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Do SSD drives need to be defragmented

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Do SSD drives need to be defragmented: Many years ago, the term “defragmentation” was known and even more frequently used when discussing hard disk drives (HDD), as hard disk defragmentation was a strongly proposed solution to most computer problems related to slowness. Can this situation be formulated as “Your computer is slow? Hard drive problem, let’s defragment it!” But over the years, and after the spread of HDD disks began to wane in front of the rise of the fast SSD disks, the idea of ​​”defragmentation” did not recede as much. The question started about the impact of this process on the performance of the hard disk and, thus, the computer’s speed and whether Defragmentation is still necessary for the SSD era. Let me tell you from the following lines.

What is the defragmentation process

This process arranges and organizes the data stored on the storage unit, including the hard disk (HDD). Time and due to the nature of the work of HDD hard disks, fragmentation occurs due to the data being distributed between spaced blocks.

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To understand the idea, HDD hard disks store data digitally on magnetic discs called Platters, and there is a moving head above each disc to read and write data. Technically, when a new file is saved on the hard drive, it is divided into several sequentially arranged parts called “Blocks.” Still, with repeated use and storage of many files, the pieces initially set sequentially are scattered and stored in different places between the cylinders.

This is called fragmentation, and once this happens, the complex needs to search for the blocks distributed between the cylinders in separate places when the computer is required to access a specific file, which leads to a decrease in performance, as the hard takes longer to collect the file blocks each time. Here comes the role of the defragmentation process, which arranges the data blocks sequentially to store them together in specific places on the disks, which speeds up file access and reading for the computer. This process is slow at first as the complex needs to find the first end of each stored file and then starts arranging the blocks in sequence — it’s almost as if the hard is solving a giant Rubik’s cube.

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SSD drives do not need to be fragmented

That’s right, SSDs work in a completely different way than old HDDs; there are no magnetic discs and read/write heads, but rather the data is moved at a fantastic speed through the NAND flash memory so that accessing a specific file on the SSD usually requires less than 50 microseconds while Accessing a file stored on a modern HDD takes 15 milliseconds (equivalent to 15,000 microseconds), about 300 times faster! This makes the defragmentation process useless; in other words, SSD disks do not require a long time to access the file blocks even if they are distributed in separate places among the flash memories because the flash memories used in the SSD are connected at a very uniform speed.

The preceding translates to the fact that the computer’s access to data in the case of disk fragmentation is at the same speed as access to it in the case of Defragmentation! Thus, you will not notice any performance gain if you try to defragment your SSD. On the contrary, doing so will degrade performance and shorten its lifespan. Let me explain how.

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Defragmentation might be the last thing your SSD wants!

Suppose the SSD disk has enemies of its kind. In that case, their parents will not wish for the defragmentation process, as it is the last solution that can be resorted to and under certain circumstances that justify it because Defragmentation limits the performance of the SSD disk and shortens its lifespan. Note that the difference between an SSD and an old HDD is not only the lack of magnetic discs and improved data access time. The SSD also contains intelligent algorithms that level the wear process of the cells responsible for storing data within the NAND flash memory.

Over time, as data is stored and deleted (read/write cycles), the NAND flash memory cells wear out, preventing them from holding any new data. In modern SSDs, a single cell can perform more than 3,000 read/write operations before it is completely worn out. But to avoid individual cells wearing out, leading to faster loss of stored data, SSDs distribute reads and writes across cells simultaneously so that one cell does not wear out more than another. This ensures that all cells are subjected to similar reads and register and that the data is not fragmented.

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While permissible, performing SSD defragmentation will quickly consume many read and write cycles, causing premature cell wear and translating into performance degradation. Also, the fragmentation process may be a waste of your time, especially if the size of the SSD disk is large. Depending on how SSD disks deal with reading and writing data, erasing and rewriting these disks to arrange the data consumes its resources because the disk performs the process of classifying and organizing data to and from it.

Indeed, you will not notice the effect of this from the first time; that is, you can defragment the SSD once and up to five times, and you will not feel any difference, and the performance will not deteriorate now, except that the effect of this will appear in the long run.

For example, a Samsung 850 EVO 500GB disk can handle 150TB of total writes; meanwhile, an average user writes less than 20GB of data daily, meaning burning 150TB of writes would take more than 20 years. But when the disk defragmentation process is performed continuously as a routine to maintain disk performance, this number will shrink because this process will write hundreds of gigabytes of data quickly, causing the NAND storage to wear out faster. So I don’t recommend doing it unless you have a hobby of collecting damaged SSDs!

There are alternative ways to speed up your SSD

What if your SSD starts complaining about the stress of its complex, file-filled life? Are there alternative defragmentation methods that don’t degrade performance? Although SSDs perform several behind-the-scenes operations to maintain a stable version, there are many ways to speed up the performance or reduce lag.

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One such method is trimming, which deletes unused blocks of data and makes them usable to prevent unused data buildup that can slow down SSD performance.
But let me tell you that modern SSDs have become smart enough to run this technology occasionally in complete silence automatically. Even the built-in Defragment and Optimize Drives tool in current versions of Windows will give you the option to execute the Trim command (by pressing the Optimize button) as soon as it detects the presence of an SSD connected to the computer.
SSD performance can also be accelerated by activating the “Over Provisioning” technology, which we focused on among the things you should do once the SSD is installed on the computer. , this technology is based on reserving an area of ​​storage on the SSD, and this space is not usable, often representing 7 or 10% of the total size of the disk. The goal is to improve disk performance and lifespan by reducing the number of write cycles and freeing up additional unused space even if the dis,k fills up with files one day. Without this technology, the performance of the SSD will decrease significantly once the storage capacity is wholly exhausted due to the nature of the work of these disks in the first place. The more space reserved, the more the disk can perform more resource-intensive tasks without affecting performance.

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Most SSDs come with OP technology pre-activated, which is why the actual storage capacity may not match that stated by the manufacturer. But even if it is activated, you can control the percentage of space reserved through the plug-in provided by the manufacturer, such as Samsung Magician, SanDisk SSD Dashboard, and others.

Finally, try to keep your SSD free of rarely used files and unnecessary software, as this is one of the reasons why larger SSDs are faster than smaller ones.
There are many ways to speed up an SSD or keep its performance stable. Still, defragmentation will not be one of them, not only because the gains from doing so will be weak but also because of the additional wear that the SSD receives from the process.

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