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I have two SATA HDDs in my desktop PC (one for daily activity, one for storage and backup). I can finely use ReadyBoost with pendrives, but I wonder, Is there a way I could use my underutilized second HDD to participate in the cacheing mechanism (same concept as having two CPU cores crunch things in parallel: have two HDDs fetch data in parallel)? Clearly speaking: I want to enable ReadyBoost on my separate D: drive.

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Your question is not entirely clear. Do you want to use a HDD as readyboot, or employ a technique similar to readyboost to you HDDs to improve their performance? – Mike M Aug 26 '09 at 14:26
I want to use my second HDD for ReadyBoost. Unfortunately, it is NTFS (I can repartition it to have a FAT32 part) and the properties page doesn't list readyboost tab. I read somewhere I could force any? drive to be readyboost in HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows NT\CurrentVersion\EMDMgmt\ but I don't know which one of the subkeys are for my disks – akarnokd Aug 26 '09 at 14:29
up vote 8 down vote accepted

ReadyBoost is designed to take advantage of the almost non-existant latency of most flash drives to get small amounts of data into memory quickly. A modern hard drive will still easily out transfer most usb flash drives (50-100MB/s vs. 10-20MB/s) after just a few hundred milliseconds on average.

There really isn't a good way to enable your suggested scenario, or a performance reason to consider it. You would be better off using your second hard drive in a RAID1 configuration (some controllers support parallel reading), or possibly offloading programs/data that won't have to contend for I/O with the boot drive. You would be amazed at the near constant amount of small I/O that happens on the boot drive.

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Is there a built in performance counter to measure the effectiveness of a ReadyBoosted system btw? I once moved my swap file to my second HDD on WinXP - could not feel any improvement but basically lost the ability to send crash dumps to MS. Bottom line: I'm looking for simple software methods and would decide to keep it on my experience. – akarnokd Aug 26 '09 at 14:38
my concern would be the latency involved with seeking the data. That is the advantage w/ thumb drives. they are solid state, seek is ~0 – Mike M Aug 26 '09 at 14:51

im almost certain that a hdd is much to slow to be used with ready boost for any real gain

edit: after reading you post again it seems like you are referring to load balancing across the disks (RAID). RAID 0 distributes (stripes) data across 2 disk to improve performance. But if one fails everything is lost. RAID5 does this plus protects against the loss of data given 1 disk failure

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Almost, but I don't know RAID in detail, I guess there is a way to join the two drives in an interleaved way with RAID? But yes, use the ReadyBoost concept for 'load balancing' for the SuperFetch and stuff. – akarnokd Aug 26 '09 at 14:27
I'd like to avoid RAID as I would need a complete system rebuild. Isn't RAID 0 a simple mirror - e.g. I would loose half of my total capacity for this small improvement? Even though HDDs are cheap nowadays, I'd rather ask windows to dispatch between my HDDs. – akarnokd Aug 26 '09 at 14:32
thats RAID1 that u are thinking of. it does full mirroring. The link my original post is to the wiki article which explains it all. I really think if you are going for a performance boot raid is going to be the way to go. – Mike M Aug 26 '09 at 14:49

I think that the memory card reader interface is not as fast as the SATA interface. I thought that the USB2.0 data transfer rate is 400mbps where as the SATA3 transfer rate is 600mbps. In burst, i get transfer rates up to 68mb per second SATA to SATA where as I get only 20mb per second tops from the memory card.

If you are trying to impliment ready boost, make sure you are using a USB3.0 interface card reader (must be USB3.0 on both motherboard and card reader) AND your memory card must be a high speed one too.

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Some misconceptions to clarify:

  • 3rd Gen SATA is 6000Mbps.
  • Yes, most HDDs out-transfer USB2.0, however, only in sequential r/w. the kind of perfomance ReadyBoost was developed for is based on random r/w, which all flash drives easily trounce magnetic drives. This is a function of random access time.
  • You can't enable ReadyBoost on an internal hard drive, because it's a hard drive. There's no benefit. If the extra hard drive happens to be faster than your system hard drive, you should just install Windows on the faster drive.
  • Otherwise just instruct Windows to create a large page file on that drive.
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