Even if you are ‘Phat’ TRIM might be a problem. – Doing Nothing Is Seeing SSD Performance Degradation
31 May 2015
Noticed that speedy SSD drive has been slowing down, or you do not want it to, on your PC or Mac, well you need to consider TRIM and AGC. Say what?
SSD – (Solid State Hard Drives) have been around for a while, at up to x100 performance on data access, and boot up times as well as about 1/3 of the power so cooler as well, to that of normal hard drives it is a no-brainer SSD is worth having for your boot drive on a PC or a Mac.
TRIM – a command built into SSD drive controllers that inform an SSD drive which blocks of data are in use, not in use and can be wiped internally. Computers do not support TRIM by default automatically and maybe not at all.
AGC – Active Garbage Collection, as sexy as this sounds it is a secondary process that does the same as TRIM if TRIM is not working and it is built into the firmware of some but not all SSDs (is a good thing).
HDD – A standard internal hard drive for PCs or Macs that run normally at 5400 rpm or 7200 rpm
AHCI- Advanced Host Controller Interface a SATA setting in the bios (not natively turned on and can impact SSD drive weed by a factor of 3 (that’s 300%) – Not turned on in BIOS the SSD is still faster than an HDD.
Like many, I build my own desktop PCs always have (well have them built for safety / risk). However I have never gotten around to installing an SSD drive for my main boot drive.
- Personally to buy an SSD drive under 500GB or a 1TB, seemed pointless, and with prices of 500GB being around $150, then the price per GB (PPG) on an SSD has fallen recently, and as good as they will be for a while, if you look at the market on these things. Also with SSD drives like CPU, new versions come out occasionally offering faster read and write speeds at the same price (no point buying a new SSD drive that is slower). Current versions of SSD drives offer 500-550MB/sec speeds on reading and writing.
- However many SSD drives have certain tweaks that if not performed will reduce the speed of this speedy drive.
AGC- (Active Garbage Collection) is a feature of some SSD drives (Crucial is one brand), simply put when your PC is idling, the SSD drive is cleaning itself. However, between power saving (that is set by default to let a PC sleep) or those that turn a PC on work all the time then turn it off immediately the impact is the same. The SSD drive needs idle time to clean itself.
What’s The Problem ? – As TRIM commands simply tell an SSD drive what blocks of data are not being used and can be wiped. If TRIM doesn’t kick in, then AGC is there to clean up the drive. However in the very logical scenario above (power saving mode / PC turned off when not in use) then AGC cannot kick in, so the drive does not get cleaned up and slows down, or worse (yep). Or your SSD drive may not have ACG meaning if TRIM is not configured properly (VERY easy to miss), then your SSD drive will slow down.
Simple Prevention – Let TRIM or ACG do it’s thing –
- No Sleep– Just go to your power settings on PC or Mac and turn off any power plans that turn off your hard drive. These are on a default, and many people just leave them that way.
- Defrag– Turn off automatic or scheduled defragmentation most Windows has this turned on by default. SSD drives do not fragment like magnetic drives so turning this off can help performance, and ssd drives have a limited number of writes and reads so this can also add to the longevity of your drive. The bug / feature request to have this deactivate for SSD drives has been reported to Windows 10 team.
- Is your TRIM turned on?- Easy… Firstly TRIM is only supported in Windows 7 and beyond, so you need to consider that. Also if you upgrade from anything to Windows 7 or newer TRIM might not work at all. So how do you tell if TRIM on your windows 7 or higher PC (or OS X Mac) is turned on.. easy Open a Admin CMD prompt and TYPE
fsutil behavior query DisableDeleteNotify (ENTER)
This will give you an answer of 0 or 1. Zero indicates TRIM is enabled, a one means it is not. You can turn on TRIM by repeating the step above and add a 0 at the end per below.
fsutil behavior query DisableDeleteNotify 0 (ENTER)
Now repeat the first step and you should get a 0 but a re-boot might be needed.
Indexing- Due to the speed and way SSDs work indexing designed to speed up windows search on magnetic drives but not needed and impacts on longevity (and performance a little) on SSDs To turn it off just go to the properties of your SSD drive and turn indexing off. You may need admin rights to do this, and might need to turn indexing off manually .
Fix it -– Here is how you fix a slow SSD Drive. PC or Mac – In Windows, the best thing to do is to disconnect your SATA cable from your SSD Drive for a few hours, but leave the power connected this will make the SSD drive run in MCG mode. For a Mac just go to à system preferences, -> energy saver –> uncheck ‘put the hard disks to sleep’. You do not need to do this unless you have a problem on the PC.
Don’t Forget the Bios- PC’s new and old to not have AHCI mode enabled. If you do not turn it on you would never know what you are missing. AHCI only came out with SATA interfaces, and SSD did not get popular until way after SATA was started. WARNING: This may be obvious to some, but it is not. Logisitcally, you need to activate AHCI mode prior to installaing the OS on that SSD drive. If you install the OS on an SSD drive with AHCI not enabled then goto the bios to enable it, then the drive will not boot up DOH ! (I got caught out on that).
I have had a lot of people ask about defaults in Windows 10 (actually all versions of Windows), so was surprised that there were so many aspects to this but all simple to fix.
If of any use please let me know.