SSDs with TRIM Support


I’m looking to get a new SSD for my laptop when Windows 7 comes out, and I just read a review on Newegg warning about a drive not supporting Win7’s TRIM feature. A Google search gave me the basics on TRIM, but how important is it, really? I’m having trouble finding which drives support it and am wondering if I should wait before pulling the trigger.

I use my laptop for home and work, so I’d really like to do a clean install on a new drive (for restoration purposes when I really screw something up) and it seems like a perfect time to make the switch. I’m also moving from 32-bit Vista to 64-bit Windows 7, so—as I understand it—I need to wipe regardless.

—Steve Wale

Think of TRIM as a garbage collector for your SSD. Normally, when you delete data on a disk, whether SSD or standard magnetic hard drive, the data isn’t immediately scrubbed. Instead, it’s marked as overwriteable, so when the disk runs out of fresh blocks to write to, it goes back and writes over deleted files. But given the way SSDs store data, this can decrease your drive’s performance once there are no more fresh blocks to write to. To write data to a block, an SSD first has to copy the entire block to cache, wipe it, delete the overwriteable sectors in cache, write in the new data (in cache), and rewrite the entire block to the disk. This can lead to slowdowns. Essentially, TRIM scrubs blocks of deleted data when it’s deleted, and makes sure the disk controller knows they’re blank, speeding up the whole process and making sure your drive’s performance doesn’t degrade over time.

At press time, only a few SSDs have TRIM support (including the OCZ Vertex and Patriot Torqx) but several ship with wiper.exe, a TRIM-like command that helps restore performance. We expect more SSD vendors to release TRIM in firmware upgrades as Windows 7 gets closer to release.

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