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What is Samsung's SSD Rapid Mode and how do you use it?

SSD's are pretty fast, and Samsung has some of the very fastest consumer drives out there. While the company's fancy new 970 Evo and Pro drives boast insanely fast read and write speeds, for the older, SATA spec drives there's still hope.

Samsung has a thing called Rapid Mode that can add a little extra oomph to some of its SSDs. Here's a quick look at what it is, how you use it and whether you should.

What is Rapid Mode?

From Samsung's official description:

Achieve over 2X faster performance through intelligent DRAM caching of data, for read acceleration and write optimization.

You can't physically make the drive faster, as the read/write speeds are bound by the limitations of the hardware. Rapid Mode instead uses intelligence and other resources in your PC, namely the RAM, to cache files for quicker access and a more streamlined write process.

As Rapid Mode engages the RAM on your PC, the minimum system requirement is 2GB so you have enough to go around.

Which drives can use Rapid Mode

The newest, and fastest NVMe drives from Samsung cannot use Rapid Mode. They also don't need to. So if you're using a 960 or 970 series SSD, you can end right here.

Samsung's official listings show the wide variety of SSDs supporting Rapid Mode, but they don't seem to be all encompassing. My 750 Evo isn't listed, but has full support for Rapid Mode.

For this you're limited to SATA drives, which includes the 2.5-inch size and some of the non-NVMe m.2 drives like the 860 Evo. As well as this and 2GB of RAM, your PC must also be running Windows 7 or later.

How to enable and disable Rapid Mode

Turning on Rapid Mode is extremely simple. The first thing you have to do is download the free (and quite useful) Samsung Magician application. It's worth having this if you're using any Samsung SSD, as it's an easy way to keep firmware up to date, keep tabs on drive health and performance and even securely erase it if you're going to be replacing it.

Once you've downloaded and installed Samsung Magician follow these steps:

  1. Open Samsung Magician.
  2. Ensure the supported drive is selected from the drop-down box.

  1. Change the Rapid Mode toggle to on.
  2. Click yes when the description message pops up.

  1. Once you're happy to restart the PC and apply Rapid Mode, click yes at the next dialog box.

Magician will now force your PC to restart and when it comes back up Rapid Mode will be enabled. You can verify this by opening the application up and you'll see the button under Rapid Mode now says on.

If you need to run any performance tests on your drive you'll need to disable Rapid Mode first, restart your PC, then run the tests. Because it interferes with the direct read/write feature, you won't ever get an accurate result and the benchmark is essentially running against your RAM, not your SSD.

Is Rapid Mode worth it?

Why you don't run performance checks with Rapid Mode on!

The $64,000 question. In my experience, I can't say I've noticed much of a difference either way, but I also don't use my 750 Evo as a boot drive (I have a 960 Evo for that which is amazing.) The theory behind it is sound, but since mine is used primarily for storing games and other large, non-essential programs, I'm not really the right use case.

Looking around the web there are various resources discussing Rapid Mode, including "it certainly doesn't hurt having it enabled."

This comment on a thread from way back in 2016 on the Overclockers UK forum seems to sum it up quite well:

"The Samsung Rapid Mode benchmarks are a bit deceiving. Technical reviews revealed the actual real world increase in performance is anywhere between 0% and 25% depending on what was loaded into the Ramdisk. The 0% represents brand new data of some type that has never been loaded into the Ramdisk while the 25% represents some type of data that is routinely loaded into the Ramdisk."

Which makes perfect sense. The software is intelligently caching data, so if you're loading the same thing over and over again, it stands to reason that this is where you'll see the most benefit.

Some users claim that it's a definite improvement, some are on the fence and some will just leave it off altogether. In my use case, I won't gain anything really from having it on, but your mileage may vary. There's plenty of discussion out there on the topic, so there's plenty of reading if you're unsure.

Best SSDs for Windows PCs

Richard Devine is an Editor at Windows Central. A former Project Manager and long-term tech addict, he joined Mobile Nations in 2011 and has been found on Android Central and iMore as well as Windows Central. Currently you'll find him covering all manner of PC hardware and gaming, and you can follow him on Twitter and Instagram.

  • Worth adding, you should NEVER use a caching system like this without a UPS, and even then if your system crashes for any reason you will lose data and your system can easily become unbootable. Make sure you have a recent system image ready. Personally, I would not bother with this caching lark, but if you want to risk data loss then take precautions.
  • How can this be enabled for the Xbox One? If I wanna use it as an external.
  • It can't. The caching software is not UWP, so a device must be able to run traditional Windows software to handle this.
  • I imagine anything cached in RAM is also on the SSD, so a power loss wouldn't do anything harmful. IOW, I'm pretty sure this is just a read cache.
  • It really isn't just a read cache, it is a write cache too. Hence why Samsung and Crucial (at least) heavily advise a UPS for these caching utilities. That's not enough though, as it won't protect from crashes. And no, it is no different on the Isle Of Wight either... ;-)
  • In that case, I would think laptops and other battery-powered devices would be fine (except for the crashing part), even if you leave them plugged in most of the time.
  • I have been using Rapid Mode for a while and I do notice an increase in speed, but I DO tend to access the same files regularly. My system is setup as follows:
    OS Drive: 1 x 250 GB Samsung EVO 850 with Rapid Mode enabled (4 GB set aside for it to use).
    Storage Drive (D:): 2 x 500GB Samsung EVO 850 drives, in a RAID 0 configuration.
    Backup/Disaster Recovery drive: 1 x 2TB WD Blue drive. The backups are being done using Veeam Agent for Microsoft Windows FREE, which I've been using for quite some time now and really like. I also have a paid Office 365 subscription (1 TB of OneDrive), so I don't really store anything locally that I can't live without, should all continuity procedures fail. Clearly my setup is built for speed over reliability and I'm perfectly comfortable accepting the risks associated with this kind of setup. I always have my backup, and should that fail, I always have a USB drive with the latest public release of Windows 10 ready to go. I have never, in the approx. 2.5 years that I've had this setup, found myself waiting too long (totally objective measurement) for a file to load or a game to load, or a program to start. It's crazy fast.
    As I do with all my users, I would encourage everyone to carefully review the setup that they are considering and make their decision based on their needs, balanced with the risks associated with the desired setup. The setup that works for me may not be a suitable setup for you. Good luck and happy computing to all. 😁✌
  • How did you get it to use 4GB? Despite having 32GB in my system, the non-paged pool was only ever 1.5GB with Rapid enabled, I never once saw it use 4GB. I don't need it now as I am using an NVMe drive
  • I'll have to double check my setup when I get home. I pulled that info from memory, which as I get older, becomes rather error/failure prone. 😉
  • Too bad we cannot enable rapid mode on our brains as we get older. :D
  • You can. You simply ask someone younger with a faster memory recall 'what's the name of that film with thingamiebob in it playing the wochermacallit again?'.
  • "You can't physically make the drive faster, as the read/write speeds are bound by the limitations of the hardware"
    Rapid Mode does not improve the random read or write performance which matters the most. Instead of Rapid Mode, replace your SSD with an Intel Optane 905P....problem solved!
  • Do you have to have a specific brand-name program corresponding with the same name-brand drive to do this? For example, I have a couple of Crucial SSD drives, and can only Crucial enable this function? Is there a way to do this right in Windows so it applies to any brand of SSD drive?
  • The software is propietrary to the hardware makers, Samsung software only works on their SSDs, Crucial may have something similar
  • Crucial do have something similar, almost identical in fact.
  • Thanks. I did go and find Crucial's 'Storage Executive' software and their 'Momentum Cache' that sounds to be the same as the Samsung program mentioned in the article. It seems that it can only be turned on for one of my two Crucial SSD drives. Oh well, better than nothing. I also have a couple of Intel SSD drives, and I didn't see that Intel has a similar option in their 'Intel SSD Toolbox' software. This one article pretty much spurred me spending most of my day off researching, downloading, installing, and playing around with software to increase the speed of software. All things I had no idea existed or was possible. This was a GREAT informative article for someone like me that is interested in tech stuff above the norm for the average PC user, but less than the knowledge and experience of the full-on tech nerd. :-)