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OCZ, Indilinx Firmware Makes SSDs Faster

Most SSDs are wicked fast and an appreciable upgrade to any system. The thing about SSDs – at least up to this point – is that performance of SSDs can degrade over time due to the way that data is written to NAND memory.

For drives that support it, Windows 7 is able to issue the TRIM command, which aims to cut down on performance degradation from multiple file write and and rewrite operations. Not only does TRIM improve performance, but it also is able to reduce drive wear and prolong life. Of course, this requires intervention by the OS. Now OCZ and Indilinx have come up with a performance-preserving solution that operates straight off the hardware thanks to a new firmware.

A beta firmware for the OCZ Vertex line (version 1585) featured something called "background garbage collection." What the SSD does it that it services and reorganizes itself (collecting garbage) during idle time to help return the drive to its original fresh-out-of-the-box performance levels.

Early tests of this firmware, courtesy of PC Perspective and Hot Hardware, show that just a few minutes of idle is able to noticeably improve performance. After an hour of idle, the OCZ Vertex was restored to performance levels comparable to the new drive.

The beta firmware was far from final, as it did contain bugs that hindered file copy speed, but OCZ and Indilinx are already working on a new version that also supports ATA8 ACS2 TRIM.

SSDs are looking sweeter than ever. Now all we need is a new firmware that will do something about the price tags.

Marcus Yam
Marcus Yam served as Tom's Hardware News Director during 2008-2014. He entered tech media in the late 90s and fondly remembers the days when an overclocked Celeron 300A and Voodoo2 SLI comprised a gaming rig with the ultimate street cred.