How to choice best device for caching. and others...

FAQ, getting help, user experience about PrimoCache
einstein1969
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How to choice best device for caching. and others...

Post by einstein1969 »

Hi everyone, I'm new here. I'm italian.

I found this software and I'm trying if he is right for my PC. I'm trying Primocache version 4.1.0.

I read the documentation and some threads in the forum.

I am having some problems in the first choices of the devices to be used and the configuration of the software. I also have a problem a little more serious, perhaps a bug or other.

My machine: I'm trying on a 2018 laptop with 8GB RAM and a 5400 HDD of 1 Tera. Windows 10 64bit 20H2

First I made a backup and installed the software.

I have 3 USB pendrive that I can connect to a USB 3.0 port.

This is my questions:
  • 1) I read that it is possible to accelerate the loading of applications. I would like to know if it is also possible to accelerate the system startup.
  • 2) I would like to know how I choose the best USB pendrive to use.
  • 3) The third thing is how I have to configure Primocache to get the best possible performance.
  • 4) Lastly I would like to expose a problem that I had a first test. Practically after a while I was using Primocache I had problems with corruption on disk C:. Can you help me to understand if I miscontract something?
Ask me the details needed to reply.

einstein1969
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Re: How to choice best device for caching. and others...

Post by InquiringMind »

Welcome to the forums, Einstein1969

PrimoCache offers 2 types of caching - L1 uses RAM and is the fastest (though it will overlap with Windows' own file cache). L2 needs an SSD and should only be used for speeding up HDDs.

In your case, you don't appear to have enough memory to be able to benefit much from L1 caching (you really need to have 2-4GB RAM free as a realistic minimum) and USB pendrives are far slower than SSDs so cannot be recommended for L2. Unless your laptop can accommodate a second drive (in which case, fit an SSD and experiment with L2) I would suggest not bothering with PrimoCache.

If you don't have space for a second drive in your laptop, consider getting a large SSD to replace your HDD instead - this should provide a significant performance boost. 1TB+ SSDs are not that expensive, and the reduced power consumption and heat dissipation should help battery life.

With regard to your last question - the only situation where PrimoCache may increase the risk of data loss is if you set up L1 caching with the "Defer Write" option enabled (this is disabled by default). You should only consider this option if (a) your system is stable and (b) you keep regular backups.
einstein1969
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Re: How to choice best device for caching. and others...

Post by einstein1969 »

InquiringMind wrote: Wed Oct 20, 2021 2:01 pm Welcome to the forums, Einstein1969

PrimoCache offers 2 types of caching - L1 uses RAM and is the fastest (though it will overlap with Windows' own file cache). L2 needs an SSD and should only be used for speeding up HDDs.

In your case, you don't appear to have enough memory to be able to benefit much from L1 caching (you really need to have 2-4GB RAM free as a realistic minimum) and USB pendrives are far slower than SSDs so cannot be recommended for L2. Unless your laptop can accommodate a second drive (in which case, fit an SSD and experiment with L2) I would suggest not bothering with PrimoCache.

If you don't have space for a second drive in your laptop, consider getting a large SSD to replace your HDD instead - this should provide a significant performance boost. 1TB+ SSDs are not that expensive, and the reduced power consumption and heat dissipation should help battery life.

With regard to your last question - the only situation where PrimoCache may increase the risk of data loss is if you set up L1 caching with the "Defer Write" option enabled (this is disabled by default). You should only consider this option if (a) your system is stable and (b) you keep regular backups.
hello InquiringMind,

unfortunately I can neither add nor replace an SSD.

On the homepage, in the presentation of "primocache" it says that flash drives can also be used. What are they referring to?

Regarding the stability of the system, my laptop is stable. How are these disk errors justified?
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Re: How to choice best device for caching. and others...

Post by InquiringMind »

einstein1969 wrote: Wed Oct 20, 2021 4:09 pm unfortunately I can neither add nor replace an SSD.
You certainly should be able to swap your HDD for and SSD (using appropriate software to clone your system across) and that would be the best way to improve performance (plus adding more RAM).
einstein1969 wrote: Wed Oct 20, 2021 4:09 pm On the homepage, in the presentation of "primocache" it says that flash drives can also be used. What are they referring to?
To quote the relevant part: "Capable of interoperating with almost all faster storage devices, including system memory, invisible memory, solid-state drives and flash drives, to accelerate relatively slow storage." Basically you can use a flash drive for L2 but there would be no point unless that flash drive was significantly faster than your HDD. Try benchmarking your flash drive and HDD with a utility like Crystal Diskmark and you may well find your USB drive running slower (it really needs to be at least 2-3x faster to provide any noticeable benefit).
einstein1969 wrote: Wed Oct 20, 2021 4:09 pmRegarding the stability of the system, my laptop is stable. How are these disk errors justified?
Well, more information would be needed to answer that:
  • What disk errors are being reported? (BSOD? Event Log entry? Chkdsk report?).
  • Did these errors only occur after you started using PrimoCache, and do they stop when you disable PrimoCache?
  • What are your PrimoCache settings? (L1, L2, is Defer Write enabled, etc).
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Re: How to choice best device for caching. and others...

Post by Support »

Pen drives can be used as level-2 cache. However, usually pen drives have limited write lifespan, they are not recommended.

Could you open your PrimoCache, choose/highlight the target volume item in the main dialog, and then make a screenshot of the PrimoCache main dialog? We'd like to see how your cache is configured and used. Thanks.
einstein1969
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Re: How to choice best device for caching. and others...

Post by einstein1969 »

These are just the flash drives I have. On some the warranty is 10 years, but even if they last me 1-2 year it's okay if the speed gained is high.

Image

It would be nice to know which configuration parameters can help (in relation to the speed lost / gained) to increase life.
"...You certainly should be able to swap your HDD for and SSD..."
Unfortunately I am not capable.
Well, more information would be needed to answer that:

What disk errors are being reported? (BSOD? Event Log entry? Chkdsk report?).
Did these errors only occur after you started using PrimoCache, and do they stop when you disable PrimoCache?
What are your PrimoCache settings? (L1, L2, is Defer Write enabled, etc).
The laptop worked regularly. After testing with Primocache, it reported problems with the hdd. This is the message that alarmed me:

Image
It says: "Reboot to fix drive errors"

there are some "ntfs" errors in the event log.
This is one. I don't wear them all, it's boring:

Code: Select all

È stato individuato un danneggiamento nella struttura del file system nel volume C:.

Rilevato danneggiamento in una struttura dell'indice del file system. Il numero di riferimento del file è 0x17000000068cce. Il nome del file è "\Users\fposc\AppData\Roaming\Mozilla\Firefox\Profiles\dc7rnm1q.default-release-1629659941123\storage\default\https+++web.whatsapp.com\cache\morgue\49". L'attributo dell'indice danneggiato è ":$I30:$INDEX_ALLOCATION".
this is a disk check:

Code: Select all

Microsoft Windows [Versione 10.0.19042.1288]
(c) Microsoft Corporation. Tutti i diritti sono riservati.

C:\WINDOWS\system32>chkdsk c:
Il file system è di tipo NTFS.
L'etichetta del volume è Windows.

AVVISO. Parametro /F non specificato.
CHKDSK eseguito in modalità sola lettura.

Fase 1: analisi della struttura del file system di base in corso...
La dimensione totale allocata nel record di attributo (80, "")
del file 2800000000F55F non è corretta.
La voce danneggiata dell'elenco attributi è stata eliminato
con il codice 80 nel file F55F.
Il record attributi (80, "") del segmento record file 29D7
è danneggiato.
Il record attributi (80, "") del segmento record file 68767
è danneggiato.
Il record attributi (80, "") del segmento record file 7D0D6
è danneggiato.
Il record attributi (80, "") del segmento record file 7ED8F
è danneggiato.
Il record attributi (80, "") del segmento record file 199F4
è danneggiato.
Il record attributi (80, "") del segmento record file 230AA
è danneggiato.
Il record attributi (80, WofCompressedData) del segmento record file 266AC
è danneggiato.
Il record attributi (80, "") del segmento record file 2AE7E
è danneggiato.
Il record attributi (80, "") del segmento record file 2BEAF
è danneggiato.
Il record attributi (80, "") del segmento record file 2BF1F
è danneggiato.
Il record attributi (80, "") del segmento record file 2C009
è danneggiato.
Il record attributi (80, "") del segmento record file 68296
è danneggiato.
Il record attributi (80, "") del segmento record file 684A6
è danneggiato.
Il record attributi (80, "") del segmento record file 68809
è danneggiato.
Il record attributi (80, "") del segmento record file 6880C
è danneggiato.
Il record attributi (80, "") del segmento record file 689C6
è danneggiato.
Il record attributi (80, "") del segmento record file 68A67
è danneggiato.
Il record attributi (80, "") del segmento record file 68A91
è danneggiato.
Il record attributi (80, "") del segmento record file 68A93
è danneggiato.
Il record attributi (80, "") del segmento record file 68A94
è danneggiato.
Il record attributi (80, "") del segmento record file 68C6C
è danneggiato.
Il record attributi (80, "") del segmento record file 68CAE
è danneggiato.
Il record attributi (A0, $I30) del segmento record file 68CCE
è danneggiato.
Il record attributi (80, "") del segmento record file 68CE4
è danneggiato.
Il record attributi (80, "") del segmento record file 68D8B
è danneggiato.
Il record attributi (80, "") del segmento record file 68D8F
è danneggiato.
Il record attributi (80, "") del segmento record file 68D90
è danneggiato.
Il record attributi (80, "") del segmento record file 68D91
è danneggiato.
Il record attributi (80, "") del segmento record file 68D95
è danneggiato.
Il record attributi (80, "") del segmento record file 68D99
è danneggiato.
Il record attributi (80, "") del segmento record file 68D9A
è danneggiato.
Il record attributi (80, "") del segmento record file 68D9C
è danneggiato.
Il record attributi (80, "") del segmento record file 68D9D
è danneggiato.
Il record attributi (80, "") del segmento record file 68D9F
è danneggiato.
Il record attributi (80, "") del segmento record file 68DA1
è danneggiato.
Il record attributi (80, "") del segmento record file 68DA3
è danneggiato.
Il record attributi (80, "") del segmento record file 68DA5
è danneggiato.
Il record attributi (80, "") del segmento record file 68DAA
è danneggiato.
Il record attributi (80, "") del segmento record file 68DAB
è danneggiato.
Il record attributi (80, "") del segmento record file 68DAD
è danneggiato.
Il record attributi (80, "") del segmento record file 68DAE
è danneggiato.
Il record attributi (80, "") del segmento record file 68DAF
è danneggiato.
Il record attributi (80, "") del segmento record file 68DB0
è danneggiato.
Il record attributi (80, "") del segmento record file 68F19
è danneggiato.
Il record attributi (80, "") del segmento record file 68F5A
è danneggiato.
Il record attributi (80, "") del segmento record file 68F62
è danneggiato.
Il record attributi (80, "") del segmento record file 68F63
è danneggiato.
Il record attributi (80, "") del segmento record file 68F74
è danneggiato.
Il record attributi (80, "") del segmento record file 69293
è danneggiato.
Il record attributi (80, "") del segmento record file 69635
è danneggiato.
Il record attributi (80, "") del segmento record file 696BF
è danneggiato.
Il record attributi (80, "") del segmento record file 696DA
è danneggiato.
Il record attributi (80, "") del segmento record file 696DB
è danneggiato.
Il record attributi (80, "") del segmento record file 696DC
è danneggiato.
Il record attributi (80, "") del segmento record file 696DE
è danneggiato.
Il record attributi (80, "") del segmento record file 696E0
è danneggiato.
Il record attributi (80, "") del segmento record file 696E2
è danneggiato.
Il record attributi (80, "") del segmento record file 72A73
è danneggiato.
Il record attributi (80, "") del segmento record file 79EA9
è danneggiato.
Il record attributi (80, "") del segmento record file 7BC0E
è danneggiato.
Il record attributi (80, "") del segmento record file 7CED3
è danneggiato.
Il record attributi (80, "") del segmento record file 7CF33
è danneggiato.
Il record attributi (80, "") del segmento record file 7D901
è danneggiato.
Il record attributi (80, "") del segmento record file 7D937
è danneggiato.
Il record attributi (80, "") del segmento record file 7D999
è danneggiato.
Il record attributi (80, "") del segmento record file 7D9D3
è danneggiato.
La dimensione totale allocata nel record di attributo (80, "")
del file 4600000007DAFB non è corretta.
La voce danneggiata dell'elenco attributi è stata eliminato
con il codice 80 nel file 7DAFB.
Il record attributi (80, "") del segmento record file 482E
è danneggiato.
Il record attributi (80, "") del segmento record file 15616
è danneggiato.
Il record attributi (80, "") del segmento record file 7ED65
è danneggiato.
Il record attributi (80, "") del segmento record file 7FCFD
è danneggiato.
Il record attributi (80, "") del segmento record file 7FCFF
è danneggiato.
Il record attributi (80, "") del segmento record file 7FD02
è danneggiato.
Il record attributi (80, "") del segmento record file 8067E
è danneggiato.
Il record attributi (80, "") del segmento record file 8084D
è danneggiato.
Il record attributi (80, "") del segmento record file 80886
è danneggiato.
Il record attributi (80, "") del segmento record file 826E9
è danneggiato.
Il record attributi (80, "") del segmento record file 83489
è danneggiato.
Il record attributi (80, "") del segmento record file 8356F
è danneggiato.
Il record attributi (80, "") del segmento record file 83E8D
è danneggiato.
Il record attributi (80, "") del segmento record file 83E90
è danneggiato.
Il record attributi (80, "") del segmento record file 83E95
è danneggiato.
Il record attributi (80, "") del segmento record file 83F02
è danneggiato.
Il record attributi (80, "") del segmento record file 86635
è danneggiato.
  1039616 record file elaborati.
Verifica file completata.
Durata fase (Verifica record di file): 1.72 minuti.
Il segmento record file 29D7 è orfano.
Il segmento record file 482E è orfano.
Il segmento record file 15616 è orfano.
Il segmento record file 68767 è orfano.
Il segmento record file 7D0D6 è orfano.
Il segmento record file 7ED8F è orfano.
  66921 record di file di grandi dimensioni elaborati.
Durata fase (Recupero record di file orfani): 0.00 millisecondi.

Trovati errori. Impossibile proseguire CHKDSK in modalità sola lettura.
Now I have stopped "primocache", but I have to do a restore from the backup I made before taking the test .The pc is not working well now.

These are the parameters I have set:
Image
EDIT: I have changed the image above for better view.

einstein1969
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Re: How to choice best device for caching. and others...

Post by InquiringMind »

Sorry about the delayed reply.

The disk errors do look significant and I would suggest checking your Event Log for any hardware errors (also try running chkdsk after a few days without PrimoCache, since they could be the result of a long-running hardware fault that has only now become visible).

Given your USB drive benchmarks, none of them are fast enough to be likely to offer you a speed boost. Your hard disk performance is truly dreadful, though not too far short of its specification speed of 64-128MB/s (hope you didn't pay much for that laptop). For comparison, I've included a benchmark from a laptop purchased in 2007 with a PATA disk interface - I've since upgraded to an M2 SSD and no, the laptop is not running PrimoCache. No wonder you're so keen to boost performance - but in this case I think you need to look elsewhere.

Replacing your disk with an SSD is without doubt your best option - it should be a straightforward swap and if you really don't feel up to it, an IT-literate friend or local repair shop should be able to do it (make sure you have all data backed first).

Aside from that though, try defragmenting your disk and also check that the cable connecting your disk hasn't worked loose (a loose cable can cause slowdowns, system freezes and data errors - these should be reported as errors in the system section of the Windows Event Log). If errors keep on occurring, then I would take that as a sign that the disk is reaching end-of-life and in need of urgent replacement.
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Jaga
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Re: How to choice best device for caching. and others...

Post by Jaga »

InquiringMind wrote: Sat Oct 23, 2021 8:55 amReplacing your disk with an SSD is without doubt your best option - it should be a straightforward swap and if you really don't feel up to it, an IT-literate friend or local repair shop should be able to do it (make sure you have all data backed first).
I'll agree with this suggestion, given the USB hardware you have to work with (it just isn't fast enough to make a noted difference, and is more susceptible to failures than any regular drive).

Even if you have to try and get a used SSD it would be a better route to follow. If it ends up being a new SSD, just keep your receipt and make a data backup (external USB are handy for this on a short-term basis). If it is a used drive, try to get the seller to run SMART statistics on it to give you before you buy, so you can see overall writes and compare to the manufacturer's estimated write lifetime. The less writes on a SSD, the better.

The only thing you really need to do the swap yourself is an external (USB) SATA drive connector/dongle, and a free piece of software. AOMEI Partition Assistant Std is free, and I've used it before to easily do drive/partition copies to new drives for clients. And do remember to try and get all your data backed up just in case, before imaging the old drive to the new one. It's not 100% required, but is a good/safe option. After that, you can Google how to open your case up and do the hardware swap yourself. OR as InquiringMind said, see if a friend knows how to do it.

If you aren't comfortable with swapping out your internal drive, you *could* simply buy a used external SSD that has faster performance and use that as a L2 cache. It would need to be connected to your fastest USB port on the computer of course, and not so old as to have an old USB connection (i.e. don't get one with a 1.X USB interface). 2.X or even 3.X USB connections are the way to go.

Hopefully you can get something going that both fits your budget and your performance desires.
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Re: How to choice best device for caching. and others...

Post by einstein1969 »

Support wrote: Thu Oct 21, 2021 7:12 am Pen drives can be used as level-2 cache. However, usually pen drives have limited write lifespan, they are not recommended.

Could you open your PrimoCache, choose/highlight the target volume item in the main dialog, and then make a screenshot of the PrimoCache main dialog? We'd like to see how your cache is configured and used. Thanks.
In the presentation of "primocache" that is on the site we read that it also works with "flash drives". What are they referring to? Can you give an example?
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Re: How to choice best device for caching. and others...

Post by Jaga »

einstein1969 wrote: Sun Oct 24, 2021 10:10 amIn the presentation of "primocache" that is on the site we read that it also works with "flash drives". What are they referring to? Can you give an example?
Any solid state drive, typically attached via USB, that can be formatted with a Windows compatible volume type. Sometimes referred to as flash drives or pen drives. The faster/larger they are, the more expensive they get, but the better Primocache can take advantage of them.

This one is pretty fast, but has a USB 3.2 connection requirement for that speed. You'll want to see what the fastest/newest USB port your computer has, and shop for a fast flash drive that matches it's capability. Most computers in the last ~10 years have at least one 3.x USB port.
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