Does having Win on a SSD make a difference in-game?

TheForumTroll

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Hello experts :)

I'm a Linux user running games in WINE but have a few that requires Windows to work. Now I'm unsure if having Windows on my SSD would make any difference (in-game!) compared to just having the game on it? In other words, would having Windows on my SSD disk make any difference when I'm playing compared to having Windows on a normal HDD? Or would having the game on the SSD and Windows on the HDD run faster (two drives vs. one)?

I would rather spare the room for games and Linux if it doesn't make a big difference (which I don't think it does?) :)
 

FrEaKy

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Truthfully, use it for Windows, thats what I do.

If your a wow gamer or Minecraft, you might get a little benefit from having the games on the SSD but other than that, it will only imporve load times thats it.
 

Business6

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My SSD isn't very large but I've had a few games on it. For the most part it is simply an improvement with load times but some games, Diablo 3 especially, it made the game butter smooth. On my HDD it was quite jittery which completely disappeared once I swapped it over
 

Draxanoth

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It might expedite background tasks, which could theoretically help depending on what you're running, but really I'm not sure how much impact it will have on game performance. Having the swap file on one might make a noticeable impact though I suppose, if your machine is using a lot of virtual memory space.

The real benefit is how light and fast your OS feels running on it. My machine boots from cold off to complete ready in about 11 seconds after I put an SSD in mine.
 

Krenum

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Yep, way faster loading times.

Also , less weight, less heat and no noise. No moving parts. Basically its a stick of RAM with a wire stuck into it.
 

LeviathanZERO

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Having the swap file on one might make a noticeable impact though I suppose

Depending on your controller, this is typically known to be a bad idea for the life of your SSD.
Now Windows 7 has some improvements to how it pages, so combined with a newer controller this may be a moot point by now. Just sayin...
 

TheForumTroll

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Well, how Windows perform is not really important. I only use it from boot and until the game is launched :D
 

klljm

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Most swap file operations are reads, not writes, so having them come from a SSD is the perfect performance boost I have found. I have been running my 180 gig Corsair Force GT for over a year now with win7 and all its guts completely on the SSD, along with no changes to temporary files for internet browsers or any other strange configurations, and the drive is still listed at 100% health on crystal disk info.

So I feel comfortable that by the time the drive does crap out, it will be so small and probably slow after advancements in the field, and SSD’s will be so cheap, I won’t miss it anyhow.

Just my two cents…
 

dremic

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i have a 256gb ssd.. thats larger then most but its been nice although i still run out of room.


256gb ssd = windows / games / general apps


500gb hdd = music / movies / everything else basically.


works quite nicely though
 

Parmenides

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I have skyrim on an SSD with all sorts of graphical demanding mods with windows on a spinning drive. Load times are better, but probably the best benefit is that dynamic loading of resources is seamless, i.e. no stutter.
 

yourgrandma

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No it really doesn't. The only difference you will get is in the first loading screen of a game then most of the loading is done from ram. I tried multiple games from a 1tb black/ 2 1tb striped/ ramdisk with pretty much zero change in the experience.
 

castun

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I would think the game being on the SSD would be much faster with Windows being on an HDD. It just might offset the increased loading speeds by making Windows itself boot a good bit slower.


And that specific game being what, exactly? Solitaire? Unless it's small enough to preload 100% of it's resources into RAM and textures into VRAM before the first menu screen and that's it, an SSD will make a world of difference in most cases.
 

RedTalon19

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Just turn off the page file. I've had it off for years never had an issue.

I've had some games/programs fail to load because they specifically looked for a page file. I simply set the page file to 1GB and put it on my spinning drive.
 

Amaroth

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Once you run games from a SSD you will never go back. Load times are vastly improved. The proof is in the pudding when your in teamspeak with your friends and the spindle guys are always the last to load by a LARGE margin.
 

Sly

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Loading times from massive games like skyrim and farcry are significantly faster.

When playing Battlefield 3 or other online games, i'll be in the center securing a critical area in the map while my clanmates are still on their loading screens.

Probably the most significant. Loading times are so fast, I can take a quick break and be in a game right away. Skyrim is now loading fast enough that it can be considered a quickie and not just temple run.

EDIT: Quickies are significant because even if you were on your work PC with a ton of applications open (i.e. dozens of browser tabs with complex pages, programming IDE's, simulators, photoshop, etc.) and then all that suddenly gets dropped into the background when you launch BF3, and then pop into them again when you check up on something in between loading screens.
 
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bigdogchris

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I have Windows, Page File and games installed to an SSD. Long term data storage like photo's, music, video's, backup files, etc., are all on mechanical storage.

SSD's primary benefit is the ultra low latency for quick random reads/writes, which all three of the things I listed benefit greatly from. Any time your CPU has to wait for your hard drive, you're taking a performance hit.

  • Windows constantly hits the disk, whether you're doing it intentionally or not, so it's a no brainier to have Windows on an SSD.
  • The Page File primary does <512k read/write, which again is the primary benefit of an SSD.
  • Game loading time and streaming of data for some games is also benefited from an SSD. Some games also cache data, which greatly is improved with an SSD.
 

castun

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I've had some games/programs fail to load because they specifically looked for a page file.

Same here. Some games and programs rely on the pagefile. Turning it off completely can have some unintended consequences.

Also, SSDs are perfect for pagefiles. There was a good article I had read about this from the early days of SSDs about whether it's a good idea to have it on the SSD itself, not sure where. But basically they determined that it's best to have it on the SSD. Constantly installing, updating, and uninstalling large games to an SSD is more likely to have a negative impact on the lifespan of an SSD from what I understand.
 

bigdogchris

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I do not recommend manually managing the page file in most cases, but because space is so precious on SSD's I do encourage using the min/max method. Windows 7 wants a 1:1 page file ratio with system memory. Set the minimal to 400 MB (or whatever minimal it will allow) and the maximum to what your system memory is (in my case 8192 MB). This way the page file can grow as its' needed but in most cases will stay at the minimal size.

Disabling the page file is one of the biggest mistakes people make. It is absurd to force unused/unwanted data into memory and not allow memory to be paged out and better used for something that actually needs it.

Two things to help better manage memory is to 1) Look at your commit size. The left number is amount being requested by apps, the right is virtual memory (ram+page file). 2) Also, look in resource monitor at hard faults. Hard faults is the amount of times per second that the system must go to the page file for that application.
 
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Draxanoth

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Depending on your controller, this is typically known to be a bad idea for the life of your SSD.
Now Windows 7 has some improvements to how it pages, so combined with a newer controller this may be a moot point by now. Just sayin...

How bad? Typically they list the lifetime of these things at 10X what my normal computer lifecycle is. lol
 

LeviathanZERO

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How bad? Typically they list the lifetime of these things at 10X what my normal computer lifecycle is. lol

Yeah, I wouldn't worry about it with any bought in the last year.
It was a big problem with 1st generation SSD's. Might even be non-existent at this point.
 

D4rkn3ss

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hmm.. for more than a decade i dont use pagefile, never had any problem. winxp needed 2mb set fixed as minimum and maximum because it needed for some services but that was it, everything else worked. some old games and stuff might give you a error message when installing it but this is it, it will run fine. but i dont do heavy image editing stuff or virtualization or cad, you'll use a lot of swap on those unless you have insane amounts of ram.

ssd-> os, installed software; hd-> anime, pr0n, game mods, pics of chicks. i only leave shit that i'm currently using/playing installed, so i never needed more than ~80GB of space for all software that i use (so far..).

@Troll: yes i believe it will.
 

geraltofrivia

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Disabling the page file is one of the biggest mistakes people make. It is absurd to force unused/unwanted data into memory and not allow memory to be paged out and better used for something that actually needs it.

Don't knock it 'til you've tried it :).

Here's a little something more in depth: http://www.tweakhound.com/2011/10/10/the-windows-7-pagefile-and-running-without-one/

But really N=1 is most important and based on my years of having the page file off on multiple setups and never running into a single issue, I am fairly sure it's not a big mistake.
 

Draxanoth

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Don't knock it 'til you've tried it :).

Here's a little something more in depth: http://www.tweakhound.com/2011/10/10/the-windows-7-pagefile-and-running-without-one/

But really N=1 is most important and based on my years of having the page file off on multiple setups and never running into a single issue, I am fairly sure it's not a big mistake.
I used to run without one when I was playing STALKER. Seemed fine until I ran into a game that threw a fit on launch without a page file.

Worst case scenario you turn the thing back on.
 
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get a 256gb+ SSD and never looked back. It's enough storage for the OS and for more than enough gameage.

You won't see better frame rates or anything like that, but it will still feel faster imho. You'll notice less hitching while the game is trying to load something off the HDD on the fly. MMOs I think you'll see the biggest diff.
 

chockomonkey

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My SSD isn't very large but I've had a few games on it. For the most part it is simply an improvement with load times but some games, Diablo 3 especially, it made the game butter smooth. On my HDD it was quite jittery which completely disappeared once I swapped it over

because it's the WoW engine.
 

MichaelJB

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To the OP's original question: If you only use windows as a platform to access the games then just leave it on an HDD as it nots going to make much difference except the OS booting faster, its the games you wanna stick on the SSD, and even then if your low on space I'd pick and choose which games.
 

bigdogchris

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Don't knock it 'til you've tried it :).

Here's a little something more in depth: http://www.tweakhound.com/2011/10/10/the-windows-7-pagefile-and-running-without-one/

But really N=1 is most important and based on my years of having the page file off on multiple setups and never running into a single issue, I am fairly sure it's not a big mistake.
Apparently you guys know more about Windows than Microsoft does. If it was OK to turn off then they would turn it off. I just can't fathom how using the min/max method is inferior to disabling it. Min/max gives you the best of both worlds.

That article makes some mistakes."The more ram you have the less page file you need" is false. If you have 8GB of ram that all needs to be paged, but only have a 1 GB page file, where is the paged data going to go? Also, disabling page file means your system has less ram to use to cache files.
 
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geraltofrivia

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Apparently you guys know more about Windows than Microsoft does. If it was OK to turn off then they would turn it off. I just can't fathom how using the min/max method is inferior to disabling it. Min/max gives you the best of both worlds.

That article makes some mistakes. For the "formula based plans" Microsoft actually has listed before that XP automatically sets the page file 1.5x, Vista 1.25x and 7 1x. Also, "the more ram you have the less page file you need" is also false. If you have 8GB of ram that all needs to be paged, but only have a 1 GB page file, where is the paged data going to go?

I don't dispute anything you're saying. In theory everything you're saying is right. I'm just going by my empirical evidence. Turning off the pagefile has no real benefits really except for saving a little disk space, so there is little incentive for most users to do so. I did so initially because I was running on a 64gb ssd. Later I just did it out of habit when setting up a new rig. Never had any issues with compatibility or performance.
 

bigdogchris

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I misspoke in my post that you quoted, I have since deleted it. XP Default is 1.5x, Vista is 1x+300MB and 7 is 1x. Just wanted to clarify.

Either way, my recommendation is on a spinner to set a static size (min/max the same) so that the page file does not cause fragmentation. On an SSD I like different size min/max so you save space but have the page file in case the system needs to do a memory dump or page data.
 

D4rkn3ss

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Apparently you guys know more about Windows than Microsoft does. If it was OK to turn off then they would turn it off.

lol that makes so much sense, like theyre telepaths and have a crystal ball to know about all peoples memory usage requirements and upgrade paths throughout the years lol

just so you know, XP was dirty fast, crazy fast, without the pagefile. on 7 i didnt perceive any difference (same as that article) and on 8 i guess i'll never know, at least on the gaming toy on my sig. i still leave it on on my fileserver and both nbs, different machines with different specs for different purposes though, on the fileserver @home why bother? and on the nbs is not like theyre perfomance oriented machines and i game on those things, theyre all on mechanical drives anyway.
 
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JayJapanB

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BF3 without countdown at server start:

GET TO THE CHOPPA!!


...other than that games shouldn't have to use the hard drive when they are running.
 

KazeoHin

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Most large scale games use some form of texture/asset streaming: skyrim is notorious for HDD thrashing in-game. Sometimes my skyrim runs at 4fps while it loads the next rock around the corner, once that rock is loaded, BAM 60fps. This doesent happen with an SSD.

ALT-TABing out of a game is buttery smooth with windows on the SSD.
 

Ebernanut

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^Yep, I was playing Fallout: NV when I finally got an SSD and it was a night and day difference in relation to the stutter that gamebryo games have when you cross that invisible line into a new area and the game needs to load the new content. Most games have smaller maps that load completely when you enter the map and with these you'll only see faster load times but open world games with big maps rely on dynamically loading content.

@OP: If windows is a secondary OS and you're short on space then I wouldn't bother installing it to a SSD, other than the page file(which is a topic worthy of a separate discussion) I'm not aware of any in game advantages to having the OS on an SSD. I would install the games on the SSD even if they're not big open world games just because I hate long load times, the flip side to that is that I rarely manage to read the tips on load screens because they disappear too quickly.
 
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