Question Advice needed for Asus Strix Z270F and installing 2 SSDs

Henderson

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Jan 8, 2010
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I want to install 2 SSDs on the Z270F: 1 will of course be the boot drive with Win10 and all programs on it, 1TB should give me lots of future room; the 2nd will be strictly a backup that I periodically clone from the 1st drive. I already have an XPG SX8200 Pro M.2 2280 PCIe SSD for the main drive, but I've been reading about some restrictions on the type of SSD I can use in the slot closest to the CPU, and want to make sure I don't buy one that won't work. I also want to make sure that cloning will work as I intend as well, that there's nothing odd about doing it with SSDs vs normal HDs.

I'll also have 2 4TB HDs in the system for all other files, documents, movies, etc., that will function the same way... 1 in use and the 2nd one a clone backup drive. I do realize that I can't use SATA ports 1 or 5/6 because of the 2 SSDs.

Are there any restrictions I should be aware of as to what SSD I can use in either slot? What I've been reading is just getting me more unsure. I'd ideally like to get a 2nd The Adata XPG8200 Pro 1TB and use that, or the Intel 660P 1TB is a possibility. Will I be able to continue cloning the same as always between the 2 SSDs? What settings do I use in the BIOS for both drives then? Are there any issues when installing Windows 10?

Any advice to help me avoid problems or other advice would be greatly appreciated. I've been building my own PCs for over 20 years, but this is my first time using SSDs.

 

Barty1884

Titan
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There are no restrictions on the M.2 slots for those drives. Only one slot can support M.2 SATA drives, but you're looking at 2x NVMe drives.

Two SATA drives will be fine. #1 is only disabled when you use an M.2 SATA drive (you won't be), although #5 & #6 do read like they might be disabled. You still have 1 through 4 though.

Yes, you'll be able to clone - although probably not the best backup procedure.

Shouldn't be any issues when installing Windows, but ensure you only have the one drive you want to install Windows on connected at that stage. Once Windows is installed, add the second drive. Not strictly necessary, but good practice. Sometimes you can end up with the boot partition on the secondary drive in error.
 

Henderson

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Thanks for the clarifications, especially that I'll still have SATA port 1 available.

In addition to the periodic cloning of the drive, nightly I run FreeFile Sync to backup any changed files to the cloned drives. If there's ever a problem where I can't boot into the system, or a virus (never happened yet, but never say never...), I can just swap the boot sequence to the cloned drive and be back in business in less than 5 minutes, then fix the issue on the original boot drive, or if it's hopeless or far too time-consuming, just clone the 2nd drive back to the 1st problem drive. So even if I only do the cloning every 6 months or so, the most I'd be missing are any newly installed programs since the last cloning, everything else is there. It saves me from ever having to do a complete reformat and reinstall everything. I do a lot of photo and video editing, and those programs take forever to get them all reinstalled and setup all your preferences. So my cloning system has served me very well for almost 20 years now, never a reformat on any system, and never a lost file.

And yes, I do know to have only the 1 SSD drive hooked up when I install Windows. What's happened to me in the past is that Windows will randomly put some installation files on other drives in the system, and it's been a pain to uninstall some of those programs, or upgrade them... it keeps looking for files on the wrong drive, which of course are no longer there to even redirect to.

I'll go ahead and order the 2nd XPG 1TB drive then.

Thanks for your help.
 
An SSD is great, but, almost somewhat wasted just for clone image/backup space, I'd pick up a $65 3 or 4 TB- USB external Toshiba drive for such purposes... (The Intel 660P is very attractively priced if you are sure you need 1 1 or 2 TB SSD, however...)
 

Henderson

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Considering how much SSDs dropped in price over the last year or so, having 2 SSDs vs 1 SSD and 1 equal HD isn't that big of an expense anymore. In the past you couldn't even get a 250GB SSD for what 1TBs are going for today. So I'm happy with having the 2 SSDs with 1 as a clone to keep my system's downtime to never.

And I did seriously consider the Intel 660P, it's only $95 right now for a 1TB. But the XPG was only $30 more and I felt it was a better drive for the long term. I'm glad I held out for larger capacity SSDs and lower prices.
 

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