untamedone
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untamedone asked on

Using SDD as a cache for HDD, is there a solution?

This is everything I have tried.
I have an OCZ Vertex 30gb SDD drive.

SDD as a system Drive.

For awhile I had it set up as a boot drive, with Windows 7 x64 Ultimate installed on it.

Issues:
1. The windows winsxs folder grows and takes up all the space. Even if the links are virtual, explorer reports them using actual space.
2. Many programs don't behave and go ahead and install junk on the SSD when it is the system drive (c:).
3. The majority of the files on the SSD don't get used frequently, taking up space and not providing a performance boost.

Using SSD as massive Readyboost cache.

Windows uses the superfetch cache with the readyboost cache and the performance is noticable when it works.

Issues:
1. Even with a 30gb ReadyBoost cache I cant get Windows 7 to use up more than ~5gb of it.
2. Superfetch frequently cleans out the cache at some unknown limit, instead of using up the whole SSD like I want it to.

Combining the SDD with the Silverstone HDDBOOST and a 1tb WD Black HDD.

The HDDBOOST creates a RAID style mirror of the HDD up to the SDD size.
If a file is on the SDD it reads from it, otherwise it reads from the HDD. All writes go to the HDD.

Issues:
1. The cache is not smart at all. It simply mirrors the disk.
2. To improve performance you have to keep the HDD extremely well defragmented and primarily optimized (using MyDefrag).
3. The disk mirroring operation is dumb and slow. It does a complete mirror at each cold reboot or if started by some basic software. 30gb can take an hour or longer if you use the disk while it is mirroring.


What I am looking for is similar to hybrid disk technology, or ReadyDrive for windows.
The SDD is used as cache.
It is intelligently filled with the most used data from the HDD.
It is filled up to the point where read performance doesn't drop like a rock.
Software or hardware is ok as long as I can use the existing SDD and HDD in the solution (so none of those thousands of dollars enterprise RAID solutions).

The goal is to get SDD performance, with HDD capacity and cost. I have been searching the internet for a month now, anyone know of a solution?

 

Debleena S
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Debleena S replied on
Microsoft

Hi untamedone,

Which version of Windows 7 is installed on your machine at present?

You may follow these links & check if it helps.

http://blogs.msdn.com/b/e7/archive/2009/05/05/support-and-q-a-for-solid-state-drives-and.aspx

Windows 7 To Boost SSD Performance

Hope the information helps. Please post back and let us know.
Regards
Debleena S
Microsoft Answers Support Engineer
Visit our Microsoft Answers Feedback Forum and let us know what you think.

Zuhl3156
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Zuhl3156 replied on

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Hello untamedone,

This is the method that I have used for my SSD setup in Windows 7. It's really not that hard, it only took me a few hours from start to finish. Considering that my Windows 7 is an upgrade version and I had to install Vista first it's really a rather quick setup.

http://www.maximumpc.com/article/howtos/howto_optimize_your_windows_profile_and_media_storage_ssd

My games run flawlessly, my system boots quickly, and my Windows Experience Index is 7.1. You might need to use the disk-cleanup to remove all but the latest restore point to keep the drive size within limits.

Oh yeah, using this method my SSD used space is generally around 20-23 GB.

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Zuhl3156
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Zuhl3156 replied on

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One more thing, use this to remove the 'hiberfil.sys' file. This file can use as much as 8 GB.

http://www.howtogeek.com/howto/15140/what-is-hiberfil.sys-and-how-do-i-delete-it/

 

Just say "No" to Bing!
Make your own decisions,
use Google.
untamedone
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untamedone replied on

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Windows 7 x64 Ultimate

I read those links before a long time before I purchased the SSD. They are focused on using the SSD as the boot drive, which a tried already and found to be lacking. Primarily because I want to use the SSD more to boost performance and less as storage. Windows 7 works ok as a boot drive. I mentioned the issues in the first post.

untamedone
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untamedone replied on

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I actually used that article when I first installed windows on the SDD. The winsxs folder and misbehaving programs eventually consumed all the space on the SDD. Additionally I leave my computer on for long periods of time, so the speed of windows booting wasn't that big of an issue. What I really wanted is application launching and loading to be much faster. Sure I can install the application or games on the SDD, but quickly run out of space and have to decide what to keep on it on and what to uninstall to add something new.

It becomes a hassle to constantly juggle programs on and off the SDD. Another factor is if I am not currently using a program, it is just sitting on the SDD taking up space, when something else could be loading faster off that space (aka cache, that space would be better suited to speed something up than storage).

That is the reason I really want a smart caching system. If I use files 1, 2, and 5 frequently, copy them to the SDD and load them from the SDD. At the same time leave files 3 and 4 on the HDD. If in the future I start using 3 and 4, then move them to the SDD and erase the old files if needed for space.

Zuhl3156
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Zuhl3156 replied on

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The only hybrid disk that I'm aware of is the Seagate Momentus XT, but the 500 GB model only has a 4 GB SSD style cache. I liked it, it was fast, but still only gave me a 5.9 WEI and then the SSD portion failed after three days and it slowed to a snail's pace. Have you considered trying to 'mount' the SSD similar to the way I mounted the HDD to the 'Games' folder in the link I mentioned?
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Make your own decisions,
use Google.
untamedone
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untamedone replied on

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Have you considered trying to 'mount' the SSD similar to the way I mounted the HDD to the 'Games' folder in the link I mentioned?

I tried that recently but instead of moving a folder off the SDD I mounted the c:/windows/prefetch folder to a second partition on the SDD. The first partition has the readyboost cache and the paging file. Normally you can't move the prefetch folder, but I found out you can mount it to a partition if you can empty it completely first. Now windows will move the entire prefetch folder to the SDD and dynamically cache like I want to.

The windows performance index is just a measure of the hardware. All fast hard drives basically get a 5.9 (which is the old max in Vista). I have only seen SDDs go higher. It doesn't actually say much about real world performance, because it doesn't replicate the way I use my computer.

Now If I could just find a way to tune Superfetch to use up more space (cache more data per program).

Zuhl3156
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Zuhl3156 replied on

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I don't know if this will help you at all, or if there is a similar registry key for Superfetch. I was just sitting here a remembered it. I used the method on my system, but I can't tell if it helped it or not. I'm no where near as technically educated as you are. 
Just say "No" to Bing!
Make your own decisions,
use Google.