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Intel 320 160gb disk clone, partition issues, high pitch noise

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September 23, 2011 2:46:08 AM

Hi all,
I am writing to document some issues I had with data/os migration and partitions, mostly resolved, and an unresolved high pitch noise issue, with an intel 320 160gb ssd. Hopefully this will either a) save somebody else some headache or b) help me resolve the noise issue.

Background: migrating from single 500gb 7200 rpm seagate 2.5" drive in an asus n82jq laptop, i7-720qm.
Original 500gb drive: 3 partitions: 1 hidden restore partition 20gb, C: OS partition, 117gb, D: Data partition 320gb.
Goal: I only wanted one OS partition: the restore partition would only take up space and not be useful, and I didn't want a separate data partition.

if you are having Intel 320 issues, this might be useful. If you want to think about the high-pitch noise issue, skip to the end.

Disk clone / data and OS migration issues:
A fresh windows install was not an option, because I don't have install disks, and my windows license is OEM. thus, disk clone was the only option.
I connected the Intel SSD using a s-ata to 2xusb2.0 cable. the 1.0xusb3.0 connection would've also worked.
I started by using the recommended Intel data migration software, basically a chopped down free version of the Acronis software. First, the program wouldn't even boot, even with admin permissions. This might've been caused by corrupt download files, or the original HD size. Intel livechat recommended a third-party clone program, EZ Gig IV, running from both in-OS and bootable live CD, and in both cases, the software didn't recognize the SSD drive. EZGig4 was not useful.

I tried another third-party solution; Ease US or EaseUS toDo backup. This program was able to recognize/detect the ssd drive, and begin the clone process. EaseUS also allows editing of the size of partitions, however, it doesn't allow you to choose only one partition to copy. To acheive my goal of one partition, i had to delete the data partition on the original HDD to reduce the partitons copied to the SSd. The restore partition was still going to be cloned to the ssd.
After I copied/transferred all my HDD data to another external drive, and emptied the data drive down to 0gb, i used built-in windows admin disk partition program, to delete the empty data partition. Now, only 2 partitions, with a combined used volume of less than thee ssd volume of 160gb.

EaseUS Todo backup would initiate, and clone the restore partition to the ssd, but halfway through the OS partition clone, it would say, "failed to write sector", and exit the clone process. Ultimately EaseUS did not help me.
I then tried a manual process, from the command prompt as administrator, recommended by this link: , and then running clone programs, but the command prompt diskparted operations didn't change any results.
I also found "minitool partition wizard" which can also rebuild the mbr, and do partition operations, which is more useful than the built-in windows software. I would recommend it. However, I didn't use it ultimately.

Intel's Acronis software also has a custom mode. Every time I was trying to use the intel software, I would run in custom mode, because the automatic mode allocated 20gb to the hidden restore partition, which I didn't want: I wanted to maximize the OS partition size. Every time I ran in custom mode, the Intel software wouldn't start the clone process, and would exit with no error message.

Final success and work-around:
In a last ditch effort, I used the intel acronis software in automatic mode. None of the third party solutions worked, and all my attempts to specify my own partition sizes failed, but as soon as i clicked automatic, and GO, the clone process succeeded. My ssd was now bootable.

However, my one-partition goal was not acheived. the work-around:
I loaded (burn iso) Gparted open source software to bootable cd. Gparted basically runs a minimal version of linux with parted software. in gparted, I deleted the hidden restore issue, and expanded the OS partition to the maximum size, ~150 gb (out of physical 160). Gparted actually shifts all the data, and the boot files, to a new location, and then extends the end of the partition. Perhaps this program is designed with spinning HDD in mind, because i feel this step should be unneccessary in ssd. Ultimately, however, it worked. I got one OS partition, maximum size, and it booted!

Disapointment: windows boot- times, originally ~1:05, only dropped to ~0:45. perhaps, a 30%-50% increase. Not the 20 second boot times that i read about on newegg reviews. :/  After installing intel firmware update and ssd optimization toolbox, these times haven't changed much. Perhaps this is just a limitation of the Laptop platform. A fresh windows install was not an option, because I don't have install disks, and my windows license is OEM.

Program launch times are somewhat faster, but not instantanous. I still get the blue spinning wheel. lame! overall, the speed increase is noticible, but not the order of magnitude speed increase i was expecting.
I used a benchmark tool, CrystalDiskMark, and my read/write numbers seem to be up to spec. I'm not sure why my program launches and boot times aren't as fast as others are getting. Do i regret the purchase? no. Am I amazed by the performance increase, and migration hassle? No.


High pitch noise issue:

A definite, audible high pitch noise comes from the laptop, kind of near the center, whenever i run on battery. The noise is only when I run on Battery, and when I run on AC power, the noise disappears.
It doesn't make sense for the processor or the SSD drive to make noise, as they're both solid-state devices. The only possible culprit is probably a cooling fan. I had no problems physically installing the ssd in the 2.5" mount, but it does occupy a somewhat diference size, because it has a plastic spacer on the top (LxW) side of the drive.
The high pitch noise is super irritating, when i run on battery in a quiet (library) environment, which i do frequently.
If anyone else has experienced a high pitch noise with an ssd transfer, and has figured out how to resolve it, whether via bios change or something else, I would greatly appreciate it.


Anyway,
this just documents my laptop HDD to SSD migration. I hope someone finds it useful, especially the issues with partition management.
and definitlely, i would like some help on the noise issue.
Thanks,
hyongx
a b å Intel
a c 302 G Storage
September 23, 2011 4:04:55 AM

GEE! It's a shame you could not do a clean install. I always tell posters that is the preferred method and that cloning applications involve some risk. In addition, a clean install eliminates a lot of unnecessary items that an operating system has accumulated.

I have read about laptops, notebooks, and netbooks being slower than desktop pc's. It is not all that unusual, especially when compared to gaming and enthusiast pc's. One thing you could do is check all the start-up items. There is a lot of stuff going on in the background that you do not see and it is not just the operating system. Sometimes other applications kick in so they are ready if you need them. That's really not necessary. They can't wait until they're needed to kick in.

Now, about that noise. Tom's Hardware has a forum section for laptops. You might want to ask about the noise over there. Here is the link:

http://www.tomshardware.com/forum/forum-35.html
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September 23, 2011 4:45:31 AM

Yeah, thanks. The noise only started since i switched to the ssd though. i'll check out the laptop forum.
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September 23, 2011 1:22:28 PM

Bear in mind that boot times are not just proportional to how fast the disk can read data, but also related to the initialization of hardware devices. While the disk may read fast, the device drivers need to initialize and configure devices as well. Sounds like the Asus MB is taking its time doing that.
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September 23, 2011 11:09:10 PM

the high pitch noise only started when i switched from old hdd to new intel ssd.
I read on another forum that someone flashed/updated the bios on their laptop and got rid of the high pitch noise.

So I flashed the bios to the newest version, using Asus winflash, from version v.206 to v.209
I think my boot times got slightly faster - however, this did not resolve the noise issue.

Another strange thing I noticed, the noise always stops when i scroll up/down using two-finger scroll on the touchpad, haha, but not any other times. I don't thing it is a fan. Totally ridiculous. this is a mystery.
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a b å Intel
a c 302 G Storage
September 23, 2011 11:34:12 PM

Have you ruled out feedback from a sound component?
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September 24, 2011 6:11:45 AM

How would I check for that - feedback from a sound component? i'm quite sure the sound is not from the speakers. the weirdest thing is that it is only on battery power, and the touchpad thing.

However, good news on SSD optimization:
Redid some, and a bunch more stuff, but the short of it is boot times went from ~49 sec to ~30 sec. Nice!
what i did: Just for the sake of messing around, I re-ran intel data migration software and re-cloned my OS drive onto the SSD, still in automatic mode, so i still wound up with the hidden 20gb partition i didn't want. I deleted the 20gb hidden partition, and installed a linux distro on it. Played around with that for a while and got tired of dual-booting interface (and I can run virtualbox anyway), so I decided to redo the gparted OS-Expansion thing and expand the OS drive to maximum (~150gb) size.

Because I deleted the linux distro, i got a "no partition - grub error" "cannot boot"
and "grub restore" command line, which is mostly useless. Craziness. so I created a "windows 7 repair disk" using my old HDD windows installation and the built-in repair disc thing. Booting from CD for the repair disc, I used command line and "bootsect /nt60 SYS /mbr" to re-do the MBR (master boot record) for the newly expanded win7 OS drive.

Long story short, boot times went from ~48 sec to ~30 sec! nice. my guess as to an explanation, with my last migration, using gparted to transfer the OS, the MBR might not have been optimized or something. and running the windows MBR thing fixed it. I guess I don't really know much about how MBR works. or maybe flashing the bios helped. Anyway, cool stuff. fun with expensive toys. hahahha.
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a b å Intel
a c 353 G Storage
September 24, 2011 5:02:09 PM

Hindsight is so much better than forsight.
(1) As Johnnie stated, For a SSD a clean install is always better than cloning a HDD to a SSD.
(2) my comments are only valid if you could Borrow (ie a friend) a windows 7 Installation disk. Can be a Full version, and upgrade version or a OEM version (as long as the oem version is not tied to a BRANDName Computer). The only cavet is that it must be the same version as that orginally installed on the laptop ie windows 7 Home premium then disk must be for home premium. If you can obtain a copy then here is the procedure. NOTE I did this on my Samsung RF711-S01 Laptop.
I'll use a "borrowed" copy of Upgrade, win 7 Home Prmium - I barroweed the one from my desktop.

..Boot to the DVD, select "custom" install.
..Go to page on where to install, if SSD has any partitions, delete them.
..Select the now unpartitioned SSD to install to.
.. Start the installation. DO NOT enter the Key.
.. Complete the installation. When done apply the two steps below.
....... Now perform a registry eddit to change MeadiaBootInstall from a 1 to a 0
....... Perform a Rearm

** if Posible check to see if you still have your noise problem, Hopefully not.
...Load all drivers, again check noise problem.

When you are satisfied that the installation is GOOD, then activate - using the key from your LAPTOP, NOT the key from the Win 7 disk you barrowed.

More info on the two steps when I return:
Returned completing the two steps:
Ref: http://www.winsupersite.com/articl [...] rade-media
Use method 2: Note, to find the registry entry Just DO A search for "MediaBootInstall" without quotes and it will take you right to the entry. Don't for get the ream cmd from Dos window (started with admin privalege)
It states "Not supported by uSoft - Not true as this is also provided by uSoft. I have used this method many times and it has worked every time. Including using a Installation disk for my desktop to re-install windows 7 on my Laptop, Using the laptop key


Added, Should you do this and get it working. MAKE a image copy of your "C" drive and select to make a restore Disk!!
Can do this after all programs are install. Then If you need to re-install, use this image file and OS plus ALL programs will be restored!!
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September 25, 2011 6:01:58 AM

Wow -
Thanks for the info on a clean install. I think I have a friend who can give me a windows disk. I don't think I will try this immediately, as the performance improvement is okay, but not great. Maybe I will try it when I have some more time.

Also, perhaps another idea concerning specifically the high pitch noise, I found this forum post about someone else with the same problem on an ASUS laptop.
I think this link is to the specific post http://forums.whirlpool.net.au/forum-replies.cfm?t=1526...
but basically it says it is an interaction between the intel processor power-saving "idle" state and the asus motherboard. This would perhaps explain why i only hear the noise with battery power.
The fix involves editing the registry, so I haven't done it yet, but maybe I'll do it later if I start using laptop on battery power very regularly.

thanks for all the input.
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a b å Intel
a c 353 G Storage
September 25, 2011 3:45:40 PM

Hope the link you found clears up your noice problem (does make sense)

My 128 Gig M4 on Samsung RF711-S01 laptop


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September 26, 2011 5:41:20 AM

Thanks Chief. Actually the high pitch noise (on battery) seems to have stopped! I didn't do that registry stuff, so it must've been the bios update or something. but maybe that link will be useful to someone else later.

Nice speeds on that crucial drive - Hindsight has me wishing i had shelled out just a little more for the Crucial 256gb, which is definitely cheaper per GB than the intel, though I was choosing for reliability.
My last benchmark was definitely way above the old HDD, but not up to yours:
sequential: Read: 250mb/s Write 165 mb/s
4K Read 12.25 mb/s Write 15.6 mb/s

Boot and shut down performance is reliable, but every now and then i get an unusual slowdown - like just opening a folder, or right clicking on a file, i'll get a spinning wheel for way longer than should take, but its kinda random occurrence.

One thing I read about was alignment; like an ideal spacing (1mb or something) before the start of the OS drive, which a fresh Win7 install does automatically, but has to be done with gparted or something on a clone. I definitely didn't do the alignment thing. Though I really only read about that for OCZ drives, and some people said it didn't really make any difference.

Still happy with the SSD, but every now and then super frustrated when I get the random slowdowns. :/  anyone else experience something similar?
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