I’ve seen a lot of people say that SSDs eliminate the need to defragment your hard drive. And, these people almost made me second guess myself… almost.
While it is true that SSDs eliminate one reason to defrag, and that reason is that hard drives must waste time moving across platters and physical sectors of the drive. This process is made worse if a file exists in several locations on the drive.
But, as Raxco Software outlined on their blog, that’s only half the story. Essentially, Windows (and Mac does this too), transfers files between locations on the drive. It does so with things called data blocks and erase blocks. These are larger than sectors, because they’re basically the fields for which the data is allocated to be moved to, and the area that needs to be erased.
Well, if a file is fragmented, you’ve got a lot more data blocks, and a lot more erase blocks. So, the SSD has to receive several more requests to edit, move, change the file. That means more I/O activity, and more work.
Bottom line: You may want to defrag less frequently with an SSD, but you probably will still want to do it.
SSDs don’t require defrag in the conventional manner since the access times are very fast, for sequential reads and writes and random reads. The bottleneck occurs for random writes which can be pretty slow and exacerbated by free space fragmentation. So free space consolidation in the background with a utility like Diskeeper’s Hyperfast is supposed to help.
http://www.diskeeperblog.com/archives/2008/12/hyperfast_is_al.html has some useful info.
I haven’t used an SSD yet, so I haven’t had a need to use this utility, but for my conventional drives, I do use Diskeeper 2009 pro (excellent BTW) and I noticed that Hyperfast is an add-on for it.