This time I am not going to write you about photography or any other kind of esoteric or cultural thoughts. This time it is pure computer note, so please feel free to take a look at my lat photograph if you do not feel like reading about SSD, RAID, CPU and similar.
Well, at the start I should mentioned that all this is caused by my attempt to setup computer dedicated to Photography. Computer which should have maximal performance with connection to Lightroom and NIK software as well as be very quick not only with graphics but also over the network where my data store is.
One of the steps was to use SSD as my boot drive. I have rather older main-board from Asus P5K PRO using 3GHz Core 2 Duo Intel CPU. Radeon HD6700 series video card is delivering enough performance. Local storage RAID 0 of total capacity of 2GB is fast enough and backed up by 1GB network to RAID5 iSCSI target NAS device.
The last thing I wanted to improve was loading the system and starting of software as I often switch between Lightroom, Photoshop, NIK SEP and sometimes Picture Window Pro. So I decided to incorporate SSD for this reason as my boot drive. I have, based on some reading, decided to purchase SanDisk Extreme 120GB version. My main-board has only SATA II, but I was hoping that it will outperform my original RAID 0 with two WD RE3 disks.
After connecting the SanDisk SSD to my SATA it all looks well until I wanted to install Windows 7 on it. Windows refuse it with message that it can’t create partition or recognize any suitable partition for installing. Hm, I though what strange as far as diskpart from the same Windows 7 install disk could do all of it. Well with exception of installing the system of course. I have connected the disk to eSATA on my notebook and upgraded the firmware of the SSD disk to its R201 revision. Situation didn’t improve, but changed. Windows installation disk informed me that there is a chance that my BIOS is not able to boot from this disk. I tried all kinds of suggestion from the internet, but nothing seems to help. I switched my SATA from RAID mode to AHCI and disabled in BIOS other disks. NO improvement.
I loaded drivers for my SATA Intel controller and loaded with help of the Windows install DVD. NO help, only very strangely Windows install could see disabled disks suddenly. I moved SATA to ATA mode. I was able to install Windows 7, but after I set SATA controller back to RAID mode (to see and use my RAID 0) the SSD was not able to boot.
Well to make the story shorter, I downloaded latest Windows 7 installation DVD (now with SP1 in it) and physically disconnected the all other HDD from SATA controller. Switched it back to RAID mode and all started to work!!!
Writing this to you who may be having similar problem connecting latest hardware to few years all controller and motherboard. Now my disk went from 6.9 rating in windows to 7.6 and my system boots now in 4 seconds. I need to install now all the software and if you like I can let you know what actual effect it will all have for using my photography software. I decide to build this photo machine on SSD which is plugged to docking station on my desk and connected to eSATA connector. My other boot disk can be replaced it and it will boot my normal system with iTunes, email and rest. I wanted to have dedicated photo system where no internet will disturb me from work and no other software will effect performance. Now to switch from one to other is question of few seconds to reboot machine with disk swap in between.