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Fast Solid State Drives That Stay Fast

LONDON January 20, 2011

– Utilizing SSD Optimizer

Solid state drives (SSDs) are capable of delivering outstanding speed. So why don’t they always do this? Why does the speed of a new laptop or netbook degrade quickly during the first months of use?

It’s because most PC operating systems have logical files that were designed for HDD use. They really aren’t optimized to exploit the potential of SSD or NAND Flash. For these devices, drive performance falls off dramatically over time, and the main factor at work is fragmentation.

Where there are free spaces scattered through a volume, the file system will break up the file and write it in fragments to those open spaces. NAND Flash is very vulnerable to write speed degradation and increased I/O when the free space is moderately to heavily fragmented. In tests of SSDs from a wide range of manufacturers, Diskeeper Corporation found that such fragmentation will degrade write performance by as much as 80%.

Take NTFS, by far the most-used Windows file system, if users don’t curtail fragmentation they will degrade their write speed and increase I/O significantly and rapidly. NTFS fragments free space rather aggressively over a few months and then fragmentation continues to grow thereafter. Write speed in such a system will decrease in direct relationship to the increase in fragmentation.

Thus a new SSD device may offer write performance in the 80 MB/s range to start, but after a few weeks of use, performance will quickly deteriorate to 35 MB/s. Over the span of a few more months write speed will drop still further to a dreary 10 MB /s. To compound the problem, this dropped write performance will make boot-up times longer for the SSD NAND Flash device. Also, the excess write activity caused by fragmentation will overwork it and shorten its lifespan.

HyperFast technology uses Windows file system controls originally co-written by Diskeeper Corporation and Microsoft. It delivers 100% safe automatic maintenance of the file system, keeping a low level of free space fragmentation through specific optimization techniques that force the file system to write sequentially rather than randomly.

Because NAND Flash drives have limited erase-write cycles, any optimization program intended to increase performance won’t be worth doing if it increases erase-write because its performance improvement will be done at the expense of reduced drive life. With HyperFast technology, tests showed that the net result is reduced erase-write activity on the Flash drive, resulting in greater longevity.

HyperFast technology makes it possible to optimize SSDs to deliver extended life, greater performance and faster system boot-up for NAND Flash storage devices.

SOURCE Diskeeper Corporation

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