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Slow write speeds with Intel 520 series SSD, why?

Last response: in Storage
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April 3, 2012 2:45:15 AM

Hi, I just purchased this motherboard and SSD from Newegg.
Intel 520 60GB SSD: http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
Gigabyte Z68XP-UD3: http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

The SSD advertises up to 520mb/s sequential read speeds and 475 MB/s sequential write speeds while plugged into SATA3, but I'm getting speeds significantly lower than that. The drive is plugged into a SATA3 port and it's set to AHCI via the BIOS. Here's a CrystalDiskMark screenshot:



Why are the speeds that slow?
a b å Intel
a b V Motherboard
a c 523 G Storage
April 3, 2012 3:46:35 AM

Verify that your drive is connected to one of the Intel 6Gb/s ports (SATA3_0 or SATA3_1), not to one of the Marvell 6Gb/s ports (GSATA3_6 or GSATA3_7).

Also, CrystalDiskMark uses highly incompressible data to test Read/Write speeds.
Benchmark with ATTO software to verify advertised speeds.
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a b V Motherboard
a c 99 G Storage
April 3, 2012 6:36:05 PM

Yes, manufactures stated speeds are using ATTO benchmark, which is listed on the box!

SandForce controllers read/write using compressible data, another issue is here.

But still, I like SF drives, 'cause lots of the data I access is compressed (I think).
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Related resources
a b V Motherboard
a b G Storage
April 3, 2012 6:46:05 PM

the little ssds tend to perform slower than the bigger ones. 120 gb is a point where u get better performance, then 240 is even better typically.
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a b V Motherboard
a b G Storage
April 3, 2012 6:47:36 PM

Yes, compressible data is part of the issue, but not all. You should see speeds much higher than that even with highly incompressible data. Still try rerunning the benchmark after going to file -> test data -> all 0x00 fill. Are you using the stock MSAHCI driver or the Intel RST driver? Also have you forced a defragment on that disk (don't!), because that could cause tons of internal fragmentation that would slow down writes.
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a b V Motherboard
April 3, 2012 6:50:27 PM

Did you change to AHCI after installing Windows? I did and saw signifigantly lower benchmarks because of it. I decided to do a fresh install of windows, and set AHCI right away. After I did this my SSD benches were where they were supposed to be.

I also made sure that my SSD was the only drive connected to the motherboard while installing windows as well. For some weird reason having multiple drives connected caused the boot.ini file to get placed on another drive. Unhooking those drives stopped that from happening obviously.
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a b V Motherboard
a b G Storage
April 3, 2012 6:53:06 PM

sincreator said:
Did you change to AHCI after installing Windows? I did and saw signifigantly lower benchmarks because of it. I decided to do a fresh install of windows, and set AHCI right away. After I did this my SSD benches were where they were supposed to be.


Probably due to internal fragmentation caused by not having TRIM enabled during the install and updates. Definitely a good question.
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a b V Motherboard
April 4, 2012 12:49:37 AM

aicom said:
Probably due to internal fragmentation caused by not having TRIM enabled during the install and updates. Definitely a good question.


I'm not really sure why my results were so different honestly. I just know that my SSD is supposed to be at 260 read, and 230 write(Sata II drive BTW). When I first installed the drive I edited the registry to enable AHCI because I forgot to do it before I installed windows, but my speeds were only at 250 read and 120 write, so I knew something was wrong. After about 3 months of running fine despite that fact, I came home and my boot.ini file was damaged so windows wouldn't start. After a while I got in there in safe mode with driver signing disabled, and when I tried to locate my boot.ini file it was on one of my caviar blacks. So in order to fix it I just decided to format and delete that ini file alltogether. When I reformatted the first thing I did was disconnect all of my drives except the SSD of course, and then set AHCI in the bios. Installed windows got all updates and drivers installed, and then went strait for AS-SSD and Crystal disk mark. I wanted to see what the speeds would be now with a near empty drive, AND the reinstall of windows 7 starting with AHCI enabled. Low and behold I was right where I should of been in the first place, at 260 read and 230 write. After I got everything else installed I tried running it again and it was still the same speeds. That was with about 50% of my 128gb SSD used up as well.

I'm not sure if any of this may appy to you, but I figured I'd just lay out the steps I followed to solve my slow write speed issue just in case it may help you out somewhat. :) 
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April 4, 2012 1:14:00 AM

Right, I was using the Marvell adapter. I switched the drive to the white ports, which I believe is the SATA3 Intel controller. I verified both controllers are set to AHCI. Another thing I had done is I had neglected to install any drivers before, so I installed all of the drivers on the disk the motherboard came with.

This copy of Windows was installed after setting the controller to AHCI.

I'm getting significantly faster speeds, but I'm not sure if it's there yet. Here's an updated CrystalDiskMark benchmark with all 0x00 fill:


and here's an ATTO benchmark, using the default settings:


Are those speeds all that is to be expected? It didn't occur to me to install any drivers, but it did make a nice improvement. I'll be using this as a server and it will have Ubuntu installed, would I possibly have the same issues with Linux?
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a b V Motherboard
a b G Storage
April 4, 2012 1:18:03 AM

its there, those speeds look right
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a b å Intel
a b V Motherboard
a c 523 G Storage
April 4, 2012 1:24:13 AM

No, those Write speeds don't look right; with ATTO they definitely should be higher.

Download Intel's Toolbox and verify that you have the latest firmware on the drive.
Also go to Intel's Support Forums and see if they have any suggestions.
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April 4, 2012 2:07:35 AM

It's got the latest firmware version. I enabled Superfetch/Prefetch with the Intel SSD Toolbox, but I'm getting the same speeds.
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a b å Intel
a b V Motherboard
a c 523 G Storage
April 4, 2012 2:17:38 AM

Make sure Write Caching is enabled also.
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a b å Intel
a b V Motherboard
a c 353 G Storage
April 4, 2012 2:32:48 AM

Use to use Crystal disk mark, but prefer AS SSD.
I know manuf use ATTO for advertizment, but I prefer a Benchmark using compressed data which, while still not perfect, is closer to real life than using data that is highly compressable. Many of the reviews will show both so that you can see how close you come. Also Like that it shows Firmware ver, driver, and partition alignment.

Screen shot of my M4

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a b å Intel
a b V Motherboard
a c 523 G Storage
April 4, 2012 3:15:21 AM

The advantage of using ATTO is that you can quickly identify issues because the drive is being tested with the "easiest" type of data.

If an Intel 520 can only Write at a maximum of 291MB/s using ATTO, there’s definitely something wrong.

If the drive can’t handle ATTO data, it definitely can’t handle AS-SSD data. :) 
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a b å Intel
a b V Motherboard
a c 353 G Storage
April 4, 2012 12:39:35 PM

Dereck47 is correct, Would still run AS SSD, don't botther with the bench mark, Look at upper left and verify that your driver is iaSTor (for the Windows OS). it should also show OK for alignment. Note driver = msahci will be sligthly lower performance comparted to iaSTor I believe.
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April 6, 2012 3:50:30 AM

I think it is a driver issue with Windows. I decided to run a Ubuntu live CD and benchmark the drive, here's the results:
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April 27, 2012 7:09:03 PM

Received mine today, results:




Gigabyte MB, nothing special (like RAID).
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August 30, 2012 7:19:58 AM

Hello!

I am having the exact same issue. I have followed the advice above with no success.

Here is a screenshot of my PC specs:



The SSD in question is an Intel 330 Series 120GB

Latest firmware installed as per Intel SSD Toolbox
Latest motherboard drivers installed as per MSI website

Here is the disk info from Intel SSD Toolbox:



And now the AS SSD score: (Note that driver is iaStor not msahci)



And CrystalDiskMark score:



I also tried disabling write-caching but that made no effect.

Please, I beg of you... Help me out and tell me what I have missed! This drive should be writing at up to 450MB/s

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August 30, 2012 7:23:53 AM

Apologies for lack of image....

Aparently Toms Hardware and Picasa aren't good friends.

If you copy/paste the links they work though.
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December 31, 2012 12:50:45 AM

Hi,
was this issue ever solved. I'm now experiencing this with a samsung 830 128GB on a p9x79 motherboard by asus.
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January 13, 2013 4:59:22 PM

This looks like the same issue that I was having, the problem was not the drivers or firmware, the problem was the partition alignment, for some reason my partition was misaligned and made my write scores drop more than half speed. I found a utility that can fix and align the partition: "Paragon Alignment Tool 3.0" but is not free unfortunately :cry:  , but it worked perfectly, after a reboot it aligned the partition and my speeds got where they should be. If someone knows of a free utility to realign the partitions of SSDs please be my guest to post it.
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March 26, 2014 10:20:50 PM

interesting.

my 830 on my old pc was writing up to the sata2 limit about 230 on benchmarks.

now I have a z87 which has intel sata3 ports the write speeds plummeted.

down to a massive 90meg/sec.

I installed the intel drivers which improved it to 166 but in my opinion something is still wrong as previously I was doing just below 250.

In terms of my partition alignment, on the previous install I manually aligned it to 1k at start using recovery tools as I migrated OS from my hdd using norton ghost.

This time I fresh installed windows and let it create the partitions ( as apparently it lines it up right )

According to as ssd the alignment is ok as it says ok and is green, but its at 100meg due to the extra partition, does this extra partition slow down writes? have others had same issue when letting windows 7 align the partition?
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!