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HDD + SSD cache vs. SSD boot drive + HDD storage?

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post #1 of 34 (permalink) Old 06-29-2020, 03:37 PM - Thread Starter
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HDD + SSD cache vs. SSD boot drive + HDD storage?

Storage question for you guys as I consider my next build: I have read about having a large HDD for everything and using a 100gb-250gb ssd as a cache drive with software like primocache is the way to go, but then I have read about having the SSD as the boot/windows drive with a few of your most-used games on it, then a large HDD for storage and as a place to move games when you use them less...

What do you guys think is the better way to go? I have heard that using the SSD as cache might affect its longevity, and that having windows installed to the SSD makes it safer for dealing with power outages, so does that mean the latter option is better?

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post #2 of 34 (permalink) Old 06-29-2020, 03:43 PM
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In everyday practical usage many of have settled on using an SSD as the primary OS drive and keeping our games on a larger capacity HDD. I tried using a WD black as my OS drive and it was almost painfully slow in comparison to my SSD, even considering that the WD black tends to perform at the higher end of hard drives.

If you need large quantities of storage for things like documents, photos, music, & videos you might even consider looking into a NAS or something like the WD My Cloud that provides speedy storage and connects to your router. That might help to alleviate some of your storage needs, though it certainly depends on what you are looking for the storage to do for you.

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post #3 of 34 (permalink) Old 06-29-2020, 05:09 PM
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If you are future proofing for the PS5 era you will want a 1TB NVME drive at with at least 2500mb/s read speeds. The way NVME drives work, you need at least a 1TB to get the higher speeds.

If your next build has 32GBs of ram or more, IIRC windows will switch off the page file and your SSD will not be used for cache by the OS. Given how cheap ram is now, 32GBs of ram is very affordable.

I would get a 1TB NVME and a 4TB or larger HDD.

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post #4 of 34 (permalink) Old 06-29-2020, 09:59 PM - Thread Starter
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Great info, thanks guys. I am always behind the times when it comes time to do a new build.

Are people putting OS and frequently played games/programs on the NVME SSD? Or is it better practice to keep OS and games on separate drives?

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post #5 of 34 (permalink) Old 06-29-2020, 10:13 PM
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If you have a 1TB NVMe drive then you will have enough space for the OS + quite a few different games. And yeah, that's what many of us are doing these days. Works great and loading times are nearly a thing of the past.

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post #6 of 34 (permalink) Old 06-29-2020, 10:30 PM
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You can't just say get a 1TB NVMe SSD and call it a day. QLC NVMe SSDs are faster than AHCI SSDs, but they're nowhere near as quick as TLC NVMe SSDs. I also wouldn't worry too much about what next-gen consoles will be able to do.

You can always start out with a single SSD and add storage later as you deem necessary. It would only be annoying adding another M.2 drive. Any SATA drive will be easy to add down the line.

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post #7 of 34 (permalink) Old 06-29-2020, 11:23 PM
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Quote: Originally Posted by chessmyantidrug View Post
I also wouldn't worry too much about what next-gen consoles will be able to do.
IDK why anyone would say this when next gen consoles are around the corner. You will want an SSD that is at least as fast as the Xbox SX has which is 2500mb/s. Since it's not hard to find an NVME SSD that is at least that fast, there is no reason not to take that into consideration when buying a new SSD right now.

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post #8 of 34 (permalink) Old 06-30-2020, 12:29 AM
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Ideally using common storage would be to have an OS supported tier system with fast caching drives. But that's a no go for home use still so it's only 3rd party addons for it. It makes zero sense to run a tier system while having OS etc. on an HDD.
It makes sense to put all main stuff, OS, etc. on SSD and then if you really want to use some 3rd party tier system to cache the HDDs.

In the end if you're a data hoarder you will likely end up with SSDs and then dump all HDDs into a NAS with fast LAN.
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post #9 of 34 (permalink) Old 06-30-2020, 12:53 AM
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Quote: Originally Posted by UltraMega View Post
IDK why anyone would say this when next gen consoles are around the corner. You will want an SSD that is at least as fast as the Xbox SX has which is 2500mb/s. Since it's not hard to find an NVME SSD that is at least that fast, there is no reason not to take that into consideration when buying a new SSD right now.
Because I'm not nearly naive enough to think consoles using SSDs is going to change anything.

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post #10 of 34 (permalink) Old 06-30-2020, 09:22 AM
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If you need a lot of local storage indeed HDD + SSD caching with Primocache is the way to go.
But it does not substitute a boot SSD, better if NVMe.

I'm using SSD caching long before PrimoCache was even released and I never "exhausted" anyone so far.
Of course there's wear but the cost/performance ratio is always incredibly high.
Most of the normal operations on HDDs are SSD-like speed.

If you have multiple M.2 slots go for SSD caching with a cheap M.2 NVMe; I bought an Intel Pro 7600p 256GB on Ebay, about 30 euro.

Just consider that you need a lot of RAM; I have a cache size of 8 GB, 32KB block size, 1.90 GB of overhead.
You can use a bigger SSD but for a normal usage it doesn't really help and the overhead will be higher.

You need at least 32GB system RAM to make it worthwhile.
Smaller block size and get faster but also more CPU usage and more overhead.
For a normal usage I found 32KB to be the most convenient.
Usually 90-99% hit ratio on HDDs and 50-60% on the boot NVMe.

I have an M.2 970 Pro for boot, you can exclude the L2 caching and use the same cache task; no waste of RAM for dedicated caching.
The RAM only caching is awesome on SSDs and far better than Samsung Rapid mode and others.

Click image for larger version

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Still good even with 8GB test size:

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I also have an horribly slow Samsung 860 QVO SATA; I use L2 caching on it and it's pretty darn fast too of course.
And there as well awesome performances with 8GB test size:

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Copying big files on this SSD can be slower than on a HDD; with Primocache it feels like using the 7600p NVMe drive.

I've never regretted purchasing Primocache, highly recommended.

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