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Fun With Computers



About a year and a half ago I assembled a new PC. Nothing fancy, really, but since it was my first new computer in a few years it was definitely a step up for me. Here's the core of my system then:

CPU: AMD Athlon II X4 3.0GHz

RAM: 8GB DDR3 1333MHz

Drive: WD Caviar Black 500GB

GPU: Radeon HD5450

It soon became clear that I'd gone too low in terms of the GPU, so I moved up to a Radeon HD6770, which has turned out to be perfect for the few computer games I play.

And then I became annoyed by the speed of my hard drive. Boot times, shutdown times, application start times....everything was getting on my nerves. All this new shiny hardware and my computer didn't really 'feel' much faster than its dinosaur predecessor. I wish I'd done some benchmarking on my original HD to show the improvements I've made, but I think most folks will understand.


I started off with a low-end SSD, an ADATA S510 60GB. I put my programs on the SSD and stored files on the larger hard drive. This solution was satisfying for about two months. I'd open a program quite quickly, but when it came time to find a specific file (on the old spinning platter) my computer suddenly turned into a dottering old man who couldn't find his car keys. There was only one solution, of course, and that was to get a larger, and possibly faster, SSD to hold everything. And thus I moved up to an ADATA SX900 128GB.

Everything was on one drive and all was well until last month, when I filled the 128GB SSD and started using the 64GB drive as overflow. Yesterday I went out and picked up another 128GB drive. My first thought was to split things up again, but then I thought, "Hey, why not just use RAID and create one 256GB drive?"

So that's what I did. And, if only to show the various results, I would like to share my benchmark results.


Single ADATA S510 64GB

Not too bad, I suppose.


Single ADATA SX900 128GB

What surprised me about this was that the results weren't that much better than my supposed 'entry-level' SSD.

Would putting two of these in a RAID increase performance?


256GB RAID - 2X ADATA SX900 128GB


Boot time from the POST 'beep' is now something like seven or eight seconds. Shutdown is half of that. If I'm going to be away for a while and put the computer into Sleep Mode, my computer has powered down before I can turn off the monitor. (So....less than a second?) Most applications fire up in a second or two.

I'm almost looking forward to filling up the available space so that I can add a third drive to the mix.

(Final thought for SSD purists. Yes, TRIM is enabled.)

And, for those, who use the Windows Experience Index as a guide to performance:


Coming up next: A new CPU, I think.


Recommended Comments

So you spent how much money to shed a few seconds off of load times?

I needed the space, so a second SSD was required anyway. (My old 500GB hard Drive is now where I keep my backups.) The only question was whether to have them as two SSDs or working as one. I chose the latter.

($114.99, btw.)

Upgrading my CPU will cost much more, unfortunately.

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