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Monitor TRIM and garbage collection?

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December 28, 2011 5:36:02 PM

I recently installed a Crucial M4 128 MB SSD and would like to know when the housecleaning is done for the following reasons,
1. so I know how long to let computer idle before shutting down or allowing sleep
2. to get a good AS-SSD benchmark

(Perhaps some someone can clarify for me the difference between TRIM and garbage collection)
a c 415 G Storage
December 28, 2011 8:14:33 PM

Windows sends TRIM commands to the SSD every time you delete files on your drive to let it know that the blocks that the file used to contain can be reused for new data. Then, in the background, the SSD will do "garbage collection" which consists of erasing those blocks and consolidating them into groups so that subsequent write requests have a place for the data to go.

There isn't anything you can or need to do in this regard. TRIM commands are issued automatically by Windows whenever you delete files, delete partitions, etc., and the background garbage collection activity is hidden inside the drive and not accessible to you or the system.
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January 3, 2012 11:01:02 PM

sminlal said:
Windows sends TRIM commands to the SSD every time you delete files on your drive to let it know that the blocks that the file used to contain can be reused for new data. Then, in the background, the SSD will do "garbage collection" which consists of erasing those blocks and consolidating them into groups so that subsequent write requests have a place for the data to go.

There isn't anything you can or need to do in this regard. TRIM commands are issued automatically by Windows whenever you delete files, delete partitions, etc., and the background garbage collection activity is hidden inside the drive and not accessible to you or the system.

By "not accessible" do you mean there is no way of knowing how much garbage has piled up? Or do I just have to wait for the stench of a blue screen and assume it'd due to no free blocks?
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a c 415 G Storage
January 4, 2012 12:56:44 AM

Yes, "not accessible" means that there's no way to know what's going on "under the hood", unless the manufacturer provides some sort of utility that can do it. The Intel SSD Toolbox, for example, can report (via SMART data) the total number of writes that the drive has sustained, which is a bit of a guide as to how much of it's useful write endurance has been consumed.

But I'm not aware of any manufacturer-supplied software that can provide any more detail than that.

SSDs have spare flash pages to help with their wear leveling algorithms, so you won't "run out of blocks". The worst that will happen is that write performance will get poor if the drive struggles to keep up with the requests. Garbage collection is there to enhance write performance by creating fresh, empty flash pages before they're needed. If those pages aren't available then the drive just shuffles data on the fly to free up pages as the requests come in.

It isn't until you reach end-of-life for the SSD (where it's flash memory is worn out and it won't accept any more writes) where you'll start getting error messages. Unless, of course, there's some other actual physical fault that develops before them.
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January 4, 2012 3:40:52 PM

Best answer selected by meganano.
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