Should I format my mechanical hard drive (at all?) before or after installing my new SSD?

Koushick Talukdar

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Howdy all,

I've bought a Samsung 850 EVO (250GB) and it should be delivered in the next few hours. I am planning on installing Windows 7 and the applications that I use daily on the SSD. But I am going to install my PC games (steam, origin etc) on my current mechanical hard drive which I will use as a secondary drive.

Since windows 7 is currently installed in my mechanical drive, should I format the drive before installing the SSD so that there aren't any conflicts? And yes I will remember to back up my important files.

Or is any formatting done at all?
 

Samat

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You can format it after you install the system to the SSD, just have it unplugged until you are done with the install. Then after that is done and you see that everything is working as it should plug in the old drive and you should format it (this way you have a working system if for whatever reason something goes wrong with the install to the ssd).
 

Samat

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You can format it after you install the system to the SSD, just have it unplugged until you are done with the install. Then after that is done and you see that everything is working as it should plug in the old drive and you should format it (this way you have a working system if for whatever reason something goes wrong with the install to the ssd).
 
Hey there, Koushick Talukdar!

Good job with the backup and the update. As it was already mentioned, it doesn't really matter when you reformat the HDD.
I'd just advise you to make sure you have the HDD unplugged while you perform the fresh install on the SSD. This procedure is recommended because you might encounter some OS confusion after the Windows installation, which might result in boot issues later on. Once the installation is completed, plug back the HDD and re-format it if you haven't done it already!

EDIT: @Samat already mentioned that as well.

Hope this was helpful though! Best of luck! :)
SuperSoph_WD
 

Koushick Talukdar

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Thank you all for your input. I have now installed the SSD along with a fresh windows 7 install - it was super easy. The mechanical hard drive is also working perfectly after quick formatting it. Got two more questions. The Samsung 850 EVO came with some software where I can tweak and benchmark the SSD.

After doing a bit of optimisation via the software, I benchmarked it. Below are the results:


Sequential Read - 394 MB/s (Up to 540)
Sequential Write - 378 MB/s (Up to 520)
Random Read (IOPS) - 56144 (Up to 97000)
Random Write (IOPS) - 34321 (Up to 88000)

Are these good stats expected of a SSD? Unfortunately, I dont have any benchmarks for my mech hard drive to compare to.

And for my second question - the software also included an option for enabling Samsung's RAPID mode. It doesn't really explain exactly what it does - just says "enhances overall system performance". Is it safe to enable this mode or are there any drawbacks that I should consider before doing so?
 

Samat

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Those stats look ok. As for the rapid mode it seems that there really isn't a real upside for enabling it so I would leave it off. There some info and links on another forum http://www.techpowerup.com/forums/threads/is-samsung-rapid-mode-worth.207976/.
 

Samat

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As rule of thumb personally I'd try have atleast 20-30GB free space on the main os drive regardless if it is ssd or hdd (running out of space on the os drive can be a real pain).
 

Koushick Talukdar

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I noticed on the Samsung magician software there is a feature called "over-provision". It says:

"Over Provisioning sets aside extra free space on the SSD for the controller to use to increase SSD performance and lifespan."

Should I use that feature to ensure I always have free space?
 

Samat

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Overprovisioning means leaving some of the space on ssd unused, which then can be used by the firmware to allow the drive work faster and last longer (since you have more cells to use as replacement if any go bad). Here is a link to the Samsung whitepaper about overprovisioning: http://www.samsung.com/global/business/semiconductor/minisite/SSD/global/html/whitepaper/whitepaper05.html.

In short though with overprovisioning you will have less total space on the ssd in exchange for improved speed etc.

Edit. With overprovisioning you can have the drive almost full without so drastic effect on performance.
 
Just make sure you move the HD to the second sata slot and use the first sata slot for the SSD, BEFORE you start installing the OS. Sure there are other ways or why you would want to do it otherwise but my method is the most common and avoids any confusion down the line. Your SSD then becomes Windows system physical drive 0 while your HD will be physical drive 1.
 

Koushick Talukdar

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So it may not be worth it.
 

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