Intel RAID driver adds pass-through TRIM support

— 4:01 PM on March 22, 2010

In our latest system guide, we pointed out that folks who opted to run dual Intel X25-M solid-state drives in RAID mode wouldn't be able to enjoy TRIM capabilities, potentially impacting used-state performance. Some sources now say the latest Intel RAID software update lifts that limitation, but it ain't so.

Here's what Intel told us before the update hit the web last Friday:

The latest: Intel® RST 9.6 will be released this week which includes TRIM support for SSDs. It will support TRIM with SSDs in an AHCI configuration, or with the RAID controller enabled and the SSD is used as a pass through device. An example of this use case is for users that want to use the SSD as a boot drive but still be able to RAID multiple HDDs together to allow for large protect data storage – a great use for the home theater PC. TRIM support for SSDs in a RAID configuration is under investigation and is not included in Intel® RST 9.6.

Translation: if your Intel storage controller is set to RAID mode, you'll now be able to benefit from your solid-state drive's TRIM functionality when running it alongside a RAID array comprised of mechanical drives. TRIM isn't supported for SSDs participating in a RAID array, however. Intel may add that feature in the future, but it hasn't committed to doing so.

Of course, running multiple SSDs in RAID mode might not appeal to the majority of users to begin with—if only because SSDs still tend to cost upward of $2 per gigabyte. Besides, capacities and pricing tend to increase in a fairly linear fashion. Instead of blowing almost $300 on, say, a pair of 64GB Kingston SSDNow V drives, one could as well opt for the 128GB model for $279.

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