How to TRIM once given my situation?

rastaban

Gawd
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I bought my first SSD the other day, a used 120GB Vertex 3 to upgrade an old C2D laptop from 2007 (Asus U3S). From what I can gather from the seller, the drive has never been TRIMed as it was run in a Mac over its lifespan. OCZ Toolbox is showing an uptime of about 100 days, and WEI is giving me a drive score of 5.9.

While the drive is noticeably faster than my previous 5400rpm 160GB drive, I can't help but think it is not running at its full potential despite the SATA 3gbps chipset interface. The notebook runs Vista Business 32-bit and the GM965 Express chipset in it does not support AHCI. I am running the drive in "SATA Enhanced" mode. For these reasons, I cannot TRIM the drive.

Since I don't use the notebook very often, I am looking to TRIM the drive once and call it a day. But here is the problem...how can I do that given that my only other computer is a desktop (specs in sig) that is running in RAID mode for my primary drives in RAID 1? I really don't want to tamper with my desktop as I can't run the risk of breaking the current array.

I do have access to a similar X58 machine that is running all its drives (no RAID) in IDE mode. Would it be possible to set the SATA mode to AHCI temporarily, boot the system with the SSD as a data drive, and let the TRIM magic passively work?

Lastly, would I see an improvement with the TRIMing or will the native garbage collection in SF-2281 eventually bring the drive up to its factory speeds? and if so, how much idle time should that take? (the HDD activity light eventually stops blinking when the system idles). I know WEI is pretty meaningless, but it just bothers me that a SSD as "modern" as the Vertex 3 only matches the score of my RAID 1 velociraptors.

Any advice or suggestions would be greatly appreciated!
 

XacTactX

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It's not worth the time and effort to run TRIM or a secure erase for a short period of time. Doing either on a one-time basis will only help you until you write 120 GB worth of data, then the performance will tank again.

Garbage collection works by itself but SanfForce's GC works on the assumption that you have TRIM, so it is fairly docile. What you should do is go to your computer's "Power Options" and turn off the "spin down HDD" setting so that the SSD stays active all the time. That way when you aren't doing anything it will be able to do garbage collection.
 

rastaban

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I see, thanks for the advice. Will SandForce GC eventually bring the SSD to a TRIMed state? I think Anandtech's charts on all the SSD reviews seem to suggest so, but I'm not sure.

I'm still interested in doing the TRIM once for my curiosity's sake. I also don't use this laptop very much at all so it would probably take months to write 120GB, making me think the TRIMing once MAY be worth it. I am primarily looking for faster bootup times as the speed isn't wowing me in that respect like I expected it to.

I looked under Power Options but was only able to find "Turn Off Hard Disks after xxxx minutes" and nothing on spinning down HDDs. Maybe it's a Vista limitation?

Also, does anyone know if the HDD activity light is supposed to be blinking during idle GC?
 

XacTactX

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  • If AnandTech says that it does that then I believe it but I'm seeing conflicting information from Hardware Canucks. Look at all of the SandForce drives and you will see that garbage collection has very little impact. On the other hand Marvell drives work on the assumption that you do not have TRIM so they are more aggressive. Look at the data and it will all make sense.
    Please remove the space to access the link. http://www.hardware canucks.com/forum/hardware-canucks-reviews/52038-ocz-synapse-64gb-ssd-cache-drive-review-10.html

  • Never mind, I was going to suggest doing a secure erase but you have already installed the drive so that will be difficult to do. Sure, it's a good idea to put the drive in your X58 rig if you want to try.

  • Yes, that "Turn Off Hard Disks" setting is the right one. I believe if you set it to zero it will turn off the feature.
 
Last edited:

NoxTek

The Geek Redneck
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Jeeez...

Make a bootable USB GParted stick (or card reader with an SD card, or other removable USB device, or CD, or DVD....), boot to it, and do an internal secure erase on the SSD. You should be able to do this right on the laptop...

Hardly 'a lot of trouble' :rolleyes: and if it has the benefit of setting your mind at ease... all the better.
 

rastaban

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Sorry I forgot to mention that the first thing I did with the drive when I got it was pop it into my desktop as a storage drive and use OCZ Toolbox to update the firmware and secure erase it. The secure erase process only took 1 or 2 seconds though, is that how it is supposed to work?

I have a feeling that after all my program installations and Windows update installations, the performance degraded. XacTactX, you were right about the SF GC being different from TRIM. I looked up the Anandtech articles and realized that I was thinking of the HD Tach screenshots of Marvell/Samsung controllers, not SF-2200. This is the Samsung 830:
ssd830-aftertorture-60minssm.jpg


And here is the actual excerpt on the Vertex 3:
7YmTT.jpg


Is there a way to secure erase all unused space on a SSD? I would hate to have to install Vista again as it took almost 2 days to do with all its update errors and slow internet problems.
 

XacTactX

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I've used OCZ Toolbox with my Synapse and I've had the same experience, it only takes a few seconds to work.

I found a thread with some interesting info. It also recommends a few programs, one is CCleaner and the other is Parted Magic. I haven't done any research on these two programs but CCleaner apparently lets you perform a secure erase on the unused portion of your drive.

http://www.overclockers.com/forums/showthread.php?t=704576
 

rastaban

Gawd
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Thanks for the reference. I use CCleaner all the time for cleaning temporary files. However, I purposely disabled the "secure erase" function on my laptop because I didn't want to wear out my NAND every time I cleaned out temp files.

I've used the "wipe unused disk space" on hard drives before but I am pretty sure this is the same as writing nonsense data to all unused sectors and then marking them as rewritable. A few times, I think CCleaner messed up and did not get rid of the nonsense data because it filled my drive up completely and I found a hundred or so folders with unreadable files inside that had file names like 23r19p23qnfew and such.

Unfortunately I don't understand GC and TRIM enough to know if writing nonsense data like that is effectively the same. I will try it once to see if anything changes.

In the meantime, here is my CrystalDiskMark run. The 4K and 4K32QD read and writes are quite pathetic as of now.
4WBPs.png

Below is a sample I found online of what a 120GB Vertex 3 on SATA II SHOULD look like:
*note, the left one is on a basically empty drive.
xlf6B.png
 

KENNYB

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Jul 26, 2004
Messages
3,147
I bought my first SSD the other day, a used 120GB Vertex 3 to upgrade an old C2D laptop from 2007 (Asus U3S). From what I can gather from the seller, the drive has never been TRIMed as it was run in a Mac over its lifespan. OCZ Toolbox is showing an uptime of about 100 days, and WEI is giving me a drive score of 5.9.

While the drive is noticeably faster than my previous 5400rpm 160GB drive, I can't help but think it is not running at its full potential despite the SATA 3gbps chipset interface. The notebook runs Vista Business 32-bit and the GM965 Express chipset in it does not support AHCI. I am running the drive in "SATA Enhanced" mode. For these reasons, I cannot TRIM the drive.

Since I don't use the notebook very often, I am looking to TRIM the drive once and call it a day. But here is the problem...how can I do that given that my only other computer is a desktop (specs in sig) that is running in RAID mode for my primary drives in RAID 1? I really don't want to tamper with my desktop as I can't run the risk of breaking the current array.

I do have access to a similar X58 machine that is running all its drives (no RAID) in IDE mode. Would it be possible to set the SATA mode to AHCI temporarily, boot the system with the SSD as a data drive, and let the TRIM magic passively work?

Lastly, would I see an improvement with the TRIMing or will the native garbage collection in SF-2281 eventually bring the drive up to its factory speeds? and if so, how much idle time should that take? (the HDD activity light eventually stops blinking when the system idles). I know WEI is pretty meaningless, but it just bothers me that a SSD as "modern" as the Vertex 3 only matches the score of my RAID 1 velociraptors.

Any advice or suggestions would be greatly appreciated!

You can't compare 120 and 240GB drives The 240GB version will recover most of it's performance, while the 120GB version won't. Only a secure erase will recover all of the performance on you drive.

I owned a 240GB Vertex 2 and I had the same problem. Every few months performance will degrade so much to become noticeable. I partly mitigated this, until I bought a better drive, by using the Windows back up feature to back up and restore my OS. Much faster (and free) than having to reinstall everything.
 

NoxTek

The Geek Redneck
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Messages
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Unfortunately I don't understand GC and TRIM enough to know if writing nonsense data like that is effectively the same. I will try it once to see if anything changes.

Bad, bad, BAD idea... IMO almost as bad as running a defrag on your SSD. At the very least you're wasting a few write cycles...

And to answer your earlier question, yes, a proper ATA security_erase command takes only seconds to complete on an SSD.
 

rastaban

Gawd
Joined
Jul 30, 2011
Messages
818
Yeah I should have known it was a terrible idea. I actually reran CDM 1 hour after wiping the unused disk space and it seems like GC worked out for the larger reads:
XTRFg.png

and yes, I need to stop benching this drive so hard...

Thanks for the help guys!
 

rastaban

Gawd
Joined
Jul 30, 2011
Messages
818
5.9 is the max score for Vista.
Thanks for the clarification, I never knew that.

RAID1 is not backup.
I never said RAID1 is backup. I've had situations before where changing the SATA mode temporarily completely broke my RAID1. The process of OS reinstallation is too much of a hassle for me.
 
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