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An Observation on Defragging SSDs

post #1 of 6
Thread Starter 
Hey everyone,

Yep. Been discussed to death so not trying to repost. I had just wanted to share some insight while looking at drives tonight and hopefully also to shed some light in answering the question of if it's worthwhile to even defrag an SSD.

First off, I know everyone says not to and it's a cardinal never; that you'll die in the eternal pits of fiery hell for defragging an SSD, and that you'll destroy the drive. Barring that...

After a few months of normal usage, I noticed I was getting low on space and wanted to install a game while still not running the drive with say, 2 GB free on it. I removed a good handful of things I didn't need, freeing up about 20 GB so that'd give some provisioning for TRIM and all that. To be safe though I wanted a little more and knew defragging could in a sense restore some space by being efficient in how the filesystem stores files. So, loaded up Defraggler and what did I see upon analysis? Something *like* this.



I didn't screenshot the drive before starting the defrag (my bad), but that D: shown above has ~20% free space so it's a good idea (and the red blocks are a good idea of mine being about that bad). It's as close to a good *estimate* of how my drive looked before starting that I could find.

Stats were the following (those I did note):

Before SSD Defrag

19.5 GB Free
33.0 GB to defrag
29,072 Files
116,537 Fragments
23% Fragmentation

8.51 TB writes

After a solid two to three hours, the results were nearly clean, showing:

After SSD Defrag

20.9 GB Free
4.5 GB to defrag
3 Files
47 Fragments
2% Fragmentation
(Just big game assets that can't be reshuffled somewhere else).

8.77 TB writes



The image is after I freed up even more space once the first defrag was completed and shuffled a little bit so obviously my notes don't match the image as of this very moment.

------------

So while it did reclaim about a gig and a half of space, re-writing nearly 200 GB of data probably was not worth it. The good news however, is where Defraggler did take awhile to sit reading / writing differnt files, it helped me pin-point some directories (both user-created and deeply hidden), that had a lot of temp and uncessary files I could in fact delete (Talking to you Adobe Premiere and your 8 GB of temp files eight levels deep in the User directory)...

Either way whether before or after this, even after 8 TB of writes, the drive is still beyond 96% media wearout so despite that fact, I think even if people did choose to defrag their drives, they would be safe for a very long time. I had gone for 4 to 5 months without particularly paying attention to the C: so while defragging an SSD may not be a boon to performance, it may at least condense your files and grant you a little reclaimed space if you're trying to make every GB count.

Hope this helps.
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Melchior SR-2
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post #2 of 6
Quote:
Hope this helps.
Not to sound mean but you really need a more solid understanding of the underlying technologies instead of wasting your time with useless experiments. Given the fact that the SSD controller has the final say in where files are located on the flash, as well as using wear leveling, the reading you're getting as far as 'file placement' in windows is completely and utterly inaccurate.

Quote:
re-writing nearly 200 GB of data probably was not worth it.
Only the data you reclaimed was not a function of defragging in itself.
Also, you've likely written at least double that between 'relocating' files as well as 'consolidating' files. Extra cycles with flash writes for absolutely no purpose. The data is not consolidated into neat file locations on the NAND, you've only written it to other blocks, while the drive controller made sure that pieces of the file were evenly and randomly distributed across the available space.
Edited by beers - 3/5/11 at 6:57pm
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post #3 of 6
SSD purposely fragment files. This is for wear leveling and performance.

Basically, you wasted writes and hurt your SSD performance.....
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post #4 of 6
Quote:
Originally Posted by The-Real-Link View Post
it helped me pin-point some directories (both user-created and deeply hidden), that had a lot of temp and uncessary files I could in fact delete (Talking to you Adobe Premiere and your 8 GB of temp files eight levels deep in the User directory)...
One(ish) word for you: SpaceSniffer.
http://www.uderzo.it/main_products/space_sniffer/

If you're concerned about random files eating your space, just sniff the drive and you'll get a full graphical breakdown of your disk usage. I usually do it on a monthly basis just to see how my allocation changes over time.
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post #5 of 6
Thread Starter 
To all above, Fair enough. I just thought I had made some sense of things but had forgotten entirely about wear leveling and all that (maybe just been reading too many articles today haha). A friend did inform me of WinDirStat which sounds similar to the aforementioned SpaceSniffer. I can look at both those then. Sorry if my tests were wasting time then.
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post #6 of 6
Check out this article for an in depth explanation on how SSDs work:

http://www.anandtech.com/show/2738/2
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