SSDs may have had a troubled (and highly expensive) start to life, but their prices are tumbling and capacities are on the up. Now throw this into their arsenal and can anything stop them...?
Prolific SSD retailer OCZ has this week announced it has collaborated with long time controller partner Indilinx to potentially create SSD technology that both preserves data integrity and eliminates long term performance decline.
Dubbed as 'garbage collecting', it works during an SSD's idle time to seek out and clean flash memory cells containing old or redundant data to create new clean blocks ready for writing. Why is this a big deal? Simply put, SSDs cannot write to flash memory cells that already contain data - even if that data only fills a fraction of the cell itself. Consequently, the existing data has to be read then either removed or rewritten with the newly added data.
These additional steps can greatly reduce SSD performance and it becomes a noticeable problem on older 'dirty' SSDs where data has become far more spread around. So the OCZ/Indilinx solution is simple yet potentially brilliant. This is because tests carried out by Hot Hardware on a pre-release edition of this technology showed even the dirtiest SSD can see performance returned to within a few MBps of its original levels.
Happily Hot Hardware also reports that this tech can be easily applied to all of OCZ's existing Vertex SSD line (and potentially other models) via a firmware update, while the site says rival manufacturers have their own cleaning solutions in the works.
So 2009 really is the year of the SSD. Which makes wonder just what 2010 could bring...
Update: Good news OCZ SSD owners. We've had it confirmed to us that the new firmware will work on the Agility series, Vertex and Vertex EX though not for Vertex Turbo. It should be available for download before the end of the week.