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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  • Celeus - Monday, November 09, 2009 - link

    No comment regarding Anand, but the quote of $85 seems to be based on a press release from kingston.

    http://www.kingston.com/press/2009/flash/10c.asp">http://www.kingston.com/press/2009/flash/10c.asp

    Now, I've been trying to find these for that price at Newegg, and can't. The drive now shows up (just the 2.5" one, not the one including the bracket) but for $124.99 before rebate $104.99 AR.

    I bet this is an error they will fix, as $104.99 Before Rebate would make $84.99 AR, which is what Kingston mentions in their press release.

    Rebate looks good for 2 per person, so I plan on buying two for a new Windows 7 box.
    Reply
  • virtualgeek - Saturday, October 31, 2009 - link

    Disclosure, I work for EMC (an enterprise information infrastructure - which includes all sorts of storage arrays).

    Looking at some of the comments, I'm not sure if people understand the impact of the x-25 getting down to the prices they are (both via kingston OEM and the 80/160GB drives).

    Flash will rapidly replace all high-performance disk use cases. There will only be room for very large SATA and SAS disks, and all high performance use cases will be dominated by Flash.

    Some people don't understand that even at TODAY's prices, for some (many) use cases (just not consumer focused ones), they are more economical. For example, the kingston drive, measured in IOPs/dollar is 37x **cheaper** than a 15K SAS drive. That's the acquisition cost. When you think that it would take 37 15K SAS disks, consuming more power, space and cooling - you can immediately imagine the impact this has on the enterprise storage market.

    The rapid price decline we've all seen over the last year (a 40GB MLC drive cost ~$900 at the beginning of the year) means that in the next year or so, we'll have SSD with the $/GB of a large, fast rotating magnetic media disk, but still 100x better random IOps/$

    While perhaps PCM non-volatile storage will eventually replace flash, that will happen well after flash replaces spinning media.

    Great article Anand!

    I did a post on it here...

    http://virtualgeek.typepad.com/virtual_geek/2009/1...">http://virtualgeek.typepad.com/virtual_...ill-chan...
    Reply
  • iwodo - Friday, October 30, 2009 - link

    If V Series stays at $85, then making a Raid with 2 40GB V will be an VERY attractive option.

    So may be do a review on 2 40GB V series with Intel Software Raid? as well as other raid card?
    Reply
  • excalibur3 - Thursday, October 29, 2009 - link

    Thanks for the great article! I am just curious if the Kingston UltraDrives can use the same firmware update as intel and can be considered the same drive or if it is something like with OCZ and Super Talent in that they have separate firmware updates. Would the Kinston be a cheaper alternative to the Intel? Reply
  • Saturn1 - Thursday, October 29, 2009 - link

    Is there a way to get the manual trim to run from the toolbox if you do not have that last firmware update? Reply
  • linster - Thursday, October 29, 2009 - link

    Apparently Intel pulled the iso. Here's what you get after you click on the link,

    "02HA Firmware Upgrade for Windows 7* Systems - Unavailable

    Intel has been contacted by users with issues with the 02HA firmware upgrade on Windows 7* systems and are investigating. We take all sightings and issues seriously and are working toward resolution. We have temporarily taken down the firmware update while we investigate.

    Thank you for your patience."
    Reply
  • Shadowmaster625 - Thursday, October 29, 2009 - link

    Can you guys do some testing on the Runcore Pro IV 16GB PATA SSD? It supposedly uses the indilinx controller. Reply
  • coconutboy - Thursday, October 29, 2009 - link

    Good article Anand, and I like the new tests you guys came up with. I have a request for a new type of test and I know others in the various hardware forums have these same questions.

    SSDs are too small for many of us to use as the lone drive in our system, and we thus have to combine an SSD as an OS/app drive w/ a traditional hdd for our file storage. Given that this is a reality for many of us eager to jump into SSDs, it'd be great if we could see a test that demonstrates a real-world scenario of users loading DBs/pictures/videos etc from our storage drive while still running our apps/OS from the ssd.

    I know it's probably not something you guys could do regularly because the amount of testing would be a huge burden, but perhaps you fellas could do a one-off article just to highlight the differences? Maybe show a couple different usage scenarios such as:

    ~ a budget/midrange P55 setup w/ OS/apps on a small Indilinx ssd and a single 1TB drive for storage

    ~ an older Core 2/AMD system with the new Kingston offering used for OS/apps and the storage drives being pair of 640GBs in RAID 1.


    I think this kind of article would be very useful to your readers and I know there's lots of us in various forums who are hesitant to jump into a hybrid ssd/hdd setup because we're unsure of exactly how it will affect us.
    Reply
  • coconutboy - Thursday, October 29, 2009 - link

    Still not a lot of info out there showing real-world usage scenarios w/ an ssd as the os/app drive and a regular 7200rpm or two as storage, but perhaps for others interested in this kinda testing something like this will suffice. From the MSI p55-gd65 review-

    http://www.anandtech.com/mb/showdoc.aspx?i=3655&am...">http://www.anandtech.com/mb/showdoc.aspx?i=3655&am...
    Reply
  • krumme - Wednesday, October 28, 2009 - link

    How about this collection:
    http://www.anandtech.com/storage/showdoc.aspx?i=34...">http://www.anandtech.com/storage/showdoc.aspx?i=34...
    It measures where the speed matters most (sorry can not get link to work)

    Is the world that different today than 2009?

    We need to se results balanced like this

    I do get a feeling that the 2009 test suite is heavely favoring the g2 drives

    It is plain and simple what takes time. Not iops, we need seconds. And seconds where you can feel it; fx. seconds for diferent types of filecopying, handling large files, working while making backup, working while having virus scan.

    The g2 is way overhyped, the samsung way underrated
    Reading the results you can have the impression the velociraptor doesnt work for desktop use
    The need for trim is overhyped and having severe consequenses
    And the results from defective and bad bios updates from indilinx and espec. Intel, was to be seen in advance.

    Are we going to se some new benchmark suite when gfx lrb arives??

    The end results. Ordinary desktop people having hdd for servers and gfx for research.

    It doesnt make sense.

    Some bad thought creap into my mind. Help me. Is the Intel marketing a problem, if you dont behave? :) - or did they just give you the random 4k engineering hammer?

    Anand - we need another ssd article !!! :)

    Take care
    Reply

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