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Does NVME RAID help in Gaming

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#1
Hi fellow enthusiasts. I posted a thread on my thoughts and impressions of the X399 system and why the other day. I am now going to do a post on whether or not NVME RAID has a discernable difference with Gaming. I am only going to use 1 game as an example Total War Warhammer 2. The reason for that is it is the the game I have played the most in the past year and I also believe it is one of the most intensive PC games too. I am at work now so I will try to post screen shots when I get home today. I have 3 NVME drives in a RAID 0 array built in Windows DIsk Mgmt. They are 2 Adata SX8200 480GB and 1 AData SX8200 PRO 512GB using an Asus M2 riser card ($67.99 CAD on Amazon). I then moved TWWH2, which had been on a 4TB SSD RAID 0 array before to the new 1.5 TB NVME array. The game loaded (they have a new platform) into the launcher at about the same time. The splash screen is much faster. Loading into a campaign felt about 10 to 15 seconds faster. I got into the campaign and ended the current turn. It took 37 seconds on the Mortal Empires campaign to complete a full turn. The next thing I tried was a battle. I tried 1440P with 80% scaling. I used MSI Afterburner to record data. On a 1 vs 1 20 stack each battle my FPS never went below 104! Yes I was skipping frames but that was because my 2 GPUS were at different clocks. The first one was at 1662 MHZ and the 2nd at 1521 MHZ. I had just reset WIndows so I have not done any adjustments in Wattman other than enabling crossfire. I did run a Crystal DIsk mark test (500 mb) and the speeds were over 6000 sequential, writes were in the 6500 sequential range and the Qd32 were each above 400 MBs. As I said before I will update with screenshots when I get home. The next game I am going to try is AC Odyssey. So is NVME RAID worth it. FOr me it feels the same as when I went from HDD to SSD. I would not recommend using a RAID NVME as boot though.
 
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#2
I have played with high end NVME, RAID, Optane drive and even a RAM Disk and i wi ll be honest i don't notice the difference between a decent NVME and any of those in games I play. Fallout 4 and far cry 5 with hi res tex definitely benefits from a good NVME drive but its diminishing returns after that imo. Optane has some of the best random write/perf second to RAMDISK and thats what really helps in games I think, yet i noticed no real gains so i sold the drive a while back. I think Battlefield 4/1/5 would benefit a lot from it though. I remember getting a boost in loading time in bf4 at least . but depending on the game YMMV really, but I really, really hate fiddling with RAID (especially on AMD) so I just use JBOD.

The only thing i actually do that benefits from the mental Sequential performance (2GB/s+) of even my NVME is allocating disk space when installing a Steam game. :/
 
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#3
I understand what you are saying but NVME RAID on X399 cannot be compared to B450. With X399 NVME RAID gets full x4 for each NVME drive. there is a difference between 2GBs+ of Sequential vs 6GBs+ but the QD32 numbers are where I see the benefits. I also agree that for GPU intensive games it might not see the benefit as the GPU is doing most of the work. I will continue to test this though and post my results.
 
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#4
No. It is irrelevant, even for load times the advantage is negligible. You'd be surprised how many games even still load data using a single CPU thread... And even if they do use multithreading, we're talking about a few seconds at best. Its the same idea as going from regular SSD to NVME; you've already got the biggest jump by getting the SSD, the bonus points for NVME are very hard to notice unless you want to move a metric ton of data around. And games don't really do that.
 
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#5
No. It is irrelevant, even for load times the advantage is negligible. You'd be surprised how many games even still load data using a single CPU thread... And even if they do use multithreading, we're talking about a few seconds at best. Its the same idea as going from regular SSD to NVME; you've already got the biggest jump by getting the SSD, the bonus points for NVME are very hard to notice unless you want to move a metric ton of data around. And games don't really do that.
And if youre looking at online games, the game will only load in as quickly as you can talk to the server anyway so it's more of a 60/40 thing anyway. 60% talking to server, 40% loading the game. Theoretical numbers ofc.

Ive played around with SSD raid, and as Vayra86 has stated, it's negligible and not worth the investment.
 
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#6
I used to agree with that sentiment and it may be true for most games, especially older titles. I am talking about TWWH2 which I have had on NVME, SSD RAID 0 but never on NVME RAID . I will do some other games like JC4, Project Cars 2 and The Division to see.

And if youre looking at online games, the game will only load in as quickly as you can talk to the server anyway so it's more of a 60/40 thing anyway. 60% talking to server, 40% loading the game. Theoretical numbers ofc.

Ive played around with SSD raid, and as Vayra86 has stated, it's negligible and not worth the investment.
I led my post by stating that is was talking about TWWH2. SSD RAID is 1000 to 1100 MB/s sequential and the QD32 are in the 60s range for me. NVME RAID is at 6000 to 6500 mb/s sequential, at QD32 it is over 400MB/s. In terms of the investment I paid $309.97 for the NVME drives and $67.99 for the riser card total $377.96 at current rates that is $281.69 US. I remember paying $339 CAD for a 2TB SSD and any of them are well North of $400 CAD even the 2 TB NMVE drives are near $600 CAD.
 
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#7
Unless you have small RAM (NVMe can seriously boost swap), then no - spending more on NVMe makes no sense.
Gaming is not very data-intensive and has been optimized for minimal drive access since the 90s (when we were still using slow floppy disks / CDs).
Almost everything happens in RAM and data from drives is pulled in advance.

That said, NVMe drives still make sense in general PC use (opening apps is quicker, everything is slightly more responsive). So it depends how you use the PC.
 
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#8
So if you're just going to try it anyway especially with other game is why even bother making this post? Why not just read the nvme raid 0, install the game and find out?

Or am I missing something here?
 
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#9
Unless you have small RAM (NVMe can seriously boost swap), then no - spending more on NVMe makes no sense.
Gaming is not very data-intensive and has been optimized for minimal drive access since the 90s (when we were still using slow floppy disks / CDs).
Almost everything happens in RAM and data from drives is pulled in advance.

That said, NVMe drives still make sense in general PC use (opening apps is quicker, everything is slightly more responsive). So it depends how you use the PC.
I hear you and was playing TWWH2 while on vacation on my Laptop. At 720P it was taking 3 to 5 minutes to finish a turn, battles would cap with 60 unit limits down from 120 for Ultra and the FPS would not go above 40. I do keep referencing the QD32 numbers that I am getting though.

So if you're just going to try it anyway especially with other game is why even bother making this post? Why not just read the nvme raid 0, install the game and find out?

Or am I missing something here?
I am just reflecting on my personal experience with NVME RAID. I know the general thought process is that it is pointless.
 
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#10
I hear you and was playing TWWH2 while on vacation on my Laptop. At 720P it was taking 3 to 5 minutes to finish a turn, battles would cap with 60 unit limits down from 120 for Ultra and the FPS would not go above 40. I do keep referencing the QD32 numbers that I am getting though.



I am just reflecting on my personal experience with NVME RAID. I know the general thought process is that it is pointless.
TW WH2 has other bottlenecks. For example, there is a bug where loading battles can be stuck at 0% for minutes on end. I suffer that one with the current version. Used to be instant activity on the load bar, now somehow its not doing that, it looks a bit like database problems (long search/collect times). The actual load time for a battle is not very long, we're again talking about 10 seconds at best. FPS is unaffected 100% both in campaign and in battles. Finishing a turn is entirely CPU limited. I got a huge gain going from 3570K to 8700K in this game. Both in actual FPS as in turn endings, its easily twice to three times as fast (!) and my min. FPS gained 20~30 across the board, going from 70-ish to 90-ish on the benchmarks. With identical GPU at identical settings.
 
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#11
Actually most of the games use only a single thread when loading up a game. Hence the bottle neck is not in the drive speed as most assume, but in the unpacking done by CPU in single thread mode. Crippling slow.

Fire up the Task Manager -> Performance and check for yourself. Is good to have a second monitor for that, but Alt-Tab might work too.
 
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#12
Yeah unless the game engine can process load/save operations across multiple threads, the game engine is bottlenecked.

I believe the Nitrous came engine (Ashes of the Singularity) is the only one which can scale enough to 16+ threads to take advantage of better processing times during NVME I/O operations.
 
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#13
SATA vs NVMe could be a court loss for lack of sufficient evidence. Raiding NVMes? That's glaxy-brain meme level stuff.
 
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#14
Can't remember the exact link, but not too long ago I've been watching someone's comparison between SATA-III SSD, NVME and NVME RAID-0 on Youtube (specifically game loading times). In most cases even moving from SATA to NVME did not make much of an impact in loading times and/or general performance (~10-15% depending on titles).
Personally I've settled on a separate 500GB SATA SSD just for games and so far I'm happy. If I manage to get my hands on a pair of 1TB Intel 660p's, I'd probably use that in my upcoming Ryzen rig as 2 separate drives anyways. You only get faster sequential R/W, but random R/W stays the same or in some cases even worsens...
 
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#15
No NVMe RAID0 does not help with games.
NVMe does help with overall system snappiness... Don't think you'd notice anymore in RAID0 tho.
I can't wait until NVMe RAID0 speeds can be utilized... But that's not today...
10 years ago I was happy with a RAID0 set up that had an average of 220mb/s average r/w with good 32/64/128/4k r/w... Today I expect more from a USB flash drive.
So hopefully and soon we'll be able to take advantage of that kind of speed.
 
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#16
Even a decent HDD is fine for gaming, all the myth's of a SSD increasing FPS are all BS, at best it'll give you better frame-times but you must have had a really shit HDD to get significantly worse frame-times
 
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#17
Even a decent HDD is fine for gaming, all the myth's of a SSD increasing FPS are all BS, at best it'll give you better frame-times but you must have had a really shit HDD to get significantly worse frame-times
Transition from HDD to SSD does make a difference, especially in any game based off UE3, or any Bethesda title. If your games storage is too slow, you'll get some surprises, like game stuttering on location load, texture pop with following frame jitter etc. Average performance is going to look similar, but you are losing lots of smoothness by not going with even the cheapest SATA-III SSD.
 
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#18
Like I said, better frame-times
 
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#19
Transition from HDD to SSD does make a difference, especially in any game based off UE3, or any Bethesda title. If your games storage is too slow, you'll get some surprises, like game stuttering on location load, texture pop with following frame jitter etc. Average performance is going to look similar, but you are losing lots of smoothness by not going with even the cheapest SATA-III SSD.
Only if you don't have enough RAM for disk cache and space for look ahead. I have played games with 24, 32 and now 64 GB RAM and there is no stuttering when the game is on a normal HDD.
The limiting factor is the single core unpacking of the storage data in RAM memory.
 
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#20
Only if you don't have enough RAM for disk cache and space for look ahead. I have played games with 24, 32 and now 64 GB RAM and there is no stuttering when the game is on a normal HDD.
But it also makes no financial sense. If you are willing to spend $40 on an extra stick of DDR4 so you can use it as cache, might as well invest $60 into a dedicated 500GB SSD just for your games and not worry about anything or depend on third-party applications.
 
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