Windows 7 promises better performance with NAND SSDs

Microsoft's plans for improving performance of SSD drives in Windows 7 are starting to emerge concrete with some solutions.

Manufacturers like Seagate or Sandisk are working to finish their cut of the work as much as possible, and Microsoft is trying to make the Windows 7 fit as best as it can to the new storage technology. Microsoft stated that they are working with SSD manufacturers like Intel, Seagate, Sandisk and Samsung.

In an interview with Siobhan M. Lyons, from Seagate Consumer Solution division, that was confirmed.

As stated in the interview, there is very little chance that SSDs and HDDs can share the same solutions in the future, because they are completely different technology. Solutions that suit one, do not work that well on the other. For example, the NAND SSDs do not have requirements for a defrag option, but with that option on, the lifetime of an SSD is reduced. The lifetime of a SSD depends on the maximum number of reads and writes, so a defrag can only shorten the lifetime.

Nevertheless, Windows 7 promises three more optimization techniques. All three are tied to the reducing the number of reads and writes as much as possible. The first is disabling merging for deleted data blocks, second is early garbage collecting and the third, keeping the drive as clean as possible.

Microsoft Research has completed an analysis of the SSD drive work and technology. In this analysis, which is very useful literature if you want to research SSDs, there is discussion about trade offs that should be taken to improve performance. For example, if a large page size is used, then the page table will be smaller. However, then we get to an increased number of read-modify-writes. A large allocation pool gives us good load balancing, but needs more chip-ops. Of course, all of this also includes a brand new SSD drive hardware controller.

Unfortunately, the people behind the analysis cannot be sure that all of the measures will actually increase the performance or durability of SSD drives. The analysis was measured in laboratory conditions, not long-term use. Aside from that, flash-based drives are sure to be an important storage medium in the future.

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Current SSDs read faster than Harddrives but write much slower...

Intel X-25M 80Gb SSD Drives can hit 206 MB/s Read Speed (currently the fastest SSDs)
Because they use cheaper Multi-level Chip (MLC) Technology they can only write at 65 MB/s (WD VelociRaptors read & write at ~100 MB/s)

Intel will soon release X-25E 80Gb Drives that uses Single-level Chips that can read at 250 MB/s and write at 170 MB/s but they will be very $$$

Intel 160GB Drives are planned for next year.

I also understand the Major HD Manufacturers are mad that the SSD Makers are not paying licensing fees to the SATA patent holders.

The problem is not the number of writes (by the time you wear out a drive, it will be long overdue for an upgrade), but cost per MB with acceptable write speeds.

As with all technology, eventually prices will drop, while performance and capacity will increase.

Great, so instead of fixing it in Vista, they're going to cash in, and make people get Windows 7. How original.

Raa said,
Great, so instead of fixing it in Vista, they're going to cash in, and make people get Windows 7. How original.

Nothing is known yet, maybe they will release something like they are going to do with blueray support ...

It's called progress - even if it comes with a price tag. You think you should be able to get a free upgrade on your 1980 car just so your bluetooth speakers can work on it? That's not how businesses work.

Don't be so narrow minded . SSDs are still in their very beginning of development. Solid state drives are now used primarily becouse of their low power consumption. As you can se, everyone is working on increasing their performance. Price is a problem, but when the technology gets to some level, and the competition gets a little more rough, I think (I hope) that the prices will fall.

Kirkburn said,
Actually, Windows 7 may down as low as 7-8GB, from what I recall reading.

I thought they were getting rid of the bloat?

Mike Frett said,
I thought they were getting rid of the bloat?

What bloat? This is normal size and I believe OSX has a 10gb install size. Also, 8gb is nothing compared to the 15gb install of Vista. So they are reducing size

Mike Frett said,
I thought they were getting rid of the bloat?

Yeah, sure, let's get rid of all the graphics, the dlls, the built-in drivers, the extensive legacy support. People would luuuurve that.

Seriously, with a terabyte now at $150, who cares about 5 or 10 gb either way anymore. Really?!

That's not something ANYONE should be worrying about except consumer electronics like an iPod or Zune - and they only need the bare minimums of services and a super-restricted driver set anyway.

Battery life...yeah, that's STILL an issue for everything under the Sun.

All NAND memories, includin flash drives, are limited by the r/w number. Of course, that is an average, like work hours at HDDs. Come crash much sooner, some later.

Interesting read, I haven't read up on SSD at all and was surprised to read that the lifetime of the device is dictated by the number of reads/writes to the device. I wonder just what that number is and how many read/writes I perform on a given day.

Either 10,000 (MLC) or 100,000 (SLC) writes per cell depending on the type zeke. It's not number of reads though. You can read it as much as you want.

With good wearing (hardware or software counters), it is estimated that a typical SSD can last 10 years with extreme use. Moderate use and you aren't going to have it ever die on you. The only problems are things that write constantly to the SAME space. Example: Swap files. You can't have a swap file on a flash drive. This will kill it.

To quote someone:

Its a bit more complicated than this, but to give a simple example, let's say you write a 1M file every minute to a 1G flash drive. With wear leveling, every time it will be written to a different place, spread around the drive, so flash won't be overwritten until the 1000th time, which gives you file write ops before flash wears out, which at that rate allows 1900 years operation.

Nice to hear :)

But the prices of SSDs are just too expensive right now..

I'll wait some more months or 2 years until the prices start to drop considerably!!

low capacity SSDs are OK-priced right now. Up to 16GB. Above that is starts getting ridiculous but it's dropping down quickly. Maybe by the time Windows 7 is released we'll have cheap 32GB or 64GB SSDs. Then it's serious.

A cheap 128GB SSD is where acceptable will start, as that's a decent size for a Windows installation / common applications. That said, SSDs have made considerable progress over the past year or so and the future is very promising.