Tech Tip of the Week: Maximize SSD Performance with the SSD Tweak Utility

By Julio Franco · 12 replies
Feb 10, 2010
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  1. There's a wealth of information to be had about SSD tweaking and with a bit of research you'll find various adjustments for Windows that can help you make the most of your drive. The thing is, to fine tune Windows, you'll waste a lot of time navigating menus and that's where SSD Tweak Utility steps in.

    This week's tip: Maximize SSD Performance with the SSD Tweak Utility

    Please leave your feedback here.
  2. I have a HP Pavilion a1540n, 4G memory running W7-64. I recently bought a PNY 128GB SSD. The SSD didn't speed up my system as fast as I thought it would but there was a noticeable improvement. I used the SSD Tweak Utility and noticed another slight gain in performance. But still, nothing like I imagined.

    Also, my SSD seems to not be present when I first power on my system (but not after a simple reboot). I find myself having to reboot one additional time after power-up to get the system to see the SSD. I believe that the SSD goes through some sort of initialization upon power-up and is not ready when the BIOS looks for it. But this is pure speculation. It's a minor annoyance though.

    All and all, my PNY SSD does speed my system up a bit, but I'm not sure it's worth the $350.00 that I paid.
  3. I'm running an OCZ Solid Series 60GB.

    I am VERY impressed with the bootup times and general snappiness of my system (Win 7 Pro/X64).
    I am having 0 issues with stutter and everything is blazingly fast. I did run most of the SSD tweaks from the get go so I'm sure that has helped.

    Boot from Cold to Win7 is 5 seconds. ATTO benches are right on target for this drive I tested Reads at 158MB/Sec and Writes at 88 MB/Sec (ATTO Disk Benchmark)

    The best part is I only paid 89$ Canadian (93$ US) so I'm ecstatic! I've never gotten so much bang/buck in any upgrade! I say try and get a new SSD on sale if you can and don't be afraid about the OCZ Solid Series, this JMicron controller is rock solid (I have had NO stutter issues) and it's a downright steal at the price I paid.. wish I could find ne more so I could RAID!

    Since I started running SSD I'm Loving every nanosecond, every Write/Read.. uh.. well you get my drift ;)
  4. It's important for everyone considering the purchase of SSDs to keep in mind several things when expecting performance I/O increases. First, most PC, Mac, and laptop consumers will have "bus-to-disk" interface issues as the outdated SATA 2.0 standard will severely limit SSD throughput. However, that's only one of several issues effecting SSD performance in legacy consumer electronics, at least for now.

    Until manufacturers release new products supporting the updated SATA 3.0 six gigabit standard, consumers will have to look for alternatives to circumvent the outdated SATA 2.0 standards with which legacy computers are saddled. One way to do this is to purchase SSDs, whether multi or single layer cell, (both variants have different applications), in the form of arrays directly integrated into PCIe cards for PCs or Mac Pros. Monster and OCZ have the most affordable prices (subjectively debatable), but will guarantee about 500 MB/S of raw speed, and at the higher end, the Fusion i/o Dual PCIe card is guaranteed at a blistering 1.5 GB/S.

    For laptop users, it's not recommended to attempt to replace standard HDDs for SSDs, simply because laptop manufacture's chipsets currently do not support higher SSD throughput and are only configured to support the slower HHD I/O speeds. Therefore, and unless you're looking for non-volatile archiving to eliminate potential HDD failures, SSD throughput gains are minimal. Also, consumers need to look at SSD Manufacturer Ware Leveling and Garbage Collection technology in order to ensure that their SSDs remain transparently optimized. Additionally, optimization is better handled in Windows 7.

    OCZ's SSD Tweak Utility (freeware) will help configure and optimize most operating systems handling SSDs as well. In OCZ's case, look for their new Indilinx JetStream controller card technology which is considered the best in the SSD market space. Intel has made some strides with their SSD optimization patches, but Intel's SSDs are way overpriced for the amount of space you get.

    For laptop users; if consumers are looking for laptops to include SSD technology, then make sure to inquire about the manufacturer's chipset ability to handle the higher speeds SSDs can handle, even if some laptops include both SSDs and HDDs. Apple's MacBook Pro line is a good case in point, which is why Apple integrates different chipsets for laptops integrated with HDDs versus SSDs.

    Therefore, when making new purchases for any new consumer electronics such as PCs, Macs or laptops, consumers should first consider the following updated standards: SATA 3.0, USB 3.0, Bluetooth 3.0 and WiFi'd (otherwise known as WiFi Direct) as these standards will make a significant performance improvement everywhere. Hope this helps to provide some additional insight.

  5. Steve

    Steve TechSpot Editor Posts: 2,868   +2,035

    I can tell you for a fact that SATA2 is not limiting the performance of most SSD drives, not sure where you got that idea. I have numerous motherboards here with SATA3 support and SSDs such as the OCZ Vertex are no faster. Until SSDs hit the 300MB/s barrier when working with small files I see no need to jump up and down about SATA3. Yes, it will happen but it’s not happening right now and it won’t happen tomorrow.

    Even the fastest consumer SSDs are now only reaching about 100MB/s when working with small files leaving a great deal of headroom for the SATA2 standard.

    On another note I have several friends who have upgraded their laptop hard drives with OCZ Vertex drives and they cannot believe the performance difference. I am not sure if you have used an SSD but the biggest difference is not so much in transfer speeds as it is access times. Everything is just so much snappier when using an SSD.

    Anyway that’s my 2cents worth.
  6. I agree with the above post. Most older laptops that have EIDE controllers will be limited to UDMA 4 or UDMA 5 specs, which are theoretical maximums of 66 MB/s and 100 MB/s. Not all SSD's are created equal and many have very poor read/write performance and will not even approach these limits (Transcend SSD PATA drives for example...)

    The OCZ Vertex is phenomenal and is what I am currently using in my desktop PC. I recently performed a benchmark using ATTO and saw read/write speeds in the neighborhood of 216 MB/s (the theoretical maximum of SATA 2.0 is 300 MB/s) as was $208 after rebate.

    After a lot of research for an IDE-based SSD for an older laptop I went with a Photofast G-Monster V4 1.8 inch. (I plan on using a small 1.8 inch to 2.5 inch converter I purchased on Ebay for $2.) The drive has built-in firmware garbage collection and supposedly supports 128 MB/s reads and 90 MB/s writes. My laptop controller only supports UDMA 4, but I'm hoping it will be close to maxing out at 66 MB/s, which would make it a 3.5 times speed increase over its current 4200 RPM Toshiba hard drive.

    Research, research, and research some more before making the buy decision. Don't listen to all of JerryA's post as it is chock full of misinformation.
  7. Last November I ordered a special edition GPU which I never received. Having already paid for it I used the credit to purchase, amongst other things a Samsung SSD.

    I would have bought an OCZ but the company in question would not discount the Vertex to the same price of the Samsung of same capacity and I was not able at the time to pay more.

    Having said that, I have noticed an amazing difference in boot and load times.

    I love my SSD and when I work on other users PCs I get bored waiting on them to boot and load apps.

    I realise there are other SSD's which may a be a bit faster, but tbh, i'm more than happy.

    I would recommend an SSD to everyone as long as it is large enough to contain their OS and all installed apps, especially games. Reason: A colleague of mine bought a 30gb SSD because thats all he could afford and watched in horror as WIndows 7 took a chunk of it. So he shrugged it off and started installing apps, mostly games to a second drive. Large it may be, but it is mechanical and so he is not getting the full benefit of an SSD and he knows and regrets it.

    For now, if you want SSD, treat it like a GPU when you want to play a game full res with AA and AF to the max. Get the best you can afford for the best experience and ensure that you future proof yourself and buy a little more than you think you need. If you cant afford a little more, hold off because in the end it's worth it. Do NOT skimp on this if you are going to buy, just as you wouldn't skimp on a GPU. If you do, it is false economy. A 256gb SSD should be enough, it is for me and I have a lot of games installed. WIndows may load a little faster with a 30gb but if you game or do audio production like me, a bigger drive is the way to go IMHO.

    Thank you for reading, and remember, if you've never had an SSD and you can get the capacity you need for a good price, don't be tempted by another SSD which has 10mb per second better read or write speed. TBH, read speed is what counts with loading times and write times are always going to be better than what your used to. So don't worry if a drive looks better cos it is 20mbps faster here and 30mbps faster there, cos if the price and capacity is right for you, then go for it.
  8. I posted the above about the Samsung SSD.

    My spec is Asus Rampage II Extreme, Core-I7 920 @ 4.0ghz, Corsair H50-1 water cooler, 2 x HIS ATI Radeon HD5870 1024MB GDDR5 PCI-Express Graphics Cards, 2x Corsair Dominator 6GB (3x2GB) DDR3 12800C8 (1600MHz) Tri-Channel Kit(CMP6GX3M3A1600C8) = 12gb RAM, Corsair CMPSU-850TXUK PSU, the Samsung 256gb SSD I mentioned as well as 3 other mechanical HDD's and the Corsair Obsidian 800D Full Tower Case - Black and and Asus DVD-RW.

    I dont normally put up my spec but it seems like all the fuds online like to boast. I know there will be others with better spec than I, but I know my PC is well put together and operates nicely as a unit.

    My hope is it will serve as a guideline for others seeking to build a decent PC.
  9. I purchased a Corsair Force series F60 SDD this weekend, and installed Windows 7 Professional x64 on it. The primary usage of my main desktop computer is FPS gaming, as well as web browsing. I used the SSD tweak utility and I believe I've tweaked the system for maximum performance. The results are simply stunning.

    Corsair claims the F60 has maximums of: read=285MB/sec, write=275MB/sec.....they're not far off the mark with my current system, which ATTO benchmarked at approximately 275MB/sec read and 230MB/sec! My system is: AMD Phenom II x4 945 on a Gigabyte GA-MA790X-DS4 (old I know, but still fast), w/ 8GB PC2-6400 RAM, F60 Corsair SSD and 1TB Hitachi HDD for storage and most programs.

    My twekas for the SSD are as follows:
    1) Indexing disabled.
    2) Page file is on the 1TB HDD
    3) Defrag disabled
    4) Write caching disabled
    5) Superfetch enabled only for boot files
    6) I use Firefox, and I have set it up to use a memory cache of 256MB instead of a SSD cache.
    7) System restore disabled
    8) Hibernation disabled.
    9) Only the OS and my gaming programs are installed on the SSD; all other programs are installed on the 1TB HDD.

    My primary game is "Red Orchestra: Ostfront 41-45". With the new SSD, I am ALWAYS the first person into the game, so I can have whatever weapon or vehicle I want - no more begging to have the sniper rifle, etc.
  10. What about Linux ?I know that Recent Versions of Most Distros supports TRIM etc.Is there such a tool for Linux users?
  11. I installed an ADATA S599 series SSD using the Sandforce 1222 chipset into my Gateway EC1454u ultralight on windows XP x86 (dual core ULV celeron U2300, 2 GB ram)

    The boot times were reduced by a few seconds but I didn't expect huge performance increases there (I keep a lean boot,) Total boot times are around 15-20 seconds. Applications and windows in general seems very snappy, more so than before the upgrade.

    However, using the OCZ SSD Tweak Utility, my boot times got a lot longer. Over a minute. Needless to say, I was surprised and annoyed at this turn of event. I've tried fiddling with the settings, but even putting the settings back to default hasn't gotten my quick boot times back.

    At this point I'm looking at a rebuild, luckily I don't have much on this laptop. I suspect it's the windows XP

    My advice if you're running windows XP, don't use this utility if you're satisfied with the performance.
  12. This tool is not good for your system do not use it!
  13. Wow, I LOL when I read that... I'm running Windows 7 from an SSD in my Toshiba notebook, and it positively flies. Windows boots so fast it doesn't even have time to finish the logo animation. I'll never go back to a spinning system drive :?)

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