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Best way to format/partition an SSD (performance & wear-leveling)

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  • SSD
  • Partition
  • Storage
Last response: in Storage
October 31, 2012 7:35:06 PM

I just bought a Samsung 830 128GB. It's still in its' box and intended to receive a fresh, clean installation of Windows 8 Pro (x64).
My motherboard is a 1366 socket, Gigabyte G1 Sniper. X58 Express / ICH10R chipset + the Marvell 88SE9182 chip for SATA 6Gb/s support.

The 9182, as opposed to the 9128 chip uses two PCIe lanes and gets the FULL 6GB/s (as opposed to a maximum of 5GB/s for the 9128). However I have conflicting information about TRIM support, the majority however says that no Marvell controller supports TRIM while others say it's the driver's fault. I am unsure how Windows 8's stock drivers may affect this.

With all that said, how should I format the SSD?
I will only install the OS on it as I store everything else on other HDDs and my current Windows partition weights in at just shy of 27GB so basically I will need less than half of the total space available.

Is it better for performance and wear-leveling purposes to create a single partition for the entire drive or to only create a 64GB partition and leave the rest as free, unpartitioned space?

Finally, should I partition using Windows 8 installer or do I need to use a specialized format/partitioning program for SSDs?

Thank you in advance!!!

More about : format partition ssd performance wear leveling

October 31, 2012 7:53:36 PM

keeperos said:
I
With all that said, how should I format the SSD?
I will only install the OS on it as I store everything else on other HDDs and my current Windows partition weights in at just shy of 27GB so basically I will need less than half of the total space available.

Is it better for performance and wear-leveling purposes to create a single partition for the entire drive or to only create a 64GB partition and leave the rest as free, unpartitioned space?


I think your referring to over-provisioning and having to leave a % unformatted. I believe all but at the very least the major brand SSDs now account for over-provsioning and you can just format them full out right in the windows install.
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October 31, 2012 8:07:16 PM

From what I've seen, a standard AHCI driver should work with the Marvell 9182. If this is the case, TRIM should at least work in that setup. With TRIM working, leaving free space or using the whole drive for your partition should make little difference on wear leveling assuming you'll have just as much data stored either way, but I generally err on the side of making that space available if something needs it, as most software doesn't cope well with running out of space.

The windows installer will align partitions at 1MB marks which should be fine for any current SSDs and their NAND's erase block sizes.
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a b G Storage
October 31, 2012 8:09:39 PM

+1 tinman12

I think your over thinking it.

Win 7 is optimizes ssd so I don't think you need tweak for windows 8.

As for partition, you need to think that ssd help about loading

so I would do 2 partition install win8 on 1 partition / other for games / programs that need to load faster



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October 31, 2012 8:26:59 PM

I think I might have overcomplicated things.

My last Windows installation was about 2 years old and at its' worst it never got bigger than 35 GB TOTAL. The partition itself being 50GB.
EVERYTHING else (and I do mean everything) was and still is on other hard disks. At the very worst I'll never reach 40GB, so a 64 GB partition is MORE than enough. I am NOT gonna run out of space in this drive one way or another.

What I was asking was, from a performance and life-time aspect, which scheme will work better. Create one partition of 64GB and leave the rest unpartitioned space or create one 128GB partition?

Let us assume that TRIM will NOT work with my controller since, from what I understand, if it will then there won't be a difference performance-wise one way or another.
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November 2, 2012 2:00:56 PM

Performance degradation is going to come from poor garbage collection and you filling up the SSD to less than ~20% of available space.

It sounds like you're already sure you'll have plenty room and never be in danger of filling it, so max out your partition to get the most performance. If you were concerned you would fill the drive without noticing that you were out of space then I would say leave some un-formatted space as a safety bumper, but it doesn't look like that will be an issue.

Create a max available partition and just do some of the SSD tweaks/guide recommendations on this site, SSD review site, and follow the black viper service list for the best performance.

SSDs perceptive(i.e. you notice it) performance gains more than anything come from 1) when you first move from spindle drives to SSD, and 2) moving to larger SSDs.
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a c 411 G Storage
November 2, 2012 3:49:09 PM

At 128GB there is no reason to partition your new Samsung 830. The ssd will become one large partition during a clean Microsoft Windows installation. After installing Windows use the Samsung SSD Magician utility to optimize the ssd and Windows. No muss! No fuss! No bother!

From a performance perspective you would be better off installing Windows, your applications, utilities, and some of your favorite games on the ssd. It is senseless to leave most of the ssd capacity unused.

In terms of long term performance and degradation, the general rule of thumb is to only fill your ssd to 80% of available capacity. The ssd comes with some space already allocated for overprovisioning and a few other functions which is separate from available capacity.

Modern 3rd generation ssd's like the 830 do a good job of garabge collection on their own without any TRIM. The vast majority are also designed to recognize the TRIM command. Garbage collection was developed before TRIM. TRIM was introduced with Microsoft Windows 7. When a user deletes data Windows triggers the TRIM command. Essentially it is a message transmitted to the ssd that a user has deleted data. The message also identifies where the deleted data is located on the ssd. TRIM complements an ssd's own garbage collection because the ssd no longer has to spend time searching for the deleted data. However, there is one aspect that is rarely discussed or mentioned. After reading the TRIM message the ssd may or may not immediately begin the garbage collection process. Some ssd's initiate garbage collection right away and some wait for optimal conditions when the pc is running at near idle conditions.

There is one space saving tweak that I highly recommend. Normally the Windows backup and restore features store data on the primary C: drive. You can change the backup and restore features settings so that the data is saved to one of your hard disk drives. In addition you can schedule the backup and restore feature to run automatically in the background. I have mine set to run every Sunday morning.
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November 3, 2012 6:34:50 PM

Best answer selected by keeperos.
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November 3, 2012 6:35:43 PM

Thank you guys, did the installation today, MAN was it fast, it must have taken 10 minutes at the most, I went for a drink of water and by the time I got back it was already installed!!!

Cool!
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