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  • By Gordon Schmidt


    I recently updated my main machine to a Z68 Motherboard which as you may know supports Intel’s Smart Response Technology (SRT).  SRT enables the use of up to 64GB’s of an SSD to be used as a cache drive in parallel with your OS spindle drive.  Initially, this was the solution I was going to use in my new PC build to gain some extra speed.  I purchased the OCZ Agility 3 60GB SATA III from Newegg.com.  This SSD does not come with a SSD tray but this was not an issue for me as the Fractal Midi case hard drive brackets have SSD screw holes in each of the hard drive trays.  This is something to check in your system before you purchase your SSD to be sure you won’t need to get one with a tray or even purchase a tray at the same time separate of your SSD.  It is never any fun to get a new piece of hardware and not have everything you need to install it.


    As I had said, my plan was to use SRT but that did not happen in the end.  The reason I didn’t go with SRT was because of the issues I ran into.  My OS spindle drive is a 1TB WD Black drive and was partitioned into C: and D:.  I am not sure if this added to the fact that every time I would try to enable the SRT I would get one of two canned errors that had a solution of “reboot and try again”.  I tried deleting the D: partition and rebooting but still got one of the two same errors every time.  So, as I do with everything I put into my technology cosmos, I researched the advantages and disadvantages.  There are several tests putting SRT up against a PC that is running a SSD + spindle drive vs. a sole SSD.  For some unknown reasons I was not able to make SRT work and was not willing to put that much work into finding the solution as I am going to move the OS to the SSD once I move to Windows 8 as my OS from Windows 7 this fall anyways.  Why not just do it now.


    20120319_135239

    So, I made sure I had my Windows 7 Ultimate 64-bit media burned to a DVD and all of my data and settings backed up to my Windows Home Server to restore at a later point.  I proceeded to go through the new install process of Windows 7 on the SSD.  There are several things that need to be done when running a SSD as your OS drive but Windows 7 takes care of some of that but if you are running a different OS on your SSD be sure to research it out before you get started so you know what you are getting yourself into.  At this point the fresh install of Windows 7 is installed now on the SSD and it is time to start the post tasks.


    I started off by following Mike Fouche’s (aka PCDOC) post about SSD setup and optimizing.





    • re-map your default user directories to your D: spindle drive


    • modify the limit or disable the Page File all together


    • move TEMP folder locations to D:


    • redirect IE browser cache settings to use your D: spindle drive


    I found that there were also some additional settings I could or needed to manage for best practices.  The first one was to figure out how to move the browser cache for Google Chrome as this is my primary browser.  At this time there is no settings in Google Chrome to move the location for the cache files.  So, I started searching and found a command prompt that moves your browser cache to another drive.  I am reluctant to past in the code as there have been some in the Google Group that have had some issues; I have had no issues thus far.


    20120319_135353

    The next thing I did was turn off Hibernate mode.  This can be done via command line as well.  These are the instructions that I used to accomplish this task.





    • Start Orb or Windows Key and type cmd


    • Right click on cmd and choose ‘Run as Administrator’


    • In the command line, type: powercfg –h off


    • type: exit then click enter


    • your done


    Hibernate_off


    This is going to be an ongoing battle to keep the SSD healthy and lean but with the right tools I think it will be pretty easy.  The primary tool that I use is HD Analyzer which is freeware.


    Free_Disk_Analyzer

    Are you using Intel’s SRT or is your OS directly installed on a SSD?  What did you do to optimize your SSD operations? Leave your comments here or discuss in the Home Server Show forums.
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    One-by-one, I'm replacing spindle OS drives with SSD. I don't bother with most of what PCDOC recommends for two reasons. One, the reason to have an SSD is to have super-fast reads/writes of files, including temp files, cache files, etc. Two, while I may be limiting the lifetime of the drive (what, from 5 years down to 4? 5 to 3? 7 down to 5? who knows), in 3 or 4 years, I'll buy a 1 TB SSD for the same price as a 240GB OCZ Vertex 3 costs today!
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    Gordon, great job on the article. I think you made the right choice going OS instead of SRT. Both have their place but for most use cases (excluding VM) the direct OS approach gives you more bang for the buck. Thanks for the post.
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    Those are valid points. I have a pretty small budget for tech and need my components to last. I have a SSD in my laptop and that is the only hard drive so we will see how long that lasts. I hope you are correct on the cost comparison.
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    I really like to know how you setup OS on a OCZ agility 3 ssd on your computer. I think that your information would also help me on setting up my own computer. I think that it would be much easier for me to do it along with this great information.
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