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Crucial M4 sata ii ssd slow write speeds AHCI enabled

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July 15, 2012 4:42:36 PM

I am pretty sure that my Crucial SSD is not operating at the fastest speed it can. I cannot get my WEI disk score above 5.9. CrystalMarks and AS SSD also give very low write speeds, although sequential reads seem OK (275 MB/s). I installed Win7 with RAID in BIOS, then changed everything to AHCI (made the recommended changes to the registry including activating the atapi mini driver and then changed to AHCI in BIOS). I installed Intel RST and the icon says it is running and it looks OK in Device Manager but installation did not change benchmarks. No matter what I do, the seq write speeds remain low (75 GB/s) and WEI is only 5.9. AS SSD gives scores of 157 read 72 write and 311 for total?.

I don't know anything about 'alignment' but AS SSD says '1024 K - OK' in green letters and 'Offset/Alignment @ 4 K cluster' when I hover on it, so it seems OK to me.

My only guess/explanation is that I have put most Windows User directories on a hard disk because I've filled up the ssd (3.15 Gb out of 64 are free) with PhotoShop and LightRoom. Could this explain the low benchmark scores? Do these benchmarks write to my user directory?

My mobo is Pegatron Burbank which came with the HP computer quite a few years ago. There don't seem to be any BIOS upgrades available, but it does have the AHCI option, so that should be OK, right?

Any suggestions appreciated, but I hope I don't have to try re-installation of Windows :sweat:  . I have a disk image backup and a separate backup of all the files, but I'm not sure if either would be helpful since they were made while I have the problem unsolved.


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a c 154 G Storage
July 15, 2012 4:58:26 PM
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I think your problem is that your SSD is too small for what you are asking it to do.
Once a SSD gets near full, it will have a tough time finding any free nand blocks to write to. It will have to do a read/rewrite operation instead.

Your alignment is OK per AS SSD.

I might wonder if there are any problems arising from the registry changes.

I really think you should replace the SSD with a 128gb version and do a clean install,
Keep all of windows on the SSD. Use the current 64gb ssd for whatever files seem appropriate, and try to keep it less than 80% full.

If you buy an Intel ssd, they have a ssd migration tool that will clone your current ssd to a larger Intel ssd.
It is a modified acronis true image clone utility.
That will let you check out the premise that your problem is largely the overuse of the 64gb ssd.

If you want to do a clean reinstall, windows easy transfer will export your files and settings.
Do a clean install on the larger ssd, and import your files and settings. Only your apps will need to be reinstalled.
This way, you can preserve your current OS and system without risk.
a c 351 G Storage
July 15, 2012 5:04:20 PM

First off, You must leave at least 10% of the drive free (about 6 gigs) so that Wear leveling, garbage collection and trim can work their magic.

You indicated that Alignment was OK as reported by AS SSD, did it also show that the Driver was OK. An SSD with the pcide driver often comes up at 5.9, However, in your case I think you have just over filled the SSD.

I'm guseeing you have:
1) Disabled Hibernation - save SSD space equal to Ram
2) Set page file min and max to 1024 mb - save about 1.5 X Ram space on SSD, or you can set to HDD.
3) Disabled or limited restore points. Over time Restore points can eat up a lot ofr Space. each point takes 300 mb if I remember correct. (only 10 restore points = 3 GBs)
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July 15, 2012 5:56:33 PM

Thanks for the quick reply! I'm afraid you're right about needing a larger SSD, but my current system is a bit dated, so it seems a shame to buy a large SATA III disk before I'm ready to upgrade everything. Maybe next year :)  .

I did take your advice of keeping the disk less full, and found about 15GB of restore points! Yikers! Now I have it only 2/3 full, but still no joy with the benchmarks, unfortunately.
a c 256 G Storage
July 15, 2012 6:17:31 PM

You can go into Windows and change the settings for the backup/restore feature. If you have a hard disk drive you can have the backups stored on the hard disk drive and restore from the hard drive. You can also set it for automatic backups. I set mine to perform an automatic backup every Sunday morning. It runs in the background. No muss! No fuss! No bother! :) 
a c 351 G Storage
July 15, 2012 6:53:51 PM

Based on how full it was and the fact that you've run som benchmarks, you may need to let it set idle for an extended period of time to let CG and trim have an effect.

On the flip side, if you buy a sata III SSD it will care over to your new build next year.
a c 154 G Storage
July 15, 2012 7:49:41 PM

wilinsky said:
Thanks for the quick reply! I'm afraid you're right about needing a larger SSD, but my current system is a bit dated, so it seems a shame to buy a large SATA III disk before I'm ready to upgrade everything. Maybe next year :)  .

I did take your advice of keeping the disk less full, and found about 15GB of restore points! Yikers! Now I have it only 2/3 full, but still no joy with the benchmarks, unfortunately.


Good going so far.

Even if your current pc does not have sata III, a larger sata III ssd will still give you most of the benefits.
You should "only" get 250gb maximum sequential transfer rates vs. 500. But, sequential operations will be a minor part of what the ssd does. The other major part, namely small random reads and writes are hardly affected by sata II.
Also, larger SSD's give an improvement in sequential transfers, anyway. The reason is that there are more nand chips that can be accessed in parallel.

Prices keep coming down, now they are <$1 per gb. A larger ssd can be easily used in your next pc.
July 15, 2012 7:59:26 PM

Best answer selected by wilinsky.
September 18, 2013 11:08:36 AM

old post (a top google hit)
first , compare the old to the old drive speeds. HDD to SSD, see that ratio, that is what counts.
keep in mind many benchmarks cheat or are showing raw speed, with out normal OS overhead.
if you do that , you will find the SSD to be very fast ,if not too full. or in the the wrong mode.

SMALL SSD:?
but , install apps to a second HDD. i
or only install apps that must go fast. many don't need fast,even games, many games compute in a serial fashion.

I have huge 2TB HDD, with 10 partitions, one is Data (i set w8 up for moving my documents to my "E"drive PART, is all data. and one partition "K :" called Program-files.
So, if the OS takes a dump. I never ever, lose data. I also do backups, E to a external 2TB drive.
keep the C: boot SSD near empty, and it will run fast.
and lots of RAM. larger ram , cuts need for swaps. (swaps are slow,) avoid them.
I moved my swap to , HDD. (SSD swap is 200mb for crash dump only, i later killed crash dump, no crashes since XP days)
have fun tuning it !

I have 2 systems running 1 year now. SSD,
w7 on 128GB
and w8 on 30gb, yes, the smallest Crutial sold. just to prove ,it can work. 8gb mem, 2 core.
it runs perfect. with all data to the E: drive. and the swap. and all programs there too.
i did this just to prove it works perfectly. (its your guest system.) no gaming apps. no call of duty,etc. M5a78Lmlx
making large systems is easy but small? try it for fun.
!