Tying it All Together: SSD Performance Degradation

More spare area is better for random workloads, but desktop workloads aren’t random enough to justify setting aside more spare area to improve performance; most reviews don’t test in a used state, and more users would simply flock to lower price-per-GB drives with less spare area.

Drives that drop the most in performance from new to used state have the most to gain from the TRIM instruction. Depending on how you use your drive of course:

  % Performance Drop in Used State vs. New State
  4KB Random Write 2MB Sequential Write PCMark Vantage HDD Suite
Intel X25-E 64GB (SLC) 26.1% 5.4% 9.7%
Intel X25-M G1 160GB (MLC) 35.5% 3.8% 16.7%
Intel X25-M G2 160GB (MLC) 0.7% 2.2% 15.3%
OCZ Agility 128GB (Indilinx MLC) 44.8% 15.0% 4.4%
OCZ Summit 256GB (Samsung MLC) 72.4% 3.0% 23.6%
OCZ Vertex EX 128GB (Indilinx SLC) 60.5% 20.8% 0.8%
OCZ Vertex Turbo 128GB (Indilinx MLC) 44.0% 15.4% 4.5%
Patriot Torqx 128GB (Indilinx MLC) 44.6% 15.6% 3.5%


Depending on the scenario, all three controllers have a lot to gain from TRIM. Random write performance drops significantly for almost every single drive. The worst is the Samsung RBB controller, which lost over 70% of its performance between new and used states; Samsung needs TRIM.

Intel made some significant improvements going from the G1 to G2 drives, the new drive loses no performance in our random write test. This is thanks to firmware tweaks and having twice as much DRAM to track data in; the more data the Intel drive can keep track of, the better it is at organization, management and garbage collection. From a pure performance standpoint, the G2 might actually be better for server workloads than the X25-E. In terms of lifespan however, the X25-E has the G2 beat.

Only the Indilinx drives lose an appreciable amount of performance in the sequential write test, but they are the only drives to not lose any performance in the more real-world PCMark Vantage HDD suite. Although not displayed here, the overall PCMark Vantage score takes an even smaller hit on Indilinx drives. This could mean that in the real world, Indilinx drives stand to gain the least from TRIM support. This is possibly due to Indilinx using a largely static LBA mapping scheme; the only spare area is then the 6.25% outside of user space regardless of how used the drive is.

Both Samsung and Intel have a lot to gain from TRIM. Samsung’s performances goes from utterly unacceptable to reasonable (but not price justified) with TRIM. Intel’s performance goes from class-leading to more, er, class-leading.

The Instruction That Changes (almost) Everything: TRIM Used vs. New Performance: Revisited


View All Comments

  • valnar - Wednesday, September 2, 2009 - link

    Anyone? Reply
  • antinah - Tuesday, September 1, 2009 - link

    For another great article on the SSD technology.

    I'm considering an Intel G2 for my brand new macbook pro, and if I understand what I've read correctly, performance should not degrade too much although OSX doesn't support trim yet.

    I also doubt Apple will wait too long before they release an update with trim support for osx.

    I just recently switched to mac after a lifetime with pc/windows. Anything i shoud be aware of when I install the SSD in a mac compared to pc running windows? (other than voiding the warranty and such). I'm thinking precations regarding swap usage or such.

    Best regards from norway
  • medi01 - Tuesday, September 1, 2009 - link

    So I absolutelly need to pay 15 times as much per gigabyte as normal HDDs, so that when I start Photoshop, Firefox and WoW, straight after windows boots, it loads whopping 24 seconds faster?

    That's what one calls "absolutelly need" indeed and you also chose amazingly common combination of apps.
  • Anand Lal Shimpi - Tuesday, September 1, 2009 - link

    You can look back at the other two major SSD pieces (X25-M Review and The SSD Anthology) for other examples of application launch performance improvements. The point is that all applications launch as fast as possible, regardless of the state of your machine. Whether you're just firing it up from start (which is a valid use scenario as many users do shut off their PCs entirely) or launching an application after your PC has been on for a while, the apps take the same amount of time to start. The same can't be said for a conventional hard drive.

    Take care,
  • Seramics - Tuesday, September 1, 2009 - link

    its not abt the 24seconds but rather the wholly different experience of near instantaneous u get wit ssd tht cannot be replicated by hdds Reply
  • medi01 - Tuesday, September 1, 2009 - link

    Nobody starts mentioned apps together directly after boot.

    I've played WoW for a couple of years, and never had to wait dozen of seconds for it to start.

    Most well written applications start almost instantly.

    And the whole "after fresh boot" is not quite a valid option neither, I don't recall when I last switched off my pc, "hibernate" works just fine.

    The "you get completely different experience" MIGHT be a valid point, but it was destroyed by ridiculous choice of apps to start. And I suspect that it is because NOT starting stuff all together and right after boot, didn't show gap as big.
  • kunedog - Tuesday, September 1, 2009 - link

    Anand, I think your article titled "Intel Forces OCZ's Hand: Indilinx Drives To Drop in Price" (http://www.anandtech.com/storage/showdoc.aspx?i=36...">http://www.anandtech.com/storage/showdoc.aspx?i=36... could also use a follow-up, primarily to explain why the opposite has happened (especially with the Intel drives). Is this *all* attributable to Intel's disaster of a product launch? Maybe not, but in any case it deserves more attention than a brief mention at the end of this article. Reply
  • zero2espect - Tuesday, September 1, 2009 - link

    great work again. it's for this reason that i've been coming here for ages. great analysis, great writing and an understanding about what we're all looking for.

    one thing that you may have overlooked is the difference in user experience due to the lack of hdd "buzz". fortunate enough to find myself in posession of a couple of g2160gb jobbies, one is in my gaming rig and the other in the work notebook. using the notebook the single biggest difference is speed (it makes a 18mo old notebook seems like it performs as fast as a current generation desktop) but the next biggest and very noticible difference is the lack of "hum", "buz", "thrash" and "vibrate" as the drive goes about it's business.

    thanks anadtech and thanks intel ;-P
  • Mr Perfect - Tuesday, September 1, 2009 - link


    Would you happen to know if there are different revisions of the G2 drives out? Newegg is listing a 80GB Intel drive with model #SSDSA2MH080G2C1 for $499, and another 80GB Intel with model #SSDSA2MH080G2R5 for $599. They are both marked as 2.5" MLC Retail drives, and as far as I can tell they're both G2. What has a R5 got that a C1 doesn't? The updated firmware maybe?


    PS, dear Newegg, WTF? 100% plus price premiums? I'm thinking I'll just wait until stock returns and buy from another site just to spite you now....
  • gfody - Tuesday, September 1, 2009 - link

    It looks like the R5 is just a different retail package - shiny box, nuts and a bracket instead of just the brown box.
    Why Newegg is charging an extra $100 for it.. just look at what they're doing with the other prices. I am losing so much respect for Newegg right now. disgusting!

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