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.

  • 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

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.

  • 1
    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

  • 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.


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.

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.