In the absence of OSX TRIM support, how do you restore SSD performance on a Mac?

Libertine Lush

macrumors 6502a
Original poster
Nov 23, 2009
679
2
Whenever the MBP refresh happens I intend to upgrade the stock HDD to a 7200rpm 500GB HDD or, less likely, to an SSD. An SSD had been my first option until I learned about SSD performance degradation and the lack of TRIM support in OSX. I was ready to stomach the massive SSD price premium, but the lack of TRIM would most likely rule it out completely for me. And I recall reading something about the MBP hardware connection (perhaps the the SATA connector) having a slight bottleneck compared to SSD-equipped Windows machines; so some of the top of the line SSDs won't be able to max out their transfer rates on OSX. (This is the best, not so informative, link I can find now referring to that impaired performance: http://macperformanceguide.com/Reviews-SSD-OWC-Mercury_Extreme.html#Single_MBP) With these performance issues, I've become perplexed why SSDs are popular amongst some Apple users.

After considerable googling and also searching of this forum, this is the best workaround I could find for SSD performance restoration: http://macperformanceguide.com/Storage-SSD-Reconditioning.html Supposedly it works, though I couldn't find enough info/opinions anywhere else to be sure it truly restores a SSD 100%.

So in the absence of OSX TRIM support, how do you restore SSD performance on a Mac? Or is the cumbersome, time consuming workaround in the above link the only way?

Thank you.
 

Eddyisgreat

macrumors 601
Oct 24, 2007
4,847
1
Yes if you want to secure erase to restore to factory speeds (and this is NOT a zero write) you'll need a pc. Though you might be able to do it with a USB external.
 

tyua

macrumors newbie
Feb 4, 2010
17
0
i have a postville v2 in my mbp, i dont see any performance drop since that ssd is more robust than others against the performance loss, and i dont do anything to restore its original performances, i just wait for the trim support. but i wouldnt install on a mbp any other ssd without trim.
 

Libertine Lush

macrumors 6502a
Original poster
Nov 23, 2009
679
2
It formats the drive and writes 0s into everything. It's probably the closest you can get to a "restore" of an SSD with a Mac. There's tools to restore a SSD but you need a PC (no, boot camp don't work)
Yes if you want to secure erase to restore to factory speeds (and this is NOT a zero write) you'll need a pc. Though you might be able to do it with a USB external.
I'm not tech-savvy enough to understand fully what's being instructed. Will the Terminal thing or this other method you both mention involving a PC restore the SSD in less time and/or more effectively than the method I linked? Are any of these 3 methods a full restoration of performance? Thanks.
 

Gabriel GR

macrumors 6502a
Jul 12, 2009
716
1
Athens, Greece
I fill and empty my Intel SSD almost daily with backups from our servers for 2 months and I have noticed any degradation. I expect the lifespan of the drive to suffer at some point but performance is as breathtaking as the first day.
 

alphaod

macrumors Core
Feb 9, 2008
22,047
1,104
NYC
Yes if you want to secure erase to restore to factory speeds (and this is NOT a zero write) you'll need a pc. Though you might be able to do it with a USB external.
You can do it on a Mac as well, but you need to get an older revision of HD Erase (I think version 3.2 or something like that); and then you can issue the ATA Secure Erase command and it will zero out the drive in about 80 seconds.

-------

And yes I've had SSD degradation; but this occurs on an older Samsung SLC SSD. It is over 2 years old now, and the 32GB is a tad small. After a Secure Erase, I was able to restore the performance back to factory.
 

Libertine Lush

macrumors 6502a
Original poster
Nov 23, 2009
679
2
Writing Zeroes to the whole of an SSD is effectively suicide
Why is that? I'm curious to know as you're the one opposing voice on this issue here.

I fill and empty my Intel SSD almost daily with backups from our servers for 2 months and I have noticed any degradation. I expect the lifespan of the drive to suffer at some point but performance is as breathtaking as the first day.
I do wonder at what point the average user would see performance degradation. I see such a wide ranging timeline in forums. Some people see it occur within a month and for others it never arises even after a couple years.

I stream a lot of high quality video online (Netflix, trailers). If streaming involves writing data onto the SSD, then that would be the major thing I do that involves the most data being written, and could therefore bring on performance degradation fast.

An option is to get an SSD that has Garbage Collection... that way it is OS independent.
Thanks so much for mentioning that. Googled it; read up. It seems to very promising. It appears that it really can restore an SSD to essentially like-new condition, all with no effort on the user's behalf (http://www.engadget.com/2009/08/10/indilinx-firmware-cleans-dirty-ssds-restores-performance-while/).

Can anyone speak to just how effective garbage collection is? Does it really restore SSD performance 100%? And is it any better or worse than TRIM?

Perhaps this is what accounts for all the differing user accounts on SSD degradation. It appears that if you bought an SSD around the latter part of 2009, you'd be more likely to have an SSD capable of garbage collection.
 

Eddyisgreat

macrumors 601
Oct 24, 2007
4,847
1
You can do it on a Mac as well, but you need to get an older revision of HD Erase (I think version 3.2 or something like that); and then you can issue the ATA Secure Erase command and it will zero out the drive in about 80 seconds.
I know you know your stuff so rather than say "nuu uhh ur wrong" I'll instead ask : the whole reason we need to use a PC or an external is because the BIOS used with the Macbook Pro has the drive locked so that we Cant run the secure erase command on it. You ran it with HDD erase? Because I used something like 3.3 and it wouldn't fly.
 

ayeying

macrumors 601
Dec 5, 2007
4,548
11
Yay Area, CA
I know you know your stuff so rather than say "nuu uhh ur wrong" I'll instead ask : the whole reason we need to use a PC or an external is because the BIOS used with the Macbook Pro has the drive locked so that we Cant run the secure erase command on it. You ran it with HDD erase? Because I used something like 3.3 and it wouldn't fly.
+1

The reason I said it wouldn't work on Boot Camp is because of the whole BIOS thing thats required. Otherwise I would've been able to restore my SSD on my air easily and not resort to writing Zeros.
 

mmulin

macrumors 6502
Jun 22, 2006
404
0
+1

The reason I said it wouldn't work on Boot Camp is because of the whole BIOS thing thats required. Otherwise I would've been able to restore my SSD on my air easily and not resort to writing Zeros.
Why not boot from MacOSX install DVD, run Disk Utility's Secure Erase or dd on the disk and proceed to full Time Machine restore in the same session?
 

loteq

macrumors newbie
May 12, 2008
20
0
ive got a 160gb intel x25 latest (postville?) and working great... for anyone worried about performance suffering your missing the point that even with severelky degraded performance in 6 -12 months with heavy HEAVY usage, your ssd is still going to outperform any disk based drive by a wide margin, so dont worry about it so much. If you start to notice its not performing up to snuff then you can decide at that point if its worth doing a rewrite or not. For most people though I would say dont worry about it. There are lots of reasons to go ssd other than performance... battery life (i added about 45 to an hour on my 15 MBP 2.4 by going to the ssd from a 7200 500GB seagate) heat is way less, its way more robust in terms of dropping or damage, and its WAY FASTER. My MBP is a much faster machine than my 27 in imac by far now, to the point that I get pissed off waiting for my imac now to perform some tasks. Sure, its faster for video encodes now, but I usually do those when i walking away from my machine or in the background anyway so I dont really even notice.

I just need to figure out a way to elegantly fit a 80GB ssd and a 1 TB disk drive in my imac... if anyone has any ideas on this PM me thx...

Also, highly recommend goind intel x25, as it appears to have much less issues with degrade that other drives... I think possible the latest chips that OCZ is using sandstorm or something also are better as well... Anyway im sure somewhere here knows all this better than me.. ;)
 

ayeying

macrumors 601
Dec 5, 2007
4,548
11
Yay Area, CA
Why not boot from MacOSX install DVD, run Disk Utility's Secure Erase or dd on the disk and proceed to full Time Machine restore in the same session?
Because secure erase is basically just "dd" in a easier method.

The method the other poster suggested is a "low-level" format (even though dd is also considered a low-level format, it's more specifically for hard drives then for SSD). In theory, it should "reset" the cells instead of just writing 0s onto it.

For that, you require an actual PC.
 

DoFoT9

macrumors P6
Jun 11, 2007
17,494
26
Singapore
Because secure erase is basically just "dd" in a easier method.

The method the other poster suggested is a "low-level" format (even though dd is also considered a low-level format, it's more specifically for hard drives then for SSD). In theory, it should "reset" the cells instead of just writing 0s onto it.

For that, you require an actual PC.
how low level are we talking?

is there any sort of polarity issues (or something similar, not sure what to call it) like mechanical hard drives? anybody have any idea?

i only ask, because say with mechanical hard drives - if you use DD etc it will change the data to a "0" or "1", but still the polarity of the hard drive at the lowest level still may be very hard to read. is this also the same with SSDs?
 

DoFoT9

macrumors P6
Jun 11, 2007
17,494
26
Singapore