What is the best way to use 1 SSD and 1 HDD in system

Discussion in 'SSD Optimization Guide' started by Dan_Br, Jun 27, 2012.

  1. Dan_Br

    Dan_Br Guest

    Should the SSD have just the OS and perhaps a couple of programs on it.
    Then, do you partition the HDD for data, games, programs, backups etc?
    Or do you load whatever game you are running onto the SSD?
    I thought that programs once executed are in RAM so it would not matter if it was on the HHD?

  2. FiftyOne

    FiftyOne Guest

    Hey mate, I didn't get to welcome you on your first post, so welcome. Its a great site here.

    My preference is to use SSD tech for everything bootable (os & application). Storage is cheap, platter drives storing large file chunks can deal with all that, you really don't want to clog an SSD with Avi's & other bulk storage stuff.

    I run 2 OS's. I have my standard HDD with an OS, all the apps & games, user files & other assorted things. I then install the OS again on the SSD & edit the registry to view the desktop, my docs & all other storage things from the other drive. For example if I open excel, it loads from the SSD, then pulls my data from the platter drive. Same goes for things like WMP & media files.

    The other advantage this gives me is giving me instant backup. If my RAID fails, I boot to the other drive & away I go with out the need to muck about. Everything is already there
  3. OS-Wiz

    OS-Wiz Guest

    Hi Dan,
    It seems no matter how large an HHD or SSD you get, they always end up running out of space. And with SSDs and HHDs coming down in price its best to get the largest that fits your budget.

    Here's my setup, maybe you can get some ideas from it for your system.

    C: = Boot, SSD, OS and a few apps, like Office, benchmark programs, hardware monitors (AIDA64, CPU-Z, GPU-z)

    D: = Boot Backup, HDD, a clone of the C: drive. I use Aconis True Image to do the cloning.

    E: = Games, SSD, I put all my Games on this drive

    F: = Games Backup, HDD, a clone of the E: drive

    G: = Data, HDD, bulk data, pics, movies, etc

    H: = Data Backup, HDD, a clone of the G: drive

    To do a two drive system I'd cut a partition out of drive 2 the size of drive 1 and use Acronis True Image to clone drive one to the first partition of drive 2. Then divide what space was left on drive 2 two in half into 2 more partitions. Then use part 3 as backup to part 2.
  4. Dan_Br

    Dan_Br Guest

    Thanks for the welcome, yes this is a great site and everyone has been very helpful. Your setup is a little too complicated for me though, but I am sure it is great

    ---------- Post added at 10:17 AM ---------- Previous post was at 10:05 AM ----------

    Thanks, I think I might get a second SSD (for Games , I am suffering project creep. I keep adding and picking more expensive parts)and a small HDD for data. In my current system I had 1 partitioned HDD (OS "C" and Data "E" same HDD) and put my backup images on a removable HDD that was only accessed when image needed or new backups made. Main image was C Drive and data was just copied over to the backup drive. I will still probably have a removeable HDD for backups that is not connected unless required

    I assume yours is some RAID setup that backs up constantly. That is probably best but more than I want to get into now

    If I have 1 HDD for images/backups that is not in a raid situation, do I need to make partitions the same size as the SSD's?
    Couldn't I just image my OS SSD 120GB max but only has 40 GB used for example. I would get a 40GB image I assume.
    That is how it used to work with Norton Ghost and regular HHD's
    Then my second SSD will be 256GB for games, data for example , but might only have 30 gb used for example. I would make a 30 gb image and store both on a removable HDD
    Last edited by a moderator: Jun 27, 2012
  5. MRFS

    MRFS Guest

    If you're looking for a scheme with a KISS (Keep It Simple Sally),
    here's a tried-and-true philosophy, which varies a bit depending
    on how big your SSD(s) storage is.

    So, let's assume, for this example, that a single 120GB SSD
    is installed with one large 2TB HDD.

    Also assume that a LOT of third-party software will be installed
    in addition to your OS.

    (1) format the first 50GB of the SSD and assign to an OS partition (C:);

    (2) format the remainder of the SSD as a dedicated data partition (D:);

    (3) format the first 50GB of the HDD as a backup OS partition (E:);

    (4) format the remainder of the HDD as a dedicated data partition (F:);

    (5) when all your software is installed and tested AOK,
    write a drive image of C: to D:;

    (6) copy that drive image from D: to E: and F: (for redundancy);

    (7) after Windows Updates, change name of drive image on F: to image.001
    delete drive images on D: and E; write new drive image to D:, E: and F:;
    continue to increment the suffix in sequence e.g. .002, .003, .004 etc.;

    (8) if files in the active OS partition fail somehow e.g. malware infection,
    simply restore the latest drive image to the active C: partition;

    (9) if the SSD hardware fails completely, replace it and
    restore the drive image from E: or F:;

    (10) if you must boot your system while the SSD is removed,
    restore the drive image from F: to E: and then boot from
    the 50GB partition on the HDD;

    (11) for essential redundancy, make sure that all files on D:
    are backed up to F: on a regular basis.

    One variation on the above method installs the OS
    in both 50GB partitions: this allows an immediate
    re-boot from the working partition if either device fails.

    With this variation, drive images are written to D: and F:
    but NOT to E: because the latter also hosts an identical
    copy of all OS files.

    Hope this helps.


    ---------- Post added at 09:22 AM ---------- Previous post was at 09:04 AM ----------

    > If I have 1 HDD for images/backups that is not in a raid situation, do I need to make partitions the same size as the SSD's?

    I know from experience that Symantec's GHOST can NOT restore a larger drive image to a smaller target partition.

    That is one among other reasons why both primary partitions should be IDENTICAL in size i.e. C: = E: = 50GB in the above example.

    (I don't know how Acronis behaves when the target partition is smaller than the drive image, however,
    because I don't use Acronis to create drive images.)

    Last edited by a moderator: Jun 27, 2012
  6. Dan_Br

    Dan_Br Guest

    That does help a lot, need to reread a couple of times
    The most important part was that I thought I read that you could not/should not partition a SSD. If you can that makes things a lot easier and more like I am used to.
    This is a new build for me and my first time with SSD. I might not have been clear, but I did not mean to say I was trying to have the target partion smaller than the image. I meant the backup partitions were larger than the SSD Drive and or the image made from the drive
    What would you suggest (50GB) as a good size for a windows 7 64 bit install, leaving room for updates etc.
    With this option I might get a 256 SSD and partition it.
    What is the easiest way to partition the drive, is it done from the windows 7 install disk before windows installs? That is how I remember partitioning a regular HDD for a fresh build.
    thanks ever so much
    p.s. what do you use for imaging?
    Last edited by a moderator: Jun 27, 2012
  7. MRFS

    MRFS Guest

    > What is the easiest way to partition the drive, is it done from the windows 7 install disk before windows installs?

    Yes: Windows Setup will give you the option to format the entire device as a single C: partition,
    or you can change the size of the target C: partition into which Windows Setup will write OS files.

    > I thought I read that you could not/should not partition a SSD.

    Not true. For example, we recently created a RAID 0 array
    with 2 x SanDisk Extreme 120GB SSDs, and formatted C: at 30GB.

    We did this with Acronis True Image Western Digital Edition,
    using the "Clone | As Is" option:

    WD Support
    (you need at least one Western Digital drive in your system,
    or this software will NOT install)

    When that task finished, we simply changed the Boot Priority
    in the BIOS, and that system booted normally from the
    new C: partition hosted by that RAID 0 array.

  8. OS-Wiz

    OS-Wiz Guest

    Acronis True Image can clone to a smaller partition/drive/LUN provided, obviously, the data on the source drive will fit on the smaller partition/drive/LUN. Use the "proportional" option.
  9. MRFS

    MRFS Guest

    Yes, and I've noticed that Acronis also does a very good job of
    packing/defragmenting the target partition about as perfectly
    as one could expect. You can check this visually by running
    the Windows Disk Defragmenter.

    Click "Analyze" then see: "Estimated disk usage before defragmentation:"

  10. Dan_Br

    Dan_Br Guest


    Which is recommended/used most
    Two SSD plus 1 HDD setup
    One SSD (120gb for OS) 2nd SSD for programs, games, data etc, 1 HDD for imaging as layed out in the KISS plan
    no partitioning of SSD's necessary

    1 SSD and 1 HDD
    KISS plan as suggested above.

    And every answer leads to another question
    In the BIOS I know to set the SSD's to ACHI, but what do I set the SATA HDD to. Is everything ACHI at that point?

  11. OS-Wiz

    OS-Wiz Guest

    Yes, in the BIOS you'll select I/O configuration AHCI and all drives will run in AHCI mode.

    Two SSD plus 1 HDD setup
    One SSD (120gb for OS) 2nd SSD for programs, games, data etc, 1 HDD for imaging as layed out in the KISS plan
    no partitioning of SSD's necessary

    Almost, I'd partition the HDD into two partitions, the first partition the size of the OS SSD, the other, whatever's left. And use Acronis True Image to clone the OS SSD to the first partition.
  12. MRFS

    MRFS Guest

    If you intend to host your storage with an Intel chipset,
    Intel STRONGLY recommends that you initialize your motherboard BIOS
    to RAID mode before running Windows Setup the very first time.

    This may not seem obvious when one is just beginning,
    but there is a very important reason why Intel's recommendation
    is so very wise:

    Migrating from IDE to AHCI is not the same as
    migrating from either to RAID mode.

    Usually, switching the storage subsystem to RAID mode
    will require that you do a fresh re-install of Windows
    and re-install all third-party software too, from scratch.

    When you start out in RAID mode in your BIOS,
    you can always configure each device as JBOD
    (Just a Bunch Of Disks), and add RAID arrays later
    withOUT needing to re-install the OS & other software.

    Yes, you'll need to prepare the RAID device drivers
    and have them ready to load when Windows Setup
    requests same: but, this extra step is not very difficult
    and well worth the extra effort required.

    In answer to your other questions, I think you
    will be happier, in the long run, if you configure
    2 x SSDs in a RAID 0 array, and install your OS
    onto that RAID 0 array.

    First of all, that RAID 0 array will operate
    almost twice as fast as a single SSD in JBOD mode:

    we're seeing >500 MB/second with 2 x SanDisk Extreme SSDs
    on Intel's ICH7R I/O controller hub (because each SATA channel
    runs at only 300 MB/second max):


    On a Highpoint RocketRAID 2720SGL, we are seeing >900 MB/second
    with 2 x Corsair Force 3 SSDs (because each SATA channel on that controller
    runs at 600 MB/second max).

    And, even though this point remains controversial,
    I still believe that WRITE ENDURANCE is roughly doubled
    when 2 x SSDs are members of a RAID 0 array,
    as compared to only one of the same SSDs in JBOD mode.

    The only disadvantage that I know of is that
    TRIM may not work on SSDs in a RAID array;
    however, Intel has announced their intentions
    to support TRIM mode in updates to Intel's RST
    (Rapid Storage Technology).

    Check with Intel to see if their latest RST version
    now supports TRIM when SSDs are RAID members
    (because I'm not current on Intel's latest RST software).

    Summary: EVEN IF you don't start out with RAID arrays,
    at the very least be sure to enable RAID mode in your
    motherboard BIOS, and load the RAID device drivers
    when you run Windows Setup.

    Hope this helps.

  13. ugly

    ugly Guest

    I found that with 128GB I actually have way more space than I need.

    On my SSD:
    C: - 40GB OS partition. I moved my Windows user folders to the HDD to save space (things like My Documents, My Music, My Videos, Downloads, etc.) That saves a ton of space. Basically no applications are installed (except things that always install to the OS like Office). I have about 19GB free.

    D: - Rest of the SSD (79.2GB) is Programs. I've only put 'productive' programs here. So no games. Basically all the stuff you need for your computer: PDF viewers, Image editors, music players, hardware monitoring software, etc. This only took 10GB. And 4GB is for MATLAB, which I don't even use anymore. I installed the Steam application to this partition, but I moved all the games to a hard drive with Steam Mover. I only keep the game I'm currently playing on the SSD.

    200GB HDD:
    Q: - 107GB - Just old storage. Ancient games, my old school files. I keep my torrent downloads on this drive too.

    X: - 79.2GB - A back-up of my SSD's D: partition. So just programs.

    500GB HDD:
    Z: - 425GB - This is where I moved my user folders (My Documents, Music, Videos, etc.). Also my Steam games are on this drive, that pretty much takes most of the space, along with music. I think I have one GFWL game and one GreenManGaming game too.

    The rest of that drive I have a partition for Ubuntu, because I wanted to try Linux.

    I have a back-up of my C: partition from the SSD on an external drive.
  14. Dan_Br

    Dan_Br Guest

    I appreciate your full explanation, but I am the village idiot when it comes to raid. I am not migrating anything, this will be a new build if it does not kill me first. Need to get back to KISS. Can't I just have 2 SSD's plugged into 2 of the 6gb intel controllers and 1 HDD for backup images (like OS-Wiz above). If not I am going with your first suggestion (like Ugly's ) just 1 SSD and a data backup.
    I need a drink, maybe two :confused:
  15. MRFS

    MRFS Guest

    > Can't I just have 2 SSD's plugged into 2 of the 6gb intel controllers and 1 HDD for backup images (like OS-Wiz above).

    Yes, you can :)

  16. Dan_Br

    Dan_Br Guest

    Thanks, thats how I will go
  17. FiftyOne

    FiftyOne Guest

    @ Dan_Br: & you thought my plan was complex? even I'm lost with this thread now. My setup is just a software trigger 'shortcut' of sorts
  18. Zaxx

    Zaxx Guest

    Most users will go with a single SSD boot drive (If 120GB isn't enuff, I say put 2 in raid vs a single 240 :evil grin: ) and a single 1-2TB quality HDD. Set aside an OS backup partition on the HDD and let Acronis back you up nightly.

    If later you decide you'd like faster storage just add another HDD for raid0 once prices come back down.
    IMO - you get what you pay for with HDDs - avoid 1 and 2 year warranty drives like the plague - don't put 3yr. drives in Raid0 - 5yr drives are worth the extra money and are usually faster as well.
    Last edited by a moderator: Jun 28, 2012
  19. Hameister

    Hameister Guest

    As I read through this thread, I'm beginning to think that the protocol for the NASA lunar landing module was less complicated. laugh.gif

    In my opinion, there is no right or wrong here. All of the suggestions are viable depending on each individuals perspective.

    My method of drive set up is really very simple.

    I use one 240GB SSD for Winblows7, as well as all of my other software. That includes benchmarks, a few games that are not Steam specific, like BF3, Bulletstorm, Crysis2, etc. I install Photoshop, Microsoft Word, Excel, etc.
    All of my software totals 78GB, leaving plenty of free space for the future. That's my "C:" drive.

    I clone that "C:" drive on another SSD, (this one happens to be 256GB), using Acronis, so I always have a viable "emergency" duplicate OS drive, that's identical to my "C:" drive. That clone is my "D:" drive.

    I use a third SSD, (also 256GB), for Steam, and all my games. That is my "E:" drive.

    I use a 500 HDD which holds an Acronis identical image of my games drive, which is now my "F:" drive.

    I have another 500GB HDD that contains, all of my data, such as archeived photos, movies, manuals, zipped software, Windows Utilities, etc. All manner of data that's been collected over the years. That's my storage drive, "G:".

    Finally, another 500GB HDD, "H:", that contains an Acronis duplicate of my storage drive.

    That's it, 6 drives. Three primary, for OS, Games, and Storage of data, and a back-up of each of those three, making a total of 6 drives.

    That's my 6 cents worth!
  20. FiftyOne

    FiftyOne Guest

    I would have to agree to the most extent so far that if your going to 'link' drives, an arrangement like Ham's or mine would be a starting point.

    If you want to go dirt simple, all installs, apps, OS & other bootables on the SSD, maybe remap the music & my docs to another drive (dead simple to do)
    All other stuff (like Avi, mp3, jpg/bmp/gif/personal photos etc) live on secondary platter drives.

    SSD's are still far too expensive per Gig for bulk data storage like your favorite tv shows & all that crap. Stick it on a platter drive
    Last edited by a moderator: Jun 28, 2012

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