My SSD used to be so much faster but has recently slowed down... What happened?

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Crucial SSDs have a maintenance feature called Active Garbage Collection built into the controller of the SSD. Active Garbage Collection does background clean-up on the drive and runs when the SSD has power but is not actively reading or writing data. The purpose of this feature is to maintain the SSD's performance in environments where TRIM (discussed here) is not functioning normally.

 

In order for Active Garbage Collection to have an effect, the SSD needs to have periods of idle time. If the SSD is not given any idle time (ie: constant data transfers), then Active Garbage Collection will never be triggered. The drive must also have empty space available, since TRIM and Active Garbage Collection both rely on the ability to move data between sectors as a part of the clean-up . For best results, keeping at least 10% of your SSD clear ensures this process runs optimally.

An SSD that is not receiving TRIM commands and where Active Garbage Collection never runs properly, will never have the cells on the drive cleaned out after data is deleted. Over time, this will lead to an accumulation of 'junk' data, which will reduce performance and can cause system freezing.

If you notice performance decreasing on the SSD, you may need to force Active Garbage Collection to run by powering the SSD on and leaving it idle for 6 to 8 hours. After that, your drive’s functionality and performance should be restored.

 

Follow these steps to trigger Active Garbage Collection on your Crucial SSD:

On a PC, power on with the SSD installed and enter your system's BIOS or UEFI (please refer to your system manufacturer’s documentation on how to access the BIOS.) Leave the system in this menu for 6-8 hours, which will power the SSD but not execute any operations, allowing Garbage Collection to run.

On a Mac, hold down the Options key while powering on to enter the Startup Manager screen. Leaving the Mac on that screen provides the SSD with power but keeps it in an idle state so Garbage Collection can function, just like the BIOS or UEFI on a Windows laptop.

 

To prevent the SSD performance from degrading again in the future you can adjust your power settings to ensure the SSD stays powered on when your computer goes into sleep mode, which will allow Garbage Collection to run.

In Windows:

- Go to Control Panel
- Go to Hardware and Sound
- Go to Power Options
- Select Change Plan Settings
- Select Change Advanced Settings
- Make sure the 'hard disk' field is set to ‘never’ (Laptop users select 'battery and power adapter').

On a Mac computer:

- Go to System Preferences
- Go to Energy Saver
- Make sure  'Put the hard disk(s) to sleep when possible' is unchecked.

 

 

Comments
stuartbell
Kilobyte Kid

Yes I accept that the read/ writ speed at SSD is much faster than HDD but the accumulation of clutters can bring issue to its speed. As mentioned above the Garbage Collection method can be helpful in this regard.

 

8bar
Kilobyte Kid

My speed ratings were initially dismal, but I discovered that Lenovo had artifically capped the disk access speeds. After reflashing my BIOS (on an X61 tablet -- here), I am now up to SATA II speeds (about 260 MB/s).

 

Now I've set my drive never to power off, supposedly even when the computer is asleep. How can I confirm that garbage collection is taking place during sleep? Is there some field in one of the SSD info utilities (e.g. CrystalDiskInfo) that I can monitor to confirm that garbage collection is taking place?

 

Do I have to run the machine for 6-8 hours booted up into the BIOS, as suggested above, or can I just let it sleep for 6-8 hours to achieve the same result?

 

Also, I found that Win7's defragment utility was still scheduled to run by default after a clean Win7-64 system install on the SSD. I thought Win7 was suppposed to sense that the drive is a SSD and disable defrag?

 

I've subsequently disabled the scheduled defrag. Is that the right thing to do, or will Win7 sense the SSD when the scheduled defrag is triggered and do something else that is beneficial to the SSD, like this TRIM stuff discussed above?

8bar
Kilobyte Kid
I'm starting to doubt the advice given above: "To prevent the SSD performance from degrading again in the future you can adjust your power settings, to make sure that the SSD stays powered on when your computer goes into sleep mode."
 
I've changed the power setting to never let the SSD power down. Yet every time the machine sleeps, I see that the "power on count" in CrystalDiskInfo increments by one.
magda
Kilobyte Kid
I just want to share that after 2 years of use and a clean install of macOS, My 960gb M500 drive suddenly got really slow, below HD speeds. With some difficulty. as I couldn't even make a USB-disk of the MU05 update that would boot my PC laptop, to which I moved  the M500, and I had to find a CD and somehow managed to find an old RW, burnt it and boot and applied. Then I removed the CD and left the PC running with the M500 for 8 hours or so, nothing obviously booted or in use as this is a Mac partition. Now tonight I moved it back to my MacBook Pro and write and read speeds are around 400 MB/s. Garbage Collection when really idle  seems to work fine. I'm contemplating activating trim, but I want to check for sure macOS Sierra's trimforce doesn't send queued trims as I understand at least Linux distributions with this could damage the drive. It says so in Wikipedia.