A960M-M3 Slow booting?

I just built a new computer using the ECS A960M-M3 motherboard. I did a fresh install of Win7 64-bit on an SSD drive.

When I attempt to boot the computer, the AMI bios screen comes up for ~5 seconds, then it continues on to the Windows GUI splash screen, which stays up for about a minute before loading into Windows. This seems very slow. On my old computer with an SSD the entire boot into Win7 64-bit takes less than 20 seconds.

I noticed that my HDD light behaves a bit strangely as well. When the Windows loading screen comes up, the HDD light begins to blink slowly and intermittently. The intermittent blinking slowly accelerates. After about a minute of this, the HDD blinking gets very fast, then it stays solid on for about a second and the computer finally boots into Windows.

I've run some testing on the SSD drive and it seems to be performing up to benchmarks I've seen online. The Read rates are as high as they should be under CrystalDiskMark, for example.

I updated the Mobo to the latest BIOS and I have AHCI enabled in the bios and registry. I installed the latest chipset and sound drivers, but have not installed all the available drivers yet (LAN, RAID, or Floppy Driver for instance).
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More about a960m slow booting
  1. Before the installation of OS, did you load the default setting inside the BIOS? Which SATA port was connected to the SSD hard drive?
  2. I didn't load default settings in the BIOS before installing the OS, it was just out of the box. When I originally installed the OS, the motherboard had the old 4/3/12 BIOS on it, and AHCI was not enabled. I updated the BIOS and changed it to AHCI after loading the OS onto the SSD drive.

    I'm not sure which SATA port the drive is connected to, I can check that later. Should I try changing the port it's connected to?
  3. If it's possible, please load the default setting inside the BIOS inside the BIOS menu. We suggested the customer connect the hard drive to SATA 1 port.

    If you still have any question, feel free to contact ECS Technical Support.

    510-226-7333 Option 6
    Monday - Friday
    9:00 a.m. - 6:00 p.m. Pacific Time
  4. OK, I was able to fix the slow booting issues. I loaded the default settings in the BIOS. That didn't help. I swapped around my SATA cables so that the SSD was connected to SATA 1 port. That didn't help. But then I removed the other two SATA connections, so that only the SSD was connected to the motherboard. That fixed the problem. After booting it a few times, I connected the other two devices back to SATA 2 and 3, and the problem was still gone.

    But now I have a new problem. I was trying to stress test the computer with Prime95. On the CPU intensive stress test it would do just fine. But when I tried the Blended test it kept locking up. I wasn't overclocking anything, the CPU and memory were at stock timings. So I got a Memtest86 boot disk and tried to run that test. It continued to lock up at various points during the test.

    I was using a 2x4 Gb DDR3 memory kit from Kingston, and I had two other 2x4 DDR3 memory kits available from Patriot and Crucial, so I tried swapping out the memory. The other two pairs also gave memory errors. So next I went back to the original Kingston and put in a single stick. One of the memory slots would throw errors and the other was fine. I tested both sticks individually in the "good" memory slot, and they were each able to run for 3+ hours and 5+ passes on Memtest86 with no errors or crashes. If I ran a single stick in the "bad" memory slot, it would give errors or just freeze up.

    So it looks like I will need to do an RMA on this motherboard. -sigh-
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