I’ve just upgraded my home desktop PC, to a platform which is designed to be a very fast, mega storage solution and I thought I would share the results with you.
Key components are:
EVGA Z170 Classified mobo
Intel 6700K CPU
32Gb of Corsair Dominator Platinum 2666MHz C15 DDR4
Intel 750 400GB NVMe SSD as boot and applications launch drive
2 x Samsung 845DC PRO 400GB SATA SSD in Raid 0
2 X OCZ Vector 256GB SATA SSD in Raid 0
2 X Seagate Barracuda 2TB HDDs in R0, used fro archive and backup.
The Intel 750 is plugged into the first PCIe slot, whose lanes are directly attached to the CPU (and hence will have optimum latency)
The Samsung SSDs and the Vectors are plugged into native Intel SATA ports and configured with a 32K stripe size.
Here are some AS SSD benchmarks with the CPU running at 4.7GHz and the Windows High Performance Power Plan engaged (so no emphatic attempt at maximising the results).
For the Intel 750 -
For the Samsung 845DC Raid 0 -
For the Vector Raid 0 -
Clearly these benches are fast and using an Intel 750 NVMe drive as a boot drive is a revelation, everything just snaps up like lightning.
However, I discovered the benefits of caching data in RAM a few years ago. So, I am using Primocache http://www.romexsoftware.com/en-us/primo-cache/ to place a RAM based cache over the Intel 750 and the Samsung and Vector Raids. Yes, that’s what the ludicrous 32GB of fast RAM is for. In my case I am setting a 20GB read and write cache with a 10 second write deferral time. I am also restoring the cache at boot time, so that I start enjoying a high level of cache hits from start up (this adds only a few seconds of time at start up as the underlying storage speed is so fast).
To illustrate what the cached speeds are like here are a couple of AS SSDs -
For the cached Intel 750 -
and the cached Samsung R0 -
Yes, lots of laughs we’ve all seen cached benchmarks before. But these are illustrative of the speeds you will actually experience when an IO hits the cache.
The big difference between Primocache and a RAM Disk is that Primocache automatically takes the data you are accessing regularly into the cache. With a write deferral period Primocache also enables trim activity to take place in the cache (where data is created and deleted within the deferral period, and even with just a 10 second deferral period it is surprisingly effective). Obviously, primocache also keeps a lot of ware and tare away from your NAND, thus prolonging endurance.
I started using Primocache when it was known as FancyCache - I have never had a single problem with it. I am a fan. You can use it for a cost free trial period - why not give it a go.
I imagine the user experience is much like it will be when Intel/Micron 3D XPoint storage becomes available, but I have it today.
Some words of warning - using a write deferral period increases the chance that you could lose data in the event of a system crash. So, it s not wise to use it if your system is not 100% stable. Ideally you should also use a backup battery power supply that kicks in, in the event of a power failure.
So what’s it like living with this new system? Awesome, it is just startling how quickly things pop up. I play games - they come up amazingly quickly, especially if the data has been cached. I edit and render video and photos using Adobe Photoshop/Premiere and the speeds change your view of how long things take.
A quick aside - I performed a clean install of Windows 10 and when I tried to use the key from my pervious system (which was an upgrade from a Windows 8.1 OEM license) it was blocked and as I didn’t have any other licenses to use I ended up having to buy another.
I’ll update my signature to have a full list of component parts.