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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  • dcljpc - Saturday, November 14, 2009 - link

    On that intel firmware that provide trim support but bricked people's drives, now intel said it is a problem specific to Win7 64bit. Does this mean that if you update the firmware from within Win7 64bit there could be a problem, or does it mean even if you updated the firmware in Vista or Win7 32, and then install Win7 64 on it, it could still cause a problem? Does anyone know the answer?

    I just bought a X25-M G2, I plan to use it in a new computer. Can you just update the firmware on an older computer first, and then install WIn7 64bit on it?

    Thanks.
    Reply
  • jaydops - Friday, November 13, 2009 - link

    I am looking to purchase a ssd for a Dell Studio 15 i7 with 4gb ddr3 1333ghz.

    Anand recommends Indilinx (OCZ or SuperTalent) or Intel.

    1) Are all OCZ drives good or only Vertex drives? If only Vertex then those are really expensive on newegg.

    2) Why was the Corsair P256 not recommended? It seems to have good numbers in the charts. And newegg has a reasonably priced 128gb version here: http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N8...">http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N8...

    3) The Dell Studio 15 has a sata connection, will that work ok with sata2 ssds?
    Reply
  • crobb100 - Tuesday, November 10, 2009 - link

    No Kingston SSD for sale at NewEgg so far. Where'd it go? Reply
  • dullard - Tuesday, November 10, 2009 - link

    It is at Newegg. But it isn't at the MSRP.

    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N8...">http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.a...SSDNow%2...

    I'm considering getting it for a new Win 7 build. But are SSDs ready for prime time yet? Or should I wait a bit longer?
    Reply
  • lordstryker - Monday, November 09, 2009 - link

    I was curious about the possible setup of these Kingston drives in a Raid 0 format. If they are roughly half the performance of an intel 80GB drive, it would be reasonable to think 2x of these Kingston drives would be comparable to a single Intel 80GB drive. However, I am not familiar with TRIM support on a Raid setup. Is there any info on this? Reply
  • spaceB - Monday, November 09, 2009 - link

    Hi all,

    I have a x200 Thinkpad with a SSD inside. The SSD drive is a 128GB Samsung (OEM MMCQE28G8MUP-0VAL1). I noticed that the drive becomes slower after three month of use. So I use WIN XP SP3. Is it possible to use Trim or Garbage Collection in any kind of way on this older Samsung SSD drive? The Samsung support homepage and google couldn’t answer my question.

    Big thx in anvance!

    GreeTz

    space
    Reply
  • maraz - Wednesday, November 04, 2009 - link

    Hi,
    I was very interested to see results from trace-driven I/O tests. Is the AnandTech Storage Bench mentioned in this article generally available?

    Best regards,
    Manolis.
    Reply
  • Steney - Monday, November 02, 2009 - link

    What would the performance of two of these drives in a RAID 0 array be like? Would there a single 80GB drive for $170 that would be better? Reply
  • abuda - Monday, November 02, 2009 - link

    just found this stuff in mwave
    http://www.mwave.com/mwave/SKUSearch_v3.asp?px=IM&...">http://www.mwave.com/mwave/SKUSearch_v3.asp?px=IM&...

    INTEL 160GB SSD G2 just US 599 with free shipping
    Reply
  • kunedog - Monday, November 02, 2009 - link

    That's only $159 MORE than the predictions we got from Anand over 3 months ago:
    http://www.anandtech.com/storage/showdoc.aspx?i=36...">http://www.anandtech.com/storage/showdoc.aspx?i=36...

    Wow, indeed.

    I wish Anand would acknowledge these extremely high prices and how wrong the prices in that article were (preferably in a follow-up). Especially since he is again making statements about Newegg's possible future pricing (of the Kingston).
    Reply

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