSATA connections.

-- hide signature --

Newbie, having fun.

OP HDProman Contributing Member • Posts: 937
Re: Motherboard brand/model?

HDProman wrote:

Does this help?

http://www.dpreview.com/galleries/3642323431/photos/2480825/page-7.jpg

http://www.dpreview.com/galleries/3642323431/photos/2480826/page-10.jpg

Inside View

http://www.dpreview.com/galleries/3642323431/photos/2480824/20090805_mycomputer_0002

Top two PCIe slots now are occupied with USB3 expansion cards. One is connecting my 2 USB3 WD external backup drives and the second connects my Lexar USB3 memory card reader. When booting my computer I get a warning that the card reader could be faster if connected using a Super speed USB3 port. I have checked and the expansion cards are WD components and Super speed USB3 capable so I assume the problem is my connection via PCIE version 1. Am I correct, just another reason to be looking at a system upgrade.

The expansion slot below the video card in now empty, no longer need the eSATA connections.

-- hide signature --

Newbie, having fun.

How would I have the images appear and not just the links, if possible?

-- hide signature --

Newbie, having fun.

Jim Cockfield Forum Pro • Posts: 16,333
Re: Motherboard brand/model?

HDProman wrote:

[snip]

How would I have the images appear and not just the links, if possible?

When making a new post, look at the icons at the top. If you "mouse over" the available choices, you can see what they're for. The third icon from the right will tell you it is used to "Insert/Edit Image from Web" if you hover your mouse over it. Then, if you click on it, a window will pop up that lets you paste a link to an image (so that it will be displayed in a forum post here).

The way the old forums software worked, direct links to images allowed them to display inside of posts here automatically.

But, with the new forums software, you have to click on the icon for that purpose. This one (third icon from the right in the toolbar you'll see when making a new post here).

Anyway, the PCIe slots on your Motheboard are all x1 type slots (except for the one x16 slot you're probably using for a video card).

So, you probably would not see any performance increase by installing a PCIe card with SATA III ports in one of them, as compared to using a SATA II port instead.

IOW, if they were faster slots, I would suggest just removing one of the other cards (for example, using a single USB 3.0 card with a USB 3.0 hub, versus two separate USB 3.0 cards),

But, since the other slots on your MB are slower PCIe x1 slots, you're probably not going to see any benefit using a card with SATA III ports, versus just using one of the SATA II ports built into your Gigabtye GA-EP45-UD3R Motherboard from reports I've seen.

Now, I would still suggest getting an SSD. Just use it on one of your Motherboard's SATA II ports instead.

Checking with vendors, I'd tell you what I'd buy... This 256GB Samsung 830 series drive:

http://www.tigerdirect.com/applications/SearchTools/item-details.asp?EdpNo=7812945&CatId=5300

Why? It's very reliable and it's available at a nice price from tigerdirect.com right this minute. But, it's a discontinued model now (replaced by the newer Samsung 840 and 840 Pro series drives), and that's the only reputable vendor I see that still has the old 830 model in stock from what I can tell from a quick search for it. There may be others, but I just didn't find any with a quick search.

Or, I'd go with a newer Samsung 840 Pro (not the standard 840 model) instead. But, it will cost you more. For example, amazon looks like they have it for $218.61 right this minute, which is a *very* good price for that drive.

http://www.amazon.com/Samsung-Electronics-Series-2-5-Inch-MZ-7PD256BW/dp/B009NB8WRU

For example, it's $239.99 at newegg (so, Amazon has a pretty good deal on it right this minute):

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16820147193

I would not suggest using the newer Samsung 840. I'd either stick with the older Samsung 830, or newer Samsung 840 Pro (not the standard 840) if I were buying a new SSD.

But, even the newer 840 (versus 840 Pro) using cheaper TLC memory designs with a P/E count of only 1000 can be expected to last a very long time with typical usage patterns.

Here's an article looking at that kind of thing with Samsung's latest 840 series drives. These are only designed for 1/3 the P/E cycles of the older Samsung 830 or new 840 Pro (versus 840 standard) drive. The 830 and 840 Pro are designed for 3000 p/e cycles per cell; and the standard 840 is designed for only 1000 P/E cycles per cell.

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

With the older 830 series models, you would typically be able to get over 800TB of writes before the Wear Leaving Count went to zero according to some of the endurance tests I've seen of them.

There are some interesting threads about drives being continuously written to in order to see how reliable they are, and a 256GB Samsung 830 series drive made to over 6000 Terabytes of writes before it failed (even though the WLC count was at zero after 828TB of writes). You'll see that mentioned in the article I just linked to (it finally failed after just over 6000TB, even though it was still running when that article was written if you look at the threads about the drives being tested that way).

I bought a couple of Samsung 830 drives on sale a while back, mostly because they have a good reputation for reliability.

Of course, any drive (SSD or Physical) can fail prematurely.

So, just make regular backups, check the SMART data periodically, and if a drive fails during the warranty period, replace it.

But, some drives may last a long time after their P/E counts have been exhausted, too (as in a 256GB Samsung 830 that lasted for over 6000TB of writes, even though the Wear Leveling Count indicator had gone to zero after just over 800TB of writes).

However, the same endurance tests of the new 840 (standard versus Pro) did not fair so well. It failed about when it should have (whereas the 830 lasted *dramatically* longer than it's estimated lifespan (and the newer 840 Pro uses the same type of memory as the older 830; whereas the 840 standard model uses cheaper TLC memory).

So, I personally would stick with the older 830 or newer 840 Pro instead of the newer standard 840 model.

That's why if it were me, I'd spend the $169.99 for the 256GB Samsung 830, since it looks like tigerdirect.com still has some in stock at that price.

Or, if budget permitted, I'd go with a newer 840 Pro instead (which is a faster drive with a longer 5 year warranty), since amazon has them at a very good price right this minute ($218.61 delivered).

IOW, if it were me, I'd buy one of these:

256GB Samsung 830 for $169.99 from tigerdirect.com:

http://www.tigerdirect.com/applications/SearchTools/item-details.asp?EdpNo=7812945&CatId=5300

256GB Samsung 840 Pro for $218.61 from Amazon.com:

http://www.amazon.com/Samsung-Electronics-Series-2-5-Inch-MZ-7PD256BW/dp/B009NB8WRU

Then, I'd install Windows, all programs, scratch files, etc. on it.

If you're on a tighter budget, you may be able to get by with a 128GB drive instead. But right this minute, the 256GB Drives appear to have the best "bang for the buck" (cost/performance ratio). The 256GB drives are also designed to have a longer estimated lifespan and tend to be a bit faster than the smaller models on most tests.

But, in any event, if it were my money, I'd go with a Samsung 830 or Samsung 840 Pro for the OS, Programs, Swap Files, databases related to apps, etc.; even if using one on a SATA II port (as they're still going to be a lot faster than a physical hard drive, even if the port speed may limit peak performance in some areas).

-- hide signature --

--
JimC
------

OP HDProman Contributing Member • Posts: 937
Re: Motherboard brand/model?

Thank to everyone, especially Jim.

I have decided to purchase the Samsung 840 Pro 256 GB and install on existing SATA2 connector.

Image of SSD.

After installation, testing and copying files from the original C drive I will remove the existing 500GB C drive and use the bay for the SSD.

What extras could I need to complete this installation?

Mounting brackets to install drive in standard size drive bay?

Software to clone my C drive to the SSD.

When I have the SSD drive I will post and ask for step by step instructions on these modifications. From what I have learned and with all your help I expect this modification to go smoothly.

Thanks, Floyd

-- hide signature --

Newbie, having fun.

Jim Cockfield Forum Pro • Posts: 16,333
Re: Motherboard brand/model?

HDProman wrote:

After installation, testing and copying files from the original C drive I will remove the existing 500GB C drive and use the bay for the SSD.

Why not use the 500GB drive for data files?

IOW, I'd use the SSD for the Operating System, Programs, scratch files, databases related to apps, etc.

Then, use the physical drive for data files.

What extras could I need to complete this installation?

Mounting brackets to install drive in standard size drive bay?

If you don't have a bay that would work with a 2.5" drive, you may want to order this 3.5" to 2.5" adapter, as it includes the needed screws and gets good reviews:

http://www.amazon.com/SILVERSTONE-SDP08-3-5-2-5-Inch-Converter/dp/B002BH3Z8E/ref=cm_cr_pr_product_top

Of course, some people don't bother and just leave the SSD hanging loose or secured with Duct Tape.  Personally, I'd mount one in a drive bay instead. 

You may also need a SATA cable if you don't have one already, as the Samsung bare drive doesn't come with one (at least not with the 830 drives I purchased).  For example, this one:

http://www.amazon.com/Silverstone-Non-Scratch-Locking-Mechanism-CP07/dp/B005U8XJDW/ref=pd_cp_pc_1

Or, here's a 12" cable that's cheaper:

http://www.amazon.com/StarTech-com-12-Inch-Serial-Cable-SATA12/dp/B003WV5DK6/ref=pd_sim_pc_1

Samsung does offer some desktop kits that include that kind of thing (3.5" to 2.5" adapter, cables, etc.).    But, I don't see any for the new 840 Pro like that right this minute.

Ditto for a power connection.  If you don't already have a spare SATA power connection from your PSU, you may need to buy an adapter or splitter, depending on your PSU design.

You can find molex to sata converters like this one:

http://www.amazon.com/StarTech-Molex-Power-Adapter-SATAPOWADAP/dp/B00009YFTI/ref=pd_cp_pc_3

Or, you can find splitters to give you two SATA power connections from one like this one:

http://www.amazon.com/StarTech-com-PYO2SATA-Power-Splitter-Adapter/dp/B002N2EHVQ/ref=pd_cp_e_0

You also can find extension cables, etc.

Chances are, your PSU already has a spare SATA power connection.  So, you probably don't need a cable for power.

But, I'd check to see what connections it has available to make sure.

Software to clone my C drive to the SSD.

I haven't used it.  But, Samsung has free software for cloning your existing drive to their SSDs.  They used to bundle Norton Ghost with some of their drives, but they've since developed their own software, known as the Samsung Data Migration Kit.  You can download it from here (first download in the list):

http://www.samsung.com/us/business/support/downloads/solid-state-drives/MZ-7PD256BW

Note that you'll want to make sure the SSD is setup for AHCI in your BIOS settings.  If your existing Windows install is not already setup that way, you may end up with a problem after migrating.   But, that's easy enough to fix using this utility:

http://support.microsoft.com/kb/922976

You'll also want to run the Microsoft Performance Index again after you have Windows working on the new SSD.  Basically, it's got some undocumented features, where it automatically sets the drive to use trim, disables defrag and more when it detects an SSD is being used.

Or, as an alternative, install Windows and Programs from scratch.  There a pros and cons (some people prefer to install Windows from scratch with an SSD, so that all of that is done automatically when it detects an SSD as the target drive).   But, if you already have a lot of stuff installed and prefer just to migrate everything, then the Samsung Data Migration kit software may be worth a try (as it's specifically designed for that purpose).

-- hide signature --

JimC
------

gipper51 Veteran Member • Posts: 4,606
Re: Motherboard brand/model?

HDProman wrote:


What extras could I need to complete this installation?

Mounting brackets to install drive in standard size drive bay?

Software to clone my C drive to the SSD.

I would do a fresh install of windows instead of cloning your current HDD.  Two reasons:

1.  I have heard (but don't have first hand knowledge) that sometimes cloning an HDD to an SSD has issues because SSDs store data differently.  I'm not sure the tech reasons for this but I would look into it.

2.  Why bring all of the clutter and potential issues of an old install over to a new drive?  You are looking for a speed bump, start fresh with a clean install of windows.

 gipper51's gear list:gipper51's gear list
Canon EOS 6D Sony Alpha a7R Canon EOS 7D Mark II Sigma 12-24mm F4.5-5.6 II DG HSM Canon EF-S 18-135mm F3.5-5.6 IS STM +7 more
OP HDProman Contributing Member • Posts: 937
Re: Motherboard brand/model?

Thanks again to all who have taken time to help me.

My computer has 6 SATA2 connections and all are being used.

One is for my optical drive and the rest internal HDs.

My C drive is the smallest, 500GB, and I will remove this drive to make a spot for the new SSD.

At this point I believe the best plan based on all your recommendations would be:

1-remove the C drive and install the SSD at that location.

2-start my computer and boot for the optical drive with my Windows 7 disk.

3-install Windows 7 on the new SSD.

4-reinstall all programs on the SSD.

5-using a disk drive dock, copy any important information from the removed old C drive.

Am I on the right path?

Thanks, Floyd

-- hide signature --

Newbie, having fun.

Jim Cockfield Forum Pro • Posts: 16,333
Re: Motherboard brand/model?

That sounds like a good plan to me, as a reinstall of Win 7 would be your safest bet to insure optimal performance and settings (although you could try something like the Samsung Data Migration kit if you have a lot of programs that would be difficult to reinstall, as it's specifically designed to clone your existing Windows installation to a Samsung SSD).

-- hide signature --

JimC
------

malch Forum Pro • Posts: 14,260
Re: Motherboard brand/model?

HDProman wrote:

Thanks again to all who have taken time to help me.

My computer has 6 SATA2 connections and all are being used.

One is for my optical drive and the rest internal HDs.

My C drive is the smallest, 500GB, and I will remove this drive to make a spot for the new SSD.

At this point I believe the best plan based on all your recommendations would be:

1-remove the C drive and install the SSD at that location.

2-start my computer and boot for the optical drive with my Windows 7 disk.

3-install Windows 7 on the new SSD.

4-reinstall all programs on the SSD.

5-using a disk drive dock, copy any important information from the removed old C drive.

6-make an image of your new C drive. This is your new "gold" backup.

If you want to revert to a nice clean system in a few months, just restore that image. Sure, you will have to reapply any new software updates but it can still be a serious timesaver. If you don't already have a trusted imaging system, I recommend Macrium Reflect Free.

Keyboard shortcuts:
FForum MMy threads