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The age old question: Do PCI SATA controllers work with TRIM?

post #1 of 7
Thread Starter 
Hello,

Well I have this ancient Dell Dimension 8100, that though it's really old, it is one of the best built computers I've ever purchased. Seriously, the components are just delicious. Beautiful capacitor assortment. Dell did well.

However, clocking in at 1.3GHz on a socket 423 Pentium 4, with 386MB of RDRAM...it's not the quickest computer out there.

I wanted to see how an SSD could change the speed of an old computer like this. I plan on using an OS that uses the Linux kernal.

Anyway, the question:

I'm going to need a SATA controller in order for me to use a modern SSD. My OS and my SSD support trim, but does my controller card support TRIM?

If I am going to do this, I would likely use a Silicon Edge SataLink SiI3512 controller. I don't know much about all of the protocols and addresses, but perhaps they have influence on TRIM support. Specs are here: andhttp://www.siliconimage.com/products/product.aspx?id=29

Anyway, will the controller pass on the TRIM command to the SSD?...I mean...why SHOULDN'T it?

Thanks.
Edited by TheLaw - 8/8/11 at 9:50pm
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post #2 of 7
I don't like to bring a bad news, but TRIM won't pass thru the SiI3512PCI card. TRIM has to be "translated" by the controller and I'm not aware of any card, even the newer PCIe SATA3 cards to pass TRIM commands.
Still, you may not need TRIM. There is some amount of background garbage collection, so having more free space on the SSD should help. Alternatively for such an old rig (no offense ) I prefer using hybrid HDD+SSD like the Momentus XT. If you use it in a certain way which is detailed in the review then Momentus XT will be as fast as an SSD without the added hassle; considering the config (amount of RAM and likely apps you're using) the XT should fit as a glove.

cheers
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post #3 of 7
Also, TRIM is only supported in Windows 7 as far as I know (no idea about Macs). So to get the best out of an SSD you need to have a somewhat modern PC with at least native Intel SATA II controller (which supports AHCI).
post #4 of 7
Thread Starter 
Ah alrighty then. Thanks.

From installing SSDs on some of my friends computers, I've really seen that SSDs do a killer job at making your PC feel new. I wanted to see if the same would apply here.

Just out of curiosity, does the XT have "garbage collection"? Will that degrade over time?


People usually say Windows 7 is the only OS to support TRIM/SSDs in general, because they are mainly talking about Windows based gaming/enthusiest rigs. i.e. 2000, XP, and Vista will not do the TRIM command. However, countless open source OSs support TRIM as well as Mac OSX.

Also one question. If I use a Sata 1.5Gbps controller card, will it mess up things? I'm pretty sure the XT would never go over 1.5Gbps...
Edited by TheLaw - 8/9/11 at 8:18am
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post #5 of 7
Thread Starter 
Well after looking at some benchmarks for the drive that is currently in the system, even a 80GB WD Blue Drive would beat it out by a mile...and a half.

I may just get a Samsung F3 1TB since they seem to be quite fast.

I know USB "Readyboost" things are largely gimmick, unless you have the right system...but...

Any chance putting the swapfile on a fast USB drive would help? I have a Mushkin USB 2.0 drive rated at 32MB/s which is pretty quick.

Would a F3 be faster than the USB drive for that application?

Thanks.
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post #6 of 7
Thread Starter 
What to do...hmm....
Edited by TheLaw - 8/12/11 at 8:42pm
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post #7 of 7
Thread Starter 
So I didn't quite go for the SSD route, nor the SATA route.

I was looking around and I discovered booting from a Compact Flash card via an PATA to CF adapter.Since this machine will most likely be running a lightweight Ubuntu derivative, I decided to buy an 8GB card and an adapter.

CF cards are not created equal. (I used to think so), but they really aren't. Especially in a heavy load situation such as using it for your boot drive, you should really get a decent card that uses a good controller for speed, wear leveling, and reliability.

So I convinced myself to buy a Sandisk Extreme UDMA6 CF card with advertised 60MB/s Read and write. Whether it can sustain those speeds is another question, but the general performance should be good. Sandisk implements a good controller, so wear leveling (primitive TRIM) should be good. New UDMA7 cards actually have TRIM, except the cheapest one I could find was about $500...And I'm not sure if the PATA to CF adapter would pass the TRIM command.

That's what I did! Still awaiting everything to come in.
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