First, what is the firmware version you have now? If you have the version ending in 02HD, which is the latest, you don't need to update firmware.
You can do the firmware update before or after installing Windows 7.
TRIM is enabled by default in Windows 7--so no need to worry about that. You do need to either use the default msahci driver in Windows 7 or the Intel IRST driver 220.127.116.114 if you have an Intel chipset. You also need to set BIOS to AHCI to use an ahci driver.
You can check the firmware version of your SSD by going into Device Manager and double-clicking on your SSD under Disk Drives, then select Details, then under Property pulldown go to Hardware Ids.
TRIM keeps your drive running like new.
Thank you for your helpful reply. As I haven't received the drive yet, I'm not sure of the firmware version. Also, since I intend on doing the firmware update before installing Windows 7, I won't be able to go to the device manager to check out which version I have. Does it hurt to perform the firmware update even if the latest firmware is already installed? I'll go ahead and assume that the firmware update CD that I burned will tell me that I already have the latest firmware if that's the case.
When you mention that I should use the default msahci driver or Intel driver, are you referring to the motherboard chipset, or for the SSD drive itself. Where would I go to "switch to" this driver, and what device is it I'm switching? For instance, do I go to Device Manager/Disk drives to use this driver or somewhere else?
Thanks again for your reply, and any additional info about which driver you are referring to would be great. I will also have to check out your BIOS recommendation about AHCI (or "legacy/compatibility" as I've seen referred to elsewhere). I checked my BIOS SATA options, and really the only thing it would let me do was "auto detect". I didn't see any way to force it one way or another, so hopefully when I get and attach the drive it will automatically detect this AHCI mode. I'll guess that'll have to be a concern for when I hook it up.
When you get the SSD, look on the box or label attached to the drive and the firmware version should be shown.
The msahci driver is automatically installed with BIOS set to AHCI. Since you say there is no selection for AHCI in BIOS, I don't know what to tell you except contact your motherboard manufacturer and ask how to set up for AHCI. You should do that before installing Windows 7. The Intel driver I mentioned above is for motherboards with Intel chipsets. You should know if your motherboard is AMD or Intel, so which is it?
Do not play the guessing game with "Auto Detect" but do contact your motherboard manufacturer and find out how to proceed with AHCI installation using an ahci driver. Once you know what type of board you have, AMD or Intel, and how to setup for AHCI, I can advise you further.
I definitely have a motherboard with an Intel chipset. The information you have given me so far was very helpful, and it should be enough for me to complete the installation correctly. I will be receiving the drive in about two days, so if anything comes up during installation that totally confounds me, I'll shoot up a post. As it stands, I will contact the motherboard manufacturer if I can't figure out how to get it in AHCI mode and go from there.
I will consider the question answered now, but will post back here if I manage to get myself lost again
When it comes time to install the AHCI driver, the Intel 18.104.22.1684 is the best way to go at this time: http://downloadcenter.intel.com/SearchResult.aspx?lang=eng&ProductFamily=Chipsets&ProductLine=Chipset+Software&ProductProduct=Intel%C2%AE+Rapid+Storage+Technology+%28Intel%C2%AE+RST%29
You could let Windows 7 install the default msahci driver and install the above over it, which is what I did.