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Old 05-19-2011, 04:32 PM   #1
Whammamoosha
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Arrow All about SSDs

An SSD is a fine piece of hardware. Although they have been around (consumer-wisely speaking) for almost half a decade, they are still... NEW.

It's been only almost a week since I bought my first SSD (where I live they are far from being cheap) but, like I said in another post, "old habits die hard" (I debuted in IT when I was 15, in 1981), so there you go:
  • Even today, due to cost/benefit reasons, energy-wise profile and relatively low OS/driver full support (especially regarding old OSes), they are more suited for laptops.
  • They aren't a tech commodity yet, so... follow the manufacturer's advice by the letter. Read the documentation. Run whatever health-checking/OS-tweaking utilities are provided by the manufacturer. SSDs are still new. OSes aren't. They are hard drives, but treat them like an enthusiast's video card.
  • Don't defragment them using the OS. EVER. They rearrange sectors independently from the OS and defragging them would mean to move a sector from a random location to another random location, and would only contribute to reduce the drive's lifespan.
  • They do their own internal management. For that, they'll need around 15% of free disk space.
  • Generally speaking, the more free space you have, the faster will be and the longer will last your SSD.
  • For ANY of those in the market today, SATA 150 controllers (first generation) will be a limitation. But even with that limitation, most PERSONAL computers will benefit from them over a mechanical drive (speed-wise, not space-wise).
  • Those not running these operating systems will have to perform the manufacturer's optimization software about once a week. Those running the aforementioned OSes won't.
  • NEVER RAID THEM if your computer's RAID driver/OS combination doesn't support TRIM (for TRIM, see page linked in the comment above). In this case, neither the OS nor the manufacturer's utilities will be able to keep them in shape. They will slow down.
  • They'll run direct writes (non-filesystem-based writes) very well in a first benchmark. They'll suck afterwards until you REFORMAT them. Don't get alarmed. This is because of the internal logic used to keep their memories from wearing out fast. Direct writes don't use TRIM.
  • They boot Windows 7 like middle-90's computers booted DOS+Win95 (FAST). If you are irritated by today's slow boot times, DEFINITELY get one, at least as the system drive.
  • They are all about RANDOM access. Mechanical drives, when RAIDed/smart-cached, are more on the side of cost/benefit if you are running an internet file/database server or an INTRAnet file server.
  • Do some research before you buy. The all-time leading drive manufacturers aren't any longer on the leading edge. They still have their brands, though. Be careful not to buy a headache.
  • Their resilience to shock is INCREDIBLY higher than that of a mechanical drive. Now you can drive your car and surf the web at the same time (DON'T)!
  • Mixed SSD/Mechanical drives (say with a 4GB SSD-like cache plus a 500GB mechanical disk) have a much shorter lifespan than a pure SSD. Mixed drives are better than regular mechanical drives but their random access times suck as much as the latter.
  • Finally, some say that SSDs don't last long because an MLC cell can't be written more than 10.000 times. BS. Today's drives have internal logic(*) that allow a 120GB drive to have up to 600 terabytes (in terms of usage, not capacity) written onto it. You can produce 120,000 5GB DVDs on a 120GB SSD before it wears off.
Voilá!

(*) this depends highly on drive logic and page size implementation. Theoretically, with proper internal management, a drive with a single-sector page size would be able to be written up to 5.000 times its whole capacity (half of an MLC life) if sectors are kept evenly used (with relocation of more used sectors to less used ones). The actual lifetime of a drive with today's technologies is about 1/20 of that due to large page sizes - when you write a 4K sector, you may actually be writing 128 times that amount.
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Last edited by Whammamoosha; 05-30-2011 at 11:36 AM.. Reason: New stuff
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Old 05-20-2011, 01:37 PM   #2
Whammamoosha
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Re: All about SSDs

Quote:
Originally Posted by Whammamoosha View Post
if you aren't running an internet file/database server
Changed the above to "if you are running an internet file/database server" and applied some spelling corrections.
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Old 05-20-2011, 03:39 PM   #3
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Re: All about SSDs

Error.....
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Last edited by Sir Skully; 05-21-2011 at 10:27 AM..
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Old 05-20-2011, 06:25 PM   #4
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Re: All about SSDs

Quote:
Originally Posted by Sir Skully View Post
There are a few of us here who run RAID-0. I've run RAID-O with my 3x120 Vertex for almost 2 years.
These drives are as fast as when new.
Its true TRIM doesn't work in RAID. The Vertex firmware have what is called
Garbage collecting. When in RAID and the ssd's slow down, just log-out.Then let pc
idle about 1/2 hr. or so. Afterwards run ATTO and you'll see a nice return to speed.
I also run a single Vertex 2 ssd and TRIM does a good job of restoring the
speed. I think most ssd's have one form or another of GC written into there
firmware along with TRIM.
No, it's not true that TRIM doesn't work with RAID. It's perfectly possible. But in fact it might WORK even with drivers/OS misaligned in regard to that.

If there's no OS/drivers COMBINED support for RAID, SDDs will come to a crawl after some time, UNLESS you haven't WRITTEN (I don't mean USED) the full capacity of the SDD.

Proprietary drivers plus proprietary utilities (which would make the missing bridge bewteen OS/driver lack of "conversation" regarding RAID), IN THE BACKGROUND, can make it.

Either that or the SDD is logically acting like a standard mechanical drive -- then the lifespan of the drive is doomed, because it is possible to write a single MLC cell "only" around 10,000 times. See my recent posts regarding that. With no internal drive management, just memory paging will kill your drive.

There's a BIG -- I mean REALLY big -- chance that the need for a background performance recovery program is the reason for that 1/2 hour of idleness needed for your configuration to get proper performance back. And for BACKGROUND, chances are -- as big as the latter -- that the manufacturer doesn't want you to know that the OS/Drivers aren't ready for each other when the issue is RAID.

Your configuration's routines are definitely not appropriate for a server. Half an hour out? How often? Proportionally to the usage?

For further judgement, some time ago Intel was the only manufacturer that waited until Microsoft confirmed support for TRIM in a single drive for Windows 7 before releasing its own TRIM-enabled drivers. You can even google that. The rest stepped ahead of that line.

Take care.
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Last edited by Whammamoosha; 05-20-2011 at 07:01 PM..
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Old 05-20-2011, 07:43 PM   #5
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Re: All about SSDs

There's still a possibily, deducting from the behavior of your configuration:
  • Your RAID is being seen by the OS as a RAID formed by standard (mechanincal, no-TRIM capable drives);
  • Due to the lack of TRIM and drive BIOS characteristics, the drives don't rearrange the sectors to achieve better SSD performance (sectors stay sequential);
  • After 1/2 hour of inactivity, the OS defragments your drive automatically (Windows DOES);
  • You are mostly accessing file contents SEQUENTIALLY and not RANDOMLY.
AN SSD SHOULD NEVER BE DEGRAFMENTED BY THE OS (see the 3rd dot in the original post). You can be operating at 1/2 the performance of your RAID because you didn't benchmark the first system run, where the performance should be double the current one.

This is the worst possible scenario. Your RAID's drives will reach the 10,000 writes limit per MLC cell very soon and will become unusable, performing at only 50%.

Try running a RANDOM access benchmark on your RAID, identical to any review of the same drive technology (but not RAIDed) on the web and compare them. If this is the case, I belive the answer would be "RAIDs don't pay off" (nonsense).

If this hypothesis is true, your RAID should perform worse than a single drive.

Go test it!
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Old 05-30-2011, 11:37 AM   #6
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Arrow New stuff

Added:

"(*) this depends highly on drive logic and page size implementation. Theoretically, with proper internal management, a drive with a single-sector page size would be able to be written up to 5.000 times its whole capacity (half of an MLC life) if sectors are kept evenly used (with relocation of more used sectors to less used ones). The actual lifetime of a drive with today's technologies is about 1/20 of that due to large page sizes - when you write a 4K sector, you may actually be writing 128 times that amount."
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Old 06-23-2011, 11:27 AM   #7
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Re: All about SSDs

If Im correct.. you recommend not use my vertex 2 disks in raid.. and maybe better put OS on 1 and use the 2nd for games or something?
On a sidenote.. some sites/forums actually seem to say OS do a heavy load on SSDs (pagefilme is an example they use)
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Old 06-23-2011, 05:24 PM   #8
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Re: All about SSDs

Quote:
Originally Posted by WolfSoul View Post
If Im correct.. you recommend not use my vertex 2 disks in raid.. and maybe better put OS on 1 and use the 2nd for games or something?
Like I said before, IF your OS/Driver combination supports TRIM over RAID, there's NO problem RAIDing them. If it doesn't, my opinion is that you shouldn't.

Quote:
Originally Posted by WolfSoul View Post
On a sidenote.. some sites/forums actually seem to say OS do a heavy load on SSDs (pagefilme is an example they use)
Wear leveling algorithms in the drive's firmware make this a non-issue (yet some manufacturers may be better at this than others and some may be at fault).

Those sites/posts issuing warnings about page files on SSDs have been recently diagnosed with SSD-bound F.E.A.R.S. (Failure to Encompass Advances in Revolutionary Storage) syndrome.
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Old 06-25-2011, 12:56 PM   #9
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Re: All about SSDs

I guess the only issue I could have with RAID would be a firmware update and sensor readings
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Old 09-13-2011, 04:11 AM   #10
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Re: All about SSDs

Thinking about a SSD look at this review might help you decide. http://www.xbitlabs.com/articles/sto...triot-ssd.html
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Old 09-13-2011, 03:01 PM   #11
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Re: All about SSDs

Yep a good review thanks radeonized2...
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Old 09-13-2011, 05:55 PM   #12
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Awkward

http://www.xbitlabs.com/articles/sto...iot-ssd_7.html

When I see random writes beating random reads by more than 2X, with almost no difference between compressed/uncompressed data, I cannot take it even with a grain of salt. That's heavy-duty caching.

And caching, unless you have a battery-backed-up disk (which is not the case) is a trade-off between security and speed, counting with the sacrifice of the former.

I'd adopt a fancy video card, but I'd NEVER adopt a fancy storage unit.

The latter is plain stupid.
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Old 09-16-2011, 08:31 AM   #13
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Re: All about SSDs

Related yet not.. since defrag is not used by SSD (unless a person wants to kill off their disk real fast..) what is the advisable space to leave empty on an SSD
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Old 11-30-2011, 10:16 AM   #14
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Re: All about SSDs

I do not know Wolf but the price is getting closer and closer to $1/gig price look here..http://www.newegg.com/Product/Produc...-220-_-Product
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Old 11-30-2011, 03:40 PM   #15
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Re: All about SSDs

Quote:
Originally Posted by radeonized2 View Post
I do not know Wolf but the price is getting closer and closer to $1/gig price look here..http://www.newegg.com/Product/Produc...-220-_-Product
radeoNized2' please, no more.

Wolf soul, check out this page
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