SSD Performance: TRIM And Firmware Updates Tested

Test Procedure: A Torture Test

It is possible to switch TRIM support on and off in Windows 7, which we used for our testing. There is a very simple way:

To enable TRIM (if it's disabled), go to command prompt and type:

fsutil behavior set disabledeletenotify 0

To disable TRIM, to go command prompt and type:

fsutil behavior set disabledeletenotify 1

Note: you need administrator rights to execute fsutil.

First, a few words on TRIM and performance. It has become rather difficult to push an SSD to its limits, given the most recent high-performance products. For our testing, this meant coming up with a solid workload in order to tax our test platform. In the past, you only had to run a few I/O-intensive tests and some throughput workloads to trigger a significant performance drop.

It took a lot more effort with the test drive. We used the Iometer database test pattern that reads and writes lots of small blocks onto the physical medium. We prefer this over a logical volume because it doesn’t allow the SSD to quickly recover and maximize performance. Then, we copied roughly one million different files onto the SSD until the 256 GB of available capacity was approximately 80% filled. We immediately deleted all the files again and ran the storage test of PCMark Vantage. Here is the exact methodology:

  1. Sanitize SSD
  2. Create volume and format
  3. Run PCMark Vantage (results labeled ‘fresh’)
  4. Delete volume
  5. Run 3 hours of Iometer, database test pattern Q1 to Q32, 30 minutes each
  6. Create volume and format
  7. Copy 37 instances of our USB thumb drive test data onto the SSD (1+ million files)
  8. Delete files
  9. Run PCMark Vantage (results labeled ‘tortured’)
  10. Wait 30 minutes
  11. Run PCMark Vantage (results labeled ‘after 30 minutes idle’)

This way we received three different PCMark Vantage performance results under different conditions. Let’s see how these differ.