I have bought an SSD 320 series, 300 GB (SSDSA2CW300G3KC) which I will use for video editing to enable fast rendering etc. However it will not be contain my OS or program files. I will be using a standard HDD for the OS & program files. My system will also contain 2 other standard HDD drives. Most of the documentation about the installation of an SSD assumes that the drive will be set up as the OS drive and tells you how to migrate from your existing HDD OS drive. But what do I need to do when I don't want to use the drive as an OS drive. Do I format it? if so how and what parameters? do I still need to disable Prefetch? Will the SMART software still be of use? what else should I do?
My OS is Windows 7 Professional 64bit. Appreciate any help anyone can give or links to information on what I should do.
You probably shouldn't be using an SSD for video editing. The write speeds on an SSD are not as classic mechanical hard disks, and given how disk-intensive video editing is, you will almost certainly destroy your SSD in the process (wear levelling will handle all the pain for a while, but since video editing involves a *lot* of disk write activity and SSDs are fastest/best at read operations...). I realise you think that because there's no seek time on an SSD that the performance will be blazing; for reading yes, for writing no. Of course, you have the 300GB model, which sports much higher read/write rates on Intel SSDs than what I'm used to (largest SSD I own is 80GB).
Regardless, if you're on Windows 7, all you need to do is partition and format it. I believe just installing it + choosing Format when Windows prompts you should be sufficient. That's it. Period. You should probably format it as NTFS with a larger cluster size (32KByte would be wise; do not confuse NTFS cluster size with SSD block sizes of 4KBytes; they're different/unrelated things). The default NTFS cluster size is 4KByte.
Prefetcher pertains to the boot-up process (read: OS disk), which in your situation is a classic mechanical hard disk. So, you shouldn't have to adjust Prefetcher in this particular case.
SMART software will work as it always has, except that most SMART software vendors do not properly handle SSD SMART attributes correctly (they're often misnamed). This is definitely the case with the 320-series since they're so new. Even smartmontools (only works on 2K/XP) lacks support for proper names/decoding right now (I have an https://sourceforge.net/apps/trac/smartmontools/ticket/168 open ticket to get that fixed), and Intel's own SSD Toolbox has some mistakes in it for the 320 series (they really need to come out with a new version). For now, just use Intel's SSD Toolbox which is mostly correct/accurate.
All that said: I would strongly recommend you reconsider your purchase and instead go with a classic hard disks (WD Caviar Black series drives with 64MB cache would be ideal). You'll get more space (needed for rendering results and editing), and the performance is quite good (around 100-120MByte/sec writes). Assuming you're doing backups regularly of course, a RAID-0 pair of those Black drives would really do you some good.
Koitus thank you very much you've given me something to consider there. Perhaps I should change to using the SSD as the OS drive instead and setting up a RAID0 as I have already ordered a Western Digital WD1002FAEX Caviar Black 1 TB 7200 RPM for the new HP Z400 workstation I've ordered.