It seems there are two firmwares out there - PPG/PWG2 and PPG/PWG4 (PPg for 120gb and PWG for 250gb). If you have one of both there is a very high chance that one or both of them will not run at 6gb/s even if you have it connected to a SATA 3 port.
This has been seen happening on ASUS motherboards and Dell. At first Intel denied it was a problem and blamed the mobo manufactuers (how original!) but now they seem to have realised there is a problem. Unfortunately they have had about 5 weeks to do something but they still keep fobbing us off with the usual "we're looking into it" replies. Although it's better than their earlier "the problem doesn't exist" answer it's still pretty rubbish.
So my advice is DO NOT BUY MORE THAN ONE INTEL 510 SSD UNLESS YOU ARE SURE THEY HAVE THE SAME (PROBABLY BEST TO GET THE NEWEST) FIRMWARE.
Otherwise you may only get 3gb/s from them.
It's almost impossible to get a retailer to check which firmware so I'm not sure if its even worth buying at all until Intel sort it out.
Check that thread or go to Intel Support Community and search for "Intel 510 SSD Seen as 3Gbs Drive" in the topics.
ianpugh - I followed your link and read the entire thread. I also followed all the links and did a lot more reading.
All I could determine is that your pc system and Bannon's pc system are having problems with maintaining SATA 3 6Gb/s stability when two ssd's are installed and each ssd has different firmware.
Were there any other Intel 510 users experiencing the same problem? Do you have a link or reference? I tried googling every which way with a variety of terms and phrases. I came up blank.
There is a strong possibility the actual problem is with the motherboard, specifically the datalink. Not all motherboards and the their datalinks are equal. Overall they do reasonably well, but there are a few exceptions. There was one particular model that actually throttled back the datalink so that a SATA 3 6Gb/s ssd winds up acting like a SATA 2 3Gb/s ssd. In addition other motherboards had some minor variations in their data links. There were several articles published. I'll see if I can find them and post the links.
My motherboard is a Dell variant of an H67 and the other two guys (the other one is ryomitomo) who have the same problem who posted in that thread have ASUS P67.
I also found posts in a German forum from someone who had the same problem.
Most people who have two identical SSDs probably use them in RAID not AHCI (as I am having to do at the moment) so that's probably why there haven't been more reports yet. Also, I'm not sure how far rolled-out the PPG/PWG4 firmware is. I guess I was unlucky to have bought two drives a couple of weeks apart and ended up with different firmware.
One of the things is that the speed isn't throttled back. Using the Intel Rapid Storage Tool that was with my system and is also bundled with the drives, I can see whether or not a drive is reporting as 3gb/s or 6 gb/s. It's not a case of it being a slow 6 gb/s but just not being recognised as SATA 3 at all. Weirdly enough when I booted from cold they were both 6gb/s but after a restart one or both would be 3 gb/s until I did a complete cold start again. I also ran various benchmark tools to see if the IRST was reporting accurately and it was: when it said 3gb/s the speed was much slower than when it said 6gb/s.
Here is one the earlier replies from Intel:
Dear Mr Pugh,
Many apologies for the delay in responding to you in regards to your Intel® Support Ticket 8000290527- INTEL® SOLID-STATE DRIVE 510.
I have been informed that currently there are no immediate Firmware releases planned to be published for the 510 SSD series.
Also after having spoken to a product specialist it has been confirmed that we haven’t seen performance related issues in regards to the 6 Gb/s SATA throughput rate problem as described by you, but there may be a difference in performance between individual FW levels.
I have followed the threat on the Intel® communities (http://communities.intel.com/thread/23997?tstart=0) and noticed that implementing a RAID 0 helped that both drives stay at 6Gb/s.
In your specific case we wouldn’t be able to comment further in regards to performance as the SSD’s are implemented on a DELL system and the variance in throughput rate you described moist likely is down to the system. As a previous support engineer advised you it would be down to DELL to look into this as we haven’t seen the issue ourselves. I understand that DELL at the time did advise you that they haven’t validated these drives yet on their OY2MRG Desktop system.
I would like to thank you for your feedback and I have followed the discussion on the communities with interest.
Dear Mr Pugh,
Thank you for your email from 20th September 2011.
As advised in my previous email your enquiry and the related Service Ticket is still escalated.
We are investigating the issue further and will respond to you appropriately.
Both your recent emails I have forwarded.
For further questions in regards to this ticket please refer to Jim Morris, WW Compliance Manager at Jim.Morris@Intel.com.
It appears that they realised they could no longer pass the buck to Dell when the other people posted their problems too. I hope they do sort this out and it seems obvious that it's firmware related. As soon as Bannon replaced the PWG2 drive with a PWG4 one the problem went away. Unfortunately I don't have the extra £200 to go and do that myself at the moment!
I still haven't heard anything more from Intel. It's now been 8 weeks since Intel were first informed of this problem. I guess they just don't give a sh*t?
It looks like they don't think it's important enough or not enough people have the problem for it to be worth the effort. I recommend just taking the drive back to the retailer and asking for an exchange. It's been proved that there is an issue so they shouldn't give you too much trouble. Howeber, I thought the same of Intel but they've turned out to be utterly useless!
The retailers (Novatech) were very helpful and said it sounded like Intel were being crap. They reckon Intel would pay more attention if they start complaining but first they would need the drive back so they can test it. Then they would replace it. The only problem with that is that the drive is currently part of a RAID 0 so I would have to buy another mechanical drive, reinstall the OS and everything until a replacement drive came out which they reckon would be a week.
Right now I just don't have the time for that but I hope to in a couple of weeks' time.
It would be a hell of a lot easier if Intel could simply release a firmware upgrade to take my PPG2 firmware to PPG4.
What annoys me most is how poorly Intel have dealt with this. First denying the problem. Then blaming the mobo manufacturer. Even now the problem has been identified and a solution found (with no input or help whatsoever from Intel's "technical support") they can't even give me any help. It's been 8 weeks now. That's just pathetic.