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LSI SandForce 5 Series SSD Firmware - TRIM Lost and Found, Performance Investigated - But what about all of those reviews?

If you've bought an SSD in the last five months or updated your firmware, you need to read this article. Chris concludes a quest he started exactly five months ago and is now ready to guide you to higher performance with your LSI SandForce controlled SSD.

| Editorials in Storage | Posted: Aug 1, 2012 1:24 pm
Manufacturer: LSI SandForce

But what about all of those reviews?

 

TweakTown image content/4/8/4870_04_lsi_sandforce_5_series_ssd_firmware_trim_lost_and_found_performance_investigated.jpg

 

I'll be honest, this is a topic that just pisses me off. If a product was reviewed and an issue this big wasn't caught, then one of two things happened. The first is ignorance; the issue wasn't caught even though it's painfully obvious. Not every review is written by a full time, this is the only job they have, member of staff. If that was the case then no harm no foul, but I would avoid reading those reviews or be sure to add other sources for your information.

 

TweakTown image content/4/8/4870_05_lsi_sandforce_5_series_ssd_firmware_trim_lost_and_found_performance_investigated.jpg

 

The second is absolutely in-freaking-conceivable; you were lied to in a cover up of the facts. We've talked about the TRIM issue for at least the last three months and just about everyone who reads TweakTown knows TRIM is not working on newer SandForce drives. The issue is discussed in various forums, on LinkedIn and other places where SSD reviewers openly discuss SSDs. As we said, this issue isn't difficult to find, anyone who spends more than 20 minutes testing a drive with broken TRIM and compares the data to SandForce based drives with working TRIM knows that something is not right! You really can't miss it; it's a giant red blinking sign two feet away from you.

 

While waiting for the new firmware to arrive we sat back and watched review after review hit the web, nearly every new drive shipped was without working TRIM. Time and time again the issue was passed over without mention. We knew the drives didn't work right; we had them all in our office for testing. That's when we ran across the image you see above that answered why the issue wasn't being talked about, it was being ignored.

 

In the image above you can see at the bottom the words VANTAGE AFTER SE. SE stands for Secure Erase and secure erase is the process used to bring a SSD back to fresh out of box (FOB) state. FOB is the point in which an SSD has fresh flash, ready to be written to without a full copy, erase write cycle. If someone runs SE in between every benchmark then they are not just ignoring the issue, they are covering it up. As one manufacturer put it, "it should be criminal." I'll stop just short of calling anyone out and let you make up your own mind, but it looks like bullshit to me.

 

There were a few reviewers that stepped up and openly discussed the TRIM issue. I managed to find the issue discussed by Bob from Think Computers, Jon from RWLabs and Hugh from HardOCP. Most likely there were others that I didn't find, but these are the confirmed TRIM talking guys who weren't worried about their sample supply train derailing.

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