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I was hoping to compile a list of tips/tricks for optimizing and extending the life of SSDs.

I just purchased my first SSD and put it in my laptop, and will soon be installing a pair into my desktop in RAID and have no experience with the new tech. I know you're not supposed to defrag them, but what other advice do you have?

I am running Windows 7 on both machines, and was hoping for advice and instructions for things such as putting the browser cache into RAM (subquestion: I have a card reader in the machine that I never use. Could I use that for reducing writes to the SSD? I plan on putting my dropbox folder on it; any other good uses anyone could suggest?

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4 Answers 4

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Really in my experience with SSD's less is more. I was in to aggressively tuning my drives but over time I would actually lose performance. There are few quick steps I follow to make sure the drive is running properly: make sure AHCI is on, Enable Trim, Turn off indexing, and turn off scheduled defrags. Otherwise I just let it be, remember sometimes it is better to just keep it simple. Oh and if you have Intel drives they provide a tool that will do all of this for you (with the exception of AHCI), Link.

After seeing Jakub's post I had to add to this. Some drives will function without AHCI in fact certain OCZ drive do not even support it! Here is a Google doc's link to the manual for the vertex 1.

Directly from the OZC manual:

AHCI is not official supported on OCZ SSDs and may under some circumstances affect performance, specifically during windows installation. Enabling AHCI can result in higher performance in synthetic benchmarks for SSDs and HDDs alike, but can cause hang-ups and intermittent freezes in SSDs since it allows multiple access requests to compete for a drive that is not made to address re-ordering of commands in the queue. We recommend AHCI is set to disabled in both Windows and in the BIOS. Native Command Queuing greatly increases the performance of standard rotational drives but it has no bearing on SSDs.

So basically make sure your drive supports it before enabling it, it may increase performance but will lower stability significantly.

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+1 for the link –  Joel Coehoorn Jan 19 '11 at 22:24
    
More SSD drives WON'T function without AHCI support enabled... FYI –  Jakub Jan 19 '11 at 23:44
    
Given that you can write 10GB daily for 10 years before a SSD will fail, the only reason to disable indexing is if you like waiting for longer whilst searching through your files. –  Richard Jul 30 at 16:37

I think you are misunderstanding that the SSD is 'prone to die' from usage. It is not, it will function for MANY years to come (if there aren't any hardware issues that is). The life of an SSD will be just as long as any standard platter drive.

Windows 7 will self optimize for your SSD. You don't need to baby it and stick your dropbox repo on a slow card reader, use your SSD, why would you pay the premium to get the speed and than squander it by babying it?

Defraging is really pointless on the drive as it is not made up of rotating platters. It does not become susceptible to the same delays for read/writes as a hdd with moving parts would. Also there is no point to put the drive through a long read/write, read/write cycle, it does nothing for you. Thats why its not recommended, as there is no benefit, and just reduces performance of the drive.

Each SSD is different, but basically they all will last longer than your usage of that PC.

Just my 2 cents.

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So, you don't think it's worthwhile to put things such as browser cache files on another disk? –  idyllhands Jan 20 '11 at 14:57
    
Nope, why would you? The Cache is there to speed things up for you, why put it on a slower device? –  Jakub Jan 20 '11 at 23:15
    
Defragging is worse than pointless. While it will probably be a long time before most people come up against the write cycle limit, defragging will bring that closer. –  Tofystedeth Jan 25 '11 at 22:29
    
For the same reasons as you mentioned, I see no reason to disable Windows Search or Hibernation either. If they really did cause problems, Microsoft would automatically disable them for the SSD (just like they do with scheduled defragmentation) –  Richard Jul 30 at 16:31

A key difference between and SSD and a traditional hard drive is that the SSD has a set expiration date: so many writes to a given storage location and this location will become unusable. Traditional hard drives, on the other hand, have the much more nebulous "mean time to failure". The drive might last forever, or it might die tomorrow; all we know for sure is the average. So much use of the drive and the drive may become unusable.

The key here is that our human psyche is wired to evaluate this to mean that traditional spindle hard drives last longer. Thankfully, this isn't true. For the vast majority of use cases, your SSD will far outlast a traditional spindle drive.

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my experience has been 5+ years on a standard HDD and you begin to find bad sectors and get issues. Plus you are really gambling at that point if you do not have a backup. Most start being loud and whiny towards the end of their life. –  Jakub Jan 19 '11 at 21:17
    
@Jakub Older ssd's only had 10,000 cycles. Most modern SSDs have 100,000 cycles, and a good one would take about 25 years at 100GB per day to use that many up (anandtech.com/show/2614/4) –  Joel Coehoorn Jan 19 '11 at 21:24
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@Jakub: Never have one copy of data. Ever. No excuses. –  Billy ONeal Jan 19 '11 at 21:49
    
@Billy ONeal: Who said I did? ;) –  Jakub Jan 19 '11 at 21:56
    
@Joel SLC flash is usually quoted as offering 100,000 program-erase cycles, while MLC offers 10,000. SLC isn't necessarily more modern - it's just more expensive and reserved for enterprise drives. But consumer drives still get by with MLC combined with wear-levelling. –  sblair Jan 19 '11 at 23:46

Clarification ... when an SSD reaches its maximum writes to a cell location, it does not make the cell "unusable". Actually, the cell is made "read only" thus preventing further writes but preserving what data was there before it reached the maximum # of safe write cycles.

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This does not provide an answer to the question. To critique or request clarification from an author, leave a comment below their post - you can always comment on your own posts, and once you have sufficient reputation you will be able to comment on any post. –  Jens Erat Jul 30 at 17:18

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