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SSDs, Win 7, and cluster sizes


NfiniteZERO

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Talking in my previous thread , an interesting thing was mentioned.

 

I have not ran into this and have installed Windows 7 50+ times on many SSD's drives and I have never had to use any of these extreme measures to format the drive. Windows 7 will use the correct alocation on any SSD drive I have tested and has worked fine with default settings on any drive I have tested. Only in a raid configuration have I had to tweak the settings to get optimized performance but I will try to duplicate this in the future and post anything I find.

 

This piqued my curiousity. With most of my Windows installs from XP up to now, the default allocation unit on the drive was 4k. I was guessing that this was due to the boot loader being installed.

 

I've decided to run a couple of tests on my end and see what results I had.

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Test #1

 

System used - My laptop (in the specs)

OS installed - Windows 7 x64

SATA Mode: AHCI

 

Method:

 

After backing up my drive using TI Home 2010, I booted into the Windows 7 setup DVD. The existing partiton was deleted from the MBR in setup and Windows was installed to (what it could see as) an empty drive.

 

The Windows 7 default partitioning scheme was used (100MB System Reserve/remainder of the drive as the primary partition). After setup was complete, Chkdsk was run in Admin mode to check the allocation unit for the drive.

 

Results:

 

The screenshot included shows that Windows 7 install defaulted to the 4k allocation unit size.

test1.PNG.60d6cf02ec6314e33e8123cf5bf13e71.PNG

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Ran into some hangups for the second test.

 

First, I set SATA to Compatibility mode to go for an HDDErase run, but it hung on the UBCD "press enter to boot" screen.

 

Re-enabling AHCI allowed me to boot further into HDDErase. However, it still hung up right before I could select what disk to erase.

 

I'll keep hammering on it to see what I can get.

 

UPDATE: Yeah, even GParted isn't working. ACHI mode = Drive is locked. Compat mode = infinite loop.

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Set your BIOS to legacy IDE and see if it works, I use GPARTED to format and allocate partitions only, but you really just want to create partitions with it when managing SSDs, unless you want to write zeroes for thoroughness sake before you run a secure erase. I know GPARTED supports secure erase, but I believe only if the drive is external (don't quote me on that, I believe I read it somewhere).
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Set your BIOS to legacy IDE and see if it works, I use GPARTED to format and allocate partitions only, but you really just want to create partitions with it with the SSDs unless you want to write zeroes for thoroughness sake before you run a secure erase. I know it supports it in GPARTED (secure erase) but I believe only if the drive is external (don't quote me on that, I believe I read it somewhere).

 

Tried that on my laptop and I was headed to NO-GO city. ACHI mode = everything would load, but couldn't do the secure erase (drive was frozen/locked). Trying it in IDE mode just put my machine in an infinte loop no matter what I tried. Oi vey.

 

Yanked it from my lappy and threw it in the tower and started dinking there. Thank God I made a Win98 boot CD years ago as that did the trick! Did the suggestion in the FAQ and got it to do the secure erase. Got the instructions written down to do it now too!

 

Now I'm wondering what kind of cluster sizes to try on a single drive config and do some benches with. Any ideas?

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