Page 3: Die SSD 840 Series: Software (1)
The SSD 840 Series comes with a new version of the management software, called "SSD Magician". After installing it, the home screen of the software provides several functions which, we will discuss below.
To optimize the performance and possibly the durability of the SSD, the menu items "Over Provisioning" and "OS Optimization" are the most interesting. The first allows to provide the SSD with a set memory space for internal tasks, such as Wear-Leveling (for evening out cell wear) and Garbage-Collection (more free blocks make for a higher performance even under heavy load). In most cases, it's not necessary to change Over Provisioning (also called Spare Area). Also, this function implemented in the SSD Magician is quite straightforward: a partition (NTFS) must be present, and it's simply reduced in size, so that a part of the drive remains unpartitioned. The same effect can also be achieved by not fully partitioning a brand-new or freshly deleted drive. In that case, increasing the Spare-Area also works with any other type of partition. Only if the Spare-Area is to be changed at a later time it's necessary to ensure that it has no data in the unpartitioned space, otherwise the controller can not use this area for internal tasks. But if you use the software to shrink the partition, it will ensure that this is the case.
"OS Optimization" is much less useful, and sometimes even misleading. Whether you turn off Super Fetch and the indexing service, is purely a matter of taste. Super Fetch virtually yields no benefits, nor does it really harm the SSD. It's true that finding files on SSDs is faster due to the short access time compared to normal HDDs. But if there are a lot of files on the disk, the indexing service can enable the SSD to perform searches much faster; in that case, it would be counterproductive to turn off the indexing service. According SSD Magician, you should disable defragmentation. However, this is a very common misunderstanding. While it's true that the defragmentation service in Windows is always running, ever since Windows 7, SSDs are generally excluded from defragmentation. This can be verified easily by running the Windows program "Defrag", and selecting disks in the schedule configuration. Partitions that are on SSDs won't be displayed, so they won't be automatically defragmented by Windows. If in doubt, leave the settings as they are and don't follow the instructions of the software. If the operating system has been installed on a hard drive instead of on an SSD, and moved later, you just need to have the Windows Performance Index rebuild. At this point, Windows will be adjusting all necessary and relevant settings.
SSD Magician also provides tools to monitor the SSD, like displaying some SMART values, which can of course also be read with other monitoring software. The information that can be gained from these values, however, is often very limited, because a single value is not necessarily significant for the status of an SSD.
In this case, the menu item "Lifetime & Status" is more meaningful. Based on the SMART values the software calculates two additional values, which provide a rough estimate of the SSD's remaining life. Why in our case the "countdown" doesn't start at (nearly) 100 percent, we don't know. Possibly our test sample of SSD wasn't new, but instead has already been used by Samsung for burn-in testing, etc. A warning at this point: the life indicator only reflects the durability of the flash memory - but a drive can fail for many reasons. Hardware defects and/or firmware errors can't be predicted, and in the absence of backups, they can result in a fatal and unforeseen data loss.