Storage Drives

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supersobes
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Storage Drives

#1 Post by supersobes » 25 Jul 2020 02:57

I'm currently exploring the idea of switching to using an SSD for my truck simulators rather than the one terabyte HDD that I'm currently running. My computer's power supply is pre-wired with two additional 15-pin power connectors that can accommodate two extra storage drives, and the main board has two unused SATA connections. I'm wondering if it would be better for me to replace my one terabyte HDD with a one terabyte SSD, which would be more expensive and require me to migrate my Windows installation to the new drive, or if I should look at an SSD with a smaller capacity that I can use for only installing games and programs onto while keeping the HDD to store files and have my Windows installation on.

Weighing these options, I have a couple of questions that I that would be interested in hearing input from the truck simulator community about.
  1. In addition to the Steam library that ETS2 and ATS are installed on, there is also the directory in the documents folder where the game stores the user's information such as profiles, settings, and mods. In a setup with multiple drives, does this folder need to be on the same drive that the Steam library with the game installation is? Could keeping the directory and the installation library on two separate drives cause problems with performance or possibly file corruptions?
  2. When playing simulator games such as ETS2 and ATS, is it optimal to have them installed on the same drive as the computer's operating system, or would they work just fine on their own drive?

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yukonjack_ak
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Re: Storage Drives

#2 Post by yukonjack_ak » 25 Jul 2020 04:20

To answer both questions at once, no it does not cause any problems.

I currently have Steam installing all games on one 512GB SSD and my OS (and my Documents folder) is on a separate 256GB SSD. No issues what-so-ever. Even ETS/Promods only takes a few seconds to load.

The whole reason I bought a second SSD about a year ago is just for a "games drive" since Steam allows you to install to a "remote" location other than C:\Program Files. Loved having a SSD for my OS and how quick it was but my first one was a bit too small to install more than a game or three...

That said, SSD's are dropping in price like crazy again so I'd go for the biggest one your budget allows for. I was just at Best Buy the other day and they had 1TB SSDs for about $100.


EDIT: As a addendum, leave your 1TB HDD in and use it as a storage drive since you've got the SATA and power connections to spare. I keep a couple HDD's in my PC for storage of stuff like pictures and movies or apps that don't need to be on the SSD's. For instance, I keep my mod folder and Steam WS folders backed up on one of my HDDs ;)
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Some newbie driver
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Re: Storage Drives

#3 Post by Some newbie driver » 25 Jul 2020 14:26

@supersobes in the selection of the SSD, just plain and simple try to find the biggest one that your budget allows. I would try to avoid the most cheap ones, because they aren't cheap for nothing, but they are lot of technical stuff behind price differences and it's pointless to loose your mind checking all those details. The big improvement is to move to an SSD from an HDD; no matter how cheap the SSD is, and no differences in SSD quality are going to make you notice such a huge improvement than the very basic fact from the HDD dump.

So, let's imagine you can afford a 512GB SSD good enough (and isn't that hard, regular SSD prices have drop a lot on past year) but that your actual HDD has more space occupied (if not, go straight to step 3). So, what you have to do is:

Step 1: Obtain (even if temporarily) another regular internal HDD to plug in your motherboard or an USB hard drive where you could move all your "user data": documents, pictures, videos... all that kind of stuff that occupies a lot of space but can be moved without restrains. The goal is to let your actual 1TB HDD under 400GB of occupied space

Step 2: disconnect that temporal disc from your computer and connect the new SSD

Step 3: Clone all your HDD remnant contents into the SSD. Actually there exist lots of programs that can allow users to do that with near zero knowledge. I liked for that kind of easy jobs to use Easeus Backup Free tools; but actually it requires to register to clone discs freely for 30 days (for those who concern about being forced to register everywhere).

Step 4: Unplug your HDD and check the SSD boots by itself. If everything is OK, you should have not to change a comma in any configuration in any game whatsoever. Neither to concern about where to store something related to a game. Your system will completely be the same just working a lot faster.

Step 5: Now the only one left is to plug the other disc (if it has been necessary) to have all the user data on that secondary disc for your PC. Of if that disc was temporal, erase your 1TB disk (now everything else is on the SSD and working) and mount it as a secondary data drive where to move all data stored int he temporal drive.

That kind of data doesn't need to be stored in the SSD, and HDD gives performance enough for the regular user. You save the SSD space for system and programs installations and configuration files; those are the ones that you want to load faster (no, there's no performance penalty to have them stored int he same disk than OS; regarding your second question). That includes either the Steam Library and also the game profile files you mention in your question number 1.

Regards

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Re: Storage Drives

#4 Post by plykkegaard » 25 Jul 2020 14:35

Similar setup, SSD for OS, secondary SSD for games and a 2 tb hybrid HDD for storage
Users folders are moved to the secondary SSD drive
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supersobes
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Re: Storage Drives

#5 Post by supersobes » 25 Jul 2020 15:42

@yukonjack_ak Thanks for the information! It's good to know that multiple drives works just fine. :)

@Some newbie driver Are you sort of implying that it would be better to have the operating system on an SSD as well since they have faster read and write speeds over an HDD? I'm not sure if having a separate drive completely dedicate to storing files and documents is necessary. I only have about two gigabytes worth of files and documents on this computer; I use an eight gigabyte thumb drive to back up this computer. According to Windows File Explorer, my HDD is only using 148 gigabytes for everything that is currently on this computer, and that's including the copies of some rather large files that I have temporarily stored on my desktop right now.

@plykkegaard Like you, I see that most people who are using a two drive setup are using two drives of the same type: either two HDDs or two SSDs. Would mixing an SSD for games and programs and an HDD for the operating system yield the same results, or should it be like @Some newbie driver implied where it would be better if the operating system was also kept on an SSD also?

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Re: Storage Drives

#6 Post by Some newbie driver » 25 Jul 2020 15:55

@supersobes the second drive for data was an explanation in the (usual) case that you could had your actual 1TB HDD very full. An 1TB SSD is still too expensive IMHO and there's no point in paying the premium price of an SSD to store pics and docs.

But if your total space occupied in your actual HDD is so small, you could clone everything directly to the SSD. Starting with one of 250GB could perfectly fit your needs and ou could have a better long-lasting one for the same budget that the 512GB I used as example. If you someday require larger store space, you could use the 1TB HDD as secondary media for all the data that doesn't require high performance storage.

And yes, it would be a lot better that you have all your programs in the SSD, included the main program of any computer as it is the OS. You will understand it once you did the change; I can sure you would not go back.

Regards

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Re: Storage Drives

#7 Post by plykkegaard » 25 Jul 2020 16:03

Excessive file read / write is best done on fast disk drives with high throughput
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room217au
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Re: Storage Drives

#8 Post by room217au » 26 Jul 2020 00:32

IF your motherboard has the facility, may I suggest considering an M2.SSD
These devices are about the size of a thick razor blade and slot into tyour motherboard directly.
In my country, an M2 1TB is like $180.
M2s are faster seek/read time than SATA SSD drives, although that may be an optical illusion :)
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Some newbie driver
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Re: Storage Drives

#9 Post by Some newbie driver » 26 Jul 2020 09:37

If I recall well from a tech problem post he put a time ago, his PC is not modern enough to have M.2 connections.

And beware don't to confuse the physical slot connector (M.2 type) with the communications protocol running through it (SATA or NVMe)

There are M.2 motherboard connectors that allow only SATA M.2 drives, some that allow only NVMe M.2 drives and some that allow both kind. M.2 SATA drives are exactly the same that any regular 2,5" SSD just using a different connector; even they could have worse performance due to thermal constrains if not properly cooled (their chips are more packed and plugged near other heat sources than in a 2.5" format are). The SSD disks that offers bigger performance are NVMe ones (those who work directly attached to PCI-Express lanes). They exist either in M.2 format (more usual for consumer grade) or as like a PCI-E expansion card.

If I had to bet, those 1TB M.2 at that price you mention are regular SATA ones and not so good among those of their kind (probably lacking cache). I've not saw so far NVMe SSD prices to drop so much (although they will not take longer)

Beware too that it's no problem to clone a system on a SATA HDD to a SATA SSD and boot again (99% of times). But it could be a bit more tricky if you try to clone from a SATA HDD to a NVMe SSD; all depending on how your specific OS setup will handle the change in drivers that will need to be changed regarding the storage drive where the system is installed.

Regards

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Re: Storage Drives

#10 Post by Etrusan » 26 Jul 2020 09:44

Good point that @Some newbie driver went over the the SSD cache. Don't buy a DRAM-less SSDs as their performance is not that good. Price and performance also depends on the technology used (SLC, MLC, TLC etc.)

From a personal standpoint, I went from HDD system to m.2 system and the speed is noticable, especially on startup. As far as games go, the loading speed improvement was next to none, as I hit other HW bottlenecks.
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