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Hard Drive Cache Writing

SephSeph Registered User regular
edited October 2008 in Help / Advice Forum
I'm looking to upgrade my hard drive soon and I just found out about this feature. "Improves disk performance but power outages/or equipment failure may corrupt data." I have to say, this is kind of annoying, that I just found out it was set on by default. I have had problems in my experience with computers with data corruption. Whether inefficiency over time or loss of drivers/settings on power outages, I guess I finally know why.

Should this option be on?

If I put XP on a seperate small HD, would the setting for my OS HD : master or slave?

Should I put cache writing on my OS drive or data drive, neither or both?

Thanks ahead of time.

Seph on


  • SephSeph Registered User regular
    edited October 2008
    bumping...kinda figured some cpu savvy people around, newegg fiends, etc

    Seph on
  • ASimPersonASimPerson And they will tremble again at the sound of our silence.Registered User regular
    edited October 2008
    For hard drives this option should always be on. The hard drive is, by far, the slowest component in a modern computer that gets regular use. Without caching they get even slower, no matter how fast the platter spins.

    In fact, for new HDs one of the important considerations is cache size, since a larger cache has a positive effect on performance.

    Windows provides that option because it is a real concern for your USB thumb drive. If your thumb drive is caching, that means reads/writes to the drive don't necessarily happen immediately. If the option is on for the drive, then the only way to safely remove it from the system is to manually "stop" the device using that icon that pops up in the system tray when you insert it. Since most people expect to just be able to unplug it at their leisure, it is considered a desirable feature to disable the write caching.

    For your HD, you really don't want that. With a modern filesystem (in the Windows world, this means NTFS) the odds of file corruption occurring on your HD from anything other than a failure of the disk is exceedingly low.

    As for what drives to put your Windows install on, it doesn't matter all that much. For starters, if you have serial ATA, then the master/slave thing is irrelevant. On old-school parallel ATA, the slave can be slower, but only if both disks are in use at the same time. That said, you generally want something that is accessed a lot (like the OS) on the newer drive since it is likely to be faster.

    I guess if you want to be really paranoid about it there is a slight chance you could incur data loss from a sudden power down because some data was in the cache and not yet flushed to the disk. But the performance hit you will take without caching is not worth it.

    ASimPerson on
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