Good news for Mac users with SSDs

Many Lotus community folks have been Mac users for a few years, and many have been moving to SSDs (Solid State Disks) as the price has come down and performance has risen.  The difference they can make to a heavily used system is significant, and the Notes client seems to benefit more than most applications.

I’m one of those people, being fortunate (or foolish) enough to order a 512GB SSD with a new MacBook Pro late last year.  In short, it rocks – performance is stellar, particularly on bootup and application launching.  I also notice a massive improvement when starting or resuming VMs.

However, the fly in the ointment has always been that OS X did not support TRIM (a feature that allows an operating system to inform a solid-state drive which blocks of data are no longer considered in use and can be wiped internally), meaning that over time the SSD performance would degrade, particularly if the disk is close to capacity.  Whilst Windows 7 has supported TRIM since release, OS X has lagged behind in this (one particular) area.

So, the good news?

TRIM Is going to be fully supported in OS X 10.7 (Lion) and is already enabled in the developer betas.  Here’s is my disk configuration:

In addition, TRIM support has been added to the latest release of 10.6 (Snow Leopard) too:

One item of interest regarding last week’s Mac OS X 10.6.8 update reveals that Apple has enabled TRIM support retroactively for solid state hard drives shipped in Apple-produced configurations.

(Note that this doesn’t mean that TRIM will necessarily be enabled for all SSDs, just those that are shipped by Apple as part of standard or BTO options – I’m sure that others will be supported in future.)

I would say that this leaves cost as the final reason for not specifying an SSD in a new Mac machine, and even that issue is rapidly going away as prices fall…

Stuart McIntyre is a Senior Strategist at Fostering Community Limited. He curates a number of product-focused news sites, is a lapsed podcaster, founded the Social Connections user group and regularly speaks at conferences and events. This blog represents his own slightly-eccentric and usually-controversial opinions!