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SSD + HDD Combo Setup


Hemperor

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I have a laptop that came with a Solid State hard drive and a typical hard disk drive. It goes without saying, but I intend to minimize the number of read/writes to the SSD in an attempt to prolong its lifespan. Does anyone have any tips on doing this?

For example, my last laptop had the same setup and I learned months after owning it that I should change the Environmental Variable for the TEMP folder(s) so that they are on the HDD and not the SSD. Same goes for browser profiles, they are stored on the SSD by default even though the browser is installed on the HDD. To circumvent this, I use a portable version of my browser so I can be assured that all of its disk-reading is done on the HDD and not the SSD.

if you have any other suggestions, please add them. I appreciate any helpful feedback.

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I have a laptop that came with a Solid State hard drive and a typical hard disk drive. It goes without saying, but I intend to minimize the number of read/writes to the SSD in an attempt to prolong it

Before the suggestions, depending on your SSD, it could last for so long that bothering with all these steps might be somewhat useless in 2020. You're likely change the laptop before hitting 150TBW wh

Cannot read Russian (?). What is this graph about?

I have this combo, i have more ram than needed,  i send all the downloads the the hdd, all the windows user folders ( pictures, images  etc ...)  optimised the pagefile, swap file and i dont use the hibernation mode, this one create a huuuuge system file on the root of the Windows operating system, in my case a 64gig of ram will creat a 26gig of hibernat.sys file ??

 

And the famous WinSxs folder,  but you have to do it properly

 

Clean the "temp" user folder each time,  web browsers love this folder.

 

But eventually  the ssd will eventualy wear and tear, less faster,  i use the ssd manager to see the temp, and the usage ... and finally the health

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7 hours ago, Hemperor said:

It goes without saying, but I intend to minimize the number of read/writes to the SSD in an attempt to prolong its lifespan. Does anyone have any tips on doing this?

Before the suggestions, depending on your SSD, it could last for so long that bothering with all these steps might be somewhat useless in 2020. You're likely change the laptop before hitting 150TBW which is what I suppose the endurance would be around. If you know the exact SSD model, just post it here. Plus, you might be able to change the SSD if it fails after the warranty.

Now, some suggestions:

- you don't need to use a portable browser, you can install it normally on the OS drive/Program Files folder, and use a simlink to point its Profile to another drive. Mind you, the browser will run basically as if it's installed on the HDD, as it needs to read all that cache and stream data to the HDD, like YT videos etc. It'll start much slower and accessing hibernating tabs (if you have this feature) might also be visibly slower.

For example, this is how I do it on my PC:

New-Item -Path "c:\Users\YOURUSERNAMEHERE\AppData\Local\CHROMIUM_BROWSER\User Data" -ItemType SymbolicLink -Value "DRIVE LETTER:\DESIRED FOLDER NAME\User Data"

- you can move the pagefile from C to another drive. I have no idea how much SSD writes economy this makes, but there will be the added benefit of gaining a few ore GB of SSD space

- you can move any game that requires patching often to the HDD, these things will dump a few GBs each time the dev drop some hotfix

- as mentioned, all downloads, music/video libraries etc. should be pointed out to the HDD folder as well

- I also turn off hibernation completely, might not be desirable for a laptop

 

For my use case, where I work about 10 hrs/day from the PC at home, I typically see 20-40GB of SSD writes each day. I have two SSDs, a 970 Evo+ and a 850 Evo (and some HDDs), and I'm kinda splitting the writes between them, games would go to the 850, so would pagefile and the browser profile, the 970 Evo+ is a faster NVMe drive with more endurance so it hosts the OS and apps and whatever else requires the fast PCIe speeds. Music and video are on HDD. I keep a 10% Overprovisioning on each SSD, i.e. space that is not partitioned at all.

 

With this sort of use, I've only taken 1% off the 850 Evo in 2-3 years of daily use, and consumed 20 Wear Leveling cycles out what should be around 3000 available. That's 14TB written or so. Typically each 600-700GB I write, a write leveling cycle is added. 

The 970 Evo+ is newer so it only wrote around 7TB and it didn't drop from 100% yet. The NVMe drive doesn't have the Wear Leveling SMART indicator so I have no idea about that.

Obviously, this is different from vendor to vendor, NAND generation to generation, controller type and more.

 

Also worth mentioning that I had SSDs die on me, but neither was under 90% life. It didn't stop them from going defective for whatever reason, and not even get detected in BIOS. So there's that, you can try to protect it as much as possible, but it can still fail with little writing on it. 

 

CrystalDiskInfo is great at monitoring the drives.

 

Again, all of this might just not be worth your time at all. Endurance tests online show hundreds of TB written on smaller 250GB drives (the larger, the more NAND, and more endurance) before they die. Sure some do better - some Samsung drives like the 850 Pro (MLC) would last for 7PBW - yes, PETAs written. TLC drives like the 960 Evo would manage around that zone too, way beyond the manufacturer specification. Other more budget drives are dying much early, at just 100-300TBW, yet even that is a pretty big number that might take you 5-10 years to reach.

 

So is it worth it to worry about this? Up to you, and depends on which SSD model you own, and if you're likely going to replace it in 5 years.

endurance-final[1].png

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The only thing on my SSD is the OS. Everything else is on the HDD even the Hibernate file.

Other than relocating the TEMP folder from the SSD to the HDD, and installing everything to the HDD whenever possible, are there any other advanced ways of minimizing read/write to the SSD.

^^ That is a better way of presenting my inquiry. I hope that clarifies a bit better.

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2 hours ago, mp68terr said:

Cannot read Russian (?). What is this graph about?

Terabytes written on the drive until it died. This is the most comprehensive endurance test I've found on the web, had to use Google Translate myself for it.

https://3dnews.ru/938764

There are other tests on the web, but they have significantly fewer drives tested.

 

2 hours ago, Hemperor said:

The only thing on my SSD is the OS. Everything else is on the HDD even the Hibernate file.

Other than relocating the TEMP folder from the SSD to the HDD, and installing everything to the HDD whenever possible, are there any other advanced ways of minimizing read/write to the SSD.

^^ That is a better way of presenting my inquiry. I hope that clarifies a bit better.

Seems a bit extreme. Unless it's a really, really old drive that cannot sustain more than a few dozens of TBW, you should simply profit and use the drive for as many apps and games you can. HDDs are annoyingly slow and to be avoided, and most SSDs will just last for ages.  

 

1 hour ago, mp68terr said:

Out of curiosity, what is the point of having a SSD if all has to be moved to the HDD?

Using a SSD too here: things that have to run use the SSD/RAM, backups on the HDD.

Fast OS startup. More of a dated mindset from 10 years ago when we struggled with bad controllers and very fragile SSDs that would die relatively fast. No point bothering too much for newer SSDs.

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3 hours ago, mp68terr said:

Out of curiosity, what is the point of having a SSD if all has to be moved to the HDD?

Using a SSD too here: things that have to run use the SSD/RAM, backups on the HDD.

the theory was the less moving parts the less re-writes and fragmentation, but whilst SSD is faster to run programs its lifespan is shortened

 

nothing lasts forever and technology has proven that

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This is the health of my Samsung EVO 860 SSD that I bought almost 2 yrs ago  as shown from Hard Disk Sentinel Pro. I'll let you judge by yourself how long they could last:

 

uhY9Xa7.jpg

 

I'm not giving it any special treatment. I even have some games on it!

 

Edited by lurch234
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3 hours ago, random said:

Fast OS startup. More of a dated mindset from 10 years ago when we struggled with bad controllers and very fragile SSDs that would die relatively fast. No point bothering too much for newer SSDs.

 

44 minutes ago, sefton22 said:

the theory was the less moving parts the less re-writes and fragmentation, but whilst SSD is faster to run programs its lifespan is shortened

 

nothing lasts forever and technology has proven that


Yes, that's why one buy SSD to run stuff fast, and keeps backups on the HDD in case the SSD dies.

 

What I meant is that if one buys a SSD it's to use it 😉

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If you buy an SSD with MLC NAND like the Samsung 860 Pro, it will last longer with many write actions.

MLC NAND can be written much more then TLC like the Samsung 860 EVO or Crucial MX500 SSD and QLC NAND can be written less then TLC or MLC NAND.

QLC NAND SSD is e.g. the Samsung 860 QVO.

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  • 4 months later...

The way I created directory junctions was using the cmd prompt. Run it as administrator and then you can redirect a folder on SSD that changes often to the HDD.

 

For example evernote creates load of cache files that id rather keep on my HDD so

 

Move the evernote folder from c:\users\%username%\appdata\locallow\evernote to my HDD via windows explorer

then

cmd as admin

cd c:\users\%username%\appdata\locallow\

mklink /j evernote d:\evernote

 

Now as far as evernote is concerned its loading from c:\users\%username%\appdata\locallow\evernote which would usually be on my SDD but it actually transparently redirects to D:\evernote which is my HDD.

 

You can use mklink for loads of things - not just SDD saving. I use it for playing warcraft EU and US accounts which are usually separate etc.

 

 

 

 

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On 11/26/2020 at 10:23 PM, Hemperor said:

installing everything to the HDD whenever possible

That's a mistake . . . all installations must be made on the SSD.

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