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Data Storage Operating Systems Software Windows

Next Generation SSDs Delayed Due To Vista 600

Posted by kdawson
from the favorite-whipping-boy dept.
PoliTech notes in a journal entry that "Vista is the gift that just keeps on giving." "Speaking during SanDisk's second-quarter earnings conference call, Chairman and [CEO] Eli Harari said that Windows Vista will present a special challenge for solid state drive makers. 'As soon as you get into Vista applications in notebook and desktop, you start running into very demanding applications because Vista is not optimized for flash memory solid state disk,' he said... 'The next generation controllers need to basically compensate for Vista shortfalls,' he said. 'Unfortunately, (SSDs) performance in the Vista environment falls short of what the market really needs and that is why we need to develop the next generation, which we'll start sampling end of this year, early next year.' Harari said this challenge alone is putting SanDisk behind schedule. "We have very good internal controller technology... That said, I'd say that we are now behind because we did not fully understand, frankly, the limitations in the Vista environment.'"
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Next Generation SSDs Delayed Due To Vista

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  • Unbelievable (Score:5, Insightful)

    by clang_jangle (975789) * on Wednesday July 23, 2008 @01:43AM (#24299951) Journal
    It seems hardly a day goes by without seeing yet another example of Microsoft's utter disregard for the needs and desires of virtually every market -- consumer, enterprise, and OEM. Rarely in the history of American business has any company shot themselves in the foot in such a spectacular manner, earning the ire of so many. I almost feel sorry for them. They really need to regain some sense regarding Win7, bring back the MinWin idea and use a good, transparent virtualization scheme for backwards compatability. Otherwise I think they will be pretty well finished in the OS market. The OEMs are not going down with them if they can help it, you can be sure of that. And once Windows is no longer the defacto preloaded OS it's all over.
    • by noidentity (188756) on Wednesday July 23, 2008 @01:47AM (#24299971)
      Impressive; Vista can slow down a company's product development, not just the computers it's running on!
    • Re:Unbelievable (Score:5, Insightful)

      by LackThereof (916566) on Wednesday July 23, 2008 @01:51AM (#24299995)

      They really need to [...] use a good, transparent virtualization scheme for backwards compatability.

      Yes, THIS. Running legacy apps in a virtualized 2k/xp environment so they can get a clean start without worrying about backwards compatibility and all the bullshit that comes with it. Hardware is plenty powerful enough to do it, these days.

      • Re:Unbelievable (Score:5, Insightful)

        by Sky Cry (872584) on Wednesday July 23, 2008 @03:38AM (#24300557)

        Hardware is plenty powerful enough to do it, these days.

        Not once you get Vista running on it.

        • Re:Unbelievable (Score:5, Informative)

          by beav007 (746004) on Wednesday July 23, 2008 @04:11AM (#24300761) Journal
          I'm surprised this hasn't been modded as flamebait yet, but it's absolutely correct.

          I'm running Ubuntu 8.04 on my desktop computer at the moment. That is,
          P4 2.66GHz
          512MB of RAM
          GeForce2 MX400 graphics card

          No overclocking, no tricks, running the latest version of Ubuntu with far more 3d eye-candy than Aero is capable of, every service on, a crap load of extra packages installed, including server software (such as mySQL and Apache) running in the background, running Firefox with 10 tabs on one desktop, Evolution on another, xChat on the third, and Rhythmbox, Skype and Pidgeon on the fourth, and it's still nice and responsive.

          I'd be lucky to get Vista to even install, let alone run Aero and programs as well...
          • Re:Unbelievable (Score:5, Insightful)

            by Icarium (1109647) on Wednesday July 23, 2008 @06:01AM (#24301631)

            You seem to have missed something: "These days" implies that the poster was referring to reasonably modern hardware. Trotting out a machine that is litteraly obsolete* as a case study proves nothing other than that Vista doesn't play nice on old hardware. Granted, it probably doesn't play all that nice at the lower end of modern hardware either.

            *obsolete in the sense that none of the parts you mention are still being sold. You simply cannot buy a new machine with those specifications any more. Hell, the GFX card alone has been off the market for at least 4 years, and is barely comparable to even integrated GFX, never mind a cheap $50 low end card.

            If you want to prove that Vista runs like a dog on reasonably modern hardware, at least use reasonably modern hardware as a reference.

            • Re:Unbelievable (Score:5, Informative)

              by ErroneousBee (611028) <neil:neilhancock.co.uk> on Wednesday July 23, 2008 @08:24AM (#24303107) Homepage

              Hello, by 'reasonably modern hardware' do you mean those newfangled silent,fast SSD drive thingies? I think I read somewhere that Vista doesnt play nice with them.

              Maybe you mean the latest CPUs comming out the Fabs, like the Atom and Via low power chips. I may have read a story about a hardware company (I think is was Asus) producing a low power device (the Eaaa PC?) that runs the latest Linux, but for the Windows version, they chose Windows XP over Vista for performance reasons.

              Perhaps you mean new hardware designs like the Cell architecture and other SMP designs coming to a Blade Center near you. The NT base for Vista has a shitty scheduler, and appears to require 1 NIC per CPU for good performance, which is going to make 32-way CPUs rather expensive if you want to run Windows.
              I was going to mock Windows for not being able to run on Cell based machines like the PS3, but it looks like somebody has managed it [engadget.com], pffft.

            • Re:Unbelievable (Score:5, Insightful)

              by poot_rootbeer (188613) on Wednesday July 23, 2008 @08:40AM (#24303325)

              Trotting out a machine that is litteraly obsolete* as a case study proves nothing other than that Vista doesn't play nice on old hardware.

              If you have to specify the definition of "obsolete" that you're using, perhaps it's not the most cromulent term to use.

              Yes, up until very recently a 5-year-old piece of desktop kit would have been considered obsolete, in every sense. But today, we're at a point where that "ancient" Pentium IV with 512MB of RAM is (or should be) all the processing power the typical web surfer or spreadsheet jockey normally needs.

              Hardware manufacturers' desire to keep selling more new products doesn't mean that all prior products have become functionally obsolete.

    • Re:Unbelievable (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Tx (96709) on Wednesday July 23, 2008 @01:59AM (#24300039) Journal

      It seems hardly a day goes by without seeing yet another example of Microsoft's utter disregard for the needs and desires of virtually every market -- consumer, enterprise, and OEM

      Much as I love Microsoft bashing, this is bull. The SSD manufacturers are moving their products into a market dominated by an established technology, namely hard disks, and it's up to them to make their products perform well enough to displace that established technology. Running well on SSDs wasn't a design goal of Vista, and AFAICS there is a limit to what Microsoft can do about this in the short term. I'm sure this will be on the radar for the next version of Windows, but at the moment I would say the SSD manufacturers need to work on their products rather than casting blame.

      • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

        by Anonymous Coward

        I've run Vista Home Premium on an Asus Eee PC (with 4GB SSD) and it runs just fine. And quick. I have no idea what they are complaining about.

        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by danwat1234 (942579)
          How in the world did you fit Vista in a 4GB space? Usually clean installs are 6GB+!
          • Re:Unbelievable (Score:4, Informative)

            by whyloginwhysubscribe (993688) on Wednesday July 23, 2008 @03:12AM (#24300431)
            I didn't believe it either, but did a search and found this:
            http://www.modaco.com/content/asus-eee-pc-http-www-eeeasy-com/261965/installing-vista-on-the-eee-ive-done-it-and-it-works/ [modaco.com]
            So it looks like it is possible...
            Not rushing to do it on my Eee though!
          • Re:Unbelievable (Score:5, Interesting)

            by Christophotron (812632) on Wednesday July 23, 2008 @03:13AM (#24300433)
            6GB, are you kidding?! I consider 18GB the bare minimum for JUST THE VISTA OS PARTITION. That's with my Program Files, Users, and ProgramData directories moved to a separate partition and linked into the C drive using NTFS junctions. I learned this the hard way when I decided I wanted separation of Applications from OS data. Basically, the Windows directory itself (particularly WinSXS) starts to build up DLLs and other cruft faster than you can imagine and expands to many gigabytes. Not to mention the applications that just INSIST on filling up your C drive with their crap hidden in various places you wouldn't expect. Oh yeah, and every single freaking windows update is stored in WinSXS and CAN NEVER BE DELETED. WinSXS and every program and system file that the updates act upon MUST be located on the same physical volume or Windows Update will error out. In the end, I decided it's a huge pain in the ass to attempt to organize Windows and it is not really worth it if you have a big enough hard drive to just make a huge (100GB+) C partition. I really can't understand how someone could possibly succeed at running Vista on 4GB, or why they would even think that's a good idea.
      • Re:Unbelievable (Score:5, Insightful)

        by purpledinoz (573045) on Wednesday July 23, 2008 @02:23AM (#24300161)
        Seriously, how could the SSD manufacturers not know that one of Vista requirements were: Thrash the hard disk for no reason at some random point in time yielding no apparent benefits.
        • Re:Unbelievable (Score:5, Interesting)

          by Jugalator (259273) on Wednesday July 23, 2008 @05:43AM (#24301465) Journal

          Yeah, this was what I noticed the very first time I had started using Vista.

          To clarify, the reason for most of it is at least threefold:

          SuperFetch [wikipedia.org], Windows Search Indexing, NTFS Defrag.

          I've found that disabling these will cut down on disk access significantly. Especially SuperFetch seem to be a big culprit -- it's "intelligently" loading files to RAM (pretty much any file, not just executables) if it thinks it's about to be used this time of day. For everything but the most regular computer usage patterns, you see how ridiculous of an idea that is. I decided to start disabling that system service after I had noticed it was trying to cache an incomplete ~100 MB file that was being downloaded by a P2P application to RAM. WTF, I was never going to open that file until it was done! I can think of dozens of cases where that prefetcher will be wrong, and I'll prefer saving my hard drive life time in that case.

          • Re:Unbelievable (Score:5, Insightful)

            by Gryll (23531) on Wednesday July 23, 2008 @05:59AM (#24301607)

            I decided to start disabling that system service after I had noticed it was trying to cache an incomplete ~100 MB file that was being downloaded by a P2P application to RAM. WTF, I was never going to open that file until it was done!

            I would have to disagree. Unless you are leaching 100% the P2P program would need to access the entire file.

      • Re:Unbelievable (Score:5, Interesting)

        by peas_n_carrots (1025360) on Wednesday July 23, 2008 @03:46AM (#24300609)
        It's not "bull". Microsoft fundamentally changed the storage architecture in Vista, making it very wasteful in many respects (battery life, CPU usage, drive thrashing). This *might* have been worthwhile if it offered a significant performance increase, but it doesn't. XP's storage architecture is better in almost every way when it comes to real-world usage.

        The main problem is that MS is very secretive about proprietary code in their driver stacks, including storage & file system. You can't really blame SSD manufacturers for MS's complete lack of documentation.
    • Re:Unbelievable (Score:5, Insightful)

      by countvlad (666933) on Wednesday July 23, 2008 @02:04AM (#24300077)
      Your first line is pretty trollish, but I agree with some of the points you make later. But first... Are you actually naive enough to buy this "our sales and performance are bad because Vista isn't optimized, omg!" bullshit? Do you think XP, OSX, and for that matter, Linux, are generally "optimized for SSDs"? This is a plea to investors and market analysts, saying "look, it's not our fault our numbers suck...it's Vista! Blame them!" It's a little after the fact to be blaming Vista on your shitty performance - Vista has been around long enough for them to get their act together. I remember the backlash when XP became mainstream and MSFT was everyone's favorite whipping boy because "Windows 98SE had better performance" and "Windows 2000 doesn't have a playskool theme." Now everyone swears by XP. Not that Vista is a fantastic or even decent OS - but it's become everyone's favorite whipping boy, the George Bush of the technology industry, and it's more than a little retarded. I'd like to see MSFT bring modularity and optionality to more of it's core components (read: remove IE and WMP). And they absolutely should leverage their Hypervisor tech, using it as a foundation for backwards compatibility - how great would it be to be able to run your legacy apps in a well-hidden (previous) Windows virtual machine? But the fact of the matter is, MSFT has the tech world by the balls, and the day when "openoffice experience" and "Microsoft Office experience" are equivalent on a secretaries resume are a long, long way off.
      • by cyber-vandal (148830) on Wednesday July 23, 2008 @02:11AM (#24300111) Homepage

        I swear at XP myself.

      • Re:Unbelievable (Score:5, Interesting)

        by lorenzo.boccaccia (1263310) on Wednesday July 23, 2008 @02:42AM (#24300267)
        linux has different scheduling algorithms, usually anticipatory and cfq are used for disks, and those schedulers tries to pack reads of adiacent sectors (reading also unneeded data to keep the sustained speed) - but linux also have a do nothing schedule to be used with disks with low random acces time and low bandwidth (as the SSDs)

        if vista has the same sort of disk optimization, without the ability to manually chose the disk scheduling, then the os is wasting the scarce bandwidth on a medium which is the exact opposite of a disk in term of performance. not that the optimization is bad per se, and it is very common to find prefetching on hd (even done by the controller).
      • Re:Unbelievable (Score:5, Insightful)

        by Achromatic1978 (916097) <robert@@@chromablue...net> on Wednesday July 23, 2008 @02:59AM (#24300363)
        Yeah, I had to laugh at this, what a fucking joke. "We are moving from building SSDs for primarily digital cameras which, less face it, have pretty low IO requirements, other than burst write rates on higher megapixel models, to computers using them as their primary drives with heavy read-write IO. Accordingly, we're going to blame the fact that our hardware wasn't designed for such a thing on the fact that OSes may perform heavy read/write".

        What a travesty.

        "We didn't make as much profit because SSDs are with every passing day becoming more and more of a commodity, and due to the fact that we make products on the higher end of the market than the $10/gb K-mart crap (i.e. Ultra and Extreme product lines)". Far more accurate.

        Slashdot isn't much better, "Ooh, look, `nother chance to slap Vista for max page views and ad revenue, jump on it!"

        • Re:Unbelievable (Score:5, Interesting)

          by gbjbaanb (229885) on Wednesday July 23, 2008 @04:25AM (#24300837)

          Unfortunately, this time its true. We all know how SSDs will wear out over time, we all know how they'll last for 10+ years in normal usage too so its not much of an issue.

          However, I run Vista at home, and I find that even with searching turned off, the HDD light is pretty much on all the time, except when I close an app that's used a lot of RAM whereupon it starts thrashing away for a good minute. I expect its readyboost kicking in and re-organising my drive so that app will start up faster next time, but that kind of usage will destroy a SSD in short order.

          If the access times for SSDs aren't as good as expected for HDDs, then I expect performance woudl suffer dramatically too.

          In this case, SSDs have a certain niche where they provide benefits, but Vista doesn't lend itself to that niche. The trouble the /. crowd has (besides, the usual MS antipathy) is that you'd expect an OS not to thrash the disc quite so much. If the promise of SSD persuades OS manufacturers to improve the way they use the disc (which would give benefits in energy use and overall performance) then it can only be a good thing so I welcome the Vista bashing this time.

          Oh, but no-one is attacking MS here - you'll see lots of comments that its all fine on XP - the problem lies with Vista.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by LLKrisJ (1021777)

      Hardly a day seems to go by without some unfounded Vista bashing going on somewhere on the planet.

      Where are the numbers to back up the claims?? Would it really be so hard to more precisely describe said "highly demanding applications"???

      I could go on all day.

      My Copy of Vista 64 has a stability index of 10 on my simple XPS1330 notebook and it's powered up 18 hours a day. The only thing that ever brought it down were Acrobat.exe and mfetdik.sys after a resume from hibernate. Go figure...

      Come up with cold hard

    • Re:Unbelievable (Score:4, Insightful)

      by WgT2 (591074) on Wednesday July 23, 2008 @05:54AM (#24301559) Journal

      ...yet another example of Microsoft's utter disregard...

      I'm not so sure this isn't more of an issue of their incompetence: they aren't good enough to intentionally be this bad solely on the merit of disregard. It's because they are bad at design that their product is bad and, because of their monopoly, they can continue to be this bad.

      SanDisk, too, is coming off as incompetent: here they have a chance to drive Microsoft by offering a better product that, it seems, only Microsoft cannot take a advantage of. Instead of shaming Microsoft to fix what's broken, whether with Vista or with whatever is next, they instead dumb down their product for Vista and thus submit themselves to Microsoft's hegemony.

  • by hplus (1310833) on Wednesday July 23, 2008 @01:46AM (#24299969)
    TFA doesn't go into much detail - by "not optimized" do they mean that Vista pages frequently, and thus would wear out the SSD rapidly? Or is it possibly something to do with sustained read speeds?
    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by Saint Gerbil (1155665)
      Its complete crap i was reading about this on ars and the macbook air has the same limits as vista, and people were hinting that Linux has similar issues. Or os Vista now causing problems with Mac products now.
  • Optimized? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by pthisis (27352) on Wednesday July 23, 2008 @01:48AM (#24299977) Homepage Journal

    It greatly upsets me that they view this as a question of optimization.

    Seek speed is nice, but it's only one aspect of SSD technology. Heat is another, and for a large segment of us the noise generated is the dominant feature. The HD is the only piece of the machine standing in the way of silent operation, and unlike power use or speed that's something that can affect the owner all day long even when they're not actually using the machine.

    Holding up silent drives because they aren't quite fast enough is just disheartening. :-( I'm guessing for others, holding up cooler drives is equally sad.

  • by statusbar (314703) <jeffk@statusbar.com> on Wednesday July 23, 2008 @01:49AM (#24299985) Homepage Journal

    For some reason 'rpm' from mandrake is surprisingly inefficient on SSD's. It makes mandrake practically unusable for me on my eeepc. Yet dpkg/apt-get/aptitude on debian and ubuntu is just zippy.

    --jeffk++

  • by RuBLed (995686) on Wednesday July 23, 2008 @01:58AM (#24300033)
    'As soon as you get into Vista applications in notebook and desktop, you start running into very demanding applications because Vista is not optimized for flash memory solid state disk,'

    Based on the statement, it earns the Vista Capable sticker...

    On a serious note, I would try not to think that this is a case of -insert company- blaming MS for their own shortfall. Although I am more likely to believe that this is Vista's fault and in this case MS should be the one issuing some patches...
  • by naz404 (1282810) on Wednesday July 23, 2008 @02:00AM (#24300047) Homepage
    Flash memory has a certain "read-write" lifespan, after X thousands of reads/writes, the media becomes damaged and eventually becomes unusable.

    Thus, lots of reads/writes via the swap file or web browser caches accelerate the death of Flash SSDs.

    I wish newer OSes made tinier footprints and would use RAMDrives more like Damn Small Linux, thus prolonging the life of the "hard drives" of machines like the Asus EEE.
    • by palumbor (854887) on Wednesday July 23, 2008 @03:04AM (#24300387)
      Seriously can we put this statement to bed yet? It has been several years (think, five or so) since this statement has even been slightly accurate. Yes, many writes can destroy a drive, but the number is in the (upper) hundreds of millions - performed on one single sector.

      Today flash hard drives levy on technology used in older embedded devices that relied on flash, called "wear leveling".

      Because each write is spread out throughout the entire disk, you don't physically write to the same sector X thousands of times when updating a cache file or whatnot.

      Even if you had something thrashing the SSD continuously, you would not destroy the drive within the reasonable lifespan of a comparable rotating media drive.
      • by blind biker (1066130) on Wednesday July 23, 2008 @04:48AM (#24301021) Journal

        Seriously can we put this statement to bed yet? It has been several years (think, five or so) since this statement has even been slightly accurate. Yes, many writes can destroy a drive, but the number is in the (upper) hundreds of millions - performed on one single sector.

        Today flash hard drives levy on technology used in older embedded devices that relied on flash, called "wear leveling".

        Because each write is spread out throughout the entire disk, you don't physically write to the same sector X thousands of times when updating a cache file or whatnot.

        Even if you had something thrashing the SSD continuously, you would not destroy the drive within the reasonable lifespan of a comparable rotating media drive.

        No, this statement will not be put to bed, because it is based on facts - measured physical quantities. And here's one thing to ponder: if an application writes to the disk 100 times per second, how much will your 4GB SSD going to last? If you have only 1GB of space left, then wear leveling can only count on the blocks that don't contain data. And if the blocksize for the Flash RAM device is 128KB (which is typical, but there are also 256KB Flash RAMs), then the number of blocks you can spread out the writes is 8192. If the SSD is based on MLC Flash (as is, sadly, becoming typical) then you can write up to 10.000 times per block. Assuming perfect wear leveling, the device will last less than 819200 seconds which is 9 days and a few hours.

        Doesn't look so good when under the light of rigorous analysis, is it?

        You will, probably, retort with "but what application writes 100 times per second". Well, any Unix filesystem could, for example: every time a file is accessed (be it in read only), the access time is recorded - that's one write. It doesn't matter if you write 128KB, 256B or just one byte - with Flash RAM, you must rewrite the whole block. I can easily imagine a system that accesses 80 files in a second, and then does some additional logging. 100 writes per second into a storage device is nothing extraordinary.

  • by silentcoder (1241496) on Wednesday July 23, 2008 @02:00AM (#24300049) Homepage

    "We did not fully understand the limitations of the Vista environment" - Neither did anybody else, including Microsoft... no one can be told how limited Vista is - you have to suffer it for yourself.

  • by AbRASiON (589899) * on Wednesday July 23, 2008 @02:02AM (#24300055) Journal

    Vista absoloutely randomly thrashes your hard disk almost constantly for the first few weeks of installation, all you can hear is tickety tick, clickety click from the damn machine.
    What is it doing? I'm not sure, auto defrag? file index? superfetch? I can't be sure, what I can be sure of is that it's *apparently* meant to run at idle priority, in reality I can clearly visibly see the performance decrease of say loading firefox or nero or any application under Vista compared to XP, while the drive thrashes about like a 'special person' thrown in the deep end of a swimming pool.

    I am sadly 'oldschool' I remember running DOS 5 and 6 and I recall watching my drive light, I used to be able to spot a machine with a virus purely from the damned disk activity on the machine, because it simply isn't supposed to do anything when you're not, how that has changed over the years, it's sad, even smartdrv would stop fiddling with the drive after about 5 or 10 seconds under 6.22
    Win 95, 98, virus scanners, spyware detectors, 2k, XP - it's all slowly gotten worse over the years but Vista really takes the cake, I'd love to see a laptop power consumption test of XP vs Vista on an identically spec'd machine. (tickety tick, thrashity thrash)

    The short story is, I agree with the article entirely, SSD's would be worn out substantially faster under Vista than previous versions of Windows.

  • by d_jedi (773213) on Wednesday July 23, 2008 @02:05AM (#24300083)

    Sandisk SSD drives are poorly made and perform poorly (much worse than others..). This is just Sandisk trying to shift the blame elsewhere..

    • by MojoStan (776183) on Wednesday July 23, 2008 @02:25AM (#24300173)

      Sandisk SSD drives are poorly made and perform poorly (much worse than others..). This is just Sandisk trying to shift the blame elsewhere..

      DailyTech's article [dailytech.com] (and others [techspot.com]) have also added opinions similar to yours. From the DT article:

      • "It is quite true that SanDisk's SSD are woefully subpar in performance when running Windows Vista. Numerous benchmarks from around the web have shown SanDisk SSDs getting outpaced by the competition.

        In fact, it's not uncommon to see SanDisk SSDs rank last in testing in almost every benchmark and by a large margin -- even in Windows XP. Recent testing showed that MSI's Wind netbook was no faster with a SanDisk SATA 5000 SSD [laptopmag.com] than with the standard 80GB HDD -- an Eee PC 1000h featuring similar specifications was significantly faster with a competing SSD from Samsung [laptopmag.com].

        While Vista may be a performance inhibitor compared to Windows XP for SSDs, it appears that most new, current-generation SSDs are having no problems performing well with the operating system. The problem appears to be SanDisk's low reads and writes (67 MB/sec and 50 MB/sec respectively) compared to the competition (i.e., OCZ's new Core Series SSDs [dailytech.com] which clock in at 120 to 143 MB/sec for reads and 80 to 93 MB/sec for writes)."

  • by YesIAmAScript (886271) on Wednesday July 23, 2008 @02:10AM (#24300099)

    Another way to look at it is that SSDs aren't optimized for Vista.

    Here's a basic issue with NAND. NAND is most efficient when written in chunks of at least 128KB in size. Some NAND chips aren't even efficient until 256KB. Because this is the smallest unit that can be erased in NAND. If you write a smaller amount (say 8KB), it actually has to erase a new block, copy 120KB to the new block from the old, then write in the new 8KB. Then, if you write another 8KB, might have to do it again!

    So these SSDs would be fastest if Vista would write in larger blocks. Unfortunately, 512B is the block size for ATA. There are extensions for 2KB, 4KB and 8KB blocks, but Vista doesn't implement them. And it doesn't have to, as they're optional.

    Also notable is that even some regular magnetic hard drives now have native 2KB or 4KB blocks and it is written in 512B chunks, it might have to do a read-modify-write cycle to do it.

    Anyway, if you know ATA until recently the LARGEST possible write was 128KB (256 blocks), to expect Vista to use writes this large or larger when many drives (like almost any under 137GB) doesn't even implement them is perhaps too optimistic. To expect it to use 2KB or 4KB blocks when 95% of drives don't implement them is perhaps too optimistic.

    In the end, drive (including SSD) companies can't operate in a vacuum. They know they have to make what is useful for the customer, which means usable by the OS.

    As an additional note, MacOS recently (10.4.something) added support for 2KB, 4KB, etc. blocks, but it still has difficulty using large writes too. I think when operating through the file system, it never generates a write larger than 256 blocks either (which is 128KB or more depending on block size).

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by jd (1658)

      Maybe, but it is insane to develop hardware to suit software. Far too many types of software will want to use the same hardware, you can't optimize for them all. It is far more logical, far more rational, to optimize the hardware for the task, and leave it to software on the device or drivers on the host machine to present a suitable view for the operating system. Any remaining problems are for the OS to take care of. If the OS doesn't, that's the OS' problem, not the hardware's.

      In this case, let's take the

  • by Trogre (513942) on Wednesday July 23, 2008 @02:10AM (#24300103) Homepage

    When I read this, a certain quote comes to mind:

    "The Wise adapts himself to the world. The Fool adapts the world to himself. Therefore, all progress depends on the Fool." -Unknown

    So perhaps on some plane of reality we might be grateful to the good people at Microsoft for forcing SSD makers to make improvements they might not otherwise have made?

    • Re:Famous quote (Score:4, Informative)

      by Zoxed (676559) on Wednesday July 23, 2008 @05:58AM (#24301597) Homepage

      > "The Wise adapts himself to the world. The Fool adapts the world to himself. Therefore, all progress depends on the Fool." -Unknown

      Perhaps you are misquoting George Bernard Shaw:

      "Reasonable people adapt themselves to the world. Unreasonable people attempt to adapt the world to themselves. All progress, therefore, depends on unreasonable people."

  • by TheNetAvenger (624455) on Wednesday July 23, 2008 @03:01AM (#24300375)

    Ok, even on SlashDot, this deserves to be bashed for what it is, instead of the we hate MS lovefest that it will probably get.

    Why is this the only manufacturer that seems to be having production issues, performance issues and general reliability problems on all OSes? SanDisk is the joke of Flash in all forms, especially SSD.

    Motives against Vista...

    Hmm, maybe when Vista was released and 80% of the SanDisk Flash Memory failed to perform well enough to be used for Readyboost, they were a bit Pissed Off? How about the devices Vista won't even see properly because they don't meet basic USB or SD specifications, that also POed SanDisk a bit.

    SanDisk also has a horrible reputation with USB Card readers, as the devices won't even work at the basic BIOS levels, and people buying them that 'only' used them in Devices were POed and returning them because they started expecting them to work in their computers now too. (Issues like can't see device, SD card, or see it as 1GB when it is a 2GB card are some of the basic problems with SanDisk SD and Flash USB devices.)

    99% of all other SD/Flash brands work fine with Vista, see a pattern yet?

    Ok, now on to the Vista Issue - This is where it gets borderline insane...

    Vista is the only OS that has internal optimizations to work with SSD read/write array patterns. Even with as 'crappy' as the SanDisk people would like everyone to believe Vista handles SSD, Vista actually squeezes about 10-15% more performance out of a hybrid or SSD than XP or other OSes in general. (Sure there are some arguments about how MFRs implemented the SSD array controllers, and SanDisk again seems to be the odd dog out in this discussion.)

    So are SanDisk's problems because of Vista or because of SanDisk's 'own' issues?

    I guess everyone here should decide for themselves. A few searches on both Vista and SSD or Flash devices in general and a search or two on SanDisk should put this article in perspective.

    This would be a lot less laughable if they used any excuse except Vista, the main OS to have SSD kernel level support and the only OS(Windows) to outperform XP and previous versions of NT on SSD drives.

    (Be sure to check out the SanDisk demonstrations that specifically use Vista to 'show off' the performance of their drives, that even makes it more goofy.)

  • Two questions (Score:3, Interesting)

    by spitzak (4019) on Wednesday July 23, 2008 @03:02AM (#24300379) Homepage

    My immediate impression is this is somebody trying to blame M$ for their own failings.

    How well does this work on Linux (with the various filesystems) and OS/X? Is Vista really doing something stupid, or is it being blamed for the same mistake as everybody else? What about XP?

    Other thing is I remember the disk-thrashing bug in Linux Ubuntu. I have it and have to run a startup program to turn off the hard disk power savings to stop the head-park every half second. I did a lot of searching of the web, looking for an explanation of why XP works, and the only real experiments I found indicated that XP just kept reading the disk, so often that it *never* parked the heads. Thus Linux's reduced (but non-zero) use of the disk made things worse. All other tests seemed to indicate they left the power saving settings the same and I never saw any other explanation. This does sound like it might be related to the SSD problems, but those tests were certainly with XP and not Vista-only. Anybody know anything about this?

  • by Coolhand2120 (1001761) on Wednesday July 23, 2008 @03:21AM (#24300479)
    So is SANDISK telling the lie now when they say it runs poorly or are they telling the lie then when they say it will run optimally and even provide benchmarks. No matter how you look at it, SANDISK is lying.

    http://www.sandisk.com/Corporate/PressRoom/PressReleases/PressRelease.aspx?ID=3785 [sandisk.com]

    "The results indicate that the new Windows Vista operating system will run optimally when installed on the SanDisk SSD"

  • Anti-Vista FUD (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Andronicus (263666) on Wednesday July 23, 2008 @03:33AM (#24300531) Homepage

    If Vista's not optimized for these SSDs, are you going to now tell me that an earlier version of Windows IS?

    No? Right.

    Vista's just fine. It's everyone's favorite punching bag, but much of the bad rap is undeserved and reactive bandwagoning.

    Hardware might be further behind. Gone are the days of the heady acceleration in hardware performance found during the 98->2K and 2K->XP transitions.

    I've a beefy four year-old desktop which started life in XP and now runs Vista with an experience index of 4.8. That's better than almost all the PCs offered for sale right now! That's the sad bit. The hardware isn't as stupefyingly better in so short a time now, like it was in the past.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday July 23, 2008 @03:34AM (#24300539)

    The problem SanDisk had is they expected the OS to batch writes to an erase block size (at least 128Kb) and were surprised to find this isn't how operating systems typically work. That's not specific to Vista; it applies to every previous release of Windows, and most other mainstream OSes.

    On random writes, the performance of SSDs is terrible, since they need to perform read/modify/write on every small write. So sequential write performance looks fine, and random write performance looks bad.

    What filesystem guarantees to write its metadata (directories, bitmaps, etc) in 128/256Kb chunks? None do. Every time the filesystem writes a small chunk of data, the disk has to work extra hard. Any app writing small, random chunks also performs badly (eg Outlook); this is true on XP and Vista (equally.)

    Really, SanDisk would have been well advised to speak to OS developers (any) before releasing their first attempt at and SSD. Experience with removable flash (typically file copies) does not equate to experience with fixed disk scenarios (eg registry & log flushes.)

  • by fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) on Wednesday July 23, 2008 @03:43AM (#24300587) Journal
    My experiences with Vista have been largely underwhelming, at best(and yes, this was on new, Vista compatible hardware, purchased with Vista. Family unit needed a new computer with some sort of bare metal to win32 layer, at the time it would have cost 50ish more to get XP, don't laugh, please). However, I find my credulity rather painfully strained by SanDisk's whining.

    Unless there is some fairly subtle malinteraction between Vista and one or more SSD chipset, I have difficulty imagining what sort of pathological interaction there could be that wouldn't also create massive havoc for platter HDD setups(which are by far the majority). SSDs lag behind HDDs a bit for long, continuous read or write operations; but absolutely clean up at scattered read/write. A pattern weird enough to give SSDs real trouble would thrash the daylights out of an HDD setup. At worst, one might expect to see naive optimization for HDDs underusing the SSD's talent for ignoring fragmentation; but that wouldn't be a performance crisis. I'm the first to admit that Vista is pretty unimpressive; but my eyebrows are migrating north on this one.
  • by Pascal Sartoretti (454385) on Wednesday July 23, 2008 @05:19AM (#24301281)
    I would understand that a certain file system would not be optimized for a certain type of media like SSD, but how can a modern operating system be that much hardware dependant?

    A logical first step would be to decouple the OS from the file system; and then some day to take advantage of improvements like ZFS...

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