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Intel Matrix Storage + SSD TRIM Pass-through?

Esteemed Contributor III


I would like to know if Intel is aware of the issues with SSD's and RAID arrays regarding the lack of TRIM capability. More and more SSD drives support the block cleaning/optimising method aka. TRIM. Windows 7 has the operating system level support for it. As far as the user useres his SSD's in normal SATA/Legacy IDE mode this TRIM methid works because the OS can send the TRIM method calls directly to the drive itself. But if the user's SSD drives are in a RAID0 array TRIM capabilities are gone, because the Intel RAID controller does not pass through the TRIM method calls.

My question is that whether Intel is aware of this problem and if is there any effort to solve this issue? Are we seeing any driver updates soon?

Thank you indavance!



Esteemed Contributor III


I personally wouldn't be too concerned with the TRIM capability to begin with, especially in a RAID configuration. There won't be a whole lot of performance gain since these SSDs are already very fast. Aside from that, your RAID controller is where the performance enhancements should be looked at. Are you using a RAID controller with a built-in cache? If it's an on-board RAID controller, probably not, and you won't see much performance gain by using RAID on these controllers -- just redundancy gains. I currently have an Intel-based RAID ICH10R and under all configurations of RAID 0 or 1 with two X25-E drives, the performance didn't change much from using just a single drive. I ended up buying an Adaptec card (the 5045) to see true gains. Perhaps it was a combination of the chipset and motherboard, but unless you are writing hundreds of thousands of tiny files, I don't see where your benefit for this feature would amount to much.

Personally, I feel the TRIM command defeats the purpose of wear-leveling, sacrificing lifespan for very little performance gains (there have been exceptions). Maybe there's still a significant difference for the X25-M series, but I've never used those. Anybody have links to some more information regarding TRIM benefits on the M series with the updated firmware? Other brands of SSDs wouldn't fit this topic.

Hope this helps.

Esteemed Contributor III

Thank you for your response but I think you might not get my point. I am not too muck into performance gains. The problem is that SSD write speeds degrade as you write more data on the drive. It is no concern with NAND chips wearout it is a matter of the method that SSD's use for writing and overwriting data. You can describe it as a kind of defragmentation but it is not that simple. You should check on this article if you are not sure what is TRIM:

If you do not get any performance increase with RAID0 you have obviously going wrong.

TRIM support is more likely to be solved on the RAID controller's side.

Esteemed Contributor III

Hi Jozsef,

I actually do understand the issues of TRIM and SSDs fully. I've posted several times about this topic on past threads. However, I'll emphasize my point, too: The gains you get from using TRIM are minimal in real-world use. Sure, you can see slight differences by running benchmarks, but odds are the system will not operate this way in real-world conditions.

RAID benefits significantly by having a built-in cache, thus the difference between enterprise-level controllers and 'low-cost' home consumer controllers. Gaining RAID performance isn't just a matter of 'going wrong' but a matter of using the right combination of hardware. It's a proven science, not open to much theory. A RAID cache will benefit your write performance more than the TRIM will, and that's a fact of I/O, period. If you wish to wait for TRIM to be fully implemented, that's your choice, of course, but I will guarantee your wait will be rewarded with very little satisfaction, except perhaps on the cheapest of SSD components.

However, I only speak for the majority of systems operating out there. Perhaps you have a very unique situation where you're constantly writing gigabytes of data on an hourly basis to your SSDs. But, if it happens to be for your system pagefile or temporary files, perhaps an additional RAMDISK would be the next best upgrade to your system. See other posts on this page for those ideas.



Esteemed Contributor III

zulishk wrote:

Personally, I feel the TRIM command defeats the purpose of wear-leveling, sacrificing lifespan for very little performance gains (there have been exceptions).

I don't think you understand how TRIM works. It isn't sacrificing lifespan, it is substantially increasing it, by reducing the frequency of read/erase/write cycles being needed. This increased lifespan IMO is a bigger reason to use it than the performance gains. (As you said the SSD is already fast enough without it).