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


View All Comments

  • slickdoody - Monday, October 26, 2009 - link

    Did Intel remove the SSD toolbox software?

    The link in the article doesn't work and I can't find the software on the site by searching.
  • Griswold - Monday, October 26, 2009 - link

    Here it is again:

  • slickdoody - Monday, October 26, 2009 - link

    thanks! Reply
  • Sunburn74 - Monday, October 26, 2009 - link

    Its absolutely ridiculous how intel is screwing those customers who bought their x25m g1s by specifically going out of their way to prevent trim support. At least give a manual wiper tool, you jerks. Geez! Reply
  • lorax1284 - Tuesday, December 15, 2009 - link

    I know that Toms Hardware has commented on the fact that Intel is not providing a firmware update for the X25-m first generation drives... but I think TH is in a position to rake Intel over the coals for this terrible decision! Toms Hardware caters to computer enthusiasts, exactly the type of customers who buy first generation hardware like the X25-m G1... so for Intel to NOT issue a TRIM firmware update for X25-m G1 drives should ahve Toms Hardware users up in arms, and certainly questioning whether Intel's support for the G2 drives will stand the test of time!

    If you think Intel is wrong to abandon the G1 drives by not providing a TRIM firmware update, please consider signing this petition!

  • cbutters - Monday, November 23, 2009 - link

    Agreed 100%, I purchased an x-25m G1 at a premium thinking that intel would take care of me once TRIM support was available. Since I heard that intel wouldn't be giving any G1's trim for no reason other than to screw over the consumer into buying an updated drive, I have only purchased Indilinx based SSDs (over 4 now) and I recommend that everyone else do the same!

    They also promised that the 80gb G2 SSDs would be sold at a price point of $229, but due to the demand they are gouging everyone selling them at price points of 299 and above. (can't blame them, it's economics, but don't PROMISE it at $229 and not fulfill it.)

    People buy stuff where the performance is, but I won't buy an intel SSD again unless they release something that performs significantly better than the competitor, but the point is that you should buy indilinx based drives because they are just as good and you won't be supporting Intel's poor decision with regard to the G1 customers.
  • winterlord - Wednesday, November 18, 2009 - link

    great SSD articles you guys have been putting out latly. but it would be great to see a corsair SSD in these benchies. alot of people talk about them and they seem blazing fast even faster then the intels from what iv read around on google but id like to see one of my populer tech websiteas to confirm this. i like this article here but any chance you can throw a corsiar in the lineup :)

    they have trim right?
  • chrnochime - Monday, October 26, 2009 - link

    You pay the price for being early adapter. I mean even now with the G2 a colleague of mine just bought back in August, the thing still had to be RMA'd.

    I'd never use something like this for work related use unless it's been tested by many guinea... err I mean other consumers before it's proven to be cheap and reliable.
  • Griswold - Thursday, November 19, 2009 - link

    We got another ADAPTER here! What do you adapt with, if I may ask? Reply
  • WillBach - Monday, October 26, 2009 - link

    If you don't have the software to image and restore your drive, get it now! It's an order of magnitude less expensive* than the SSD, and it's the fastest, cleanest, and most reliable way to recover from a failed hard drive.

    *If you run OS X, you can use Time Machine or Disk Utility. If you run Linux or BSD, you can use dd from the terminal.

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