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I have finally made a move to ssd (OCZ Agility 2 OCZSSD2-2AGTE240G 2.5" 240GB SATA II MLC Internal Solid State Drive) but using it without encryption makes me nervous.I've searched here and elsewhere but can't seem to see if whole disk encryption will steal my awe with SSDs performance. I do not mind a slight hit. I will be running windows 7 and wonder if someone can recommend a full disk encryption tool.Here is what I have in mind

  1. TrueCrypt -- Ruled out
  2. BitLocker (may be)
  3. PGP Desktop (not sure).

Thanks for any help!

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7  
Why is Truecrypt ruled out? –  Linker3000 Nov 30 '10 at 20:34
    
What @Linker3000 said. TrueCrypt is probably the best if you're paranoid. (Why are you so paranoid?) –  Shinrai Nov 30 '10 at 20:38
    
Does BitLocker actually work without a TPM Chip? –  Michael Stum Nov 30 '10 at 20:39
    
@MStum Yes it can, but it requires a staging partition and something to provide key material...like a thumbdrive/sd-card –  hbdgaf Nov 30 '10 at 20:41
    
BitLocker works without a TPM Chip, but slowly. –  harrymc Nov 30 '10 at 20:43

2 Answers 2

I think you're worried about something like this: http://www.media-addicted.de/ssd-and-truecrypt-durability-and-performance-issues/744/ and that is why you reject truecrypt. The performance degradation and lifetime effect of full disk encryption is not related to truecrypt in and of itself, but other solutions will not to my knowledge out perform or cause any less wear on an SSD. IMO full disk encryption should not be used on solid state, but you said that's what you wanted so...I would look at mounting remote encrypted file-systems over secure channels and purging local tmp/swap as required to get past this issue. Then some other solution could be used to create a local encrypted FOLDER instead of drive. Just my 2 cents

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Thanks for response everyone! .. @ShinRai: I have stuff all over and would have the whole disk encrypted rather than maintaining containers ..mostly a matter of personal preference I suppose. –  lazynomore Dec 1 '10 at 16:44

I've not used the products you mention (well, I've played briefly with TrueCrypt and it is on my ever lengthening list of "things to investigate further"), but I doubt a well designed encryption solution would impose a significant hit with a modern CPU to churn calculations through.

There will be a CPU hit that will reduce bulk read/write performance, but it is unlikely that this will be nearly enough to mask the difference between a good SSD drive and something slower.

It certainly won't touch the random-read performance gain you get from moving from spinning disks to good SSDs - the near-zero latency compared to several milliseconds potential head-movement-and-waiting-for-the-right-sector-to-spin-past delay is going to be much more significant.

The random write performance hit that might be created if the encryption solution needs to write whole blocks (that are bigger than a standard drive and filesystem allocation units) is going to be dwarfed by the fact the SSD probably has to write whole blocks that are larger. You might have to be careful to try make sure your filesystem blocks and the physical drive's block arrangement neatly align with each other because uneven overlap could cause significant speed drain for many I/O patterns, as seen with newer spinning drives based on 4Kbyte sectors when the OS assumes any multiple of 512bytes is a safe alignment strategy for it's 4Kbtye blocks).

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