Intel 520 sandforce formatting


I need a new boot disc. Plan to get 240GB Intel 520. Should I format it to less than 240gb, say 200gb leaving 40gb unformatted?

I read there is permanent speed problem if accidenmtally fill up drive with incompressible data. I use Win 7 for editing, games, office, photos, music, etc although most storage will be hdd.

I read if I leave some space unformatted that will prevent the problem from ever occuring. Is this true, if so what do you recommend?

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  1. I would format the drive making it as large as i could.
  2. Hi so would I except I'm worried about issues I've read about with Sandforce.

    I just found this

    which I know it's for servers but I think given I like to install and ignore I will probably save up to 20% space unformatted as the figures seem significant!

    ...unless can anyone explain why I shouldn't bother and thereby gain an extra 48GB!

  3. see also here

    the only question i have now is do i need to get rid of a whole 48 gb? I think having seen that over-provisioning is something that always happens (i.e. 6-7% from 256gb equals 240gb) and that sometimes it is up to 20% even for consumer ssds, I will probably make the 240gb ssd only 200gb.

    any comments anyone please? Would it be okay to make it 220gb?
  4. I would not do it as these drive's already have more than the claimed space, also can anyone say if the Intel ssd toolbox work for these 520's too? I have been using the x25-m G2 80gb since the week it came and have not noticed any problems. I would trust Intel over any other manufacturer to fix this if this would even be a real problem.
  5. thanks for replying. It's not a specific problem that Intel can do anything about, I don't think.

    The way I think Sandforce works is by compressing what will be written to your SSD. To do this it needs a cache of sorts. Sandforce used to impose 'over-provisioning' of around 7% (e.g. you can't directly access some of the capacity of a certain 512GB SSD it may only let you see 400GB and be marketed as a 400GB drive) . Recently SandForce removed the requirement to have overprovisioning meaning some manufacturers using Sandforce are offering higher capacities, to compete with non-Sandforce, non over-provisioned SSDs.

    The way I see it, a lot of people on SSD dedicated forums and some Intel documents, and hardware reviews seems to be saying that overprovisioning is more important on a Sandforce SSD, but in any case will improve the theoretical lifespan of the SSD.

    I've read in many reviews that sandforce SSDs including the Intel 520 have low speed when you fill up the SSD with uncompressible data or some such, and even after using the SSD tools available to TRIM or something (I'm not sure exactly) apparently it will never go as fast as it used to....

    Apparently 20% overprovisioning (OP) is standard. With 7% built in already I will add another 10-13% for a total size of approx. 200GB or perhaps play it less safe and grab another few GB say 210GB in total as in reality I am unlikely to meet the same performance situations as

    All this is to be honest quite over my head. But erring on the side of caution I am not about to spend around £210 on a fast boot drive only to have it reduce its potential speed massively by some silly mistake or something....
  6. Mechanical HDD to SSD -- very nice boost. Otherwise, SSD performance from 60GB -- 120GB -- 240GB almost becomes a matter of semantics.

    Flash to the latest firmware and off you go. There are some nice 120GB SSDs for around £100 inc VAT.

    Performance issues simply arise over time. The best thing to do is minimize R/Ws. Use HDDs for storage and data - Use SSDs for apps and your OS. Keep a nice clone of the SSD on an HDD partition.

    Don't buy more SSD space than you need. Future drives (6 months? :lol: ) will be bigger, more dependable, faster and much less expensive. Even with the Floods, HDDs are 1/15 per GB the cost of SSDs.

    Edit: Go ahead and partition away. Do a few 8MB partitions and expand them later. No real reason though, really, on an SSD. You may establish partitions on HDDs simply to find the fastest sectors on the drive.
  7. @wisecracker Thanks for your comments and advice. I am confused by your position though.

    On the one hand you state that performance issues simply arise over time which corroborates what I have read and linked to elsewhere.

    While I have summised from my reading that such performance issues will effectively go away if I reserve some space to be unformatted, you are suggesting that I shouldn't worry about it too much, should minimise read writes - as in be conscientious while I'm using the computer and have to worry about that I do with my data. Furthermore, instead of buying a larger SSD so I can acheive what I want, I should spend less, and then replace it when performance is degraded in a year or two???

    Unfortunately I need to get a boot disc now, and my previous spinning boot disc without much data had many programs and filled around 250GB. Admittedly it was a bit messy, and I could do with less, but I need something in the region of 180GB to be comfortable I think, and not have to install programs elsewhere.

    I'm now decided to go for a 240GB and only format between 190 and 220GB of it. My confusion remains if this is a sure fire way to avoid slow-down with the Intel 520 and other sandforce SSDs, how come nobody else is bothered about it?

    Why is the default OP of the Intel 520 and other SF SSDs so low, apart from simply being necessary to compete with other SSDs in marketing terms?

    I am definitely going to play it safe and apply some extra OP, but I just wish I knew how much to apply. The enterprise SSD article I linked to above adds an extra 20% OP to the 7% built-in. I would prefer to apply much less, but there doesn't seem to be any testing on different levels of OP that I'm aware of.

    I do have another question. How much does Windows 7 need spare on an SSD? Does it still need 10% free to operate effectively? Or will Windows also be able to use the unformatted space to keep itself tidy and running fast, allowing me to fill up the remainder of my over-provisioned SSD. ?????

  8. Quote:
    Unfortunately I need to get a boot disc now, and my previous spinning boot disc without much data had many programs and filled around 250GB. Admittedly it was a bit messy, and I could do with less, but I need something in the region of 180GB to be comfortable

    That's quite a bit.

    I suspect 60% or more is junk if there is any age at all on the drive. Have you run Disk Clean Up and eliminated all but your most recent restore points?
  9. Thanks you're probably right, and I forgot to check system restores or run any disk management utility or clean up for a few years. What is recommended these days is ccleaner still good?

    Anyway, I got the 240gb Intel 520 a few days ago. It showed about 225GB in Windows install, so I just formatted 200GB to leave some extra over-provisioning. This will hopefully be fine for a good 5-10 years for me.

    I wasn't prepared to be so impressed with this drive. Everything is super fast; even internet pages load a little quicker, and there is no perceivable delay when browsing through folders or other HDDs in the system.
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