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SSD optimization for a T420?

T400/410/420 and T500/510/520 series specific matters only
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eric99
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Joined: Tue Nov 29, 2011 11:12 am
Location: Wilkes-Barre, PA

SSD optimization for a T420?

#1 Post by eric99 » Thu Jun 07, 2018 9:36 pm

Hi all. I just ordered a 128 GB mSATA SSD as part of my ongoing T420 upgrades. i plan to use it as an OS drive, and keep data on the hdd that came with the machine. (Not original, I know, but it fits my needs.)

This will be the first SSD I have used. I read opinions all over the map about what to do to optimize an SSD, for performance and longevity. For ThinkPads I trust advice on this forum above all. What has worked for you? Disable 'everything,' nothing or something in between? I plan to make sure auto disk defrag and Superfetch are turned off. Still thinking about indexing, page file, hibernation, etc.

This assumes I install the SSD properly so I can boot from it, of course.
T420, Win 10, Xubuntu 18.04
T61, Win 7 Pro x64, weak Thinklight
T60, workhorse till the cursor started to freeze

theterminator93
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Location: North Ridgeville, Ohio, United States

Re: SSD optimization for a T420?

#2 Post by theterminator93 » Fri Jun 08, 2018 7:03 am

Windows 7 and newer are "SSD Aware" operating systems - meaning they automatically turn off certain functions because they either are not needed with or can add unnecessary wear to SSDs. Those include defragmentation and the indexing service for searches, and making sure partitions are "aligned" to the physical cell structure of the SSD (a 1024 KB partition offset rather than 4 KB). They also support trim (automatic garbage collection) functions. Really, the only things you should do with the SSD is make sure the controller mode in BIOS is set to AHCI (not legacy) and start the Windows install from scratch, not cloning, to guarantee proper partition alignment. You can also disable superfetch, prefetch and write caching.

Typically all I'll do with an SSD is buy it appropriately sized for my intended application such that it stays at least 1/3 empty, roughly speaking. This gives the drive's firmware plenty of free space with which to use to write data to as part of its wear leveling algorithm, theoretically increasing the lifespan of the drive overall.

It's been some 7 years since my first SSD (a 256GB Crucial M4 in my desktop) and I've been putting them in my systems ever since. None of them have failed me so far (knock on wood)!
Daily: T25 | W520 i7-2860QM·Quadro 2000m·IPS FHD | T420 i7-2640M·NVS 4200m·IPS FHD | X220 i7-2640M | T601F T9900·NVS 140M·LED UXGA
Wife's: T61p T9500·2010 FX570m·WUXGA | X220T i7-2640M
Others: T61p·61·43·42p|X41T·24·23·22|G41|A31p·22m|i1200|TransNote|380D|365XD|701C|755C

eric99
Posts: 21
Joined: Tue Nov 29, 2011 11:12 am
Location: Wilkes-Barre, PA

Re: SSD optimization for a T420?

#3 Post by eric99 » Fri Jun 08, 2018 10:15 am

Thanks for the advice. This should be fun.
T420, Win 10, Xubuntu 18.04
T61, Win 7 Pro x64, weak Thinklight
T60, workhorse till the cursor started to freeze

WarMachine
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Re: SSD optimization for a T420?

#4 Post by WarMachine » Sat Jun 09, 2018 11:48 am

Hello eric99,

The advices of theterminator93 are perfectly wise. It's not absolutely necessary, but as the T420 is one of the first machines to use UEFI, it will be nice (and the boot will be quickier) to make an install in exclusive UEFI mode. I don't have (yet :D) a T420 but I own a T420s and I assume the things are the same on the two laptops.

If you want to do that, then in the BIOS, you must have AHCI enabled (In Config > Serial ATA (SATA)), and in Startup, you also must have UEFI/Legacy Boot on [UEFI Only].

You will probably use an USB key for your installation. If not, I recommend it to you as it's quicker than with a DVD and you'll need an 8 GB key. But the key must be well done. For that, I use Rufus. You can dowload the operating system with the Heidoc utility.
– Rufus is dowloadable here : https://rufus.akeo.ie/downloads/rufus-3.0.exe (direct link) ;
– and Heidoc here : https://www.heidoc.net/php/Windows%20IS ... loader.exe (direct link too).

For Rufus, you must use these options :
– Partiton scheme : GPT ;
– Target system : UEFI (non CSM) ;
– File system : FAT32 ;
– Cluster size : 4096 bytes (default).

:)

W.
IBM ThinkPads 701Cs | 755Cs | 560 | 2x 600E | 2x T23 | X20 | X24 | 3x X31 | T41p | T42.
lenovo ThinkPads T60 4/3 | T60 16/10 | R60 | X60t | X61s | X61t | X301 | T400 | T400s | T410 | W500 | X200 | 2x X220 | T420s.

thinkpadcollection
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Re: SSD optimization for a T420?

#5 Post by thinkpadcollection » Sun Jun 10, 2018 4:43 pm

T420 does not have UEFI. All Ivy bridge computers started this with introduction of UEFI which is Tx30 and onwards.

The bios is not the thing about TRIM feature. OS does the TRIM upkeep begun with windows 7.

OSes requires 64bit to handle GPT partitions regardless of boot or not.

XP 64bit booting from MBR partition only can read/write GPT partitions only. Can be done with non-UEFI computer. Very useful if one insists on XP and need larger than 2TB especially video editing. But this usually breaks 16 bit software on a 64 bit XP OS.

All OSes with 64bits can boot and read & write starting from 7 onwards. Requires HD or SSD pre-prepared as GPT partition first the install to this with specially prepared UEFI enabled USB boot stick. Also computer on POST goes 2 times on boot: legacy mode then UEFI mode to find a GPT bootable media or storage or MBR bootable. Also have to have GPT hard drive or SSD with GPT partition

Cheers, thinkpadcollection

TonyJZX
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Re: SSD optimization for a T420?

#6 Post by TonyJZX » Mon Jun 11, 2018 5:22 am

The T430 is also the start of the rot. Not only is it the 1st UEFI machine but it also has an encrypted bios so no whitelist removal.

Look into getting a 420 if you want the last of the 14" units with the right kbd if the speed of the cpu works for you.

The 420 is very simple, its all install and go, it even has new bios that makes it spectre meltdown immune.

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