Corey Bailey
Audio Engineering
Solid State Drives Solid State Drives (SSD’s) are different than spinning platter hard drives (HDD’s) and they are in wide use. New laptops are being marketed using the technology. Although research began on flash memory in the 1950’s, SSD technology was first introduced in the 1970’s and development continued throughout the years. There was some use of the technology before the 2000’s, but it was expensive. SSD’s were marketed to the general public in the 2000’s and the improvments continue. An SSD is presented to the Operating System (OS) the same way that a spinning platter hard drive is however, SSD’s use the same technology as SD cards, USB drives, etc. SSD’s come in several form factors. The two most popular are; like a regular drive that plugs into one of the hard drive slots and one that uses a PCie expansion slot. SSD’s that use the PCie interface or their own interface, use a technology called ‘NVme’ (Non-Volatile Memory Express) and are blazing fast. It all depends on the controller that’s used. The controller is a processor that not only tells your computer that it’s an SSD, it’s perhaps the most important part of your SSD and every drive has a controller, regardless of the type of drive. SSD’s have no moving parts and they are much faster than a HDD. A typical SSD with a SATA interface (Serial Advanced Technology Attachment) is capable of reading data 10 times faster than a HDD and it can write data 20 times faster. However, if an SSD fails, data recovery could be challenging. A typical SSD that has failed or become full, will usually become read only. For this reason, you should leave some free space on any type of drive or its write performance will slow down dramatically. 25% of the drive if we are talking about an SSD and, at least,15% for a HDD. You shouldn't Defragment SSD’s like you do for spinning platter HDD’s. SSD’s have a limited number of write sequences which, is actually controlled by the number of erase sequences. There are often fewer writes and erases on cheaper and older SSD drives. Defragmenting an SSD will result in many more (unnecessary) writes and erases as your defragmenter moves the files around. In Windows, I recommend using the format option and ‘quick erase.’ The quick erase option only erases the File Allocation Table (FAT). The quick erase feature is usually the first option on a Windows PC. If you use the format option, be sure to have a copy available of the Windows operating system that you’re using. On a Mac, I’m not sure because I’ve only erased the free space on a HDD and an SSD won’t benefit from a free space erasure. You won't see any speed improvements from defragmenting an SSD. On a spinning platter drive, defragmenting is beneficial because the drives’ head has to move over the magnetic platter to read the data, somewhat like a record player. If a file's data is spread over the drive, the head will have to move around to read all the pieces of the file, and this will undoubtedly take longer. On older operating systems, the files that are deleted on your drive, aren't actually deleted immediately. When you delete a file on your drive, the files are only marked as deleted. Until the space is overwritten by another file, the data could actually be recovered with file recovery software. Linux kernel 2.6.28 and beyond, Mac OS X 10.6.8 and beyond and Windows 7 and beyond. Those operating systems support TRIM and you never need to overwrite or ‘wipe’ the drive. In an OS that supports TRIM, the files are deleted immediately. Not only was the TRIM command developed for SSD’s, it’s actually good for them. The TRIM command is not an acronym. Some old SSD’s don't support TRIM. However, TRIM was added shortly after SSD’s were marketed. TRIM doesn’t always function with all devices and earlier operating systems than those that are listed, don’t support TRIM. Obliviously, a lot more information about the type of drive that you have can be found on the internet. Return to TOP of page © Corey Bailey Audio Engineering
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