SSD degredation... trim command. What am I missing?

Discussion in 'Ice Cream Sandwich' started by s_mack, Nov 23, 2011.

  1. s_mack

    s_mack Member

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    Hi. First timer here.

    First off, I didn't know what section was appropriate so I'm sorry if I chose the wrong one.

    Second, I have ZERO experience with Android, so this question may fall into the "what a noob" category, so bear with me...

    I'm considering getting the Asus Transformer Prime when it comes out in a couple of weeks. A friend and I were discussing if we need the 32 or the 64gb version, blah blah... that got me to thinking. In a PC, when SSD started to become trendy a few years ago as a primary OS drive, people were awakened with a hammer when they ran into serious performance degradation once the drive filled up. For those not familiar, SSD works differently than an HDD and (to put it over-simply) data isn't ever really "deleted", only over-written. So when a fresh drive gets used it gets "filled up", even though it may appear neat and tidy, and you hit a wall and suddenly your performance is greatly affected since every operation now requires an over-write of existing data rather than filling in empty space. This is where the TRIM command came in to save the day. TRIM needs to be supported on the drive AND the OS to work. Windows 7 supports it, along with the latest MAC OS and a handful of Linux distros... but according to wikipedia, there's no mention of Android at all.

    (see this link)

    I spent a few minutes on Google and not only could I not find an answer, I really didn't even see anyone asking the question! So I figure either:

    a) Android is just special and natively somehow avoids the SSD degradation altogether
    b) Devices that run Android are just so slow that the SSD is nowhere near the bottleneck so even full its still not a problem
    c) Android is so lean that nobody anywhere has ever filled one up (doubtful)
    d) Androids in Black are doing their best to keep dissenters at bay and wipe any post referring to SSD degradation before anyone can read it.

    - Steven
     
  2. J515OP

    J515OP Super Moderator Staff Member

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    d) I'll give you the option of deleting the post yourself or I'll do it for you.... You have 5 minutes from the time you read this to respond.
     
  3. J515OP

    J515OP Super Moderator Staff Member

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    jk ;)

    I believe the answer is really b). Let's face it Android devices are disposable. Unlike a SSD where you are likely to keep it for a long time and possibly across multiple computers, any given Android device has a lifetime of probably no more than four years (more realistically 2-3). You will notice a lack of performance from 2 year old technology before you notice a slow down from slowing flash memory.

    That being said there are notable differences in the speeds of flash cards and slower flash memory can cause issues such as force closing in Android. It is the small block read and write that is the most important for Android devices. See this for more info xda-developers - View Single Post - SD Strange-results - or - How I learned to love CM7 on SD

    The way a pc is typically accessing and using a SSD is not quite the same as the way Android is reading and writing to memory (you are not likely to be rendering a special effects moving huge chunks of data in and out of memory for example). Also the performance of SSD even when they are degraded are still quite fast and on par with standard disks (if memory serves correctly), just not as fast as they could be. With new TRIM controllers this becomes sort of a moot point since the drives are not being allowed to degrade anyway.

    So if your Android phone has the processing speed of a lower end pc and is transferring data at speeds traditionally associated with magnetic disk platters are you really going to notice the difference?
     
  4. s_mack

    s_mack Member

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    I'm sure you're right (that I'm right lol)... it makes the most sense. But could Google, etc really be that shortsighted? It may not matter on phones up until now, but in the tablet pc world as units like the Transformer['s Optimus] Prime with a quad-core CPU come out... bottlenecks begin to shift.

    A lot of people misunderstand the problem. Perhaps I do to some extent. Its not that the SSD is "too slow", its that it suddenly drops in performance at some point and seemingly for no reason. Unless it really isn't anywhere near a bottleneck, then one would certainly notice when/if that happens. And "filling up" the drive isn't necessarily as cut-and-dry as downloading more stuff. Some people might be like, "yeah well, I'm never going to fill up my 32Gb drive"... but yes, you absolutely will. Even if you never download a single thing, as long as you use the device you'll "fill up" the drive because EVERY time there is a write to the drive, it uses up free space first (without trim) and never touches/erases/overwrites any data until its full. At that point, it becomes shockingly slower until the moment you wipe the drive and start over (or toss it in the trash thinking its f'd up).

    I am 100% new to Android. My only experience with it is 5 minutes at the store watching a youtube video. So I have no idea what tools, if any, Android includes to address this issue. Whether there is some utility to recover the seemingly empty space (that isn't really empty). AFAIK, you have to completely wipe the drive and at that point, its blazing fast again... but how do you do that? Is there a "format" in Android, that formats itself? Do you hook it up via USB to a PC or something?

    I guess I'll find out soon enough. My Asus 701 ancient netbook was stolen and the insurance company determined the Transformer (over 2x the price and probably 100x the capability) to be the replacement. My only dilema, if you can call it that, is to decide if I want to be $100 out of pocket for the 64Gb upgrade.
     
  5. slybunda

    slybunda Member

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    secure erase should normally bring performance back to original speeds.
     

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