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Crucial M4 64Gb vs 128Gb for Windows-7/Open-World Gaming

post #1 of 7
Thread Starter 
So I have a question for you Storage gurus. I feel I need to explain the premise to my question first (if you could please bear with me, or you can skip to the line of asterisks for the question if you want a TLDR).

I have been working on a VERY heavily modded Oblivion game and have noticed I am at a standstill for performance when playing it (I run 150+ mods at the moment). I run FCOM, Qarls Texture Pack, Better+Open Cities, Unique Landscapes, OBGE shader packs, OSR, just about every major texture/mesh replacing pack. I've even went through the trouble of doing PyFFI mesh optimization on all of the Mesh folders in my mods and non-character Oblivion files to make Meshes more performance friendly. The game looks beautiful when played, but I've noticed a quirk in performance when I'm roaming out the countryside or in town. My fps will go from 42 to around 15 during the stutters.

My GPU and CPU are overclocked as noted in my sig. My GPU usage hits 70% max utilization during the game and tends to dip down below 50% during times that it stutters while loading meshes, textures, or a new cell grid. I've watched logs on my CPU as well (Oblivion uses only 1 core for core gameplay, but can use the 2nd core for a few other things game-related). I've noticed during these dips in GPU usage that my CPU usage dips a little as well to around 85% on Core 1, and 10% on Core 2. During combat in a dungeon, it is using 100% on Core 1, and 20% on Core 2 to give you an idea of normal performance.

I know that Oblivion's engine is poorly coded, but I cannot possibly explain any other way the reasons my CPU+GPU are dipping in usage when my game stutters except for the HDD being too slow to load the textures and meshes. This would also explain the CTD I get every once in a while when I'm riding a horse in the countryside. My RAM usage is peaking at 2.2Gb in-game. My VRAM usage peaks at 1.3Gb. So I know I’m not hitting any limits hardware wise. I think it is purely an HDD issue.

*********************

So my question to you all, is if you'd recommend the Crucial M4 SSD to improve my hard drive performance or another SSD? I run a Samsung Spinpoint F3 1Tb/7200rpm at the moment and overdue for a re-format on my Windows-7 installation.

I have SATA II for my hotswap bays, but would a SATA III interface upgrade make a considerable performance increase for the M4? It would cost me like $15, so if the performance is substantial I'll get it.

Also, is the 128Gb version really necessary or will a 64Gb version do just fine? I’m a college kid so money will always be a factor and $120 vs $250 is a pretty steep hill for me. I’m not worried about using Steam Mover or going through guides on how to manage space on an SSD (I kind of enjoy that stuff anyways). I just want something that will help my Oblivion performance or any other open-world game(Skyrim for future). Plus, my startup times for my computer are feeling archaic too

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Produc...82E16820148441

Thank you very much if you read through all of that and I look forward to any suggestions/help you can give me.
Edited by modinn - 8/6/11 at 4:35pm
post #2 of 7
hi there ...well to awnser your questions

1. yes youll see a nice boost in performance with a ssd as its access and read speed blows a hdd out of the water.

2. if you plug a m4 on a sata2 port you will louse read performence as sata2 is limited to 300mb/s (m4 reads @400+mb/s)

3. as for the size...thats a question only you can truly answer...basicly you need to figure out how much space do your apps ,games etc take up and make your choise accordingly.

also from what i understand larger sized ssds performe better than the smaller versions of the same sieres ( 64<128<256<512 )
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post #3 of 7
Thread Starter 
Thanks for the reply! But doesn't the size-performance caveat pertain to just write speeds? At least that's what I've always read though. I don't plan to write much to my SSD. It will mostly be for gaming on one or two games and my OS. I definitely will be considering the Sata III upgrade though.
post #4 of 7
Larger drives perform better, even though they're exactly the same compared to the smaller drives. 64GB M4 is a great drive, I personally own one, and is enough for Windows 7 install plus a couple of games and programs and still leave ~10GB free. A 128GB M4 would be great though, leaving the ability to install plenty of games and larger programs if need be, just keep in mind you need to tweak a lot of things for it to run at it's best on Windows 7.

Here is a good guide: http://www.overclock.net/ssd/700470-...ows-7-ssd.html

Installing SSDTweaker will take care of most of the stuff in that guide, but there are a lot of other small tweaks you can do to ensure your SSD doesn't have a lot of unneeded write cycles or data stored on it that doesn't need to be there. I'll offer to help if you need any help setting up your SSD, if you buy one that is.
    
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post #5 of 7
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by `br4dz- View Post
Larger drives perform better, even though they're exactly the same compared to the smaller drives. 64GB M4 is a great drive, I personally own one, and is enough for Windows 7 install plus a couple of games and programs and still leave ~10GB free. A 128GB M4 would be great though, leaving the ability to install plenty of games and larger programs if need be, just keep in mind you need to tweak a lot of things for it to run at it's best on Windows 7.

Here is a good guide: http://www.overclock.net/ssd/700470-...ows-7-ssd.html

Installing SSDTweaker will take care of most of the stuff in that guide, but there are a lot of other small tweaks you can do to ensure your SSD doesn't have a lot of unneeded write cycles or data stored on it that doesn't need to be there. I'll offer to help if you need any help setting up your SSD, if you buy one that is.
I already ordered the 64GB version of the M4. I wish I had the money for a 128GB, but I just spent $900 last month on my case, watercooling loop, and my 6970. So like I said, I'm a little stripped for cash at the moment. I still have to pre-order Skyrim, SWTOR, Battlefield 3, and the Blu-Ray box set of Star Wars >_< My wallet is going to feel so light by the end of this year haha.

But thank you very much for the tips! I read that guide and will be following it very closely. I may pm you once I get everything done if I'm not hitting 400+ MB/s in the AS/SSD Benchmark after all the tweaks.
post #6 of 7
Quote:
Originally Posted by modinn View Post
I already ordered the 64GB version of the M4. I wish I had the money for a 128GB, but I just spent $900 last month on my case, watercooling loop, and my 6970. So like I said, I'm a little stripped for cash at the moment. I still have to pre-order Skyrim, SWTOR, Battlefield 3, and the Blu-Ray box set of Star Wars >_< My wallet is going to feel so light by the end of this year haha.

But thank you very much for the tips! I read that guide and will be following it very closely. I may pm you once I get everything done if I'm not hitting 400+ MB/s in the AS/SSD Benchmark after all the tweaks.
Just an FYI, benchmarks hurt SSD performance. I don't think one benchmark will hurt it too bad, but just don't go benchmark crazy thinking that your score is going to go UP. It'll eventually recover, but just letting you know.
    
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MonitorKeyboardPowerCase
ASUS VE258Q 25" LED Corsair K70 RGB (Cherry MX Red's) Corsair HX750 Silverstone TJ04-E w/ Window 
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Logitech G5 v1 X-ray Thunder 9 smooth ASUS Xonar Essence STX Numark NPM5's + Dayton SUB-1200 12" sub 
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post #7 of 7
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by `br4dz- View Post
Just an FYI, benchmarks hurt SSD performance. I don't think one benchmark will hurt it too bad, but just don't go benchmark crazy thinking that your score is going to go UP. It'll eventually recover, but just letting you know.
Thanks for the tip!! I've read this in past articles before. I was just going to do 1 or 2 benchmarks after my fresh install + tweaks and my modded Oblivion file.

I've read that the benchmarks can start to use up your write cycles and after all of your chips have been written to repeatedly, the TRIM feature HAS to kick in or else your performance gets degraded a lot. This is correct right?
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