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Making the Most of SSD Performance in Windows 8

Although Windows 8 versions do a much better job of accommodating and adjusting to solid state drives (SSDs) used for system/boot and other purposes as compared to earlier Windows versions, there are still certain ways to improve upon their default behaviors. As I recently worked through Les Tokar’s excellent article at entitled “The SSD Optimization Guide Ultimate Windows 8 (and Win7) Edition”  (5 pp, 4/23/2013), however, I realized that there are numerous things that sysadmins can and probably should do the extract the best possible performance benefits from using SSDs. The results can be beneficial: I squeezed an extra 15% in performance from an OCZ Vertex 4 system/boot drive simply by working my way through the list of 21 tips (18 or 19 of them offer substantive “do-this” instructions) around which this guide is built. I suspect that other Windows-heads charged with the care and feeding of systems with SSDs installed can do as well or better by doing likewise.

I skipped three of the steps in the guide as I worked my way through them in numerical order. Two of those I omitted because I didn’t want to implement them on my primary production system: Tip 12 asked me to turn off Windows Search (which I find useful on my old-fashioned data drives, all of them conventional hard disks); Tip 19 (against which Tokar himself inveighs) asks users to tweak BIOS settings to turn off CPU states that produce higher performance at the cost of reliability or system stability. The third, covered in Tip 10, explains how to tweak multi-boot Windows systems for performance gains (my production system only boots Windows 8.1 Update 1). At the end of my efforts CrystalDiskMark 3.0.3 (64-bit version) produced the following not-at-all-shabby results:


Values shown here don’t match those for the latest SATA3 or PCI-e SSDs, but they aren’t bad, either.

I have to believe that working through the list of tips on Windows 8 systems with SSDs installed will be beneficial in many if not most such cases. That’s what makes Tokar’s Guide worth consulting. Check it out!

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