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jayhall0315
10-14-2008, 11:04 AM
Solid State Drives and Raptors with IL2 and Hyperlobby

Hello IL2 Fans,

Well I decided to take the plunge a few weeks back and purchase some solid state drives and see how they work for both everyday use and with IL2 gaming. I was interested also in how they hold up to the critical I/O (Input/Output) operations that are important to an online competition format like Hyperlobby dogfighting. Before starting to use Solid State Drives (SSDs), I had been using an array of two Velociraptors (300 GB storage size) in RAID 0 for my Windows XP and IL2 gaming needs and two or four Raptor X drives (150 GB capacity) for Ubuntu, which were either controlled from the Southbridge of the motherboard (the ICH9/R of a Gigabyte GA-X48T-DQ6 motherboard) or for this testing, from a separate RAID controller card (Highpoint RocketRaid 3520 in this case which was used for its ability to better scale the drives in RAID 0 and due to PCIe limitations)). The Velociraptors in particular proved to be fairly quiet and very fast, so I was interested to see if they could be unseated from the their performance throne.
Before I decided to buy some SSDs, I had the more difficult choice of deciding which ones. As many of you already know, with traditional spindle hard drives it is the rotational speed and platter density which matter most but with SSDs it is the cell technology and controller which are all important. Single level cell (SLC) memory is often used in the more expensive SSDs in comparison to multi-level cell (MLC) NAND flash memory used in which the entire cell must be rewritten when new information is added. This usually means that SLC can beat MLC when it comes to write operations. Despite that theoretical advantage, it turns out that SLC is usually only faster when writing by a slim margin and that read speeds are often about the same. After mulling it over, I finally decided on the OCZ Core Series V2 60 GB models which are rated for 170 MB/sec reads and 98 MB/sec writes (very fast for a MLC drive if true). These are the successors to the OCZ Version 1 SSD models which many reported as not working properly or inducing lags or stutters when used with XP or Vista. The Version 2 models are rumored to contain an improved Intel controller, which is the all important I/O operations logic that determines whether the NAND memory can be used maximally. These version two drives can now be found all over the web and at pricegrabber for about $280 -$320 for the 60 GB models. I decided to purchase four of them and them use them in a RAID 0 array and see what would happen.
The first thing I decided to do was test them with HD Tach (which is freeware). In addition to all the Raptors, I also decided to add in a current high level terabyte drive (the Samsung Spinpoint F1) to see how these high end models compare to a modern high density 7200 rpm traditional drive. Here are the results:

Test System QX9770 cpu at 4.2 GHz (watercooled) on a Gigabyte GA-X48T-DQ6 motherboard, 2GB of Corsair 14400 (1800 MHz) DDR3 (timings of 7-7-7-21), 2x ATI 4870 X2 (in Crossfire)(watercooled), BFG Ageia PhysX card (watercooled), Highpoint Rocket Raid 3520 (which required that I remove one 4870 X2 while using it), Creative Titanium Fatal1ty sound card, LG GGW-H20L Blue Ray/DVD burner and Samsung SH-203B DVD burner, Fan controllers, cute Doo-dads and Internal Swiftech/EK/Danger Den watercooling system, Thermaltake 1200W PSU and Dell 30 inch monitor.

HD Tach Average Read Speed -

4x Core Series V2 in RAID 0 on Highpoint Raid 3520 = 440 MB/sec
4x Core Series V2 in RAID 0 on ICH9/R = 387 MB/sec
2x Core Series V2 in RAID 0 on Highpoint Raid 3520 = 234 MB/sec
2x Core Series V2 in RAID 0 on ICH9/R = 227 MB/sec
2x Western Digital Velociraptor in RAID 0 on ICH9/R = 168 MB/sec
2x Samsung Spinpoint F1 (one terabyte on three platters) in RAID 0 on ICH9/R = 154 MB/sec
2x Western Digital Raptor X in RAID 0 on ICH9/R = 138 MB/sec
1x Core Series V2 (non RAID) on ICH9/R = 129 MB/sec (notice this does not line up with the figure of 170 MB/sec that OCZ publishes for this drive's read speed !)
1x Velociraptor on ICH9/R = 109 MB/sec
1x Samsung Spinpoint F1 on ICH9/R = 97 MB/sec
1x Raptor X on ICH9/R = 81 MB/sec

Even though the Core Series Version 2 is only using MLCs, it still wipes the floor in the read department.

HD Tach Average Write Speed -

4x Core Series V2 in RAID 0 on Highpoint Raid 3520 = 262 MB/sec
4x Core Series V2 in RAID 0 on ICH9/R = 258 MB/sec
2x Western Digital Velociraptor in RAID 0 on ICH9/R = 164 MB/sec
2x Samsung Spinpoint F1 (one terabyte on three platters) in RAID 0 on ICH9/R = 151 MB/sec
2x Western Digital Raptor X in RAID 0 on ICH9/R = 138 MB/sec
2x Core Series V2 in RAID 0 on Highpoint Raid 3520 = 137 MB/sec
2x Core Series V2 in RAID 0 on ICH9/R = 127 MB/sec
1x Velociraptor on ICH9/R = 107 MB/sec
1x Samsung Spinpoint F1 on ICH9/R = 96 MB/sec
1x Raptor X on ICH9/R = 76 MB/sec
1x Core Series V2 (non RAID) on ICH9/R = 73 MB/sec (notice this does not line up with the figure of 98 MB/sec that OCZ publishes for this drive's write speed !)

Here you can see the achilles heel of MLC SSDs which is their rather poor write performance. However, keep in mind that these are still much higher speeds than what you would commonly find in a typical Dell/HP computer or a high-end laptop.

HD Tach Average Write Speed -

1x Core Series V2 on ICH9/R = 0.1 msec (yes, that is 100 microseconds !!! - actually, others have looked closer and it is actually 128 usec, but close enough)
1x Velociraptor on ICH9/R = 7.2 msec
1x Raptor X on ICH9/R = 7.9 msec
1x Samsung Spinpoint F1 on ICH9/R = 13.7 msec

As you can see, the RAT (random access time) is only 128 microseconds... unbelievable. This is the reason why you do not need to ever defragment a traditional NTFS partition on a solid state drive (yes, for the laymen, that means that you should shut off Vista's silly and slow auto-defragmentation feature). And since Ubuntu uses the ext3 file system, imagine the speed increases.

Okay, so far this data is interesting and what not, but how does it do in the real world and with IL2 in particular. Let us not keep you waiting:

Windows XP Boot Times (this is from the power on button being depressed to the usuable desktop with only 37 processes running and AVG and Zone Alarm installed):

4x Core Series V2 in RAID 0 on Highpoint Raid 3520 = 41 sec
4x Core Series V2 in RAID 0 on ICH9/R = 41 sec
2x Core Series V2 in RAID 0 on Highpoint Raid 3520 = 41 sec
2x Core Series V2 in RAID 0 on ICH9/R = 41 sec
2x Western Digital Velociraptor in RAID 0 on ICH9/R = 54 sec
2x Samsung Spinpoint F1 (one terabyte on three platters) in RAID 0 on ICH9/R = 68 sec
2x Western Digital Raptor X in RAID 0 on ICH9/R = 58 sec
1x Core Series V2 (non RAID) on ICH9/R = 58 sec
1x Velociraptor on ICH9/R = 71 sec
1x Samsung Spinpoint F1 on ICH9/R = 73 sec
1x Raptor X on ICH9/R = 72 sec

As you can see, do to the loading of processes, prefetching, etc... it appears that Windows XP probably cannot be loaded faster than about 41 sec. The limitations of load balancing (with processes and services) as the kernel initiates limit start up time no matter how fast the read rates become.

IL2 4.08m load times (this is from the double clicking of the IL2 desktop icon until you see the main IL2 screen (and I skipped the movie intro stuff).

4x Core Series V2 in RAID 0 on Highpoint Raid 3520 = 9 sec
4x Core Series V2 in RAID 0 on ICH9/R = 9 sec
2x Core Series V2 in RAID 0 on Highpoint Raid 3520 = 10 sec
2x Core Series V2 in RAID 0 on ICH9/R = 11 sec
2x Western Digital Velociraptor in RAID 0 on ICH9/R = 14 sec
2x Samsung Spinpoint F1 (one terabyte on three platters) in RAID 0 on ICH9/R = 17 sec
2x Western Digital Raptor X in RAID 0 on ICH9/R = 15 sec
1x Core Series V2 (non RAID) on ICH9/R = 13 sec
1x Velociraptor on ICH9/R = 17 sec
1x Samsung Spinpoint F1 on ICH9/R = 19 sec
1x Raptor X on ICH9/R = 21 sec

Obviously, cpu limited here with the high-end configurations.

Load times under Hyperlobby 3.9 to the War Clouds Server (this is from single clicking the "join" button in Hyperlobby until you reach the map/choose base screen of War Clouds (with 100 msec lag time I live in San Diego, CA)):

4x Core Series V2 in RAID 0 on Highpoint Raid 3520 = 18 sec
4x Core Series V2 in RAID 0 on ICH9/R = 18 sec
2x Core Series V2 in RAID 0 on Highpoint Raid 3520 = 20 sec
2x Core Series V2 in RAID 0 on ICH9/R = 21 sec
2x Western Digital Velociraptor in RAID 0 on ICH9/R = 24 sec
2x Samsung Spinpoint F1 (one terabyte on three platters) in RAID 0 on ICH9/R = 29 sec
2x Western Digital Raptor X in RAID 0 on ICH9/R = 31 sec
1x Core Series V2 (non RAID) on ICH9/R = 24 sec
1x Velociraptor on ICH9/R = 31 sec
1x Samsung Spinpoint F1 on ICH9/R = 32 sec
1x Raptor X on ICH9/R = 34 sec

Subjective Impressions It is simple, .... they are smoking fast. Programs under Windows XP and Turdvista "snap" open. The information and DLLs literally cannot be sent thru the CPU any faster. Although I did not put the data here, other games like Crysis and Call of Juarez load extremely quickly. Programs like AVG antivirus, Open Office 3.0, GIMP, etc... once again, literally "snap" open. Despite the fact that the Raptors and Spinpoint F1 are faster when writing, this is does not carry over into real world usage in a negative light. In fact since gaming and IL2 are mostly dependent upon read rates, it is very noticeable in real world terms when using IL2 1946 with solid state drives.
Some other items to be aware of include the 1.5 MTBF lifetimes of many SSDs which outlasts most traditional platter based hard drives (this makes sense because a SSD has no moving parts or bearings). Another great aspect of SSDs I have come to enjoy since I purchased them is how quiet they are. In fact they are dead quiet.. literally. You can put your ear right next to one and you hear ....nothing. Since most of the components in my rig were watercooled for the tests and the fan of the PSU was set lower thru a custom mod, I only ran at about 19 dBa. Much praise should go to Western Digital for getting the Velociraptors so quiet, but they still cannot compare to the total silence of SSDs. These OCZ Core 2 drives that I used also produce almost no heat. I touched them with my fingertip while they were running and they were only mildly warm. Nothing compared to the heat that rolls off a Raptor X drive. Possibly the only downside I could find to these drives in their high cost at the moment (although I expect this to fall in the next six months or so) and the one year warranty.
So to sum it up, yes, if you have $280 or more burning a hole in your pocket and would like some real world noticeable speed increases while using IL2 or Hyperlobby, you might want to consider SSDs. I spent almost $1700 for the four SSDs and the Highpoint controller but you would see real benefits if you just bought two of these drives (roughly $600) and used them in RAID 0. And this is only about $30 more than the current asking price for two Velociraptors.

Hope you enjoyed the info,
Jay

Disclaimer I do not work for OCZ or any hard drive company and I am not in any way affiliated with any storage manufacturer. I only did this for my own curiosity and for other IL2 fans who might have the same questions as I did.

The two pictures below are of the OCZ V2 SSDs undergoing testing (two of them in RAID 0 are off to the right hand side of the picture) and of my watercooled PhysX card (.... I watercool everything).

http://www.xtremesystems.org/forums/attachment.php?attachmentid=86984&stc=1&d=1224004521

http://www.xtremesystems.org/forums/attachment.php?attachmentid=61937&stc=1&d=1184948298

Urufu_Shinjiro
10-14-2008, 11:26 AM
Nice review, were there any circumstances in which you could notice the slower write speeds at all?

jayhall0315
10-14-2008, 11:51 AM
Originally posted by Urufu_Shinjiro:
Nice review, were there any circumstances in which you could notice the slower write speeds at all?

Not really. When using only one Core V2 SSD, I did notice occasional very tiny delays (say, roughly 200 msec maybe) but it usually occurred more often in web downloads or when using bitorrent and did not happen much with gaming or IL2. And even then, we are talking delays so small that they never became irritating (or for me, even noticeable unless I really concentrated on them). These tiny delays disappeared when I used two or more SSDs in RAID.

I was greatly scared to start this experiment since I read several bad reviews of the OCZ Core Series Version 1 SSDs at Newegg.com and at the OCZ forums. Evidently, OCZ really has improved the I/O controller for the Version 2 series. I also heard that many people have had good results with the GA-X48T-DQ6 motherboard that I am using (which is strange since it is just the same ole generic ICH9/R controller used in countless other boards where people have had trouble, but oh well, I cant complain). Give it another year or two, and this sounds the death knoll for traditional hard drives.

Jay

noobisoft
10-14-2008, 03:25 PM
Didn't expect to see a review of solid state drives here, but great to learn of your experience. I've been very happy to see these emerge on market and look forward to having them in my next box - down the road several years.

Cheers

Aviar
10-14-2008, 05:13 PM
As an IL-2 player, what really interests me is this:

What difference does the Solid State Drive make when it comes to the spawn freeze we get in Dogfight rooms and in single\coop missions when a flight spawns after the mission starts?

Aviar

Xiolablu3
10-14-2008, 05:32 PM
I think thats just some freaky, hard to find setting on each PC Avair, if you get what I mean.

I get no freeze when people spawn, but I ALWAYS get a breif freeze the first time I fire my guns after a respawn.

I never used to have this, its something that has happened on this last reformat and install.

If we do enough detective work I am sure we could cure our similar problems, but it may take a long long time to work out what is causing it.

Does the freeze still happen for you with the graphics turned right down?

WTE_Galway
10-14-2008, 06:39 PM
Originally posted by Xiolablu3:
I think thats just some freaky, hard to find setting on each PC Avair, if you get what I mean.

I get no freeze when people spawn, but I ALWAYS get a breif freeze the first time I fire my guns after a respawn.

I never used to have this, its something that has happened on this last reformat and install.

If we do enough detective work I am sure we could cure our similar problems, but it may take a long long time to work out what is causing it.

Does the freeze still happen for you with the graphics turned right down?

I seem to recall a problem like this back in the early days with people having to "clear" their guns before combat.

I vaguely recall it may have been sound related but it is too long ago.

LEXX_Luthor
10-14-2008, 09:08 PM
Re Poasted without oversize pics, so we can read it, and some paragraf breakups.

--


Originally posted by jayhall0315:
Solid State Drives and Raptors with IL2 and Hyperlobby

Hello IL2 Fans,

Well I decided to take the plunge a few weeks back and purchase some solid state drives and see how they work for both everyday use and with IL2 gaming. I was interested also in how they hold up to the critical I/O (Input/Output) operations that are important to an online competition format like Hyperlobby dogfighting. Before starting to use Solid State Drives (SSDs), I had been using an array of two Velociraptors (300 GB storage size) in RAID 0 for my Windows XP and IL2 gaming needs and two or four Raptor X drives (150 GB capacity) for Ubuntu, which were either controlled from the Southbridge of the motherboard (the ICH9/R of a Gigabyte GA-X48T-DQ6 motherboard) or for this testing, from a separate RAID controller card (Highpoint RocketRaid 3520 in this case which was used for its ability to better scale the drives in RAID 0 and due to PCIe limitations)). The Velociraptors in particular proved to be fairly quiet and very fast, so I was interested to see if they could be unseated from the their performance throne.

Before I decided to buy some SSDs, I had the more difficult choice of deciding which ones. As many of you already know, with traditional spindle hard drives it is the rotational speed and platter density which matter most but with SSDs it is the cell technology and controller which are all important. Single level cell (SLC) memory is often used in the more expensive SSDs in comparison to multi-level cell (MLC) NAND flash memory used in which the entire cell must be rewritten when new information is added. This usually means that SLC can beat MLC when it comes to write operations. Despite that theoretical advantage, it turns out that SLC is usually only faster when writing by a slim margin and that read speeds are often about the same.

After mulling it over, I finally decided on the OCZ Core Series V2 60 GB models which are rated for 170 MB/sec reads and 98 MB/sec writes (very fast for a MLC drive if true). These are the successors to the OCZ Version 1 SSD models which many reported as not working properly or inducing lags or stutters when used with XP or Vista.

The Version 2 models are rumored to contain an improved Intel controller, which is the all important I/O operations logic that determines whether the NAND memory can be used maximally. These version two drives can now be found all over the web and at pricegrabber for about $280 -$320 for the 60 GB models. I decided to purchase four of them and them use them in a RAID 0 array and see what would happen.

The first thing I decided to do was test them with HD Tach (which is freeware). In addition to all the Raptors, I also decided to add in a current high level terabyte drive (the Samsung Spinpoint F1) to see how these high end models compare to a modern high density 7200 rpm traditional drive. Here are the results:

Test System QX9770 cpu at 4.2 GHz (watercooled) on a Gigabyte GA-X48T-DQ6 motherboard, 2GB of Corsair 14400 (1800 MHz) DDR3 (timings of 7-7-7-21), 2x ATI 4870 X2 (in Crossfire)(watercooled), BFG Ageia PhysX card (watercooled), Highpoint Rocket Raid 3520 (which required that I remove one 4870 X2 while using it), Creative Titanium Fatal1ty sound card, LG GGW-H20L Blue Ray/DVD burner and Samsung SH-203B DVD burner, Fan controllers, cute Doo-dads and Internal Swiftech/EK/Danger Den watercooling system, Thermaltake 1200W PSU and Dell 30 inch monitor.

HD Tach Average Read Speed -

4x Core Series V2 in RAID 0 on Highpoint Raid 3520 = 440 MB/sec
4x Core Series V2 in RAID 0 on ICH9/R = 387 MB/sec
2x Core Series V2 in RAID 0 on Highpoint Raid 3520 = 234 MB/sec
2x Core Series V2 in RAID 0 on ICH9/R = 227 MB/sec
2x Western Digital Velociraptor in RAID 0 on ICH9/R = 168 MB/sec
2x Samsung Spinpoint F1 (one terabyte on three platters) in RAID 0 on ICH9/R = 154 MB/sec
2x Western Digital Raptor X in RAID 0 on ICH9/R = 138 MB/sec
1x Core Series V2 (non RAID) on ICH9/R = 129 MB/sec (notice this does not line up with the figure of 170 MB/sec that OCZ publishes for this drive's read speed !)
1x Velociraptor on ICH9/R = 109 MB/sec
1x Samsung Spinpoint F1 on ICH9/R = 97 MB/sec
1x Raptor X on ICH9/R = 81 MB/sec

Even though the Core Series Version 2 is only using MLCs, it still wipes the floor in the read department.

HD Tach Average Write Speed -

4x Core Series V2 in RAID 0 on Highpoint Raid 3520 = 262 MB/sec
4x Core Series V2 in RAID 0 on ICH9/R = 258 MB/sec
2x Western Digital Velociraptor in RAID 0 on ICH9/R = 164 MB/sec
2x Samsung Spinpoint F1 (one terabyte on three platters) in RAID 0 on ICH9/R = 151 MB/sec
2x Western Digital Raptor X in RAID 0 on ICH9/R = 138 MB/sec
2x Core Series V2 in RAID 0 on Highpoint Raid 3520 = 137 MB/sec
2x Core Series V2 in RAID 0 on ICH9/R = 127 MB/sec
1x Velociraptor on ICH9/R = 107 MB/sec
1x Samsung Spinpoint F1 on ICH9/R = 96 MB/sec
1x Raptor X on ICH9/R = 76 MB/sec
1x Core Series V2 (non RAID) on ICH9/R = 73 MB/sec (notice this does not line up with the figure of 98 MB/sec that OCZ publishes for this drive's write speed !)

Here you can see the achilles heel of MLC SSDs which is their rather poor write performance. However, keep in mind that these are still much higher speeds than what you would commonly find in a typical Dell/HP computer or a high-end laptop.

HD Tach Average Write Speed -

1x Core Series V2 on ICH9/R = 0.1 msec (yes, that is 100 microseconds !!! - actually, others have looked closer and it is actually 128 usec, but close enough)
1x Velociraptor on ICH9/R = 7.2 msec
1x Raptor X on ICH9/R = 7.9 msec
1x Samsung Spinpoint F1 on ICH9/R = 13.7 msec

As you can see, the RAT (random access time) is only 128 microseconds... unbelievable. This is the reason why you do not need to ever defragment a traditional NTFS partition on a solid state drive (yes, for the laymen, that means that you should shut off Vista's silly and slow auto-defragmentation feature). And since Ubuntu uses the ext3 file system, imagine the speed increases.

Okay, so far this data is interesting and what not, but how does it do in the real world and with IL2 in particular. Let us not keep you waiting:

Windows XP Boot Times (this is from the power on button being depressed to the usuable desktop with only 37 processes running and AVG and Zone Alarm installed):

4x Core Series V2 in RAID 0 on Highpoint Raid 3520 = 41 sec
4x Core Series V2 in RAID 0 on ICH9/R = 41 sec
2x Core Series V2 in RAID 0 on Highpoint Raid 3520 = 41 sec
2x Core Series V2 in RAID 0 on ICH9/R = 41 sec
2x Western Digital Velociraptor in RAID 0 on ICH9/R = 54 sec
2x Samsung Spinpoint F1 (one terabyte on three platters) in RAID 0 on ICH9/R = 68 sec
2x Western Digital Raptor X in RAID 0 on ICH9/R = 58 sec
1x Core Series V2 (non RAID) on ICH9/R = 58 sec
1x Velociraptor on ICH9/R = 71 sec
1x Samsung Spinpoint F1 on ICH9/R = 73 sec
1x Raptor X on ICH9/R = 72 sec

As you can see, do to the loading of processes, prefetching, etc... it appears that Windows XP probably cannot be loaded faster than about 41 sec. The limitations of load balancing (with processes and services) as the kernel initiates limit start up time no matter how fast the read rates become.

IL2 4.08m load times (this is from the double clicking of the IL2 desktop icon until you see the main IL2 screen (and I skipped the movie intro stuff).

4x Core Series V2 in RAID 0 on Highpoint Raid 3520 = 9 sec
4x Core Series V2 in RAID 0 on ICH9/R = 9 sec
2x Core Series V2 in RAID 0 on Highpoint Raid 3520 = 10 sec
2x Core Series V2 in RAID 0 on ICH9/R = 11 sec
2x Western Digital Velociraptor in RAID 0 on ICH9/R = 14 sec
2x Samsung Spinpoint F1 (one terabyte on three platters) in RAID 0 on ICH9/R = 17 sec
2x Western Digital Raptor X in RAID 0 on ICH9/R = 15 sec
1x Core Series V2 (non RAID) on ICH9/R = 13 sec
1x Velociraptor on ICH9/R = 17 sec
1x Samsung Spinpoint F1 on ICH9/R = 19 sec
1x Raptor X on ICH9/R = 21 sec

Obviously, cpu limited here with the high-end configurations.

Load times under Hyperlobby 3.9 to the War Clouds Server (this is from single clicking the "join" button in Hyperlobby until you reach the map/choose base screen of War Clouds (with 100 msec lag time I live in San Diego, CA)):

4x Core Series V2 in RAID 0 on Highpoint Raid 3520 = 18 sec
4x Core Series V2 in RAID 0 on ICH9/R = 18 sec
2x Core Series V2 in RAID 0 on Highpoint Raid 3520 = 20 sec
2x Core Series V2 in RAID 0 on ICH9/R = 21 sec
2x Western Digital Velociraptor in RAID 0 on ICH9/R = 24 sec
2x Samsung Spinpoint F1 (one terabyte on three platters) in RAID 0 on ICH9/R = 29 sec
2x Western Digital Raptor X in RAID 0 on ICH9/R = 31 sec
1x Core Series V2 (non RAID) on ICH9/R = 24 sec
1x Velociraptor on ICH9/R = 31 sec
1x Samsung Spinpoint F1 on ICH9/R = 32 sec
1x Raptor X on ICH9/R = 34 sec

Subjective Impressions It is simple, .... they are smoking fast. Programs under Windows XP and Turdvista "snap" open. The information and DLLs literally cannot be sent thru the CPU any faster. Although I did not put the data here, other games like Crysis and Call of Juarez load extremely quickly. Programs like AVG antivirus, Open Office 3.0, GIMP, etc... once again, literally "snap" open. Despite the fact that the Raptors and Spinpoint F1 are faster when writing, this is does not carry over into real world usage in a negative light. In fact since gaming and IL2 are mostly dependent upon read rates, it is very noticeable in real world terms when using IL2 1946 with solid state drives.
Some other items to be aware of include the 1.5 MTBF lifetimes of many SSDs which outlasts most traditional platter based hard drives (this makes sense because a SSD has no moving parts or bearings). Another great aspect of SSDs I have come to enjoy since I purchased them is how quiet they are. In fact they are dead quiet.. literally. You can put your ear right next to one and you hear ....nothing. Since most of the components in my rig were watercooled for the tests and the fan of the PSU was set lower thru a custom mod, I only ran at about 19 dBa. Much praise should go to Western Digital for getting the Velociraptors so quiet, but they still cannot compare to the total silence of SSDs. These OCZ Core 2 drives that I used also produce almost no heat. I touched them with my fingertip while they were running and they were only mildly warm. Nothing compared to the heat that rolls off a Raptor X drive. Possibly the only downside I could find to these drives in their high cost at the moment (although I expect this to fall in the next six months or so) and the one year warranty.
So to sum it up, yes, if you have $280 or more burning a hole in your pocket and would like some real world noticeable speed increases while using IL2 or Hyperlobby, you might want to consider SSDs. I spent almost $1700 for the four SSDs and the Highpoint controller but you would see real benefits if you just bought two of these drives (roughly $600) and used them in RAID 0. And this is only about $30 more than the current asking price for two Velociraptors.

Hope you enjoyed the info,
Jay

Disclaimer I do not work for OCZ or any hard drive company and I am not in any way affiliated with any storage manufacturer. I only did this for my own curiosity and for other IL2 fans who might have the same questions as I did.

The two pictures below are of the OCZ V2 SSDs undergoing testing (two of them in RAID 0 are off to the right hand side of the picture) and of my watercooled PhysX card (.... I watercool everything).

LEXX_Luthor
10-14-2008, 09:13 PM
mmm, that is interesting. Thanks.

jayhall0315
10-14-2008, 09:41 PM
Originally posted by Aviar:
As an IL-2 player, what really interests me is this:

What difference does the Solid State Drive make when it comes to the spawn freeze we get in Dogfight rooms and in single\coop missions when a flight spawns after the mission starts?

Aviar

Avair - I have not had these problems on any system on which I installed IL2 1946. Either with regular Raptors or with the SSDs. Could be as Xiolablu said, some strangeness similar to what has been documented with Creative soundcards and the Nvidia 680i chipset.

Jay

WTE_Galway
10-14-2008, 09:42 PM
Originally posted by LEXX_Luthor:
mmm, that is interesting. Thanks.


Indeed.

I am wondering how reliable RAID zero arrays are these days?

The solid state drives alleviate one of the worries - increased risk of HDD failure with multiple drives. But how reliable is the RAID itself ?

LEXX_Luthor
10-14-2008, 10:33 PM
Its BS and a waste for average home PC.

I have multiple arrays alright.

I got a stack of about 10 old hard drives, pickem up second hand usually for free, reformat them and plug one in and backup needed stuff every so often, top to bottom of the stack, then cycle through the stack again. That's my...array.

jayhall0315
10-14-2008, 11:52 PM
Originally posted by WTE_Galway:

I am wondering how reliable RAID zero arrays are these days?

The solid state drives alleviate one of the worries - increased risk of HDD failure with multiple drives. But how reliable is the RAID itself ?

Galway - I have used RAID 0 arrays for the last seven years and never had one fail yet (knock on wood). If your controller is decent (and Highpoint controllers are extremely reliable), you should never have a problem. And depending upon the RAID level used, you can probably rebuild it if one drive fails (RAID 5 and RAID 10).

RAID arrays can be much faster than a single drive (just look at the results above). The reason is because you can two or more needles (for conventional drives) or two or more controller chips (for SSDs) reading and writing instead of only one in a single drive. If you use RAID 1 or 10 then the results are not as dramatic but those arrays are based more on backing up data than pure speed.

RAID 0 arrays are lighting fast and since most middle or high-end motherboards contain their own RAID controllers (software or hardware based), putting together a RAID array is easy as pie.

Jay

Urufu_Shinjiro
10-15-2008, 09:18 AM
I look at it this way, everyone says RAID 0 is dangerous cause if one drive fails then you lose all your data, well I have news for you, if you don't have raid and your drive fails.....you lose all your data! Statistically if you have two drive then you have a slightly higher risk of having one fail but this has nothing to do with raid, raid itself does not harm the drives or cause them to fail, it's just the statistical increase from using more than one drive. In the real world drive failures are either going to happen to you or not, I'd rather have the speed.

LEBillfish
10-15-2008, 09:34 AM
uhhhh....huh?....This all WAAAaayyyy beyond my knowledge. Trouble is after having my systems custom built to "my specs" I'd not be sure what to ask for or how to utilize it.

Grrrr, when does the need to learn ever stop!

K2

Urufu_Shinjiro
10-15-2008, 10:28 AM
Originally posted by LEBillfish:

Grrrr, when does the need to learn ever stop!

K2

When you're dead, lol.

GreyFox5
10-15-2008, 10:30 AM
Lots of good info here. For the average IL2 user this is good info for reference. Once the old spindle drives disappear from the market the various SSD drives will be appearing on the market and thus transparent to the average gamer.

BF I would worry much about all the specs but it is a forgone conclusion that your next gaming system will have SSDs in it in the very near future.

Happy gaming.

jayhall0315
10-15-2008, 10:39 AM
Originally posted by Urufu_Shinjiro:
I look at it this way, everyone says RAID 0 is dangerous cause if one drive fails then you lose all your data, well I have news for you, if you don't have raid and your drive fails.....you lose all your data! Statistically if you have two drive then you have a slightly higher risk of having one fail but this has nothing to do with raid, raid itself does not harm the drives or cause them to fail, it's just the statistical increase from using more than one drive. In the real world drive failures are either going to happen to you or not, I'd rather have the speed.

LOL - How true !

Since SSDs are based on adapted flash memory chips then the great thing about them is that either you have a working drive or you do not. With spindle drives it is possible to purchase from a bad batch that has poor bearing alignment, etc and they will still work but the lifetime might only be weeks or months. With flash chips, the either pretty much work or they do not. It is true as you use the drive that some of the MLCs (or SLCs) will go bad but this is built into the controller algorithms. And even with these random MLC failures the average lifetime of these drives (with 50 GB of I/O per day) is something like 250 years !

As much as I like Raptors (and I have used them for five years now), I dont think any of them will last 250 years.

Jay

Xiolablu3
10-15-2008, 02:50 PM
For LeBillfish and anyone else eager to learn...

RAID 0 is basically like SLI graphics cards but using Hard discs instead.

Half the data is installed on each disc and the system uses them both togther. As both can be reading ast the same time, it should theorectically be much faster at accessing the disc and load times will fall.

However most games load levels BEFORE you start playing, so it will just cut down on waiting times.

As long as you have enough memory.RAM, then Hard discs should not really be used much during gameplay.

STALKER and massive world games often read from the hardrive as you play and its barely noticable even with one drive, so its debateable how much use RAID 0 is to the average gamer, but it WILL cut down on disc access times for everything.

Single SATA 2 drives are already pretty fast however. Much faster than IDE or SATA1. Always go for SATA2 drives on a newer system, not SATA1. I dont think RAID drives will ever appear on the 'normal' PC.

WTE_Galway
10-15-2008, 05:19 PM
Originally posted by Xiolablu3:

Single SATA 2 drives are already pretty fast however. Much faster than IDE or SATA1. Always go for SATA2 drives on a newer system, not SATA1. I dont think RAID drives will ever appear on the 'normal' PC.

Well 'ceptin for the fact that SATA2 drives are nearly all 7200 jobs whereas you can get 10K drives quite commonly in SATA1.

There is always 15K SCSI of course.

KG26_Alpha
10-16-2008, 06:47 AM
No moving parts is surely the point..........

WholeHawg
10-16-2008, 08:19 AM
Xiolablu3 Hit the nail on the head. Hard drive speed has little or no impact on actual game play performance, at least in IL-2. So if you got the money or desire to reduce your load time to get into the game then great but for hose of you that play on line remember there is a network component to this to and that going to be a substaitially bigger bottle-neck. If I am reading the results right it looks like you can save a wopping 16 seconds on you HL load up.

My 2 cents, spend the money on your Proc and RAM and video card.

jayhall0315
10-16-2008, 09:55 AM
Originally posted by WholeHawg:
Xiolablu3 Hit the nail on the head. Hard drive speed has little or no impact on actual game play performance, at least in IL-2. So if you got the money or desire to reduce your load time to get into the game then great but for hose of you that play on line remember there is a network component to this to and that going to be a substaitially bigger bottle-neck. If I am reading the results right it looks like you can save a wopping 16 seconds on you HL load up.

My 2 cents, spend the money on your Proc and RAM and video card.

Generally speaking, you are correct. The goal of the article is not to get people to believe that SSDs are a panacea to your dogfighting woes - LOL. Rather, the article is just a preview of what to expect with the early round of next generation tech.

Especially with Hyperlobby or other online gaming venues, it is latency (lag) that by far dominates.

Jay

Urufu_Shinjiro
10-16-2008, 10:40 AM
I run raid 0 for two reasons, first because I'm a performance nut and would settle for no less (i.e. "because it's there"), and second because I hate long windows startup times and raid 0 will make a very large impact on how long it takes to load windows and all the startup apps.

Xiolablu3
10-16-2008, 10:50 AM
Originally posted by WTE_Galway:
<BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-title">quote:</div><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-content">Originally posted by Xiolablu3:

Single SATA 2 drives are already pretty fast however. Much faster than IDE or SATA1. Always go for SATA2 drives on a newer system, not SATA1. I dont think RAID drives will ever appear on the 'normal' PC.

Well 'ceptin for the fact that SATA2 drives are nearly all 7200 jobs whereas you can get 10K drives quite commonly in SATA1.

. </div></BLOCKQUOTE>

Really? Could you elaborate on this, mate?

I thought SATA2 drives were much faster than PATA/IDE or SATA 1 drives.

The bandwidth is 300mb per sec on a SATA2 vs 150gb per sec on SATA1 and less on IDE/PATA.

Are you saying that the limiting factor is actually the rotational speed and not the bandwidth, meaning that bandwidth is irrelevant??

My games seem to load far far faster since I moved from a IDE/PATA to a SATA2 drive.

Urufu_Shinjiro
10-16-2008, 11:05 AM
Well, it's a combination of both. The bandwidth of SATA1 and SATA 2 are theoretical, no drive will actually saturate that bandwidth. SATA2 drives are usually faster because A. they are slightly newer controllers, and B. they use NCQ (native command queuing). A SATA 1 drive at 10,000 RPM will trump a SATA 2 at 7200.

jayhall0315
10-16-2008, 11:54 AM
Originally posted by Urufu_Shinjiro:
Well, it's a combination of both. The bandwidth of SATA1 and SATA 2 are theoretical, no drive will actually saturate that bandwidth. SATA2 drives are usually faster because A. they are slightly newer controllers, and B. they use NCQ (native command queuing). A SATA 1 drive at 10,000 RPM will trump a SATA 2 at 7200.

Yes, this is true. However, do not fall into the SATA 2 hype or marketing. If you take a decent 7200 rpm SATA 1 drive and place it next to a 7200 rpm SATA 2 drive and compare various boot/load and application times side by side you likely wont notice much (not even a few seconds usually). The read heads simply cannot saturate the 300 MB/sec bandwidth limitation. As you said, the only real benefit is slightly better controller algorithms but you wont notice this in real world use usually.

Jay

RedToo
05-31-2009, 05:08 AM
Interesting article on SSD's here:

http://www.anandtech.com/storage/showdoc.aspx?i=3531

RedToo.

jamesblonde1979
05-31-2009, 05:51 AM
Hooley dooley? What do those things run on? Dilithium crystals?

jayhall0315
05-31-2009, 02:43 PM
They run on non-volatile flash memory chips.

WTE_Galway
05-31-2009, 07:28 PM
whoa ... old thread

SSD's are starting to be quite common in those silly little netbooks so its only a matter of time before they become significant in the laptop market as well.

I suspect it will still be a year, maybe two before they become common in new desktops.

Gibbage1
06-01-2009, 01:53 AM
On my next rig, I would like to go with RAID-0 SSD drives, as im at artist, and reading large files quickly is a MUST! Some of my photoshop files are 500MB each!!! Also, in 3D Studio's it needs to read MULTIPLE 50-500MB photoshop files and display them at the same time! Reading large files it EXTREMELY critical for me, and SSD's main advantage is in reading large files. I currently run two 500GB WD Black drives.

Worf101
06-01-2009, 07:25 AM
Thank you muchly for the information. My next build, July or September... will have SSD for Windows and IL2. The rest will go on conventional 500GB drives. You answered a great many questions for me.

Thanks....

Da Worfster