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I've recently obtained a Samsung EVO 840 1TB SSD as a hard disk replacement for my laptop (Lenovo X220t, core-i5-2520m, 8GB RAM). So far, I'm not impressed with the resulting performance and request some hints on what to try.

I've formatted the drive to have a 1GB boot partition and another partition taking the rest.

Disk /dev/sda: 1000.2 GB, 1000204886016 bytes
96 heads, 32 sectors/track, 635913 cylinders, total 1953525168 sectors
Units = sectors of 1 * 512 = 512 bytes
Sector size (logical/physical): 512 bytes / 512 bytes
I/O size (minimum/optimal): 512 bytes / 512 bytes
Disk identifier: 0xf3e3717f

   Device Boot      Start         End      Blocks   Id  System
/dev/sda1            3072     2101247     1049088   83  Linux
/dev/sda2         2101248  1953524735   975711744   83  Linux

The second disk is encrypted using luks and aes-xts-plain64.

> cryptsetup status cryptoroot
/dev/mapper/cryptoroot is active and is in use.
  type:    LUKS1
  cipher:  aes-xts-plain64
  keysize: 512 bits
  device:  /dev/sda2
  offset:  6144 sectors
  size:    1951417344 sectors
  mode:    read/write
  flags:   discards

On top of that, there is LVM with the logical partitions.

> vgs
  VG   #PV #LV #SN Attr   VSize   VFree  
  ssd    1   6   0 wz--n- 930.50g 639.00g
> pvs
  PV         VG   Fmt  Attr PSize   PFree  
  /dev/dm-0  ssd  lvm2 a--  930.50g 639.00g
> lvs
  LV   VG   Attr      LSize   Pool Origin Data%  Move Log Copy%  Convert
  home ssd  -wi-ao--- 250.00g                                           
  root ssd  -wi-ao---   2.50g                                           
  swap ssd  -wi-ao---  10.00g                                           
  tmp  ssd  -wi-ao---   4.50g                                           
  usr  ssd  -wi-ao---  20.00g                                           
  var  ssd  -wi-ao---   4.50g

AES-NI is active and "cryptsetup benchmark" delivers 900-1000MB/s for aes-xts-512 in both directions.

The system is not a fresh install but the old system was migrated using "cp -a", so there was no image-copy of the old filesystems. Now everything does feel a little faster but so far I'm not impressed. Opening iceweasel still takes 4-5 seconds, pycharm with a relatively small project requires about 20 seconds to startup.

I was running bonnie++ to see the raw performance on the filesystem itself with the following results:

Version      1.97   ------Sequential Output------ --Sequential Input- --Random-
                    -Per Chr- --Block-- -Rewrite- -Per Chr- --Block-- --Seeks--
Machine        Size K/sec %CP K/sec %CP K/sec %CP K/sec %CP K/sec %CP  /sec %CP
laptop       16000M   511  99 464061  50 212554  20  3191  99 646813  20 +++++ +++
Latency             39861us     688ms     647ms    3317us    2593us    2161us
                    ------Sequential Create------ --------Random Create--------
                    -Create-- --Read--- -Delete-- -Create-- --Read--- -Delete--
files:max:min        /sec %CP  /sec %CP  /sec %CP  /sec %CP  /sec %CP  /sec %CP
laptop          128 81349  87 +++++ +++ 71014  63 83195  85 +++++ +++ 59378  56
Latency             81014us     505us     111ms   79458us      14us     114ms

The values for block-wise read and writes look great with 450MB/s and 650MB/s. However, per-character seem really slow with just 0,5MB/s and 3MB/s.

However, I lack a reference to really judge these values. I've seen other machines with a SSD where opening a browser basically happened instantly, similar thing with eclipse of pycharm and I'm wondering why my system does not 'fly' like this. Did I accidentially introduce a huge performance hog somewhere? Or are the numbers fine and my problem lies elsewhere?

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There are two more things you need to do in order to get TRIM working in this particular setup.

  • Make sure you have the discard option set in /etc/fstab for your filesystem.

  • Edit /etc/lvm/lvm.conf and change issue_discards = 0 to issue_discards = 1.

After doing this, restart the computer and run fstrim manually to clean up.


Firefox is always slow to start up, so I wouldn't worry too much about that. The same is true of almost anything that's large enough that it does a lot of work behind the scenes while starting. Watch your hard drive LED. :)

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I've seen remarks in Gentoo docs that discard (manually configured in /etc/fstab) is not recommended, not sure why. – Pavel Šimerda Feb 5 '15 at 14:43

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