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SSD Tweaking and Optimization Guide

Oct 10, 2008
3,471 (1.02/day)
System Name Acer Aspire V3-771G-53218G75Maii
Processor Core i5 3210M (2,5-3,1Ghz)
Video Card(s) Geforce GT650M
Storage Samsung 830 256GB - 750GB Toshiba drive
Software Windows 7 x64 Home Premium (non-acer-bloatware)
Of course, there is only one thing worse than getting new hardware, and having problems getting it to work at its full potential, and that is searching for information on other sites than TPU to get the job done. :D

So, you've whipped out the cash bag and gotten yourself a solid-state drive, and it's letting you down and being generally slow. What to do?

Fresh install.
Cloning an existing Windows 7 install to the SSD will not give you much, if any, improvements. This is because Windows sets a couple of parameters on install when it detects it's being installed on an SSD. One of these parameters is TRIM support, which enables the SSD to do some trash collecting while it's idle, regaining performance.
If you fail to notice performance increases with your SSD, and you cloned your Windows install, a fresh install is the first thing you should try.

Partition alignment
Windows 7 users *should* have no problem here, as long as you create your install partition using the Windows 7 installer.
As the rest of the partition alignment issue has been covered very well by techspec6, I will just link to the Partition Alignment spreadsheet here. This TPU thread also contains alot of technical information about alignment, and is a must-read for anyone that doesn't use the Win 7 installer to create his/her partition.

TRIM is, very crudely said, a form of trash collection, cleaning up sectors of your SSD. Think of it as an extra waiter in your diner who cleans the tables and seats in its idle time. This way, when a new person comes and wants a table, you don't need to clean it before he sits down.
At the moment of writing, TRIM is starting to become adopted throughout new generations of SSD's. It needs to be supported by your OS too in order to work though, and currently TRIM is supported by Windows 7, but once again, it takes a fresh install to enable TRIM on your SSD if it's your OS drive.

From MaximumPC.com: How non-TRIM drives performance is hampered.
Disclaimer: Yes, I know TRIM is not simply "garbage collection". This description was made up quickly and might be amended in the future. For now, refer to this white paper for more in-depth information.

Windows 7 should automatically disable defragmenting on your SSD, but Windows XP and Vista most likely won't.
As the seek time on your SSD is next to nothing, fragmented files have significantly less impact on performance than they've had on your regular HDD.
Besides that, defragmenting involves many read/write actions, which (unnecessarily) wear down your precious (and expensive) flash modules. Basically, lots of wear for near zero gain.
Disabling defragmenting on your SSD, if not yet disabled by Windows, is a good thing to do.
Read this discussion here on TPU for more information.

Page file
The Windows Page File is a chunk of reserved disk space that Windows uses to dump RAM data. This dumping occurs not only when the RAM installed is not sufficient, but is being done constantly, especially for data that doesn't have to be instantly available.
This means, like with defragmenting, that a lot of read/write actions are being performed on your SSD. To prevent unnecessary wear and tear, you can move the pagefile to another disk (platter HDD) or disable it altogether.
This way you'll be freeing up several GB of your costly SSD space too.
Take note: if you disable the pagefile, and your memory is full, Windows will have no other option then to crash.

Indexing Service
Windows can (and will) index your file's attributes for fast searching. The indexing process causes extra write actions to the Indexing database when creating, deleting or modifying a file. You can still do a search through Windows without this service, so if you want that extra bit of performance, disable Indexing on your SSD.

Write Caching
Since your SSD doesn't use a writing cache, having write caching enabled on your SSD is rather useless. I'm unsure whether it will do anything for your performance though. Check the policy on your drive in the Device Manager to see if write caching is enabled, and disable it if you want.
After reading some other threads on Write Caching, I have serious doubts whether it should be enabled or not. Will do some benchmarks to see what works best.

Superfetch boot files only
Superfetch is used to prefetch applications into RAM to get quick access to these applications. Since you now have uber-pwnage access times on your SSD, this is hardly necessary, although on several sites I've seen that superfetching has been enabled for boot files. You can try disabling or just fetching boot files to see what works best.

Regedit the EnablePrefetcher key located here:
HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SYSTEM\CurrentControlSet\Control\Session Manager\Memory Management\PrefetchParameters

This key can be set to the following values:
Prefetch disabled: 0
Prefetch applications: 1
Prefetch boot files: 2
Prefetch all: 3

After that, clean out the Windows\Prefetch folder and reboot. The first reboot will be slower though, since the Prefetch cache will need to be rebuilt from scratch.

Save some drive space
SSD's are expensive, so you might end up with a smaller drive than you'd want. To save some of those precious GB's:
- Move or disable the pagefile
- Disable System Restore
- Disable Hibernation

How to do some of the above the easy way
Simple, download the SSD Tweak Utility at Techspot.

To Do
- Add instructions for manual tweaking steps
- Gather moar tweaks! :D
- Refine some descriptions with more precise info
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