To understand why I love the tiny FlashFire utility/driver,
you’ll need a little background. I bought an original Acer Aspire
One netbook with an 8GB solid state drive instead of a hard drive
to keep the weight down. I replaced its custom Linux OS with
XP–but XP, not being optimized for a super-slow SSD such as the
one on my netbook, froze every half minute or so for 5 to 15
seconds while data was written to the disk. It’s not long before
such behavior starts driving you nuts.
All my tweaks to Windows to minimize disk writes helped but
little. XP continued to stutter–until I installed FlashFire. Then,
not only did the stuttering stop, XP booted considerably faster and
the overall subjective performance amazed both myself and several
of my colleagues who’d never seen a netbook perform that
The author’s wiki describes FlashFire as a ram
buffer. I’m not certain of the details, but since SSDs perform at
their worst when reading and writing simultaneously, my guess is
that the software caches and delays writes. Delaying writes means
there’s a small chance for data loss or file system corruption if
your system crashes before data in the buffer is written.
Personally, I have never experienced, nor have I ever heard of,
anyone suffering significant problems with FlashFire. However, you
are explicitly warned and use the software at your own risk.
Though Vista and Windows 7 don’t suffer the same stuttering
problem XP did, I’ve also used the FlashFire version for those OSs.
Although it seemed to make operations perkier, those PCs didn’t
show the same jump in performance. However, the utility is free–so
if you’re stuck using a slow SSD or just want a bit better
performance, check out FlashFire.
Note: This program runs on 32-bit XP only. If you are
running 32-bit Vista or 32-bit Windows 7 only, please download the Vista/7
–Jon L. Jacobi