A while ago, I set about optimizing my X25-M. This is not for the faint of heart.
The first thing to do is get the main partition aligned on a 512-KB boundary, so that small file writes don't cause excessive block erases.
Lots of sites have documented how the lifetime of an SSD is determined almost entirely by how many times each block is erased so that new data can be written. All SSD's have very large block sizes (typically 256KB or 512KB), unlike HDDs that have tiny block sizes (sectors) of only 0.5KB. If the OS alignment and hardware alignment don't agree, roughly twice as many block erases occur as need to; not a good thing.
By default, Windows aligns the primary partition at "cylinder 0, head 1, sector 0" (the first 63-sector "track" is used for the volume label and boot information). This places the start of the partition at an offset of 31.5KB. Huh?
Back in ancient times (thirty or so years ago), all disks used in PCs were based on 512-byte sectors, arranged into 63-sector tracks. The cylinder size was determined by the number of heads (which morphed from physical to virtual as drives got bigger). Nowadays, because disks hold hundreds of times more data than back then, all HDDs use LBA (linear block address) instead of C/H/S (cylinder/head/sector) addressing. LBA just numbers the 512-byte sectors from 0 to (approximately) infinity.
So why does Windows (or for that matter Linux) use C/H/S when formatting disks? Backward compatibility. Anyone who's worked in the software industry (especially the OS and utility sub-industry) knows it will cost you your job if you make a change like dumping C/H/S even though no existing hardware uses it anymore.
OK, enough history. How do you format a partition on a 512-KB boundary? Well, not with Windows. Not with Acronis. Not with most versions of Linux. All of these will start your partition at a multiple of 31.5-KB (the historic track size). Some will always start at 0/1/0 no matter what you do.
After lots of fumbling about, I discovered a program on the Ultimate Boot CD, called Ranish (it's in the file system partition tools area) that will create a partition on an arbitrary C/H/S boundary. The correct values to use are 0/16/17, which equals 512 KB. One hitch though: Ranish doesn't have NTFS support, so you'll have to format the partition after it's created.
Now the real downer: you can't copy a working Windows file system to this new partition with Acronis (or any other backup tool I'm aware of) because the copy process will reset the partition offset. Grr. So be prepared to reinstall Windows and applications from scratch.
Well, that was step one. The rest is easier.
The rest of this post describes moving volatile files and directories off the system disk to extend its lifetime. This assumes your system has an SSD as its system disk (C) and an HDD as its bulk data disk (D). In a silent system like mine, a Samsung F2 500-GB is an excellent choice as the D disk.
Top of the list is the paging file. This one is controversial. Leaving it on the SSD makes for a lightning-fast system, with no seek noise. But this is the most-often written file in a Windows system, and will greatly shorten your SSD's lifetime. Moving it to D will sometimes result in some annoying delays, especially when switching users. Some people advocate not having a paging file at all, especially when you have 2GB+ of memory, but this is at the cost of stability, since XP is designed to have that file.
Anyway, moving the paging file is easy: just delete it from C and create it on D, then reboot. This is done in the Control Panel/System/Advanced/Performance/Advanced/Virtual Memory page.
Next are the browser temporary file directories.
For Explorer, open tools/internet options, then temporary internet files/settings/move folder, then specify a directory on D (create it ahead of time of course).
Firefox is a bit clumsier. First type "about:config" into the address bar, then say OK to "I'll be careful", then right-click, then select new string, then type in browser.cache.disk.parent_directory and the path to the directory on D you created ahead of time. Nothing to it.
The last one I bothered with was the Windows temporary file directories for each user on my system (in Documents and Settings/*/temp and tmp). Changing these is simple: go to control panel/system/advanced/environment variables, and replace TEMP and TMP with paths to the directories on D that you created ahead of time. No sweat.
There are other directories you can move, such as printer spool areas, but I didn't bother. For a comprehensive list, see this thread: http://www.ocztechnologyforum.com/forum ... hp?t=55238
Scroll down to the section headed Firefox Cache Tweak. (Just above that is a detailed description of how to put your paging file onto a virtual disk in RAM for systems with 8 GB of memory.)
Well there you have it. I promised myself I'd document this demented exercise, and now I've done it. Hope someone finds it useful.
BTW, my X25-M/F2 combination is completely inaudible and super fast. I never hear disk noise; never. Now if only someone could make a quiet DVD drive...