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SSD performance tweaks for Vista

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Omnituens 27th August 2009, 11:56 Quote
Only had time to breifly glance at this - you say TrueImage is a good bit of software, but it refuses to image my drive, doesn't bring up any useful error message other than "Failed". Was hoping to image the drive so I can try out Win7, and return to WinXP 64 if I hated it.
robyholmes 27th August 2009, 12:33 Quote
You won't hate it ;)

Just a quick look at this (As a don't have a SSD, I'm poor) but looks like these kind of things 'Tweaks, tips' need to be on BT more!
leexgx 27th August 2009, 12:41 Quote
if the drive has up to date firmware most have self heal now, vertex based (any that have cache) and samsung based (corsair) norm after some time will will clean up the drive

but you must not fill the drive to the point it runs out of space (keep 20GB free on SSDs) or you have to use the Wiper tool (Samsung/intel you Have to use HDDerase bit lame as i used CCleaner free space erase and forgot to stop it dam program noobed me SSD write speed access times {corsair S128} was working fine for 2-3 months before i ran that)

all going to be pointless soon any way if your an windows 7 user with 1 Firmware update (when they get it working) you have TRIM command sent to the SSD so it can do it later on when its idle (but sooner then self heal, as Self heal fails when drive has been filled to the point it runs out of space as it does not recover on its own doing an full format on windows 7 with Trim support Sends the Trim command to the SSD it self that supports it so no more low level format)
TreeDude 27th August 2009, 12:55 Quote
In your second paragraph you say "drives become defragmented", that should be fragmented not defragmented. Same thing for the first paragraph of the second page.
rembo666 27th August 2009, 14:17 Quote
I don't know if it's ever a good idea to turn off your page file. That can lead to some really funky problems.
wharrad 27th August 2009, 15:02 Quote
I must agree that disabling the pagefile completely is a bit of a dodgy plan. Not just games, but a fair number of programs don't like it when you have none - and indeed there's no where to dump log files if your system crashes.

I do like the idea of keeping a small one on a spinner though - most with SSD's have a large spinner for storage anyway. My only slight issue would be that spinners are of course a lot slower, but that's life :)

Interesting point about superfetch. I would have thought that even though SSD's are a lot fast than the traditional hard disk - say 250MB/s, they're still slower than RAM at around 5,000MB/s. Surely for performance reasons you'd want to keep that enabled?


As a side issue, but still relevant to the pagefile thing. I remember back in the day (yarda yarda yarda) when I first upgraded a PC from 16Meg RAM to 32... I was all excited, disabling pages etc etc. I look back now and laugh. I'm pretty sure in 10 years when the 4 or 8 Gig of RAM which is now common seems insignificant, maybe we'll laugh again at how we thought we had all the memory in the world.
Baz 27th August 2009, 15:06 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by rembo666
I don't know if it's ever a good idea to turn off your page file. That can lead to some really funky problems.

That's why we also say that if you hit those problems, to move it to a second drive instead.
Skiddywinks 27th August 2009, 15:16 Quote
Well, so long as some games/programs are designed to need a page file, I would agree. But if you have a bare minimum of 4GB, you really don't have anything to worry about (unless you want to run said games/applications).
Baz 27th August 2009, 15:29 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by Omnituens

Only had time to breifly glance at this - you say TrueImage is a good bit of software, but it refuses to image my drive, doesn't bring up any useful error message other than "Failed". Was hoping to image the drive so I can try out Win7, and return to WinXP 64 if I hated it.

Sorry to here that Omni - we happened upon this app when we started imaging our graphics test rigs before each review and have never had any issues with it, either drive to drive or when locking drives and rebooting, across multile drives, mobos and ICH versions. Have you tried switching your SATA ports into legacy IDE mode in the BIOS rather than AHCI or enhanced? I know Acronis offers a free trial if you want to give it another go.
Quote:
Originally Posted by leexgx

All going to be pointless soon any way if your an windows 7 user with 1 Firmware update (when they get it working) you have TRIM command sent to the SSD so it can do it later on when its idle (but sooner then self heal, as Self heal fails when drive has been filled to the point it runs out of space as it does not recover on its own doing an full format on windows 7 with Trim support Sends the Trim command to the SSD it self that supports it so no more low level format)

Far from it - most of these tips and tweaks are still valid in Windows 7, especially moving/disabling the page file and using imaging software to create full drive backups.

Self Heal (AKA garbage collection) as it is right now (on the Samsung drives) is very poor (we left a badly thrashed drive idle over night to discover it had recovered a whole 10MB/s average read speed....at the cost of 10MB/s write speed!). While the new Vetrtex firmware's garbage collection looks better from our time with the beta firmware, it's still just that - beta. Even then, taking these steps will still reduce un-necessary drive thrashing and improve performance.

With the Indilinx firmware still in development we're not happy making assumptions on what TRIM will and won't do. The fact that Indilinx has had to compromise and make TRIM only trigger when the recycling bin is emptied (as I understand the is the state of TRIM with Indilinx based drives atm) rather than run as an automatic process, shows it's still early days yet. It's important to remember that not every SSD out there is getting the support that the Indilinx drives are (Hi Samsung!), for which low level drive erasures are much more relevant.
Quote:
Originally Posted by wharrad

Interesting point about superfetch. I would have thought that even though SSD's are a lot fast than the traditional hard disk - say 250MB/s, they're still slower than RAM at around 5,000MB/s. Surely for performance reasons you'd want to keep that enabled?

In regards to Superfetch, we advise disabling it simply because when loading the few MB of data involved when loading an application, the speed difference isn't really noticeable and leaving it enabled, again, causes un-necessary drive access, as well as longer boot times. The pros and cons of Superfetch have been much discussed since it's introduction in Vista, and will continue to be for some time, but in our experience, as I said in the article, it's made a bit redundant by the added read speedof an SSD.

In the end it's up to you to decide whether you'd rather have these applications and services running. These are just our recommendation based on using SSDs extensively for the last nine months in both home and work systems.
leexgx 27th August 2009, 16:43 Quote
we left a badly thrashed drive, how is that done (just fill the drive to the point it has no free space 2-3 times as doing that once norm requires and HDDerase to bring the drive back to good speed)

superfetch, prefetchers and defrag (on my system on windows 7 only superfetch turned off auto), off maybe page file if you got a lot of ram more then 4gb, page file is hardly used system logs and other things windows and web site use does a lot more (but i got 8gb of ram so i can have it off or just set it to 500mb to an HDD to keep apps happy)
Baz 27th August 2009, 17:21 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by leexgx
we left a badly thrashed drive, how is that done (just fill the drive to the point it has no free space 2-3 times as doing that once norm requires and HDDerase to bring the drive back to good speed)

superfetch, prefetchers and defrag (on my system on windows 7 only superfetch turned off auto), off maybe page file if you got a lot of ram more then 4gb, page file is hardly used system logs and other things windows and web site use does a lot more (but i got 8gb of ram so i can have it off or just set it to 500mb to an HDD to keep apps happy)

We ran our full benchmark suite on it (lots of sequential reads and writes) thrashed it with IOmeter for over an hour before deleting the contents. We did not any any point completely pack out the drive for this particular test completely. The Self Healing on the Samsung drives is poor to say the least, although as i've said a number of times now, the new Indilinx garbage collection looks a much better offering.
wuyanxu 27th August 2009, 17:32 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by Baz

Self Heal (AKA garbage collection) as it is right now (on the Samsung drives) is very poor (we left a badly thrashed drive idle over night to discover it had recovered a whole 10MB/s average read speed....at the cost of 10MB/s write speed!).

oh my, looks like i've bought the wrong drive. (Samsung 64GB MLC for £90)

in an attempt to understand SSD performance, surely there's a lower limit, where the performance will not drop any lower and the drive will stay there (both read and write speed) until bad blocks appear
Baz 27th August 2009, 18:01 Quote
Interesting idea there wuyanxu - how slow can you make a modern SSD? hmmmmm. I'm sure a few days being bashed by Iometer would soon provide an answer!

For those looking at getting onto the SSD bandwagon for £not much, I'd recommend the Crucal M225 64GB. It's an Indilinx "Barefoot"Controller (like the Vertex) with 64GB of Samsung NAND flash for just £115 - still pricey (£1.79/GB), but cheaper than identical drives from OCZ/Patriot/G.Skill and with the same excellent Indilinx support.

Drives like Wuyanxu's are based on the Samsung controller, which is much less supported (read: not at at since launch), and as such are a bit cheaper.
shaffaaf27 27th August 2009, 18:14 Quote
which version of acronis are you using?
Baz 27th August 2009, 18:16 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by shaffaaf27
which version of acronis are you using?

We're just using True Image Home at the moment - it meets the Drive copying requirement nicely.
mremulator 27th August 2009, 20:03 Quote
One of the most important things (not mentioned in this article) to do before installing the OS on a SSD is to align the drive. In addition, restoring an image to an SSD from a different sized HDD/SDD will cause the alignment to be reset to default values, Thus affecting performance.

Another good idea is to change the Windows temporary directories to another HDD.
mremulator 27th August 2009, 20:07 Quote
IT Troll 27th August 2009, 23:04 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by Baz
That's why we also say that if you hit those problems, to move it to a second drive instead.

Microsoft recommend that you leave the pagefile on the SSD:

"In fact, given typical pagefile reference patterns and the favorable performance characteristics SSDs have on those patterns, there are few files better than the pagefile to place on an SSD."
http://blogs.msdn.com/e7/archive/2009/05/05/support-and-q-a-for-solid-state-drives-and.aspx

The only place better than SSD is a RAMdrive.
technogiant 28th August 2009, 09:21 Quote
Couple of questions on this...firstly instead of turning off pagefile could you not just make a small partition on the ssd to be purely used for page file so it doesnt mess up the rest of your drive?

Secondly would you have to use the secure erase software that was suggested in the article...I regularly use "Eraser" to securely delete important stuff and that doesn't need the shenanekins as described above...I would just run it from a second OS on a separate HDD? Reading some of the previous comments I'm not sure if I should use "Eraser" on an ssd?
Baz 28th August 2009, 10:56 Quote
OK, time for another uber post
Quote:
Originally Posted by mremulator
One of the most important things (not mentioned in this article) to do before installing the OS on a SSD is to align the drive

Not one I'm come across, but seems to make sense, as the cell size of the memory used on a vast majority of drives is indeed 64KB. I'll give it a whirl with a drive in the next week and see how it affects performance.
Quote:
Originally Posted by IT Troll
Microsoft recommend that you leave the pagefile on the SSD
Yes, amazingly a page file will perform very well on an SSD, simply because it's that much faster than a hard disk drive at those bit writes and small reads. However, As I say in the article, the thrashing from having a page file enabled, and the wear leveling on most drives that will transfer this thrashing to the rest of the disk will needlessly degrade performance. As the SSD is already crazy fast, the relevance of the page file is decreased as long as you have plenty of memory (unless you need those log files). Moving the page file to a mechanical is just an inclusion to solve compatibility issues.

Thanks for the link though - an interesting read regarding Win7 and SSDs
Quote:
Originally Posted by technogiant
Couple of questions on this...firstly instead of turning off pagefile could you not just make a small partition on the ssd to be purely used for page file so it doesnt mess up the rest of your drive?

Secondly would you have to use the secure erase software that was suggested in the article...I regularly use "Eraser" to securely delete important stuff and that doesn't need the shenanekins as described above...I would just run it from a second OS on a separate HDD? Reading some of the previous comments I'm not sure if I should use "Eraser" on an ssd?

Thats a very interesting idea there, although i'm not sure how the wear levelling would translate across the drive, even despite the partition. I'll give it a whirl on an SSD over the next week and post some results up.

In regards to other erasing programs, there are other options to erase a drive without having to DOS boot and run HDDErase, but we've found it's the only application that reliably erases the contents of any SSD (Samsung, Indilinx, Samsung) and resets the drive back to factory levels of performance. There are other options (OCZ offer a tool called sanitary erase that works well on any Indilinx based drive from a windows executable) but HDD erase is the most reliable and compatible, hence why we chose to recommend using it. It also requires the most number of "are you absolutely sure" checks, to avoid "whoops, I accidentally the whole SSD" mistakes!
technogiant 28th August 2009, 18:56 Quote
Quote Baz..."Thats a very interesting idea there, although i'm not sure how the wear levelling would translate across the drive, even despite the partition. I'll give it a whirl on an SSD over the next week and post some results up."

...I've been reading around a bit more about this and I think that wear leveling goes on across the whole drive regardless of any partitions so don't think my idea would work :( but thanks for showing interest
whaler_99 28th August 2009, 19:52 Quote
I am running a Toshiba tablet with Vista SP1. I recently installed a OCZ Vertex 120GB and customized Vista with many of the recommendations from here and the OCZ forum site. I also did dump the install onto the SSD using Acronis. I also use the OCZ tool "wiper.exe" to help clean things up. Main point - I disabled my paging file as I have 3.28GB of RAM (gotta love 32bit). My system is running fine - no noticeble performance degredation over time and I have not had one issue with not having a paging file for over 3 months. Now, this is not a gaming system or such, but a general work unit, but very happy with the SSD and no paging file.
Also to note - Windows 7 has corrected the aligment issue pervious versions had and installs on the 64th bit or such. I read some info on another site that tested a Vista install both default and with correct alignment and on a SSD there was a barely noticeable difference. Not a major concern normally except in the case of database system and such where you might have thousands of writes per second. :) Not having your drives aligned in that case can make a noticable performance difference.
leexgx 28th August 2009, 23:15 Quote
but the problem is and know fact that benchmark softwares that do Write tests can really noob an SSD self heal will not work correctly , under norm use you not be the Filling the SSD to the Point of no free space norm as that norm stops the self heal from working (but could happen on smaller SSDs should keep 15-20% free for it to not brake)

and about page file system restore and other windows things that happen does way more activity then your page file does (useing IE/firefox/opera makes more disk writes then page file just set it to 500MB and forget about it as by default its set to the amount of ram you have installed)

alot of the stuff on OCZ forums should be ignored as well as some comments are coming from there, SSD should be fine for 12 years or longer the bigger the SSD is, does depend on how many writes but most spec for 40GB an day that most will not be doing(unless you run Disk write benchmarks 24/7 then it will die very fast)

vista and 7 does disk alignment correctly

each page is norm 512KB in size (if more data needs writing the 512KB page must be erased before an Write can happen) that is split into 4KB slots (128), should keep the cluster size to 4KB or what ever windows does default

samsung drives self heal is bit slow and IOmon most likely makes the self heal stop working (be nice if samsung would give us an wiper tool and even some way to update are firmwares)
-EVRE- 29th August 2009, 05:13 Quote
I just bought a Crucial 64gb m225 disk based on Baz's comments on this forum. I'm going to put it in my laptop in place of its dead/ dieing 3 year old 7200rpm 80gb drive.

its a 3 year old Asus s96j using a Core Duo and 2gb of ram, I have a few concerns that caught up with me later in the day.

1. Is my laptop's bios even going to support it? *how would I know/ find out?
2. Is using a 32bit OS (Win7 RC in this case) going to affect it vs a 64bit OS?
3. Only having 2gb or ram, what should I do about my pagefile? Should I be concerned?
4. All in all, is getting an SSD for this aging laptop a mistake? Should I just plop a 160gig 5400rpm disk in it for $60 instead?


I'm REALLY looking forward to more on SSD's from bit-tech. If my experience is good with this drive I will consider one for my desktop.

Thanks for the read
-EVRE-
Baz 29th August 2009, 13:05 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by -EVRE-
I just bought a Crucial 64gb m225 disk based on Baz's comments on this forum. I'm going to put it in my laptop in place of its dead/ dieing 3 year old 7200rpm 80gb drive.

its a 3 year old Asus s96j using a Core Duo and 2gb of ram, I have a few concerns that caught up with me later in the day.

1. Is my laptop's bios even going to support it? *how would I know/ find out?
2. Is using a 32bit OS (Win7 RC in this case) going to affect it vs a 64bit OS?
3. Only having 2gb or ram, what should I do about my pagefile? Should I be concerned?
4. All in all, is getting an SSD for this aging laptop a mistake? Should I just plop a 160gig 5400rpm disk in it for $60 instead?
-EVRE-

1. SSDs are designed to just show up as standard hard disk drives, so there's no reason your laptop should have any issue detecting it as a 64GB drive.
2. I shouldn;t think 32/64bit makes much difference when it comes to hard disk drive performance, af any. You'll be fine with Win7 RC 32bit
3. With only 2GB of RAM i'd avoid disabling the page file, especially if you play any games on the laptop as they'll soon run out of memory and crash (personal experiance talking here). Leave it enabled as although it'll slightly degrade performance, the altenative isn't really workable.
4. I don't think so. You'll find your system will not only boot much much faster, but feel much more responsive. Applications will be almost instant to load and if you do play any games, they'll be quicker to load too.

Good luck with your experiances, and keep an eye on Crucial's support forum for the release of the next firmware, which will bring garbage collection to maintain performance and win7 TRIM support too. As the Crucial drives don't have jumpers, the firmware update will be rolled out as a DOS bootable EXE file like the OCZ drives, which is much more convieniant!
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