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Storage SSD usage

Discussion in 'Hardware' started by SirFur, 30 Sep 2011.

  1. SirFur

    SirFur PC Gamer and LAzy B0nes

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    Hi guys,

    I've tried to look through the bit-tech website to find a guidance review on how SSDs work and how to use them properly and any pitfalls etc etc. I remember reading a review in the magazine but this was months and months ago, so I'm looking for something new...or if not for you views on how they run. (I have to say they need help from google with the sites search engine...I always resort to going up to google searching for bit-tech ''....what im looking for'' - always works so MUCH better). The only link I found was from last year.

    I'm due to get a Crucial M4 64GB soon...damn case fans at Scan still outta stock otherwise I'd have built the system by now...The SSD will be for Windows and Programs so plan to have two partitions...prolly a big one for windows and about 20 for programs or so.

    Your esteemed knowledge/links will be much appreciated!

    Thanks
     
  2. Bungletron

    Bungletron Minimodder

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    The partition is a waste of time IMHO. Update the firmware to 0009 on the M4 (or do not, either way it is rapid but there is no catch in upgrading). Otherwise in Windows 7 just use it as you would a hard drive normally and reap the benefits of a much faster and more responsive system.
     
  3. SirFur

    SirFur PC Gamer and LAzy B0nes

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    Partition is really there to pave an easy way for me to reinstal windows if I ever decide I need to, as I do regularly with my current setup...

    Though having said that after a reinstall I'd need to reinstall programs anyway...but I like keeping windows completely seperate and 'junk-free'...

    About the firmware...I'm a n00b at SSDs at the moment...how would I do this?
    Thanks
     
  4. teppic

    teppic What's a Dremel?

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    There's little point in partitioning an SSD (unless you're increasing the spare area) for a single OS. It's not like a HDD, where you're physically restricting certain parts of the drive, as the controller internally decides where to put your data. You won't increase performance or reduce fragmentation.

    The main reason to partition would be to install multiple operating systems.

    Also, if you're going to reinstall Windows you'd almost certainly want to do a secure erase anyway, which will wipe the whole drive.
     
  5. Bungletron

    Bungletron Minimodder

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    It is actually real easy, you will need to create a bootable usb drive or cd/dvd and follow the comprehensive instructions in the pdf guide provided on the download page.

    Which reminds me, it stipulates the drive must be on sata port 0 -3 to flash the firmware I think. The M4 is sata 3, on my asus board these are ports 0 and 1 so I am fine, however if you want easy firmware upgrades in the future make sure you hook it up to one of these ports. In short hook it up to sata 3 port 0 - 4 for the best combination of speed and firmware upgradability.
     
  6. teppic

    teppic What's a Dremel?

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    I think that Crucial is just assuming that on pretty much any board SATA ports 0-3 will mean the flash utility can detect the drive without a problem. You might find that higher numbers are external controllers (e.g. Marvell) and it might not find it on those.
     
  7. SirFur

    SirFur PC Gamer and LAzy B0nes

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    Yeh the fragmentation is what I worry about but fair enough...a complete wipe is something new. Guess I need to learn how an SSD works ;)

    Thanks for that link. Yeh the SSD'll go in one of those for sure. I guess I need to install windows on it first before I can update the firmware. Am I correct to assume that installing windows on the SSD is just like any other HDD? IS there anything special I need to do for my first install? Or do I just plug it in, set BIOS to boot from Windows CD and just install onto SSD? Any special formatting rules etc?
     
  8. teppic

    teppic What's a Dremel?

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    No, the flash utility runs from a bootable CD. It doesn't use or require any OS.

    You install Windows like any HDD, yes. Create the NTFS partition in Windows 7 to ensure it's aligned correctly (if you use something else, you need to check this yourself). There are a few tips about improving performance, but Windows 7 does most of what it needs itself when you install onto an SSD (like enabling TRIM).
     
  9. SirFur

    SirFur PC Gamer and LAzy B0nes

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    So I can do this on first bootup before I install windows? In fact should I do it before or after windows installation?
     
  10. teppic

    teppic What's a Dremel?

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    Yes. It shouldn't matter at all, but I'd do it before you install Windows.
     
  11. PocketDemon

    PocketDemon What's a Dremel?

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    Well, other than -

    - setting the controller to ahci or raid
    - disconnecting any HDDs
    (both before installing the OS)
    - reconnecting HDDs
    - updating to the latest disk controller drivers
    - disabling hibernation/deleting hiberfil.sys (unless you *really* need it)
    - changing the power options - i personally choose to never turn off HDDs, & the 30min default is way too low for a OS drive as it's simply not enough idle time for trim/GC
    - changing the pagefile settings - something like 400-4000 should be more than fine
    - running wei


    Otherwise, there is no reason at all not to partition SSDs as the OP suggested (it's what i do for the exact reason that the OP was originally talking about - ie organisation & speeding reinstalls) - simply remember to share the free space (ideally ~25% in total) between them so that the one that will have the most writes to it long term (normally the OS partition) has the lion's share...

    [NB the sharing of free space in this way is about marginally reducing GC's block combining if you are partitioning for another reason (otherwise it'll have no effect), *not* about any part of the SSD being assigned to either partition as it would be on a HDD as the partitions will end up being mixed throughout the nand.]



    Oh, & remember to do a quick format not a full one.
     
    Last edited: 30 Sep 2011
  12. SirFur

    SirFur PC Gamer and LAzy B0nes

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    Ouch that hurt....:waah:

    Sorry I just realised I didn't understand about 75% of what you said....well I mean understand why those things need to be done and in some cases how....:blush:

    Points 1, 2, 3 I know neither why or how...
    Point 4 is ok
    Point 5 I know how but not why...
    Point 6 I know neither...
    point 7 went completely over my head
    and Point 8 I know how but not why...

    Some further clarification would be MUCH welcomed!

    Thanks
     
  13. teppic

    teppic What's a Dremel?

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    Well, obviously there are things like driver installation, which is part of any installation of Windows. The most important things that need to be done are already done by Windows. Other things, like changing the page file, disabling hibernation, are all tips regularly given and worth doing, but are not essential -- do a search on 'ssd windows' or something and you'll find plenty of instructions for this.

    As for the format - a full format will write 0s to the entire partition, which isn't a great idea for an SSD. A quick one just initialises the partition, and is otherwise the same.
     
    Last edited: 30 Sep 2011
  14. PocketDemon

    PocketDemon What's a Dremel?

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    [Edit] Should have written -

    "...so that the one that will have the most small random write/erases to it long term (normally the OS partition) has the lion's share..."

    ...& that it is "afaik" (as below)

    - in the last post.

    'if' i were to be mistaken about 7, there would be no detrimental effects at all to following the advice though - so i'd suggest that 'if' you really want to split the SSD as you wanted, you did follow it.


    1. ahci/raid is done in the bios - a non-raid drive with the setting in ahci is quicker.

    1(b). with the machine off, unplug the HDDs - simply that Windows can randomly put some of the boot files on a HDD partition which is damn annoying.

    2. Well, imagining you have an intel disk controller (ichr or SandyBridge or whatever), it's better to update to the latest drivers than use the default ones in Windows - & the same applies to AMD or Marvell or whatever.

    As i mentioned in another thread today, the best place to get drivers from is the best place to get them is usually here...

    ...if you click on the "Rechercher" button in the top left, you can type in your mobo name (ie i'd type "Asus P8P67 Deluxe" - without the quotes) & click Rechercher, it'll then provide a link to take you to a page which gives the latest drivers for everything on the motherboard.

    3. Hibernation isn't exactly useful for most systems (other than some laptop usage) &, esp with a small SSD, uses up space for no good reason if it's not needed.

    To disable hibernation, open a command prompt & type "powercfg -h off" (without the quotation marks).

    5. unlike a HDD There's no advantage to having a fixed sized pagefile on a SSD d.t. its speed - 400MB is simply a good min & it won't grow unless the actual software you're using needs it.

    6. window experience index (control panel -> all control panel items --> system) - whilst otherwise largely useless imho, it alters some key bios settings that enhance SSD performance.

    7. if you choose not to partition as you originally suggested, then there's no issue other than *ideally* leaving ~25% as free space.

    Otherwise, data on a SSD is stored logically, rather than in a physical order, & so gets mixed up all over the place over time - so, if you had 2 partitions, the data that's logically on each will get mixed up.

    Now, as nand can be written to in pages but only erased in blocks, afaik, despite the previous sentence being true, if you limit the partition size too heavily for a partition that has large amounts of small random write/erases to it long term (ie the OS drive) then there will be a larger quantity of blocks with paritally invalid data in from that partition being erased & rewritten - which slows the drive down & reduces longevity.

    8. as teppic has said kind of said before i started replying, the 'clean' state for a nand cell is 1 (for slc nand) or 11 (for mlc) - a full format writes 0 (or 00) to the nand which makes every cell in the partitioned area dirty - using up a r-e-w cycle for most of the nand & making it much slower until it recovers (through trim/gc).


    Think that kind of covers it. :)

    Well, using SirFur's numbering, i don't think that (at least) 1, 1(b), 4, 6 & 8 are not essential...

    ...& 1-6 were in a logical sequence - 7 & 8 were side points.
     
    Last edited: 30 Sep 2011
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  15. teppic

    teppic What's a Dremel?

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    You should have the BIOS set to AHCI rather than IDE, but this is true for HDDs too. The same goes for the driver installation. I think that new boards are all defaulting to AHCI.

    Most other things are optional. There's a difference between 'what do I need to do to install Windows 7 to an SSD correctly?' and 'what do I need to do to optimise Windows 7 for maximum performance on an SSD?'. The answer to the former is very little - correct alignment and TRIM being enabled are extremely important, and Windows will sort both of those out if you install directly onto an SSD.
     
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  16. SirFur

    SirFur PC Gamer and LAzy B0nes

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    @PocketDemon Great Post! :thumb:

    Much obliged with that info...and I feel that bit more confident! :D

    @teppic Thanks for your input too...I guess my question was initially about SSD in simple terms but the maximum performance bit is something I would have moved onto once I understood things better. Thanks to PocketDemon for that info!
     
  17. PocketDemon

    PocketDemon What's a Dremel?

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    No worries...


    Though i've rethought 7 &, whilst that was my original reason for giving more free space to the OS partition in 2010, that part of it (solely re block combining) doesn't actually stand up at all... :wallbash:

    Yeah, it's the problem that i've not thought it through properly since & now have far more SSD space than i need so there's loads of free space & extra OP through under partitioning...

    ...& was also trying to type quickly as i was doing other things.

    (excuses, excuses i know...)


    Anyway, as a correction, the controller will actually write to pages as it sees fit no matter which partition they're on so, other than making sure there's enough free space, both in total & on each partition to avoid the "you're running out of space on drive X" nag popups, then it's immaterial.

    So sorry for any confusion & i'll strike through the bits which are incorrect in the earlier posts.
     
  18. SirFur

    SirFur PC Gamer and LAzy B0nes

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    Its ok..I got it in the end :p

    Thanks again!
     

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