Windows 8 and 8.1 Forums


How RAM/ SSD can speed up HDD write/ read speed?

  1. #1


    Posts : 34
    Wind 7 Home Premium 64 Bits/ Win 8 64 Bits

    Enabling superfetch/ prefetch to speed up HDD read/ write.


    Hi all;
    Good day,
    I would like to know how to boost the read/ write speed of my Hard Disk Drive. Someone told me about some innovation in Windows 8 such as Superfetch, Prefetch, Ready Boost, etc - something that is supposedly utilizing the idle capacity of your RAM/ SSD to boost the read/ write speed in the Hard Disk Drive.

    Currently, my laptop is setup as follows;
    120GB C Drive: running on SSD - has the Windows 8 and all apps installed in it,
    500GB D Drive: has all the Libraries folders installed in it.
    RAM = 4GB. PLanning to increase it by an additional 4GB. ~ it this helps.

    Hence, how can i use the SSD or RAM to improve on the Hard Disk read/ write speed? Currently, my Intel SSD toolbox is showing as follows:
    Click image for larger version
    Question is how do we know if Superfetch / Prefetch is enabled based on the printscreen shown above? It just show that the feature is optimised.

    By the way, can we transfer the following folders from C Drive to D Drive? Will it affect the computer performance?
    Click image for larger version
    Last edited by cheesum; 19 May 2013 at 02:52.

      My System SpecsSystem Spec

  2. #2


    Hafnarfjörður IS
    Posts : 4,376
    Linux Centos 7, W8.1, W7, W2K3 Server W10


    Hi there
    There is virtually NOTHING you can do to speed up the performance of an HDD unfortunately --that's the nature of spinners.
    If you MUST use a Spinner the only things you can do are these

    1) Get one with the FASTEST spin speed -- 5400 RPM is too slow -- it should be a MINIMUM of 7200 and preferably 10,000 RPM.

    2) Make sure it has the LARGEST CACHE possible -- this variable is not usually shown in the Disk specs when you buy it - and if you ask any salesman in the store he will look at you as if you have come from another planet. You should be able to find out though -- just Google for the various HDD's you want to buy and look at the specs. The Cache is like a bit of special FAST internal memory (RAM) that's in the disk controller hardware

    (What the cache does is prefetch the data the computer THINKS you are going to want from the HDD next - so when you need it it's already in the system - you don't have to wait for the disk to calculate the physical sectors required, then wait for the rotation to reach the physical position and then transfer the data. These times might seem very short to you but compared with the normal speed of computer operations the physical rotation and access times of the HDD are ORDERS OF MAGNITUDE SLOWER than accessing the cache or main memory. The pre-fetch algorithm is quite sophisticated and takes a little while before it is reasonably optimized for your use). The prefetch is done when the computer is "Idle" so it doesn't slow down any of your applications.

    3) Ensure you are not using IDE any more - the HDD should be e-SATA.

    4) Keep only user data (documents, photos, music etc) on the HDD's - put the OS and installed applications on the SSD.

    Your best bet is to install the OS and applications on the SSD. There's no harm in say moving favourites to the SSD but if these aren't accessed much then there isn't a huge point.

    An SSD has NO MOVING parts so data is ready almost instantly -- even here though a cache is useful since the index can be held in storage too.

    Increasing the RAM probably will have only a marginal effect - depends on what you are running and how many applications you run concurrently. If you run things like Virtual Machines --Yes RAM will improve performance but if you are running things like OFFICE or simply surfing the web spend the extra money on getting a larger capacity SSD -- a decent SSD is probably the BEST thing you can do to improve machine performance. Going from 4GB to 8GB RAM is cheap enough so I'd do it as a matter of course especially if you are (or want to) run the 64 bit version of the OS.

    For most typical apps including a lot of games you won't benefit hugely from having a faster processor - especially if you DON'T have an SSD for the OS as most computer usage is often really heavily I/O bound anyway.

    (Just to show how good though an SSD is -- in a small i3 powered laptop with a Samsung 840 SSD (250GB) fitted it takes around 3 (yes THREE) secs for photoshop to be READY FOR USE.

    I'd forget about things like Ready boost etc -- these just screw up the basic prefetching algorithm -- if you need your Spinners as I said above an e-sata one with a decent cache size and a 10,000 RPM speed is what you need.

    Cheers
    jimbo
      My System SpecsSystem Spec

  3. #3


    Posts : 34
    Wind 7 Home Premium 64 Bits/ Win 8 64 Bits


    Hi - thanks for the reply.

    Please refer to the Intel SSD toolbox printscreen as shown below.
    Click image for larger version
    It shows the superfetch/ prefetch feature is optimised ~ guessed it is turned on. Hence, does it mean it can read data faster from my Hard Disk drive? The problem now is that no matter how good a HDD that i get, i think i am bogged down by the SATA connector at my motherboard. The HDTunePro software shows i am connected to a Sata 2.5 port in the laptop's motherboard, i guess. Not really sure whether i am correct or not. I am not a IT pro...hence, I cannot make up much what the printscreen is showing below.
    Click image for larger version

    Click image for larger version
    By the way, the cache size is 8MB as per the following weblink
    Hitachi Travelstar Z5K500 Review (HTS545050A7E380) | StorageReview.com - Storage Reviews

    So, what is your conclusion? What else can i do to speed up my D Drive??? Any comments?
    hence, does the SSD helps
      My System SpecsSystem Spec

  4. #4


    Hafnarfjörður IS
    Posts : 4,376
    Linux Centos 7, W8.1, W7, W2K3 Server W10


    Quote Originally Posted by cheesum View Post
    Hi - thanks for the reply.

    Please refer to the Intel SSD toolbox printscreen as shown below.
    Click image for larger version
    It shows the superfetch/ prefetch feature is optimised ~ guessed it is turned on. Hence, does it mean it can read data faster from my Hard Disk drive? The problem now is that no matter how good a HDD that i get, i think i am bogged down by the SATA connector at my motherboard. The HDTunePro software shows i am connected to a Sata 2.5 port in the laptop's motherboard, i guess. Not really sure whether i am correct or not. I am not a IT pro...hence, I cannot make up much what the printscreen is showing below.
    Click image for larger version

    Click image for larger version
    By the way, the cache size is 8MB as per the following weblink
    Hitachi Travelstar Z5K500 Review (HTS545050A7E380) | StorageReview.com - Storage Reviews

    So, what is your conclusion? What else can i do to speed up my D Drive??? Any comments?
    hence, does the SSD helps
    Hi there
    "Houston -- We have a problem" .....

    The BIG bottleneck on that HDD of yours is that it's only got a speed of 5400 RPM -- that means it's essentially USELESS for any sort of optimisation.

    You need to CHANGE that one -- you can get a much much better performing 7200 RPM 500GB or even 1 TB drive for almost zero money these days. The 8MB cache is also very small.

    It really doesn't matter what the DATA transfer speed is on the actual drive that's not the issue here -- the limit on these is the 3.0 GB/s which you won't of course get anywhere near in practice BTW-- but the sheer horrendous long delay (relative of course) of the 5400 RPM speed -- you can do the maths quite simply

    Just say it takes 1/5400 min to access any physical address on the disk - it's more complex than that because it also depends at which point the disk starts its search cycle from -- but assume that its starting from the furthest point.

    Now if the disk speed is 7200 RPM then the same task would take 1/7200 min.

    So % improvement is (5400/7200) * 100% = 75% so your AVERAGE improvement would be 75% by fitting a faster disk -- as it would have a better cache too the improvement would be even more dramatic.

    A 10,000 RPM disk would yield even better improvement.

    People still often fail to understand just how much BAD Disks really cause bad performance problems.

    (Note the maths in practice are much more complex and involve a LOT of statistics - the improvement with a faster disk is likely to be BETTER than the rough calculation I've given you).

    Try swapping your HDD for THIS one 7200 RPM with 64 MB cache -- much more sensible and 6GB/S data transfer price 74 USD. I'd get one of these at a shot if it replaced a 5400 RPM "Clunker".

    Seagate Barracuda ST1000DM003 1TB 7200 RPM RPM 64MB Cache SATA 6.0Gb/s 3.5" Internal Hard Drive - Newegg.com

    Cheers
    jimbo
      My System SpecsSystem Spec

  5. #5


    Posts : 34
    Wind 7 Home Premium 64 Bits/ Win 8 64 Bits


    I see...the whole problem now boils down to the 5400 RPM. IN this part of the world *Malaysia*, i can get the WD Black for laptop which comes in 2.5 inches and has got a 7200RPM.

    However, i read somewhere that SATA port has got an impact on the HDD speed too. Is it true? I do not really know for sure whether my existing HDD is plugged to a SATA3.0 port or a SATA 2.0 port. How can i check for sure?

    I am afraid if I get the WD Black 7200RPM and then it is a waste that the HDD is plugged to a SATA 2.0 port.

    Can any software tells me whether the existing HDD is plugged to a SATA 3.0 port or the SATA 2.0 port? I am currently using HD Tune Pro software (trial version).
      My System SpecsSystem Spec

  6. #6


    Posts : 34
    Wind 7 Home Premium 64 Bits/ Win 8 64 Bits


    Hi Jimbo...i must be the dumbest guy on the planet to ask you this question...HAHAHA

    Please correct me if i am wrong here....
    It does not matter for HDD whether it is plugged to SATA 2.0 (3GBp/s) or SATA 3.0 (6GBp/s) since its average speed is likely to be lesser than 100MBp/s. Is it correct?

    Now, the concern should be getting a HDD with a 7200 RPM/ 10000 RPM. However, where can i get a HDD with 10000 RPM for a 2.5 inch laptop HDD?

    Thanks for your insights and patience. I am a complete novice.
      My System SpecsSystem Spec

  7. #7


    Hafnarfjörður IS
    Posts : 4,376
    Linux Centos 7, W8.1, W7, W2K3 Server W10


    Quote Originally Posted by cheesum View Post
    Hi Jimbo...i must be the dumbest guy on the planet to ask you this question...HAHAHA

    Please correct me if i am wrong here....
    It does not matter for HDD whether it is plugged to SATA 2.0 (3GBp/s) or SATA 3.0 (6GBp/s) since its average speed is likely to be lesser than 100MBp/s. Is it correct?

    Now, the concern should be getting a HDD with a 7200 RPM/ 10000 RPM. However, where can i get a HDD with 10000 RPM for a 2.5 inch laptop HDD?

    Thanks for your insights and patience. I am a complete novice.
    Hi there
    If you have both a 6GB/sec disk and the correct port then use that although you can plug a 6GB/s disk into a 3 GB /s port - it will still perform OK.

    Speed (RPM) and cache size are the important things . If you are using a laptop 2.5 inch disk remember that it might not be so "rugged" - but should still be fine --plenty of mounting adaptors if you want to mount it into a conventional desktop's disk bays.

    10,000 RPM disks are usually found on SERVERS or are SCSI disks -- probably a bit over the top for what I think you need. -- Just get a fast (7200 RPM) disk with the 64 MB cache --should do the trick fine.

    You could still keep your OLD disk as an external HDD (get a USB adapter for it) and use it for saving things like backups etc. Screenshot below.

    Cheers
    jimbo
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails satausb.png  
      My System SpecsSystem Spec

  8. #8


    Quote Originally Posted by cheesum View Post
    Hi Jimbo...i must be the dumbest guy on the planet to ask you this question...HAHAHA

    Please correct me if i am wrong here....
    It does not matter for HDD whether it is plugged to SATA 2.0 (3GBp/s) or SATA 3.0 (6GBp/s) since its average speed is likely to be lesser than 100MBp/s. Is it correct?

    Now, the concern should be getting a HDD with a 7200 RPM/ 10000 RPM. However, where can i get a HDD with 10000 RPM for a 2.5 inch laptop HDD?

    Thanks for your insights and patience. I am a complete novice.
    Remember, the ports are Gbps. Gigabits per second, and not gigabytes per second.

    Mechanical drives cannot saturate a 3Gbps port, so 6Gbps won't make a difference unless you are on an SSD.

    You won't find much 10k for laptop. Just get an SSD, much better choice overall. Gotta live with less space though.
      My System SpecsSystem Spec

  9. #9


    Posts : 480
    Windows 8 Pro x64


    Quote Originally Posted by cheesum View Post
    It shows the superfetch/ prefetch feature is optimised ~ guessed it is turned on. Hence, does it mean it can read data faster from my Hard Disk drive?
    When you have and HDD in addition to SSD, Windows 8 (and Windows 7 as well) don't turn off the old logical prefetcher that was introduced in XP even when the OS is installed on SSD. This prefetcher operates under the umbrella of the Superfetch service, but has nothing to do with the Superfetch technology iteself.

    You can verify it on clean install with Process Monitor by filtering the %windir%\prefetch folder and launching any software. This prefetching occurs for all software, regardless of the drive type you launch programs from. This slightly improves start up time for programs launched from HDD, but unlikely to have any visible impact on programs launched from SSD.
      My System SpecsSystem Spec

  10. #10


    Quote Originally Posted by jimbo45 View Post
    The BIG bottleneck on that HDD of yours is that it's only got a speed of 5400 RPM -- that means it's essentially USELESS for any sort of optimisation.

    You need to CHANGE that one -- you can get a much much better performing 7200 RPM 500GB or even 1 TB drive for almost zero money these days. The 8MB cache is also very small.
    If it's just a storage drive though, there might not be a need for anything faster than a 5400RPM drive. I have a handful of the Samsung HD204UI drives, which are the 5400 RPM EcoGreen SpinPoint drives and these things move 100MB/sec. With storage drives, you aren't going to be hitting them heavily so the faster random access time won't amount to that much of a real difference. If this were an OS drive performing tons of random reads and performing a handful of random writes I would feel very differently.

    But overall, I do agree that often times these days the mechanical drives are the weakest point.

    Many of these other things like superfetch and stuff are just bandaids to help with low end older, slow PC's.
      My System SpecsSystem Spec

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