Intel adds TRIM support for SSDs in RAID 0, 7-series motherboard required

By on August 16, 2012, 4:00 PM

Solid-state drives have supported TRIM for years in order to maintain performance over time. But the command has never worked on SSDs configured in RAID arrays -- until now, that is. Intel has released a new Rapid Storage Technology (RST) driver that enables TRIM for those using Intel drives with a RAID-0 array, although for now it’s limited to Windows 7 systems with Intel 7 series chipsets.

TRIM allows an operating system to inform the SSD which blocks of data are no longer considered in use and can be wiped internally -- without it they would be marked as available but remain occupied with old data. There’s an additional overhead after a delete but as a result  performance is improved dramatically since you don’t have to deal with that while writing new data, when you’re more likely to notice it. This is especially important as the drive fills out since performance will degrade without proper garbage collection.

Last year users were led to believe that RST 9.6 drivers would add TRIM support in RAID volumes, but Intel later clarified that it was only for SSDs acting as single drives in AHCI mode alongside a separate array attached to the same Intel storage controller. An example of this would be users that want an SSD as a boot drive for increased performance but still be able to RAID multiple HDDs together for storage.

Now, it’s possible to configure SSDs in high-performance RAID-0 arrays to achieve even faster speeds. AnandTech has put the new drivers to the test and confirmed that TRIM is indeed functioning as expected, achieving over 1GB/s of sequential read performance and over 300MB/s in sequential writes with a couple of 64GB Samsung SSD 830 -- individually they’re rated for 500MB/s reads and 160MB/s writes.

For those keeping scores that’s 128GB of SSD storage capable of gigabyte read speeds for around $150.

Intel is working on Windows 8 compatibility but apparently last-generation 6-series motherboards are out of the picture, despite the fact that they share the same storage controller logic as the 7-series.

Download: Intel Rapid Storage Technology RST Driver 11.2.0.1006 for Windows 7 32-bit | 64-bit




User Comments: 22

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LNCPapa LNCPapa said:

Very, very interesting. So I could get a pair of 512GB SSDs and have a decent sized drive for my gaming machine? All it would cost me is a new mobo and the drives - I'm feeling that itch coming around again.

colinf said:

there's no benefit to SSD's on a gaming machine..spend your upgrade cash elsewhere

by all means have an SSD but your wasting it for gaming improvements

dividebyzero dividebyzero, trainee n00b, said:

there's no benefit to SSD's on a gaming machine..by all means have an SSD but your wasting it for gaming improvements

Not necessarily.

MMO's ( constant data stream), large maps and large texture packs all benefit from SSD-type transfer speed. It doesn't generally reflect in a framerate increase, but it does impact loading times and fluidity of gameplay- threre's enough anecdotal (forum) and published material on the subject to make your comments a bit of a head scratcher tbh.

As an example, I play the Narodnaya Soljanka mod for S.T.A.L.K.E.R: ShoC. With a mechanical hdd, the Swamp level (the map from Call of Pripyat) needs to have the graphical setting lowered to static lighting or you basically end up with a CTD (delay in texture loading) and/or heavy stuttering (esp. once the map is heavily populated with caches). Using an SSD virtually eliminates the stuttering even when raising the game IQ level to that of the rest of the maps.

LNCPapa LNCPapa said:

I also don't have too many other areas I can address to improve my gaming experience. This is one of the last areas I can improve (except a nice Catleap 27" 120Hz which I have my eye on) and as dbz mentioned it can help with MMOs and games that load large amounts of content like hq textures (which I always look for on my games).

CMH, TechSpot Chancellor, said:

Been waiting on TRIM for 3 years, and now that I decided to have one big drive instead of a RAID0 configuration, they do this?!??

But SSDs do have a place in gaming machines. At the very least it helps with bootup and loading times. Doubt it does much for framerates...

p.s. I heard those 120hz monitors do looks "crispier" than regular LCDs. At least the 3D hype had some benefit...

Guest said:

No fair, what about my z68!!!!!!

Guest said:

No benefit for games? There is indeed a massive benefit for games in terms of loading times, lack of drive thrashing on loading new level segments, decreased save-game times, etc.

There are very few applications that don't benefit from an SSD.

Doctor John Doctor John said:

No benefit for games? There is indeed a massive benefit for games

I can't agree, I've had a SSD for weeks, and I'm still rubbish at tennis.

colinf said:

No benefit for games? There is indeed a massive benefit for games in terms of loading times, lack of drive thrashing on loading new level segments, decreased save-game times, etc.

There are very few applications that don't benefit from an SSD.

and this benefits gaming how?

load times in a single player game mean nothing, joining a server quicker in an online game means nothing, your just sat there looking at the timer count down sooner

fps and graphics are all that count and SSD's add to neither to justify the outlay

and yes I do have an SSD

noel24 said:

Sarkasm, nice one. So I used to use RAID 0 on my P5Q with 2xSamsung F3s, and Intel Toolbox used to see both of my drives, meaning, its technically possible to implement TRIM on older machines, but buy a new rig anyway...

TekGun TekGun said:

"but apparently last-generation 6-series motherboards are out of the picture, despite the fact that they share the same storage controller logic as the 7-series"

Hopefully this will change.

@Noel What does the Intel Toolbox seeing both of your Mechanical HDs have to do with TRIM?

noel24 said:

"What does the Intel Toolbox seeing both of your Mechanical HDs have to do with TRIM?" It means I believe a software can have lower level acces to the hardware in older mobos RAID setup, not limited to a new, 7 series chipset, but enabling it for this one only, will earn Intel more money than publishing free patch for older hardware, for example mentioned by You 6- series. But that just me.

Darth Shiv Darth Shiv said:

there's no benefit to SSD's on a gaming machine..spend your upgrade cash elsewhere

by all means have an SSD but your wasting it for gaming improvements

Load times, boot times, running virtual machines (e.g. if you want to sandbox some crap application or need XP to run legacy devices for example). It might not help actual gameplay but it improves the experience as a whole.

1 person liked this | LNCPapa LNCPapa said:

This argument is all moot - yes we know more GPU > moar CPU > more MEM > faster HDD... it just so happens I'm that far down the chain already. I think just about everyone here knows what will give you the biggest bang in gaming of you're going to upgrade something.

Scavengers Scavengers said:

Just in case anyone is looking for the RIGHT answer, an SSD can provide a huge boost to a games minimum framerate.

Metro 2033 and Simcity 4 are just 2 prime examples.

Dave

Scavengers Scavengers said:

there's no benefit to SSD's on a gaming machine..spend your upgrade cash elsewhere

by all means have an SSD but your wasting it for gaming improvements

Wrong

Doctor John Doctor John said:

colinf said: '

there's no benefit to SSD's on a gaming machine..spend your upgrade cash elsewhere

by all means have an SSD but your wasting it for gaming improvements

Wrong

Any particular reason?

Scavengers Scavengers said:

Check my first post Doc. I have tested it myself.

Dave

Lionvibez said:

"What does the Intel Toolbox seeing both of your Mechanical HDs have to do with TRIM?" It means I believe a software can have lower level acces to the hardware in older mobos RAID setup, not limited to a new, 7 series chipset, but enabling it for this one only, will earn Intel more money than publishing free patch for older hardware, for example mentioned by You 6- series. But that just me.

What??

Doctor John Doctor John said:

Check my first post Doc. I have tested it myself.

Dave

Sorry, I should have been more precise - I meant, is there any particular reason why you say "Wrong"?

Zeromus said:

Argh, what about samsung's SSDs? How long do I have to wait for that?

Scavengers Scavengers said:

Sorry, I should have been more precise - I meant, is there any particular reason why you say "Wrong"?

We can use Metro 2033 (Dx 11) because it caches heavily to the Hard drive.

This is on my HTPC with a dual core Wolfdale @ 2.7 ghz, 4 megs of ram and a 128 bit HD6570.

Using the frontline benchmark here are the results with a HDD (Velociraptor)

  • Average Framerate: 22.14
  • Max. Framerate: 40.12
  • Min. Framerate: 10.41

And here are the results with the same system and a 120 Gig Mushkin Chronos

  • Average Framerate: 22.53
  • Max. Framerate: 41.05
  • Min. Framerate: 18.95

Check out the minimum framerates. That kind of increase obviously makes a big impact during game play.

Dave

Guest said:

Actually SSD do help on frame rates unfortunately I have to explain. If you played FEAR the first one or perhaps anything on the Crytek engine you would know this certain game engines rely on a fast transfer data rate from the harddrive to the Ram buffer of the GPU.I'm gunna have to break it down barney style here so I apologize ahead of time.Basically Meshes and Textures are sent from the HDD To the GPU in a compressed format the longer it takes to decode the depression the larger the FPS hit, this is also 1 of 2 reasons why consoles get that are stock get some lag as well a 5400 laptop harddrive in the PS3 is part of the problem for Skyrim the other is the small ram amount issue. But basically it simulates the same problem use a 7200.11 rpm HDD and load FEAR or Crysis up and do a benchmark, then change out for a pair of Raptors in Raid 0, you will notice your frames will be astounding compaired to 1 HDD, now try 2 SSDs in Raid 0. Bottom line it does hit FPS performance but in most cases it depends on the games engine in Crysis/Fear/Aion/Farcry you can leverage 5-10 FPS from HDD lag to GPU RAM. I worked in a computer store and built 6 k watercooled machines and 12k gaming servers I have done alot of benchmarking over the years, this is one issue not many see to often but it does occur. BTW in a MMO pop in Lag gets you killed between the time the server creates your toon till the time your loading screen is done, this means your rat bait for the opposite players so it does matter in a MMO for that purpose at least.

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