Does my BitLocker Use hardware acceleration?


  1. Posts : 4
    Windows 10 in Bootcamp
       #1

    Does my BitLocker Use hardware acceleration?


    Hi all,

    Recently I assembled my new computer, key specs for my question:

    • CPU Intel i7-7700K
    • MB ASUS ROG Strix Z270I
    • Samsung 500GB 960 EVO NVMe M.2

    One of the reasons why I bought Samsung 500GB EVO is because I red that it supports hardware encryption and i thought all I need to do is to enable encryption in Bios. I appeared that not all the motherboards support Self-encrypting drives, particularly motherboard I've got does not have and option to set SSD password.

    Well, I was disappointed but my research has shown that BitLocker, built-in Microsoft tool should support SSD's hardware's capabilities of encryption and supposed to use hardware-backed encryption when I use BitLocker with no performance impact.

    So I encrypted both my partitions (C and D drives, located on the same 960 EVO drive). It looks like it works fine so far: I need to enter password just once before Windows boot and for drive D I enabled auto-unlock feature, so from user point of view it works seamlessly.

    The only question I got is performance impact

    So trying to figure out is my BitLocker really uses hardware acceleration and check is there really no performance impact I measures SSD speed with CrystalDiskMark, and results little confused me:

    First, couple screens before I enabled BitLocker (actually screens were taken couple weeks ago)

    Does my BitLocker Use hardware acceleration?-2017_04_14_06_15_161.png

    And now screens after I enabled BitLocker:

    Does my BitLocker Use hardware acceleration?-2017_04_14_06_16_482.png

    As you can see:

    Read

    • Seq Q32T1 is down from ~31000 to ~28000
    • 4K Q32T1 is down from ~800 to ~620
    • Seq is Up from ~1500 to ~1800 (!)
    • 4K is Up from ~35 to ~40+ (!)

    Write

    • Seq Q32T1 is up 1600 to 1700
    • 4K Q32T1 is ~600 to 830 (!)
    • Seq is about the same or slightly higher
    • 4K is about the same

    UPD: I noticed that I forgot to test drive C after BitLocker was enabled, so adding the screen.
    Interestingly enough, it shows much better Seq Q32T1 speed than drive D

    Does my BitLocker Use hardware acceleration?-2017_04_14_07_02_231.png

    So, I do not understand:

    • Why some tests dramatically dropped while other dramatically improved?
    • It is still not clear to me, does BitLocker use hardware encryption or not (uses CPU)
    • Should I think about these drops as about performance degradation or not (because I also got some improvement)?

    With this result, honestly, I do not think I will see the any difference, because anyway these numbers much higher than I get on other computers with SSD, for example my work laptop, brand new Dell XPS 15 (with no BitLocker) is not even close:

    Does my BitLocker Use hardware acceleration?-2017_04_14_06_35_033.png

    But anyway, those questions above do not let me rest,
    can someone make sense for me out of it? :)

    Thanks!
    Last edited by jfog; 14 Apr 2017 at 02:06.
      My Computer


  2. Posts : 7
    Windows 10 10158
       #2

    jfog said:
    [*]It is still not clear to me, does BitLocker use hardware encryption or not (uses CPU)
    No NVME SSDs currently support hardware Bitlocker encryption.

    This is because eDrive is a pre-requisite for enabling hardware Bitlocker encryption, but the IEEE 1667 spec for eDrive doesn't support NVME drives (the specification hasn't been updated for years so probably never will)

    Thus there is a small performance impact from having to use software encryption.

    However NVME SSDs are so much faster than older SSDs that even with this performance hit, they remain hugely faster. Don't worry about it.
      My Computer


  3. Posts : 5,478
    2004
       #3

    What is eDrive? I did google it but everything seems to be about Windows 8.

    Does bitlocker not take advantage of hardware encryption at all on newish SSD? Seems a bit of a poor show.
      My Computer


 

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