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idata
Community Manager
1,962 Views

Asus P5KPL-CM, Intel G31 + ICH7, Windows 7. Install the Intel SSD drivers?

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I haven't installed any of the Intel SSD storage drivers yet because I've read a lot of conflicting stuff on the web.

I have a computer using an Asus P5KPL-CM motherboard which, according to the manual

uses the "Intel G31" Northbridge and "Intel ICH7" Southbridge.

I just did a fresh Windows 7 64-bit install on an Intel X25-V SSD.

I can't tell if my motherboard actually supports AHCI.

The BIOS options are...

* "Compatible" - Sets all SATA devices to operate in PATA mode.

* "Enhanced" - Sets all SATA devices to operate in SATA mode.

I assume that Compatible is "IDE" mode, and "Enhanced" is AHCI mode, but I could be wrong.

I *think* that the TRIM functionality is enabled using the default Microsoft drivers, but I don't know how to verify it for sure.

I've read on the web that the Intel drivers only work properly if your motherboard supports AHCI.

I've also read that you need an ICH8 or higher southbridge chip to get AHCI.

Furthermore, I've read that once you install the Intel drivers and find out that they *don't* work, the only way to remove them is to re-install Windows. This isn't someting I'd really want to do.

The bottom line is I have no idea if I need / should / want to install the Intel drivers at this point.

I want to get the full performance, lifespan, and benefits out of my new Intel SSD.

Any guidance would be greatly appreciated.

1 Solution
idata
Community Manager
525 Views

The main problem with getting the best performance from your SSD is your mother board, specifically due to the ICH7 chip. If your board had the ICH7R version of this chip, you'd be be much better off.

The ICH7 does not support AHCI mode. Enhanced mode is not AHCI, sorry to say. A BIOS update cannot change or fix that. You can confirm this by reading the Overview section (1.1) of this document:

http://www.intel.com/Assets/PDF/datasheet/307013.pdf http://www.intel.com/Assets/PDF/datasheet/307013.pdf

Since you cannot enable AHCI mode, or RAID mode, you cannot use the Intel IRST drivers. Also since you cannot enable AHCI mode, the Windows AHCI driver (msahci) will not load.

While you will lose some AHCI features, your SSD will still perform well in IDE mode. You won't have TRIM support without an AHCI driver, so you should test if you can use the Intel SSD Toolbox on your PC. I cannot predict if it will work or not, but it's well worth installing and testing, and if it doesn't work you can uninstall it. If the Toolbox SSD Optimizer will work on your PC, you'll have manual TRIM support, which will keep your SSD in optimal condition. Without TRIM it's performance can degrade over time.

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4 Replies
mmokk
New Contributor II
525 Views

the intel drivers simply won't install if your system doesn't support ahci.

trim is supported by the default microsoft drivers.

idata
Community Manager
526 Views

The main problem with getting the best performance from your SSD is your mother board, specifically due to the ICH7 chip. If your board had the ICH7R version of this chip, you'd be be much better off.

The ICH7 does not support AHCI mode. Enhanced mode is not AHCI, sorry to say. A BIOS update cannot change or fix that. You can confirm this by reading the Overview section (1.1) of this document:

http://www.intel.com/Assets/PDF/datasheet/307013.pdf http://www.intel.com/Assets/PDF/datasheet/307013.pdf

Since you cannot enable AHCI mode, or RAID mode, you cannot use the Intel IRST drivers. Also since you cannot enable AHCI mode, the Windows AHCI driver (msahci) will not load.

While you will lose some AHCI features, your SSD will still perform well in IDE mode. You won't have TRIM support without an AHCI driver, so you should test if you can use the Intel SSD Toolbox on your PC. I cannot predict if it will work or not, but it's well worth installing and testing, and if it doesn't work you can uninstall it. If the Toolbox SSD Optimizer will work on your PC, you'll have manual TRIM support, which will keep your SSD in optimal condition. Without TRIM it's performance can degrade over time.

View solution in original post

mmokk
New Contributor II
525 Views

parsec wrote:

You won't have TRIM support without an AHCI driver

the default microsoft ide driver supports trim.

idata
Community Manager
525 Views

just to add to mistermokkori's post.

It (TRIM) does indeed work with the standard IDE driver from Microsoft in win7. I experienced this first hand after testing an X25-V drive about 2 months ago. I used a similar motherboard without AHCI (ICH7 southbridge) and despite thrashing it pretty harshly, the SSD maintained read/write speeds very well.

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