You can disable buffer flushing, safely (advance write caching) - which is WRITE BACK CACHE.. IF.. and ONLY IF you have THREE things:
The computer/server itself has a UPS backup. This prevents a sudden loss of power leaving unwritten or partially written data. Granted this situation could happen with NO write caching at all if the power went out JUST AS DATA WAS BEING WRITTEN... but the chances are rare. The UPS keep the computer up
However, that does NOT protect you from hard locks, BSODs that can not fully dump the cache to disk (only about 50% of BSODs can dump the cache), sudden reboots (something with the OS or hardware goes wrong and the system just instantly reboots).. and finally the INSTANT SHUTDOWN... this is Rare but usually caused by CPU or CPU or chipset overheat and the bios will just SHUT off the power to prevent damage
You can help to combat this IF the hard drives THEMSELVES have their own power backup. Any cached data in windows will be lost, but the cache on the drive ITSELF will be written to.
With modern versions of windows Vista, 7, 8.x, etc You have the option of READ ONLY, WRITE THROUGH, WRITE BACK (advanced). If you have a RAID controller, you can control the cache of the controller and HD itself usually as OFF, READ ONLY, WRITE BACK, WRITE THROUGH... however, the controller/hd write back cache will NOT enable unless WINDOWS has the same settings enabled.
BACKUP your computer. As long as you do weekly or monthly FULL backups with NIGHTLY incremental, and then a special, quick, incremental every 4 hrs backing up critical data (this backup should run no longer than 10 mins as to not affect performance). If you do 1, 2, and 3, I would say ENABLE WRITE BACK.... ESPECIALLY ON A HOME PC...
AS for a business.... I'd stick to WRITE THROUGH.. it wont give nearly the benefits of write back (write back speeds up writes up to 5Xs faster as it it no only tells the OS/programs that the data has already been written. The cache writes the data to the disk in the most OPTIMAL/FAST fashion to prevent read/write head thrashing, etc). So write back can do AMAZING fast things... but for a business, your best best is a RAID array.. either SIMPLE or complex (nested)
You could go RAID 0 for ABSOLUTE speed, but then if there's an issue you have downtime and must restore from backup... you can go RAID 5... and even if 1 drive OUTRIGHT FAILS, everything will keep running normally (but slower), until you replace the drive (most servers are hot swap-able.. and many home raid systems, let you have a spare drive - if you choose that option that can be added in instantly in case of failure)
Raid 5 is VERY fast on reads.. but takes a performance hit on writes because it has to write the CRC bits (stripes)...
Other options are NESTED raids..
For example.. you can take 3 drives and make them RAID 0... then take 2 more sets of 3 drives and make them raid 0... then you take the 3 raid 0 volumes and combine them into 1 raid 5 volume. This will allow ONE raid 0 array to fail, and it all keeps working.. you could have all 3 drives in one r0 array fail and you are ok... BUT if 1 drive in array A fails at the same time a drive in array B.... it's ALL gone.. AND it's restore from backup time...
You can also combine MIRRORING and raid 0 where you raid 0 2-6 drives for example... then make another raid 0 drive to match.. then MIRROR them. This will still take a small write hit for mirroring but mirroring actually speed up read speed as it grabs a chunk from drive/array A and grabs the next chunk from drive/array B at the SAME time.
My best advice to ANYTIME @ HOME is this:
MIRROR your C: (Windows drive).. assuming windows is on C... even if it's an SSD.. MIRROR IT! This won't help corruption.. backups are for that.. but it WILL save you a LOT of downtime on Hardware failure
THEN make yourself a D drive... make THAT your HUGE, FAST powerhouse array... and do it how YOU want it... my D: drive is a Raid 0 array of FIVE 4TB HDs... and yes if ANY fails.. ALL Data is lost...but I full backup once a month and incremental backup Daily and a special one every 4 hrs to a usb 3.0 raid box that can hold up to 6 4TB drives (and that's what I have in it and it's RAID 5).. I DO NOT RECOMMEND D being SSDS! HYBRID HDDSD are ok.. but 1) you won't find 4TB SSDs.. and if you do they cost a FORTUNE. Use RAIDING @ SATA 3 level MINIMAL.. and you can get HDDs faster than an SSD.
Then make yourself an E: drive... make it a VERY SMALL SSD... no more than 100-200GB.. or whatever the smallest is you can find
Now why all those drive letters... I'll explain:
C: is mirrored, slow to write, FAST to read.. use for WINDOWS only... don't install ANYTHING on this drive unless the program REQUIRES IT.. even if you install a program, game to D, it often puts stuff on C even if you don't want it to. The point is you don't want C: overloaded with loading windows then loading all the services PLUS preloading all the stuff your programs require PLUS PRE-CACHING it all from C:/ You could EASILY End up with a system that makes you wait 5-20 MINUTES to stop thrashing before you can use it. C: SHOULD be an SSD like 300GB in size.. this will help things boot faster. With everything installed on D:, as windows fires up, the things programs need to load will come from D: vs C: and take the load of C: ... also superfetch kicks in about 15 seconds after the login screen comes on.. and you DONT want it all thrashing C even if it IS an SSd... you want it ONLY loading windows stuff and let it thrash D because D: should be AT LEAST 3 or more drives in a RAID 0 or 5 config. This way you can log into windows right away and windows will be snappy
If you have a LOT Of RAM (16-32GB) AND you have
largediskcache on in the registry, windows can EASILY take up to an HOUR to pre cache things BUT it will background that priority if you start using the PC
D: Drive... put everything here.. it's your main repository.. have windows relocate the documents, pictures, music, contacts, etc folders to folders on D: With all your stuff on D: Your programs will load FAST and read and write FAST
E: is basically for a pagefile only.. but you can also configure it , if you have windows 8 for the drive for file history backup... this way you have your regular backups and windows file history that can instantly restore a corrupt, accidentally deleted file, etc
Swap files... you want one on EVERY drive.. why? Windows uses multiple swap drives sort of like a raid array. It will use them to read/write in parallel , AND if a drive is BUSY, it will EXCLUDE that drive drive from paging activities until usage goes down.
For C: drive, I recommend ONLY the minimum.. this varies depending on RAM (and I am assuming a 64bit OS as everyone should be on 64bit windows now a days).... for 8GB systems, the min is 400MB, 16GB=800MB, 32G=1.6GB.. the reason for this is the min size is REQUIRED for a small/mini dump in the event of a BSOD and lets windows write a file that can help explain what went wrong. You CAN opt to NOT use a pagefile at ALL on C: to improve the performance of The system drive. This is perfectly OK as long as you don't care about BSOD reports - especially if u never or RARELY BSOD
D: will be a BIG drive and FAST.. and it can handle paging activities even with you using it. However once drive activity hits 100%, it will scale back using the paging file... but this page file should be more like 8GB
E: make it 8GB
This will give you 16GB of pagefile space and it can use D&E in parallel. if D is busy, then it will just use E: and E: will be FAST since it's an SSD... even if E is an HDD or HDDSD, I still recommend this set up.
One last thing to consider.. since most of your activities will be using D:.. you can probably put a good size page file on C: as that won't slow you down if you are using an INTENSE program on D:
8,8,8 is a little on the overkill size no matter if you have 188.8.131.52.32.64GB of ram. I'd go 4,4,4 or 5.5.5 for 12 or 15GB pagefile.
Many people will say if you have 16+ GB of ram to NOT use a pagefile - WRONG!
You can set windows that way, but it WILL IGNORE you and set up temporary page files on all HDs, without you knowing it. Many programs are HARD CODED to swap idle code to the pagefile... no pagefile breaks this code. Windows is DESIGNED to put idle code into the paging system to leave more room for the HDD cache. So there really is NO WAY to FORCE all code to ram by turning off the paging files.
By actually USING page files... you are speeding up your system
The other option is READY boost.. many people argue against it.. but im a huge supporter... it will ONLY work on HDD or HDDSDs... it will NOT work on SSD drives... no point as an SSD it outright MUCH faster than the thumb drive....
But a GOOD/high quality USB 3.0 THumb drive that's 32-64 GB can READ/WRITE at 150-200MBytes/sec.... usually it takes MANY SATA 3 HDDSDs in raid 0 to achieve this speed level.
I use it... and it is only used for my D drive.. it's 64GB, you must NTFS format it, otherwise, it's limited to 4GB.. and 64GB is the largest a RB drive can be... Once I activate this, my system spends 2-3 HOURS loading it up... with slower devices, Windows only puts small, quick to read files... with a FAST RB drive, Windows 8.x will store ENTIRE files on there.. as in 1,2,3,5, etc GB files. My raid array can READ at 175MB/s and write at 150MB sec.. my RB drive is 200/200... so Windows LOADS it with 64GB of data.
I have 32 GB of ram.. so windows puts the most demanding files in RAM cache... then files that aren't so high priority (or if certain files keep getting kicked out of ram cache)..... in cases like this, windows may put a high priority file in BOTH locations.
People say that RB is a WASTE on systems like mine... WRONG.. when I change areas in Dragon Age Inqusition WITHOUT the RB drive, it takes about 60s to load the new area (when the data is NOT cached to ram).. but if it's already on the RB drive, but not in RAM, it loads in 30s. Unlike previous versions of windows, Windows 8.x makes the data on a RB drive PERSISTEN, and your cache will persist beyond shutdowns, reboots, hibernates, and sleep. However, if windows thinks it was removed for any reason, it wipes it and starts over....