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New SSd in an aging PC

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Built my PC approximately 4 years ago and I'm just now getting around to adding an SSD to boot it.

I thought about installing a 500 GB SSD and cloning my C: drive, which is over 3.8 gigs full. But then I started thinking that I should be able to save money, buy a smaller SSD and download Windows 10 to the new drive because Microsoft uses the motherboard's model number and serial number as a reference for the product ID (I originally upgraded from Windows 7 Pro to 10 Pro).

Am I correct in thinking that?

So, my plan is to buy a 250 GB SATA SSD, dedicated to nothing but booting the OS and a few programs. Currently, I have 3 internal mechanical HDD's that store over 100 Steam games and years worth of pictures, videos and documents.

I'm thinking of buying this drive. Thoughts? Suggestions? Care to berate me for waiting so long to modernize my PC? (I have thick skin, so fire away).


• Motherboard: Gigabyte Z68X-UD3H-B3

• CPU: Intel i5-2500K CPU @ 3.30GHz

• OS: Windows 10 Pro 64 bit

• GPU: AMD Radeon HD 7800 Series

• RAM: 8 GB

• PSU: 650W

Hey, I have the same CPU in my home computer :) ... though it's closer to 7 years old now that I think of it.

Anyway, how large is your Steam library? If you can fit it on a SSD, you'd certainly see improvements in the game loading/updating times too. I mean, it's probably OK to only keep your OS and most other programs on the SSD, but if you can benefit from the speed increase also for other demanding tasks, why not?

Well, Depending on the amount of software you think you need to install, even a 120GByte SSD will do. It did in my case. I upgraded a 7-year old system at that time with a 120GByte SSD (Samsung Evo 840) as a boot drive. It was like working on a new computer again.

While the comment from ConstanceJill is a good and valid one, given the specs of your machine, I assume you are not that avid of a gamer. Well, not the latest games that require huge texture files to load at an instant. In that case you can easily keep them on your standard spinning disk. Especially if that is a more modern one that comes with a lot of Cache memory. Thing is, by separating Windows from your games or data, the content on the spinning hard disk will not fragment that much and after a while the Windows file-system has optimized the content of that disk anyway.

Fragmenting is/was a big performance killer with spinning disks. But as you keep that now separate, You will find that by spending less on your SSD, you have more money left for other parts, like bigger/better videocard, a faster or bigger monitor. Or simply a second monitor (if you did not have such a setup already). Or the money saved can be used to start saving up for a new computer, tablet etc.

Both approaches (buying largest ssd and cloning your existing c drive and buying smaller ssd for only the operating system and apps) are valid and have their pros and cons.

There are real benefits to having multiple hard drives in the same pc -- one ssd and one standard -- for the purposes of backups and huge collections of files.  So whichever way you go I would encourage having a large mechanical hard drive (2-8 tb).

With that taken as given, I would aim to use the SSD to store all of the contents of my Program Files directory (that is, the Operating system plus all installed apps), and have it be less than half full, for future growth.  Preferably a lot less.

If you can get that done in 250gb, which it seems you should, then that would be just fine.  I wouldn't hesitate to put my documents on a separate mechanical drive.

On the other hand, as folks point out, having everything on an SSD *will* be a noticable speed improvement.  The ssd is one of the biggest speed upgrades you can get.

With any drive over 2GTByte, make sure your motherboard supports that. Older MoBo's often are limited to 2TByte. Which means that if you would buy an 8TByte drive, it would work, but the max partition size is 2TByte. You will need to install extra software that uses tricks to make the remainder of storage capacity available to your system. In the end you will end up with 8TByte disk that is split up in 4 partitions of 2TByte each.

And then you will notice a Windows issue about supporting 4 primary partitions max. That little boot partition Windows creates already occupies 1 of those four primary partitions. Still no real issue, but it requires to revert to logical volumes instead. Windows should do this automagically, but you should read up on those things to see what the implications are.

Crappy thing is that this 2TByte stupidity still occurs on (mostly) cheaper boards from all manufacturers, both old and brand new. So, investigate first before committing to purchasing really big drives.

I have here an Asus A88 deluxe Pro board that is now close to 3 years old. Wasn't cheap to purchase and the Pro in it's name doesn't indicate a cheap board either. The available hardware features on the board do not indicate it is a cheap board.  Yet that 2TByte stupidity is there. The 3TByte spinning disk I bought at the time had to be divided into 2 partitions. Tools like HD Sentinel can see the disk, but not report any data back on it. And at the time there was only software available for Windows to make the excess of 2TByte storage capacity available. So, if I ran Linux, I would have been wasting money on extra capacity that the hardware on the board cannot even address.

Really, do your research, before buying >2TByte drives.


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