I have an older Asus laptop that I am thinnking about doing a few things to kick up the performance. After reading a nice article on Tom's, I am thinking about moving to a SSD for boot. Right now I am still on XP SP3. The laptop has an eSATA connection so I can move my data drive to it and put the SSD internal for the OS.
The question is, for best performance and extending the lifetime of the SSD, is Windows 7 a given becuase of its ability to use TRIM? If I stay with XP will I just have a shorter lifespan of the SSD?
I know I need to move up OS wise anyway but I have a number of older apps that I still need to use. I would go for 7 Pro so I can have the virtual XP that hopefully will allow the use of these apps.
I'd recommend going to Windows 7, it runs most older programs just fine. But even if you don't XP will work just fine with an SSD. The most important issues to keep in mind when using XP are:
- make sure that you partition the drive using a partitioning program that aligns the partitions on 64K sector boundaries. The "Disk Manager" utility in Windows XP doesn't do this, but the utilities in Windows 7 do. You can also use free downloadable versions of Linux LiveCDs to do it prior to an XP install so that you have pre-created partitions in the right place to install into.
- in place of having Windows XP issue TRIM commands automatically, you can manually run a program which will scan the drive for unused sectors and issue the appropriate TRIM commands. I'm not familiar with all the manufacturers, but I know that my Intel X25-M G2 drive came with software called the "Intel SSD Toolbox" to do this. This is something you can manually run, say, once a week/month, or something you could schedule to run automatically via Task Manager.
While not a "Must", I second smilal's recommendation - go ahead and move to win 7.
(1) I've not found a program that I could not get to run under winows 7. This includes some exotic programs that were developed for win 3.11 and required the use of a serial port. If the program does not want to install, then right click the install program and select install in compatability mode. Only programs that give a problem are old programs that contain 16 bit code and you are trying to install on windows 7 64 bit - and for thoughs thare is a work-around called virtual box.
(2) While most newer SSDs incorporate a method called Garbage Collection, it is a mixed bag, better on some than others. This does help when under XP, just works better when under Win 7 and Trim enabled. Not all SSDs come with a "easy to use" tool box. For partition alignment as Sminlal indicated, you need to use a 3rd party partitioning program. Windows 7 does this automatically (along with enabling trim) by creating a very small 100 mb "system" partition.