16 Replies Latest reply on Jan 10, 2012 10:33 AM by canoli99

    Help with ideal SSD and HDD setup

    Steve H. Allen

      I am planning a new build.  I will be working with the LGA 2011 platform,  i7-3930 CPU, EVGA GTX 570 2.5gb, and at least 32gb RAM.


      I would like advise on the "ideal" hard drive set-up.  To start off I was thinking of using an Intel 510 SSD for Windows 7 only.  Then using a second Intel 510 SSD for applications (ie Premiere). I'm sure there must be some benefit to have the OS and applications on seperate SSDs.  However, the question is, do you guys think the performance gain would be worth it? Finally, I was planning to use HDDs in RAID 0 for the rest.  How many HDDs should I put in a RAID 0?  Also, should I have more than 1 RAID 0?


      Another way to ask the question... If you had 2 SSDs and ~4 or more HDDs to use for a build, how would you use them (none of them should be used for storage, BTW. I've got plaenty of external HDDs for that).


      Thanks guys.  I just figure if I'm going all out on a LGA 2011 platform I don't want to skimp and have any bottlenecks in the hard drive area.

        • 1. Re: Help with ideal SSD and HDD setup
          Jim_Simon Level 9

          Here's what I consider "ideal".


          C: 320 GB - Windows & Programs (SSD won't help much with editing)

          D: 1TB x 2 in RAID 1 - Projects

          E: 1TB x 3 in RAID 3 - Media

          F: 1TB - Exports

          G: 1TB - Scratch

          H: 1TB - Image files from Encore


          9 internal drives total (plus whatever externals for archiving you might need).  Adjust the sizes as necessary.


          If you go any less, you should lose drives from the bottom up, adding the content to the drive above.  For example, if you leave out H:, add the "Images" to the G: drive.  If you leave off G: and H:, then add the "Images" and "Scratch" to the F: drive.


          Forget about RAID 0.  There's always a better allocation of drives than using RAID 0.

          • 2. Re: Help with ideal SSD and HDD setup
            NS2HD Level 1

            Hey mate, I've got a roughly similar setup to what you are thinking about:


            OS: SSD 510 120Gb

            Programs: SSD 320 160Gb

            Scratch: SSung F3 1Tb x 2 RAID 0

            Media and Projects: SSung F3 1Tb x 3 RAID 0

            Exports: SSung F3 2Tb x 1

            Backup: Caviar Green 2Tb x 1


            So 9 drives, but this build is very specific to the work I'm doing (The Media drive is used to record FRAPs) so it might not be appropriate for you.


            I'd politely disagree with Jim on two points:


            1. SSDs have helped me immensely. Not only do I now boot up in 13 seconds, but navigating PPro/AE is now utterly, utterly instantaneous. The little hitches you sometimes get opening large effects lists? Gone. Need to quickly open Photoshop to touch something up? Instant bang done open lets go.


            2. RAID 0 can be the best allocation: If you have absolutely no need for any kind of redundancy whatsoever. I.e. it does not matter to you at all if you lose everything on your RAID 0 arrays. With the work I do, it doesn't matter at all. 2.6Tb of media will cycle on and off the array within 24 hours, and if I had a failure, the only loss would be the time it takes to slap a new drive in. If your workflow is like this, RAID 0 might be the best, as you don't compromise on speed or disk size at all.

            • 3. Re: Help with ideal SSD and HDD setup
              JEShort01 Level 4



              SSDs are getting rave reviews as boot drives all over the internet but keep getting slammed in this forum. Why is that? It's because SSDs are really great for OS and programs, and because they really do not bring much to Premiere Pro CS 5/5.5 for video editing. The latest gen. SSDs have lightning quick access and read speeds, but compared with large 72000 RPM SATA drives their sustained write performance is just not that great (write performance is a very important criteria for Adobe Premiere Pro.


              So, bottom line, choose how you want to set up your HDs for Adobe, then choose what you use to boot and run your OS and programs as a totally separate exercise.


              For example, 2x1TB (or larger) RAID 0 for projects, media and an additional array 2x1TB RAID 0 for media cache, media cache db, and render outputs will do AVCHD pretty well. Larger arrays will be faster for media such as Red 4k, but you seem to be wanting to put drives on your motherboard and may be limited on SATA ports much past 4 drives for video.


              Now, back to your boot/OS array... You do not mention what size of SSD you were thinking about, but even SATA 3 controller ports will saturate for the larger, newest gen. Intel SSDs. So, the fastest boot setup if you want to sink that much money into general PC performance (not to be confused with Adobe CS performance) a RAID 0 array with multiple smaller SSDs will perform the best (read speed is much more important for OS/program drives vs. write speed).



              • 4. Re: Help with ideal SSD and HDD setup
                JCschild Level 3

                most of whats been mentioned is far too complicated or convoluted.


                SSD: as mentioned will NOT help Adobe performance much if at all.

                but considering the cost of drives right now its only about $100 to go from a 500G sata OS to a 128G SSD its worth it.

                DO NOT buy OCZ.

                Crucial, Intel (not sanforce) or Mushkin (about the only sanforce i recommend)


                Media etc: 2x drives in raid 0

                Export : same

                some form of back up externally...



                this will yield better perfomance than any other drive config save a very large raid array and not require an absurd amount of drives

                • 5. Re: Help with ideal SSD and HDD setup
                  Steve H. Allen Level 1

                  Thanks for the replies guys!


                  ...but you seem to be wanting to put drives on your motherboard and may be limited on SATA ports much past 4 drives for video...



                  I haven't built a computer in quite a few years.  What other option do I have besides the SATA ports on the motherboard.


                  Yes, I am concerned about running out of SATA 6Gb/s ports on the motherboard.  I'd most likely want to install a total of 6 hard drives all on 6Gb/s ports (I'd like 1 OS drive, 1 programs drive, 2 HDDs in RAID 0, and another 2HDDs in RAID 0. Is that going to be possible?

                  • 6. Re: Help with ideal SSD and HDD setup
                    JEShort01 Level 4



                    You don't mention a specific motherboard choice yet, but some only have 6 SATA ports - not enough for 6 "drives" + an optical drive (i.e. Blu-Ray burner). Of course other motherboard choices do have more SATA ports available; I'm aware of one that has 12 ports (8 SATA3 + 4 SATA2)!


                    The best, and most expensive solution too, would be to add a hardware RAID card. They can have up to 24 ports ($$$), but the real reason that anyone would use one is to get a fast, parity RAID (RAID 5, 6, etc) solution that will allow for a drive to fail with zero data loss. For example, Areca's ARC-1880i ($580 at Newegg + $140 more for a backup battery) has a very fast processor and 8 ports (drive connections).


                    If you have not seen it yet, check out Harm's interesting post, "To RAID or not to RAID that is the Question"



                    I'm sure there are some SATA controller cards too that are very inexpensive, but do not provide hardware RAID. Possibly that would be a good solution for connecting your optical drive if you are just 1 SATA port "short".



                    • 7. Re: Help with ideal SSD and HDD setup
                      Steve H. Allen Level 1



                      I'm just in the planning stage.  I haven't purchased anything.  The i7 3930 is scare right now. I'm waiting for it to come back in stock by one of my preferred vedors. So I'm not dead set on anything yet. I'd like to stay under $3k for the main system (I've already got plenty of external storage). If I can justify spendy more $$$ for a significant performance gain, I'd do it.  I've been mostly looking a the Asus Rampage Extreme IV or the Asus P9X79 WS.  At a glance, I don't see much difference between the board besides the Rampage lacks IEEE 1394 and the P9X79 has fewer USB 3.0 ports. I'm open to suggestions.  I just want a motherboard that is LGA 2011, very stable, can do 64GB of RAM (even though I'll probably start with 32GB). Lots of PCIe 3.0 slots are nice too for future upgrades.


                      I apprecaite the help.  Look forward to getting more advice from you guys. Meanwhile, I'll have a look at the "To RIAD or not..." thread.

                      • 8. Re: Help with ideal SSD and HDD setup
                        JCschild Level 3

                        you do not need the program drive thats what the OS drive is for..


                        and dont worry about Sata 300 vs 600 aside from Sata 600 SSDs it does not matter one bit.

                        all boards have 6 sata (or more)

                        IF you go SSD then put the SSD on the Sata 600 along with the optical

                        the other 4 in raid go on the sata 300


                        no SSD then use the 2 Sata 600 for one set of raid..




                        • 9. Re: Help with ideal SSD and HDD setup
                          howard.z Level 1



                          How does this set up:


                          1. C: Boot & program disk , Samsung Spinpoint F4 320 G

                          2, 3. D: 2 x Aid0, media & projects, Samsung Spinpoint F3 1 TB

                          4, 5. E: 2 x Aid0, media cache, previews and exports, Samsung Spinpoint F3 1 TB (but possibly only one disk, not a Aid0 in light of the exorbitant current prices)

                          6. first backup disk, almost any 2 TB 5900+ RPM disk, Hitachi, Seagate or WD

                          7. second backup disk, maybe not needed directly, unless your projects are big.


                          Compare in performance to this one?:


                          C: 320 GB - Windows & Programs (SSD won't help much with editing)

                          D: 1TB x 2 in RAID 1 - Projects

                          E: 1TB x 3 in RAID 3 - Media

                          F: 1TB - Exports

                          G: 1TB - Scratch

                          H: 1TB - Image files from Encore


                          I'm going to dump SSD and go for either one of the two set ups above.





                          • 10. Re: Help with ideal SSD and HDD setup
                            Harm Millaard Level 7



                            The first setup would be a very logical and well performing setup for almost any i7-26xx system.


                            The second one has several drawbacks:


                            1. A Raid1 protects you against data loss, but is no faster than a single disk.
                            2. A Raid3 requires an Areca dedicated raid controller and with only three members in the array, the performance in sustained transfer rate will be about 140 - 150% of a single disk.
                            3. A dedicated raid controller is best used on the X79 platform. If used on a 1155 socket platform, the video card operates only as a PCIe-8x card.
                            4. There is no backup policy included. You have to add those to the equation.


                            Now, one can dream about an ideal setup and if budget were not the limitation here, one could consider the following setup, using the KISS principle:


                            • C: 4 x SSD in Raid10, about 200% transfer rates over a single SSD with full data protection, using hot-swappable bays in a single 5.25" slot.
                            • D: 2 x HDD in Raid0, about 200% transfer rates over a single HDD for media cache, previews and pagefile. Burst rate around 500% faster than a single HDD.
                            • E: 16 x HDD in Raid30 (plus 2 hot-spares), about 1000% transfer rates over a single HDD, media, projects and exports, using hot-swappable bays.
                            • Backup to a NAS (for instance a QNAP or Thecus).


                            Advantages: lightning fast startup of programs, very simple organization of directories and files, maximum speed of the E drive with PCIe 2.0 and great protection against disk failures, plus it gives you 24 SATA3 ports, leaving the SATA ports on the mobo free for other devices, like BRD burners.


                            Disadvantages: Requires a costly Areca ARC-1880iX-24 and a NAS for backup, as well as a X79 platform, not to mention a huge case (D and E require 12 x 5.25" slots).


                            Just my $ 0.02

                            • 11. Re: Help with ideal SSD and HDD setup
                              howard.z Level 1

                              Thanks, Harm! Very informative. Dumb question - Where would you put the scratch on the first setup?





                              • 12. Re: Help with ideal SSD and HDD setup
                                Harm Millaard Level 7

                                It is not a dumb question, but the answer may be: it depends on your workflow.


                                If you do a lot of rendering your timeline, and thus create a lot of preview files, it may make sense to put them on your D drive instead of your E drive. But the performance difference may be very small. If you are talking about the pagefile, I would put that on the E drive, since then you have all discardable files on the same raid. If it is lost due to drive failure, what the heck?


                                Personally, I'm not concerned about export times. When I finish a project and wait for it to encode to the final product, I grab a beer or glass of wine or whatever and lean back. I can wait a couple of minutes more, while enjoying my glass of whatever. Exporting times are not really as relevant to me, as they seem to be to others.


                                As things look now, I'll be filming the Heineken Regatta in Sint Maarten next month, one day on the starting boat, one day aboard a racing yacht during the race and one day on a RIB and spend the next couple of weeks editing material from three cameras, a Sony PMW-350K, a Canon XF300 and an Extreme HD action camera. What do I care if the export takes 5 minutes longer when I have just spent weeks on editing?

                                • 13. Re: Help with ideal SSD and HDD setup
                                  Trevor.Dennis Adobe Community Professional

                                  Harm the Regatta job sounds like a lot of fun - and a lot of work.  It reminded me of Will Carver who photographs yacht racing events and is based in Auckland.  He works from a small rib which he operates at the same time as he photographs.   When I first met him he had an even smaller rib than the one in the link, and he used to stand in the middle held steady by two lines attached to the front of the rib, and with an extension arm to control the outboard.  He used to get pretty wet, and got through a camera every year (he was using Canon 5D back then).   Hopefully your kit will stay nice and dry as that salt water wreaks havoc.

                                  • 14. Re: Help with ideal SSD and HDD setup
                                    howard.z Level 1

                                    Hi Harm!


                                    Just wondering, what kind of export times are you getting on average? What I want is a a set up with faster export times, if possible. Right now, when I use Colorista II, and make many adjustments, I'm looking at around 3 hrs for a 90 min clip.


                                    Thanks again,



                                    • 15. Re: Help with ideal SSD and HDD setup
                                      Harm Millaard Level 7



                                      There is no clear cut answer to that question, because it depends on your source material (HDV, AVCHD, 422 MXF, XDCAM EX, XDCAM HD, Red, etc.), your setup, your export settings and the use of third party effects like Colorista. All the effects from Red Giant do take long times to render and that problem is aggravated if you use maximum bit depth and/or maximum render quality.


                                      Your 3 hours for a 90 minbute timeline, using Colorista does not sound shabby at all. In fact it may be quite good, depending on other factors that I alluded to above.


                                      @ Trevor:


                                      Thanks for that link. Will has an easier job than we have, because photos are not as susceptible to movement as video, also because of the faster shutter speeds and significantly faster auto focus. For the Canon I will order the EWA Marine VXF3 underwater housing in order to protect it from the salty water. I'm waiting for EWA Marine to get back to me for the PMW-350K. The problem with the Canon is that I can't use my shoulder rig in combination with the VXF3, so stable shots will be almost impossible.


                                      As someone told me:


                                      This is gonna be instructive for you!
                                      Rule # 1: Stay wide as often as you can. Piloting close is better than zooming in in nearly every case. (unfortunately piloting close to a racing boat during an actual race it will often make the captain of said object boat really, REALLY mad - so don't say I didn't warn you!)
                                      That's pretty much it for the rules.
                                      The only other thing I'd suggest is that you find a friend with a pickup truck - and search out the WORST bumpy road in your area. Stand in the truck bed with a lifeline and the actual camera you're going to be using - and have the driver run you up and down the road over and over and over again while you shoot. Start slow and work up to more speed over as many weeks as you can squeeze in before you have to do this "for real" - kinda like any sensible person would train a bunch leading up to running a 10k.
                                      Bring back the footage of the practice runs and watch it. It's going to be terrible. That's a given. But by doing the exercise, it will be marginally LESS terrible over time as your body and muscles adapt to operating a camera in horrifically unstable conditions.
                                      If you do that constantly, your legs and balance will at least be "somewhat" developed to cope with what you're going to be facing out there.
                                      Oh, and study up on some new curse words and prayers - you'll need both of those along with a good local masseuse during the ramp up to this.
                                      Good luck.


                                      I'll post another question about this in a separate thread.

                                      • 16. Re: Help with ideal SSD and HDD setup
                                        canoli99 Level 1

                                        @ howard z.


                                        "How does this set up:


                                        1. C: Boot & program disk , Samsung Spinpoint F4 320 G ...."


                                        I would think about swapping this selection for an SSD, preferably one with synchronous NAND and a SATA 6Gbit/s interface. The difference in boot times and app-loading is appreciable in such a way that, once you enjoy SSD load times you won't want to go back to platters. A quick "for instance" - AfterFX is ready to go in 6 seconds on my workstation (Crucial c300), whereas on my older machine (Hitachi 7200K) it was closer to 40.


                                        I only suggest this for the Boot/App drive, as the cost/benefit analysis of SSDs vs mechanical HDDs still favors the spinning disks for everything ele... although with another year  of sky-high HDD prices ahead of us [Seagate CEO Stephen J. Luczo, as reported in MaximumPC this month states it will be "the end of 2012 before full production resumes, and even longer to reach pre-flood pricing"] the price advantage for mechanical drives is not as clear-cut as it used to be.