Testing TRIM

A firmware update gives you TRIM support, but we should probably test to make sure it's actually working.

First up, the Intel X25-M G2 with the TRIM firmware. I ran a 4KB random write test across the entire 80GB LBA space for five minutes. I ran the test again afterwards and recorded the average transfer rate for each run:

4KB Random Write, IOQ=16 Run 1 Run 2
Intel X25-M 80GB TRIM Firmware 37.9 MB/s 13.8 MB/s

 

As expected, performance goes down as the drive fills up. The second run is much slower than the first.

Now look at the two runs if we format the drive in between. The format under Windows 7 triggers a TRIM of all invalid data, meaning all the jibberish we generated in the first run is gone and the second run now runs at full speed:

4KB Random Write, IOQ=16 Run 1 Run 2 after Format
Intel X25-M 80GB TRIM Firmware 37.9 MB/s 38.0 MB/s

 

Obviously you don’t usually write a bunch of garbage to your drive then format and repeat, but we’re trying to confirm that TRIM works here; it does. Windows 7 will actually take noticeably longer to format a drive that supports TRIM and has data on it. It still completes in less than 30 seconds on these SSDs, but it's a lot longer than the few seconds it used to take before TRIM.

This confirms that TRIM works on a format, but what about if you delete a partition? To find out I created a partition on my X25-M G2, filled it with data, deleted the partition and ran my 4KB random write test across all LBAs. If deleting a partition forces TRIM I should see new-performance out of the G2:

4KB Random Write, IOQ=16 Run 1 Run 2 after Deleting Partition
Intel X25-M 80GB TRIM Firmware 37.9 MB/s 17.9 MB/s

 

Performance drop. Formatting a partition causes the contents to be TRIMed, but just deleting a partition doesn’t. This means if you accidentally delete a partition you can still retrieve your data, however there’s no way to go back from a format.

What about file deletion? I performed the same test. Created a partition, filled it with garbage but then deleted the garbage before deleting the partition and running my 4KB random write test. Deleting data should force a TRIM:

4KB Random Write, IOQ=16 Run 1 Run 2 after Deleting All Files
Intel X25-M 80GB TRIM Firmware 37.9 MB/s 40.4 MB/s

 

Indeed it does. You no longer have to worry about performance dropping over time. When you delete a file it’ll eventually be nixed on the SSD as well. Below we have the actions that will force a TRIM of data under Windows 7:

Windows 7 File Delete Partition Format Partition Delete
TRIM? Yes Yes No

 

Formatting your drive now actually does something. You no longer have to boot to DOS and secure erase your SSD before installing Windows, just quick format the partition before installing Windows 7.

I performed the same tests on an Indilinx MLC based SSD, this time a SuperTalent UltraDrive GX with the 1819 TRIM-enabled firmware. The results were identical:

4KB Random Write, IOQ=16 Run 1 Run 2 After Format After File Delete
SuperTalent (Indilinx) UltraDrive GX TRIM Firmware v1819 17.8 MB/s 14.1 MB/s 17.8 MB/s 17.8 MB/s

 

We have TRIM working on both Indilinx (from SuperTalent/OCZ) and Intel drives. Sweet.

Index Wipe When You Can’t TRIM
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  • The0ne - Monday, October 26, 2009 - link

    No kidding. Early adopters really shouldn't complain, that's what you get for being the "elite." LMAO.

    As I've said before, just wait til early next to summer and the tech will be more mature. Yea, go ahead and make your argument that you can wait til next year but by then they'll be new products. That's cool...but I think ppl saying this have no clue about what's really happening around the technology.

    Regardless, sounds nice to be saying it so woohooo be the first!
    Reply
  • klil - Monday, October 26, 2009 - link

    I dont think that you should lose the wiper and trim support for being an early adapter, it does not make sense
    The only early adapter lesson i know of was that one from a intel processor that had a bug... pentiums from 1994: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pentium_FDIV_bug">http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pentium_FDIV_bug

    If they were not able to put it in due to hardware problems its one thing... but those drives cost 665 dollars in the beggining. I bet that if you had one you would not be happy :|
    Reply
  • pcfxer - Tuesday, October 27, 2009 - link

    ADOPTER, A-D-O-P-T-E-R.

    I can't even fathom how you could read what someone posts, "early adopter this....early adopter thaaat" and you go and type ADAPTER.

    Adapter -> Adaptation between two or more objects.

    Did you not have coffee yet man?
    Reply
  • chizow - Monday, October 26, 2009 - link

    Agreed, Intel will certainly meet more resistance in the future for their emergent technologies and undoubtedly lost the support of many of their most dedicated supporters with this decision.

    If there were some technical reason or incompatibility behind the lack of TRIM support on G1 that'd be one thing, but from what has been published by AT and others, its nothing more than indifference on Intel's part preventing support.
    Reply
  • Blur - Tuesday, October 27, 2009 - link

    Eloquently stated, i bought two of the G1 drives. I won't be suckered into supporting any of intels new tech early again and I'll be taking a much closer look at their competitors products when purchasing more established tech. Reply
  • Zingam - Monday, October 26, 2009 - link

    Is there a change that a newer better technology will replace Flash so that we can finally have real SSDs at affordable prices? Reply
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  • Zingam - Wednesday, October 28, 2009 - link

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  • therealnickdanger - Monday, October 26, 2009 - link

    Intel was working on some sort of phase-change technology, not sure where it is now. Probably still too expensive for mainstream:

    http://www.dailytech.com/searchresults.aspx?keywor...">http://www.dailytech.com/searchresults.aspx?keywor...
    Reply
  • MS - Monday, October 26, 2009 - link

    Nanochip went belly-up and the IP was auctioned off. Ovonyx turned into Numonyx and PCM is still an emerging alternative to other technologies. The biggest issues relate to the limitatios in process technology, i.e, at about 20 nm geometry, the required write currents are expected to actually melt the metal interconnects. There are other technologies such as resistive memory as developed by 4-d-s and organic memories such as the ones from Zettacore that may become very attractive. Reply

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