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I just bought an Intel X25-M SSD for my netbook, running XP. I noticed some increase in speed, not so dramatic though. Is there any configuration I'm supposed to except putting my OS on it?

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You didn't say which OS you put on it. –  user3463 Oct 22 '09 at 20:13
    
Thanks, updated. –  Ram Rachum Oct 22 '09 at 20:19

6 Answers 6

up vote 9 down vote accepted

To achieve highest speed possible, you should align the partitions to the read/write page size of the SSD, preferrably to the erase block size. Usually the page size is 4096 bytes (4 kilobytes) on most SSDs. Windows Vista does align partitions to 2048kB, but XP starts the partitions at 63kB and that causes each write of default NTFS block (of 4096kB or 2048kB) to require a read from 2 pages on the SSD. Writes might require erasure of 2 blocks of 512kB instead of just one. By aligning partitions people have managed to gain 10-300% speed improvements on SSDs depending on the OS and SSD.

The easiest way to do this is to plug the SSD to a Vista machine, remove all partitions and create them with Vista and then install XP on it. This makes the partitions to be aligned to 2048kB which is better than 63kB which XP defaults to.

The correct way to do this is to first delete all partitions from the SSD and then boot with Vista install CD and partition the disk with diskpart.exe.

First boot with Vista CD, and select Repair Your Computer on the screen that has Install Now -button. Click next as you shouldn't need any special drivers and then select Command Prompt.

Type 'diskpart' and then 'list disk' to display your harddisks. Use 'select disk ' to select the SSD. 'list partition' should show no partitions as you've deleted them in advance. Then just create a partition with 'create partition primary align=4' (or you can use 512 to align the partitions to the erase block size). Then write 'active' to make this just created partition bootable. Finally 'exit' and you're done. Now you can boot with XP install CD and reinstall the OS and enjoy faster speeds.

Remember also to check under device management->IDE ATA/ATAPI controllers->primary IDE channel has DMA enabled.

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there is actually a whole rake of tweaks, e.g. using a RAM disk, Flashfire (disk cache buffered into RAM), partition alignment, certain NTFS performance hacks, etc., that can be applied to boost the performance of SSD-based systems.

over at eeeuser.com is very informative thread regarding the matter. it is focused on netbooks with SSDs of the slower MLC variant but a great many of these tips apply to any SSD.

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All about alignement on SSDs :)

To check alignement in case of a doubt: http://www.techpowerup.com/articles/other/157

and realign manually if necessary: http://forum.notebookreview.com/hardware-components-aftermarket-upgrades...

By default creating partitions in 7 or Vista, contrary to XP, will align the partition correctly.

More info in this interesting white paper: http://www.paragon-software.com/landing-pages/WhitePapers/paragon_alignment_tool.html

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talking about partition alignment, the user that posted the most text is correct in concept but terribly wrong on numbers. XP default formant offsets the partition at 63 sectors and not 63Kb. 63 sectors with 512 bytes in each one equals 31.5Kb, thus when you run AS SSD it will show alignment as 31Kb-BAD.

now recommended partition offset for SSDs is 2048 sectors, or 1024Kb. The easiest method is to run Partition Assistant Pro and it will realign the partition. Problem is only that the free version does not do alignment, only the Pro does, and it's paid.

I run XP on both my laptops with Samsung 830 256GB drives

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Where have you noticed improvements? You should notice faster boot/shutdown, applications should launch faster in general, and the computer should be much more responsive immediately after booting. For transferring large files, for example, you may not notice any difference, compared to a mechanical hard disk. But you should get the benefits without additional configuration.

Also, how much free space do you have on the SSD (and what is its capacity)? SSDs can get slower with less free space.

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I'm taking 11 GB out of the nominal 80 GB. I can't say really where I noticed improvements, but moving around in my IDE is still sluggish, also hibernating is still slow. –  Ram Rachum Oct 22 '09 at 20:53
    
The time to hibernate/wake-up is probably dictated mainly by how much memory you have. An SSD probably wouldn't improve this much more than a hard disk. In fact, the only criticism (other than cost) of the X25-M is that its sequential write speed is relatively low - this could slow hibernating, compared to other SSDs and even hard drives. –  sblair Oct 23 '09 at 15:45

You shouldn't need to make any significant configuration changes. You don't even need to defragment SSDs as random reads are almost as quick as sequential.

Installing an SSD should significantly reduce any slowness caused by the computer reading the drive. However tasks that are slow due to a lack of CPU power or memory may not see significant improvements. Netbooks have a relatively slow CPU to give them their long battery life, and not much installed memory, so you shouldn't expect them to perform as well as a laptop or desktop.

If you want to try and work out where the performance bottleneck is I'd suggest running the performance monitor (Start->Run, type in "perfmon").

Maybe you should just look for a less demanding IDE.

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