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  1. #1
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    Question Disk Partitions - Lots of Disk Partitions

    My C: drive now has the following partitions:

    500 MB Healthy EFI system Partition
    40 MB Healthy OEM Partition
    500MB Healthy Recovery Partition
    455.5 GB Healthy OS C: Boot, Page File, Crash Dump, Primary Partition
    9.12 GB Healthy Recovery Partition

    This was created (I think) via the following process.

    I purchased a new Dell XPS 8500 Win 8/64 system. I have a Samsung SSD840 Drive that I wanted to use as my C: drive.
    This drive was running as a C: drive on an older Dell Win8/64 System.

    I used FarStone DriveClone 9 to copy my C: image on the new PC HD C: drive to the SSD840. I then installed the SSD and booted the system with no problems. I just have the partition structure noted above.

    The Samsung SSD Magician software now complains that it does not have sufficient space to set up Over Provisioning. This was set up and working on the old PC.

    I didn't realize that Windows had a drive image feature (until I read Fred Langa's May 2nd article in Windows Secrets). I have created a backup image using the Win8 (actually, labeled Win7 in the Control Panel) image process. When this image runs, it only backs up the EFI system Partition and the C: partition. Obviously, these are the only partitions needed to run the system.

    So, I would like to clean up this situation. It seems to me that the OEM partition can go - I have no interest in keeping a copy of the Dell Crapware - though this was not a bad as I have seen before. However, the EaseUS Partition program labels this as "Diags" - which I suspect are Dell Diagnostics - which I can download and run when needed.

    I have two "Recovery" partitions - the 500MB partition is labeled WINRETOOLS and the 9.12GB partition is labeled as PBR Image in EaseUS Partition program. The "push-button recovery" feature might be helpful, but I would rather use that space to set up over provisioning for the SSD.

    I think I can use the EaseUS Partition software to delete some of these partitions and (I think) add space for the Samsung software to set up over partitioning.

    Any advice on how to proceed? Has anyone run into a situation like this before? My main concern is to implement over provisioning to secure my SSD - but the many partitions just aggravates my OCD.

    David

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  3. #2
    Super Moderator bbearren's Avatar
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    The only real precaution is to make sure that there is nothing that you want to keep on a given partition before you delete it, and leave the EFI partition where it is and untouched.
    Create a new drive image before making system changes, in case you need to start over!

    "Let them that don't want it have memories of not gettin' any." "Gratitude is riches and complaint is poverty and the worst I ever had was wonderful." Brother Dave Gardner "Experience is what you get when you're looking for something else." Sir Thomas Robert Deware. "The problem is not the problem. The problem is your attitude about the problem. Do you understand?" Captain Jack Sparrow.
    Unleash Windows

  4. #3
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    If you used FarClone to clone your ENTIRE hard drive to your SSD then I'm sure that bbearren is correct (I'm not familiar with UEFI systems myself).

    However, your post is sufficiently ambiguous that I thought it worth checking. You said

    Quote Originally Posted by djredfearn View Post
    My C: drive now has the following partitions:

    500 MB Healthy EFI system Partition
    40 MB Healthy OEM Partition
    500MB Healthy Recovery Partition
    455.5 GB Healthy OS C: Boot, Page File, Crash Dump, Primary Partition
    9.12 GB Healthy Recovery Partition
    Now, that's not actually correct, since your C: drive is only ONE partition, rather than an entire disk. This confusion becomes significant when you later say

    I used FarStone DriveClone 9 to copy my C: image on the new PC HD C: drive to the SSD840. I then installed the SSD and booted the system with no problems. I just have the partition structure noted above.
    Your last sentence above seems to suggest that you REPLACED the drive that came with your new system with your updated SSD (rather than merely installed the SSD alongside the existing hard drive in the new system). Your first sentence above then becomes important: if in fact you merely copied the C: partition image (which FarStone says it supports doing) rather than the entire new drive to your SSD, then what's now on your SSD is the C: partition from the new system and all the other partitions from your OLD system.

    It's entirely possible that such a mixture would not boot at all (in which case the ambiguity disappears and you're presumably good to go). But if it would boot, then I'd be worried that you might run into problems down the road by not having the EFI partition that came with the system that you're now using - hence my suggestion that you clarify whether you cloned the entire new disk rather than merely its C: partition.

    The Samsung SSD Magician software now complains that it does not have sufficient space to set up Over Provisioning. This was set up and working on the old PC....

    I think I can use the EaseUS Partition software to delete some of these partitions and (I think) add space for the Samsung software to set up over partitioning...

    My main concern is to implement over provisioning to secure my SSD
    Over-provisioning is a complex subject, but the points that seem relevant here are

    1. Additional over-provisioning beyond that which is hard-wired into an SSD confers potential benefits in performance and SSD longevity.

    2. The benefit (if any) of such additional over-provisioning rises with the write workload (to a first approximation the number of bytes written per unit time) and the proportion of the data on the drive which gets updated (since never-updated data usually need be shuffled at most once by the garbage collector).

    3. The typical PC user thus may or may not be able to notice any benefit from such additional over-provisioning.

    4. In cases where such additional over-provisioning CAN provide a noticeable benefit, it will likely take more space than the amount (around 9.6 GB) that you're talking about freeing up, since the amount already hard-wired into your SSD seems to be around 7% according to http://www.anandtech.com/show/6489/playing-with-op. In order to free up a useful amount of space (assuming that over-provisioning is useful for the way in which you use your PC) you may need to shrink your C: partition.

    5. I assume that the Easeus software knows enough to issue TRIM commands when it shrinks or deletes partitions on an SSD, but you might want to verify this (unless Windows itself will issue them if you run the software within Windows rather than on a boot CD).
    Last edited by - bill; 2013-05-11 at 19:48. Reason: misquoted the amount of space you intended to free up

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    Well, I was not precise in my description. I cloned the entire drive (all partitions) with the DriveClone software - not just the C: partition. I took the defaults without looking to see what was going to be cloned. The interesting discovery was that the Windows image backup only copied the EFI and the C: partition. Clearly, that is all that is needed for the system to function. I definitely don't want to loose the EFI functionality and go back to the Bios - my system boots in about ten seconds.

    My interest in over provisioning is not for performance but for reliability. I do believe the 9.12 GB of space was what was used by the Samsung software for over provisioning when the drive was on my older system. My hope would be that by removing that partition and expanding the C: partition, the Samsung software would be able to implement the over provisioning.

    The problem here is that this partition is a PBR partition - that I assume supports the in-place system restore and repair function which would be nice to have. I checked my old system, and the only two partitions on the system drive is an OEM partition and the C: partition - no PBR partition. That system is a Win8/64 Pro system - so I wonder what happened to the restore function on that system.

    David

  6. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by djredfearn View Post
    I definitely don't want to loose the EFI functionality and go back to the Bios - my system boots in about ten seconds.
    It would be interesting to ascertain just how much EFI contributes to this speed vs. how much use of the SSD does - especially if you have the Win 8 'fast startup' option enabled (which it is by default). With fast startup disabled on my relatively modest BIOS-based hardware (AMD Athlon II X3 455 Rana 3.3GHz with a single 4 GB stick of DDR3 1600 and a conventional rotating hard drive) it takes 11 seconds from power-on to the first indication (blue blocks in the center of the screen) that the boot manager is running, another 10 seconds to display the boot selection menu (I multi-boot with other systems), and another 10 to display the desktop, and I suspect that an SSD would reduce those last two intervals significantly (especially if I enabled fast startup). Given that I don't reboot that often that's perfectly satisfactory for me even without the significant speed-up likely achievable with an SSD system drive (but while still retaining the BIOS, which I prefer to the constraints which UEFI enforces) further enhanced by combination with fast startup (though I'm not a fan of fast startup for different reasons).

    So if you performed some experiments you might find that reverting to BIOS would not increase your boot time all that much, though if absolutely minimizing it is a high priority for you then you're likely correct that EFI can help.

    My interest in over provisioning is not for performance but for reliability.
    I was careful to use the term 'longevity' rather than 'reliability' earlier because it's not clear that over-provisioning has any discernible effect upon the latter. Over-provisioning reduces the number of 'program/erase' cycles (which 'clean' all the sectors in the block so that they can be reused) experienced by the typical SSD erase block, thus increasing the potential longevity of the device (since after a sufficient number of such erasures a block ceases to be erasable) but not its reliability (because failure to erase such a block is detectable by the SSD and it simply retires that block and substitutes a spare: erasures are typically performed 'lazily'in the background such that this detection and possible replacement does not noticeably affect performance, and if the drive is ever so busy that they're gating on-going user requests then performance has already gone to pot and a bit of additional detection/replacement overhead won't markedly increase the suffering).

    While ensuring that an equivalent portion of the useable drive capacity is never used (e.g., by creating a partition of that size which you never write to) would accomplish the same thing, by actually reserving (rather than just never using) such space over-provisioning also creates a larger supply of potential spare blocks, thus depending upon the evenness of the 'wear-leveling' functions perhaps further increasing device longevity (but, again, not reliability, because until the spares run out reliability is not impaired and when their supply becomes alarmingly low the device can warn you - just as a conventional hard drive can, e.g., via SMART alerts regarding reallocated sector activity - that it's time to get your data off it and retire the drive).

    The ability to program (write to) a device sector successfully can also degrade with increasing local wear, and this COULD result in some decrease in reliability if not detected at the time (e.g., by dedicated hardware sanity-checks or by firmware-originated read-after-write verification, at least the latter of which could noticeably degrade write performance: one reference I've seen suggests that some such checking is normal, but that's hardly definitive) and if not correctable by the normal error-correction codes. I've been able to find so little discussion of this that one would hope that it's a non-issue either due to such checks or because the incidence of such uncorrectable errors is low enough to be bundled in with normal uncorrectable bit-error rate stats - and if that's indeed the case, over-provisioning shouldn't have any noticeable effect upon reliability here, either.

    Interestingly, according to some studies neither of the above has been the dominating factor in SSD failures so far: rather, firmware bugs and internal electrical failures have been, though one might hope that as firmware authors become more familiar with the technology the former will decrease. Another potential problem is the fact that in NAND devices when cells adjacent to a cell containing valid data are read (without being written) a very large number of times the data in that valid cell can be corrupted without detection until it's read, at which point if the error is detected at all error-correction codes may or may not be able to reconstruct the valid data depending upon how corrupted it has become. Yet another potential problem is the possiblity that unexpected power loss in a multi-level cell (MLC) device during an update can corrupt another 'level' in the cell if the device is not protected by a capacitor large enough to guarantee that the operation completes (and last I knew not all devices are so protected, though I couldn't find out whether yours is). And then there's the fact that SSDs don't retain unchanged data forever and (unlike DRAM) have no 'refresh' mechanism to compensate for that - though (again) their built-in error-correction codes should normally keep any uncorrectable errors down to those in their specs.

    In sum, then, it's not clear that you're worrying about the most important threats to your data, and in any event with ANY conventional storage device there's no substitute for maintaining a good set of backups. And whether the lack of over-provisioning would create any threat at all to your data still depends upon the characteristics of your workload: unless it's very write-intensive, the chances should be good that you don't need it.

    I do believe the 9.12 GB of space was what was used by the Samsung software for over provisioning when the drive was on my older system. My hope would be that by removing that partition and expanding the C: partition, the Samsung software would be able to implement the over provisioning.
    While I'm not familiar with the way in which Samsung implements over-provisioning, I strongly suspect that they don't use space dedicated to your C: partition but rather use unallocated (and after implementation unallocatable) space elsewhere on the device to support it (which would be why you received the error that no such space was available when your migration resulted in a fully-allocated - though presumably not nearly fully-used - device even though your migrated C: partition was nowhere near full, the last of course being a complete assumption on my part so by all means correct it if appropriate).

    I apologize for having gone on at such length on a topic which may not interest you at anywhere near this level of detail. However, as a retired storage engineer it interests me and I've had fun thinking (and to some degree learning more) about it, so thanks for the inspiration (and if I've included any mistakes in my thoughts above I'd welcome correction).
    Last edited by - bill; 2013-05-12 at 23:40. Reason: cleaned up hard-to-read import from notepad

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    Yep, that is a lot of information. To respond to some of the issues you raise:

    Boot Speed - I don't have an exact comparison, but the Samsung SSD840 was installed on an older Dell XPS8300 PC - i5, 16 GB of RAM - a pretty fast system. This system uses the traditional BIOS for start up. My perception at the time was the the start was a little faster than with the original hard disk, but not much. Now that I have swapped the SSD840 out of this system (and replaced the original HD), the boot process seems very slow. The older system is running Win8/64 Pro. As I have noted, I boot really fast on the new system with the SSD840 installed and using the UEFI instead of the BIOS. My guess is that the UEFI makes more of a difference than the SSD - but both contribute to the speed.

    SSD "reliability" and "Longevity" - I used the EaseUS Partition Manager to remove the PBI partition (sitting after the C: partition) on the SSD. Then I expanded the C: partition to use this space. Now, the Samsung SSD Magician software was able to implement Over Provisioning for the drive - it is using 46.50 GB for the OP. One of the features of the Samsung SSD Magician software is that is can perform "OS Optimization". The options available are: Maximum Performance, Maximum Capacity, Maximum Reliability, and "Advanced" (change options individually). I have the SSD set for Maximum Reliability. What this does is: Disable automatic hibernation, increase virtual memory to 1GB, and disable index service/search. (I don't need the Win8 search because I am using X1 8 for that.) The SSD840 is the "consumer" version of the Samsung SSD hardware (the Pro version is much more expensive) and there has been some concern expressed about the potential longevity of the SSD840 drives due to the memory design used. So, I wanted to be more conservative. The Magician software now says the drive is optimized - it is running with AHCI mode and on SATA3 (neither of which were available on the old system).

    David

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    Quote Originally Posted by djredfearn View Post
    My guess is that the UEFI makes more of a difference than the SSD
    I understood that. My suggestion was that your guess might or might not be correct, and that if boot speed were as important to you as it seemed to be the way to eliminate the guesswork was to measure the differences.

    SSD "reliability" and "Longevity"
    I'm not sure that you understood my attempt to differentiate between the two. 'Reliability' has two dimensions: correctness of results when the device appears to be operating normally, and longevity (how long the device operates correctly before failing to do so). Over-provisioning can't affect correctness if the device is properly designed to fail rather than provide potentially incorrect results (as storage devices should be), since blocks that are observed to be deteriorating should be retired before any corruption can occur and blocks which were not observed to be deteriorating but in fact did deteriorate will provide incorrect data - in both cases regardless of how many (if any) spare replacement blocks may exist in the system. Over-provisioning can noticeably affect longevity, but only in cases where wear-leveling algorithms don't manage to even out wear pretty well (since otherwise unless the amount of over-provisioning approaches the total size of usable data once a significant percentage of the blocks require replacement most of the rest will in relatively short order).

    I used the EaseUS Partition Manager to remove the PBI partition (sitting after the C: partition) on the SSD. Then I expanded the C: partition to use this space. Now, the Samsung SSD Magician software was able to implement Over Provisioning for the drive - it is using 46.50 GB for the OP.
    That's interesting, since despite its name I doubt that there's any 'magic' involved here (i.e., there's really no way that SSD Magician can create additional space on the device to use for 'over-provisioning').

    It appears that before you did the above your entire SSD was nominally full (466 GiB - the way Microsoft normally reports partition sizes, though it uses 'GB' rather than 'GiB' in its displays - equals its 500 GB nominal capacity). The typical amount of space reserved for spares and shuffling garbage-collection room on SSDs is said to be 7%, probably not coincidentally the difference between x GB and x GiB, since physical SSD sizes tend to be powers of 2 (GiB) while advertized device sizes are expressed in powers of 10 (GB). Thus an SSD advertized as 512 GB in size (like the 840 Pro) is actually 512 GiB in size, which leaves about 7% extra space for spares and shuffling while still providing the nominal 512 GB advertized amount. Your 840 non-Pro is advertized as 500 GB rather than 512 GB (I have no idea why, though since you mentioned some potential problem with its handling of its space it might be just to provide some additional spare space) and thus might be using 9+% of its physical space for spares and shuffling.

    After the changes you describe above your 840 was STILL nominally full (unless your C: partition was quietly shrunk by SSD Magician after you made those changes and you didn't notice the fact) - and while 46.5 GB of additional space for 'over-provisioning' certainly didn't materialize out of thin air it does happen to be very close to the difference between your device's nominal 500 GB capacity and its probable 512 GiB actual size, so one reasonable guess might be that this pre-configured spare space was there all along but for some reason SSD Magician did not recognize it as being manipulable for user-controlled 'over-provisioning' before you eliminated the last partition on the disk after the partition you were interesting in 'over-provisioning' (since SSD Magician does seem to be NTFS-aware and thus in some ways sensitive to the kinds of partitions being used).

    I tried installing SSD Magician to see whether it might provide information in this area but it doesn't (at least not without a Samsung SSD drive, which I don't have). I attempted to find detailed descriptions of how SSD Magician handles 'over-provisioning', but no support in this area appears to be available on weekends (contrary to the contact information on Samsung's support pages). If you know of any, I'm all ears.

    One of the features of the Samsung SSD Magician software is that is can perform "OS Optimization". The options available are: Maximum Performance, Maximum Capacity, Maximum Reliability, and "Advanced" (change options individually).
    'Maximum Capacity' might, I suppose, suggest an ability to reduce spare space even below the default level; otherwise, at least as far as over-provisioning' goes, there's an obvious trade-off between capacity on the one hand and performance (though only when write activity is truly intense) and increased reliability (though as noted above probably not all that much) on the other.

    I have the SSD set for Maximum Reliability. What this does is: Disable automatic hibernation
    Presumably to minimize SSD write activity.

    increase virtual memory to 1GB
    Surely it's much larger than that already, unless it's not talking about the page file.

    and disable index service/search.
    Again minimizing SSD writes, though if you're simply using a different content-indexing mechanism that'll bring them right back.

    The SSD840 is the "consumer" version of the Samsung SSD hardware (the Pro version is much more expensive) and there has been some concern expressed about the potential longevity of the SSD840 drives due to the memory design used. So, I wanted to be more conservative.
    Which brings us back to reliability (2 dimensions) vs. longevity (1 dimension, as long as the device is designed to fail rather than provide potentially corrupt data). If the 'memory design' includes sub-optimal wear-leveling algorithms then using over-provisioning to help improve longevity may make sense.

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    Boot speed: I don't feel the need to measure anything - it is obviously faster - and I' not really curious about why. And, since I have a new system with the SSD, SATA3, AHCI, UEFI and fast boot turned on, I am a happy camper. That is what I use now. I boot my system every day - sometimes more than once, so that speed means something to me.
    Samsung Magician: Too bad it doesn't do anything for a non-Samsung SSD. Perhaps the PBI partition got created when the drive was cloned - but however that happened, the Magician software said that it couldn't set the OP for the drive. Removing the PBI partition enabled this. You may be right that this existed before - but it was lost when the PBI partition was created.
    Reliability vs. Longevity: I do understand the distinction you were making. I was just pointing out that Samsung calls this "Maximum Reliability" - perhaps the wrong term. The Magician software reports the "health" of the drive - and also the volume of I/O completed at the current time. The hardware guarantee is nominally three years, but actually has a use limit too. I suppose the Magician software is monitoring that value.
    When I first got the SSD, the Samsung software was mostly unusable. The software was updated recently, and is much improved. I've done two firmware updates without problem. The technical support sucks, however - you have to call them, and that is available only during business hours - no weekends. I was originally attracted to the Samsung drive because of the price and they offered a kit for cloning your existing drive to the SSD - they did have a neat connector that let you connect the SSD to a USB port - but the clone software simply didn't work. I bought Drive Clone to do that. If I had realized that Windows had the drive clone capability, I would have used that. It is interesting that when you build a image using the Windows software, the only partitions copied are the UEFI and the C: partitions - so if I had used that I would probably not have had the problems with the PBI partition. It would never have made it to the SSD.

    Microsoft does such a good job of hiding these features. I am also a heavy Mac user - I have two iMacs and a MBA in the house - and these systems are so much easier to configure and use. You can get software (SuperDuper!) that clones drives and then does incremental updates - so that you don't have to start from scratch each time. That is one of my three different backup methods for my Macs. But that's off topic.

    David

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    Quote Originally Posted by djredfearn View Post
    Boot speed: I don't feel the need to measure anything - it is obviously faster - and I' not really curious about why.
    Then I may have been misled by your statement that you "don't want to loose the EFI functionality and go back to the Bios - my system boots in about ten seconds", given that you actually seem not to know (or care) whether (or how much) using EFI may contribute to your boot speed.

    Perhaps the PBI partition got created when the drive was cloned - but however that happened, the Magician software said that it couldn't set the OP for the drive. Removing the PBI partition enabled this. You may be right that this existed before - but it was lost when the PBI partition was created.
    You seem to have missed my point, which was that the amount of 'over-provisioning' space finally reported by SSD Magician may have been present all along (including the time that the PBI partition was present) - and indeed it seems to have been, given that the available space for it never changed and that in the end it wound up being approximately what one would have expected it to have been when the device was shipped, without any SSD Magician activity at all: all that the presence of the PBI partition may have done is make SSD Magician (for whatever internal reason) unable to OFFER OPTIONS to operate on it.

    I was just pointing out that Samsung calls this "Maximum Reliability" - perhaps the wrong term.
    Whether it is an appropriate term is perhaps less significant than whether the potential increase in 'reliability' and/or 'longevity' is actually significant instead of being at best (e.g., in the presence of fairly intense write activity) pretty marginal. It certainly wouldn't be the first time that marketing took a modest (and rather special-purpose) tweak and over-sold it by suggesting that it might have significant applicability to a wide range of use.

    As contrasted with claims that over-provisioning can increase performance, which (although only for VERY intense write activity) CAN have a significant impact at the margins.

    It is interesting that when you build a image using the Windows software, the only partitions copied are the UEFI and the C: partitions - so if I had used that I would probably not have had the problems with the PBI partition.
    My impression is that when one clones a drive most competent imaging applications will by default clone everything present on it within the normal user area (as distinct from portions like the 'host protected area' which are not normally visible), so 'interesting' may not be the best word to describe the Windows variant if indeed it selectively omits portions without telling you.

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    One final point before ending this non-productive discussion in which we seem to be talking past each other.

    When the Samsung Partition Magician software said that it couldn't implement OP, you could look at the partitions on the drive and _see_ that the space was being used for the restore partition. When that partition was deleted, and the existing partition was expanded to include that space, the Samsung Magician software was able to implement the OP. I guess I believe what the Magician software is telling me - OP was not implemented before and now it is.

    David

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    Quote Originally Posted by djredfearn View Post
    When the Samsung Partition Magician software said that it couldn't implement OP, you could look at the partitions on the drive and _see_ that the space was being used for the restore partition.
    Yes - 9.12 GB, according to you: nothing like the 46.5 GB you claimed magically became available after you deleted that partition and then extended your C: partition into the same space (thus leaving exactly the same amount of free space on the drive as had been the case when the 'restore partition' was there).

    When that partition was deleted, and the existing partition was expanded to include that space, the Samsung Magician software was able to implement the OP. I guess I believe what the Magician software is telling me - OP was not implemented before and now it is.
    I'm afraid that your belief is incorrect, because EVERY SSD, Samsung or not, ships with operational over-provisioning (as I noted, typically around 7% - a number likely chosen for marketing convenience rather than due to engineering calculations, since it just happens to be the difference between convenient physical SLC and MLC SSD sizes in GiB and the nominal size obtained by expressing the same number as 'GB' and as I've explained above save for unusual cases most use of these devices is relatively insensitive to the exact amount of over-provisioning). The AnandTech articles which you can reach from the link I provided call it 'spare space' but their statement that SSD Magician allows you to control it makes it clear that these are just two different terms for the same physical function. What SSD Magician allows you to do is to CONTROL the amount of this over-provisioning, so that you can increase it (to trade capacity for improved performance in unusual use cases and PERHAPS for marginally improved reliability/longevity as well) or (perhaps) decrease it (to increase capacity beyond the nominal amount at some possible expense to performance and reliability/longevity) - but even if you don't use SSD Magician at all a significant amount of over-provisioning is just THERE to be used (because otherwise the first bad bit in your device could make it ready for the trash heap: conventional hard drives include spare space to use for reallocating bad sectors for the same reason).

    As noted in that link, the 840 Pro indeed includes about 7% over-provisioning as shipped (the difference between its nominal 256 GB capacity and its likely physical 256 GiB capacity: SLC and MLC devices usually have a physical capacity which is a power of 2 for engineering convenience) - even if you don't use SSD Magician on it at all. While TLC devices like the 840 non-Pro don't enjoy the same engineering convenience WITHIN a chip, according to AnandTech it's still convenient for marketing (and perhaps chip-level engineering) purposes to create dice which provide a power-of-2 bit count, so lacking evidence to the contrary (which I sought unsuccessfully) it's reasonable to assume that your nominal 500 GB 840 has a physical capacity of 512 GiB - nearly 50 GB (about 46.3 GiB) larger than its nominal capacity available for over-provisioning without exercising SSD Magician at all.

    I certainly agree that I seem to have been 'talking past' you, David, but I don't think you've been talking past me - I simply think that some of what you've been saying is not substantiable and have explained in considerable detail why. The OCD you mentioned can have multiple manifestations, some positive (e.g., being strongly motivated to learn about a subject you don't understand), some less so (e.g., being motivated to continue debating a subject which you don't understand). You do get to pick and choose which to indulge in.


    Edit (long after the original post - WS seemed to be having problems for a while): I did encourage you to provide any information (e.g., from any 'help' areas in SSD Magician which, having a Samsung drive to use it on, you might have access to) that might support your understanding, and would still be interested if you can do so. As I said, I looked around for this, but without success.
    Last edited by - bill; 2013-05-22 at 02:51.

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    Samsung Magician OP

    Samsung Magician OP.png

    I tried to attach an image that shows what the Samsung Magician now shows for my SSD, though I can't see it while writing this reply. (It is a png file.)

    When I deleted the 9.12 GB recovery partition, there was unallocated space there too (at the "end" of the drive) - after deleting, the unallocated space was 46.5 GB. I then expanded the C: partition to use this space, reran the Samsung Magician program and it was able to use that space to implement OP. You can see how the C: drive is now allocated.

    I expect you are correct that there is some built-in redundancy in the drive, but this seems to be something more. This is what the SM Help Screen says about OP:

    Over Provisioning
    The Over Provisioning feature is used to resize drive partitions. SSDs perform better and last longer, if they have free space to use as swap space.

    During idle time, swap space is used to perform routine SSD maintenance (TRIM and Garbage Collection) in the background, which allows the SSD Controller to prepare free blocks for future use. Since the SSD performs better when writing to free blocks, the result is a better user experience.

    The Over Provisioning feature helps to set aside free space by resizing the drive partitions.

    Note: Over Provisioning is not supported for windows XP.

    CAUTION: Magician only supports NTFS and raw (Unformatted, Unallocated) partitions.

    Details about Over Provisioning:

    · SSD drive and Model number are shown.

    · The Over Provisioning space is displayed as unallocated space in the Windows Disk Management program. Samsung recommends allocating 7 - 10% of total SSD space for Over-Provisioning.

    Primary Partition

    Logical Partition

    Extended Partition

    Over Provisioning (Unallocated)

    · Adjust the amount of space allocated for Over-Provisioning based on your requirements.

    · Click the Set OP button to start the process.

    Once Completed the Set OP button changes to Clear OP .

    · Click the Clear OP button to clear the previously set Over provision space.

    Once Completed Clear OP button changes to Set OP.


    --------------------------------------------------------------------------------

    Copyright © 2013 SAMSUNG ELECTRONICS. All rights reserved.

    David

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    Quote Originally Posted by djredfearn View Post
    I tried to attach an image that shows what the Samsung Magician now shows for my SSD, though I can't see it while writing this reply. (It is a png file.)
    THANK YOU! Sometimes a picture is worth many, many words (I won't bother to count but I suspect we're well beyond 1,000 by now).

    When I deleted the 9.12 GB recovery partition, there was unallocated space there too (at the "end" of the drive) - after deleting, the unallocated space was 46.5 GB.
    BEFORE you deleted the partition there would have been NO unallocated user-visible space at the end of the drive (because the sum of your existing partition sizes - the numbers were in GiB even though they were displayed as GB - added up to the total size of the drive: 466 GiB = 500 GB). AFTER you deleted the partition (but before you expanded your C: partition and then ran SSD Magician again) there would have been 9.12 GiB of unallocated space at the end of the drive (exactly the space which you freed up by deleting the partition). You then extended your C: partition to include this free space (though given that SSD Magician then reduced its size to obtain the amount of free space it decided was appropriate for your 'maximum reliability' choice you could have skipped this step).

    I then expanded the C: partition to use this space, reran the Samsung Magician program and it was able to use that space to implement OP. You can see how the C: drive is now allocated.
    Indeed: you had created a disk that was again full, and when you ran SSD Magician afterward it reduced the size of the last partition (your C: partition) by 46.5 GiB to make room to use that 46.5 GiB for additional over-provisioning. I actually raised exactly this possibility back on the 19th, but you seem to have missed it (hence the hypothetical discussion continued).

    (Your .png image doesn't show the other 3 small partitions totaling just over 1 GiB, but its numbers suggest that they're still there.)

    I expect you are correct that there is some built-in redundancy in the drive, but this seems to be something more.
    Yup: you've now got 46.5 GB in addition to whatever the device shipped with (which I guessed above would be about the same amount based on the articles at AnandTech). Doubling the original amount would certainly be sufficient to make a difference in the performance corner-cases I mentioned; how much it might or might not do to improve longevity would depend upon the intensity of write activity (i.e., whether it was sufficient to wear out significant portions of the drive before you retired it due to obsolescence) and the evenness of the wear-leveling algorithms (i.e., whether portions would wear out at sufficiently different times that having the extra space for spares would noticeably affect the usable life of the disk).

    This is what the SM Help Screen says about OP:

    Over Provisioning
    The Over Provisioning feature is used to resize drive partitions. SSDs perform better and last longer, if they have free space to use as swap space.
    Thanks again: as I noted, lacking a Samsung SSD the base Magician screen was all I could get to, and it had no help available. Resizing a partition with lots of free space is the way I'd have expected it to work when the drive otherwise had no free space available, and since it didn't resize your C: partition before (when it presumably also had a good deal of free space in it) apparently it can only make use of free space when it resides at the 'end' of the disk (perhaps because what it does is merge the new provisioning space with the existing as-shipped provisioning space beyond the end of the user-visible portion of the disk). This also explains why the kinds of partitions it can operate upon are limited to the types whose internal structure (or in the case or RAW lack thereof) it (or perhaps the operating system, as noted below) understands; before it became apparent that it was resizing partitions to obtain the space, the only other explanation I could come up with was that it was creating space INSIDE the partition based on its understanding of its file system structure, which struck me as unexpectedly ambitious on its part.

    During idle time, swap space is used to perform routine SSD maintenance (TRIM and Garbage Collection) in the background, which allows the SSD Controller to prepare free blocks for future use. Since the SSD performs better when writing to free blocks, the result is a better user experience.
    Yes, as I had noted this kind of activity is usually performed in the background. Back in the days when available firmware memory on a device was measured in bytes an operating system driver would have handled this, but now I suspect that 'during idle time' and 'in the background' refer to internal device activity, not operating system activity.

    Note: Over Provisioning is not supported for windows XP.
    Perhaps this is because XP (if I recall correctly) doesn't support shrinking partitions in Disk Management and SSD Magician would much rather have the OS handle such operations than attempt to perform such internal surgery on its own.

    The Over Provisioning space is displayed as unallocated space in the Windows Disk Management program.
    I'm not sure how to interpret that: if it means that the space already allocated by SSD Magician still appears as 'unallocated' in Windows Disk Management then that strikes me a potentially dangerous - e.g., what happens if you later create a partition in that space and start writing to it? The best response I can think of would be for the disk to reject the write operation (making even a format operation fail before you could store any important data there), and this may be the best it can do if there's no provision in the operating system to allow what it sees as a PHYSICAL disk to change size on the fly.

    (Edit: No, that wouldn't be sufficient to protect against just EXTENDING the partition just before the nominally unallocated space to include that space, since no formating of the new space would necessarily be required before the file system attempted to start using it - and while the file system SHOULD recover gracefully from such write errors they're sufficiently infrequent that the recovery code is far more prone to latent bugs than code which gets more exercise.)

    Samsung recommends allocating 7 - 10% of total SSD space for Over-Provisioning.
    The context seems to suggest that this is over and above what the disk ships with (also around 7% in its 840 Pro series, perhaps more like 9% in the non-Pro versions as I suggested above based, again, on the AnandTech articles). Unless my usage was very write-intensive with respect to the disk size (larger disks can support commensurately more write activity before starting to experience write-performance degradation or develop bad blocks) I'd just stick with the as-shipped amount - though with TLC disks like the 840 non-Pro the point at which activity starts to qualify as 'write-intensive' may be only about 1/3 the level of MLC disks, since TLC disks develop both performance bottlenecks and bad blocks faster.
    Last edited by - bill; 2013-05-23 at 23:59.

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