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RAID. TRIM. SSD.


dvn
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I've been looking at Sata III SSD drives with the Gigabyte Core i7 boards. Have you guys built anything with the new 6Gbps standard? I seriously need to catch up on your shows so I apologize if you have covered it.

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Did not really cover it other than to say at present there is not much gain as the drives are not fast enough. I have not built anything yet but it will be part of my next upgrade.

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You are my hero. Anxious to find out what happens with this. The world is whatching.

It'll be here today when I get home. I'm going to do a straight install first so I can benchmark the Mushkin SSD in a system with AHCI. I'll let you know what I find.
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Super price, good benchmark on PassMarks site. But for what it's worth, I've bought 2 Mushkins (Mushkin MKNSSDCL60GB-DX), same size, that bench around 10% higher. Sandforce 1200 controller. Right now, they're $3 more.

 

That Phoenix was one of 2 or three that I made my final choice from. I'm not especially worried about the 'egg ratings', if that's a concern. If I wanted to, I could help pull OCZ's rating's down because of bad sectors. But the replacement works well enough, so no point.

 

Anyway, as I write this I'm installing W7U on my updated system - new Gigabyte 775 mobo and the Mushkin SSD. After i play with this for a bit, I'm going to RAID those 2 SSD's and see what happens. Curious to see the initial speed, and then the drop-off. I guess there's no TRIM with RAID? Maybe with ICH10R + Intel Rapid Storage (some beta? version that's floating around out there). Or so I've heard. Man, so much vagueness and uncertainty around this emerging technology.

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Raid with trim is still in infancy and even when it comes out it will carry a bit more overhead. Keep us posted on your upgrade.

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OK. Some interesting things to sort through. After configuring the 2 SSD's in a RAID0 and installing W7U, I went to check to see if TRIM was enabled. But I think I may have accidentally cut and pasted the command to enable TRIM instead. No matter. I ran the command to see if it was enabled, and it was. Interesting, hopeful. But I'm not entirely convinced that it's actually doing anything. Read on.

 

I also ran CrystalDiskMark's bench on the RAID0 drive. The results weren't quite what I expected for reads - 410/344/21/189 - and quite a bit below what I expected for writes - 187/185/58/188. Still, way good enough to garner the max WEI score - 7.9. But over a period of a half day, with installing a few things, emptying the Recycle Bin a few times, and copying and moving files around, I re-ran the bench test several times. The reads didn't fall off much, but the writes were cut almost in half for the first two sequential Read/Write tests.

 

ATTO shows that the drive is still getting near what you'd expect to see - 537/564 - essentially close to double the advertised spec. Which is nice. But doesn't help explain the fall off in the CDM benches. So these results raise more questions than they answer.

 

So anyway, to test if TRIM was doing anything, I set Power Profile so the drives never turn off and disabled sleep. Then I left the system alone for ~3 hours, in hopes that TRIM would wake up and do its thing, right? I came back and ran another CDM bench and got the lowest score yet. So, is TRIM really doing anything? My first impression is 'no'.

 

Well, even with reduced speeds, RAID'd SSD's are really fast. And in my case where I bought a couple 60 GB drives, this gives me a serious option of using them as a system drive as I've noticed throughout the years that I tend not to use a lot of space on my system drive.

 

One thing I'm still looking for is an easy way to restore/wipe/reset an SSD to (near) original speeds. I'm beginning to wonder if I can't just run a zero-fill utility instead of trying to get some Secure Erase utility to work with my system. That seems to be a common problem, getting a utility such as HDDErase to actually run. I know there must be a way to do it, but I haven't found it yet.

Edited by dvn
corrections...
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I think I may have found the reason for the discrepancy between ATTO and CDM.

 

This first screen is CDM results using random fill. *All Write numbers have fallen since the very first benchmarking. Reads are pretty close to the first bench.

CDMrandomfill.png

 

This one is zero fill

CDMzerofill.png

 

And this is 1's fill

CDM1sfill.png

 

The numbers from the last two screens are much closer to ATTO benchmarks. I'm thinking that ATTO uses either all 0's or all 1's.

Edited by dvn
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Wow, this is some serious numbers. Very impressive benchmarks. I am seriously jealous of these performance numbers. Nice job. I know that OCZ has a utility for returning things to a new state. Are you using the beta driver that is supposed to support trim or is this just W7 drivers?

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Yes, those last benches are especially cool. I was looking through the CDM FAQ when I saw mention of the ability to run the test with all 0's or all 1's. This was brought up in response to people wondering why the difference in results from other utilities.

 

If you are talking about the storage controller - ICH10R - I'm using the Intel drivers v9.5.0.1037. I'll tell you, this is all kind of new territory for me. So any insight is appreciated. Doing this SSD RAID has raised a lot of questions.

 

Regarding utilities, right now I'm under the impression that you can run proprietary utilities or just do a secure erase with some other utility. If that is wrong, someone please correct me.

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