TRIM enabling with Intel SSD

My understand for the current G2 Intel SSD's is that if you have AHCI enabled in BIOS and have the AHCI drivers installed and activated within Windows 7, then the TRIM function will be enabled and activce "without any user interaction" as they say on their support pages. What this seems to imply is that I don't need to run SSD Toolbox.

Is that correct? TRIM and "garbage collection" will be executed on its own without having to run SSD Toolbox? If so, how the heck do I verify that Windows 7's TRIM is doing its job??

Maybe I should run Toolbox weekly anyway, under the assumption that it won't hurt to be extra sure?

What do you guys with Intel drives in AHCI mode do with respect to the Toolbox, anything at all?

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  1. The SSD Toolbox is useful if you don't have TRIM; if TRIM works you do not need to run the toolbox. TRIM also works in IDE mode; just not in RAID mode (also not with Intel drivers).

    The most important advice for your SSD:
    - make sure it is aligned; test with AS SSD it should say 1024K - OK and not 31.5K - BAD.
    - set controller mode to AHCI to enable NCQ and increase random read performance by a factor 10 (or 1000%). Without this, multiqueue random I/O performance would be castrated.
    - reserve space on the SSD (optional with TRIM) to increase performance and lower degradation over time.
  2. Thanks sub mesa.

    I do have AHCI enabled in the BIOS, which I made sure to do before I installed Windows 7. So, I'm just using the Microsoft AHCI driver now.

    Can you explain your first point above - what is "aligned", and what's the AS SSD and the numbers?? I thought I was learning a good amount about SSDs but your first point is pretty arcane to me... any pointers/links/etc?

    And I'm trying to figure out what "garbage collection" is all about - is that another word for TRIM or something different, and if different, how do I enable/execute garbage collection?

  3. For some storage devices such as striping RAID arrays, 4K sector harddrives and SSDs, it is important for them to be 'aligned'.

    The Intel SSD has 128KiB erase blocks. That means that any partition needs to be aligned with those 128KiB blocks.

    Looking at Windows XP; it creates partitions at 31.5KiB offset. That's fine for ordinary HDDs; but very wrong for anything else.

    Vista and Win7 create partitions with 1024KiB offset; which works right with most RAIDs and SSDs. But cloning/partition applications from third-vendors might still be using the 31.5KiB offset that Windows XP uses. So let Windows 7 create the partitions during setup and you should be fine.

    To check alignment, google for "AS SSD" and download the benchmark utility. When it is run (requires .NET) you should see "1024K - OK" or something similar in the top left corner. If it says "31.5K - BAD" then you have an unaligned partition.

    If you do not have proper alignment, the SSD will be slower and also have a lower lifetime. Intel SSDs generally are among the best SSDs when using unaligned. Still the performance difference is there - it's just a shame using them unaligned.
  4. More and more to discover about tweaks - and faults that I have done - about the SSD drive.

    I did some reading about this online and now understand that if I want the optimal alignment, I have to reformat all of the SSD disk. It doesn't work formatting one partition of the drive, but all the drive must be done with the same 'align' setting.

    Does it mean that I need to reinstall everything from scratch again, using Windows 7's format option?

    (I run two OS - XP and Windows 7 - on my SSD drive and unfortunately I installed XP first, managing the partitions through its installer.

    Or is it as easy as to save the OS by manually transferring them to an external hard drive and later copy them into the 'corrected formatted' partitions on the SSD disk?

    Since I have two OS on the same SSD drive, I would believe it should be easy to first enter one of the OS and copy out one of the 'other OS' by simply dragging it to an external hard drive, then restart and boot into the other OS and do the same procedure. Then reformat the SSD disk, connecting it to some gear I have to temporarily make the SSD disk an external harddisk and then copy each of the two OS systems into each their partitions. Can it be done that easy I wonder?

    Thanks for your guidance.. and to learn that I should have read a lot more about the SSD drives than I did before installing the two OS I run on it. (I should have run Windows 7 first I understand now.)

    (At the place where I bought the SSD drive I asked whether it was as easy as to simply install it, or whether there was a lot of considerations to deal with when taking the SSD drive into use - and I mentioned I was to make a dual boot with XP and Windows 7 - yet I was told that it works exactly like the old kind of hard drive when it comes to such things.. but not so I understand.)
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