Apple have just released an update to OS X that provides long overdue TRIM support to 3rd party SSDs. For a while now Windows users have enjoyed TRIM support for 3rd party SSDs, though Apple, until now, have only supported TRIM on its own OEM SSD drives installed at time of manufacture.
Now this isn’t a big deal for many owners of recent Apple desktop and laptop products since these days the storage is often non-upgradable or hard soldered onto the system board. However, many owners, such as myself, of older Apple products which allow for storage upgrades to third party hard disks and SSDs, will welcome this new OS X TRIM functionality.
The recent OS X 10.10.4 update now provides users with the ability to enable TRIM support for their after-market SSD drives, via the use of a command line utility called TrimForce.
My video below will show you how quick and easy it is to enable official TRIM on OSX, along with some more background on TRIM and Garbage Collection.
TRIM is often confused with ‘Garbage Collection’, and unlike the Garbage Collection process which is built into an SSDs controller, TRIM is an Operating System command which occurs when a file is deleted.
TRIM is an important command as it informs the SSD that the location of the deleted file no longer contains data which is valid, and then works with the SSDs Garbage Collection process to move only the valid pages containing non-deleted data off of a block.
This reduces the extra overhead of the Garbage Collection process moving only the valid data and their associated pages, before it can go ahead and erase the entire block. Without TRIM the SSD can potentially experience slower performance the drive becomes full and more valid and invalid data needs to be shifted around to free up available blocks for writing.
In short, with TRIM less data is having to be copied around the SSD when freeing up space for future use, which means less overhead and also less writes and wear and tear on the SSD’s memory chips – not that the latter is so much of a concern these days.
Will an SSD operate happily without the use of the TRIM command?
Yes, most definitely, though by enabling TRIM the SSDs Garbage Collection process can operate more efficiently.
As you’ll see when I run through the basic step of enabling TRIM, there is quite a lengthy disclaimer when you run the TrimForce command which enables the TRIM support for 3rd party SSDs. At the time of recording this there is some debate around whether particular models of older SSDs will have potential issues in enabling this feature due to their handling of sequential TRIM. Though my advice would be to do some research first to determine if others have had any problems with the same model of your SSD, just for your own piece of mind if nothing else.
Have you enabled this TRIM support on your Apple Mac yet? If so, have you noticed any difference?