Sunday, November 27, 2022

How to properly organize a bunch of SSD and HDD

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Where is the best place to store photos, and where to install your favorite game? Why is it said that the system is better to keep on SSD? Is it true that an SSD will quickly fail if you constantly write and delete files? In this material, we understand how to properly organize file space on HDD and SSD disks in the system.

Why install an SSD in a computer
The answer is obvious – to increase the speed and responsiveness of the system, as well as application programs. Due to their architecture, SSDs provide high read and write speeds (with reservations), and, more importantly, dramatically increase the number of IOPS – input / output operations.

Compare for yourself: on the left are the speed and IOPS values ​​​​of a 2TB WD Blue WD20EZAZ hard drive , and on the right – NVME SSD Smartbuy Stream E13T, which is small by today’s standards, with a volume of 256 GB.

Due to the use of an SSD, the loading time of the operating system (OS) and programs decreases, the overall performance and responsiveness of the system increases, annoying friezes disappear completely or decrease, sometimes even when opening a file explorer or browser.

What to put on an SSD
First of all, of course, the operating system. This makes sense because the OS is the basis for the rest of the software on your computer.

Then it all depends on the size of the drive and the tasks of the user. Ideally, all programs should be installed there, and games will not be superfluous, since some games are replete with friezes and staters when installed on the HDD.

But user data can be safely stored on hard drives. Photos, music, the entire film library or undemanding games – we leave it all on the HDD.

What disk size to choose

Even 7-8 years ago, when solid-state drives were quite tangible and their volume was quite small (by modern standards), the best-selling models were 60–90 GB.

Now the volumes have increased, the prices have decreased and it is a little easier for users. In addition, some SSD manufacturers, due to technological and economic reasons, refuse to use small volumes of drives. There are cases when the lineup starts with a capacity of 240-256 GB.

It is 240-256 GB that is now the best option for a system drive. A freshly installed Windows 10 Pro will take about 40-50 GB, adding the installation of necessary programs, typical user files (tons of information in the documents / downloads / desktop folders, etc.), as well as the need for space for temporary files, updates, etc. the extreme undesirability of filling the SSD “to the eyeballs”.

Drives with a capacity of 480-512 GB are beneficial in systems where there will be one storage device or if you plan to work with a large amount of data (photo / video editing), install modern games. More capacious drives usually have higher speed performance (within their line). And although this property is not particularly useful to the operating system, file operations will be performed faster.

With HDD capacity for home file storage, everything is easier – take the model that suits your needs and budget.

Some users, mostly silent PC enthusiasts, completely replace all drives in the system with solid state drives. However, this option is still significantly more expensive than the classic SSD + HDD bundle.

Also, the use of solid state drives for storing “cold” (rarely used) data carries one caveat: the information will not be there forever. In some cases, it is possible to reduce the speed of reading such data or lose some of it. Therefore, it is better to overwrite such data from time to time.

About the paging file, temporary folders and more
The obsession of some users is to reduce the amount of information written to the SSD by moving the paging file from it to the HDD (pagefile.sys – used to host processes that could not fit in RAM) , browser caches, user folders (documents / downloads / desktop ), disabling hibernation ( hiberfil.sys is a file that stores a “cast” of RAM when hibernation is activated ).

Such measures, in relation to modern SSDs on TLC / MLC memory, are practically meaningless, and from a performance point of view, they are also counterproductive. The average user does not exhaust the resource stored in NAND memory, the drive becomes morally obsolete faster.

For example, below you can see the parameters of a 480 GB SSD that worked for a year as a system one (two operating systems, programs and games).

Only 7 TB of data was written (reading does not consume the resource), the average number of overwrites is 14, and this is with fairly active use. Needless to say, these are rather modest indicators against the background of the resource declared by the manufacturers.

Returning to the same paging file, data is moved there only in case of extreme lack of RAM, when page compression does not save. Its transfer from SSD to HDD, subject to the active use of it by the system, will only reduce performance, and the right way out here is to increase RAM. This will increase system performance and reduce paging file writes.

Summarizing the above:

The SSD has become the de facto standard in today’s computer;
The best option in terms of performance / cost ratio: operating system, programs, games – on SSD; movies, music, photos – on the HDD.
Disabling or removing the page file, hibernation, etc. is not required to save the SSD resource.

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