The Secret to Maintaining SSD Performance
28 Apr, 2011, 06:57 ET
LONDON, April 28, 2011 /PRNewswire/ --
- Why Your Solid State Drive is not as Fast as it Used to be
SSD hard drives are becoming increasingly more popular. Many portable devices such as laptops, PDA's, Tablet PC's and Netbooks are being used with SSDs. Although prices are still astronomically high - a 1TB SSD setting you back a mere GBP3000 - sooner or later the prices will fall into a more accessible range and they will become far more widely used.
Of course solid state drives have several distinctive advantages. Faster access times, lower power usage and rather pleasingly, run completely silent. The main disadvantage, although possibly undetectable at first, is over time you'll probably start to notice the write speed slowing down - even slower than those of conventional hard drives.
Solid state drives can access any location on the drive in the same amount of time. This is one of the key features over hard drives. So there is no fragmentation problem with SDDs regard to "reading" files.
There is however still a problem with the fragmentation of the free space that will seriously affect the performance of SSDs. These drives have actually been designed to write data evenly in all sectors of the drive which the industry is calling "Wear Leveling". Each sector of a solid state drive has a limited number of writes before it cannot be overwritten anymore.
Unlike a magnetic storage device which can record new data directly on top of old data, an SSD must first erase the contents of a previously used memory cell to zero out its contents before the new data can be written. This slows down the speed and is what prompted both Microsoft and SSD manufactures to create the solutions known as TRIM and Garbage Collection. These functions can perform these types of clean up tasks in the background when certain conditions are met.
Unfortunately, TRIM and Garbage Collection doesn't have anything to do with addressing how the free space is allocated by the NTFS file system and most SSDs suffer from free space fragmentation due to inherent NAND flash limitations. This is where you need a method to optimize the SSD. By ensuring that the small sections of free space are better managed, you can cause files to be written in their optimum condition requiring the least number of I/O operations. This also benefits subsequent reads of these files and improves the overall access times across the board. SSD are without question extremely fast, but you will never get the full potential of the speed over time as promised unless you keep it optimized.
Optimizing your SSD - HyperFast Technology
HyperFast(R) technology only concerns itself with the fragmentation of files and free space caused by the NTFS file system and not that of the physical placement of data on the SSD. HyperFast reduces the amount of writing and as a result improves the write times and the life span of SSDs - therefore quite complimentary to the purpose behind wear-leveling strategies.
The HyperFast product (an add-on to Diskeeper) is designed to consolidate free space when it is needed, without "over" doing it. HyperFast is unique as you do not ever need to manually analyze or manually run, or even schedule it. It is smart enough to automatically know what to do and when. More information at http://www.diskeeper.com/hyperfast
SOURCE Diskeeper Corporation Europe
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