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Next move after fresh install of Windows 7 on Intel X25-M (G2) ??

Last response: in Storage
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January 29, 2010 3:36:34 PM

Hi, I have a rig that's got an i7 920, 6GB DDR3, Asus P6T, (2)GeForce 275 GTXs, and other stuff in an Antec 183 case.

I've replaced my Samsung HDs with an Intel X25-M G2 160GB Solid State Drive and plan to get a single 2TB Seagate/WD later this year to use for multimedia storage. I already did a fresh install of 64-bit Windows 7 on it, and beyond fetching the current Windows updates that are currently available -Jan.29 (and restarting), I haven't done anything else. I turned it off and I'm on my laptop researching the driver/controller issues with SSDs. I'm aware that there's a way to screw this up and I want to avoid it!

QUESTION: I know that Intel uses TRIM and Windows 7 has drivers and what all that automatically get installed, but are there any recommendations anyone has for special utilities or driver tweaks that specifically optimize the performance/reliability of this Intel SSD ?

Or should I wait until I run into a problem and fix it then? I don't think I'm not being lazy about this. I know I tried all I could to find the answer here at least.

Thanks,

-Lars
a b G Storage
January 29, 2010 4:08:16 PM

Well windows 7 is ssd friendly so it mostly automatically detects it and disables drive defragmentation. Incase it doesn't then disable Disk Defraging, superfetch, prefetch...etc
Oh and install intel ssd toolbox v1.2 :) 
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a b G Storage
January 29, 2010 4:15:43 PM

You should contact Intel directly to confirm whether or not
Intel's ICH10R I/O Controller Hub RAID version 10
supports TRIM under Windows 7.

I did a quick search with BING for "ASUS +P6T +TRIM +SSD +ICH10R"
and the consensus is that ICH10R does not support TRIM in RAID mode,
but it does support TRIM in AHCI mode (Advanced Host Controller Interface).

So, contact Intel directly, for their official recommendation on this.

Then, report back here with their recommendation, please.


MRFS

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January 29, 2010 4:22:41 PM

blackhawk1928 said:
. . . and install intel ssd toolbox v1.2 :) 



That sounds really good. I'll see what others are saying about that, here and elsewhere. AND I'll try calling Intel too, see what they suggest and post the goodies back here!
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a c 209 $ Windows 7
a b å Intel
a c 415 G Storage
January 29, 2010 4:29:12 PM

The most important thing is to check the BIOS configuration to make sure that the SATA ports are running in "AHCI" mode and not "IDE mode". AHCI mode is required for Windows 7 TRIM support. TRIM is NOT supported if you are using RAID.

If you installed Windows with the ports in IDE mode, you won't be able to boot if you switch to AHCI mode. There's a pretty simple fix for this, let us know if you need it.
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a b G Storage
January 29, 2010 4:50:40 PM

Yes, it's possible for FORCE a driver update from IDE to AHCI:
we've done this and it works fine, using Device Manager.

Switching from either IDE or AHCI to RAID is an entirely different matter,
however. Briefly, all component drives must be initialized either by
the RAID "Option ROM" integrated onto a motherboard's chipset,
or by the Intel Matrix Storage Console.

This initialization step actually writes specific binary data to each
component drive, which allows the BIOS to recognize a RAID array
as a single logical "device".

After invoking the RAID Option ROM, normally a system will re-boot:
a user should then enter the BIOS to note how the list of
detected "drives" has changed: a RAID array should show up there
as a discrete "device", just like any other JBOD drive (Just a Bunch Of Disks).


Conclusion: changing a device driver from IDE or from AHCI to RAID
is not sufficient to enable RAID mode, because the component disks have
not been "initialized" properly.

Hope this helps.


MRFS
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a b G Storage
January 29, 2010 5:11:46 PM

I am running the G2 in RAID mode on an X58 motherboard, I have Intels Matrix Storage Manager installed and I believe the TRIM function is not happening at the OS level (Win 7 X64). I am using the SSD toolbox to run the Trim function - which does appear to work. The toolbox recommends running it weekly so it appears Intel thinks it doesnt work under Windows??

I did have to flash the BIOS on the SSD - sorry, I dont have the details on me at work. You do want to check on that. I bought the drive after the updated bios was out but it still had the old version. The new version is required to run the TRIM command in the toolbox.

Do use AHCI or RAID - with the issues everyone has listed here - do not select IDE.
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a b G Storage
January 29, 2010 6:06:28 PM

Well about flashing the drive you will want the latest firmware called 02HD
here is link for your specific model:
Firmware: Click Here

SSDToolbox: Click Here

-You will know Trim is running by many ways. I recommend downloading a small utility called "Crystal Disk Mark Info" It should tell you important info on the drive and what its running. If trim is active it will be said there in specs and if not then it should be greyed out :) 

-and BTw if trim is running and works on your PC, there is no need for the SSD toolbox besides for the fact that you can check S.M.A.R.T info. The toolbox is a manual version of trim which is unessesary if you have the automatic version, its useful for xp/vista users cant use it.
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January 29, 2010 6:15:35 PM

Okay, well too late I guess. I thought I had cleared the CMOS which is why I was surprised to see IDE show up in the Storage Config in BIOS. I did have a RAID array set up before. Perhaps that's not affected by the CMOS clear? Now I can't boot up, even with the install disc inserted and the disc drive set as primary in BIOS boot settings. Hmmm...


Maybe ANOTHER CMOS clear next? How else am I going to be able to pull up the IDE/AHCI/RAID options??? Right now it's just Main>Storage Configuration>IDE>Enabled/Disabled
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Best solution

a c 209 $ Windows 7
a b å Intel
a c 415 G Storage
January 29, 2010 7:07:09 PM

OK, so you've just changed the BIOS configuration from IDE to AHCI and it won't boot, is that right? If so, this is how you fix it:

1) Set the BIOS config back to IDE so you can boot Windows and (you guessed it) boot Windows.
2) Run the Registry Editor (regedit.exe)
3) Navigate to Registry Key: HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\System\CurrentControlSet\Services\Msahci
4) Set the "Start" value to 0 (zero)
5) Shut down
6) Start up again, but before Windows boots go into the BIOS configuration screens and change the disk mode to "AHCI". Save the new BIOS configuration and restart so that Windows boots.

When Windows starts, it will detect the change, load new disk drivers, and do one more reboot to start up with them.
Share
January 29, 2010 7:27:12 PM

Problem is that I can't find AHCI where I'm supposed to see it in BIOS. When you said 'BIOS configuration', I'm assuming you meant 'System Configuration' IN THE BIOS, in which case, I must be mistaken, because there was only IDE>Enabled/Disabled
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January 29, 2010 8:21:34 PM

1791865,10,450409 said:
OK, so you've just changed the BIOS configuration from IDE to AHCI and it won't boot, is that right? If so, this is how you fix it:

1) Set the BIOS config back to IDE so you can boot Windows and (you guessed it) boot Windows.
2) Run the Registry Editor (regedit.exe)
3) Navigate to Registry Key: HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\System\CurrentControlSet\Services\Msahci
4) Set the "Start" value to 0 (zero)
5) Shut down
6) Start up again, but before Windows boots go into the BIOS configuration screens and change the disk mode to "AHCI". Save



FOUND IT! It was the third choice, Enhanced, which then gave me the IDE, RAID, AHCI options. Question now is:

If I follow your instructions (which I fully trust would work), would it then be set up EXACTLY as well as if I had done a complete reinstall? Sorry for being paranoid, sminlal, it's just that I spent so much $ on this SSD (want to do this right) and if reinstalling the OS offered any edge, I'd take it. I'll follow your instructions for now. Thanks.
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a c 209 $ Windows 7
a b å Intel
a c 415 G Storage
January 29, 2010 8:36:25 PM

It's a good question - basically: at what point does Windows 7 configure the extra features that support SSDs. If it's at boot time, then simply switching the drivers should be all you need. But if it's at install time, then you might be better off reinstalling from scratch with the BIOS in AHCI mode.

I'm afraid I don't know the answer to that question - perhaps someone else here might?
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January 29, 2010 8:42:05 PM

I now see how much it is to be asking this. These SSDs seem to be getting folks tripped up in all sorts of ways. BTW, your fix was successful. I'll just have to tinker around a bit with it before I install my personal data. Maybe it's time for that call to Intel.
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January 29, 2010 10:17:57 PM

sminlal said:
OK, so you've just changed the BIOS configuration from IDE to AHCI and it won't boot, is that right? If so, this is how you fix it:
1) Set the BIOS config back to IDE so you can boot Windows and (you guessed it) boot Windows.
2) Run the Registry Editor (regedit.exe)
3) Navigate to Registry Key: HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\System\CurrentControlSet\Services\Msahci
4) Set the "Start" value to 0 (zero)
5) Shut down
6) Start up again, but before Windows boots go into the BIOS configuration screens and change the disk mode to "AHCI". Save the new BIOS configuration and restart so that Windows boots.
When Windows starts, it will detect the change, load new disk drivers, and do one more reboot to start up with them.



Okay, so I just got off the phone with an agent at Intel who said yes, AHCI is the correct mode for all that ssd optimizer stuff, but was skeptical about the idea of forcing a driver update from IDE to AHCI, since he had never seen it done, but he was so intrigued he had me tinyurl him this thread.


CURIOUSLY, the process of updating the firmware for the drive requires that you switch to IDE before booting to the firmware install disc (and then, once completed, back to AHCI before starting Windows).
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January 29, 2010 10:19:52 PM

Best answer selected by angryredplanet.
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a b $ Windows 7
a b å Intel
a c 143 G Storage
March 10, 2010 12:09:54 AM

sminlal said:
OK, so you've just changed the BIOS configuration from IDE to AHCI and it won't boot, is that right? If so, this is how you fix it:

1) Set the BIOS config back to IDE so you can boot Windows and (you guessed it) boot Windows.
2) Run the Registry Editor (regedit.exe)
3) Navigate to Registry Key: HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\System\CurrentControlSet\Services\Msahci
4) Set the "Start" value to 0 (zero)
5) Shut down
6) Start up again, but before Windows boots go into the BIOS configuration screens and change the disk mode to "AHCI". Save the new BIOS configuration and restart so that Windows boots.

When Windows starts, it will detect the change, load new disk drivers, and do one more reboot to start up with them.

Thanks for this info :D  ... I had mine set to IDE when I installed Windows 7 (forgot to switch before the installing Win7) :) 
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