Rockliffe

Which Drives to Install

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OK, I'm about to install v4 and I am looking at a complete rejig of drives and OS to Win10. So, my question is, with three separate drives, which install scenario would be best:-

 

1)  1st SSD installed with Win 10 + 2nd SSD installed with P3d+sceneries & addons

2) 1st SSD both with Win 10 and with P3D installed + 2nd SSD installed with sceneries & addons

3) 1st SSD with Win 10 + 2nd SSD with P3d + 3rd Sata HD installed with sceneries & addons

 

I'm interested in anyone with ideas on this. Cheers guys.

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Hi Howard,

This is what I would do:

1) OS on your 120GB SSD
2) P3D on your 512GB SSD
3) most used scenery & addons on the 512GB SSD as long as space available
4) rest of the scenery & addons on the HD

SSD's reduce loading times on startup and might reduce blurries while flying. Having the OS and P3D on the same drive is not the best idea because the OS and P3D would compete for access to the drive.

Maarten

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1 hour ago, Rockliffe said:

3) 1st SSD with Win 10 + 2nd SSD with P3d + 3rd Sata HD installed with sceneries & addons

This is the setup I'm currently using. With a 4th HDD for storage and "stuff." Before I can think of doing something it's already done.

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C: - SSD - OS and desktop apps

D: - SSD - Flightsim (and scenery) and Games

With an SSD, having the OS and flightsim on the same drive really won't impact performance that much considering the instant access time of the solid-state drive. That said, it is nice to keep them separate for organizational purposes.

My personal layout is...

C: - SSD - OS and desktop apps.
D: - SSD - Sims and Games
E: - SATA - Bulk Storage
F: - SATA - Backup of Personal Files and Bulk Storage
G: - SATA Offsite - Periodic Copy of Backup

 

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1 hour ago, greggerm said:

... the instant access time of the solid-state drive. ...

Hi Greg,

Access time is not the only parameter involved. There's only one data path between RAM and drive, so the OS and P3D would still compete with each other. However, given that the transfer rates of SSD's are (much) higher than those of mechanical HDs, the issue of the OS and P3D on the same drive is not as bad with an SSD as it once was with a mechanical HD.

The size of Howard's SSD with the OS is 'only' 120GB and that is another reason not to install P3D on this drive.

Maarten

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This is an interesting question. I'd like to ask specifically: Is there any performance advantage to separating P3D from add-on scenery on separate SSDs? (As per Rockcliffe's scenio 2). My thinking is that some textures (world scenery, weather related) would be loaded off the P3D SSD, while scenery add-ons off the other drive in parallel. Although, caching textures is probably occurring in the background, making this a waste of time? :blink:

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10 minutes ago, odourboy said:

This is an interesting question. I'd like to ask specifically: Is there any performance advantage to separating P3D from add-on scenery on separate SSDs? (As per Rockcliffe's scenio 2). My thinking is that some textures (world scenery, weather related) would be loaded off the P3D SSD, while scenery add-ons off the other drive in parallel. Although, caching textures is probably occurring in the background, making this a waste of time? :blink:

I can see where LM is going with their new installation method. I just don't know how far they're going with it so I'm spreading things out. I can always consolidate later if need be.

Orbx, Aerosoft and probably others still use the FSX install method so expansion room is needed on the flight sim SSD (500GB). Scenery is a black hole which will only keep getting bigger and bigger now that developers don't have a 4GB constraint. 500GB is OK today but who knows what's coming.

I'm thinking reinstall, too. Just recovering from a motherboard death and I was impressed when I first ran the new install of P3Dv4 and it found all addons and loaded them. Thanks Lorbi-SI. Separating the flight sim into similar components and isolating them from each other just makes sense to me when disaster strikes.

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My original thought was to follow Maarten's suggestion of three separate drives. Thanks for all the helpful answers fellas, appreciated. BTW, I should know all this but, is it still advantageous to have other addons such as aircraft on a separate drive also?

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There's no competing for drive access with P3D and O/S on the same drive. In fact all the runtime operating files for P3D are on the OS drive anyway.

In fact adding separate drives increases queue width and slows performance on the PC, increasing queue depth requires RAID.

What I would do with multiple drives is KISS. I would install all on the OS drive and P3D into the default location and add Modify permission to the Users group on the P3D program files folder, I would expand big data like scenery and planes onto the spare drives if need be with the P3D config.

P3DUsersGroup.jpg

 

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Interesting and totally contrary to what I thought. Always learning something new!

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1 hour ago, SteveW said:

There's no competing for drive access with P3D and O/S on the same drive. In fact all the runtime operating files for P3D are on the OS drive anyway.

In fact adding separate drives increases queue width and slows performance on the PC, increasing queue depth requires RAID.

What I would do with multiple drives is KISS. I would install all on the OS drive and P3D into the default location and add Modify permission to the Users group on the P3D program files folder, I would expand big data like scenery and planes onto the spare drives if need be with the P3D config.

P3DUsersGroup.jpg

 

Sorry if I'm a little slow Steve, but in simple terms, are you saying the OS and P3D should be on the same drive and then all addons and scenery on a separate one?

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Hi Steve,

2 hours ago, SteveW said:

In fact all the runtime operating files for P3D are on the OS drive anyway.

Can you please explain? The .Net runtime files are on the OS drive, but only the UI uses .Net. The simulator itself is C++ and only uses the C++ redistributables from the OS drive.

2 hours ago, SteveW said:

In fact adding separate drives increases queue width and slows performance on the PC, increasing queue depth requires RAID.

Can you please explain? Each drive has it's own controller with its own queue. I would expect the queue depth to increase not decrease when everything is installed on the same drive.

thanks, Maarten

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3 hours ago, Rockliffe said:

Sorry if I'm a little slow Steve, but in simple terms, are you saying the OS and P3D should be on the same drive and then all addons and scenery on a separate one?

I'm saying that's what I do but there's nothing wrong with dedicating drives for P3D, FSX, X-Plane etc.

 

2 hours ago, mawibo said:

Can you please explain? The .Net runtime files are on the OS drive, but only the UI uses .Net. The simulator itself is C++ and only uses the C++ redistributables from the OS drive.

The OS, Direct X, C:\Users\YOU\AppData\Local\Lockheed Martin\Prepar3D v4\Shaders, etc. etc. are all on the OS drive. P3D is a relatively small program utilising the OS and DX and so on, the size is down to the data.

 

2 hours ago, mawibo said:

Can you please explain? Each drive has it's own controller with its own queue. I would expect the queue depth to increase not decrease when everything is installed on the same drive.

That's right Maarten, with two controllers think of two rows of people coming through one gate, there's a guy there marshalling each row through the gate in turn. RAID stripe gives you a single controller and deeper queue.

 

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Hi Steve,

9 minutes ago, SteveW said:

The OS, Direct X, C:\Users\YOU\AppData\Local\Lockheed Martin\Prepar3D v4\Shaders, etc. etc. are all on the OS drive. P3D is a relatively small program utilising the OS and DX and so on, the size is down to the data.

The OS and Direct X are already loaded into memory before P3D is even started. The shaders are just a couple of MB. P3D is not a relatively small program: there's several hundreds of MBytes of .dll's in the main P3D folder, but it's not so much about the size of the executable + .dll's anyway because those bytes are read from disk and loaded into memory only once. There's GBytes of scenery files from scenery that's not installed on another drive; i.e. there's quite a lot of disk access performed by P3D.

 

17 minutes ago, SteveW said:

That's right Maarten, with two controllers think of two rows of people coming through one gate, there's a guy there marshalling each row through the gate in turn. RAID stripe gives you a single controller and deeper queue.

I still don't understand why you think that is true. If using one drive then yes, there's one queue with one marshaller, but the length of this queue is longer not shorter (the data request from both the OS, P3D and other applications are all going through this single queue). If using RAID the queue gets shorter (shallower) not deeper. Using RAID 0 will be faster than using two drives for sure, but one single drive without RAID will not be faster in my opinion than 2 separate drives.

thanks, Maarten

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Maarten you saying all that to justify putting all the sims on different drives?

Of course RAID stripe actually works and exactly why we are beginning to see RAID more often. Look out for Intel RST enabled machines for 'bootable' RAID and consider RAID not for performance but as a backup, where if one drive fails you just shove in a replacement drive and the controller rebuilds the mirror.

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Hi Steve,

No, I'm not saying that RAID does not give a performance improvement, not at all.

I think we are both talking about two different situations: I'm looking at what's the best configuration for the current hardware of Howard's setup: 120GB SSD + 512GB SSD + 1TB HD according to his signature. You are talking about a greenfield situation where you are about to go and buy new hardware. And yes, if you have the money, you should certainly consider a RAID setup.

thanks, Maarten

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Yes, I thought that was fairly well cleared up, my point being in general. What we see usually is a guy whose drive is getting full and they buy a new drive. They can move the aircraft and scenery to it if they wish to free up more space, even the stock data and link it with a simple config. Uninstalling and re-installing onto the new drive not being necessary. In my opinion less drama comes from systems built up this way. Strange stuff happens to systems whereby stuff is spread all over.

 

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You're welcome. Well, I did a google about and the general consensus with those that tested it out is that you don't gain (or lose) performance by splitting up your sim over two drives. To actually increase drive performance requires different hardware, RAID with deeper queue. My example of a crowd passing through one gate not too intuitive but we can add a gate and we get two people in the gates at once, we doubled queue depth.

 

 

 

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I don't have the technical knowledge to get into detail with you but from everything I have read from those much more technical than I - what you say is true but does not really apply to flight sims. Especially in the area of RAID. The nature of the reads and writes in a flight sim makes the RAID array not a cost effective operation. I would expect that a RAID array of SSD drives would have better performance but the amount of improvement, although statistically there is practically irrelevant - as it pertains to flight sims. 

I think we're talking about nanoseconds here not anything significant. I recall that many years ago when I was coding, I'd hand optimize the code to minimize processor cycles and improve performance. Back then, with that type of hardware, it was noticeable but with today's hardware - I seriously doubt if anyone concerns themselves with code optimization except for a few purists.

Vic

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Hi Vic,

I agree with your opinion on the impact of a RAID array on the performance of a sim. It certainly helps reduce startup time, but during flight I doubt if a RAID array has a noticeable advantage.

 I do not agree however with your statement about optimizing software. Optimizing code is still very relevant. If you write a simple app that doesn't need to process large amounts of data in real time, then yes, performance is irrelevant. If you write an addon that connects with the simulator to process and present data (ActiveSky, Aivlasoft, Flightsim Commander, Plan-G or my own SimLauncherX come to mind), then performance and keeping the application responsive is very important. Look at how Chaseplane is struggling to reduce CPU-load. Hardware is always getting faster and software is always evolving to make use of these extra resources, so optimizing code remains important for any application that goes beyond 'Hello world' or Notepad.

Maarten

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Good points Maarten. I've been away from coding for some years, nice to know there are still people who write and appreciate tight code.

 

Vic

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If you really want an example of tight code that's IF10 and its sim messaging best in class network bandwidth, self contained installer, artwork screens, dlls all in just 10Mb.

But with talking RAID it should be considered for its reliability and ease of fault recovery as I said earlier rather than a means to improve load times. I mentioned it because newer PCs are becoming available with cheap RAID options where we only saw that in servers and high spec machines. The cost of drives should come down enough eventually to make it daft not to have a drive array with redundancy. Another option to look for is Optane you can use that as a fast cache and attach drives in RAID. If you don't have too much cash you could use HDDs which are big and cheap.

For a PC whereby you don't want to reinstall windows and apps with a failed drive choose RAID options in future.

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