As we’ve already explained on several occasions, the TRIM command is important because it prevents SSD performance deterioration over the course of use.
Only this command allows the system to let the SSD know that it contains data which no longer corresponds to a file and allow the SSD to consider this space as free, therefore optimising future usage.
Although Windows 7 supports the TRIM command natively, this also has to be the case for all other elements in the storage chain, inlcuding the SSD itself of course and the driver of the IDE or AHCI controller to which it's connected.
This is of course the case for generic Microsoft IDE and AHCI drivers, which are installed automatically, but also Intel Rapid Storage Technology drivers from version 9.6 up. Even just a few months ago however, AMD and Marvell AHCI drivers weren’t TRIM compatible, which was no big problem as the Microsoft drivers could still be used, but it did affect performance as the specific drivers generally give a small gain.
We wanted to see if the latest versions of the AMD and Marvell drivers were now TRIM compatible, as the communication from AMD and Marvell on AHCI drivers has been very limited. We therefore tested the latest versions, namely:
- The Marvell AHCI 184.108.40.2061s dated 22/11/2010
- The AMD AHCI 220.127.116.115s dated 11/11/2010
The Marvell drivers have been available for download from various sources since the end of December, such as here from ASRock
for example, while you have to go to this page on the AMD site
to find the AMD drivers which are officially called the 10.12s and which have been available since mid-December.
So where are we with TRIM support in these drivers? Well, it works! We were able to check them out both with Indilinx and SandForce SSDs, whether using the SSD then checking if the original performance levels are restored after quick formating, or simply by checking to see if the data of a deleted file has also disappeared by analysing the content of the SSD directly using WinHEX.