Clearly the SSD tweaking scene isn't as cut and dry as following a simple how-to guide. Some tweaks hurt performance. Some help performance. Some free up capacity. And others are automatically done for you by intelligent operating systems, often times leaving you with very little to manually change.
The best part about running benchmarks, though, is that we can help quantify the effects one way or the other. For instance, we know definitively now that disabling write-cache buffer flushing on an Intel X25-M is an emphatically bad idea. OCZ's Vertex 2, on the other hand, seems pretty darned unaffected by any of our poking and prodding. The question we're left with at the end of this exploration is: what benefit does tweaking an SSD actually present to the enthusiast always looking to maximize the value of his purchase?
Perhaps the most significant gain comes from a boost in accessible capacity. Freeing up any space on an SSD is perfectly welcome. However, a few extra gigabytes make a profound difference on 40 and 60 GB boot drives, which are already crowded after a default operating system installation. In our experience, it's possible to milk an extra 10 GB or so from an SSD by deploying just a handful of adjustments. And while those tweaks are the most controversial, they also stand to deliver the best value to power users who know what they're doing.
We expect the biggest outcry will come from the contingent of folks who simply cannot get behind disabling the paging file. There are good points to be made on both sides of this debate. And while we'll refrain from encouraging you one way or the other, we will say that, if you want to give life without a paging file a try, keep an eye on memory usage for a bit first. You want to be darned sure that your peak memory use, plus a healthy buffer between 25 and 50%, doesn't exceed your installed memory capacity. For instance, if you're only rocking 6 GB of RAM, you wouldn't want to see memory usage exceed 3.5 or 4 GB. If it does, consider installing more memory before taking a risk with your machine's stability.
Many folks will also try their hands at tweaking in order to minimize writes. NAND flash cells have limited write endurance, and much has been made about the potential of solid-state storage to simply stop taking new data after a certain number of program/erase cycles. Although we don't have any way to test for this definitively right now, the hype surrounding write endurance is greater than the actual concern you should have about it. Don't believe us? Take Intel's recent warranty adjustment as an example. Despite transitioning to 25 nm MLC-based flash on its SSD 320 drives, the company increased its warranty coverage from three to five years. Tweaking for the sole purpose of minimizing writes is very likely unnecessary.
At the end of the day, you're the one who has to decide if any of these adjustments are worth your time. Microsoft does a commendable job optimizing the latest version of Windows 7 for systems with SSDs, leaving little to tweak manually. If you're willing to take a few risks, though, there is capacity under the hood you can free up. Just don't expect to see additional performance.
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Indexing is not used to access files more quickly. It's used to find files more quickly in search. Disabling indexing will result in slower searching.Reply
Hibernation: Amount of space saved by turning this off is equivalent to the amount of RAM in your system. Not limited to 2GB.
Also, hibernation has benefits over standby where hibernation will allow your system to return to a fully working state after removing power whereas standby requires power to still be supplied to your system. Laptops for example you'll want to hibernate to avoid discharging the battery while in sleep mode.
With system restore disabled, no swap file, and some of the additonal tweaks mentioned here, my two small capacity SSD's are running Win 7 effectively in a small footprint -- my 60GB Agility has 37GB free, while the X25-V in my laptop has over 20GB free. The best part is keeping lots of extra space help longevity, while the tweaks enhance performance while keeping my drives free of junk.Reply
Thanks for another excellent article -- I'm surprised I haven't seen an article on this subject that's as comprehensive. Toms to the rescue.
Thanks for another great article. I would love to see a part 2 of the article where you would explore the causes of the performance drop.Reply
KWReidIndexing is not used to access files more quickly. It's used to find files more quickly in search. Disabling indexing will result in slower searching.Hibernation: Amount of space saved by turning this off is equivalent to the amount of RAM in your system. Not limited to 2GB.Also, hibernation has benefits over standby where hibernation will allow your system to return to a fully working state after removing power whereas standby requires power to still be supplied to your system. Laptops for example you'll want to hibernate to avoid discharging the battery while in sleep mode.Reply
Thanks for pointing both of these things out. You're absolutely correct about indexing.
I've updated the story for the author to reflect hibernation as well. I added clarification re: desktops and notebooks, though I'd suggest powering down a notebook with an SSD is comparable to putting it into hibernation. I don't think anyone would recommend putting it into standby; as you mention, that continues to drain power.
All the best!
Why are they testing last generation Sandforce and Intel SSD's?Reply
SSD's are changing faster than any other computer technology. The current generation SSD's are already twice as fast as the SSD's tested in this article. Tom's Hardware is being left behind in the dust with reviews like this.
the article is very useful.Reply
disabling system rstore is usually a good idea, sometimes it's better to just limit it's size form the 10% default value.
swap disabling is not a good idea, as you said. i'd rather have the swap on a secondary, mechanical drive.
indexing is very useful. you can relocate the address to where indexing data is stored. i put it on a mechanical drive.
disabling superfetch and turbo cache are really useful. ssd may be faster than hdd, but they are weak compared to ram speed. read caching really makes a difference.
hibernation file is not really useful on a desktop but it's a matter of taste. better have it on a mechanical drive if possible
another thing that really helps is putting firefox profiles on a ram drive. i develop on visual studio and there is a directory where lots of small files are written on build. having this temp folder on a ramdrive helps a lot regarding speed and writes as well.
oops... i meant having windows superfect and turbo cache (not sure about actual names) active is really useful. the memory that is occupied by caching gets liberated quickly if it's needed by apps. in the mean time it can really help on read caching.Reply
None of my controllers mention AHCI, but my motherboard is set to use AHCI. I do see "AMD SATA Controller," is that it? I also don't see any ATA Channels as in the screen shot, just two IDE channels with no devices on them. I don't have an SSD, so no need for TRIM, but I would like to verify that I'm using AHCI.Reply
This article is excellent for those SSD users who have just installed/reinstalled their OS. I will also forward this article to all my friends using SSD.Reply
who came up with that idiot description of hibernation ? it was invented to:Reply
1. save power
2. restore the previous work withou having to start everything
I use hibernation a lot on my desktop just because I can leave all the network independent applications running and just power down. after power up, I am in the previous environment state and can immediately continue whatever I was doing before. No need to start applications and reopen saved files.