Vertex 3 install? + why this behavior?

rastaban

Gawd
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Jul 30, 2011
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I am creating this new thread regarding the relatively poor performance of my 120GB Vertex 3 because my previous thead was more of an inquiry into my secure erasing options. In this thread, I particularly want to address some phenomena I noticed.

Background:
-- Bought 120GB Vertex 3 second hand off the buy/sell forums. It has ~100 days of uptime on it and was probably not TRIMed because the original owner used it in a Mac.
-- Popped into X58 rig (in sig), updated firmware from 2.02 to 2.25 and secure erased with OCZ Toolbox
-- Moved into Asus U3S notebook from 2007. It runs a C2D proc and Vista Business 32-bit. The chipset is GM965 Express which supports SATA II but no AHCI, only "Enhanced mode." (I don't know what that means)

Bootup and program loading is noticeably faster, but my old drive was only a 160GB 5400rpm snail. Boot time was literally cut in half, but it still takes a good minute to get to the login screen. Running CrystalDiskMark, I got this:
4WBPs.png

As you can see, 4K and 4K@QD32 is quite poor. My guess is that the lengthy installation process of the OS and programs + OS updates wore out the drive. Given my circumstances, I am not able to TRIM the drive. It was suggested in my previous thread that I try secure erasing unused disk space with CCleaner, a process I am familiar with on HDDs. I had my suspicions, but I didn't have any other leads and thought it wouldn't hurt to try.

Well, it hurt. Here is the result:
hkGSX.png


So what exactly happened on a logical level? and what are my options now? will SandForce garbage collection restore performance if I let it idle long enough? Looking forward to words of wisdom. Thanks!
 

KENNYB

2[H]4U
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Jul 26, 2004
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My response from your previous thread:
You can't compare 120 and 240GB drives The 240GB version will recover most of it's performance, while the 120GB version won't. Only a secure erase will recover all of the performance on your drive.

I owned a 240GB Vertex 2 and I had the same problem. Every few months performance will degrade so much to become noticeable. I partly mitigated this, until I bought a better drive, by using the Windows back up feature to back up and restore my OS. Much faster (and free) than having to reinstall everything.

The more you benchmark that drive, the worse it's going to get which will necessitate another secure erase. At least reduce the settings from 5x1000MB.
 

rastaban

Gawd
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Right. I was aware of those differences between the 120 and 240GB versions, but thought that GC would make up for lost performance simply by letting the system idle. I'm assuming you're on Win7 though and have the luxury of TRIM?

Perhaps I would have been better off with a M4 or 830 that has more aggressive GC.
 

KENNYB

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Right. I was aware of those differences between the 120 and 240GB versions, but thought that GC would make up for lost performance simply by letting the system idle. I'm assuming you're on Win7 though and have the luxury of TRIM?

Perhaps I would have been better off with a M4 or 830 that has more aggressive GC.

Once a Vertex 2 is dirty, writes drop to the 80MB/s range. Feel lucky that the Vertex 3 120GB isn't as bad. I abuse my 128 GB M4 at work and it haven't felt any performance loss like my old Vertex 2. I've benched my drive months apart and the the numbers are always almost the same.
 

ob1

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So is the drive acting slow/sluggish, or is this simply a benchmark issue?
 

NoTrigger

Limp Gawd
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Have you checked if there's a recent firmware update?
 
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baldrik

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You aren't going to "wear out" the drive by installing windows. I've had my vertex 3s for over a year now, with hundreds of power cycles, several TB written to them, with 5 or 6 Win7 installations and 2 or 3 secure erases. They were run in RAID0 and then separated into individual drives. I've never noticed a slow down in them at all. Crystaldiskmark and AS-SSD and ATTO all show performance within a few % of when they were brand new. The SF-2281 garbage collection isn't nearly as bad as everyone seems to think. I never had any slow downs while running them in RAID0 on a P67 board (ie, no TRIM, relying strictly on GC).

Your 4k numbers do look low though. This is probably because you cannot enable AHCI. Also, the more you run crystaldiskmar, the worse your numbers will get.
 

rastaban

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Jul 30, 2011
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Once a Vertex 2 is dirty, writes drop to the 80MB/s range. Feel lucky that the Vertex 3 120GB isn't as bad. I abuse my 128 GB M4 at work and it haven't felt any performance loss like my old Vertex 2. I've benched my drive months apart and the the numbers are always almost the same.

I should have asked about this before jumping on the V3. On the bright side, it was cheap and still feels like a big improvement.

So is the drive acting slow/sluggish, or is this simply a benchmark issue?

I was mostly concerned that bootup times have become noticeably slower and ran the benchmarks to see if something was the matter. With some basic understanding of SSD design, I guessed that my heavy downloading of Windows updates, many of which had to be rerun because of failure to install, dirtied the drive and sharply reduced random read and write speeds.

Have you checked if there's a recent firmware update?

Yes, I am on firmware v2.25 which is the latest for the Vertex 3 generation.

You aren't going to "wear out" the drive by installing windows. I've had my vertex 3s for over a year now, with hundreds of power cycles, several TB written to them, with 5 or 6 Win7 installations and 2 or 3 secure erases. They were run in RAID0 and then separated into individual drives. I've never noticed a slow down in them at all. Crystaldiskmark and AS-SSD and ATTO all show performance within a few % of when they were brand new. The SF-2281 garbage collection isn't nearly as bad as everyone seems to think. I never had any slow downs while running them in RAID0 on a P67 board (ie, no TRIM, relying strictly on GC).

Your 4k numbers do look low though. This is probably because you cannot enable AHCI. Also, the more you run crystaldiskmar, the worse your numbers will get.

I agree, this is probably a deficiency of not having AHCI and/or TRIM support. Hopefully this drive will still be around when I make my next upgrade so it can be run in AHCI mode.

For future reference, if I wanted to run a SSD as a primary drive and a RAID 1 array as storage drives in the same system, should I be setting SATA mode to RAID or AHCI?

Also, I have a stupid question that I can't seem to find anywhere. Is TRIM passive? or is it an instruction you have to manually execute through some program interface? I am guessing it is passively managed by the OS once AHCI mode is selected.
 

Klrgoten

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Oct 16, 2012
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Without running AHCI mode, you are really killing the performance of your drives :( I have two Vertex 3's in a raid0 and they are beauties... 1k gb/s read/write using ATTO
 

rastaban

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I made a few inquiries on the AT forums and found a few nice pieces of information.

1. The GM965 Express chipset supports AHCI. (although I don't see it in the BIOS)
2. My drive is ALREADY running in AHCI mode because AS-SSD is showing "msahci - ok."

Now the confusion is: is this "IDE Enhanced mode" that my system is currently running in synonymous with AHCI?

The biggest culprit here in the end may be Vista itself and its lack of TRIM support. I actually have a copy of Win7 that I can install on the laptop , but Asus does not offer Win7 drivers for the U3S, only Vista. Does anyone know if Vista drivers will work on Win7? Unfortunately there is very little information online about upgrading this particular notebook.
 

chrcoluk

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I think you seeing the same situation as me.

My bios on my laptop shows enhanced mode sata which indicates IDE mode, but windows has the AHCI driver loaed.

The guy who replied to me I agree with what he said, which is AHCI is a function of SATA and just because its missing in the bios it doesnt mean its not there. If windows reports AHCI in use then thats whats been used in my view.

I have just installed windows on the ssd on my laptop and am about to go bed, tommorow I will check what driver is been used for it and I expect it will show msachi, got 7.7 on WIE which isnt shabby for a old laptop.

Also regarding drivers.

I wouldnt worry too much microsoft put a ton of effort makng sure old hardware works on windows 7, my laptop is also a vista asus model and on a fresh install I have 3 unknown devices in device manager. One is the ATK0110 ACPI Utility and I know the vista driver works for that. The other 2 just say base system device and I cannot remember what they might be now. But I can tell you the graphics, sata, network, sound interfaces all work out of the box.

--edit-- they for my card reader which I think is a ricoh device.
 
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rastaban

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Jul 30, 2011
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I think you seeing the same situation as me.

My bios on my laptop shows enhanced mode sata which indicates IDE mode, but windows has the AHCI driver loaed.

The guy who replied to me I agree with what he said, which is AHCI is a function of SATA and just because its missing in the bios it doesnt mean its not there. If windows reports AHCI in use then thats whats been used in my view.

I have just installed windows on the ssd on my laptop and am about to go bed, tommorow I will check what driver is been used for it and I expect it will show msachi, got 7.7 on WIE which isnt shabby for a old laptop.

Also regarding drivers.

I wouldnt worry too much microsoft put a ton of effort makng sure old hardware works on windows 7, my laptop is also a vista asus model and on a fresh install I have 3 unknown devices in device manager. One is the ATK0110 ACPI Utility and I know the vista driver works for that. The other 2 just say base system device and I cannot remember what they might be now. But I can tell you the graphics, sata, network, sound interfaces all work out of the box.

--edit-- they for my card reader which I think is a ricoh device.

Thanks for the info, it's reassuring to know the drivers should work on Win7. I'll definitely try moving to Win7 once I get my external optical drive back.

In the meantime, I deleted my page file and disabled system restore and cut the used drive space down to 20GB. I left my system safe booted in the login screen to idle yesterday night and I'll check the performance again when I get home tonight.
 

NoxTek

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Messages
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Using CCleaner to 'secure erase unused space' is exactly why your performance dropped so much. Probably wasted a metric freakin' ton of write cycles too. And without TRIM (and with the Vertex3's mediocre GC) that performance isn't going to increase with idle time all that much.

As was said in your other thread, use a utility that will properly issue the ATA security_erase command to the drive (GParted, HDDErase, etc), reinstall Windows, and for the love of God stop running CDM over and over and whatever you do don't run CCleaner in that way again.

You dropped an SSD into an older laptop, you can't expect top-notch performance out of it. Just enjoy the performance the SSD brings to the laptop and quit benchmarking it, for cryin' out loud!
 

rastaban

Gawd
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Jul 30, 2011
Messages
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Using CCleaner to 'secure erase unused space' is exactly why your performance dropped so much. Probably wasted a metric freakin' ton of write cycles too. And without TRIM (and with the Vertex3's mediocre GC) that performance isn't going to increase with idle time all that much.

As was said in your other thread, use a utility that will properly issue the ATA security_erase command to the drive (GParted, HDDErase, etc), reinstall Windows, and for the love of God stop running CDM over and over and whatever you do don't run CCleaner in that way again.

You dropped an SSD into an older laptop, you can't expect top-notch performance out of it. Just enjoy the performance the SSD brings to the laptop and quit benchmarking it, for cryin' out loud!

My sequential and 512K performance dropped after CCleaner and like I said, I had my suspicions about it before running it as I do have a basic understanding of SSD architecture. I only did it because someone on the other thread suggested it and at the time I had no leads to understanding my situation. The CCleaner run did not affect my 4K read/write performance which was already very lacking compared to speeds reported by others, and the sequential and 512K performance was restored after about 1 or 2 hours of normal internet use. So in the end, I don't think CCleaner is responsible for the poor 4K performance. As for wearing the NAND out, I'm not terribly concerned as I don't use the notebook all that often.

I believe I stated multiple times already that I'm not complaining about the performance at all and that I am very much enjoying the SSD already. I am asking all these questions because I want to understand SSD behavior and enjoy learning how everything works on a logical/technical level. This is the primary reason why I made this thread, to ask about the behavior of the drive and why it is acting this way.

I've read multiple conflicting accounts on the efficacy of SF GC with and without TRIM (although nothing as specific as a chipset as old as mine) so was wondering if any knowledgeable people here could provide insight into what is happening on a controller level. I do very much appreciate the replies, but if you find my post to be annoying or whiny, just don't read it.
 

chrcoluk

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Thanks for the info, it's reassuring to know the drivers should work on Win7. I'll definitely try moving to Win7 once I get my external optical drive back.

In the meantime, I deleted my page file and disabled system restore and cut the used drive space down to 20GB. I left my system safe booted in the login screen to idle yesterday night and I'll check the performance again when I get home tonight.

yes and so you know the drivers are now installed without issues, I have been running win7 on this laptop since day 1, and the drivers needed are still on the hdd so I just installed them now after reinstalling win7 yesterday, its possible is newer drivers now as well for the ricoh but on my desktop pc I still have the same 2009 for the acpi utility I think that has no newer driver.
 
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