Sometimes I think you can't resist to show contentious (with some reasons, of course).
I'm trying to save your butt. I'm only telling you this because you seem well-meaning. You do whatever you want with your data. Saying "I don't have a budget for backups" is totally irresponsible when you're talking about other people's data.
I'm sorry, I didn't want to be offensive.
I just wanted to say that you're often strong and aggressive supporting your beliefs/experiences.
So thanks, even from my lazy butt.
That said, the firm is already well informed by me what they have to do for their workstations back-ups (JFYI they don't rely just upon them however, there's also a centralized backup - nightly tape - on top a RAID-1 server for the relevant shared folders, local backup is meant for day-by-day working before finalized documents are stored over the shared folders, as too much often the secretaries works on local copies instead than on networked ones, against my general recommendation).
Eventually I simply can't take decisions which other people have to do: I can just make some strong suggesting, and it's what I've done (about their storage policies and working practices).
A law firm without backups! Are you kidding me? They can afford 200 euros.
I hope you're also doing online backups. If they have data on their workstations (as opposed to a server), you want both online backups of the data and cloning to external drives. RAID1 on top of that could be justified as well.
No online backup (if you mean backup onto Internet storage space), IP links aren't adequate to them (generally speaking xDSL links leave a lot to desire, here).
You're right, in absolute terms the amount of money required for that additional protection is small but, as already said, actually I cannot force them to cope to my given recommendations (to buy two more backup units, and at least to work only onto networked folders).
The advantage of SSDs for random access is so huge alignment hardly matters. If you don't want better random access performance, you shouldn't be using SSDs. If you do, you don't need alignment to get a huge improvement.
Do you mean random access IOPs or just random access time ("isn't affected by a proper alignment")?
My own past experience with XP (and Vista) not-aligned SSDs talk about evident stuttering (using Intel X-25M and OCZ Vertex 2, not to mention far worse benchmarking figures).
Back to the core issue, I have to agree with HFat, I would install an ssd and then manually clone or reinstall the OS, it`s just a cleaner solution Even without aligning the drive, I would expect performance to be better compared to any ssd caching solution
The core issue is that I've been requested about so (summarizing): "our secretaries complain that working (they mean: boot time and editing files with MS Office)
has become more sluggish: can we address those complains with a very small amount of money (they mean: including my handwork)
? If yes, do it: if not, let them work same way as before".
So, what I will do is going to buy (for me) a single HDDBoost (for those mere 18 euros), and do some tests on my own workbench using a spare OCZ Vertex 2 50GB. And see: as no-one can easily predict how it will work, even if I have appreciated very much your very educated guessworks, I think it would be a good thing to do my own direct experience about it.
So that, in the worst case, if it shouldn't prove itself enough effective, I would have spent 18 euros for some form of additional personal expertise.