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Restore SSD RAID array to factory settings?


Invader675

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SSDs degrade over time and I have been running a RAID 0 for about a year with two Nova 128's. Should I restore to factory settings to make them faster and if so, how come a regular format will not be enough to do this? The threads at the top of the forum look like a guide to using some weird software and do not explain the reasoning very well.
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In short, SSDs need to have all 0s written to all the cells in a data block to allow new data to be written to that block. A format does not do this. If your X series drives have slowed, then yes, a secure erase than re-imaging or reinstallation of the OS will be beneficial as TRIM does not work on drives that are in RAID arrays.
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Right, I'm with you but why do I have to put the OS on a disk and re-image it? Can't I just reinstall from scratch as I keep all my data on a series of storeage drives.

What exactly does a 'secure erase' do? Writes all the data as 0's? Can I use any hard format software etc?

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sure you can reinstall from scratch.

its just easier to have an image with all your drivers, apps and customized settings in an image stored on another drive so after a secure erase the reinstall process is like ten minutes instead of hours.

 

formatting just deletes the records of where the files are stored on the disk, even after formatting the files are still there but the "table of contents" is wiped.

reread Yellowbeards post right above yours, its self explanatory.

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SSDs degrade over time and I have been running a RAID 0 for about a year with two Nova 128's. Should I restore to factory settings to make them faster and if so, how come a regular format will not be enough to do this? The threads at the top of the forum look like a guide to using some weird software and do not explain the reasoning very well.

 

In short, SSDs need to have all 0s written to all the cells in a data block to allow new data to be written to that block. A format does not do this. If your X series drives have slowed, then yes, a secure erase than re-imaging or reinstallation of the OS will be beneficial as TRIM does not work on drives that are in RAID arrays.

 

There are stickies and tutorials at the top of this section.

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Dude I know, I told you I read them already. I found them confounding and dumbed down too much.

 

I honestly don't know what to tell you. The sticky by ewarwoowar is illustrated, step by step, with clear instructions.

 

The steps are back up your installation of the OS. Or, you can skip the back up if you intend to do a clean install.

 

Secure erase the SSDs using a tool such as Gparted or Parted Magic.

 

Restore or reinstall the OS.

 

Do you have reservations about doing these 3 things?

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I believe the OP wants to know why a "secure erase" brings a SSD back to full performance but a simple partitioning and formatting doesn't.

 

If that's the question, you can find the answer at http://www.anandtech.com . The main point is that with a simple partitioning and formatting the SSD's firmware doesn't know which blocks are still in use because, from its point of view, partitioning and formatting are indistinguishable from normal data writes. While a secure erase will actually issue commands to the SSD telling it that it should consider all blocks free again, thus it won't waste time trying to keep things around which aren't needed any longer as explained in the linked article.

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I honestly don't know what to tell you. The sticky by ewarwoowar is illustrated, step by step, with clear instructions.

 

The steps are back up your installation of the OS. Or, you can skip the back up if you intend to do a clean install.

 

Secure erase the SSDs using a tool such as Gparted or Parted Magic.

 

Restore or reinstall the OS.

 

Do you have reservations about doing these 3 things?

 

Ok cool, I've done alot of reading about SSDs the last couple of days and am on the level. The thing that confused me about the sticky topics was this nonsense about restoring your OS as an image, I'm much happier with a clean crisp system with a cut down windows disk of my own than a cluttered mess transfered over each time I format.

The only reservation I have now is that my SSDs are setup in a striped RAID 0. Will I have to run HDDErase/Gparted or Parted Magic for each SSD or will it hard format the entire array in one go?

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Just a follow up, used the "Magic...something or other" disk utility today to hard format my drives. It was incredibly easy.

The sticky topics do a great job explaining to morons step by step how to do it, but it's too dumbed down for the above average user. The simple explination and guide would have been "download this program, hard format your rig, nuke all your unwanted jazz and reinstall windows". I got lost in the whole reimage your whatever the flip tangent that the threads go off on. Very unhelpful customer support, due to trying to be too helpful....if that makes any sense. So long as you keep your PC in good order you don't need to worry about drivers and programs etc.. being lost.

Cheers anyone who posted on this topic. Not sure if we are allowed to link off site on here but anandtech seems to make everything clear about why SSDs need a good clean now and again and how they work.

 

Overall I am pleased with my SSD experience, although it is new tech and there are alot of problems still to be ironed out before they will be ready for the average-below average PC user.

 

Results from hard formating my X128 striped RAID 0 array:

Before - Read 240/Write 80

After - Read 280/Write 280

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