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Long-term performance analysis of Intel Mainstream SSDs Long-term performance analysis of Intel Mainstream SSDs
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Long-term performance analysis of Intel Mainstream SSDs
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Old 15th February 2009, 11:46   #1
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Default Long-term performance analysis of Intel Mainstream SSDs

A laptop user placing light workloads on their X25-M may never see the worst of these issues, but many users are going solid state for their desktop OS partitions, and a typical power user workload can fragment these drives in short order. It is likely that other manufacturers will employ similar write combining techniques in the future, and with those new devices may come similar real world slowdowns. While the specialized controller used by Intel enables it to bulldoze through most scenarios, we have seen that even the best logic is subject to severe write combining / internal fragmentation. Hopefully Intel can further tweak their algorithms with a future firmware update to the X25-M. In the meantime, we hope our suggestions keep your SSD on the speedier side of things.

http://www.pcper.com/article.php?aid...e=expert&pid=1
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Old 16th February 2009, 02:38   #2
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This is definitely a must read for anyone that has or will eventually buy an SSD. I don't recall any major sites mentioning most of these facts...

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SSD devices are not aware of the files written within, but are rather only aware of the Logical Block Addresses (LBAs) which contain valid data. Once data is written to a Logical Block Address (LBA), the SSD must now treat that data as valid user content and never throw it away, even after the host “deletes” the associated file. Today, there is no ATA protocol available to tell the SSDs that the LBAs from deleted files are no longer valid data. This fact, coupled with highly random write testing, leaves the drive in an extremely fragmented state which is optimized to provide the best performance possible for that random workload. Unfortunately, this state will not immediately result in characteristic user performance in client benchmarks such as PCMark Vantage, etc. without significant usage (writing) in typical client applications allowing the drive to adapt (defragment) back to a typical client usage condition. Source
So much for a free lunch. If Intel drives are affected this badly, I would be curious to see what cheap JMIcron drives do after the same treatment? Surely they would be worse?
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Old 16th February 2009, 11:44   #3
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thanks, very interesting read!

posted it to SSD Advantages vs Disadvantages: must read!
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Old 16th February 2009, 13:32   #4
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In order to reset the state of the drive to a known state that will quickly adapt to new workloads for best performance, the SSD’s unused content needs to be defragmented. There are two methods which can accomplish this task.

One method is to use IOMeter to sequentially write content to the entire drive. This can be done by configuring IOMeter to perform a 1 second long sequential read test on the SSD drive with a blank NTFS partition installed on it. In this case, IOMeter will “Prepare” the drive for the read test by first filling all of the available space sequentially with an IOBW.tst file, before running the 1 second long read test. This is the most “user-like” method to accomplish the defragmentation process, as it fills all SSD LBAs with “valid user data” and causes the drive to quickly adapt for a typical client user workload.

An alternative method (faster) is to use a tool to perform a SECURE ERASE command on the drive. This command will release all of the user LBA locations internally in the drive and result in all of the NAND locations being reset to an erased state. This is equivalent to resetting the drive to the factory shipped condition, and will provide the optimum performance.
anybody know where the version of that secure erase is available for download?
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Old 16th February 2009, 17:23   #5
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HDD Erase 4.0
Secure erase using a special feature built into most newer hard drives


It's part of Hiren's Boot CD (currently v9.7), downloadable as torrent and will cost you only few hundred mb's.
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Old 16th February 2009, 17:27   #6
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HDD Erase 4.0 is incompatible with the Intel SSD, maybe with others too...
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The ability to wipe the LBA table was the obvious solution to our dilemma. Since the LBA remap table is where all of the write combination vectors were stored, wiping it out would theoretically bring our Intel drive back to virgin status. I surfed over to the Center for Magnetic Recording Research and grabbed HDDErase 4.0. This is an excellent utility for securely wiping an ATA device by issuing it the elusive SECURE_ERASE command, which on most hard disk drives will wipe all disk areas, including those previously marked bad by the drives own firmware. There are a few notable catches, as the utility must be run in pure DOS mode, and it can only access drives appearing under legacy IDE BIOS ports, meaning you must manually disable AHCI for the utility to work. After getting past these hurdles we came across a brick wall: HDDErase 4.0 is not compatible with the X25-M!
they talk about an older version, but don't say which version and where to get it
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Old 16th February 2009, 19:01   #7
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They stated is was version HDD Erase 3.3 in the review

They got their old copy from Intel as part of a review package.... I don't see version 3.3 to download anywhere.

Best bet might be to email the guy behind it: http://cmrr.ucsd.edu/people/Hughes/

Last edited by Kougar : 16th February 2009 at 19:06.
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Old 16th February 2009, 19:14   #8
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HDDErase 3.3 compatible with Intel SSD attached to this post
they've also updated their article and added download link
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Old 16th February 2009, 23:09   #9
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Sweet! Thanks for the link.
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