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Faster Boot Times

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December 29, 2009 3:55:18 PM

Hi All,

I am after the advice of experts (once again!). Not exactly a system build thread but I've often found the best advice here.

The story so far:
- Initial build: Seagate 7200.10
- Upgrade 1: 4x Samsung Spinpoint F1 - RAID 0
- Upgrade 2: 80Gb Intel SSD + Win7

Running with 3GHz Q6600, 4Gb of DDR2-1066 RAM.

As you can see I am on the hunt for that faster boot. At the moment I have identified a few problem areas:
- The RAID bios load - this easily takes the longest of any section of the boot process
- Loading the DMI pool data
- Getting past the silly Win7 logo

I think I've probably exhaused the hardware upgrades (without a major MB overhaul). I was wondering where I go next to reduce my boot times?

Any thoughts? Or can you point me in the direction of forums where this is discussed.

Cheers,

Jeremy

More about : faster boot times

December 29, 2009 3:58:44 PM

get a pci raid controller
December 29, 2009 4:04:48 PM

Cheers Obsidian,
I had thought about that, I wasn't sure how much difference a cheap one is going to make? (I'm not going to fork out £500 now am I?!)

Are you running your system from a RAID controller? If so which one? Did it make a difference vs the chipset.
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December 29, 2009 4:18:16 PM

It should. Hardware controlled raid is better. And if you want faster boot, the Intel ssd should give you one, your windows 7 boot should be around 5 seconds and another 1-2 seconds loading the profile/account in windows. I suggest turning off useless background startup applications, disabling some unless services, and there are some tweaks in the registry you can do but unless you know what you are doing and know the risk, i wouldn't even touch the registry.
December 29, 2009 5:02:04 PM

Thanks for the post blackhawk.

The raid controllers for PCIe 4 channel seem to be around £300, is that your experience or am I looking at the wrong things?

I've just timed it from pressing the power button to hitting the desktop - around 60 seconds.

Breaks down as follows:
0 - 13s: POST + Bios screen
13 - 30: RAID Bios
30 - 40: Verify DMI pool data
40 - 60: Starting Win 7 to desktop.

Doesn't really match what you are suggesting.

Running on startup I have Antivirus / skype / AnyDVD. Didn't seem to any difference to the time to desktop with those installed.

I'm quite prepared to mess around with the registry, work out what things are unnessecary etc. I just need a bit of pointing in the right direction.

J
December 29, 2009 5:57:09 PM

I've just run a throughput test in Sisoft Sandra I get:
SSD: 166Mb/s, 0.9ms access time.
RAID 0: 299Mb/s, 15ms access time.

Looks fairly reasonable. Doesn't look slow hardware.
December 29, 2009 6:51:37 PM

If your SSD is an Intel 80GB, its transfers should be way higher and its access times should be way lower... and if its your boot drive, you should be booting in less then 10seconds. What generation is it, 1 or 2?

And programs like skype and others are what significantly slows down the booting process. Moreover, if you mess up your registry, you know the consequences and you can try disableing some services that you dont use.
December 29, 2009 9:53:52 PM

Ok, I've checked the charts. See what you mean should be 0.1ms access time and ~200Mb/s throughput (average).
What might be causing the results I'm seeing?

The SSD is connected via additional SATA ports on my motherboard (provided by a separate Gigabyte chip) rather than to the Intel chip (ICH8?).
Seems odd to be within 30% on the throughput but 900% out on access time.

The disk is the G2C1 version.

The actual problem with the Win 7 load is before it hits the desktop. There has been no descernable change in time to desktop from the fresh install to having Skype, Avira etc. It is slowest around the Microsoft logo stage.

Thanks for the input.

Jeremy
December 29, 2009 10:01:20 PM

No, that SSd should be faster, I have Intel 80GB MLC g2 and its giving me less then .1ms access time and reads are around ~270 and writes are around ~85-90.

I highly suggest it be connected to the southbridge Intel Controller ICH10R or whatever is yours and make sure in Bios that the connection method is AHCI, not IDE. AHCI improves the ssd's performance a lot and it supports features like Native command queing and trim. If windows 7 doesn't boot after putting into AHCI then switch back to IDE, and i'll give you the registry edit to properly enable the driver for it as if you installed win7 on IDE mode it already installed the drivers for so you must switch that. :) 
December 30, 2009 10:27:58 AM

Ok, I've made some changes:

Swapping to Intel chipset:
SSD: 245Mb/s, 0.1ms
Boot: 60 seconds (25 Win7)

Enabling AHCI on Intel chipset:
SSD: 244Mb/s, 0.6ms
Boot: 62sec (20 Win7)

Seems to have reduced the DMI pool time by 5sec but increased the RAID bios by 5sec. I'm also getting a new message about the gigabyte chip - but it's almost instant.

Thoughts?
December 30, 2009 10:37:48 AM

I have found a RAID bios update from Intel. Will it cause problems with the data that's already on there? Ie, would it cause the drives to format?
December 30, 2009 1:54:03 PM

Ok, RAID bios updated. Didn't seem to make any difference to speed through the process or kill anything (which is nice!)
December 31, 2009 9:37:44 PM

I was wondering about doing a logged startup to see what is taking the time in the boot process, I remember back in the Win95 days a mouse driver stalled the process for 5 minutes every time we booted a machine.

How do I do this in Windows 7, especcially how do I continue the logging right up until it hits the desktop?
Win7 seems to boot 15-20 sec to slowly, so logged startup might help identify this problem.

Cheers,
Jeremy
January 1, 2010 12:13:14 AM

Something in your system isn't taking full advantage of your intel SSD. The actual boot of windows 7 itself (not including logging in the profile, and bios and etc...should be around 5-7 seconds unless you have something on start-up that absolutly is hogging everything. Hopefully another poster can help you out.
January 1, 2010 7:08:58 PM

Thanks for your help Blackhawk. I'm going to try using Process Monitor to log the startup and see if there is a process hogging everything.

Other suggestions are very welcome!
Thoughts on hardware RAID controllers would also be interesting. I'd need 4 or 6 channels and (key point) it would need to be faster than the Intel chipset on startup - ie boot in under 10 sec preferably.

Cheers.
!