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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  • RAWIRON - Saturday, December 19, 2009 - link

    I've read about some Macbook hacks for the SSD user, but still wonder how I should make my SSD's "new" state last longer.

    I do still wonder if I should use the "Secure Empty Trash" in Snow Leopard? At first, I've partitioned my drive for all available space, but then reduced the HFS partition to 68 Gb or so - will this prolong my drive's "new" state because of Intel's algorithms?
    Should I use "Erase Free Space" in Disk Utility?
    Thanks!
    Reply
  • kunedog - Saturday, December 26, 2009 - link

    I would say NO. Secure Erase (of used or free space) will generate (many) more writes which can only make the problem worse, "using up" your reserve space much more quickly than before. At least that's what my intuition says. Maybe somenoe who knows for sure will chime in. Reply
  • kunedog - Friday, December 04, 2009 - link

    The Kingston 40GB is available for $130:
    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N8...">http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N8...

    I wonder how many, if any, were sold at $85 (or even $115). I also wonder how this article is repeatedly bumped for minor (and predictable) updates while the incorrect pricing predictions are never acknowledged. The Intel MLC SSDs continue to list for much higher than the given "expected" launch price . . .
    http://www.anandtech.com/storage/showdoc.aspx?i=36...">http://www.anandtech.com/storage/showdoc.aspx?i=36...

    . . . yet that article was never bumped to the top. Even the G1s were priced higher! Props to Anand for keeping the SSD companies honest on performance, but why can't the same be done for pricing?

    If I were going to release/retail a new SSD, I would definitely call Anand ahead of time and tell him an expected price about 50-75% of the real one so he would blindly print it and create demand.
    Reply
  • mohsh86 - Thursday, December 03, 2009 - link

    lol the promised to deliver it by the end of Novmber, they didn't but they changed the date of release :P i've been checking every day..

    The Firmware Update tool 1.5 is now available, posted (according to intel in 30/11) the SSD toolbox still unavailable..

    did any one try it ?!

    i have the firmware the one before the bricking firmware, i guess it has the letter g, should i upgrade ?!
    Reply
  • mohsh86 - Tuesday, December 01, 2009 - link

    It finally came ! The End of November, The 1st of December..

    No Trim Firmware, No Intel SSD Toolbox, no RAID support for toolbox
    Reply
  • Dverez - Tuesday, December 01, 2009 - link

    The new Firmware is out and works properly.
    To test SSD this is a good program, I think.

    (http://alex-is.de/PHP/fusion/downloads.php?cat_id=...
    Reply
  • mohsh86 - Tuesday, December 01, 2009 - link

    It finally came ! The End of November, The 1st of December..

    No Trim Firmware, No Intel SSD Toolbox, no RAID support for toolbox
    Reply
  • Sind - Monday, November 30, 2009 - link

    Wheres the firmware update, it's Nov 30th! Reply
  • xpclient - Wednesday, November 25, 2009 - link

    Please test 2 X25-Ms with Intel Matrix RAID10 and other Matrix RAID arrays the moment Intel drivers with TRIM come out. Reply
  • Mygaffer - Tuesday, November 24, 2009 - link

    Another great article, thank you for all the hard work and insightful analysis. Articles like yours help keep the industry honest and responsive.
    I can't wait until they become cheap enough for me to buy two for a RAID 0, and of course for Intel to release new drivers to support the TRIM commands.
    Reply

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