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Slow boot with AHCI on Gigabyte AM3 boards

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January 24, 2010 5:12:54 AM

Recently I purchased an Intel X25-M G2 to go along with my Gigabyte 790FXTA-UD5. Because of the fact that only MS-AHCI drivers are capable of passing trim along to the Intel drive I have no choice but to use them.
There seems to be a serious problem with some Gigabyte boards. When I goggled this issue what surprised me was that 90% of the people who had the same problem as me, all had Gigabyte Boards.

Here is the exact problem:

When the system boots to Windows 7 upon reaching the splash-screen(windows boot screen) it hangs for 40 sec while the windows logo pulsates. It makes no difference weather it's I use a standard HDD or a fresh install of windows or weather I have only one primary drive attached.

When booting into IDE mode or using the ATI AHCI driver it boots instantly, there is no delay, I only see the windows logo/boot screen for 3 seconds. I know of other people who use the MS-AHCI drivers on different board manufactures who do not experience this problem. So it seems to be mostly isolated with those running Gigabyte boards. I am assuming that this is a gigabyte Bios issue than can hopefully be fixed. Maybe this has to do with the AHCI ROM bios. I know Gigabyte with there past Intel boards had a huge delay with there AHCI rom initialization and booting in AHCI.

If anyone can please shed some light on this issue I would be eternally grateful as would the many others dealing with this problem.
a b V Motherboard
January 28, 2010 6:07:19 AM

This will sound like a weird suggestion, but to confirm that it's your AHCI causing the delay, open the drive tray of your optical drive while starting Windows.
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January 30, 2010 1:08:22 AM

Yes thats true for some Gigabyte boards and one thing use a Kingston hyperX memory - this board behaves unnaturally with other memory modules. I have a Gigabyte GA 790FXTA-UD5, AMD Phenom II X4 955 BE, Kingston HyperX DDR3, Corsair H5O Hybrid CPU Cooler, Palit GTS 250, Acer P241W, Corsair HX850 PS on a CM Storm Sniper case.
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January 30, 2010 8:09:37 AM

i think a memory ..use 4 GB memory ddr 2 overlocked ..or




i think many startup in your computer or programs


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February 3, 2010 9:17:57 AM

Well this is Bullocks. Would be Nice if Gigabyte would bother to rectify this problem in one of there bios Updates. Speaking of Bios updates Tick Tock. This is there top of the line AM3 Mobo and they treat it like a b@stard child. This will be the last time I buy Gigabyte. Back to the good old trusted MSI
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a b V Motherboard
February 3, 2010 4:30:11 PM

To night, which ahci controller interface are you using with each driver, the msachi.sys driver typically uses the (standard ahci interface) while the amd...sys file uses AMD/ahci controller interface (as the hardware). I have been able to use either interface without issue as long as they matched and boot has always been normal.
Also a little more than a month ago Gigabyte introduced new ahci instructions with a bios update, this included new ahci file set as well and they work better than at any time previously that I remember.
Also I find it difficult to identify it as a Gigabyte issue as this is embedded in the AMD SB750 chipset which "good od trusted MSI uses as well"?
I did find it interesting that you found out 90% of people using state of the art peripherals use Gigabyte. Just teasing, I hear you have to disable a lot of features to make Trim work also like caching and indexing among others.
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February 19, 2010 12:55:00 AM

I also have this issue after switching to ACHI mode, after my Windows 7-64 install. Boot ups were quick in Native IDE mode, and much longer in ACHI mode. Since the only thing I have in common with you is a Gigabyte mainboard, I don't think it's a memory or driver problem. I have no solutions as of yet, except switching back to Native IDE mode.

AMD 965, C3, 125 Watt
Gigabyte GA-MA790FXT-UD5P
8 Gigs OCZ Platinum 3P1600LVAM4GK
2 Gigabyte 4890 OC in crossfire
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Anonymous
a b V Motherboard
February 23, 2010 6:10:37 PM

Same problem here. in native IDE it boots very quick, bin in ahci the bootscreen rests ~40 sec. And i can only use ms ahci drivers, because ati and gigabyte ahci drivers make my system freeze every 2 minutes für ~30sec. If someone now a solvation how ati/gigabyte drivers work without freezes, please let me know.

System:
AMD Phenom x4 965, C3 125 Watt
Gigabyte GA-MA770T-UD3P
8gb Kingston HyperX
nvidia 8800GTX
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February 25, 2010 6:20:27 PM

Quote:
Same problem here. in native IDE it boots very quick, bin in ahci the bootscreen rests ~40 sec. And i can only use ms ahci drivers, because ati and gigabyte ahci drivers make my system freeze every 2 minutes für ~30sec. If someone now a solvation how ati/gigabyte drivers work without freezes, please let me know.

System:
AMD Phenom x4 965, C3 125 Watt
Gigabyte GA-MA770T-UD3P
8gb Kingston HyperX
nvidia 8800GTX



Hi Folks,

I also have a Gigabyte motherboard with this issue: GA-MA790XT-UD4P

Apparently this is a known problem reported by Anandtech, Tomshardware, and TechRepublic. Anandtech reported notified Gigabyte about one of their boards having AHCI troulbe and they quickly came back to them with updated BIOS or drivers. Unfortunately they have not done this for all of their boards. It seems that this is both an AMD problem and a Gigabyte problem:

http://www.anandtech.com/mb/showdoc.aspx?i=3748&cp=3
http://techreport.com/discussions.x/17410

I notified Gigabyte support, but I have not received any satisfying answers as of yet...
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a c 177 V Motherboard
February 25, 2010 8:29:27 PM

Quote:
I notified Gigabyte support, but I have not received any satisfying answers as of yet...

Please post the 'unsatisfying' ones, as well :lol:  I collect 'em!
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February 25, 2010 9:03:32 PM

bilbat said:
Quote:
I notified Gigabyte support, but I have not received any satisfying answers as of yet...

Please post the 'unsatisfying' ones, as well :lol:  I collect 'em!



So far there's been only one exchange. They seem to be treating it like an isolated incident. We'll see what they say next, but I doubt that I'm going to get any satisfaction by going down this route. There's likely an obnoxious checklist they will try to run me through 3 or 4 times (hours of wasted time) before issuing an RMA, which will do nothing to solve the problem.

We need tech journalists to make some more noise and force them to address this at a higher level. You and I are just talking to peons when we call tech support.


Quote:
Dear Customer

Does this occur with the OS drive or which drives?
When the system resume from standby were you able to see the hdd being listed under My Computer or it is not listed until 30 seconds later?
Also make sure that you do not have any overclocking applied and are running at default spec.
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February 26, 2010 9:35:36 AM

You watch, they will sweep this under the rug. From Day one this board has received very little support. F2 Bios came out Dec 11 2009. Board was released Late November 2009.

SO basically almost 3 months have passed by and from what I know from guys who are testing the f3 Bios it's still in Alpha Stage. SO don't expect to be seeing an F3 bios during March and if we are lucky april. But hey there is always May.

Oh and from what I know the alpha available right now does not resolve this issue, cause I as said before Gigabyte doesn't seem to deem this problem to be serious.
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February 26, 2010 3:00:00 PM

Yep. I'm already resigned to running in Native IDE mode into the future. I'm still running spinning hard drives, so the performance hit will be pretty minimal for my system.
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February 26, 2010 3:12:13 PM

I also have a GA-MA790XT-UD4P, but I haven't tested AHCI simply because the manual specifically states not to switch from IDE mode to AHCI mode if not doing a fresh OS install, and to only do it once. I take this to mean that constantly switching between the two for testing purposes could cause issues. Maybe part of the problem lies there?

Check this thread: www.tomshardware.com/forum/722-63-ahci-woes. The implication is that Windows doesn't appreciate the IDE-to-AHCI switch.
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a c 177 V Motherboard
February 26, 2010 3:32:47 PM

I've done some minimal testing of AHCI/not on the jMicron ports, and have found no real difference (but I have been told that I probably had the wrong 'selection' of file sizes to take advantage of it) (which, also, is a quandry - I've been told both that it, A works better with small fragments written in quick succession, and B, that it only benefits large transfers!!) For my money, the only advantage I see is 'hot-plug' for my front panel e-SATA (which gets used, like, twice a year)!

Quote:
We need tech journalists to make some more noise and force them to address this at a higher level


Good luck with that :kaola: 

From an earlier rant:

More than half the recent products of this educational system have an attention span that does not extend beyond texting two lines of grammar-free nonsense full of ‘texting contractions’, which means they have NO frustration tolerance. They’ve never been asked to ‘stretch’ their minds, to tackle something beyond their immediate grasp. Everything in their path has been so ‘dumbed-down’ that they assume any endeavor requiring more than an hour is somehow intrinsically faulty. I spent more than a hundred hours doing ‘due diligence’ research for my current workstation build before ever ordering part one! These kids literally can’t imagine such an undertaking, much less believe that it might be necessary. They don’t ‘get’ the underlying math, and they petulantly “want what they want” – the fastest parts advertised, with no comprehension of what they’re paying for, or getting, or what may be required to make it function. The computer media contribute to this problem. Their articles (to suit their confirmed knowledge about their readership) are too short to contain adequate technical discussion to expose potential problems (which their average reader doesn’t want to have to try to read, anyway…); take a ‘cheer-leader’ approach [see below] to make their advertisers happy; and often present a computer ‘build’ in less than two pages, making it appear as if getting a dozen or two disparate parts to function together was merely a matter of assembly. The underlying problem here is that, if the parts themselves were technically and electronically ‘dumbed-down’, to the point where anything would work with anything (which is certainly, in most cases, possible – I hardly ever answer a question about getting 667 RAM to work), there would be NO ‘high-performance’ systems – no real REASON to ‘roll your own’. You certainly can’t BUY the parts cheaper than Dell, when they order in ten or hundred thousand lots. Such a ‘dumbing-down’ of underlying specifications would eliminate the X48 MCH, PC-9600 RAM, and Q9660 CPUs – and what would remain as the point?

I used to subscribe to PC Magazine, as they were fairly technical, and basically honest in their reviewing. This was back during the days when the physical retrieval of a data stream from a hard drive was so slow, that there was much to be gained by doing LZW compression in hardware, on the way in and out. One day I received an issue in which they reviewed a drive controller card which they were never able to make work, although they tried it in several systems, and had access to a level of tech support from the manufacturer ( who, since, I am glad to report, has gone out of business) that no user could ever get – and they still wound up giving it an eight or nine rating, out of a possible ten, BASED ON THE FEATURES LISTED ON THE BOX!!! That very day, I sent them my cancellation notice!
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February 26, 2010 6:06:08 PM

Dirtman73 said:
I also have a GA-MA790XT-UD4P, but I haven't tested AHCI simply because the manual specifically states not to switch from IDE mode to AHCI mode if not doing a fresh OS install, and to only do it once. I take this to mean that constantly switching between the two for testing purposes could cause issues. Maybe part of the problem lies there?

Check this thread: www.tomshardware.com/forum/722-63-ahci-woes. The implication is that Windows doesn't appreciate the IDE-to-AHCI switch.



Thanks for the insight. I enabled AHCI before doing a fresh install of Windows 7 64-bit on a new system. So this was a non-issue for my situation. I was forced to push back to IDE mode (which I've only done once and stayed there) due to the problems I've described. I will be sure to Ghost my hard drive onto a secondary disk before changing the setting again. This way I can always go back.
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February 26, 2010 10:39:40 PM

TrackSmart said:
Thanks for the insight. I enabled AHCI before doing a fresh install of Windows 7 64-bit on a new system. So this was a non-issue for my situation. I was forced to push back to IDE mode (which I've only done once and stayed there) due to the problems I've described. I will be sure to Ghost my hard drive onto a secondary disk before changing the setting again. This way I can always go back.


Bummer. I'm glad I checked this post before I decided to switch mine over to AHCI (fresh install or not). I was pretty thrilled with my Gigabyte when I first got it, but this issue is just another one to add to the list of problems I've encountered so far :(  .
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February 26, 2010 11:24:35 PM

Dirtman73 said:
Bummer. I'm glad I checked this post before I decided to switch mine over to AHCI (fresh install or not). I was pretty thrilled with my Gigabyte when I first got it, but this issue is just another one to add to the list of problems I've encountered so far :(  .



There are ways to enable AHCI without reinstalling windows (search the web), but be sure to backup just in case. It's actually much easier to move back and forth these days because Vista and Windows 7 have AHCI drivers included with them. You just have to make some changes in the windows registry (and make sure those drivers are enabled) before changing over to AHCI or your system may not be able to boot into Windows.

It's usually no problem going to IDE mode if you first install the operating system in AHCI mode. Remember that I said "usually". Going the other way often brings troubles.
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February 28, 2010 2:12:34 AM

Does the normal everyday user see any system improvement with AHCI, or is it better to just let things be. Everything I read shows some improvement but it doesnt seem like alot, not enough to take the gamble
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a c 177 V Motherboard
February 28, 2010 12:53:32 PM

Again, I did some testing, and could not see any realworld difference; but, all my testing was on a single drive (Seagate 1.5), was done on the jMicron ports, was done before they 'fixed' the firmware, and was nowhere near comprehensive (didn't know about ATTO back then :cry:  ); mostly did it out of simple curiosity! And again, for my money, what I get out of it is 'hot-plug' for eSATA; results may also be better for the ICH driver, as Intel appears to have highly optimized it...
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February 28, 2010 2:33:30 PM

bilbat said:
Again, I did some testing, and could not see any realworld difference; but, all my testing was on a single drive (Seagate 1.5), was done on the jMicron ports, was done before they 'fixed' the firmware, and was nowhere near comprehensive (didn't know about ATTO back then :cry:  ); mostly did it out of simple curiosity! And again, for my money, what I get out of it is 'hot-plug' for eSATA; results may also be better for the ICH driver, as Intel appears to have highly optimized it...



Agreed. There's little "real world" difference. There is a slight difference in synthetic benchmarks of system performance. Particularly those tests involving RAID configurations and very particular read/write scenarios. But yeah, for normal use, there's no possible way to tell the difference in performance.

As Bilbat said, the main benefit to normal users is the ability to hot swap external eSATA hard disks. And that's assuming you own such a device. USB 3.0 might be "good enough" for me. Plus it will avoid some of the issues with AHCI that clearly haven't been worked out.
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February 28, 2010 6:37:44 PM

ok thanx for the info guys
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March 8, 2010 6:34:50 PM

Here is the lame answer I received from Gigabyte. First, my question:

03/02/2010:
"Hello. I am trying to build a computer with this hard drive: Intel x25m SSD 80 GB SATA. At boot-up, the MB recognizes this hard drive, and says it is "healthy." But it will not boot. I plugged this hard drive in just after turning on the computer, then in Windows, by "F6", I loaded the AHCI driver from the MB system dvd. Windows loaded all the way to the re-start. THe computer would not re-boot because the MB could not boot off of the Intel SSD hard drive. Please give me a clear answer: does Intel SSD x25-m 80 GB work with the Gigabyte GA-785GMT-USB3 or not? Is Win XP 64 bit OS the problem?"

The Answer, a couple days ago:

"Dear Customer

How many hdd do you have and is it configured in any type of raid array?
Drivers will be required during OS installation which you can obtain drivers off our website below for WinXP 64 bit

http://www.gigabyte.com.tw/Support/Motherboard/Driver_M...

Download the AHCI or RAID driver depending on which mode you plan on using"



Now, at their link, you cannot exactly tell which of two drivers to F6: under sata/raid, one says for ahci/raid, and the other says for raid. Nowhere does it say: for ahci.

So, a little trial and error was in order. Nethier worked for me. Of course, like their advice says, as I said in my question, I had already tried the solution they were giving me. That isd why I emailed them!

So, I have sent off this note:


3/8/2010 22:39
"Hi - I tried this. It did not work. I am using a SATA drive, and I am not trying to do a RAID.
I am trying to build a computer with Win XP 64 bit. Should I be using "GIGABYTE SATA2 Preinstall driver (For AHCI / RAID Mode) Note: Press F6 during Windows setup to read from floppy."?

My guess is that I may need to clear the CMOS and try this again.

Are you aware that a lot of computer enthusiasts have had trouble with this? I have found a lot of discussion og Gigabyte motherboards and this AHCI driver problem on the web, omce I ran into this problem myself.

It has taken me a lot of time to try to get this to work so far, and I have not been successful. This is the first time for me to buy a Gigabyte motherboard. If I knew this in advance I certainly would not have bought a Gigabyte motherboard. My decision from this point depends upon how well you help me.

So far, you have told me nothing new.

I may go back to Asus. I really wanted a mATX motherboard with USB3."
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March 8, 2010 7:12:55 PM

Yikes... I am planning to get a Gigabyte GA-770TA (for USB3.0 & SATA III) and run Windows 7 64-bit. But I am not using an SSD.

So if I understand this, there are two modes to run an SATA drive in on a Gigabyte Motherboard: (1) IDE Mode and (2) AHCI Mode. The latter usually offers a slight performance increase, butenabling AHCI on a Gigbyte motherboard to run Windows 7 is a N/G condition. But leaving it in the default state of IDE Mode is fine, but you don't get the slight performance increase. Correct?
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March 8, 2010 7:30:07 PM

Epox said:
Yikes... I am planning to get a Gigabyte GA-770TA (for USB3.0 & SATA III) and run Windows 7 64-bit. But I am not using an SSD.

So if I understand this, there are two modes to run an SATA drive in on a Gigabyte Motherboard: (1) IDE Mode and (2) AHCI Mode. The latter usually offers a slight performance increase, butenabling AHCI on a Gigbyte motherboard to run Windows 7 is a N/G condition. But leaving it in the default state of IDE Mode is fine, but you don't get the slight performance increase. Correct?


Exactly correct. Your motherboard and SATA drive combination might work fine. As far as I can tell it's not 100% failure rate, but it is a fairly common issue.

EDIT: If you do get a SSD, then this might be a bigger issue as some drives may require AHCI mode for TRIM support and other advanced features. Also, AHCI is required for hot-swapping of eSATA external hard drives - without AHCI you can only add eSATA hard drives at boot-up time for them to be recognized (this is a very general statement - there may be work-arounds).
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March 8, 2010 7:46:37 PM

Another twist: Am I making things more complicated by having a sata DVD drive? For example: if I se BIOS to run discs in IDE mode, as others have done, will this make the comp look at all sata ports as IDE ports, and so it looks at my sata dvd as a IDE, messing things up?
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March 8, 2010 8:11:59 PM

Row1 said:
Another twist: Am I making things more complicated by having a sata DVD drive? For example: if I se BIOS to run discs in IDE mode, as others have done, will this make the comp look at all sata ports as IDE ports, and so it looks at my sata dvd as a IDE, messing things up?


"Native IDE" mode merely means that your computer uses the "IDE language" to talk to your drives. All SATA drives speak this language, so it's not a problem to run them in IDE mode. However, if you were to run them in their native language (i.e. Native Command Queuing), you would see the small advantages described earlier.


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May 19, 2010 7:20:15 AM

Hi
I recently built an AM3 computer using a GA-MA770T-UD3O M/B. A few days after installing Windows 7, I installed the AHCI drivers. I have a single Samsung SATA HDD and a SATA burner.
I too now have the super long boot time and want to swap back to IDE.
Noob question - how do I swap back?

Thanks :-)
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May 19, 2010 9:25:07 PM

OK
I've figured out that I can turn back to IDE in my BIOS.

My time from pushing the ON button til my logon sceen appears under AHCI was 1m 13s.
Reverting to IDE, my time is now 37sec !!!!!!! :ouch: 

My Award BIOS is F5. Searching Gigabyte's site, it appears that there is no newer version currently. :( 
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May 20, 2010 10:08:31 AM

BTW
By going to the Gigabyte site and manually searching for the latest BIOS, I found Award v F8.
I downloaded and installed it, but after my recent experience, and noting the difference in boot timing, I not intersted in AHCI, and am sticking with IDE.

Cheers :hello: 
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a b V Motherboard
May 20, 2010 10:46:50 AM

Guys, the AMD AHCI drivers have been broken forever. That is likely your problem. This has been a known issue for as long as I can remember. They only recently fixed it with the 800 series chipsets.

If your going to use AHCI on an AMD southbridge prior to the 800 series, use the microsoft drivers or IDE mode. Unless they have surprised everyone and finally fixed it.
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June 24, 2010 3:16:43 PM

according to Gigabyte tech support the AHCI makes the boot up slower due to checking all the post codes and I have been advised by them to DISABLE AHCI mode for quicker boot up.

I have:

Gigabyte EX58 Extreme
12GB (3x4GB) DDR3 1333 RAM [awaiting another set of 12GB and test it then with a total of 24GB]
Intel i7 965 Quad-Core CPU (@ 3.2GHz)

and the boot up is waaaaay slower than my 5 years old PC!
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a c 177 V Motherboard
June 24, 2010 5:26:17 PM

One issue that most are not aware of is that, when you enable either AHCI or RAID for either a chipset, or an 'add-on controller, is that the 'handling' of the controller 'passes' from the main BIOS and its POST routines, to a subsidiary 'mini-BIOS', specific to the controller, called its 'option ROM'. I have an ICH RAIDed, and the Intel option ROM, at disk strtup, not only 'polls', or 'discovers' the drives themselves, but takes time to confirm the overall status of the RAID volumes themselves (comparatively slooowwly...). I also have a drive on the GSATA port (jMicron controller), which also handles the IDE-connected DVD, that I keep in AHCI when I'm likely to need to do maintenance on an eSATA connected drive, as then I don't have to reboot for the eSATA to 'connect'... This, too, causes the jMicron's control to pass from the quicker POST, to the (waaaaay slower) 'option ROM' - which is why, under normal circumstances, I keep the AHCI off - I often reboot several times a day to switch OS...
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November 7, 2010 11:52:07 AM

I'm afraid I might answer in an already dead thread but I thought I would share my experience. I do as a lot of you people use Gigabyte, and experienced the same slowdown in the boot process. However I just resolved it, can't promise it works for you too tho. I basically did this;
installed the AMD drivers supplied by the gigabyte downloads for my specific motherboard, I installed them MANUALLY, selecting them in the drivers install process.
Second, rebooted, everything went fine, fast boot and windows works as quick as always.
And lastly, since I have an Intel SSD, I'm therefore forced to use Microsoft's own standard AHCI driver that comes supplied with windows,
so the next step is to go to the AMD AHCI device in the device manager and choose to update the driver automatically through windows online search and whatever else it choses to use. It will automatically revert to the Standard AHCI driver supplied by Microsoft. I rebooted after that, and still had the short boot time from before.

As I said, I'm not sure it will work as good for you as it did for me, but perhaps it's worth a try. I got the GA-MA790X-DS4 motherboard by the way, and it uses the SB600 chipset. just in case we start seeing a pattern here.
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