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Is 8% "ok", or will I feel a performance degradation?

I'm not sure what the specific model is right now, but can find out if needed.

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For performance, TRIM is supported by the drive and OS will help slow the degradation. If the OS doesn't support TRIM, there are some utilities floating around said to mark space as allocated, then free it. Not sure if they really help. –  Scott McClenning Oct 24 '10 at 18:04
    
Free space, or unpartitioned space? –  Ignacio Vazquez-Abrams Oct 25 '10 at 4:19
    
@Ignacio - free space. –  ripper234 Oct 25 '10 at 7:13

2 Answers 2

I think that amount of empty space is defined by the requirements of your OS and has nothing to do with the type of your harddrive.

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For performance on drive + OS combinations that don't support TRIM, the performance issue is with the rate at which you write to the drive.

If you are a normal consumer (and chances are good that you are), the write rate is low enough that the normal garbage collection rate is fast enough to keep up. The drive will manage this on its own, and you don't need to worry about keeping free space.

The drive can't actually use that 'free' space because without an OS with TRIM support and a drive with TRIM support, the drive has no idea that the space is actually free; it simply uses 'sectors' that have been 'overwritten' in the past.(*)

  • The scare quotes are because these concepts don't actually map one-to-one to SSDs, and it isn't worth going into more detail here unless you need it.
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