reply to trparky
Re: [WIN7] Recommended SSD System Tweaks? Copy everything of any importance to a new drive, obtain installers for any of the factory-installed apps you wish to keep, get a hold of drivers for all of your hardware, put it all on a second drive (not just another partition on the SSD.
Boot off a Windows 7 install DVD (get one if you don't have one; google around, you can find legit sources for an ISO and burn your own, you should have a license key already), wipe that SSD clean. Repartition it and format it as NTFS with 512 byte clusters. Then reinstall everything and enjoy your drive. Optionally, enable compression on the drive (you'll gain a bit of storage from this and possibly speed up access times even further -- I'll explain below).
Larger clusters reduce fragmentation, which means less seeking, speeding up read times on spinning disks. They also waste space, since you can only store one file per cluster. Since SSDs don't suffer from seek times like spinning disks do, there's no reason to make that trade-off and give up some space to gain performance; there's no gain in it for an SSD.
In case the above doesn't make sense to you, I'll explain in more detail. Disks are split into tiny sections (typically 512 bytes) called sectors, then the filesystem groups those sectors into clusters (8 512 byte sectors, for a 4KB cluster by default for NTFS). A file can take up multiple clusters, but a single cluster can only hold (part of) one file. This is how larger clusters reduce fragmentation, but it's also how they waste space. Since fragmentation doesn't matter on an SSD, smaller clusters are better because they don't waste as much space. Let's suppose you have a lot of small configuration files (you do; all the little desktop settings files Windows hides from you, one for every folder; config files foe all of your apps, including many for Windows itself; user profile settings; emails, depending on how your mail client stores them; image thumbnails Windows generates automatically; browser caches; the list goes on, there are tens-if-not-hundreds of thousands of them), ranging in size from 256 bytes to 1KB. If you have 4KB cllusters on your drive, each of those files is using 4KB of disk space, wasting at least 3KB for each file. With 512 byte sectors, the smallest of those files only take up 512 bytes, while the 513B-1KB files only take up 1KB. Even assuming all of them are in the latter group, that's 3KB for each file that you're now not wasting. It might not seem like much, but 10,000 such files would waste 30MB, 100,00 would waste 300MB! And it's not just small files that waste; any file that's not an exact multiple if your cluster size is wasteful, since the last cluster will have some empty space at the end. if you have a 4097KB file, it's taking up 1001 entire 4KB clusters, but wasting 3KB of the last one. Extrapolate that across all of your files (there are currently over 500,000 files on my system and I only installed the system less than 2 weeks ago), assume that on average you're wasting half of a cluster (that's pretty accurate on most systems)... 500,000 times 2KB is just shy of 1GB; for 512 byte clusters, you're wasting 1/8 less space, less than 128MB, freeing up over 850MB for every 500,000 files on your system.
Earlier, I also mentioned compression, which by its name obviously indicates that it will allow you to fit more onto your drive. There are a few risks involved with enabling Windows disk compression; most notably that it makes recovery of files from a damaged disk more difficult; however, it's already practically impossible to recover a damaged SSD, since SSDs use striping internally, so once one of the flash chips dies, it's taken part of every sector with it, so this isn't likely a concern. The other risk is that if you compress certain system files, you might not be able to boot; Windows 7 boots off that small (usually 100MB) partition it won't let you delete from the beginning of your drive, so this is also not a concern, since such files reside on that partition and you can't compress it anyway. The 3rd possible downside is increased CPU usage during disk access, since the CPU has to be able to keep up to compress data for writes and decompress for reads; on a modern CPU with 4 or more cores, this is not a concern, but it may slow your system down if you only have 1 or 2 cores.
Now that I've explained (and debunked, as far as SSDs are concerned) the possible dangers of enabling disk compression, let's talk about the good stuff. Firstly, you should see an increase in free space (not available space, a 256GB drive is a 256GB drive, but if you make the files smaller, you end up using less of it!!) Second, since you're reading or writing less data to disk, disk access will appear even faster. If your 1GB file compresses to 800MB on disk, you not only saved 20% on storage, you save the same 20% on disk access, every time you access that file. Again, as I mentioned previously, this assumes that your CPU can keep up with the compression. My current CPU (an i7 with 4 real cores - 8 virtual) has no issues doing so, and the i3 (2 real cores, 4 virtual) only had issues when it was already under heavy load and would have likely had issues anyway, so I'm not sure that can be attributed to the compression.
To give you some idea what disk compression can do in real wold usage, let's take a look at my SSD. The files on my disk currently ad up to 43.4GB, but only take up 33.8GB compressed on disk, a savings of just over 22%. That also means, on average, 22% faster reads and 22% faster writes, since it is this compressed data that's being read and written. With sustained read speeds of 520MB/sec, an extra 22% is an extra 115MB/sec; an extra 88.5MB/sec added to my 400MB/sec write speeds. That's not a small boost.
Anyway, sorry for the wall of text, I just wanted to provide detailed explanations and real world data to back up my suggestions.