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#4518514 - 04/28/20 02:36 PM Hardware Upgrade Suggestions: epilogue  
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I ordered my setup yesterday and it's supposed to arrive tomorrow. I had some direct help through pm from more than one person (whom I've already thanked the same way), and they provided me with the most useful information. However those of you who posted your own gear (which was what I was actually expecting/hoping to get) also helped a LOT.

I just wanted to take this moment to say thank you to everyone who contributed to my being able to get back into the virtual skies of WWI.


SALUTE TO ALL!
#4518515 - 04/28/20 02:40 PM Re: Hardware Upgrade Suggestions: epilogue [Re: vonBaur]  
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Keep us posted vB and let us know how that new rig of yours works once it arrives and you have it all dialed in. It's great to see you getting back up in the air soon, virtually speaking.

Cheers!

Lou

.


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#4518523 - 04/28/20 03:03 PM Re: Hardware Upgrade Suggestions: epilogue [Re: vonBaur]  
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Curious about what you've ordered. I have to go the same way soon.

#4518636 - 04/29/20 10:30 AM Re: Hardware Upgrade Suggestions: epilogue [Re: Raine]  
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Same here. Computer as old as I am (in dog years).

#4518650 - 04/29/20 12:24 PM Re: Hardware Upgrade Suggestions: epilogue [Re: vonBaur]  
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For those asking, I'd like to offer some (albeit unsolicited) advice: The most "bang-for-buck' choice, whether we're talking about this sim or any other game, is almost never going to be the most current retail top-end hardware. There is just such a tremendous markup on that stuff, you're paying probably twice the actual value you're getting. There has to be a fairly specific set of circumstances before the best choice is buying the latest high-end retail stuff.

Even if you want to go that route, at least wait 6 months or a year and watch - the prices will come down. Especially this time of year, because it's somewhat early in the year, and over the next 6-12 months, several things will be happening:

A. Hopefully, stores will be opening back up etc and things will be improving - and there will likely be sales to pull in customers. B. The holidays almost always bring aggressive sales on stuff that was new over the prior year. And, C.unless I'm mistaken, the next newest thing (400 series boards and now 10 series processors**) is slated for release later this year. As we approach that release, you can bet your sweet bippy that anything of a prior generation (see also: 300-series/9th gen stuff) is going to drop at least a little bit (probably more).

**Note this well: 400 series motherboards. 10 series CPUs. While the retail places are still charging full rip for 300/9 series stuff. Is there anyone who can't see the point that there's just no end; this is a marketing merry-go-round, and there will always be something better and faster, just a few months away? Whether the new stuff is "better" or not isn't really the point - the point, from a value perspective, is whether it's worth the premium you're going to pay just because it's the latest thing (well, until next month, anyway...)

So, consider waiting. Look at previous generations of hardware, too (but this can be a tricky proposition, due to the way retail works with tactics like 'loss leaders' and so on...)

Or, (at the risk of being accused of trying to sell something), you should seriously consider previously-owned hardware as a means to save a lot of money (often hundreds, and frequently approaching half the cost otherwise). Of course, you'd have to compare performance vs cost, ensure you're dealing with a reputable source, consider where they get the parts they use, whether there's warranty and support, and so forth. But, TBH, the level of legwork you should be doing doesn't change much new or used. And, most anyone knowledgeable about electronics can tell you this stuff is generally very highly reliable and can easily last 15 years before anything's even close to failure. In fact, even with used systems, what usually causes the owner to upgrade again is desire for better performance, not component failure. I build systems like this, and I can tell you that many machines can serve more than two sequential owners, and do so very well depending on circumstances and with a little maintenance TLC smile It is also true that the overwhelming majority of people I've built system for aren't in the market because of a system failure; rather, they're looking for better performance than what they have (which is working well, clinically, but they feel some intangible 'need for speed').

And BTW, when I talk about used stuff, yes, it's true I do deal in 're-homed' systems. But, don't let that obscure the point: It doesn't matter if you work with me or not, used hardware - depending on the circumstances and so forth - is always potentially at least competitive with new stuff, and is often a better deal.

Ever since I was 26 and bought my first brand new vehicle, I've only bought new cars for myself and my wife, so I definitely get buying new. But that's transportation, and thus closely related to things like your livelihood, quality of life, etc. Also, people buy new cars for style and life-saving safety enhancements, where those things really don't apply much to computers. Now, plenty of people have told me I'm foolish for paying for brand new cars (and I can see the point). Many people I know go through life without ever buying a new vehicle because everyone understands the immediate depreciation factor (and they have a point, too.) The moral of all this is that I obviously know that buying new has some benefit, but it's also true that buying new isn't always the best value for your money.

Anyhow, rant off (sorry *lol*). Just some stuff to consider. And, of course, I'm always happy to answer any questions, either in the public forum or by PM.

Take care, folks smile

Last edited by kksnowbear; 04/29/20 12:25 PM.
#4518658 - 04/29/20 01:28 PM Re: Hardware Upgrade Suggestions: epilogue [Re: vonBaur]  
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My 2p,s worth guys..Set a budget and work to it. If you want new HW and can afford to purchase it then that's personally what I'd go for (warranty ect)
There's some great 2nd hand stuff out there infact my I7 chip is second hand and it's kept a stable overclock of 4.7ghz for a number of years now. It's been the best "bang for buck" of any of my many purchases. But..I've seen some awful 2nd hand stuff on my travels (local computer fairs ect) and if say purchasing from eBay then look for a reputable seller (didn't help me when I purchased a used GTX 970) a few years ago now). It took me 4 months to get my money back and no card in the meantime. I've also had a few chips that were still covered in thermal paste yet looking at the pictures put up you'd think they were practically "brand new"

Again only my personal thoughts..At least here in Rainy Blighty newer hardware quite often doesn't cost much more than used, I certainly arnt sure how prices are over in the states.
So I personally see it like this..If you've got the cash and gaming is a hobby you really enjoy go new,if money's a bit tight then try 2nd hand but please do your homework on the seller if you can.
I'm not here to scare people away from 2nd hand gear I just wanted to give my opinion. And not argue. Like I've previously mentioned there is some great HW about, We ALL love a bargain I know I do and If you can get second hand HW at a really good price WITH some kind of warranty then definitely at least check it out. Hard drives and SSD I always go new,infact I highly recommend a SSD ..essential No but massively recommended. Sincerely hope you all get your upgrades soon, I myself will be looking at upgrading in a few months time.
Best regards
Adger.


"Vis unita fortior"

"United Strength is Stronger"
#4518660 - 04/29/20 01:30 PM Re: Hardware Upgrade Suggestions: epilogue [Re: vonBaur]  
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Excellent advice here Gents.


Yikes! I realized just now, while catching up on this thread, that the "new" gaming system I built is over four years old at this point! Where the frig did that time go?! eek2

.

#4518664 - 04/29/20 02:12 PM Re: Hardware Upgrade Suggestions: epilogue [Re: Adger]  
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Originally Posted by Adger
My 2p,s worth guys..Set a budget and work to it. If you want new HW and can afford to purchase it then that's personally what I'd go for (warranty ect)
There's some great 2nd hand stuff out there infact my I7 chip is second hand and it's kept a stable overclock of 4.7ghz for a number of years now. It's been the best "bang for buck" of any of my many purchases. But..I've seen some awful 2nd hand stuff on my travels (local computer fairs ect) and if say purchasing from eBay then look for a reputable seller (didn't help me when I purchased a used GTX 970) a few years ago now). It took me 4 months to get my money back and no card in the meantime. I've also had a few chips that were still covered in thermal paste yet looking at the pictures put up you'd think they were practically "brand new"

Again only my personal thoughts..At least here in Rainy Blighty newer hardware quite often doesn't cost much more than used, I certainly arnt sure how prices are over in the states.
So I personally see it like this..If you've got the cash and gaming is a hobby you really enjoy go new,if money's a bit tight then try 2nd hand but please do your homework on the seller if you can.
I'm not here to scare people away from 2nd hand gear I just wanted to give my opinion. And not argue. Like I've previously mentioned there is some great HW about, We ALL love a bargain I know I do and If you can get second hand HW at a really good price WITH some kind of warranty then definitely at least check it out. Hard drives and SSD I always go new,infact I highly recommend a SSD ..essential No but massively recommended. Sincerely hope you all get your upgrades soon, I myself will be looking at upgrading in a few months time.
Best regards
Adger.


Adger, I couldn't agree more. And, while I can't speak for anyone else, myself personally I offer (at least) two weeks 'test drive', no-questions-asked returns, 90 days warranty on any used hardware I sell, full manufacturers warranty on any new hardware, plus lifetime labor and tech support (including on-site if it's at all practical) and a lifetime cash trade-in allowance for anything I sell when a prior customer wants to upgrade. Generally, if someone I've built a system for isn't happy, I have an iron-clad commitment that I'll make it right, up to and including a 100% refund (within a reasonable timeframe and provided everything's in the same condition as when I sold it.) Although I've never had to give a full refund, I have had to go to customers' sites and troubleshoot, replace something, etc - all 100% on me. I almost never make money (ask my wife lol), and I have (a couple times) actually lost money when it was all said and done, but that's just because I'm determined that I'm not going to do things any other way.

I am not in this for the money, and if I were, I'd have quit long long ago. Generally if I keep up with what I've spent in parts overall, I'm content. Some deals work out better than others biggrin

TBH, I don't think any dealer, new or used, online or brick and mortar, can even come close to the overall value.

Last edited by kksnowbear; 04/29/20 02:16 PM.
#4518665 - 04/29/20 02:14 PM Re: Hardware Upgrade Suggestions: epilogue [Re: RAF_Louvert]  
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Originally Posted by RAF_Louvert
.

Excellent advice here Gents.


Yikes! I realized just now, while catching up on this thread, that the "new" gaming system I built is over four years old at this point! Where the frig did that time go?! eek2

.


Lou...how can I say this, buddy? Ya need to call me biggrin biggrin biggrin

(J/K...I know very well you're doing perfectly fine with what you have).

#4518669 - 04/29/20 02:44 PM Re: Hardware Upgrade Suggestions: epilogue [Re: kksnowbear]  
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Originally Posted by kksnowbear

Adger, I couldn't agree more. And, while I can't speak for anyone else, myself personally I offer (at least) two weeks 'test drive', no-questions-asked returns, 90 days warranty on any used hardware I sell, full manufacturers warranty on any new hardware, plus lifetime labor and tech support (including on-site if it's at all practical) and a lifetime cash trade-in allowance for anything I sell when a prior customer wants to upgrade. Generally, if someone I've built a system for isn't happy, I have an iron-clad commitment that I'll make it right, up to and including a 100% refund (within a reasonable timeframe and provided everything's in the same condition as when I sold it.) Although I've never had to give a full refund, I have had to go to customers' sites and troubleshoot, replace something, etc - all 100% on me. I almost never make money (ask my wife lol), and I have (a couple times) actually lost money when it was all said and done, but that's just because I'm determined that I'm not going to do things any other way.

I am not in this for the money, and if I were, I'd have quit long long ago. Generally if I keep up with what I've spent in parts overall, I'm content. Some deals work out better than others biggrin

TBH, I don't think any dealer, new or used, online or brick and mortar, can even come close to the overall value.



That's some incredible after sales service kksnowbear and if I lived in the states and it was practical to both I'd certainly look at what you could offer. You,d probably save many people a small fortune and build a great rig...great stuff.
I'm lucky in that I also can build systems and have done so for friends/family probably no where near as many as yours and like you I find it important to offer my services/warranty after the sale. And your right about not making money out of it,I usually just ask them get me a couple of beers haha. Unfortunately there's quite a few "rogues" about that will sell really poor HW and systems"as new" If anyone can find a 2nd hand seller of HW or systems in the Mould of kksnowbear then I'd certainly give him/ them a look.

Best regards
Adger


"Vis unita fortior"

"United Strength is Stronger"
#4518675 - 04/29/20 03:35 PM Re: Hardware Upgrade Suggestions: epilogue [Re: vonBaur]  
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Adger, yeah it's almost as if I spent several years as the National Service Manager for a multibillion dollar corporation.

Oh wait...I did wink

EDIT: It happens that today, I'm working on a computer for my sister in law, who paid someone else to build it because she lives in another state and didn't want to pay shipping. Now it's not working and she can't get them to take care of it. So she's paying for shipping (to me) anyway, and dealing with not having her machine etc...

Last edited by kksnowbear; 04/29/20 03:56 PM.
#4532375 - 08/02/20 11:59 PM Re: Hardware Upgrade Suggestions: epilogue [Re: vonBaur]  
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Wow! Three months after I ordered it and three-and-a-half after getting it and I'm finally back in the virtual aerial battlefield of WWI. A lot of the delay came from some personal stupidity issues on my part coupled with new hardware not being compatible with W7 AT ALL, and my ability to focus my attention on other things for a while when I get frustrated with something not being as simple as I think it should be. Childish, I know. But I also know people who have a tendency to throw and smash things with which they get frustrated, so I'm ok with my coping mechanism.

Anyway, I don't think I've mentioned it on the open forum yet, but I went with an Intel Core i7-9700K processor on an ASUS TUF Z390-Plus Gaming (w/onboard wifi and Bluetooth) motherboard. I also got a Crucial MX500 1TB 3D NAND SATA M.2 that I'm using exclusively for WOFF, and my son gave me a couple of 8Gig sticks of DDR4 RAM. And I'm still using my GeForce 980ti video card.

I started out with modest settings on the card, and stock game with everything in the workshop dialed up to the maximum. My standard stress test is 22 v 22 tripes in quick combat. Steady 60 fps (the refresh rate of the TV I use as a monitor). Next I added a ton of mods (e.g. the time-appropriate custom airfields, cities, etc., new clouds, effects mod, and everything that pertains to visual immersion). Still 60. I bumped my NVidia AA settings to 8 supersample and started flying missions. Still 60. I notched the anisotropic up to 8, and then to 16. At 16 the mission starts out in the 50's and sometimes upper 40's until I look around and get into the air, then it goes back to 60 with brief occasional drops into the upper 50's. On the latest mission I moved regional activity to 'heavy' and I'm still at 60. On my old rig I would rarely get above the mid-30's and landings would usually be in the low to mid 20's. Plus I'd get a LOT of tearing when I looked around. And all that was with the scenery settings around mid-range and medium air activity.

I'm happy. biggrin


SALUTE TO ALL!
#4532459 - 08/03/20 06:18 PM Re: Hardware Upgrade Suggestions: epilogue [Re: vonBaur]  
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It is always interesting to see what others are playing the game on and the kind of real world performance they get. This is useful info, as I might be in the market for an upgraded system soon. Thanks for posting!!

#4532476 - 08/03/20 08:21 PM Re: Hardware Upgrade Suggestions: epilogue [Re: vonBaur]  
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Glad to hear you got it going.

For the benefit of others who are asking/looking at similar circumstances:

Running Windows 7 on a new motherboard (as in 300-series) has known issues with USB drivers. There are work-arounds, but it requires knowledge and experience (a good argument for working with someone who has both). It can be done, and it can be done on that board.

Like I said, this is a USB driver issue. It's documented all over the internet, and you can thank Microsoft for using dirty tricks like this to get hardware vendors to try to force everyone to update to W10.

Interesting/food for thought that Asus saw fit to put a PS2 mouse/keyboard jack on the back of a motherboard this new, when they had long since started to disappear**. One more instance where USB isn't so "universal" after all. USB requires drivers for the OS. If Microscum decides to convince hardware vendors to stop supporting drivers for new USB port hardware on W7, then they've effectively made a huge step in forcing everyone to move to W10.

**Incidentally, issues like this USB problem is one reason I still keep and use PS2 keyboards/mice at times, even if it's becoming less common.

There are also an ever-growing host of BIOS options that will stump most 'casual upgraders'; one example is the boot complications related to UEFI and CSM. Again, knowing how to deal with these things requires experience, and often time spent studying/researching.

BTW this is among the reasons I don't always recommend brand new, latest-gen hardware as the best choice.

One final note: Moving a boot drive (with Windows already installed on it) from another machine can cause problems like this. Again, these are (almost always) driver issues. There is absolutely nothing anywhere that says moving a drive from one machine to another will work - most people think it works because they got lucky, but as I said, there is nothing anywhere supporting this.

And if it happens you're trying to move a W7 drive to a brand-new 300-series motherboard...well, it is certainly possible, but you're in for some legwork. Best to seek and heed advice from someone knowledgeable and experienced, TBH.

Here's one of the many online discussions on the subject: >LINK<

Early in the thread there is mention about the USB issue; later on there are methods for getting past it.

It's still very important to recognize that moving a drive with W7 already on it cannot use these methods and will require another approach - the methods discussed in the link are aimed at clean W7 installs, if I'm not mistaken. Trying to move a drive with a W7 install on it already introduces an additional layer of complexity that must be addressed if you expect it to work.

As I mentioned, this is just for the benefit of others who might be looking at the same situation. Good that you got yours worked out.

Last edited by kksnowbear; 08/03/20 09:06 PM.
#4532505 - 08/04/20 12:38 AM Re: Hardware Upgrade Suggestions: epilogue [Re: vonBaur]  
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Regarding the USB issues, I bought a PS2 mouse and keyboard and they were disabled when I tried to install Windows 7, too. And when I finally did get somewhere (and don't ask me how...it was a true "blind squirrel" moment) I got an error message that basically said all ailments will be cured, Pelosi and Trump will sing each other's praises from the rooftops, and Muslims, Jews, and Christians will ALL live in harmony long before that motherboard will have anything at all to do with Windows 7. Period. Don't even ask. Once I bit the bullet and installed W10 there was no hardware issue at all.


@77_Scout:
There are two things I wish I'd done differently (besides the whole "go with Windows 10 from the start" thing), and they both have to do with the M.2 drive.

The first is that WOFF, even with everything I've got going on (and there are several unused mods), does NOT require 1Tb. In fact, I could have gotten by with 250Gigs and still had room to spare. If your plan is to have a separate drive for WOFF, don't overdo it.

The second is to spend the money you save by going smaller on getting a PCI-E M.2, instead of SATA. Or at lest read up on your motherboard. Installing a SATA M.2 drive into slot 1 on mine disables the #2 SATA port. And installing one in the #2 slot disables SATA ports 5 AND 6. Apparently PCI-E cards don't. Plus, I think the transfer rates on PCI-E are faster.


SALUTE TO ALL!
#4532512 - 08/04/20 01:44 AM Re: Hardware Upgrade Suggestions: epilogue [Re: vonBaur]  
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Right. But the problem with the concept that the board won't work with W7 is that people have done it already. This is documented in many places like the thread I linked; it's just a problem that Microsoft created by convincing vendors to stop driver support for W7, in a(nother) dirty attempt to force W10 on people. That thread has at least two different ways of dealing with it (actually more, but I'm not counting the ones that involve having to add hardware).

Also, it's often mentioned in these discussions about using PS2 peripherals...maybe yours were disabled in the BIOS. I seem to recall BIOS settings were the source of a good part of your problems at first. I even read somewhere about BIOS settings requiring W10 WHQL - but I've not seen that anywhere else, and can't confirm it. Sounds unlikely to me, but who knows with Microsoft anymore.

I think the biggest part of the problems you ran into were caused by trying to boot a W7 drive from a different machine, on a new motherboard that doesn't support USB in W7 without some legwork. (Obviously, the clean W10 install would circumvent both these issues, so it's no surprise that it actually worked).

Anyway, glad you got it working. Hopefully anyone else who reads this can take under advisement what is involved, and avoid some of the issues you ran into.

Oh, incidentally: M.2 drives use the same exact type PCIe bus as the PCIe slots do (specifically, PCIe 3.0 x4), so there is usually no difference in speeds due to the bus interface between the PCIe slot on most motherboards and the m.2 slots. (There are a few fairly rare exceptions, but not on most any 300-series or earlier Intel chipset boards). Worth mentioning here that many boards will have x2 (called 2 "lanes") set in BIOS for PCIe M.2 drives instead of the 4 lanes they actually run at. Kinda stupid if you ask me (no one did), but it's done to reserve PCIe lanes for the slots. So you have to check to make sure BIOS settings are correct for the device(s) you're using or speeds might be 1/2. Many boards do this automatically, but not all - and some do it wrong. Plus you have to be careful about slots and what you want to run where. Very few boards have the PCIe resources necessary to run all the slots populated at their full rated speed.

Again, the best thing to do here is to seek/heed the advice of someone with experience and knowledge. If that's not an option, be sure to at least read the manual and do the online research.

EDIT: I think you may be confusing SATA and M.2...I can't imagine why anyone would buy a SATA M.2 drive unless they have an older laptop or maybe desktop that only supports SATA M.2 drives (I have an Intel board like this). The reason is speed: Nothing is gained over the usual (cable) interface for a SATA SSD if you install a SATA M.2 drive. In this respect, I'm pretty sure the boards only include SATA M.2 support for 'backwards compatibility'. And it redefines backwards, too, with speeds of only 500-600 Mb/s...

These boards can support M.2 drives that are SATA, or PCIe. Both are still technically considered M.2. (M.2 is actually the form factor, not the drive interface).

Your motherboard only disables SATA port 2 if you run the M.2_1 slot in SATA mode (not if you run it in PCIe mode). From the website:

When a device in SATA mode is installed on the M.2_1 socket, SATA_2 port cannot be used.
When a device is installed on the M.2_2 socket, SATA_5/6 port cannot be used.

Last edited by kksnowbear; 08/04/20 02:08 AM.
#4532555 - 08/04/20 01:35 PM Re: Hardware Upgrade Suggestions: epilogue [Re: vonBaur]  
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Something else that you brought up I'd like to discuss in more detail - again, for the benefit of others. This is as regards space on SSDs:

Without actually verifying what space this sim requires, it's a very good idea to not be too conservative when considering the size an SSD needs to be. There are several reasons for this; the way SSDs inherently work is going to cost some small amount of space over time, for things like "wear leveling" and retiring bad cells (all automatic and generally not within your control). You definitely do not want to choose an SSD that's so small that these processes will be starved for space.

Without going into a lot of the details (I can, if anyone's interested), the long and short of it is that SSDs handle data very differently from hard disks - and one of the biggest differences is how free space affects performance.

So, as a rule of thumb, I usually tell people to figure out what's going to wind up on the drive (as much as possible), then double that (and round up to the next common SSD size). In other words, your SSD should be at least twice what you think you need, and then some if it's at all possible. Also, recognizing that many people cannot afford to buy huge capacity SSDs the first go-round, I usually advise that when an SSD becomes half full, it's a good idea to start thinking about replacing that drive. Now, this is a broad estimate - but it's intended to take into account that you can run a half-full SSD for a long time with very little ill effect. But, at that halfway point, it's worth thinking about a bigger drive, because odds are that the drive will become more full as time goes on, and performance will begin to suffer at a point as the drive gets full.

Long ago I wrote a DOS batch file and ran it every time my PC booted, to show me how much drive space was left. In those days, it was very uncommon for drive space to change much unless something was going on that needed looking into - so my batch file helped me keep an eye on the system overall, not so much drive space itself. However, along came Windows and internet connections where every piece of software on a machine is constantly downloading updates, creating temp files, etc...all using space. Trust me, developers look at drive space as a 'bottomless pit' (which it most assuredly is not). Point is, this is all routine; it's no longer practical to look at drive space changes as an indicator of possible undesired activity. What this means is that drive space is gobbled up by all sorts of stuff routinely, and even if you don't install anything, your free space will decrease over time. While it isn't good for hard disk-based systems if gone to the extreme, it's far worse for SSD performance without even necessarily getting to an extreme.

So, try to buy an SSD that's (at least) twice what you think you need, and if you're using one that's half full or more, think about getting a bigger one at some point.

Just my $.02

(For the record, I also have all my flight sims on a separate 250G drive, and it's still got 115G free. So I'm not saying 250G is wrong...I'm saying there are differences in free space in SSDs vs HDDs, and that should be factored in. Try to work around the range of the "50%" target, particularly if we're talking an OS/boot volume)

Last edited by kksnowbear; 08/04/20 01:41 PM.

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