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  1. #1
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    Any tips for improving the longevity of an SSD?

    I finally saved up the pennies and invested in a 240GB OCZ SSD on my main workstation.

    Installed ok after a couple of glitches - I used the shrink partition/backup to image/restore from image route to install and keep the 4K SSD alignment. It's blindingly fast compared to the previous mechanical HD. I also threw some more memory at the machine, so it now has 16GB in total on a Win7 x64 OS, Core i5 CPU.

    Once I was happy the cloning was successful, I re-formatted the original HD to use as a data drive. I want to leave installed applications and my Outlook data files on the SSD to improve productivity, but iTunes apps, docs, virtual machines etc are moved to the newly formatted mechanical HD. The SSD has around 85GB used for the OS, apps and time sensitive data.

    A couple of other background items that may impact the drive a bit: the machine runs 24/7, performing full system backups and AV scans overnight. It has a number of additional services running that link to peripherals - such as iPad/iPhone app and Outlook sync tools. I also run Evernote, DropBox, RingCentral Call Controller, Logmein and others that help me get my work done. As noted above, I use Outlook and have left my .pst files on the SSD for speed of loading, but I do get a lot of email traffic so those files may get a lot of use.

    Win7 detected it as an SSD and turned off defrag (I also manually stopped defrag too just in case). I shrunk the pagefile (now I have 16GB of RAM do I need a page file?) and I removed the hibernation file (this machine is on 24/7).

    So the question is this: with the profile above, what steps or tips should I look at to improve the longevity of the SSD drive?

  2. #2
    5 Star Lounger RussB's Avatar
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    The only thing that I would do is keep it backed up and start a replacement fund.
    Looks like you have fast system, you are fortunate.
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  3. #3
    Super Moderator CLiNT's Avatar
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    Number one; Ensure that your operating system isn't defragmenting it as a background task.

    Aso ensure that you have the latest firmware from the manufacturer.
    If at all possible stay away from cloning, take the time to do a full clean install.
    Check your BIOS to ensure that you are capable of running in AHCI mode.
    AHCI vs IDE Benchmark & Advantage

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    Bronze Lounger DrWho's Avatar
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    I just bought a Seagate 500 gig, 6GPM SATA III hard drive for way under $100.
    It's twice as fast as my old SATA II HD and I don't have to worry about treating it with kid gloves.
    I can Ghost it, clone it, defrag it and do whatever I want to with it and I don't have to baby it.

    I like things that are simple and don't complicate my life.

    I seriously doubt there will ever be an SSD in my life.

    Good Luck,
    Experience is truly the best teacher.

    Backup! Backup! Backup! GHOST Rocks!

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    @RussB: yes, I think you're right, these things are not cheap, but much of my work is based on this machine, so a viable upgrade.

    @CLiNT: defrag already turned off and both Windows and the BIOS set to AHCI. Win7 recognised the drive as SSD and disabled defrag automatically together with the system rating rating tool (after it had run that once to recognise the SSD). The cloning ran quite easily really: shrink HD partition to fit into SSD, then run native Win7 disk image tool to generate a whole disk image, followed by a restore of that image onto the SSD. Running the Win7 native disk imaging tool has the advantage that it respects the 4k indexing boundaries on the SSD, whereas other equally good 3rd party tools might not - an SSD has physical Flash boundaries that need consideration and if the entire disk is offset the wear rate dramatically increases. I also didn't have to worry about downloading numerous updates and patches etc.

    @DrWho: SSD should still beat a Sata 3 drive hands down (fingers firmly crossed!)

    Supplementary questions......So, as standard advice goes, I should not defrag. But what about AV scans and my nightly Norton Ghost backups runs? They run huge disk read operations too, or is it a full write-erase cycle that wears the flash? Also page the file? As a result of the increased ram, my pagefile ustilisation is practically zero (as reported by the performance monitor). That being the case, what are the thoughts about disabling the pagefile altogether?

  7. #6
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    In my opinion, SSD is still a toddler as far as the technology goes. Still, there is a lot of merit to using one as an OS drive.

    Some thoughts:
    Move your page file to a mechanical drive. And yes, Windows still needs a page file. It certainly won't hurt to test disabling it, but I think you'll actually be disappointed.
    Move your .pst file to a mechanical drive. The few extra seconds gained in performance translate into shorter life of the SDD.
    For that matter, move any other data intensive software to the mechanical drive also. Most modern software allows you to put things where you really want to, though some are harder to do than others.
    Last edited by Doc Brown; 2011-09-23 at 14:46.
    Chuck

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  9. #7
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    Interesting Doc.

    Yes, Outlook allows me to move the .pst files. Almost all other frequently accessed user data is already transferred off the SSD. I'm very impressed how fast Outlook loads off the SSD, I guess a second or two extra to load Outlook if the .pst files are on the mechanical drive will be ok.

    Re the pagefile. When tweaking the size of the pagefile, I noticed the option to have a page file on both disks. I think I'll disable it on the SSD and run one on the mechanical drive to see how it goes.

    Any ideas about AV scans? Clearly I want to do them (and the nightly backups). Not sure if a read cycle affects the wear out as much as a full write cycle would.

  10. #8
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    With Windows 7, don't bother trying to tweak the page file size. Allow Windows to manage it. It does a good job on its own. I would not have given this advice with XP or 2000.

    Don't know the answer to read access and SSD wear, sorry.
    Chuck

  11. #9
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    Win 7 support trim so automatically levels out the wear issue. Also only erasing and writing cause the supposed wear on SSD, reading causes no wear at all.
    Even if trim does not completely resolve the wear issue it would take at least 5 years to see any effect on the SSD.
    One thing to consider is how long has your flash drive been running without trim or any wear levelling. Bet it will outlast you and there is usually a lot of erasing and writing done on a flash drive..
    I have been using a crucial 300 SSD for nearly 2 years now since they first came out and updated the firmware once available. My comp is working just as fast now as when it was first installed so have not seen any of this wear issue.
    Last edited by curiousclive; 2011-09-24 at 09:53.

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  13. #10
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    Thanks Curiosclive,

    Good to know about your experience on the SSD. This drive had minimal operation before Win 7 identified it as an SSD and enabled trim support (only a couple of boot-ups and the cloning process restoring from image backup using a system repair disk). I guess that's a tiny fraction of what could start to cause a problem.

    So, I've re-enabled the AV scanning and the nightly backups to the NAS an feel much more comfortable about that now.

    I also moved the Outlook pst files to the mechanical drive as well as some other user data I had missed earlier. I've enabled a pagefile on the mechanical HD, but disabled it on the SSD. Performance Monitor suggests very limited utilisation of the pagefile, but that could increase when I fire up a few concurrent Virtual Machines located on the mechanical drive.

    The OS and all applications now consume about 65 GB on the SSD, so plenty of headroom and it would seem wear out shouldn't be an issue to fret about having done all the standard things.

    There is a new firmware (from v1.33 to v1.35) for the drive released just a few days ago, but the release notes don't suggest that it's a killer upgrade and some people on the OCZ forums note issue during upgrade, so I'll hang fire on that for now.

  14. #11
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    I load my VM on the SSD, in preference to the host OS if enough room is not available for both. I often have two fully developed OSes running on the same system at the same time though and often in remote desktop so that erases one level of latency inherit in VMs. For me its better to have host and guest(s) running at about the same speed than have one be much faster than the other. Depends on what you are using the VMs for and how often and intensely you use them of course.

  15. #12
    Super Moderator CLiNT's Avatar
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    Good luck with your new SSD
    I've been using them for nearly a year now and don't for one minute regret it.

    Advantages
    much faster than most any mechanical drives
    No moving parts to fail
    Disadvantages
    Still more expensive, cheap people will always bulk
    Older hardware and software compatibility issues

  16. #13
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    Even a $85 64gb SSD C drive makes a huge performance difference - I had one until I snagged a power cable and broke the tiny plastic connection "L" on the drive. My sense of SSD's is that I will probably upgrade my current 96gb Win7OS/App SSD for a faster but even cheaper one long before it "wears out" with TRIM enabled. I relocated my OS User-based downloads, search, indexing and swap file (left 512k on C) to internal mechanical HD's to preserve space and reduce disk writes - I don't benefit that much from SSD speeds for those, but Win7 and my applications sure fly.

    For non-AV processing, I do not know why anyone using office suites, browsers, etc. would ever need more than 96 or even 64gbs. 20's -40's do not make much sense though.

  17. #14
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    If you look in Tomshardware regarding SSD reliability in servers, their conclusions are that SSDs are looking more reliable than HDDs. With Win7 TRIM function, there's little actual evidence about wearing out the latest crop of SSDs (with exception of one particular manufacturer).

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