SSD day

The Intel 80GB Solid State Device that I ordered this weekend arrived today already. Multicom.no are quite fast! So most of the evening was lost to installing it and trying to make use of it.

The SSD is a modern alternative to the hard disk. It uses a bit less power, is faster (at least in reading and in writing randomly) and shock-resistant. The latter part is useful in laptops, not so much in the desktop when I installed it.

The packet contained only the disk itself (2.5″), no cables or brackets or anything. Well, a brief description of how to install it. I snagged a SATA cable from an old computer that melted down years ago, that I had the foresight to bring along when I moved. Well, not had the foresight to throw away really, but it came in handy now.

Once it was properly connected, I started the computer again. It did not show a new drive in “My computer”, but in the hardware part of Control Panel – System, it was said to work properly.

Reading a bit on the Net, I eventually found out that I had to right click on My Computer, Manage, and Disk management. The drive was listed but did not have a letter and was not initialized. I initialized it, formatted it, and let it get the next free letter (L:).

I spent a considerable time trying to clone or copy the C: partition (where Windows is) to the new drive, but it seems not doable. It would have been if the C: drive had been a separate physical drive, but on my computer it is a small part of a 500GB drive, and the cloning programs demand that the receiving drive is as least as big as the source drive (not the source partition). So that dream (and a fast booting Windows) went down the drain.

Fast booting would have become more useful lately, since the computer dies the blue screen of death about once a day, some days two. It seems to happen randomly, sometimes while I sleep at night. The error message this time does not list a driver, just some hexadecimal addresses.

After I gave up that (it was now beginning to become night), I put the Windows swapfile on the SSD. This was a success. After a restart, Windows is now more snappy. Once I have closed a big program, Windows is ready to take my order immediately, where it until now have had to unwind for a bit. Swapping between large programs is also fast now. The max swapfil I was allowed to set was 4095, which is a bit small, but good enough for me. It is also about twice what I had on the C: drive before.

I also moved City of Heroes to the SSD. It starts faster now, and zones load faster, but no faster than on the Vista machine. I suspect the load time now consists of the variable data downloaded from the servers, which would explain why both machines have virtually the same load time. Before, the XP machine was slower.

I’d like to move Dragon NaturallySpeaking also over to the SSD, it is my slowest program not load now. But since it is a major cause of crashes, this may have to wait.

If I can’t figure out the crashes, I may upgrade to Windows 7 soon. Both the widescreen monitor, the video card and now the SSD are from after the time of Windows XP, so the drivers for them don’t really fit with the rest of the system. I suspect either the monitor driver or video card driver (the problem was there before I got the SSD). Win7 is also supposedly faster.  And maybe, just maybe I can get it to install on the SSD. In that case, the new hardware may actually be worth the price. Otherwise, not quite.

I hope this information may be useful for others who pick up a SSD, but I don’t really know.

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