Category Archives: Solid State Drives

Free Tweak-SSD – SSD Tweaking and Optimization Software

Back when the World was young (1984) – and, me too for that matter – I bought my first Hard Drive. A mega sized 10 MB HD (yep, 10 MB – not 10 GB) with a seek time of 198 ms. I paid $800 ($1,780 in today’s coin) for this “Model T” of hard drives – which required one to invoke the DOS Park utility to secure the heads in case of misadventure.

It would be an understatement to say that we’ve come a long way since – but, I’ll say it. We’ve come a long way. Mechanical Hard Drives, while not quite passé, are becoming the new “Model T” of storage devices.

SSDs – Solid State Drives – which do not employ any moving mechanical components and, are far less susceptible to physical shock; capable of faster boot times; faster system shutdown; along with faster sleep and hibernation modes, are the choice of “serious” computer users.

I like to think of myself as a serious user so, just as soon as SSDs dropped in price to a reasonable level, off I went to my supplier and walked out with an OCZ Vertex Plus 60GB SATA II SSD (a tiny little thing), in hand.

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Both Windows 7, and Windows 8, set up nicely on an SSD and the OS will optimize the drive, to some extent. But, a user can take the optimization process much further. Doing so can increase an SSD’s response considerably.

I must admit, that I had no reason to quarrel with the response time of my OCZ Vertex Plus. Even so, when I happened to find a free application that promised to optimize the drive even further, to effect an additional increase in speed, I had to give it a try. I’m glad I did.

Tweak-SSD – the freebie version – did exactly as advertised and increased performance noticeably. Some examples:

Boot time is as close to instant on as I’ve seen. No, it’s not really instant on – but, it’s not far off.

MS Word now opens in less than 2 seconds as opposed to 4/5 seconds previously.

Firefox opens virtually instantly.

In fact, broadly speaking, every application on the system opens noticeable faster following Tweak-SSD’s optimization.

Following the first boot after running the application, I’ll tell you frankly – I was astonished with the system performance. Wow, hardly describes my response.

The following is a quick walkthrough with this “push button” application:

A simple click on the Start bar gets the process underway. The application is designed to recommend suggested settings.

Clicking on any screen shot will expand it to it’s original size.

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Fast facts:

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System requirements: Windows 7, Windows 8 (both 32 bit and 64 bit editions).

Download at: Totalidea Software

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Filed under 64 Bit Software, downloads, Freeware, Hard Drive Tools, Solid State Drives

Solid State Drives – Do You Really Need One?

I’ve slowly faded from the ranks of the early adopter cult and instead, I now count myself amongst the laggards – those that are less likely to jump, with both feet, onto the new technology bandwagon.

No, it’s not because I’ve lost interest in technology. It’s just that so much of the “new” technology seems to be focused on connectedness – always on, always reachable, technology. I can easily admit – I’m not interested in being “always on”, or “always reachable”.

Still, I had an itch to give an SSD (Solid State Drive – no moving parts) a whirl. Since SSDs reportedly are capable of faster boot times, faster system shutdown, along with faster sleep and hibernation modes, scratching the itch was a no brainer – I just had to do it.  Faster application load times (including games), clinched it.

Following a trip to my supplier, I installed an OCZ Vertex Plus 60GB SATA II SSD (a tiny little thing!), into a test machine. Installing the drive was easy and straightforward.

Installed and secured the drive.

Connected the power and drive interface cables.

Set the BIOS so that the drive was recognized by the machine as the boot drive.

Installed Windows 7 Enterprise.

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OCZ Vertex Series SATA II 2.5″ SSD Specs:

Interface Type: SATA II

Buffer Memory: 64MB

Average Seek (msec): 0.1 – My first 10 MB HDD (back in the Jurassic Period, had a seek time of 198 msec.

Write Speed: up to 90 MB/sec

Read Speed: up to 185 MB/sec

Form Factor: 2.5″

MTBF: 1,500,000 hrs.

Temperature, Operating (°C): 0 to 70

Noticeable improvements following installation

Boot time: reduced from about 90 seconds, to roughly 15 seconds.

Application load times: appear to be at least twice as fast.

Application installation time: fast, fast, fast!

Gaming: this is the area in which I noted the biggest improvement. As strange as this may seem, characters in Far Cry 2 (the game I used for testing), moved faster. Initially, I assumed that my perception was off – but, no. Ubisoft, the well know game developer, has posted a comparison video which clearly shows the improvement in character speed – SSD versus HDD. Quite amazing!

Before proceeding with a series of Disk benchmarks, I took a look at the Windows Experience Index and happily noted a major improvement in Disk data transfer rate.

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Benchmark: SSD – OCZ Vertex Plus 60GB – SATA 2.

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Benchmark: HDD – Western Digital WD3200 320GB – 7200 RPM – SATA 2. Seek Time 8.9 ms. Read/Write Time 10.9 ms.

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Clearly, the Benchmark tests show the SSD running away with the prize for efficiency.  

Bottom line:

After running with this SSD, for a week or so, it’s easy to see why SSDs can lay claim to HDD “bottleneck elimination” – read and write speed, is what it’s all about. The boot takes only one sixth as long, application launches are at least twice as fast as with the Western Digital WD3200, and file handling speeds are dramatically improved. What’s not to like?

After experiencing the performance gain with an SSD configured as a boot and system drive, there’s no turning back. I can already see the cash in my accounts dwindling.   Smile

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Filed under flash drive, Hard Drive, Opinion, Solid State Drives, SSD, Windows Tips and Tools