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Are there performance gains to be had by secure-erasing an SSD? (the secure-erase function, not securely zero'ing out data)

I'm using an Intel 320 SSD 160GB as my main OS drive. It's been a couple years since I've reformatted and started fresh. I'm wondering if there'd be any performance gains from imaging the drive, secure-erasing it, and then laying the image back down (rather than reformatting from scratch)?

I seem to recall seeing a suggestion somewhere that it was good measure to secure-erase an SSD every now and then, even if it's TRIM-capable, because there's some manner of continual performance degradation until a secure-erase is done and the drive is factory-fresh. It might've just been SSD snake-oil, however.

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yes, secure erase boosts the performance to the default values. I do this each time I reinstall Windows. Your SSD with SandForce controller will benefit from it very much.

http://forums.sandisk.com/t5/SanDisk-Extreme-SSD/HOW-TO-GET-YOUR-SSD-PERFORMANCE-BACK/td-p/281740

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What exactly does "boost the performance to default values" mean? Where does the performance boost come from? I'm trying to understand this to determine if I'd get a "performance boost" by backing up my main drive SSD, secure-erasing it, then restoring everything back, including the operating system, and continuing as normal (rather than having to do a full reformat and reinstall from scratch). –  Coldblackice May 31 '13 at 22:30
    
even with TRIM you get a small reduction in performance over time. The secure erase speeds it up again to the nearly the speed you have when you sue the SSD the first time. Try it out if the restore works. –  magicandre1981 Jun 1 '13 at 5:31
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I'm not sure why this was downvoted. Perhaps because of lack of explanation. In short SSDs can't write individual pages, only entire blocks (a collection of pages), and over time partially filled blocks will become dominant. Since you can't add pages to a block, you need to read the data out, append the pages you need, then write back the full block, with the end result of these operations being a slower drive. Simply reformatting/partitioning a drive won't clear these, hence why a full secure erase is needed to free all pages on the SSD. In-depth: anandtech.com/show/2738/8 –  Hefewe1zen Oct 19 '13 at 17:49

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