Dual drives and nvme

Michael Sartwell

Junior Member
Apr 13, 2017
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I have always set windows up (since Win3.1!) with dual drives. One for the OS and one for temp files, browser cache, swap, spool, etc. I have monitored it with tools and the two drives seem to be about equal with R/W. I even did this with SSDs and it seemed make my computer run faster. I am planning my next build, and with the massive increase in nvme transfer rates, will I find any performance gains if I put in two NVME drives?
 

corkyg

Elite Member | Peripherals
Super Moderator
Mar 4, 2000
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My sense is that it would only be apparent in a benchmark. If that tickles your fancy, go for it.
 
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KentState

Diamond Member
Oct 19, 2001
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I went with multiple drives to split up things that are important on an NVME drive vs SSD vs HDD. If it was cheap to get a 4TB NVME, then I'd put it all on one drive, but since that doesn't exist I will doing tiering on my own.
 
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BonzaiDuck

Lifer
Jun 30, 2004
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I do that, by creating a second "Program Files" and "Program Files (x86)" folder on the second drive to install mostly game software. I've been experimenting with using that second disk (HDD) and folders for some large software "Suites," like Corel Draw and Cyberlink. By itself, with that software and the games, it all works fine.

There is a way to move "Program Files" etc. to different drives or relocate them on the boot disk so that everything continues to work properly. But if you have a backup program like Macrium which will fold several physical drives, any of which has several volumes, into a single image file, that covers some bases.

I'm not using the fastest drives possible as secondary disks to a 960 Pro NVMe. I don't feel I have to. The HDD I've been referring to is a Seagate Barracuda 5,400 rpm 2TB drive. The reason it doesn't matter is that I'm caching the HDD to a volume on the 960 Pro with PrimoCache.

And so you can get your 4TB HDD slug, and depending on your usage pattern, the access to it is as much as 80% the speed of the NVMe through the caching, except for the very first time you access the files on the HDD.

Now -- when I feel like spending the money on either 1TB SATA SSD or even the 2TB MX300, I can still cache the SATA SSD to the NVMe volume.

The only complication or risk I've discovered with PrimoCache: If you are updating to a major new OS build like Creators Update, you want to disable and possibly delete the caching volume. You also want to remove "ghost" drives after "unhiding" them in Device Manager. The Primo caching volume is a converted basic volume without a drive letter which Primo then converts to a non-standard format. Windows may become confused by such a volume as it enumerates the hardware and volumes during the update process. The only other problems with it are from thoughtless misconfiguration -- specifically the sort of misconfiguration that allows for "off-line writes" to a drive which is cached to any persistent target. Certainly, caching a drive with off-line writes to the SSD would emerge as a problem; caching to RAM configured to restore the previous cache after reboot for a drive with off-line writes would also be a potential problem.

You could always add another NVMe M.2 drive to your system. But you are likely to use up another PCIe slot, deprive yourself of a dual SLI or CF configuration. Those are just choices you would have to make. Or if you put one M.2 in the motherboard slot and another in a PCIe slot, you won't be able to use some of your SATA ports as well.

Decisions, decisions . . .
 
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BonzaiDuck

Lifer
Jun 30, 2004
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I think I am going to buy a MB with two M.2 PCIEx4 slots, and play around with it, maybe Optane? :)
You could look among the Z270 boards if you have ( or will build) an Intel system. I think the question might be "How many PCIe lanes are provided by the CPU?" and "How many PCIe lanes or equivalent go through the chipset?" For instance, on my mid-range Sabertooth Z170 board, the NVMe PCIe lanes go through the chipset and offer a maximum of x4 bandwidth, but there are other devices that use the approximately 20 lanes of the chipset allowing only 4 at a time to communicate with the CPU. If the board is like mine, putting another drive in a PCIe x16/x8 #2 slot deprives you of any SLI or CF option, but gives a direct-connect with the CPU.

So I could see where someone might want to build a system with a current-day -E processor and a high-end X99 motherboard with more slots and more PCIE lanes.

But suppose you nearly double your throughput with a RAID0? Your benchmarks will reflect that. My benchmarks may exceed those by a few times. The criticism persists that it's caching and "not real," or you have to run a program or load a file once before it's cached. The upside of a dual M.2 RAID0 is the greater reliability of the storage device, reducing RAID0 risks. But you use more PCIE lanes for storage, or you have to find ways to use your limited resources to the max.
 

BILL70

Junior Member
Jun 28, 2017
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I have an Asus Dexluxe II board with two SATA 1TB SSD's andtwo Samsng Pro NVMe's-one on the slot in the motherboard with windows 10 installed, and the other on the PCIe expansion card. The windows 10 64 bit install boots up fine but I wanted to use the second Samsung Pro for windows 7 boot up and use the SSD's as individual storage for the OS's. I like win 7 because of media centre so can this be done?The windows 7 OS needs to be installed on the PCIe NVMe if possible and then somehow use the SSD's as storage only?Thanks
 

Elixer

Lifer
May 7, 2002
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I think I am going to buy a MB with two M.2 PCIEx4 slots, and play around with it, maybe Optane? :)
Optane is basically useless, too expensive, and not needed if you are using M.2 drives.

I always split my OS & data drives, it is so much easier to nuke the OS partition and start again if something goes wrong.
 

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