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Data Storage Intel Media

Intel Updates SSDs, Supports TRIM, Faster Writes 112

MojoKid writes "Intel has just released a firmware update for their 34nm Gen X25-M solid state drives that not only boosts sequential write performance, but adds support for the TRIM command as well. A performance optimization tool is also being released today, for users of Windows Vista and XP, who won't be able to take advantage of TRIM. After being flashed with the new firmware update, Intel's 34nm Gen 2 X25-M 160GB drive offered increased performance in a myriad of benchmarks shown here, and sequential write performance was increased on the order of 30%."
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Intel Updates SSDs, Supports TRIM, Faster Writes

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  • Now what file systems support TRIM?

    • Re:Great (Score:4, Informative)

      by tepples ( 727027 ) <tepples@gmail.BOHRcom minus physicist> on Tuesday October 27, 2009 @10:58AM (#29883981) Homepage Journal

      Now what file systems support TRIM?

      Any file system whose checking program supports retrieving a list of cluster ranges that aren't in use can be made to support TRIM. These include any FS that uses a "bitmap" to record sector allocation (e.g. HFS or NTFS), as well as any that use a linked list of cluster numbers (e.g. FAT32, exFAT).

    • NTFS in Windows 7 does. Read the links.
    • Re:Great (Score:5, Informative)

      by bill_mcgonigle ( 4333 ) * on Tuesday October 27, 2009 @11:09AM (#29884111) Homepage Journal

      Now what file systems support TRIM?

      ext4, but the block layer needs to handle it too. There was some LKML traffic a couple months ago about smart designs for this - it's probably not in current distro releases yet. TRIM can be very expensive if not well-optimized (the non-optimized demo took a half hour to delete a kernel tree with TRIM on a supporting SSD) and the right thing to do may depend on drive model capabilities. The moral is it's not worth doing poorly, and doing it right may require some re-plumbing. But the upside is that Linux ought to be very fast and efficient about it when it lands because smart folks are making sure it ships when it's ready, not by some arbitrary date.

  • For the time being, however, you're stuck using the Microsoft Storage Controller drivers if you want TRIM support because Intel's don't support it (yet - they're supposed to have new drivers out "soon" that will).

  • My fault for being an early adopter, but my Dell XPS with, according to hdparm:

    Model=SAMSUNG SSD RBX Series 128GB M , FwRev=VAM05D1Q, SerialNo=DFF1L0A835SE835A1948

    This neither seems to support trim nor seems to have any firmware upgrades at all.

    • by ceoyoyo ( 59147 )

      Worse yet, the Intel drives don't really NEED TRIM. Yeah, it helps, but they don't see the horrific slowdowns that older drives do. Unfortunately, those older drives are Samsung, or use Samsung controllers....

    • by lukas84 ( 912874 )

      Firmware updates are, so far, only available for the high performance drives. Intel's drives, OCZ's Vertex series, etc.

  • TRIM (Score:5, Funny)

    by EriktheGreen ( 660160 ) on Tuesday October 27, 2009 @11:02AM (#29884037) Journal
    Great, now even my computer is getting more TRIM than I am.
    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by n1ckml007 ( 683046 )
      Yes, the computer will TRIM the FAT.
    • Re:TRIM (Score:5, Funny)

      by bughunter ( 10093 ) <> on Tuesday October 27, 2009 @02:09PM (#29886577) Journal

      Apparently that sense of the word 'trim' is regional.

      I grew up in Florida and Colorado, and wasn't aware of that meaning until one day a couple years ago, when I was discussing my afternoon's plans with my wife, "I'll go to the grocery for some things, but I think I'll stop in for a trim first."

      My wife tittered, "Don't say that!"

      Here, I was utterly confused by her reaction, "Say what?"

      She blushed and said "You know."

      At this point I was becoming disoriented, because my wife is seldom either obtuse or squeamish. "What!"

      "You don't know?"

      I began to feel like the Knights of the Round Table saying 'it' to the Knights of Ni. "I really don't know."

      She whispered, "'Trim!'"

      I boggled for a beat. "I'm going to go to the barber for a trim. What did you think I meant?"

      More girlish giggling, "You know!"

      "No, I don't. What else does 'trim' mean to you, besides a haircut, or lawn maintenance?"

      She finally realized I was serious, and said, "It's slang for the female genitals!" like I'm an idiot. Which is a much more familiar tone.

      But I began imagining the etymology of such a usage, and began to picture a well-trimmed female pubic area. "You mean, like in trimmed pubic hair?"

      More blushing and giggling, "Yes!"

      Now I was intrigued, "Wow. I've never heard 'trim' used like that before; it must be a West Coast thing. So, is 'trim' used as a noun, like 'I want some of that trim?' Or is 'trim' a verb, as in 'I'd trim that?' Or maybe an adjective, as in 'trim pie?'" Every time I said the word, she flinched or tittered or giggled. The Pythonesque feeling returned.

      "It's a noun, I guess. The boys in college used it all the time." Of course, this was taking all the fun out of it for her, but now that I'd found a new button to press, my fun was just starting...

      [This reminds me of the time I illustrated the phrase 'tongue in cheek' by poking out my right cheek with my tongue... and nearly got fired for sexual harrassment. But that's another post.]

      • but now that I'd found a new button to press, my fun was just starting

        Heh, the trim button, huh.

      • Is this a troll? I've never heard this before (I'm in the midwest)

        • No, not a troll. My post history might support a joke conclusion, but not troll.

          But I swear, it's a true story. (The dialog accuracy is probably poor, but it's functionally valid.)

      • Hmmm, I've lived on the West Coast (California) my whole life and have never heard "trim" used that way.

        • Well, she grew up in Modesto, CA and went to CSU-Stanislaus and then Cal Poly Pomona, if that's any help.

          I thought it was just a local colloquialism, but ever since that day, I've noticed occasional use of 'trim' as slang... mostly online, so I have no geographical data.

  • OSX ? (Score:3, Interesting)

    by CrackedButter ( 646746 ) on Tuesday October 27, 2009 @11:08AM (#29884091) Homepage Journal
    What is the state of OS X in relation to TRIM? Anybody?
    • Re: (Score:1, Informative)

      by Anonymous Coward

      Not yet. The first place you'll see it is on OS X Server. Keep in mind that TRIM is not a ratified standard yet. Until it is, Apple has stated that OS X isn't going to support it.

    • by alen ( 225700 )

      last I read it was in 10.6.1 or in the 10.6.2 developer preview

    • MIA. It's not being discussed publicly by anyone inside Apple, so far as I've seen. Incidentally, all this SSD love makes me wish Apple would offer an SSD build-to-order option for those sweet new iMacs []. An external FW drive could house movies and music. That would be sweet and relatively easy for Apple: they already SSDs in MacBooks Pro [].
      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by ceoyoyo ( 59147 )

        Don't buy an SSD from any major manufacturer as a build-to-order. They almost all use Samsung drives, which have a lot of problems. Let them put a cheap hard drive in your machine and then put your own aftermarket SSD in it - one with either an Indilinx controller or an Intel. []

        • Interesting thing... While Samsung must be crap (I know), it must have released some firmware updates for these devices. I don't remember seeing a single "Mac OS X SSD Firmware update" on "version control" sites I visit regularly. I saw some updates relating to AHCI issues (yes, they exist) but not for SSD.

          So, you pay extra $$ and you don't get any advantage of it right?

  • call me bitter (Score:3, Interesting)

    by nimbius ( 983462 ) on Tuesday October 27, 2009 @11:15AM (#29884195) Homepage
    but this is intel. i suspect the new found performance in SSD's is directly proportional to market and revenue factors. this company has been burned in the past using tactics that amount to "some ingenious breakthrough in technology" thats obviously been squandered and secluded for 7 months.

    hang the customers out to yank away at them like cash cows, and another AMD will come along and punish you accordingly.
    • by ceoyoyo ( 59147 )

      There is. It's called Indilinx. They build the controllers that are in most of the non-Intel and non-Samsung drives, and they're nipping at Intel's heels.

    • Re:call me bitter (Score:4, Interesting)

      by AmiMoJo ( 196126 ) <mojo@world3.nBLUEet minus berry> on Tuesday October 27, 2009 @01:24PM (#29885965) Homepage Journal

      Actually Intel are pretty good on the tech side, but in true Dilbert style their marketing department screws the customers.

      The P4 is a good example. For marketing reasons they built a CPU that could be clocked really high at the expense of performance. The P4 was a consumer product as it defined the headline speed of a PC. Motherboard chipsets, on the other hand, are never mentioned in consumer marketing blurb so those stayed mostly about the technology.

      Intel NICs, chipsets and mobile CPUs have all been pretty good down the years. Anything designed with the minimum of interference from marketing has had pretty good performance and reliability, and these SSDs are no exception.

  • Does this do anything to address that current SSDs will only last for years and years under most workstation loads?

    • by ceoyoyo ( 59147 )

      The guy from Anandtech calculates about 900 years under typical workstation load. Should be good enough for anyone, no?

  • Those intel drives will TRIM down your wallet too.

    I can't wait for the price to drop, those 160GB intels were supposed to be $450....Newegg has them for around $650 :\

    • Well, Newegg is actually very overpriced on this drive. You can find it (SSDSA2MH160G2R5) for $467 on
    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by clarkn0va ( 807617 )
      The first mistake most people make when talking about SSDs vs HDDs is comparing cost/GB. SSDs are not for storing data. They're for installing your OS and programs, while your data goes to the fileserver or the secondary drive in the workstation. Almost every system builder I've talked to fails to recognize that for your typical home or office user, spending an extra $100-200 on a solid-state system drive, even if it means reducing your CPU budget correspondingly, will show huge gains in system usability an
      • by maxume ( 22995 )

        I don't mean to dispute your point, it is a good one for a desktop, but I would like to put an SSD into my laptop, so cost/GB is a consideration (at least until low end SSDs are bigger than I need).

        • Then I guess it's a question of how mobile you are, or how much you actually need to store on the laptop. I personally bought an acer timeline with the 80GB Intel SSD. I repartitioned it something like 20/50/10 for Ubuntu/Vista/unused and keep all my big files on the NAS. That leaves me 15/30GB or so of free space to drop movies for a road trip or updates and drivers for a support visit into dialup country.

          Granted, if you are somebody that needs to carry around huge files or games on your laptop, or if it's

          • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

            by maxume ( 22995 )

            I fall into the 'only storage for extended periods' category, prefer the convenience of having everything 'inside' the laptop, do not particularly need the performance, and am somewhat budget oriented (in that I don't have a huge amount of money that I want to spend on computer stuff). So I guess the biggest problem I have with SSDs at the moment is just the cost, mostly regardless of the size. After that, the fact that cost/GB is still falling quite rapidly is a big consideration, as is the ongoing increas

        • by ceoyoyo ( 59147 )

          Look into ditching your optical drive.

          When I went to upgrade to Snow Leopard I noticed that my superdrive was refusing to read (and scratching as a bonus) DVDs. I hadn't used it in over a year. Shortly after I came across a bracket to let you put a 2.5" hard drive in the optical drive bay. Hm....

      • What if in my case I'm about to remove the optical drive from my laptop and replace it with another HD. If I setup the laptop so the SSD is the boot drive and the HD is the secondary, would I put my aperture library on the SSD or the HD?
        • That's photos, right? I would put those on the HD.

          Generally I recommend / or C: on the SSD and /home or /Users on the HD.

          At home I actually keep /home on the SSD and mount a media folder on the NAS, which is where I keep most stuff. The advantage of this setup is having all my dot-files on the SSD, which seems to greatly speed up the login process. but effectively all my working data sits on spinning hard drives.

          There are plenty of other tweaks out there too for improving performance and/or reducing SSD we

          • If I put the photos on the HD how do I benefit from the SSD then? I shall check out these forums you speak of as well later.
            • Reading and writing photos from hard drives is generally sequential. The fastest SSDs are not twice as fast as the fastest HDDs, so by putting your photos on a HD you lose an incrementally small advantage in speed, and save a lot of money at the same time.

              Booting the OS and launching programs, on the other hand, along with the inevitable background accesses incidental to filesystem updates, on-access malware scanning, etc., these types of operations incite much more random accessing of the storage media. Si

      • Re: (Score:1, Flamebait)

        by Karganeth ( 1017580 )

        The first mistake most people make when talking about SSDs vs HDDs is comparing cost/GB. SSDs are not for storing data. They're for installing your OS and programs, while your data goes to the fileserver or the secondary drive in the workstation.

        They're for whatever the fuck I want them for. Who are you to tell me how to use my SSD?

        Anyway, the mistake is comparing cost/GB in a LINEAR way. The first 10 GB is worth a lot more than the last 10GB on a 250 GB drive. There is a utility curve for GBs (just like the money one).

      • by Twinbee ( 767046 )

        Wouldn't it just be better to get a quadcore, with around 16 - 64 GB of memory, and rarely reset? After a day or two wouldn't this perform even more snappily than the SSD?

        • Sure, and you would see the generalized benefits of a faster processor and more memory, but then your budget just went up, your power consumption went up, and you lose the benefits every time you reboot, until you run all your programs again for the first time.

          On a related topic, some guy on the OCZ forums linked to a detailed post he made elsewhere, describing how he had made a two-member RAID1, the first member being his / partition and the other being a ramdisk. On each boot mdadm would rebuild the array

    • I can't wait for the price to drop, those 160GB intels were supposed to be $450....Newegg has them for around $650 :\

      Keep in mind NewEgg is one of the worst places to buy an SSD - for some reason their prices are quite a bit higher than others. It pays to shop around when dealing with SSDs. I dunno what NewEgg's problem is on this, but it's pissing a lot of people off.

    • by adisakp ( 705706 )
      I paid some big $$$ for two of the original first generation Intel 160GB drives which I have in a RAID 0 configuration. I'm a bit disappointed that Intel will not be offering a BIOS update to support TRIM commands for the G1 drives.
  • Anyone got any idea on how to boot the ISO from a USB drive? I don't have a CD/DVD drive :(
    • Write the image to the USB drive. In *nix you can use unetbootin or dd. For Windows there's physdiskwrite, ddwin, and some others.
  • I have found for my kids ACER Netbooks with XP HOME that Flashfire "fixes" the slow down. []
    Was night and day during start up alone. Improved Firefox even after cutting most of it cache storage,

    Also found running defrags helped a lot. Using both IO BIT Smartdefrag [] and Page Defrag []

    • by Spad ( 470073 ) <> on Tuesday October 27, 2009 @11:48AM (#29884659) Homepage

      Defragging SSDs is not only mostly a waste of time (Seek time is the same regardless of where the data is physically on the drive so unless you're dealing with heavy fragmentation of large files it won't have any effect), but it reduces the lifespan by needlessly reading and re-writing data all over the place; there's a good reason Windows 7 automatically disables defragmentation for SSDs.

      • Defragging SSDs is not only mostly a waste of time (Seek time is the same regardless of where the data is physically on the drive so unless you're dealing with heavy fragmentation of large files it won't have any effect), but it reduces the lifespan by needlessly reading and re-writing data all over the place; there's a good reason Windows 7 automatically disables defragmentation for SSDs.

        It make a difference in the case of fragmented writes. As the erase block size is larger than the write cell of flash memory, if the file is spread across several erase blocks, you have to erase and re-write a lot of unrelated data, as opposed to doing a contiguous erase and write of new data. TRIM will help in this regard as well. After all even Intel SSDs have been known to have performance issues when fragmented: [] TRIM will also help if you do defragment an SSD,

      • Wave your hands in the air and talk theory does not make it true.

        DEFRAG the drive works. Cleans up empty space to single area. Use a smart defrag tool, I like IO BIT SMART DEFRAG. Only moves "broken" files when system is low usage. Also has full on "clean it" out.

        ACER NETBOOK with 8G SSD.
        Slow during intial setup - 8hrs from out of the box to "useable" (all Patches loaded, Firefox loaded, Open Office loaded). Worst than using disk based systems.
        Exceeded 2mins just booting.

        Slow removing extra software sh

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by Fross ( 83754 )

      You should not defrag an SSD. It won't give a performance boost, and will just contribute to wearing the drive down. Fragmentation is only an issue where access is not truly random, as it is with an SSD.

      Example discussion: []

      The controller should do a decent enough job of spreading out the data for you.

      • It does not in the end.

        The defrag of system files via PAGE DEFRAG, generally finds nothing to defrag, but after a PTF from Microsoft or software load, then all is fixed.

        Smart Defrag pulls fragments together leaving the fragments together more large spaces overall.

        Lastly the ACER netbooks that my kids have are 8G SSD. There is not a lot of space left after all the stuff that is loaded by ACER. After removing that stuff lots of wholes are left and filled with other stuff. By defragging this help push the st

  • I am not a software person but I like to explore.
  • Well, i just got a 160GiB G2 less than a month ago, so this is surely really nice, thanks Intel!
    It was already very nice, and it did not take much time to get used to the awesome speed of things, especially when I use vmware workstation with ubuntu to administer my nix boxes from. It starts in 2 seconds, and resume the vm in afew seconds aswell, really great for that!
    I hope the update process is not to difficult, and data destructive... maybe i should read TFA?! :)
  • by ozbird ( 127571 ) on Tuesday October 27, 2009 @04:55PM (#29889041)
    Oops. []
  • by lbschenkel ( 751547 ) on Tuesday October 27, 2009 @05:22PM (#29889421)
    Intel pulled the new firmware from its website because it would brick the drive in some machines with Windows 7: []

    I have Windows 7 and a X25-M G2 that I was going to update but I gave up after I found via Google a lot of forums posts from people who bricked their drives with the new firmware.
  • A word to the wise! (Score:4, Informative)

    by rabtech ( 223758 ) on Tuesday October 27, 2009 @06:02PM (#29890061) Homepage

    WARNING: Intel has pulled the firmware because there appears to be a chance of bricking the drive. Users report that the firmware updates successfully, but after rebooting Windows detects changed hardware, installs drivers, and after rebooting again the system BSODs and/or won't boot at all. The drives appear to be bricked unless reformatted.

    I have one of these drives and I'm holding off until the dust settles.

  • Do you put some kind of file to specific location like Pro Cameras etc? I mean, it doesn't offer a .exe and say "run it" right? I am especially concerned since it is Intel , the CPU manufacturer we talk about.

    I have some plans for SSD'ing couple of PPC based laptops we have since they are mostly used like a Network client so I don't care about disk space. When I figured how much these devices rely on firmware updates, I had to ask. I hope we don't "unshield" or even worse, "plug it to a PC" to make firmware

Some people manage by the book, even though they don't know who wrote the book or even what book.