Looking for advice - is it worth it for me?

FAQ, getting help, user experience about PrimoCache
Post Reply
stenny89
Posts: 2
Joined: Mon Feb 03, 2020 9:45 am

Looking for advice - is it worth it for me?

Post by stenny89 »

Good morning

New user so please forgive any already answered questions - I have searched the forums, google and youtube and am looking for clarity on some things.

First some background, need to do a fresh install of my OS and was toying with Intel RST to use an oldish SSD as cache until I stumbled upon PrimoCache, main usage is gaming and my proposed setup will be (HDD wise);

M2 240gb as boot drive with OS and system software applications
M2 2tb as main gaming drive
HDD spinner 4tb more games
HDD spinner 4tb more games (realistically this will probably remain empty until the above is full)
SSD 1tb file storage
SSD 240gb as L2 cache for the HDD spinners


In theory I could just uninstall games I don't play, but realistically the thought of that sends shivers down my spine. I have a slightly older SSD 240gb from a previous PC spare and was thinking of using that as a cache via PrimoCache for the two HDD spinner drives.


My questions are;

Do you need to set the sata ports in BIOS to RAID as you would to utilise Intel RST or can they be left SATA/AHCI and PrimoCache still work?

Is there much to gain from even doing this given my typical usage?

Does anyone have any suggestions for potential config PrimoCache (block size, read/write etc)

Would you also include the SSD 1tb drive to be cached?



Apologies again for the questions, I'm not that technical but would really appreciate if someone could point me in the right direction.

I understand that I'd see better performance using the M2 240gb drive as cache but for the sake of my OCD I really want the OS and programs to be sat on a seperate drive.

Thanks!

User avatar
Jaga
Posts: 467
Joined: Sat Jan 25, 2014 1:11 am

Re: Looking for advice - is it worth it for me?

Post by Jaga »

To try and answer questions:
  • Keep them set to AHCI on the rebuild if possible.
  • Keep block size either the same as cluster size, or a small multiple (i.e. if clusters are 4k, use 4k, 8k or 16k). I find using slightly larger block sizes in Primocache has the best tradeoff between performance and overhead. I typically have read/write cache space fully shared for gaming use (not separate).
  • Don't cache a SSD with another SSD - the overhead associated with the caching itself would drop performance too far.
  • I stopped using RST many years ago, due to complications it had. Primocache by itself is a far superior solution.
One thing I've been doing lately for gaming that I never used to do before, is creating a fully separate partition for the one or two games I really care about. I then create a separate cache task for this partition, and give it the lion's share of my Primocache resources. Doing that ensures an extremely high hit rate, and blazingly fast response for the games that are installed to that partition. I rarely play more than two games at once however, so if you have dozens of them installed and play them where they are installed, you aren't going to get really good hit rates until they've been launched/played many times over and the cache clears out the old data. By limiting the cache to a separate partition and only a couple of games, you are artificially directing Primocache to cache what you want it to, repeatedly.

As a side-note: I use Stablebit Drivepool to combine many of my larger drives into one virtual drive, on which I store long-term data, game installers, etc. I never use this drive pool as an install target, but I do keep installers on it. You could easily combine your two 4TB spinners into a pool, so that you don't have to manage the space on two drives separately.

stenny89
Posts: 2
Joined: Mon Feb 03, 2020 9:45 am

Re: Looking for advice - is it worth it for me?

Post by stenny89 »

Hi Jaga

Thanks for the response. One question on something you said if I could,
  • Don't cache a SSD with another SSD - the overhead associated with the caching itself would drop performance too far.
Is this true for SSD's regardless of interface? ie I was going to create a 200gb partition on the M2 pcie SSD and use that as a L2 cache for the sata SSD which contains media storage - images and music mainly.

Thanks

User avatar
Jaga
Posts: 467
Joined: Sat Jan 25, 2014 1:11 am

Re: Looking for advice - is it worth it for me?

Post by Jaga »

I still wouldn't do it. Sure the NVMe is faster, but you'll lose IOPS and CPU cycles when it looks up clusters to see if they are cached in blocks. Support would of course have the final say on this, but I personally still wouldn't do it.

Post Reply