OCZ Toolbox question (applies to all SSDs)

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OCZ Toolbox question (applies to all SSDs)

Postposted on Sat Apr 07, 2012 10:41 am

"The last ingredient in the Vertex 4 is OCZ's Toolbox software, which can download and apply firmware updates with just a couple of clicks. The toolbox can also be used to secure-erase the Vertex if you'd like to return the drive to its factory-fresh state." (from the Vertex 4 review on TR)

The author states you can "return the drive to its factory-fresh state." Is that true?

I always thought there was a finite number of reads and writes with NAND Flash and that once it reaches the limit it's done. I never knew you could restore an SSD to its "factory-fresh state."

So if it's possible to restore a Vertex 4, does that mean any SSD can be restored to its factory-fresh state?

Thanks!
canoli
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Re: OCZ Toolbox question (applies to all SSDs)

Postposted on Sat Apr 07, 2012 11:51 am

Setting the SSD Drive back to its "factory-fresh state" doesn't do anything to 'restore the lifetime of the flash cells'.

The 'flash cells' are, essentially, 'damaged' each time data is written to them.

Flash circuits that are 'smaller geometry' are, apparently, 'damaged more/quicker'.

There are various schemes that are used to limit/mitigate this damaged but the damage done by writing does exist and cannot be undone. (Chiefly those being 'wear leveling' and 'spare cells'.)

So this process WILL NOT extend the life of your SSD due to damage casued by writing to the flash cells. (If you had one of the drives that "STUPIDLY" overwrites it's log file space and bricks itself, then this may get around that issue... ;) )

Returning the drive to its 'factory-fresh state' only has to do with the contents of the drive, any configuration settings that the drive may store, and probably any log information contained on the drive.

Basically kind of like 'setting your Computer's Motherboard Configuration to defaults'. (Or 'popping out the CMOS Battery' to clear the configuration on the motherboard.)
Jim552
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Re: OCZ Toolbox question (applies to all SSDs)

Postposted on Sat Apr 07, 2012 12:36 pm

Thanks Jim, I figured as much. I haven't seen the marketing for the Vertex 4 yet. I hope it doesn't include promises of "restoring" the drive to "factory-fresh" condition.
canoli
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Re: OCZ Toolbox question (applies to all SSDs)

Postposted on Sun Apr 08, 2012 12:25 am

Jim is right, secure earase does nothing for the "wear level" of the flash cells (it actualy makes them wear out faster, but not that much, as it's only one write cycle, and the drives are rated for hundreds of thousands).

Secure erase sets all flash cells back to zero, eraseing any data stored on the drive. In normal use, when you "delete" a file on an SSD, the OS removes the pointers to the file, but the actual data is still on the drive, in the flash cells. When this happens the drive is said to be "dirty", as the data is still there. When the system needs to write to those cells again, the SSD needs to first delete/clear the data in those cells, which is why a system with an SSD has been used a lot, it slows down when writing to the SSD because the drive has to clear a lot of the cells before writing to them.

Secure erase erases/clears all the cells on a drive, which is a usually good thing to do prior to installing a new OS on the drive. Secure erase does not reset the wear level.
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