Hard Disk and SSD Drives

How to find out if a PC can support an SSD || SSD Tweaker || Smart Response Technology (SRT) || TRIM and Firmware Updates

A good way to find out if your desktop or laptop PC can be upgraded to an SSD is to visit crucial.com and select an SSD. Scroll down the page of the model you chose. On the left-hand side you are given the option to test for compatibility by selecting the manufacturer, the platform (desktop, notebook, etc.) and the model. A “this part is not compatible” message means just that and you probably won’t be able to install any other make/model of SSD, such as SSDs made by Samsung or Kingston.

Here is an interesting piece of information that I found while reading the reviews for an SSD by Kingston on Amazon UK’s website:

“There are primarily two types of NAND flash which is used in SSDs, synchronous and asynchronous. Drives using the superior synchronous NAND typically have twice the read/write performance of those with the older asynchronous NAND (when compared clock-for-clock). The V300 (as initially manufactured and reviewed by many websites) used the faster synchronous NAND, but Kingston have recently changed the product to use the slower (and cheaper) asynchronous NAND. The change was confirmed by Kingston on 16 January 2014:

“”We use NAND from various manufacturers both synchronous and asynchronous. The first revision you have is made with synchronous and the second asynchronous.”” – http://www.overclock.net/t/1457629/…

Note well that a defragmentation utility should never be used on a solid-state drive because the operating system is set not to write to the same drive space all the time in order not to make some memory cells come to the end of their lives before others.That is why SSD manufacturers advise that system indexing is disabled – it accesses the drive continuously. The downside is that you won’t be able to use the Search facility.

SSD drives function in a different way than hard disk drives and their flash-memory space has a limited number of times that it can be written to, so, in order to lengthen the life of an SSD drive, the operating system has to use the space so as not to write to the same space all the time. The following free utility optimises Windows XP / Vista / Windows 7/ 8/8.1 to use an SSD drive.

SSD Tweaker for Windows –

“Optimize Windows XP, Vista, 7 and 8 for SSD Drives With all the advice online for SSD hard drives it can take hours of research and fiddling to properly setup your SSD drive. Now with this little app you can Tweak Windows 2K/XP/Vista & 7 including x64 in seconds.” –

http://www.elpamsoft.com/?p=SSD-Tweaker&Name=SSD%20Tweaker

Moreover, solid state drives access any location on the drive in the same time, making it unnecessary to have the memory cells for a file in consecutive order, which is what the defragmentation process achieves and which is necessary for a hard disk drive to work most efficiently.

Intel’s Z68 motherboard chipset for its second-generation Socket LGA1155 Core i3, i5 and i7 processors supports Intel’s Hybrid SSD technology, also called Smart Response Technology (SRT), which uses an SSD drive to cache the most frequently used files so that the operating system (Windows) can access them far more quickly than from the hard disk drive, improving performance. Alternative methods of pairing an SSD or flash memory and hard disk drive involve installing Windows on an SSD drive and the data files on a hard drive or having a small amount of flash memory (in the range of 4GB) built into the hard drive that is used to reduce the booting time (a hybrid drive).

Note well that if you want to use it, RAID must be enabled in the computer’s BIOS before installing Windows otherwise Windows will have to be reinstalled. AHCI or IDE mode is usually enabled in the BIOS be default, so whichever setting it is must be disabled and RAID enabled. Some motherboards with the required Z68 chipset will require the BIOS to be updated if they weren’t made SRT-ready.

Windows is installed on the hard disk drive and the SSD drive is left empty. Intel provides a disc containing the software and drivers. The software is installed on a RAID-enabled system and the computer is rebooted. SRT is then enabled by running the software. A large SSD drive is not required. A 32GB model is more than up to the task.

SSD Performance: TRIM And Firmware Updates Tested [December 24, 2010] –

“Solid state drives can deliver exceptional performance, but they’re not necessarily fire-and-forget upgrades. You’ll only really get the best possible experience from them if you pay attention to details like TRIM support and available firmware updates.” –

http://www.tomshardware.com/reviews/ssd-trim-firmware,2800.html

Most desktop PCs currently use 3.5″ hard disk drives. Most laptop PCs currently use the smaller 2.5″ hard disk drives especially designed for use in mobile, portable computers.

When the computer is switched off, the software and data files, etc., remain recorded on the hard disk drive’s magnetic platters and can be accessed by the operating system the next time the computer is switched on.

Page 9: How HDD and SSDs work || SATA versions and backwards compatibility

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