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    Technology Manager of Test Dept.

Learn how to install SSDs and optimize performance on host computers and notebooks with alignment, defragmentation, interface confirmation, BIOS settings, and advanced speed-up techniques.

With the continuous improvement of the production process and the continuous improvement of the yield rate, the solid state drive (SSD), which was expensive in the past few years, has now made a great leap in performance and capacity, and the price has also undergone tremendous changes. While getting bigger and bigger, the price is getting cheaper and cheaper, and the price per unit capacity (price per GB) hits new lows repeatedly. The improvement of the cost performance of this SSD has made more and more ordinary people start to use SSD as a system disk or storage disk in their homes.
ssd installation optimization

Classification and selection of solid state drives

Compared with solid-state hard disks, traditional mechanical hard disks are much slower in reading files and booting. Therefore, it is recommended that you buy SSDs when choosing a system disk. In the structure of SSD, NAND flash memory chip is an important component for storing data. Different types of flash memory particles have obvious differences in lifespan and cost. For more information, please refer to:Detailed explanation of the latest SSD solid-state hard disk particles QLC, SLC, MLC, TLC . Many netizens may have questions about how to choose a solid state drive? What is the difference between the most widely used SATA and M.2 solid-state drives? Therefore, the following will introduce the differences between SATA solid-state drives and M.2 solid-state drives in detail, so that you can know what you want when choosing a solid-state drive and buy it on demand.
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SATA SSD , using the SATA channel and using the AHCI protocol. At present, the maximum transmission speed of the mainstream SATA 3.0 channel is 6Gbps, and the actual reading speed is up to 560MB/s. Now with the gradual popularity of M.2 solid-state drives, although the number of people choosing SATA solid-state drives has also decreased, the SATA interface is still the mainstream hard drive interface standard in the market. The biggest advantage of choosing a SATA solid-state drive is that you don’t need to worry about compatibility issues, and it can be used by old and new computers. ssd installation optimization

2. M.2 SSD

M.2 SSD Is a specification for internally mounted computer expansion cards and associated connectors, especially for small ultrabooks and tablets. M.2 has more flexible physical specifications, coming in different widths and lengths. Compared with SATA solid-state drives, M.2 solid-state drives are smaller in size and have faster interface transmission speeds. M.2 solid-state drives are divided into SATA and PCI-E. The corresponding protocols are AHCI and NVMe. Although the two look the same, their performance is very different. SSDs that support the NVMe protocol will have a better performance experience than those that support the AHCI protocol, with faster transmission speed and low latency. Usually, solid-state drives that support the NVMe protocol will have the NVM Express logo on the outer box of the hard drive or on the product label. 0KJfcZM6ND
If the packaging has been thrown away, you can also use the running speed of AS SSD Benchmark (solid-state drive speed measurement tool) to determine whether the hard drive is NVMe or AHCI protocol. Speed comparison of two M.2 interface SSDs without protocols ( The picture on the left shows the NVMe protocol , The picture on the right shows the AHCI protocol ): m2 interface protocol comparison It can be seen from the test results that there is a significant gap in the AS SSD running points between the two. The continuous reading and writing speeds of the NVMe protocol solid-state hard disk on the left are 1297MB/s and 976MB/s respectively, and the continuous reading and writing speeds of the AHCI protocol solid-state hard disks on the right are 518MB/s and 502MB/s respectively; The transmission performance of the NVMe protocol on the left is far superior to the M.2 solid-state drive of the AHCI protocol on the right. If it is an M.2 solid-state drive with SATA channel, the theoretical transmission speed will not exceed 600MB/s, while an M.2 solid-state drive that supports the NVMe protocol can theoretically read over 2000MB/s. So if you want to know whether it supports AHCI or NVMe protocol, it is the fastest to distinguish by reading speed.
TipsAfter getting acquainted with the types of solid-state drives, I believe you have a clear direction when choosing an SSD. You can refer to these articles to choose the brand that suits you:SATA3.0 interface – the first choice for entry-level cost performance ,M.2_NVMe interface SSD recommendation ,Ultimate performance SSD choice .

How to correctly install a solid state drive

If you want to use the SSD as a data storage disk instead of a system disk, please jump directly to “Use the RST driver provided by Intel to improve HDD performance “.
SSDs on the market are subdivided by interface type, and there are at least 6 types, which are:SATA3 ,mSATA ,M.2 ,SATA Express ,PCIe ,U.2 . SATA3 and M.2 are the two most widely used solid-state drives at present, and our explanation mainly focuses on the installation and optimization of these two types of solid-state drives.
ssd installation

1. Preparations for installing a solid-state drive (SSD)

Preparation tool for installing SATA SSD : Phillips screwdriver, SATA dedicated data cable, anti-static gloves (use in winter), 2.5-inch to 3.5-inch hard disk bracket (optional). Preparation tool for installing M.2 SSD : Phillips screwdriver, M.2 hard drive screws.
Phillips screwdriver: Screwdriver It is recommended to use a screwdriver with a magnetic black head, so that the screw is not easy to fall off during operation.
ssd installation
ATA3.0 dedicated cable
ssd installation
Most solid-state drives are not equipped with SATA3.0 cables, so they need to be purchased separately. It is recommended to buy a cable with a moderate price (at least ¥48 or more), and try to choose a cable with an elbow at one end and a straight end at the other end. It is necessary to confirm whether there are words such as SATA3 or 6Gbps on the connecting cable. If so, it is considered to support the SATA3.0 standard. When connecting, it is recommended to connect the straight end to the motherboard and the elbow end to the solid-state drive, which can make the internal wiring of the host more convenient and beautiful.
ssd installation
Anti-static gloves (necessary for winter operation) Since the human body is very prone to static electricity in winter, if it is operated with static electricity, it will be very easy to break down the capacitor inside the motherboard. In summer, it can be operated without gloves.
SSD Installation
2.5″ to 3.5″ HDD bracket (optional) Some older chassis may not have a 2.5-inch hard disk installation space reserved during design. At this time, use a 2.5 to 3.5-inch hard disk bracket to meet your SSD upgrade needs. Similar hard disk brackets on the market are generally compatible with SATA and IDE interface, and is suitable for all kinds of chassis, whether it is a standard type or a screw-free installation chassis.
ssd installation
ssd installation

2. How to install the solid state drive on the PC host

Very important: please disconnect the power on the host PC before operation
There may be two interfaces on the motherboard of a PC computer, namely SATA and M.2 interfaces, so if you buy a SATA SSD, then connect the SSD to the SATA interface, and the M.2 interface is the same. ① How to install SATA 3 SSD It should be noted that SATA3 refers to the version of SATA3.0, and the interface speed can reach up to 600MB per second, which is twice the maximum of 300MB per second of SATA2.0 version. In the following, I will teach you the correct installation method, lest you buy a SSD with SATA3.0 interface but still use SATA2.0 by mistake. When installing, the most important point is to connect the SATA3.0 data cable to the SATA3.0 interface of the motherboard to obtain the highest transmission speed. You can confirm which interface is SATA3.0 by checking the motherboard manual. If the motherboard manual is not with you, you can also judge according to the text on the motherboard, such as:
ssd installation
If there is SATA 6Gb/s or SATA6G next to a certain SATA interface, then you can be sure it is this interface.
ssd installation
If there is no font, it can only be judged from the color. Generally speaking, it is the one with the most special color, for example:
ssd installation
As shown in the figure above, the word SATA_3 can often be seen near the SATA interface on the motherboard, but this does not mean that the interface is SATA3.0, but that the interface is the third interface of the SATA channel.

PC host SATA SSD installation/replacement video tutorial: >>>

② How to install M.2 SSD First of all, you need to check whether the motherboard supports the M.2 interface. Generally speaking, M.2 SSDs come in five lengths: 2230, 2242, 2260, 2280, 22110, but not every motherboard or notebook can accommodate them. The above numbers can be decoded as width lengths, eg 2242, meaning 22mm wide and 42mm long. The most common sizes are 2242 and 2280 (42mm and 80mm long). If it is confirmed that the M.2 interface is supported on the motherboard, we find the M.2 interface on the motherboard, which is generally marked on the motherboard, as shown in the following figure: m2video
PC host M.2 SSD installation/replacement video tutorial: >>>

3. How to install a solid state drive on a notebook

Very important: Before installing the solid state drive on the notebook, the power must be disconnected and the battery removed.
① Laptop SATA SSD installation/replacement video tutorial: >>>
② Laptop M.2 SSD installation/replacement video tutorial: >>
ssd installation
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Support GPT and MBR Automatically adapt to the suitable partition format.

Support NTFS and FAT32 Redeploy various files in different file systems.

Back up quickly Back up files at up to 3,000MB/min.

Overall backup schedule Support system redeployment/system backup/partition backup/disk backup/disk clone.

Automatic 4K alignment Improve SSD performance

Support GPT and MBR Intelligently adapt to a partition format

Support NTFS and FAT32 Redeploy files in different file systems

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4. How to install the system on the new SSD

There are two ways to install the system on the new SSD:
a. Use the Windows installation CD or USB to install the new system directly on the new machine
advantage: The system will configure all the drivers according to the current hardware, and the new system

  • 4K alignment may not be possible for SSD during system installation
  • Need to reinstall a lot of commonly used software
  • The activation codes of some software are also prepared in advance, otherwise some software may not be able to run
  • Documents on Windows need to be saved before transferring to the new system
  • The commonly used history records and shortcuts must be reconfigured
b. Use professional system migration software to directly migrate the original system partition (C partition) to the solid state drive (SSD)

  • Automatic 4K alignment, guaranteed speed
  • No need to reinstall the system, bid farewell to the long wait
  • No need to reinstall software and backup activation code, skip tedious steps
  • No need to reset various desktop layouts and shortcuts
  • All kinds of offline chat records can be preserved
Here, we recommend a professional SSD system migration software Renee Becca !

  • The system migration function of the migration software Renee Becca can directly complete the migration in three simple steps.
  • The software does not need to create an image, and can be migrated directly.
  • Automatically perform 4K alignment and support large partitions to small partitions.
  • Support GPT and MBR disk formats, one step in place!
  • After the migration is complete, the SSD can be turned on immediately without any professional knowledge. Time-saving and efficient!
  • Click the link to download and install immediately!
  • Support Windows 10/8.1/8/7/Vista/XP/2K

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Step 1: Select the “Clone” function in the main interface of the software, and click the “System Migration” function.
Renee Becca - System Migration
Step 2: In the pop-up window, select the system disk where Windows 10 is located and the migration target SSD disk.
Select target migration
Step 3: After the migration is complete, replace the hard disk.
①Please select SSD as the boot disk in the BIOS when you turn on the computer next time. After successful startup, format the original system partition in HDD.
②You can also remove the HDD first, and then start the computer directly. After successful startup, connect the HDD to the computer to format the original system partition.
Download and try it now.
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ssd installation
After the solid-state drive SSD and its supporting system are successfully installed, you can still More in-depth optimization , for you who are pursuing performance, the following chapters must be read.

SSD hard disk optimization

TipsThis chapter is mainly optimized based on SSD with SATA3.0 interface. Other versions of SATA or SSDs with other interfaces have different locks on data, so this cannot be used as a reference.
Although SSD performance is excellent, unlike traditional mechanical hard disks, SSDs must be properly optimized and configured to truly achieve high-speed reading and writing. Otherwise, high-speed SSDs can only be used at low speeds, wasting the original performance of the hardware.

Pre-steps: Confirm that the SSD has been inserted into the SATA3.0 interface on the motherboard

This step is very important, if the SSD is not connected to the SATA3.0 interface, then all subsequent optimizations will be meaningless. Of course, if your motherboard does not support SATA3.0, you can skip this step directly. It’s very simple, as long as the software is used for a simple test, it can be known that running the software AS SSD Benchmark on the host, in the test results, as long as the data in the Seq row is above 300MB/s, there is no problem.
ssd installation

1. Confirm that the BIOS and Windows have been set to support AHCI

What is AHCI?AHCI (Serial ATA Advanced Host Controller Interface) is an interface standard jointly developed by several companies under the guidance of Intel, which allows storage drivers to enable advanced serial ATA functions, such as local command queuing and hot plugging, its research and development team members mainly include famous companies such as Intel, AMD, Dell, Marvell, Maxtor, Microsoft, Red Hat, Seagate and StorageGear. After the motherboard supports and uses AHCI, the potential acceleration function of the SATA hard disk can be utilized, and the read and write speed of the hard disk can be increased by about 30%.
Notice : If your hard drive is not an SSD but a traditional mechanical hard drive, please do not use AHCI , if you use it forcibly, it may cause the Windows system to freeze, resulting in a sharp drop in performance.
Setup steps:
1. To setAHCI, you need to enter the motherboard’sBIOSsystem.
Different motherboards have different access methods, and you must choose the correct access method.
2. After entering the BIOS, you need to find the option of SATA mode and set it to AHCI. For detailed setting methods, please refer to your BIOS manual
ssd installation
3. If you used an IDE disk to install the Windows system before and want to migrate the system directly to a new solid-state drive (SSD), then you also need to modify the registry information to enable the Windows system to use AHCI. The specific method is as follows:
a. Press Win + R
Win+R key
b. Type regedit
Type regedit
c. Open HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\ SYSTEM\ CurrentControlSet\ Services\ iaStorV, double-click the Start that appears on the right, and modify the value inside to 0
ssd installation
d. Open HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\ SYSTEM\ CurrentControlSet\ Services\ storahci, double-click to modify the Start item inside, and set it to 0.
After the modification is complete, please restart the system. After restarting, Windows will automatically configure the driver of the SSD to support AHCI mode according to these parameters.
ssd installation

After completing the above 4 steps, we start AS SSD Benchmark again. In the position shown in the figure, as long as you see the logo of storahci or iaStorA, it means that your system has fully supported AHCI.

ssd installation
ssd installation

2.4K alignment optimization

If you do not use professional migration software or install the system yourself, it may cause the SSD to not be 4K aligned, resulting in performance loss. If you don’t understand what is 4K alignment? You can check out this article,4K Alignment for SSD Come find out.
First of all, we still run AS SS Benchmark to see if the current SSD has 4K alignment, as shown in the figure: 1. If the icon appearsXXXXX K – OK, indicating that the SSD has been 4K aligned, then you can skip this chapter and go directly to the next chapter. 2. If theXXXXX K – Failed, it means that the SSD has not been 4K aligned. Don’t worry though, here’s a freeware that does lossless system 4K alignment.
ssd installation
Important note: Please back up important data on the system disk before running.
  1. 1. Download the free software :
  2. Unzip to a local folder, double-click PastAssist.exe in the folder
  3. After entering the software, select your system disk, as shown in the figure:
ssd installation
4. Click “Partition” -> “Advanced Operation” -> Partition Alignment
ssd installation
5. Click “determined” in the pop-up window.
Then depending on the size of the partition, you may have to wait for a while. Once complete, run AS SSD Benchmark again to confirm.
ssd installation

3. Don’t fill up your SSD

Reserve a certain amount of free space for the SSD (it is recommended to reserve about 10% of the capacity), which is more conducive to its performance. Because the solid state drive under full load will be more prone to the possibility of crash. (Depending on the difference of the main control chip, some SSDs will not drop when fully loaded, while some SSDs will drop seriously when fully loaded.)

4. (Optional) Use the RST driver provided by Intel to improve HDD performance

NOTE: The technique apply only Because the system is installed on the traditional mechanical hard disk, because of other reasons, they are unwilling to migrate the Windows system to the SSD (for example: relatively speaking, the mechanical hard disk will be more stable, and the data volume of the system disk is too large to be migrated to the newly purchased SSD), and the SSD is used as The use of additional storage disks. If you have already used SSD as the system disk, please skip this chapter.
What is Intel RST? Intel Rapid Storage Technology, or Intel Rapid Storage Technology (IntelRST for short, formerly known as Matrix RAID), is a Windows-based application. The program provides increased performance and reliability for desktop, mobile PC, and server platform systems equipped with SATA disks. When using one or more SATA disks, you benefit from increased performance and reduced power consumption. When using multiple disks, data protection against disk failure is also enhanced.

why install Intel RST ?

Mainly two factors
1. The SATA old AHCI driver that comes with Windows has never been updated since 2006, even the latest version of Windows 10. The ACHI driver provided by Intel’s RST technology is updated almost every year. Therefore, using this driver will have a certain degree of performance improvement.
ssd installation
2. Intel RST Rapid Storage Technology refers to using SSD as a disk cache to speed up system loading and running. In some cases, if the SSD cannot be used as the system disk, this technology can greatly improve the system speed.

The conditions for realizing Intel Rapid Storage Technology (Intel Rapid Storage Technology):

1. Intel chipset motherboards that support this function 2. Intel Core series processors. Such as: Intel Core i3, i5, i7 processors. 3. A traditional mechanical hard drive HDD and a solid state drive SDD According to Intel’s official regulations, the capacity of a solid-state drive cannot be lower than 18.6GB and not higher than 64GB. 4. At least one mechanical hard disk is used as the system disk. 5. The hard disk mode of the motherboard BIOS is set to RAID mode. 6. The capacity of all disks managed by RST cannot exceed 2.2TB (all solid-state drives + traditional mechanical hard drives)