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Two questions regarding SSD...

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May 27, 2012 1:18:15 AM

Ok, I checked the "useful" article part 2 and unfortunately it is hundreds of pages long. With my attention span I was hoping to find a brief, but concise answer.

First, how can you tell if an SSD is about to go "bad" ? With a traditional HDD we all know to listen for clicking or grinding sounds... Are there any real indicators with SSD?

Secondly, will an SSD running WITHOUT trim be faster than a traditional drive regardless?

More about : questions ssd

a c 544 G Storage
May 27, 2012 1:53:30 AM

Rathine said:
First, how can you tell if an SSD is about to go "bad" ? With a traditional HDD we all know to listen for clicking or grinding sounds... Are there any real indicators with SSD?


With SSDs you check by using software utilities that read S.M.A.R.T. values. CrystalDiskInfo is an example of one: http://crystalmark.info/software/CrystalDiskInfo/index-...


Secondly, will an SSD running WITHOUT trim be faster than a traditional drive regardless? said:
Secondly, will an SSD running WITHOUT trim be faster than a traditional drive regardless?


Yes, SSDs are faster than HDDs regardless of whether or not TRIM is enabled.
SSDs use idle Garbage Collection in addition to TRIM to maintain drive performance.
Just "Log off" (not Shut down) overnight occasionally to allow GC to maintain drive performance.
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May 27, 2012 3:43:26 AM

Dereck47 said:
With SSDs you check by using software utilities that read S.M.A.R.T. values. CrystalDiskInfo is an example of one: http://crystalmark.info/software/CrystalDiskInfo/index-...




Yes, SSDs are faster than HDDs regardless of whether or not TRIM is enabled.
SSDs use idle Garbage Collection in addition to TRIM to maintain drive performance.
Just "Log off" (not Shut down) overnight occasionally to allow GC to maintain drive performance.


Hi Derrick,

What do you mean, log off (not shut down)? Are you referring to logging off the Internet?

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a c 544 G Storage
May 27, 2012 3:53:36 AM

rus2 said:
Hi Derrick,

What do you mean, log off (not shut down)? Are you referring to logging off the Internet?


No, I was referring to logging off of Windows. I apologize if you're using Linux, OS X, or some other operating system.
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May 27, 2012 7:00:07 AM

What's the typical life span of an SSD?

Also, does garbage collection occur automatically simply by logging off? That is, without configuring anything or installing any software? This would seem to eliminate the need for defraging?


Dereck47 said:
With SSDs you check by using software utilities that read S.M.A.R.T. values. CrystalDiskInfo is an example of one: http://crystalmark.info/software/CrystalDiskInfo/index-...

Yes, SSDs are faster than HDDs regardless of whether or not TRIM is enabled.
SSDs use idle Garbage Collection in addition to TRIM to maintain drive performance.
Just "Log off" (not Shut down) overnight occasionally to allow GC to maintain drive performance.

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May 27, 2012 4:31:32 PM

Dereck47 said:
No, I was referring to logging off of Windows. I apologize if you're using Linux, OS X, or some other operating system.


Now you really have me confused. I have Win 7. How can I log off windows without turning off my computer?? When I turn my computer on Win 7 loads. I'm either using Win 7 or my computer is off.
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a c 180 G Storage
May 27, 2012 4:50:47 PM

Every modern SSD has trim capability.
Trim frees up deleted space without the need to do a read/rewrite process.
In theory, this speeds things up when the ssd is getting full.

All SSD's will have firmware that reclaims nand blocks. They differ in how aggressive they work. Sometimes immediately, sometimes during periods of inactivity. There are tradeoffs with either approach.
No one approach seems to be the unquestioned best.

Wiith windows 7 you will get standard drivers that support trim. Just specify the sata mode as AHCI(not IDE or raid).

ANY ssd will be 50x faster than a hard drive in random i/o and 2-3x faster in sequential.

A SSD does have a limited number of read/rewrite cycles. But, not to worry.
In normal desktop operations, you will not run out of writes in ten years, long after the ssd becomes obsolete.
It takes server type activity to cause a problem.
To see how much capability remains, there are programs that can query the s.m.a.r.t. statistics and tell you.
For Intel SSD's you can download from Intel the SSD toolkit program.

Don't over analyze the SSD. Don't bother with tweaks etc.
Just buy the capacity you need and enjoy it.
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a c 544 G Storage
May 27, 2012 5:03:34 PM

rus2 said:
Now you really have me confused. I have Win 7. How can I log off windows without turning off my computer?? When I turn my computer on Win 7 loads. I'm either using Win 7 or my computer is off.


Here's a link on how to Log off from Windows: http://windows.microsoft.com/en-us/windows7/Log-off-fro...
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a c 544 G Storage
May 27, 2012 5:09:57 PM

Rathine said:
Also, does garbage collection occur automatically simply by logging off? That is, without configuring anything or installing any software? This would seem to eliminate the need for defraging?


Garbage Collection algorithms are part of a SSD's firmware and occur automatically when there's low (idle) operating system activity.

You don't ever need to defragment a SSD. There's no performance benefits and it just adds unnecessary writes to the SSD.
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May 27, 2012 6:24:12 PM

Dereck47 said:
Here's a link on how to Log off from Windows: http://windows.microsoft.com/en-us/windows7/Log-off-fro...


Your link is when there are multiple users. I'm the only user so when I click on shutdown the computer turns off. I can't "log off" windows without turning my computer off.
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a c 544 G Storage
May 27, 2012 6:38:26 PM

rus2 said:
Your link is when there are multiple users. I'm the only user so when I click on shutdown the computer turns off. I can't "log off" windows without turning my computer off.


I don't know how you set up your Windows install. Even with a single user you should still have an arrow next to your Shut Down button with an option to Log off.
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May 27, 2012 6:43:49 PM

Dereck47 said:
I don't know how you set up your Windows install. Even with a single user you should still have an arrow next to your Shut Down button with an option to Log off.


OK. I see what you mean. I do have that arrow and when I click on it I do have the option to log off. I'm a dork!!! LOL

If Trim is enabled do I still need to log off? How can I tell if I need to activate Garbage Collection??
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a c 544 G Storage
May 27, 2012 7:23:53 PM

If Trim is enabled do I still need to log off? said:
If Trim is enabled do I still need to log off?


No, not really. TRIM should be enough to maintain drive performance.


How can I tell if I need to activate Garbage Collection?? said:
How can I tell if I need to activate Garbage Collection??


If you run a lot of drive benchmarks you should use GC to recover drive performance.
You should also use GC if you have drives in a RAID array since the TRIM command is not passed to drives that are in a RAID array.

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May 27, 2012 7:52:09 PM

Dereck47 said:
No, not really. TRIM should be enough to maintain drive performance.




If you run a lot of drive benchmarks you should use GC to recover drive performance.
You should also use GC if you have drives in a RAID array since the TRIM command is not passed to drives that are in a RAID array.



"If you run a lot of drive benchmarks" Are you referring to running CrystalDiskMark software to check my speeds?
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a c 544 G Storage
May 27, 2012 8:01:05 PM

[msgquoted="If you run a lot of drive benchmarks" Are you referring to running CrystalDiskMark software to check my speeds?]"If you run a lot of drive benchmarks" Are you referring to running CrystalDiskMark software to check my speeds?[/msgquoted]

Yes, at its default settings CrystalDiskMark writes 20GB of test data per run. If you've run 3 or more tests in a row you should Log off overnight to allow GC to recover drive performance.
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a b G Storage
May 27, 2012 9:13:57 PM

There is a simple program for checking out the life span of your SSD called SSD Life. There are other programs that check the life of your SSD. Also, regarding your TRIM command, it helps maintain performance. I believe it turns on when your computer is idle.
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May 27, 2012 9:38:18 PM

Well funny thing is, I have a Mushkin Chronos 120GB SSD and it really doesn't seem to run much faster than any of the previous head and platter drives I've owned in the past... and I have no idea why.

The model number is MKNSSDCR120GB and the item number is N82E16820226236 I don't think I can enable TRIM because I'm not running windows 7.

When I try to enable AHCI in my motherboard BIOS, I get some kind of error after post that prevents me from loading my OS. My motherboard is a variant of the AMD 790XT + G45 chipset So I just leave it in default SATA mode.

Any thoughts?

geofelt said:

ANY ssd will be 50x faster than a hard drive in random i/o and 2-3x faster in sequential.

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a b G Storage
May 27, 2012 9:40:07 PM

Have you enabled AHCI before installing your OS? Because it makes a huge difference.
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May 27, 2012 9:43:05 PM

Wait, AHCI in and of itself makes a huge difference?

Or running TRIM, which requires AHCI makes a difference?

fantastik250 said:
Have you enabled AHCI before installing your OS? Because it makes a huge difference.
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a b G Storage
May 27, 2012 9:51:20 PM

Short answer, yes.

You have a couple of options for your SATA controllers within the BIOS (IDE/AHCI/RAID). You must make sure that AHCI is enabled to be able to use speed of your SSD.
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May 27, 2012 9:53:40 PM

So if it's running under the default mode, it probably won't be much faster than a head and platter drive?

Will AHCI work even on older operating systems like windows xp 64-bit edition?


fantastik250 said:
Short answer, yes.

You have a couple of options for your SATA controllers within the BIOS (IDE/AHCI/RAID). You must make sure that AHCI is enabled to be able to use speed of your SSD.

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May 27, 2012 10:27:37 PM

What are the chances that enabling AHCI will make things more likely to go "wrong" ? Many of the reviews on places like Newegg indicate the users experienced problems only after switching modes like this.

My operating systems are already installed, so I'd probably have to reformat to enable AHCI anyhow :( 
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a b G Storage
May 27, 2012 10:43:27 PM

Well, the safest option is changing the SATA mode in the BIOS and then doing a clean install.
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May 27, 2012 10:44:25 PM

So with a clean install, AHCI should be just as stable as IDE?

fantastik250 said:
Well, the safest option is changing the SATA mode in the BIOS and then doing a clean install.

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a c 180 G Storage
May 27, 2012 10:48:45 PM

Rathine said:
So with a clean install, AHCI should be just as stable as IDE?

Probably even more stable.
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May 27, 2012 10:51:39 PM

Perfect... Is it possible to get AHCI to function with windows vista or 2000?
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a b G Storage
May 27, 2012 10:54:59 PM

But, in an XP operating system there are missing drivers and a lot of steps. You should look through some of the links I provided on how to properly install AHCI drivers. In Vista and Windows 7 it already includes the drivers.

I will provide a couple more links:
http://www.tomshardware.com/forum/267318-45-ahci
http://aps2.toshiba-tro.de/kb0/TSB85017Z0000R01.htm

For XP AHCI drivers:
http://techrena.blogspot.com/2009/01/download-intel-sat...

Yes, AHCI helps control your SATA.
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May 28, 2012 3:37:44 AM

Ok, so bottom line, if you're not running AHCI, is there any real reason to get an SSD over a head and platter drive?
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May 28, 2012 4:08:53 AM

Dereck47 said:
Yes, at its default settings CrystalDiskMark writes 20GB of test data per run. If you've run 3 or more tests in a row you should Log off overnight to allow GC to recover drive performance.


I think I've finally got my head around Trim and Garbage Collection. Trim enables Garbage Collection to do it's job behind the scene efficiently.

Thanks for your patience with me, Dereck47.
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a b G Storage
May 28, 2012 6:57:37 AM

Rathine said:
Ok, so bottom line, if you're not running AHCI, is there any real reason to get an SSD over a head and platter drive?


That is correct, you are not using the true potential of the SSD.
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May 28, 2012 11:23:40 AM

I am a PC technician and I will tell you a few things about these drives. We have them in laptops at work, and they are fast and use less power than a standard hard drive, but have one disadvantage. In my experience, when they fail, they simply die and the system no longer recognizes them. They should be more reliable than a mechanical drive, although I have no figures to back that up, but it is very unlikely you will get data from them if they fail, so keep your stuff backed up! In a nutshell, these drives are memory chips on a circuit board. If the chips fail, the data that was on them is gone. If the circuit board fails, the chips can be soldered on another board, but this can cost losts of $$$! I am not trying to scare anybody away from getting one as I will get one for my laptop at some point, but just want to share my experience with others on this forum.
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a c 180 G Storage
May 28, 2012 1:20:07 PM

fantastik250 said:
That is correct, you are not using the true potential of the SSD.


I would disagree. Not getting the true potential, yes, but to forgo a SSD for that reason would not be correct.

Because there is no mechanical motion, a SSD will be WAAY faster than any hard drive; even without trim.
Trim is a benefit for updates, but for reading, trim is irrelevant.
Early ssd's did not have trim, and as an early adopter, I still found a big diffrence.
If you will be using a os that does not support trim, or, can't implement it, do not worry. You will be very pleased.
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a b G Storage
May 28, 2012 2:45:18 PM

mikekoz said:
I am a PC technician and I will tell you a few things about these drives. We have them in laptops at work, and they are fast and use less power than a standard hard drive, but have one disadvantage. In my experience, when they fail, they simply die and the system no longer recognizes them. They should be more reliable than a mechanical drive, although I have no figures to back that up, but it is very unlikely you will get data from them if they fail, so keep your stuff backed up! In a nutshell, these drives are memory chips on a circuit board. If the chips fail, the data that was on them is gone. If the circuit board fails, the chips can be soldered on another board, but this can cost losts of $$$! I am not trying to scare anybody away from getting one as I will get one for my laptop at some point, but just want to share my experience with others on this forum.



Not really so different than a failed mechanical drive. I have had my share of those over the years, many, many times both at home and at the office. Getting info off of a mechanical drive can be iffy at best, and expensive as well. I have been using SSD's for a little over a year now in a few of my systems, and have not had one fail, yet anyway. An SSD in my opinion does not cause any more alarm or need for a good backup than any mechanical drive would.

Always, always, always in any circumstance, back up your important stuff!
If you do not, no matter what kind of drives you use, you WILL live to regret it!
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a c 180 G Storage
May 28, 2012 3:00:26 PM

Here is a report on component return rates from november 2011.
Not exactly failure rates, but at least some sort of statistics.
http://www.behardware.com/articles/843-6/components-ret...

As usual, it depends.
Intel SSD's seem to be far and away the best. .1 to .3% return rates.
OCZ, on the other hand has some models in the 5% area.
For hard drives, the 1tb drives fare better than the 2tb drives.
For the most part, the best drives are in the 1-2% range.
The worst are n the 4-5% area.

jitpublisher has it right on backup.
If you value your data, protect it to an external destination.
Not only do you need to protect from device failure, but also from operator error, viruses, malware, fire, theft etc...
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a b G Storage
May 28, 2012 9:02:10 PM

geofelt said:
I would disagree. Not getting the true potential, yes, but to forgo a SSD for that reason would not be correct.

Because there is no mechanical motion, a SSD will be WAAY faster than any hard drive; even without trim.
Trim is a benefit for updates, but for reading, trim is irrelevant.
Early ssd's did not have trim, and as an early adopter, I still found a big diffrence.
If you will be using a os that does not support trim, or, can't implement it, do not worry. You will be very pleased.


Yes, I already know the benefits of the SSD, in fact I have stated in other threads about benefits you have mentioned. The OP was specifically talking about the mode setting. AHCI has a better response, transfer, better IO and etc, versus the legacy IDE.

+1 to mikekoz, it is always important to backup your files.
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May 30, 2012 7:16:03 AM

I wonder if there's a problem with my drive, my OS or my motherboard as to why AHCI cannot be enabled. Has anyone heard of problems with the AMD 790XT - G45 chipsets?
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a b G Storage
May 30, 2012 7:21:35 AM

What operating system are you using?
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a c 544 G Storage
May 30, 2012 2:25:10 PM

Disconnect all drives and clear the cmos on your motherboard.
Boot into BIOS and change your SATA mode to AHCI.
Save your BIOS settings and shut down pc.
Connect your drives, boot into BIOS, and see if your SATA mode is still AHCI.
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a b G Storage
May 30, 2012 8:12:05 PM

It wouldn't matter if OP did that. Windows already have installed drivers according to BIOS on 1st time setup. Depending on the operating system, he would need to do a registry edit or install drivers. XP=install drivers, vista/7=change registry settings.
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a c 544 G Storage
May 30, 2012 8:20:21 PM

fantastik250 said:
It wouldn't matter if OP did that. Windows already have installed drivers according to BIOS on 1st time setup. Depending on the operating system, he would need to do a registry edit or install drivers. XP=install drivers, vista/7=change registry settings.


I thought the OP was having troubles enabling AHCI in BIOS.
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a b G Storage
May 30, 2012 10:57:08 PM

Op didn't specifically state what OS the computer is running. Op only mentioned not running Windows 7
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June 11, 2012 12:43:16 AM

I use Windows 2000 for anything that will run on it. For things that won't, I use XP 64-bit edition. I get a blue screen after either OS loads if I save AHCI in the BIOS.
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