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System freezes after adding Corsair Force 3 180GB SSD

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November 11, 2011 5:49:32 PM

Hello everyone,

About a week ago I purchased a Corsair Force 3 180 GB SSD to add to my system:

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

I added it to my existing 2 hard drives, and did a complete fresh install of Windows Vista Home Premium 64bit. I formatted every drive and started from ground zero. I installed my OS and programs on my new SSD, and set my page file and temp files to another HD. Everything was running great for a few days, but now I am getting sporadic system freezes. My computer starts to act up for about 5-10 seconds, not being very responsive, then it completely freezes.

My computer ran perfectly for over 2 years before this, so it leaves only a handful of things that might be causing the freezing. Obviously, the SSD could be faulty, but I have read good things about it, and don't want to immediately assume that is the problem, though it might be =(.

New variables in my system:
-Corsair Force 3 180GB SSD as my boot drive (hooked up to SATA II port on mobo)
-Page file / environment variables / temp folders set to another HD
-New versions of Adobe, MS Office, Itunes, VLC installed
-Newest video card driver

To the best of my memory, my system has frozen during the following tasks:
-Opening a movie file with VLC
-Loading a Starcraft 2 game
-Browsing the web on Google Chrome
-Performing everyday computer tasks

I fail to find any consistencies that would point to a specific problem, which leads me to believe it may in fact be my new SSD.

I use my computer for video editing, and the point of this purchase was not only to speed up my OS, but to free my other 2 drives so I could dedicate them as storage/scratch disks.

I bought the drive 1 week ago at Fry's on sale for $189, and I only have 1 more week to return it. I would greatly appreciate any advice on things I could try before returning the drive and needed to re install my OS and programs again. Thank you.

System Specs:
-Windows Vista Home Premium 64-bit
-Asus P5N-D Motherboard
-Intel Core 2 Quad Q9550 @ 2.83 GHz
-8 GB DDR 2 Ram
-Nvidia GTX 260 Video Card
-Corsair Force 3 180 GB SSD (Sata)
-WD 300GB Velociraptor HD (Sata)
-Hitachi 500GB HD (Sata)
-Logitech Blu-Ray Burner Drive (Sata)
-DVD Burner Drive (IDE)
-DVD Rom Drive (IDE)

P.S. I realize my mobo does not support Sata 3 to fully utilize my SSD, but I plan on getting an Asus U3S6 PCI-E x4 card to add Sata 3 (I have read it is compatible with my mobo.)
a c 536 G Storage
November 11, 2011 6:21:30 PM

Hopefully other Forum members will have other suggestions, but the only thing I can think of is to try a fresh install 1 more time:

1.) Update the firmware on your SSD to the latest version
2.) Update the BIOS on your motherboard to the latest version
3.) Secure Erase your SSD
4.) Remove all drives and clear the CMOS on your motherboard
5.) Connect only your SSD and the CD/DVD drive that has your Windows installation disk
6.) Install Windows (don’t format the SSD, let Windows do it during installation)

If the installation of Windows, Windows updates, motherboard drivers, goes ok without any freezes you can then connect your other drives, and change your page file and other system variables.

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November 11, 2011 6:24:20 PM

Dereck47 said:
Hopefully other Forum members will have other suggestions, but the only thing I can think of is to try a fresh install 1 more time:

1.) Update the firmware on your SSD to the latest version
2.) Update the BIOS on your motherboard to the latest version
3.) Secure Erase your SSD
4.) Remove all drives and clear the CMOS on your motherboard
5.) Connect only your SSD and the CD/DVD drive that has your Windows installation disk
6.) Install Windows (don’t format the SSD, let Windows do it during installation)

If the installation of Windows, Windows updates, motherboard drivers, goes ok without any freezes you can then connect your other drives, and change your page file and other system variables.

^^^This^^^

Well written, and bravo :hello: 
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a c 536 G Storage
November 11, 2011 6:27:02 PM

XMSYellowbeard said:
^^^This^^^

Well written, and bravo :hello: 


Thanks!
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November 11, 2011 6:34:33 PM

why would you move your page file off your fastest drive ??? Microsoft recommends you leave it on SSD... you must have read an article from 3 yrs ago telling you to do so I take it ??
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November 11, 2011 6:36:57 PM

Thanks for the info guys. I am currently checking to updated BIOS and firmware versions. If those alone do not fix the problem, I will follow Dereck47's suggestion and do another OS re install. As we all know, that takes time, but I will keep you updated using my other computer.
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November 11, 2011 6:40:17 PM

madbiker said:
why would you move your page file off your fastest drive ??? Microsoft recommends you leave it on SSD... you must have read an article from 3 yrs ago telling you to do so I take it ??


Is that true? I was under the impression it would just take up valuable space on my SSD, which should run better with less data on it. I will read up some more on that though.
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November 11, 2011 7:37:27 PM

Update: Just finished updating my BIOS to the most recent version. My mobo does not support AHCI, but that should not really matter. Corsair only offers firmware upgrades for Windows 7, and I am running Vista (I got this computer just before Windows 7 was available...story of my life).

I tried doing the firmware update anyways, but the Corsair SSD updater does not detect my drive. Here is a link to the Corsair Firmware update I used:

http://forum.corsair.com/v3/showthread.php?t=100162

Hopefully the BIOS update helps, as I have read many recent BIOS updates help with SSD's. I will continue using my computer throughout the day and report at more crashes/freezes.
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November 11, 2011 9:20:46 PM

System just froze again. Going to try another OS reinstall according to Dereck47's steps. But I still cannot find a way to update my SSD firmware. Can anyone point me in the right direction for that? Vista 64 bit. Thanks
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November 11, 2011 11:19:30 PM

Im having the same problem with my Force 3 SSD, mine locks up and freezes and the HD light is on full. It locks up doing anything, from browsing to installing programs , to updates etc.
Over time its getting worse where its now locking up every couple of minutes, had to remove the drive and put my old HD back.
I'm going to RMA it, its been a nightmare, didn't realise these drives have so many problems.
I would RMA yours too, to see if its just one of the bad drives that you ended up getting like me.
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November 12, 2011 12:32:18 AM

I have read that installing the Asus U3S6 (which is nearly impossible to find) might fix all my problems, as well as give me the true Sata III speeds. Does anyone know, if my mobo does not support AHCI, will adding the U3S6 card change that?
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a c 536 G Storage
November 12, 2011 12:47:58 AM

gagster123 said:
I have read that installing the Asus U3S6 (which is nearly impossible to find) might fix all my problems, as well as give me the true Sata III speeds. Does anyone know, if my mobo does not support AHCI, will adding the U3S6 card change that?


Your motherboard is not listed as a compatible model. Contact Asus directly before buying the card to verify that it will work.
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a c 536 G Storage
November 12, 2011 12:52:17 AM

gagster123 said:
But I still cannot find a way to update my SSD firmware. Can anyone point me in the right direction for that?


Start here: http://forum.corsair.com/forums/showthread.php?t=100162

EDIT: I didn't read your earlier post; I see you already found the link.
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a c 119 G Storage
November 12, 2011 1:14:08 AM

You want to make sure that you are not connected to a sata port that has a Marvell controller , that could be a reason that you are not detecting the drive. I have the Force GT SSD and I had it plugged into the sata 3 port which has a Marvell controller and it would not show up in the update tool , but as soon as I moved it to the sata 2 port which has an Intel controller it showed up in the updater.
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November 12, 2011 1:22:17 AM

Dereck47 said:
Start here: http://forum.corsair.com/forums/showthread.php?t=100162

EDIT: I didn't read your earlier post; I see you already found the link.


Derreck, thank you for your response. Yes I tried that firmware upgrade, but the Corsair Updater does not see my drive. I even tried booting from another HDD and running it, but it still won't see it, probably because the firmware update is not "tested for Vista". I will try plugging into a different SATA port at mentioned above, though I don't think that will make a difference since all the ports on my mobo are the same SATA II. I will most likely use another machine that has Windows 7 to update the drive's firmware.

As far as the Asus U3S6, I am aware my mobo is not listed as compatible on their webpage, but I have read in other forums of users with the same mobo having consistent success with the U3S6, thanks for checking though! :) 
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November 12, 2011 8:10:08 PM

The updater does not see my drive either to do the firmware update.
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November 12, 2011 8:38:15 PM

monsta said:
The updater does not see my drive either to do the firmware update.



Monsta what OS are you running? If it is Windows 7, I have heard it won't recognize the drive if its currently your boot drive.
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November 12, 2011 9:50:35 PM

I'm on windows 7, really? I didn't know that!
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November 15, 2011 7:34:19 PM

gagster123 said:
Update: Just finished updating my BIOS to the most recent version. My mobo does not support AHCI, but that should not really matter. Corsair only offers firmware upgrades for Windows 7, and I am running Vista

Please read the information with the firmware update closely.

Quote:
This update has been validated for use with Windows 7. It has not been validated with Windows Vista and Windows XP however it may work with these OS's. Users are encouraged to update the drives with Windows 7 when possible.



Based on what you have posted, your issue is not with the OS. The update will only work in AHCI mode and plenty of users post that they updated succesfully with both Vista and XP. If you have a friend or a local computer shop, perhaps they could assist with the firmware update. If not, we can update it for you. Just RMA it and request a firmware update in the RMA form using our TSX Express system.

www.corsair.com
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November 16, 2011 9:10:43 PM

Update: Installed updated NForce chipset drivers and switched the SSD to another Sata port. Been working great for a few days with no freezing. Still only recognizing the drive as Sata 1 though. Will try updating the firmware with another machine soon.
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December 19, 2011 11:17:52 PM

Final Update:

I know it has been a while, but I wanted to share my discoveries.

I tried everything mentioned above. In a nutshell, I updated everything possible on my system, including chipset drivers, BIOS, and SSD firmware. After all that, I was still having sporadic system freezes, and was not even close to reaching the speeds the SSD advertised.

After lots of reading, I purchased an Asus U3S6, hoping that would solve my problems. I installed the adapter with all the updated drivers/firmware. Problem was (after much more researching), on my P5N-D motherboard, I was required to disable 2 of the 4 onboard Sata connectors in BIOS to use the U3S6. Wasn't that big of a deal, so I tried that. Had the SSD hooked up to the U3S6 with a Sata 3 cable, and the computer recognized the Sata 3 connection, but I was still only getting around 200 mb/s, as opposed to the advertised 550. After a few days, my system froze again.

Conclusion:

I believe the Corsair SSD was working properly, since I received the same results after exchanging my first SSD with another. The reason my system was freezing and why I was not getting the advertised speeds was because a number of things:

-older motherboard (no onboard Sata 3)
-Nvidia NForce chipset
-Windows Vista

The Nforce chipset is notoriously unreliable at handling SSD's, and it even forced the onboard Sata 2 connection to show up as only Sata 1. Vista does not support trimming like Windows 7 does, which slows down the SSD.

I ended up returning the SSD for a refund. I just accepted that my computer was too old to properly handle the SSD.

Based on the ridiculously large amount of research I have done, I have learned this: The only way to truly grasp the full potential of a high-end SSD is to have a relatively new machine; you need a good motherboard with a good chipset with onboard Sata 3 running Windows 7 with trim and AHCI settings set properly. I say "good motherboard" because I read that some mobo's that came with Sata 3 advertised the 6Gbs, but at a time with nothing was capable of coming close to that speed. Now, with recent SSD's, we have a drive that can actually push the 6Gbs threshold. It turned out that the Sata controllers on those motherboard couldn't keep up. So essentially, the mobo advertised Sata 3, but would not actually reach Sata 3 speeds.

My advice, if you have a nice, relatively new machine capable of taking full advantage of the SSD, go for it (they do kick ass.) Otherwise, save yourself the headache and stick with old fashioned hard drives until you update your motherboard.
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Anonymous
a b G Storage
December 20, 2011 3:13:29 PM

I totally agree with this full story.

Just bought a Corsair Force Series 3 120 gb SSD and am experiencing freezes on a fresh Win7 x64 install, on a HP Compaq 6510b laptop (Intel 965 express/ICH8M). Updated everything, chipset, intel rapid storage sata drivers, ssd firmware 1.3.3

It's soooo frustrating to have such a responsive pc and to have to switch back to a HDD.
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a c 119 G Storage
December 21, 2011 2:55:38 AM

Quote:
I totally agree with this full story.

Just bought a Corsair Force Series 3 120 gb SSD and am experiencing freezes on a fresh Win7 x64 install, on a HP Compaq 6510b laptop (Intel 965 express/ICH8M). Updated everything, chipset, intel rapid storage sata drivers, ssd firmware 1.3.3

It's soooo frustrating to have such a responsive pc and to have to switch back to a HDD.



Did you enable AHCI mode in the bios and do you have the SSD plugged into the sata3 port that has a Marvell controller.
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