Sunday, March 31, 2013

The SSD - Cheap Memory Paradox

I'm a big convert to using a SSD (solid-state drive) as the primary drive in a system. In terms of a speed boost there little more that can make as large a difference in your computing experience as with adding a SSD. Your OS and programs will load faster and if you have multiple programs open switching between them is smoother. SSD prices have been falling so that you can now find quality drives for under a $1/gigabyte. I was able to get a Corsair Force GT 128GB drive for x.

System memory has also fallen since the last time I upgraded my computer so on my last upgrade I was able to purchase 16GB for around 80 dollars. But here comes the problem Windows swap file (pagefile.sys) wants to be the same size as your RAM as does you hibernation file (hiberfil.sys). This eats up 32GB of an already shrunken drive (128GB actually becomes about 111GB formatted). While you could move the swapfile to another hard drive this reduces the swap speed and one of the benefits of the SSD. The hibernation file cannot be moved (see The File System Paradox) and has to be on the C drive.

Apparently this is improved in Windows 8 with the pagefile reduced to just 25% of RAM when hibernation is enabled (see Swapfile.sys, Hiberfil.sys and Pagefile.sys in Windows 8). If it wasn't for the annoying Metro interface I might consider upgrading. Ah well may have to look for specials on 256GB drives.

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