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nForce4 Ultra and SSD - should I do it?

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Hi, guys.

I've got this PC, it's a bunch of my old parts thrown together, my parents use it. The bottleneck of the system is an old IDE HDD, it really slows down the entire PC to a crawl sometimes. I'm currently thinking about buying a cheap 60 GB chinese brand SSD from AliExpress to speed things up and breathe some life into the system.

The box in a nutshell:
Motherboard: EPoX EP-MF4 Ultra-3 - socket AM2, nForce4 Ultra chipset, SATA 3Gbps
CPU: Athlon 64 X2 5600+ (Brisbane)
RAM: 3 GB of DDR2 667
GPU: Radeon 4350 256 MB
HDD: WD 250 GB IDE
PSU: Seasonic 430W

Clearly not a speed demon by modern standards, but enough to get some browsing (my old man is a tab monster sometimes) and some office work done.

I poked around the BIOS and the SATA controller only works in Normal/RAID mode, no AHCI setting. I suddenly thought that I should abort the mission since stuff like NCQ and TRIM wouldn't work, but after doing some research I found out that TRIM should still be operational if enabled in the OS and I would very much like that to work. NCQ should still be a non-operational, but no one really notice the performance penalty.

My question goes out to people having done similar stuff: have you been successful, should I be expecting potential incompatibilities, pitfalls, problems? I looked around the net, but found nothing concrete or detailed enough to make up my mind.

Thanks in advance :)
 
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Did run SSD on nForce 570 Ultra (MSI K9N Platinum) without any problems.
Just don't force install any ancient drivers - modern os (7 and on) has probably everything you need already bundled (when it comes to motherboard).
Even though this hardware supports 64bit OS, I'd prefer 32bit since it will better utilize existing 3GB.

Afair the SATA Controller is neither detected by windows as generic IDE or AHCI, but as nForce specific thingy.
AS SSD benchmark shows up driver for it in green, so I guess it's okay :rolleyes:
 

hat

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An SSD is a great upgrade for any system, even oldies like this one. It will definitely feel more snappy. I've used an SSD in a system along with a Q6600 and DDR2 800. There should be no compatibility issues.

I don't think the motherboard has anything to do with TRIM. Your SSD has to support it (they probably all do now) and the operating system has to support it. I don't know what OS they're using, but I believe Windows 7 and up supports TRIM.
 
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Yeah, I was initially under the impression that there had to be quite specific hardware prerequisites on the motherboard side like AHCI mode for stuff like TRIM to work, but as I mentioned, I found out it's not that specific.

I figure I'm gonna try out Windows 10 to keep with the times, and if that runs well I'll stick with it. For all I know it might not run that fine, since there's also a TV tuner/capture card and a FireWire & USB combo card inside, God only knows if proper drivers exist for those.

Thanks for the advice so far, guys. I'm gonna wait a few days and if nothing alarming pops up, I'm gonna pull the trigger.
 

hat

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Anything SATA should be run in AHCI mode anyway. IDE mode is for really old legacy stuff.
 
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TRIM has to be supported in the SSD and the AHCI drivers, and the Nvidia ones don't provide TRIM support.
I heard there are modified drivers with some basic support, but no idea if it's true.
 

dorsetknob

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Dorset where else eh? >>> Thats ENGLAND<<<
I figure I'm gonna try out Windows 10 to keep with the times, and if that runs well I'll stick with it. For all I know it might not run that fine, since there's also a TV tuner/capture card and a FireWire & USB combo card inside, God only knows if proper drivers exist for those.
If you would like to use the TV card best try win 7 first more chance of getting it to work (you can then try win 10 and rollback if that's necessary) firewire & usb card should have no problems
 
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Anything SATA should be run in AHCI mode anyway. IDE mode is for really old legacy stuff.
True, but alas I am limited to what my motherboard offers.

TRIM has to be supported in the SSD and the AHCI drivers, and the Nvidia ones don't provide TRIM support.
I heard there are modified drivers with some basic support, but no idea if it's true.
Practically all modern SSD models support it natively, but as I found out yesterday, it will work regardless of the AHCI status. As far as the modified drivers go, I will use them only if there's problems with the stock ones.

If you would like to use the TV card best try win 7 first more chance of getting it to work (you can then try win 10 and rollback if that's necessary) firewire & usb card should have no problems
The main reason I will try installing Win 10 first is to see if it goes smoothly, and then if it does, to keep it. The other way around I will almost certainly end up having to do two installs (one for 7 and one for 10) and it would take twice as long. That being said, I plan to stick to 32-bit Windows for maximum driver compatibility.
 

dorsetknob

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Dorset where else eh? >>> Thats ENGLAND<<<
That being said, I plan to stick to 32-bit Windows for maximum driver compa
your more lightly get maximum Driver Compatibility with Win 7 ( and if necessary legacy Driver and relevent software install )
 
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For anyone who is "new tab count happy", A LOT of RAM is an requirement.
Yes, SSD will help either way, BUT I would install more RAM in this PC regardless (3GB is simply too small). 4-6GB is minimum, and 8GB is optimal gain/$ wise.
If compatilbity is important, you are far better off doing a dual boot system (with Win XP + Win 7/10 x64). XP will take 40GB, and Win 7/10 should work fine with 60-80GB (after hibernation off).

Last thing : In the long run, try to get a DX11 GPU (for better video acceleration/driver support).
 
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your more lightly get maximum Driver Compatibility with Win 7 ( and if necessary legacy Driver and relevent software install )
I mean maximum compatibility for that particular version of Windows. I don't think my wording was that bad :) Otherwise, yes, it has a greater chance of working, I agree. Overall even Vista would be better than the awfully beat up install of XP the system runs on now (don't ask...)

For anyone who is "new tab count happy", A LOT of RAM is an requirement.
Yes, SSD will help either way, BUT I would install more RAM in this PC regardless (3GB is simply too small). 4-6GB is minimum, and 8GB is optimal gain/$ wise.
If compatilbity is important, you are far better off doing a dual boot system (with Win XP + Win 7/10 x64). XP will take 40GB, and Win 7/10 should work fine with 60-80GB (after hibernation off).
My general rule is normally to stuff in as much RAM as possible, since I always max out mine with tabs, games and other stuff. However, recently on my HTPC (which also has 3GB RAM, Win 7, weaker hardware overall) I noticed something interesting: the fresh copy of Firefox I had installed used VERY little RAM, I could easily open 20-30 tabs and it refused to break the 3GB barrier. This has me confident that for the time being the RAM in that PC will suffice. As for the dual boot, I probably won't go that far. Not yet, at least.

Last thing : In the long run, try to get a DX11 GPU (for better video acceleration/driver support).
Absolutely, if things are dodgy enough, I will do that. It would set me back ~$35, but hey, no free lunch, right? :)
 
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Just a thought, why not buy a pci or pci-e Sata card for the ssd?
 
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TRIM has to be supported in the SSD and the AHCI drivers, and the Nvidia ones don't provide TRIM support.
I heard there are modified drivers with some basic support, but no idea if it's true.
I suddenly thought that I should abort the mission since stuff like NCQ and TRIM wouldn't work, but after doing some research I found out that TRIM should still be operational if enabled in the OS and I would very much like that to work. NCQ should still be a non-operational, but no one really notice the performance penalty.
TRIM is used to communicate to the SSD what portions of the disk aren't in use , both the SSD and the OS need to have support for this.

However many modern SSDs do not really need TRIM support anymore since they have integrated garbage collectors that work independently. In other words if you use something like an 850 PRO , TRIM is not an issue regardless of the rest of hardware/software that is being used.
 
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Aquinus

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Just using SATA over IDE should feel faster but by all means, find a cheap SSD and put it in. Your parents will thank you for it because an SSD will literally make an old computer feel fast again. Even with an old Core 2 Duo laptop, an SSD will make a world of difference. It might not perform as well as it would in a modern machine but, that doesn't mean the computer won't benefit from the ultra low access latency the SSD provides over a traditional rotational media hard drive.

Considering what they had to deal with, TRIM working or not should make zero difference because there is literally no comparing an old IDE drive to a modern SATA SSD, even with SATA1.
 
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I have put an old SATA2 32GB SSD on a N270 netbook, when the CPU is not taxed it feels a lot better.
 
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Just a thought, why not buy a pci or pci-e Sata card for the ssd?
I do have one around here somewhere, it's a PCI SATA/e-SATA/IDE combo card using some VIA chip. I got it cheap and was planning on installing it on an old socket A system (for maximum lulz), but never got around to it - the old MoBo seems to be more or less dead. If I forget about the lower bandwidth of the slot and the need for drivers for a second, I haven't thought about what potential advantages it might give me.

TRIM is used to communicate to the SSD what portions of the disk aren't in use , both the SSD and the OS need to have support for this.

However many modern SSDs do not really need TRIM support anymore since they have integrated garbage collectors that work independently. In other words if you use something like an 850 PRO , TRIM is not an issue regardless of the rest of hardware/software that is being used.
It's funny you should say that. I just came home with a 256 GB 850 PRO in hand. Couldn't resist that legendary reliability and longevity, not to mention the warranty. That one goes in my rig, though ;)

Just using SATA over IDE should feel faster but by all means, find a cheap SSD and put it in. Your parents will thank you for it because an SSD will literally make an old computer feel fast again. Even with an old Core 2 Duo laptop, an SSD will make a world of difference. It might not perform as well as it would in a modern machine but, that doesn't mean the computer won't benefit from the ultra low access latency the SSD provides over a traditional rotational media hard drive.

Considering what they had to deal with, TRIM working or not should make zero difference because there is literally no comparing an old IDE drive to a modern SATA SSD, even with SATA1.
That was the idea all along :) The MoBo is running SATA 3 Gbps, not that anyone would notice the difference in practice :D

I have put an old SATA2 32GB SSD on a N270 netbook, when the CPU is not taxed it feels a lot better.
Ah yes, my sister's old N270 Aspire One, HDD dying, waiting on a potential SSD donor. Thanks for reminding me!
 

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NCQ is a non-issue, because SSDs don't have heads that seek when receiving out of order commands. If anything, not having to order commands could lower the power usage (though probably not something that can be measured).
Plus, I've tried to benchmark NCQ at home (multiple copies to the same HDD and partition) and didn't really saw any difference. It's probably more of server thing.

Edit: Just found this: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Native_Command_Queuing#Solid-state_drives
In a nutshell, don't worry about it :D
 
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