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SSD Management: Problems With Secure Erase

Marvell-Based SSDs From Corsair, Crucial, OCZ, And Plextor: Tested
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Our testing lab truly appreciates the excellent support provided by Intel, OCZ, and Samsung. All three companies provide some sort of SSD management software that make tasks like secure-erasing or updating firmware a pain-free proposition, allowing us to test drives in quick succession. Secure-erasing SSDs from other manufacturers can quickly become complicated using utilities like HDD Erase.

Unfortunately, we discovered that all of our Marvell-based SSDs (except the Octane and both m4s) do not properly respond to the secure erase command from within HDD Erase, consistently generating a “HPA/DCO area” error. Typically, it isn't necessary for you to use secure erase, since the TRIM command helps maintain the performance of your solid-state drive. However, there are occasions when it comes in handy, particularly before a re-format or prior to rebuilding a RAID array.

We're not expecting Corsair, Crucial, or Plextor to release their own erase utilities. However, you can achieve the same outcome using the free erase tool from Parted Magic. Quick Tip: use the Universal USB Installer to put the Parted Magic ISO on a thumb drive.

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  • 10 Hide
    hellfire24 , May 1, 2012 6:39 AM
    crucial FTW!
  • 1 Hide
    Anonymous , May 1, 2012 7:49 AM
    Shoulda tossed in a V4 128gb for entertainment value...ah well. :p 
  • -7 Hide
    uruquiora , May 1, 2012 9:14 AM
    hellfire24crucial FTW!

    hmm , my M4 has 10x more BSOD than my vertex 3... Each i boot my pc and work with it i prepare myself for a BSOD with my M4...
  • 3 Hide
    joytech22 , May 1, 2012 11:27 AM
    uruquiorahmm , my M4 has 10x more BSOD than my vertex 3... Each i boot my pc and work with it i prepare myself for a BSOD with my M4...


    That is what we in the I.T industry like to call: "Faulty Hardware".
    If you considered that normal all this time, I have some bad news for you..
  • 6 Hide
    chesteracorgi , May 1, 2012 1:00 PM
    With the price of SSDs coming down, Toms should start introducing 256 GB + drives into its reviews. It's nice to have the 64 & 128 GB reviews, but for power builders the 256 GB is becoming mainstream.
  • 2 Hide
    Cyclops21 , May 1, 2012 1:23 PM
    Any tests planned on the Sandisk Extreme models. They were a Tom's recommend buy but I still haven't seen any benchmarks on Tom's.
  • -2 Hide
    cknobman , May 1, 2012 1:51 PM
    I'd still say for most boot and program drives SandForce is the way to go as it has a significant performance edge.
  • 4 Hide
    Onus , May 1, 2012 1:54 PM
    I've only installed 6-7 SSDs, with mixed results. Two with Sadforce controllers died within months or weeks (the RMA of one is yet to be tested). Given that the slowest SSD beats the pants off the fastest magnetic HDD, I have quickly reached the conclusion that reliability has to be the #1 criterion for SSDs, and I'm not sure Sandforce is there yet.
  • 0 Hide
    zodiacfml , May 1, 2012 2:13 PM
    Awesome. SSDs time is now!
  • 7 Hide
    ramon zarat , May 1, 2012 2:34 PM
    uruquiorahmm , my M4 has 10x more BSOD than my vertex 3... Each i boot my pc and work with it i prepare myself for a BSOD with my M4...


    You must be joking... The list of forum thread complaining about SF controller instability is endless. The M4 actually has a very solid reputation. I've been running 2 128GB M4 in 2 different PC for the last 8 months. Not a single BSOD. They still both benchmark the same speed as day 1. Actually, the M4 was and might very well still be the best choice for balance between price, performance and reliability in the whole SSD market. In my book, there are only 3 manufacturers really worth mentioning when it comes to SSD: Crucial, Intel and Samsung.

    Your unit is simply defective. That can happen to any manufacturer. RMA it and be happy.
  • 6 Hide
    daysyang , May 1, 2012 3:54 PM
    ^ agree... my M4 has been nothing but awesome.
  • 1 Hide
    Pawessum16 , May 1, 2012 4:50 PM
    When are you going to update your SSD charts? Some of the SSD's on the 2011 chart don't even exist anymore, and it's missing all the cool new drives released in the past couple of months.
  • 4 Hide
    americanherosandwich , May 1, 2012 4:55 PM
    Hah, I just got done reading this, too: http://computerhardwareupgrades.blogspot.com/2012/05/comparing-different-nand-types-and.html

    Crucial M4's still kicking butt.
  • 2 Hide
    g-unit1111 , May 1, 2012 5:04 PM
    daysyang^ agree... my M4 has been nothing but awesome.


    So has mine, but at $70 I am thinking I might ditch my Intel 320 for a Plextor M3. I've always been a fan of Plextor drives and it's good to know that the move to SSD hasn't changed their quality at all. Tempting, tempting...
  • 2 Hide
    eddieroolz , May 1, 2012 5:14 PM
    Godo to see my choice of SSD be proven in tests. I have high hopes for my Crucial m4.
  • 1 Hide
    inflexion , May 1, 2012 6:07 PM
    Nice review. I just picked up another Crucial M4 today on Buy.com for $110 USD to my door.

    Thanks for the great content!
  • 2 Hide
    Anonymous , May 1, 2012 6:33 PM
    Where the heck can you get the M3 64gb for $70?
  • 0 Hide
    rohitbaran , May 1, 2012 11:31 PM
    I wonder if there are any reliability stats on SSDs available. They are fast for sure, but how about reliability scores, based off drive performance over a year or so?
  • 0 Hide
    slomo4sho , May 2, 2012 1:11 AM
    rohitbaranI wonder if there are any reliability stats on SSDs available. They are fast for sure, but how about reliability scores, based off drive performance over a year or so?


    I couldn't agree more. Having a fast drive means nothing if it dies or corrupts your data.
  • 0 Hide
    10tacle , May 2, 2012 3:36 AM
    Where are you guys seeing the 64GB M3 for $70? I have yet to find it anywhere for under $100. In fact, the best price I can find from reputable E-tailer is $120. I'd snap one up in a second as dedicated Intel SRT cache drive.
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