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szumial

Dell M6700 hard drive configuration for backup and performance [HELP]

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Hi!

I've recently got myself a used Dell M6700 and since I have some parts laying around I thought it was a good idea to play with it a little. All mods have gone good so far and I am down to the configuration for best performance and data safety. This thread is about configuring hard drives so that they give me reliability in case of emergency.

 

My configuration is:

M6700, i7 3940XM, GTX880m, 16GB RAM, Windows 10 x64 Anniversary Edition

1x ADATA DP910 SSD 1TB (main storage)

1x Samsung PM 851a SSD mSATA 1TB (secondary storage)

1x Seagate ST1000LM024 1TB (backup drive)

 

How do I use the PC?

I use the main storage for OS (partition 1 with ~300 GB space) and programs (partition 2, remaining space), which are mostly music production tools, video and graphic design tools and some games from time to time. The secondary storage is currently used as a place for downloads and data that I don't use super-frequently, such as old photos, old music projects, etc. The HDD drive is in a separate bay and I can plug it in/out anytime. Currently empty and waiting for further actions.

 

What do I need?

I have experienced different drive failures in the past and am aware that nothing lasts forever. I am super nervous about the data I store on my main drive as sometimes I need to carry the laptop with me to play a gig or work somewhere away from home. In these situations I need to be sure nothing happens to the PC or that I have an easy backup. What I want to achieve is a setup that works like this: main drive working most of the time, secondary storage for less important data and a backup drive that'd essentially be a clone of the main drive - if the ADATA fails I wish I could switch the boot sequence in BIOS options to the backup drive and make the PC work again with the same OS, same settings and most importantly, very quickly after the failure.

 

Now, I know that my M6700 comes with RAID configuration, but for now I am using AHCI setup for the three drives. First question is: is the RAID controller of my laptop a hardware one or is it a software option? I don't want to use anything that would slow down the CPU. As far as I know - RAID 1 (never used it before) is something similar to what I want - I believe it clones the drive (does it also clone MBR?) sector by sector. Would it work as I described above? If yes then do I need to reinstall Windows again to change from AHCI to RAID? Or maybe after the change a FIXMBR method would be enough to get it going again?

 

Windows 10 comes with several backup options: File History, System Image Backup and the regular Backup. To my knowledge, none of these options are what I need - a quick way to repair my laptop if the main drive stops working. Yes, I could probably restore my data from these backups, but no, I won't be able to boot the PC in 5 minutes after the failure, am I right?

 

Would it be better to just purchase some backup software and set it to automatically clone my drive from time to time? Let me know what you think and if you have any suggestions, feel free to leave a comment :) 

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