How badly do SSDs degrade without TRIM?

Question

SSDs have been out for a few years, and have seen all kinds of usage patterns. Windows and Linux support the TRIM command, with Mac OS still trailing behind here. Update (2 Aug 2011): It appears OSX Lion has support for TRIM in Apple-branded SSDs. There is a utility that enables TRIM in non-Apple SSDs

I’m sure plenty of Mac users (and pre-TRIM version of Win/Linux) have SSDs. So, to you folks: have you noticed a degradation of SSD performance during its lifetime? How long have you been using the SSD, and how bad is the degradation?

I’m assuming that even at its most degraded state, a modern SSD would still smoke a traditional hard drive in terms of performance.

Asked by joev

Answer

I have a OCZ Summit SSD in my work laptop running Win7 x64. I had installed the drive just prior to the firmware update that enabled TRIM so I was running for a long time with no TRIM. I noticed some pretty substantial performance problems after a few months. It became unbearable when, after installing an Apple bluetooth mouse, the cursor would occasionally pause while compiling a large project within Visual Studio 2010. (Also my compile time for this project was then around 20 seconds, up from 13 seconds when the drive was installed initially – though more classes and projects had been added so maybe not the best indicator.)

I backed everything up to my Windows Home Server, updated the firmware (it clears the disk which is why I didn’t perform the update prior), restored from backup and performance hasn’t been an issue for the past two months since I’ve done this. (And back down to around 13 seconds for a full compile for the same project.)

So in my experience there is a definite noticeable performance hit over time. This is the reason why I have not yet replaced the HDD in my MacBook Pro with an SSD.

Answered by cfeduke