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Sad performance for two Zalman 128N SSD's in Raid0

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January 5, 2011 4:58:54 AM

Hello, I'm kind of a newbie but not stupid. I built my computer from scratch and what a disappointment.

I bought one Zalman 128N SSD because I wanted to see a performance increase - and I did, but something is not right with the benchmark numbers I am receiving. I know WEI is unreliable but just bear with me because running CrystalMark 3.0.1 x64 is producing low numbers as well.

Here's my system:
Win7 x64
AMD X4 965 BE Quad (3.4 stock)
Gigabyte GA-MA790FXT-UD5P Motherboard
Corsair XMS3 - 1333 MHz DDR3 (4 x 2GB)
Gigabyte HD6850 Video Card
Xion 1000W PSU
2 - Zalman 128N SSD's in Raid 0

My old 'C' drive was a Seagate Barracuda 1TB 7200 rpm. The WEI was 5.9. So I re-installed my system on the Zalman and it went to 6.6. I ran WEI again and it went to 6.8. Then I got another Zalman and re-installed my system on both Zalman's in Raid 0 and got 6.6. I ran WEI again and it went to 6.8.

I have no idea how to upload an image of my CrystalDiskMark 3.0.1 x64 results so here they are spelled out.

All 5 1000MB C:13% (29/223GB)

Read MB/s Write MB/s
Seq 123.0 111.9
512K 120.7 108.8
4K 19.16 13.53
4KQD32 20.38 14.17

These results are with my BIOS set at:
OnChip SATA Type [Native IDE]
OnChip SATA Port 4/5 Type [IDE]
Onboard SATA/IDE Ctrl Mode [IDE]

As near as I can tell, the OnChip SATA settings control the 6 sata ports on the SB750 controller and the Onboard SATA settings control the 2 sets of 2 ports on the SATA2/JMB322 controller.

I have the Zalman's connected to 1 set of 2 ports on the SATA2/JMB322 controller.
I have 6 Seagate Barracuda 1.5TB connected to the SB750 controller.

Everybody says to run these SSD's in AHCI mode so I made the following changes:
OnChip SATA Type [AHCI]
OnChip SATA Port 4/5 Type [SATA]
Onboard SATA/IDE Ctrl Mode [AHCI]

And here's what happens: The WEI stays at 6.6 no matter what.
AND every time I restart my computer, when the AHCI is initializing, it takes a very long time and beside every one of the six drives connected to the SB750 controller says S.M.A.R.T. Error and hangs - will not boot.
Now this happens ONLY when I restart the computer. The only way I can get the computer to boot is if I actually shut it down and let all the HD's spin down. Then when I start the computer it boots no problem - AHCI initializes almost instantly - no hang.

That is unacceptable - to have a computer that cannot restart; that will only start from a fully dormant state.
How do I make AHCI work properly? - and yes, I did install the AHCI Bootdisk Pre-install driver before installing the OS. From what I can tell, the OnChip settings control the SB750 controller and the Onboard settings control the SATA2 controller.

My system boots 2-3 times faster using one SSD compared to using one HDD. My system boots 2 times faster using two SSD's in Raid 0 compared to one SSD. I know my system is faster for sure, but don't the CrystalMark values seem awfully low? Everything I've read about peoples' experiences with SSD's are Intel this and Intel that.
Folks, I don't have Intel. Right on my Zalman SSD box it says "read up to 280mb/s write up to 270mb/s" - and that's just for one. "Performance may vary due to different benchmark software used, drivers, windows OS versions, BIOS versions or SSD capacity" There's no firmware updates or driver updates. In fact, there doesn't seem to be any firmware version - not that I can find.

I'll tell you one thing, I am VERY VERY VERY disappointed in my Gigabyte, AMD and Zalman products. I cannot overclock my AMD cpu past 3.5 GHz - I have tried every single setting POSSIBLE in the BIOS and other people claim that they can get it to 4.0 GHz. I have seen crystaldiskmark settings double of what I'm getting and with only one drive! What the hell? There's no firmware updates or driver updates for my SSD's or anything. I went to Zalman's website and they don't even have SSD's in their product line - so much for support. I know WEI is meaningless to you all, but it must count for something. 6.6? Come on. When my computer was in a different mood, I got 6.8 with just one SSD.

Sounding cliche, I "have all the latest drivers and BIOS updates". I don't know what I'm doing wrong except for buying Gigabyte, AMD and Zalman products.
Related resources
a b G Storage
January 25, 2011 7:15:09 AM

I have heard that the AHCI implementation on the AMD 700 series chipsets was a bit off, I wonder if that could account for the results.
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a c 353 G Storage
January 25, 2011 2:18:52 PM

(1) Raid 0 ( I used exclusively prior to SSDs) for SSD boot disk provide little benifit. Raid 0 wil give a great boost to sequencial read/writes but does very little to improve the more important 4 K random read/writes and Access time.

Raid 0 for SSDs used as a data set for working with large data files that are sequencial in nature such as: dot vob files (typically 1 gig in size, blue ray video files (can be up to 40 gigs) and large speadsheet files would be great.

With Raid0 you loose trim and internal GC, while better than nothing can be a poor subsitute for trim.

Might try using AS SSD to verify mode (in your case shoud be msahci) and to verify partition alginment (should = OK). Do not need to run the Benchmarking to verify this.

I think LoardConrad may be correct - It seems several have had performance issues using an SSD with the SF12xx (includes the Vertex-2 and Pheonix Pro plus several others). controller on AMD platforms.
here one such link. (were several others involving the Vertex-2 and amd platforms in tomshardware)
http://forums.overclockersclub.com/index.php?showtopic=...
Also good read:
http://www.tomshardware.com/reviews/ssd-raid-performanc...
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January 25, 2011 10:55:56 PM

I did run AS SSD for all the tests I did as well and the partition always checked out. I have submitted my results to GIGABYTE to see what they can make of it.
Windows 7 automatically aligns the partitions. Once I get the results back I'll post them.
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