Back in the day this cost $60. Ouch

These days, all netbooks come with an internal memory card reader, specifically, most come with an SD card reader, and the best thing about this is that you probably have an SD card already because it’s used by devices such as cameras, MP3 players, smartphones (microSD can be converted) and other devices with expandable storage.

Often a times, we won’t be using that slot. And ever since Windows Vista came out, the ReadyBoost feature has been a key component is increasing the performance of Windows without major upgrading. All you need is a solid-state memory device, such as a USB thumb drive, or a SD card. Microsoft suggests that the minimum requirements for a suitable ReadyBoost device is…

  • Capacity of at least 256 MB, with at least 64 kilobytes (KB) of free space.The 4-GB limit of Windows Vista has been removed.
  • At least a 2.5 MB/sec throughput for 4-KB random reads
  • At least a 1.75 MB/sec throughput for 1-MB random writes

ReadyBoost works by complementing a standard hard drive. By combining the advantages of a SSD – minimal lag when reading fragmented data, and the advantage of a hard drive – faster when reading sequential data, ReadyBoost promises gains in performance, especially on load times.

ReadyBoost might not be the most useful thing for powerful desktops or notebooks, but because netbooks usually come with pathetic RAM (1gb) and Windows Starter would only accept 2gb, ReadyBoost comes in really handy when your RAM is full and Windows is loading increasingly more stuff to the paging file, which will significantly slow down your system. By using the flash drive as an intermediary between RAM and the paging file, you get better performance all without opening the innards of your netbook.

Enabling ReadyBoost

ReadyBoost: putting good use to 5-year old 1gb cards

Go to Computer in the start menu and right-click on the SD card’s volume and click Properties. Then, find the tab ReadyBoost, click either Dedicate this device to ReadyBoost or Use this deviceif you intend to store other stuff on it.

Do note that on FAT32 file systems, the maximum amount of ReadyBoost cache is 4gb while on NTFS, it is 32GB.

Done! Windows will create the cache file and use your SD card as a ReadyBoost cache.

Tips

  • ReadyBoost will operate best if your netbook has a slow hard drive (rating 4.0 or below on the Windows Experience Index, or is a 5400-rpm drive)
  • A flash drive on a fast bus will greatly benefit caching speeds. Ideally, this is a hard-wired SD Card reader rather than a USB thumb drive.
  • The corollary from the previous point is that the faster your card stores data, the faster your caching.
  • Everyone will benefit from ReadyBoost, it’s a matter of how much.
  • RAM will still beat ReadyBoost.

Slot it in for a ReadyBoost

And Finally…

The reason why I recommend using a SD card instead of a USB thumb drive is because of the fact that the latter sticks out like a sore thumb, and can be damaged when moving or disconnected, or lost. A SD card stuck right in the chassis of the netbook has a lot lesser chance. And then again, the slot’s never used most of the time.

The reason why I recommend using a SD card instead of a USB thumb drive is because of the fact that the latter sticks out like a sore thumb, and can be damaged when moving or disconnected, or lost. A SD card stuck right in the chassis of the netbook has a lot lesser chance. And then again, the slot’s never used most of the time.

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8 Responses to ReadyBoost Your Netbook by using SD Card reader

  1. Kachajal says:

    I’ve been using a pendrive for a while to improve the performance (and it is actually quite visible, especially when I have a whole bunch of tabs open in my browser) – and this is with a very slow pendrive, and a 5.9 hard-drive.

    I did not, however, consider using an SD card, and that is an absolutely excellent idea. I often don’t bother connecting the pendrive because it does indeed stick out quite a bit.

  2. DJE says:

    Will this work with Windows XP?

  3. DWei says:

    tried it recently but i had to reformat the 8GB SDHC card because it had a standard FAT32 file system which limited the cache file to 4 GB. another bigger problem is that win 7 hardware driver for my acer netbook seems to be defective and sometimes totally fail to read the card, causing it to hang and restart. online forums suggest that better/stable sd card drivers exist for linux.

    so if you want to try readyboost on an acer netbook, you better be using linux… bleh.

  4. Mr. Ericsson says:

    Just get a LT4010u netbook! Upgrades to 4 gigs! geewhiz…

    • Corporal says:

      I’ve been told that most Intel netbook motherboards don’t allow you to use more than 2GBs of RAM? Can anyone verify?

      • DWei says:

        found no info on that. but my netbook ,with 2GB of real RAM ,never seems to use more than 1.3 GB of RAM. then again i hardlly ever multi-task.

        another thing is the speed of intel atom chip. they’re ,in spirit,pretty much an upgrade of ye olde celeron chips. its lack of speed/performance would make having 4 GB of RAM in significant.

        unless… maybe you want to edit a video that > 3 GB in size? but who does video editing on a netbook?

  5. DWei says:

    btw, it seems that readyboost doesn’t work with slow/cheap 10 dollar(SGD) MicroSDs. Windows 7 said they were too slow. i guess high-speed MicroSDs made for video camera should be ideal, but they might cost more than real RAM.

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