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I was told i don't need to defrag

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February 21, 2010 6:59:25 AM

I took my PC to the repair shop as i for the life of me couldn't figure out why my computer wouldn't boot, it turned out that it was the power supply. Anyway after a lengthy friendly chat i was told i don't need to defrag my Pc as it will reduce the life of my hard drive. I always thought it reduces the life if you DON'T defrag.

AMD Phenom II X4 810 Processor
8GB DDR3 1333Mhz
2 x Samsung SSD PM800 Series 2.5" 256GB ATA Device
ATI Radeon 5770 1GB
Dell 2709W 1920 x 1200

More about : told defrag

Anonymous
a b G Storage
February 21, 2010 7:53:20 AM

From what I gathered when I posted a similar point, there's not much in it. An effective defrag (not Windows free one) will reduce search time and thus, possibly, reduce wear -- at the cost of occasionally running the disk non-stop as it defrags.

I was recommended to use Ultimate Defrag and/or My Defrag -- both are free and are supposed to work well.
a c 415 G Storage
February 21, 2010 7:56:43 AM

The comments you heard are true for a solid state disk. The purpose of defragging is to reduce seek time, but solid state disks don't need to seek, so it has no benefit for them. And since SSDs have a limited number of write cycles, all of the writing that's done when you move files around on would shorten it's lifetime (a negligible amount, really, but why do it when it doesn't give you any benefit)?

To be fair, there could be a *little* bit of benefit even for an SSD since reducing the number fragments in a file will reduce the number of I/Os needed to read it. Although there isn't any seek time involved, each I/O does have some overhead associated with it. But in practice unless your disk is really, terribly fragmented you'll probably never notice the difference.

But any hard drives on your system WILL get a real benefit from defragging - so don't let the fact that you have SSDs prevent you from defragging the other drives if you have them.
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a b G Storage
February 21, 2010 10:41:28 AM

For modern computers there is no real gain. Modern drives are fast enough to transfer data quicky, even if its spread out over the drive. Sure a nonfragmented drive will be faster, but not so much it would be WOW. I used to defrag my old Celeron 700MHz machine every three months or so, but I stoped several years ago with my Sempron 2800+. I didn't notice any difference in speed, but I was worried about what it could be doing to my harddrive. (mechanical drives do wear out with use.) I have yet to defrag my current drive and its been through two systems already. I've been using it since my Athlon 3500+ build back in July 2007. Its been through a motherboard swap to my C2D E6600, and countless file Add/Deletes. I haven't noticed any change in speed.
February 22, 2010 5:08:14 AM

sminlal said:
The comments you heard are true for a solid state disk. The purpose of defragging is to reduce seek time, but solid state disks don't need to seek, so it has no benefit for them. And since SSDs have a limited number of write cycles, all of the writing that's done when you move files around on would shorten it's lifetime (a negligible amount, really, but why do it when it doesn't give you any benefit)?

To be fair, there could be a *little* bit of benefit even for an SSD since reducing the number fragments in a file will reduce the number of I/Os needed to read it. Although there isn't any seek time involved, each I/O does have some overhead associated with it. But in practice unless your disk is really, terribly fragmented you'll probably never notice the difference.

But any hard drives on your system WILL get a real benefit from defragging - so don't let the fact that you have SSDs prevent you from defragging the other drives if you have them.


What's the difference between a SSD and normal? Aren't they the same?
February 22, 2010 5:39:34 AM

An SSD has chips for storage. No moving parts. Instead of standard disc drive spinning a platter.
I know there is more to this. At this time I just can't remember.
a c 415 G Storage
February 22, 2010 6:49:14 AM

chaos1986 said:
What's the difference between a SSD and normal? Aren't they the same?
As OwinC mentioned, a "normal" disk uses circular platters covered in an oxide that's magnitized to hold 1's and 0's. The platters have to rotate, and the reading/recording head has to be moved back and forth to access data in different sections of the platters, so there's a huge (in computer terms) time delay for each read or write.

In contrast, a Solid State Disk (SSD) essentially uses memory chips to store information (it uses "flash" memory, a special type of chip that doesn't loose it's data when you turn off the power). For this type of disk there's essentially no time delay for reads or writes.
February 22, 2010 6:51:05 AM

sminlal said:
As OwinC mentioned, a "normal" disk uses circular platters covered in an oxide that's magnitized to hold 1's and 0's. The platters have to rotate, and the reading/recording head has to be moved back and forth to access data in different sections of the platters, so there's a huge (in computer terms) time delay for each read or write.

In contrast, a Solid State Disk (SSD) essentially uses memory chips to store information (it uses "flash" memory, a special type of chip that doesn't loose it's data when you turn off the power). For this type of disk there's essentially no time delay for reads or writes.


Oh ok i knew how hard drives work (the spinning ones anyway) i thought that's what mine was
Anonymous
a b G Storage
February 22, 2010 7:55:36 AM

"Oh ok i knew how hard drives work (the spinning ones anyway) i thought that's what mine was"

It is. I don't know why the issue of SSD came up.

I have some sympathy with the post saying you don't need to defrag modern systems -- I certainly wouldn't bother using Windows Defrag. But I noticed a slight reduction in start-up time on my rather old system after using Ultimate Defrag and My Defrag.
a b G Storage
February 22, 2010 10:06:08 AM

Correct me is I'm wrong, but didn't the specs list

2 x Samsung SSD PM800 Series 2.5" 256GB ATA Device

Aren't those SSDs? Isn't that why that discussion came up?
Anonymous
a b G Storage
February 22, 2010 10:42:52 AM

You're right, what threw me was 2.5" ATA device, I assumed it was a rotary laptop drive.
a b G Storage
February 22, 2010 12:55:10 PM

Should we test then? I should have some badly fragmented drives by now. I might be able to run some tests on them, defrag with whatever program you want then test again. Perhaps this might help end the defrag debate? I'd need to know what test you'd want run, as well as what defrag software to use. I would be willing to bet there would be very little change overall between setups. Which is why I tell people to not worry about defragging.
February 22, 2010 6:14:35 PM

Well, defrag is always for the file system, and not for the hardware regardless of whether it is an SSD, flash drive or HDD. The reason why SSDs are not adversely affected by filesystem fragmentation is that they have very fast random read as well as sequential read & write performance. But they have relatively poorer random write performance, so they do benefit from free space consolidation at the filesystem level that can reduce the probability of random writes.

For magnetic (i.e. conventional) hard drives, filesystem defrag definitely helps because these drives are mechanical and have high latencies, so picking up several fragments by several I/O requests will be slower than a single 'swoop'. Defragging will not reduce hard drive life since regular defrags will ensure minimal fragmentation and less work for the hard drive compared to reading a fragmented file.

I personally use a commercial third party auto defragger which is 'install and forget'..it does everything in the background in real time automatically (including fragmentation prevention) and works really well.
Anonymous
a b G Storage
February 24, 2010 4:30:22 PM

The average IOPS of SSD v's Megnetic media is between 80-130 times faster, there is no reason to use one of your 5000 rewrite quota (for MLC SSD's) trying to defrag your SSD drive, furthermore SSD drives cache files before writing and attempt to write full pages before committing a write, so you would be rerwiting blocks of data that are fragmented along with files that are not, further wasting your drives lifetime.

If you are going to defrag your magnetic media, use a 3rd party application that optimizes your OS boot files and is capable of user-defined file type optimization, create a static-sized page file not dynamically assigned (so your page file is also moved to/as contiguous block) and if you use specific applications or files that could benefit from being contiguous (e.g video or graphics (adobe photoshop for instance) files that are continually opened/used, define them too.

And/Or, move your page file to a separate (physical not partition) hard drive if you have more than one installed that way paging IO's are in parrallel with reads/writes as you run applications and access data.
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