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Apple adds SSD TRIM support to Mac OS X 10.7 Lion beta

post #1 of 64
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Apple has added limited TRIM support to the latest developer release of Mac OS X 10.7 Lion, which should enhance the long term performance of Solid State Drives.

While Apple has already started incorporating SSDs into its Macs, it hasn't yet added TRIM, a specific type of operating system support intended to coordinate disk use between the system and the SSD controller. The feature was previously detailed as having "no" support in System Profiler (below, top).

The new Lion developer preview is reported to add TRIM support however, with users of Apple SSDs noting a "yes" (actually "oui") for support according to a report by the French blog MacGenerations (below, bottom).

Unlike conventional magnetic hard drives, SSDs must be erased before being rewritten with new data, somewhat similar to CD-RW disc. This housekeeping task can be managed by some SSD controllers, but the TRIM command is designed to keep SSDs efficiently optimized at all times, preventing a gradual decline in performance as garbage stacks up.

Cleaning up unused bits of deleted files on SSDs requires a sophisticated balancing act between making sure the drive is clean and ready for new write operations, while also limiting unnecessary wear, as the flash cells used by the devices wear out relatively quickly after a finite number of erase/write cycles, compared to the very long life of the recording surfaces of magnetic storage disks.

The TRIM command is part of the ATA interface standard. So far, it appears Apple's support in Lion is only activated for SSDs shipped by the company and not third party devices, but this is likely to be fleshed out more as Lion develops.


post #2 of 64
I remember a friend who worked at Apple relating a story about the early LaserWriters - the utility could rename any one of them, and the name was stored in the unit in flash memory. A favorite pastime at Apple seemed to be renaming others' LWs so you never really knew where you were printing to - your recipes could come out of the boss' printer, you could suddenly be printing to a machine with a less-than-appropriate name, etc. I got an AppleLink message one day bleakly reporting that we should know you can only rename a LW 256 (?) times and after that it's stuck with that name. The lack of further detail suggested it as not a particularly happy discovery.
post #3 of 64
Good news - about time really.

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Do not overrate what you have received, nor envy others.
15" Matte MacBook Pro: 2.66Ghz i7, 8GB RAM, GT330m 512MB, 512GB SSD

iPhone 5 Black 32GB

iPad 3rd Generation, 32GB

Mac Mini Core2Duo 2.26ghz,...

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post #4 of 64
trim is very much required with all the flash going into apple notebooks. I thought they had implemented some rudimentary garbage collection behind under the hood, but unfortunately they haven't. The quality drop in my air ssd (11") is considerable without it.
post #5 of 64
How do SSD drives handle the situation when the memory cells wear out and are no longer writable? What happens to user data on the drive?

Will the SSD drive also start showing a decline in storage capacity when viewed in the OS?
post #6 of 64
does anything equivalent have to be implemented on non-ssd flash storage? for example the flash memory on our iPhones?
post #7 of 64
Good news. Means I may not have to routinely restore my SSD to default configuration and re-image my drive.
(Even if I do have to do this, the speed increase with the Crucial 256 ssd is astounding! Well worth yearly maintenance)
-Toyin
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post #8 of 64
I have an SSD and it shows "No" under TRIM support. Perhaps only Apple-installed SSDs are blessed.

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Rob
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"The descent to hell is easy. The gates stand open day and night. But to reclimb the slope and escape to the upper air: This is labor."--Virgil, Aeneid, Book 6

Rob
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post #9 of 64
Quote:
Originally Posted by jpellino View Post

"And "finite" = what number?"

Most flash memory specs state 100,000 write cycles or more, which is plenty for most uses.

Wear-leveling strategies will move around block of data periodically, so that rarely written files (i.e., OS or application binaries) and frequently-written files (swap files, business databases) even wear out the device and extent the usable life span.
post #10 of 64
Quote:
Originally Posted by Toyin View Post

Good news. Means I may not have to routinely restore my SSD to default configuration and re-image my drive.
(Even if I do have to do this, the speed increase with the Crucial 256 ssd is astounding! Well worth yearly maintenance)

lack of TRIM support is why I ended up buying an OWC SSD with a SandForce controller, no need to erase the drive on a regular interval.
post #11 of 64
The Trim support is nice, but the shocker to me was the Recovery HD. Apparently, when you install Lion, it automatically makes a recovery partition for Recovery Mode and Disk Utilities. So now you don't need a disc to enter Recovery - all you do now is "option boot. This is further proof(to me) that Apple plans to abandon optical drives in the future.

post #12 of 64
Quote:
Originally Posted by DeputyRob View Post

I have an SSD and it shows "No" under TRIM support. Perhaps only Apple-installed SSDs are blessed.


OWC drives don't support TRIM. They don't need to, since they use a SandForce controller.

EDIT: nevermind, they do support TRIM. However, you still don't need it.
post #13 of 64
Quote:
Originally Posted by Toyin View Post

Good news. Means I may not have to routinely restore my SSD to default configuration and re-image my drive.
(Even if I do have to do this, the speed increase with the Crucial 256 ssd is astounding! Well worth yearly maintenance)

how do you go about doing that if I may ask? I could use it on my airs flash.
post #14 of 64
Quote:
Originally Posted by Postulant View Post

The Trim support is nice, but the shocker to me was the Recovery HD. Apparently, when you install Lion, it automatically makes a recovery partition for Recovery Mode and Disk Utilities. So now you don't need a disc to enter Recovery - all you do now is "option boot. This is further proof(to me) that Apple plans to abandon optical drives in the future.


hmm, very interesting, so how would this work exactly?
post #15 of 64
Quote:
Originally Posted by OriginalG View Post

does anything equivalent have to be implemented on non-ssd flash storage? for example the flash memory on our iPhones?

i think so

i had to restore my 3GS as new a few weeks ago and the sync time for a few hundred songs suddenly dropped by A LOT when i put everything back on
post #16 of 64
Quote:
Originally Posted by myapplelove View Post

hmm, very interesting, so how would this work exactly?

You hold down the "option" key when rebooting - You're then given the option to boot into the Recovery drive. You'll find all of the Disk Utility options, along with the ability to restore from Time Machine, and a new option to connect to you wifi network and open Safari in case you need online support during the recovery process.
post #17 of 64
Why didn't they add this in the beginning? They've been supporting SSDs in their Macs since Leopard, maybe even earlier.

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HP Omni 100-5100z, 500GB HDD, 4GB RAM; ASUS Transformer, 16GB, Android 4.0 ICS
Although I no longer own Apple products like I did before, I'll continue to post my opinions.

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post #18 of 64
Quote:
Originally Posted by myapplelove View Post

how do you go about doing that if I may ask? I could use it on my airs flash.

I haven't done this and I'm not sure how to do this within OSX. It can be done using Windows 7 pretty easily (google Diskpart commands).

When/If I ever have to do this, I will use an external drive to boot my MBP, Launch Parallels, then wipe the ssd drive using Windows 7. From there I can restore my ssd from a cloned drive.

For the comment about OWC, never saw anything about those drives when researching SSDs. I'm kind of surprised, since I read so many comparisons with the Crucial SSD. With TRIM support coming, it maybe a moot point, but I'll keep these drives in mind for the future.
-Toyin
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post #19 of 64
Quote:
Originally Posted by Toyin View Post

For the comment about OWC, never saw anything about those drives when researching SSDs. I'm kind of surprised, since I read so many comparisons with the Crucial SSD. With TRIM support coming, it maybe a moot point, but I'll keep these drives in mind for the future.

It's not just OWC drives, but any SSD with a SandForce controller. They are pretty nice drives though. They even make special ones to be used in RAID arrays.

OWC SSD
post #20 of 64
Quote:
Originally Posted by Postulant View Post

You hold down the "option" key when rebooting - You're then given the option to boot into the Recovery drive. You'll find all of the Disk Utility options, along with the ability to restore from Time Machine, and a new option to connect to you wifi network and open Safari in case you need online support during the recovery process.

This is so freaking great, I can't even express.
post #21 of 64
So what is the benefit of SSDs really? I mean, I keep hearing that in practice they are no faster than conventional HDs, they can't take as many rewrite cycles and you can't retrieve deleted files. Did I mention they are bloody expensive too?
Can someone clarify why on earth anybody would want to use them?
post #22 of 64
Quote:
Originally Posted by Zc456 View Post

Why didn't they add this in the beginning? They've been supporting SSDs in their Macs since Leopard, maybe even earlier.

Because mac OS X is on "pause" while "the guy" at apple is busy working on the ipad/phone/pod. Amazing and magical that TRIM support is not considered to be part of the Leopard optimization, such as Snow Leopard was dubbed.
post #23 of 64
Quote:
Originally Posted by pmz View Post

This is so freaking great, I can't even express.

Yeah, I really like it. I remember in the "old days" having to get online on another computer if you ever got stuck in the middle of the recovery process to find instructions - or even worse, having to locate that dang install cd if you ever needed disk utility.

I recommend backing up the OS installer(I saved mine on my iPod classic - disk mode) because if your hard drive crashes, the Recovery drive alone does you no good. And if you notice, Apple is only allowing you to download the OS once.
post #24 of 64
Quote:
Originally Posted by alienzed View Post

So what is the benefit of SSDs really? I mean, I keep hearing that in practice they are no faster than conventional HDs, they can't take as many rewrite cycles and you can't retrieve deleted files. Did I mention they are bloody expensive too?
Can someone clarify why on earth anybody would want to use them?

No faster than conventional HDs? Dude...
post #25 of 64
Quote:
Originally Posted by alienzed View Post

So what is the benefit of SSDs really? I mean, I keep hearing that in practice they are no faster than conventional HDs, they can't take as many rewrite cycles and you can't retrieve deleted files. Did I mention they are bloody expensive too?
Can someone clarify why on earth anybody would want to use them?

First time you use a machine that has one you will understand... and never want to go back to a spinning disk again.
post #26 of 64
Quote:
Originally Posted by alienzed View Post

So what is the benefit of SSDs really?

faster access to data and a reduction in power requirements are two (2) benefits over traditional block i/o hard drives.
post #27 of 64
Quote:
Originally Posted by alienzed View Post

So what is the benefit of SSDs really? I mean, I keep hearing that in practice they are no faster than conventional HDs, they can't take as many rewrite cycles and you can't retrieve deleted files. Did I mention they are bloody expensive too?
Can someone clarify why on earth anybody would want to use them?

WHY? By FAR, this has been the most significant upgrade I've made, including complete machine upgrades. SSD random read writes are several 100x faster then standard HD. Sustained read writes are significantly faster as well.

I have a MBP with 8gb of RAM. There are NO spinning beach balls....ever. Applications open before the icon reaches the apex of it's bounce and quit just as quickly. I remember being able to see the Finder update icons, no longer. Parallels screams. I can use Windows 7 and Windows XP with no lag between virtual machines or OSX. Boot times are ridiculously fast as well (though my current uptime is 22days 2 hours and 54 minutes.

I will NEVER use a standard HD again.
-Toyin
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post #28 of 64
Quote:
Originally Posted by Postulant View Post

The Trim support is nice, but the shocker to me was the Recovery HD. Apparently, when you install Lion, it automatically makes a recovery partition for Recovery Mode and Disk Utilities ... This is further proof(to me) that Apple plans to abandon optical drives in the future.

i don't necessarily agree that support for recovery partitions in 10.7 is evidence that Apple plans to abandon optical drives. if the storage medium (usually a hard disk) on which the recovery partition fails, you'll need an external / removable source. nowadays it's likely an optical disk.
post #29 of 64
Quote:
Originally Posted by Postulant View Post

The Trim support is nice, but the shocker to me was the Recovery HD. Apparently, when you install Lion, it automatically makes a recovery partition for Recovery Mode and Disk Utilities. So now you don't need a disc to enter Recovery - all you do now is "option boot.


Cool so now I can break into our IT guy's mac instantly instead of hunting down a boot CD. Last time he went on vacation he forgot to tell anyone that he put a password on a computer that we needed access to. You need those utilities to change the password if you don't know it.

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post #30 of 64
Quote:
Originally Posted by Toyin View Post

WHY? By FAR, this has been the most significant upgrade I've made, including complete machine upgrades. SSD random read writes are several 100x faster then standard HD. Sustained read writes are significantly faster as well.

I have a MBP with 8gb of RAM. There are NO spinning beach balls....ever. Applications open before the icon reaches the apex of it's bounce and quit just as quickly. I remember being able to see the Finder update icons, no longer. Parallels screams. I can use Windows 7 and Windows XP with no lag between virtual machines or OSX. Boot times are ridiculously fast as well (though my current uptime is 22days 2 hours and 54 minutes.

I will NEVER use a standard HD again.

You all are getting me so excited for my first SSD. I'm in for a maxed out 17", courtesy of my employer!
post #31 of 64
Quote:
Originally Posted by mebbert View Post

You all are getting me so excited for my first SSD. I'm in for a maxed out 17", courtesy of my employer!

Don't get too excited. I did err. iPhoto launches in 1.5 bounces and I see the spinning circle (not the beach ball) for about 2 seconds before all 7000 photos are loaded.

I'd consider my upgrade from a Performa 6500 to a Powermac Dual 500mhz G4 an equivalent upgrade...it's that good.
-Toyin
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post #32 of 64
Quote:
Originally Posted by myapplelove View Post

trim is very much required with all the flash going into apple notebooks. I thought they had implemented some rudimentary garbage collection behind under the hood, but unfortunately they haven't. The quality drop in my air ssd (11") is considerable without it.

From Macworld.com

MacBook air: Is Flash Storage Reliable?

http://www.macworld.com/article/1562...turetests.html
post #33 of 64
I too am confused with choosing a 256GB SSD vs. 1TB or 2TB Serial ATA Drive for my first iMac. The capacity difference seems very drastic despite the speed you all talk about. I'm going from a 128GB Serial ATA on my 6 year old Dell so switching to 1TB or 2TB on a Serial ATA IS HUGE. As opposed to going only 128GB to 256GB on a SSD. I need the storage. Perhaps, the option combining is best for me? The applications stored and open on the SSD and my files stored on the 1TB or 2TB? Or is the 256GB SSD comparable to 1TB Serial ATA?
post #34 of 64
For those using SSDs, are you mainly using smaller drives as your Boot Drive and also for your applications? I'd much prefer to have an SSD that can hold all of my data than offset music files for examples, since I would lose a lot of the benefit. If I have all of my music on a second hard drive doesn't loading iTunes, for example, become close to the speed of running a regular hard drive?
post #35 of 64
Quote:
Originally Posted by Postulant View Post

The Trim support is nice, but the shocker to me was the Recovery HD. Apparently, when you install Lion, it automatically makes a recovery partition for Recovery Mode and Disk Utilities. So now you don't need a disc to enter Recovery - all you do now is "option boot. This is further proof(to me) that Apple plans to abandon optical drives in the future.

Can you install 3rd party repair/recovery utilities in the recovery partition?
post #36 of 64
Quote:
Originally Posted by emacs72 View Post

i don't necessarily agree that support for recovery partitions in 10.7 is evidence that Apple plans to abandon optical drives. if the storage medium (usually a hard disk) on which the recovery partition fails, you'll need an external / removable source. nowadays it's likely an optical disk.

Considering how cheap the 8GB thumb drives are, I'd expect to see the move to that underway soon, particularly given that Apple now has machines that don't have optical drives. (No idea at what point booting for that became an option, clearly with the new Airs at the latest, but I'd imagine that will work on other newer models as well - there's bound to be a time with both DVD and thumb drive shipped, wonder if they'll just bundle them into one box or not..)

And that's for people who need physical media. I'd expect they'll have a cheaper download-only upgrade option on the App Store.
post #37 of 64
Quote:
Originally Posted by AppleConvertNJRob View Post

I too am confused with choosing a 256GB SSD vs. 1TB or 2TB Serial ATA Drive for my first iMac. The capacity difference seems very drastic despite the speed you all talk about. I'm going from a 128GB Serial ATA on my 6 year old Dell so switching to 1TB or 2TB on a Serial ATA IS HUGE. As opposed to going only 128GB to 256GB on a SSD. I need the storage. Perhaps, the option combining is best for me? The applications stored and open on the SSD and my files stored on the 1TB or 2TB? Or is the 256GB SSD comparable to 1TB Serial ATA?

I wouldn't break the bank on an SSD for an iMac. I'd get a smaller SSD for the OS and applications. 128gb would be more then enough. Then use an external HD for your home folder and files.

Similarly there are those replacing their MBP optical drive with a large traditional drive and using a smaller SSD drive for the OS and applications.
-Toyin
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post #38 of 64
Quote:
Originally Posted by Toyin View Post

Similarly there are those replacing their MBP optical drive with a large traditional drive and using a smaller SSD drive for the OS and applications.

I do this now on my MBP but I went larger than the 128 because in addition to OS and Apps, I run a few VMs from the SSD. I'm hoping that Apple supports TRIM on third party SSD. Ones Apple ships are not the fastest.

I should throw lion on and see if TRIM works on the Intel Gen 2.
post #39 of 64
Quote:
Originally Posted by alienzed View Post

So what is the benefit of SSDs really? I mean, I keep hearing that in practice they are no faster than conventional HDs, they can't take as many rewrite cycles and you can't retrieve deleted files. Did I mention they are bloody expensive too?
Can someone clarify why on earth anybody would want to use them?

I don't know where you've been getting your information from but I would stop listening to them, I've never heard any one say "in practice they are no faster" and I've been using SSD at home and at work for about 2 years now....it is A LOT faster than HDD. Also with my work laptop I'm no longer afraid to undock and walk around with it still on since there is no harddrive with moving parts to get messed up as I walk. I'm in IT and I see a lot of bad HDD drives that have been killed because the user drives or walks around with the laptop on and not in standby/sleep mode. When I bought my iMac last April the very first thing I did was crack it open and swap out the HDD with an SSD. The SSDs that I have used in my home computers dont see much rewriting because I keep my files on a NAS, but the SSD drives I use at work get seriously abused...mostly because I want to see if I can kill them. From my experience this fear of limited rewrites is drastically exaggerated. I will never use another HDD in a computer again.

Also my company will be deploying new laptops with SSD drives to about 200 of our employees this summer. This particular group of employees has over 200 HDD replacements in the last 3 years. When we first started seeing the problem we contacted Dell and IBM thinking the harddrives were defective. they sent us several boxes of spare drivers from multiple vendors for us to use to swap out bad ones as they came in. Well we still have drives going bad...the problem is because these users need to have their laptops mounted in their vehicle while turned on and apparently the mount is subject to extreme vibration which consequently has been killing the drives. So needless to say SSD drives wont have this problem since there are no moving parts.
post #40 of 64
Good news for the world's most advanced OS.
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