Yep, I can understand that. Nothing worse than sweating over a bunch of cables and then seeing it not boot, with thermal paste all over your hands, clip ties littering the floor, the dog munching on a SATA cable etc.

Like @Franze said, keep the M.2 #1 512GB as your OS drive plus bits, stick a 2TB in the back (just check MSI are all good with that extra $300 warranty thing if it needs some deconstruction to get at the back of the board like that first though). The spinny drive with the SATA connection in that bay you can use as a door stop and replace it with a 7200. I would be tempted to leave it a bit though, as maybe you’ll just Ortho it up and it will be good enough?


Any thoughts on this M.2 drive? Seems affordable and gets generally good reviews. Might not be quite as fast as an EVO, but do you really notice that with an M.2 type drive?


I do think that is where my fear comes from. The last computer I built (that old SimHQ build) I remember totally freaking out about the amount of pressure I had to apply to the mobo to get the CPU fan to seat. I swore I thought I was gonna break the plastic board. Same with seating the chip…I swore I’d bend a pin or something. I hated every second of that part.


That drive is solid, I’d be confident in an Intel product. If it were one of the no-name brands I’d be concerned, but Intel will stand behind their stuff.

You honestly won’t notice a lot of difference in speed between SATA SSDs and NVME.


I don’t know it, but it looks like the QLC stuff is cheaper because it uses caching between faster memory and the NAND chips backend storage, sort of like a hybrid approach (remember the SSD/Spinny hybrids, so of like that). It also isn’t using the newer Intel Optane standard. It’s sort of hard to see if the extra price of something fancier would be justified though.


That’s an interesting read. My take - if you aren’t writing a lot, you probably won’t much notice the speed, and if you aren’t writing a lot, lot (like moving super large files and video editing), you probably won’t come up against the write limits for a long, long time. My assumption there is that when they talk about video editing, they are talking about someone who perhaps does it for a living, and not someone like me that might do it here and there.

Now I have to Google Intel Optane…lol…


Take a stiff drink first. It’s good to know about, but if you’re thinking of big storage it’ll cost a fair bit. High end stuff, with 2,600 MB/s sequential read vs 570 MB/s with QLC etc. Maybe the Samsung 970 Pro or Evo is a good compromise?

The Performance Results page on that Tom’s Hardware link shows a good summary of the performance choices.


Yeah…2GB Evo is running about $500. I don’t think I’m in that market yet. Well, maybe. LOL…I dunno. If I could get it down to $300 I’d probably bite…


Then I read this, which gives me pause (about the Intel):

“Samsung 960 EVO 1TB is $300 and has two times faster read and write speed.”

This kind of statement is always compelling, but also meaningless to me because I don’t know how fast a gnat blinks an eye. Two times faster doesn’t mean much if I’m not sure if I could actually recognize two times faster. So Evo vs. Intel…I’d be paying more for a faster drive with half the space, but is it perceivable be me in day to day gaming? Keeping in mind that most of my Steam files will probably be on either the second M.2 or an SSD (or maybe even a 7200 HDD)…


Intel Optane SSD 905P Series AIC 1.5TB = $2,478



In a head to head it does look like the Evo is quite a bit faster:



You all realize I’m supposed to be writing articles and this is just to procrastinate right?


Yep. But, you have an i9 9900K and a 2080Ti coming, so it’s all about balance and future-proofing, plus if you’re going to bling it up a bit… :slight_smile: :money_mouth_face:



(that price is crazy, but give it a while and you never know…)


LOL. Hey, I was just thinking (oh no)…does the Ortho4XP conversion processing subject an SSD to enormous read/write cycles that significantly affect the write limit of an SSD? I was wondering if it is a good idea to only perform that task on an HDD?


I would think it would be ok, mainly because it does a write the once from the DDS / JPG conversion and then it’s all lovely reads as you fly around lots of times. I mean, you’re writing more files than you need to, to prepare for the convert, but it’s not a wild ratio or anthing.

I personally think I’ve spent longer building Ortho than actually flying over it, but that’s because I’m an idiot. Even so, that still only makes the read/write ratio 1:1. So, yeah, Ortho conversion is fine for SSD stuff. It’s not like a pagefile or some huge Adobe Premiere tmp folder that gets thrashed all the time. It’s the temp and interim files stuff that if reliability and write exhaustion is a thing is the worry.


Any suggestions on a fast, spinny drive with loads of storage space that would fit in that spot?


By the way - for those interested in reading all kinds of fun stuff about SSDs - this guy is the widely recognized (on Reddit anyway) king of SSD information and he has put out this handy little PDF:


Man, my head is spinning 7200. From what I can tell, 2.5" form factor drives max out at around 2TB anyway for ~ $100. Edit - it appears I’m wrong here…maybe 4TB?

Versus a 2TB SSD (SATA) ~ $250.

Is there a reason (other than the $150 cost savings) not to just go with another SSD for the extra HD bay?

Summary at what I’m looking at doing:

Main M.2 - Samsung 970 EVO 2TB M.2 NVMe
Secondary M.2 - Intel 660p M.2 2280 2TB NVMe PCIe
SATA bay 1 - SanDisk Ultra 3D NAND 2TB SSD SATA III 6 Gb/s, 2.5"
SATA bay 2 - SanDisk Ultra 3D NAND 2TB SSD SATA III 6 Gb/s, 2.5"

Does that sound reasonable?* I’d sell off the 500GB M.2 and 2GB 5400 RPM drives that the computer comes with.

Reasonable being a relative term… *


When I first build my PC I didn’t have a huge budget so I bought cheaper SSDs. They work great, but not that a I have a work tower with a proper M.2 SSD in it, mine look like hard disks by comparison. Any extra speed you can get, you will appreciate. Storage is the slowest part of the system these days.

As far as writes go - there was an article out there where they tested a series of SSDs doing constant disk writes until they died. When an SSD is out of writes it bricks itself - so backup important stuff to cloud or a real disk. Most made it well into the petabyte range, which realistically most of us would never get to. You install Windows/Games/Programs once and they get some updates to the tune of maybe a dozen gigs or so a year - not petabytes of replacement data.


Here it is: