So, I’ve installed the drive. Installation was fairly painless – it’s a small drive (2.5”) but came with a mounting bracket to fit into a 3.5” bay – easy. The drive itself is very quiet and is indeed quick – boots from cold in about 25 seconds, although this is a clean Win7 install which is always fast. The main difference is once you’ve booted in, you don’t have the hard disk chugging away for ages doing other stuff. Opening and installing applications is also very quick in general.
In order to minimise wastage of disk space, I’ve turned off hibernation to clear the hiberfil.sys file, plus moved the swap file to another drive. However, I’ve kept the Windows index file on the drive – it’s not that big and is used often for finding stuff.
One other thing that I tried was ReadyBoost with my 2GB stick – I got the following: –
Overall – still early days but I’m going to install VS2010 and a few other bits and bobs on here to see how it performs.
I had an old 256mb USB lying around, plugged it into my PC and discovered that it’s ReadyBoost compatible – nice surprise.
I decided to buy a nice 2GB ReadyBoost stick to replace it. I bought one stick but discovered that, despite one consumer review stating that it was RB-compatible, my one wasn’t. Great. So I bought another one that specifically is designed for ReadyBoost – the DataTraveler 400. Nice stick, and does indeed work with RB.
What annoys me is the way that Vista uses ReadyBoost sticks. When you first initialise a ReadyBoost cache, you specify the size of the cache (in my case, ~2GB), and Vista then proceeds to initialise it. For a 2GB cache, this takes a few minutes of hard disk thrashing.
The problem that I have is that whenever you turn off your PC and boot up into Vista, the damn thing re-initialises the cache all over again. You can see this using the Reliability and Performance Monitor (check the Disk pane, sorted by the Write column). So every time you boot up, the hard disk thrashes about for a few minutes whilst you can’t do anything at all on the PC. Pointless, absolutely pointless. I never noticed this before because my 256 MB stick probably was much quicker to initialise the cache as it was so much smaller.
Apparently some people don’t have this problem, so it seems like either a bug in Vista (wouldn’t be surprised by this) or maybe it’s specific to the USB stick? I’ve tried changing various settings etc. but nothing seems to affect this.