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How to Get The Most Out of Your SSD

Many users who purchase SSDs assume the installation of one literally just involves plug and play, but there is actually more to the setting up of them and managing of them than you would expect. Many SSDs, like Corsair, do in fact support AHCI mode instead of RAID. What this does is essentially allow the drive to function in an environment where it can run much faster. Note: it is always good to look around on the internet before you attempt such changes because some devices will inevitably be made differently. However, enabling AHCI mode can increase boot times by up to 15 seconds, and allow much speedier read/write operations on the drive.

AHCI stands for Advance Host Controller interface. It is a hardware mechanism that allows software to communicate with SATA devices such as host bust adapters that are designed to offer feature not offered by Parallel ATA (PATA) controllers. Its advantages include two main things "Hot-Plugging" and "Native Command Queuing". Typically these features help best Corsair family SSDs.

But how is this AHCI mode enabled? In order to correctly set up your SSD, you must change this function in the BIOS menu. To reach BIOS, simply boot up the computer and wait for a prompt, usually along the lines of "Press F12 to enter setup" at the bottom of your screen. Depending on your motherboard manufacturer, you will have different looking BIOS menus. The best way to find the setting is simply to find an options menu for your primary hard drive (assuming the SSD is the primary drive) and look for 'chipset' or 'chipset mode'. It should say SATA or RAID. Simply switch to AHCI, save and reboot.

If you find the feature causes a blue screen, then you know it is not supported by your drive or is not necessary for whatever reason. You can simply switch back to the previous setting upon rebooting your computer, with no harm done.

Another aspect of SSD ownership that some users overlook is that of restricting read/write as much as possible. Doing so can greatly extend the life of a drive and actually save space too. For example, if the Windows Operating System is installed on the drive, why not try storing documents, pictures and music on a space hard drive instead? You can even default shortcuts to these areas for your start menu. If using Windows 7 simply right click on the shortcut, go to libraries and click "include libraries" and add a new folder path. You can remove the old paths too, to make sure nothing is saved there.

Both of these tips can increase the speed and lifetime of your SSD, allowing you to get more value for you money. It is always important to check for advice from your manufacturer, or respected forums when installing these devices, as you may be missing out on features that could make your life easier, or just get better value out of your device. The advice given here is particularly useful for instance if you are using a smaller family of Corsair SSDs, such as the M4.

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