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


cheesum

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#1
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:
2013-05-19 15_49_30-IntelligentTouchpadWindow.png
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?
2013-05-19 15_25_28-IntelligentTouchpadWindow.png
 
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jimbo45

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#2
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
 

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cheesum

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#3
Hi - thanks for the reply.

Please refer to the Intel SSD toolbox printscreen as shown below.
2013-05-19 15_49_30-IntelligentTouchpadWindow.png
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.
2013-05-19 16_44_09-IntelligentTouchpadWindow.png

2013-05-19 16_59_42-IntelligentTouchpadWindow.png
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
 

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jimbo45

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#4
Hi - thanks for the reply.

Please refer to the Intel SSD toolbox printscreen as shown below.
View attachment 22048
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.
View attachment 22049

View attachment 22050
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
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cheesum

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#5
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).
 

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cheesum

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#6
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.
 

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jimbo45

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#7
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
 

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pparks1

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#8
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.
 

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Vadikan

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#9
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.
 

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pparks1

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#10
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.
 

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#11
Hi - you are correct. I am keeping the HDD as a storage drive and maybe chuck some low end games in it whilst the Intel SSD will be used to store the Windows drive and all apps. But then, maybe getting a WD Black to replace the existing drive -----> (2.5 inch, 16MB Cache, 7200 RPM, 500GB).

By the way, what is the advantage of getting additional RAM? Currently, my system comes preinstalled with a 4GB RAM. It has 2 slots and one of it has been taken by a 4GB RAM. Thinking of getting an additional 4GB or 8GB of RAM. Also, which RAM is better? 1333MHZ or 1600 MHZ???
 

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lehnerus2000

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#12
Is that formula correct?

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.
Higher RPM should give better performance, but I'm not sure that formula is right.

Shouldn't it be (7200/5400) * 100% (i.e. a 33.33% improvement)?

Using your example:
5400 = 0.000185s
7200 = 0.000138s
 

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pparks1

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#13
By the way, what is the advantage of getting additional RAM? Currently, my system comes preinstalled with a 4GB RAM. It has 2 slots and one of it has been taken by a 4GB RAM. Thinking of getting an additional 4GB or 8GB of RAM. Also, which RAM is better? 1333MHZ or 1600 MHZ???
More RAM means more memory to open up additional apps without having to use the swap space on the hard drive (hard drive is far, far, far more slow).

Having 2 sticks will give you dual channel, which will offer a small performance boost. Probably 2-5%.

As far as speeds go, you will have to see what your system currently runs at. If you put in a faster stick, but your first stick is slower it will run at the slower speed. In addition, systems run at a default speed. Overclocking is usually the only way to get to those faster speeds.

If it's the system in your system specs , (Lenovo IdeaPad Y580), the max listed is 8GB of RAM, however forums show people able to run 16GB.
 

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cheesum

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#14
Hi - thanks for the fast reply. Yup - mine is a Lenovo IdeaPad Y580. Since there are 2 slots for RAM and 1 slot has been taken with a 4B RAM stick, i am planning to get a 8GB for the second slot. Do you see any problems with doing this? With a 4GB + 8 GB combination?
 

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XweAponX

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#15
I have a 5400 1 TB I use for Storage Only, but that was all I needed it for.

That's a REAL GOOD Price for that 1 TB Barracuda/7200 RPM. 74 bucks? Usually those are more like $120 bucks.
 

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#16
In theory mixing RAM sizes should work but it doesn't always work that way in practice. For best results RAM modules should be the same manufacturer and specs.
 

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#17
In theory mixing RAM sizes should work but it doesn't always work that way in practice. For best results RAM modules should be the same manufacturer and specs.
Hi....given that the first slot is occupied by a 4GB RAM, hence does that mean i should get a RGB RAM by the same manufacturer? Basically, with all the same specs with the factory supplied stick of 4GB RAM?
 

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LMiller7

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#18
Usually RAM of the same specs will work. But not always. Your best assurance of trouble free operation is to use matched RAM modules from the same manufacturer. The only way to tell if different modules will work is to try it.
 

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