Originally Posted by TwoCables
But now this whole process of using some "secure erase" program to fill the entire drive full of random data, or using some program that fills the entire drive with nothing but zeros seems like a waste of time to me unless you're selling the drive to some random person on eBay. I mean after all, if you're trying to avoid unnecessary writing to the drive, then it doesn't make sense to use something like Secure Erase or some zero-filling program when all you're doing is formatting and starting over. After all, if TRIM is working properly, then what is there to worry about?
So just keep it simple: if all you're doing is formatting and starting over, then there's no need to over-complicate it. After all, if all you do is format and start over without also using something like Secure Erase, then the drive will receive far less writes because you will not have written random data to every single cell on the entire drive.
I'm sorry, with regard to SSD's and NAND flash, this is simply incorrect.
Read through pages 10 and 11 of the SSD Anthology in my sig, http://www.anandtech.com/show/2738/10
An up to date secure erase (for SSDs) does not write random data or 0's to all space on the drive. It physically empties the NAND giving neither a 1 or a 0. It's just empty. Older secure erase programs, designed for HDD do write random and 0's, which is obvious from the fact that they took 15+ minutes to run.
However, up to date programs like sanitary erase run in less than 5 seconds, because they simply empty the flash cells.
As I said before, when you install a TRIM supporting OS (win7) it assumes that all the NAND cells are empty. If the cells contained 1's or 0's, the cells would have to be emptied. As you said, a format simply deletes the references to the files stored in the cells, so as far as windows is concerned, the cells are empty even though they are not. This will cause a slowdown when the drive eventually tries to write to those cells. Yes, eventually the problem will correct itself. But that could take days to months, or worst case, never if the drive was full before the format.
If you don't do a secure erase (sanitary erase for OCZ) when you are reinstalling your OS on an SSD, you are robbing yourself of performance.