Buy SSD after LION release

Discussion in 'Buying Tips and Advice' started by Black.Infinity, Mar 10, 2011.

  1. Black.Infinity macrumors 6502

    Black.Infinity

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    #1
    I guess you heard that finally there should be a trim support for ssd
    like everybody else i have plan to buy SSD. Third party SSDs ( OWC.... )


    So what do you think should we wait ?!?

    I'd like to hear other opinions :D

    Thanks:apple:
     
  2. Hellhammer Moderator

    Hellhammer

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    #2
    So far the TRIM support is only for Apple SSDs. You don't really need TRIM with SF based drives, such as the ones OWC is selling since the controller does the job.
     
  3. deconstruct60 macrumors 604

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    #3
    Given TRIM is a quasi-standard SATA command how can it be supported on just one vendor's drive ? Sure they could have stuck some crude kludge in the file system code as a testing hack, but that seems very dubious code to distribute in a beta.


    Furthermore, is there any evidence that the file system or file system utilities (format utils) have been modified. So for the evidence for TRIM i've seen is System Preferences screen shots. What System Preferences tells you is the metadata properties of the devices being inspected. NOT the file system functionality. There is a huge difference between reading the metadata reported by the drive and actually doing something with it.


    The controller + provisioned capacity allow it to keep up consumption of "reconditioned" memory cells.
     
  4. Hellhammer Moderator

    Hellhammer

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    #4
    I'm only repeating what I've seen. In System Profiler (I guess that is what you meant), TRIM support says YES if you have an SSD from Apple but if you have a 3rd party SSD (e.g. Intel or OCZ), it says NO. That is what is says there. I don't know the details of TRIM or how it really works so I can't say anything about that.

    We are talking about Apple though so limiting it to their SSDs wouldn't be a surprise. I don't know how they do it but there must be a way.
     
  5. kingtj macrumors 68020

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    #5
    SSDs, trim support, etc.

    Actually, I've been doing a LOT of research on this whole topic, because I was just about to pull the trigger on buying a 512GB SSD for my 2010 Macbook Pro -- but wanted to be sure I was doing the right thing before spending that kind of money.

    I dug up a few interesting things:

    The Toshiba SSD's with the Apple branding on them (which are what they use in all of their products that ship with an SSD) have customized firmware in them that is far more aggressive than normal in doing "garbage cleanup" operations in the background. This is a really good thing for an OS like OS X that doesn't have native trim support, because it ensures the drive maintains the transfer rates it had when you first formatted it and loaded your OS and apps on it. The downside? The more aggressive they get with moving the blocks around and erasing unused ones? The faster they wear out the flash in the drive. Additionally, for an OS that already does trim support and is SSD aware (like Windows 7), all of this cleanup taking place that often as a background task just hurts the performance. That's why drives like the Intel SSDs get benchmarked in Windows-based tests as considerably faster than the Toshiba.

    Therefore, it sounds like the Toshiba SSDs with Apple-branded firmware loaded on them are really the best bet for a current OS X machine, BUT there's a good chance that once Lion is out, you'd be better off with a different brand or model.

    In a heavily used system, I wouldn't be surprised to see that the Apple branded SSDs they're selling now wind up failing, 3-4 years down the road. (Note that none have warranties longer than 3 years, though some of the competition offer 5 years on theirs. Probably not just a coincidence.)
     
  6. Hellhammer Moderator

    Hellhammer

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    #6
    2011 MBPs with SSD already ship with active TRIM support

    http://www.appleinsider.com/article..._active_ssd_trim_support_in_snow_leopard.html
     
  7. deconstruct60 macrumors 604

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    #7

    Yes I typed the wrong "P" word before; meant "profiler" but typed "preferences". However, this all the more indicative that there is no file system TRIM support and merely a "display the metadata" enhancement to the profiler's inspection capabilities.

    Likewise the older reports from 10.6.4

    http://www.appleinsider.com/article...or_trim_support_in_future_ssd_based_macs.html

    Note the 'update' at the bottom that the status changes when the drive's firmware is updated. The profiler is merely listing the properties of the device as passed to it from the drive. Part of the issue is 'decoding' the string that the drives send back. It is a necessary step zero in identifying which devices should consider sending TRIM commands to. However, it says nothing about the file system actually sending these.
     
  8. JustSomeDude macrumors regular

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    #8
    According to Anandtech the Kingston V+100 ssds are using the same controller - the same aggressive garbage collection and basically identical performance.

    Fow what it's worth Anandtech thinks the SSDs Apple uses would be pretty reliable because Apple would thoroughly test the SSDs before selecting that particular model for one of its systems. I, myself, don't really know, but the argument seems to make sense when there are several other options Apple could choose that would offer more performance at a seemingly lower price.
     
  9. al256 macrumors 6502a

    al256

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    #9
    I'm waiting for Lion's TRIM support before I buy an SSD for my iMac... Plus it gives me some time to build up funds for a larger drive.
     
  10. OneMike macrumors 601

    OneMike

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    #10
    That does make sense. Also, by then maybe prices will come down some.
     
  11. InfiniteLoopy macrumors 6502

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    Dec 14, 2010
    #11
    I'm interested in getting an SSD for my Macbook as I only have 1.xx Gb left of space.
    I was actually going to post a new thread but this one seems to be on the same topic.

    I read about the report regarding SSDs not being able to securely wipe the data in some cases. Is this what TRIM solves (sorry, I don't know exactly what it is)?
    I was going to get a Vertex 2. Do these support secure erase? Will I have to wait until Lion to use it? Should I look at another model now?

    Thanks
     
  12. itickings macrumors 6502a

    itickings

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    #12
    That tiny amount of free space wreaks havoc on the system since it can't efficiently allocate areas for data. It would be wise to offload some of the data as soon as possible in order to lessen the fragmentation.

    No, TRIM doesn't have anything to do with that at all. And considering how SSD are designed you basically need full disc encryption if you are concerned with potential recovery of data. It will be very interesting to see what Lion has to offer in that department.
     
  13. kingtj macrumors 68020

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    #13
    RE: SSD reliability

    Well, I'd agree with Anandtech normally, but from what I've been reading, I got the distinct impression Apple went with the SSD they did mainly because they wanted a model using that highly aggressive garbage collection to skirt around the fact that OS X wasn't capable of managing any of it internally, itself. The Windows PC makers, by contrast, aren't that worried because they're all shipping Windows 7 on new machines now -- and Win 7 does support TRIM, as well as special caching techniques optimized for the way SSD's store their data. (Since Vista didn't, it's possible it would benefit from one of these extra aggressive garbage-collecting SSD models too, but not sure there's a whole lot of testing be done to find that out conclusively?) I know for a fact that Windows XP doesn't work well with SSD drives, period, because SSD drives prefer file systems that divide things up in 4K blocks, and XP doesn't conform to that rule.

    The Kingston V+100 *is* just a re-branded Toshiba SSD, as used in the Apple products, so yes - it works identically - EXCEPT apparently, the Toshiba drives made for Apple have part numbers ending in an additional two letters of "AA". The rest of them simply end in a "BB". That tells me they MAY have customized their firmware just for Apple in the "AA" versions.

    I can't prove anything conclusively, but I have a strong suspicion that Apple used the Toshiba because they were willing to work with them to provide customized firmware that makes OS X run a lot better with the product, at the expense of some longevity of the drive itself. There are benchmarks out there on the net showing the results when people put other, supposedly "faster performing" SSDs like the popular ones with "Sandforce" controllers in them (Vertex series, PNY, Crucial, etc. etc.) in a Mac running OS X Leopard or Snow Leopard. They have much more in the way of performance that starts out great on a freshly formatted drive, but drops off as time goes on until performance is relatively quite poor.

     
  14. InfiniteLoopy macrumors 6502

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    #14
    Thanks, I'll move some stuff to an external ASAP. How much free space is recommended as a minimum on the main drive?

    --

    Regarding erasing, I thought that the report said that some SSD drives did delete data in the usual manner (writing 0s...). Is that not the case? At this point which drives are recommended?

    Thanks,
     
  15. itickings, Mar 13, 2011
    Last edited: Mar 13, 2011

    itickings macrumors 6502a

    itickings

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    #15
    It is not like the drive is going to break if you run it a lot while it's nearly full, but it'll be or become noticeably slower.

    Depending on who you ask, typical answers are 5%, 10% or 15% free. I tend to aim for at least 10%, but I accept lower amounts if it is temporary, it is not like it is something written in stone.
     
  16. Cheffy Dave macrumors 68030

    Cheffy Dave

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    #16
    HH, amazing info, I was waiting for Lion and Trim, thanks so much:eek:
     
  17. InfiniteLoopy, Mar 13, 2011
    Last edited: Mar 13, 2011

    InfiniteLoopy macrumors 6502

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    #17
    Thanks. I think I'll go delete some stuff (it's backed up elsewhere).

    Now, we seem to be in between generations of SSDs.
    Would it be a good idea to get a Vertex II now or will the Vertex III be the same price/capacity?
    Also, would an older Macbook (first unibody) benefit from a Vertex III or would the II be pushing it to the limit already?

    I'm concerned about the garbage cleanup thing. Does a Vertex II do a good enough job or should I be looking at another make/model?
     
  18. Hellhammer Moderator

    Hellhammer

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    #18
    At least in the beginning, Vertex 3 will cost a bit more than the Vertex 2 but not dramatically (depends on how much the Vertex 3 drives the down the cost of Vertex 2). IIRC 120GB V3 was 250$.

    If you have a Mac with SATA 3Gb/s (i.e. all but the 2011 MBP), there isn't much point in Vertex 3 or other SATA 6Gb/s SSD.

    All SandForce based drives have pretty good garbage collection so there shouldn't be a need to worry about degradation.
     
  19. Cougarcat macrumors 604

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    #19
    Apparently Lion checks to see if it is an "Apple" drive. From Hardmac:

     
  20. InfiniteLoopy macrumors 6502

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    #20
    Thanks.
    So what you're saying is that I might as well get a Vertex II as my 2008 Macbook wouldn't benefit from the speed of a Vertex III?

    Would you recommend the Vertex II over other similar SSDs at this point?
     
  21. Hellhammer Moderator

    Hellhammer

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    #21
    Basically yeah. Although it depends on the final pricing and if there are any issues. Vertex 3 might be more future-proof so in case it is only few bucks more and there are no reported issues, I would get that instead.

    I would recommend OWC's SSDs if you're in the US as they have the best Mac support. All SandForce based drives have suffered from some issues like the hibernation thing so they aren't the best in terms of reliability.
     
  22. InfiniteLoopy macrumors 6502

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    #22
    Thanks.
    I thought that SandForce SSDs were good. I didn't know they weren't reliable (does that include the latest generation?). Does OWC use SandForce?
    Does that only leave Intel as a viable option?
     
  23. Hellhammer Moderator

    Hellhammer

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    #23
    SandForce SSDs are the best in terms of performance but at least with OS X, there have been few unpleasant issues. Maybe reliability wasn't the best word since they are reliable but these issues makes them less appealing. They work but have some issues.

    OWC uses SF but they currently ship SSDs with an older firmware that does not suffer from this issue. I can't recall if there are some other issues with the older firmware though. The only reason I recommend OWC is that OCZ has showed no interest towards fixing the issues with Macs. OWC, on the other hand, has reportedly been working with SandForce in order to get rid of this issue. Also, they are developing a firmware updater for OS X while you need Windows to update the FW with other SF-based drives.

    No idea does Vertex 3 and other SF-2000 SSDs suffer from this but since they use different firmware, I doubt it.
     
  24. InfiniteLoopy macrumors 6502

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    #24
    Hi,

    So apparently, even OWC don't provide a Mac firmware solution and can have hibernation issues based on what I've read. But how important is the firmware update option?

    What do you think of the Intel G2 series? Intel provide a Mac firmware. What about Kingston V+100 who offer supposedly good garbage collection (but I don't know if they offer Mac firmware or how Lion would cope (supposing it had TRIM for third party SSDs) if the drive already took care of it ...
     
  25. Hellhammer Moderator

    Hellhammer

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    #25
    OWC has said for months that they are working on a firmware update utility for OS X. No idea when it will be out but at least they are doing something. It's not crucial if you have Windows in Boot Camp.

    Intels appear to be the least problematic SSDs but they are also fairly expensive. They are good, no doubt about that. However, Intel should come up with new G3 lineup at some point.

    IIRC Kingston V+100 uses the same controller as the SSDs Apple use. It is a decent drive but I can't remember how it is priced.
     

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