I bought a Dell XPS 13 Ultrabook in March with a 256GB SSD drive and I love this machine. The drive inside is a Samsung PM830 and it boots Windows 8 from scratch in less than 7 seconds (cold boot, this is not resuming sleep).
As a techie, I like maintaining my system and keeping it in order. Part of that involves making sure your disk performance is good. Everybody knows you aren’t supposed to defrag SSDs because it eats into the limited number of writes an SSD can make and also it won’t increase performance. SSDs don’t have moving parts; having the file operations sequential doesn’t seem to make a difference. I talked with my friend Bill and he mentioned a command called TRIM and recommended looking at the Samsung SSD utility which is called Samsung SSD Magician.
First thing I did was pull up a command prompt and see if I have TRIM enabled (starting with Windows 7, it should be enabled by default if you’re using an SSD). Here’s how you can check (NOTE: you’ll need to open the command line with admin privileges for these to work).
fsutil behavior query disabledeletenotify
Here’s how to interpret what that command outputs (taken from the fsutil documentation):
DisableDeleteNotify = 0 means Windows WILL send the TRIM command to the SSD when a file is deleted.
DisableDeleteNotify = 1 means Windows WILL NOT send the TRIM command to the SSD when a file is deleted.
On my machine, TRIM is enabled which is great. If it wasn’t and I wanted to enable it, here’s how you’d do that:
fsutil behavior set disabledeletenotify 0
NOTE: If you wanted to disable it, you’d provide a 1 instead of a 0. I’d like credit this information to a post I found on the Corsair Product Forums.
From what I understand, TRIM increases write performance by enabling notifications (sent by the OS) that occur when files get deleted. Click here to read more about TRIM. Next, I went to the Samsung website and tried to download their utility. The website makes you provide a model number before you can download anything. I have no idea how to find this number; I’m guessing you’d have to physically look at the drive. After some searching, my best guess at the model number is MZ-7PC256B.
I downloaded and installed the SSD Magician program, which wouldn’t install properly in Windows 8. Not a problem- you can use compatibility mode and run it as Windows 7. That will let you complete the install and get the program up and running. When I launched the program up, it started to scan the drives. All of the sudden, I get a message box:
“No Samsung Brand SSD found in the system”
The utility still spits out a lot of information about the drive, it just won’t let you do anything (like performance optimizations, etc). Using the tool, I was able to find the firmware version for the drive (which surprised me, since I hadn’t thought about drives having firmware). The firmware version I have installed is:
After some research, I’ve come to the conclusion that you can’t use this tool on an SSD that came pre-installed on a Dell. Other people investigating have hinted at Samsung providing a very similar version of the drive with a custom firmware, so that Dell can control upgrades to it’s firmware. Unfortunately by doing that, they also made the SSD Magician tool not recognize the drive. At that point, I gave up and uninstalled it.
Click here for information I’d recommend reading through if you’re frustrated like me (NOTE: the link is to a conversation that is several pages long, be sure to read through it all). In this post, somebody may have an inside connection to Dell and provides a link to a new version of firmware. This will let you flash from CXM12D1Q to CXM03D1T. The other users (rightly so) are skeptical about it, but the person does claim it increases performance slightly. I’d personally recommend NOT doing this upgrade, but feel free to roll the dice and try it out.