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idata
Community Manager
5,206 Views

How I brought a 160gb G2 back to life from TRIM firmware update

System specs:

Motherboard : Asus DSEB-D16/SAS Bios Revision: 1005

 

Memory : 16gb

 

Operating System: Windows Server 2008 R2 x64 (same as Windows 7 R2 x64 Kernel)

 

Disk Configuration:

 

SATA Port 1: 160GB Intel G2 SSD

 

SATA Port 2: Seagate ST370330AS 750GB HDD

 

SATA Port 3: Seagate ST3750640AS 750GB HDD

 

SATA Port 4: PIONEER DVD-RW DVR-215D ATA Device

 

SATA Port 5: PIONEER DVD-RW DVR-215D ATA Device

SSD Content Info:

 

The drive holds a Server 2008 R2 installation upgraded from Server 2008, cloned from a mechanical hard disk. The drive is in AHCI mode using the Microsoft AHCI driver.

BIOS IDE Modes:

* Enhanced AHCI

 

* IDE

 

* Compatiblity Mode - In this mode system only sees up to 4 drives, emulating a 4 drive master/slave setup. In this mode has several sub modes to show SATA only, PATA Only, SATA first PATA second, or PATA first and SATA second. These sub modes determine which SATA ports to occupy the 4 ports available in compatibility mode. When in this mode I chose SATA only so my 3 drives from SATA port 1, 2, 3 were accessable, but the optical drives on port 4 and 5 containing the optical drives were not visible/accessible.

Firmware update procedure:

 

1.) I made a full disk Symantec Ghost 11.5 Corporate Edition backup of the drive before the update.

 

2.) Flashed in AHCI mode, flash completed fine.

 

3.) Server 2008 R2 loads fine and detects new hardware (the SSD), Server 2008 R2 installs drivers for the SSD and asks for a reboot.

 

4.) On reboot, the drive corrupts, symptoms include black screen/unbootable device on startup and a complaint from SMART about the drive being bad, specifically end to end errors exceeding limits.

Fix it attempt 1:

 

1.) Set BIOS to compatiblity mode beause that's the only mode HDDErase will run in on this motherboard.

 

2.) Ran HDDErase 4.1 enhanced secure erase on the SSD.

 

3.) Set BIOS to AHCI mode.

 

4.) Did a from drive Ghost 11.5 restore from repair boot cd.

 

5.) Server 2008 R2 loads fine and detects new hardware (the SSD), Server 2008 R2 installs drivers for the SSD and asks for a reboot.

 

6.) On reboot, the drive corrupts, symptoms include black screen/unbootable device on startup and a complaint from SMART about the drive being bad, specifically end to end errors exceeding limits.

Fix it attempt 2:

 

1.) Set BIOS to compatiblity mode.

 

2.) Ran HDDErase 4.1 enhanced secure erase on the SSD.

 

3.) Did a from drive Ghost 11.5 restore from repair boot cd.

 

4.) Set BIOS to IDE mode.

 

5.) Server 2008 R2 loads fine and detects new hardware (the SSD), Server 2008 R2 installs drivers for the SSD and asks for a reboot.

 

6.) On reboot, the drive corrupts, symptoms include black screen/unbootable device on startup and a complaint from SMART about the drive being bad, specifically end to end errors exceeding limits.

Work around 1:

 

1.) Set BIOS to compatiblity mode.

 

2.) Ran HDDErase 4.1 enhanced secure erase on the SSD.

 

3.) Did a from drive Ghost 11.5 restore from repair boot cd.

 

4.) Left BIOS to compatibility mode.

 

5.) Server 2008 R2 loads fine and detects new hardware (the SSD), Server 2008 R2 installs drivers for the SSD and asks for a reboot.

With this work around Server 2008 R2 works fine (and tested for several days working with multiple reboots fine in this mode), but in comaptibility mode I have no access to my optical drives, and since it's not in AHCI mode I also don't have working TRIM support and the SSD still reports SMART errors.

Work around 2:

 

1.) Set BIOS to compatiblity mode.

 

2.) Ran HDDErase 4.1 enhanced secure erase on the SSD.

 

3.) Set BIOS to AHCI Mode

 

4.) Aligned the SSD parition to 64kb (in hindsight I should probably have used a 128kb offset) using the guide here:

 

http://www.ocztechnologyforum.com/forum/showthread.php?p=325221# post325221

 

5.) Did a from partition to parition restore (as to not destroy the aligned parition created in the previous step) with Ghost 11.5 from repair boot cd.

With this work around Server 2008 R2 works fine, with multiple reboots tested, optical drives visible, TRIM supported, the only thing that persists is the following SMART error reported by the Toolbox:

ID: B8

 

Description: End to End Error Detection Count

 

Raw: 4

 

Normalized: 96

 

Threshold: 99

 

Recommended Action: Contact your reseller or local Intel representative for assitance.

So it looks like partition alignment has something to do with the TRIM bricking SSDs, hope this info helps Intel/others.

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14 Replies
idata
Community Manager
116 Views

The theory looks good, except that I upgraded the firmware on my SSD with an already installed Win7. So, the partition alignment did not change. SSD trashed. Then, after HDDErase, I ghosted an image back to the SSD, without creating the partitions first, and it ran fine. ?? I, of course, still have the same SMART errors as you do.

I was unaware of HDDErase 4.1. Obviously, it runs on SSD's. Where did you find it?

idata
Community Manager
116 Views

Was Win7 installed on a blank drive or on a drive that previously had WinXP or Vista? If the drive was originally partitioned with XP or Vista you woudn't have correct alignment. This bad alignment may have just not broken you until enabling TRIM.

idata
Community Manager
116 Views

FYI, the Windows 7 installer by default creates a 100MB partition for WinRE (system recovery) before the main OS partition, which gives the drive an overkill 100MB alignment. I think this is probably the same for 2008. Also, after alignment to 4KB to match cluster size, the next potentially performance enhancing thing would be 1MB for block size alignment (especially when windows pages out in 1MB chunks).

By using Ghost, you are losing the WinRE partition and this 1MB alignment, but at least in your working case you have maintained the more critical 4KB alignment.

idata
Community Manager
116 Views

Sorry I meant HDDErase 4.0:

http://cmrr.ucsd.edu requires you at least have firmware 8820 on G1 drives:

http://www.pcper.com/article.php?aid=691&type=expert&pid=9

I'm aware of the 100mb partition created by Server 2008 R2 / Windows 7 installation. I never had one on this drive since it was an upgrade from Server 2008 (based on Vista Kernel).

I mention in the original post that this installation is a Ghost restore from a mechnical drive (Raptor 74gb). I'm guessing the misalignment occured when I did a disk restore from the mechnical drive Ghost image.

idata
Community Manager
116 Views

I had problems using the HDDERASE ISO and ended up putting that on a bootable SD card along with the Intel flash application (which also didn't work from ISO for different reasons).

The ISO for HDDERASE 4.0 tried to create a RAM Disk in extended memory, unzip the HDDERASE app onto the RAM disk, & run it from there. The problem in my case is that the extended memory drivers fail on my system because I have 6GB, and they don't know how to handle that coming up with a negative # for the amount of system RAM it thinks I have.

It ends up more convenient to have HDDERASE and the flashers all on an SD card instead of separate CDs anyway.

I recommend this app for creating the bootable USB stick or flash card

idata
Community Manager
116 Views

I use HDDErase 3.3, 4 does not work with my configuration.

read on the internet that version 3.3 seem to work the best with the Intel SSD's?

I used a old fashioned floppy disc, tried version 4 just an hour ago made a iso cd rom,

but I also was not able to use this version.

since having problems with my Ssd 80gb postville / Windows 7 64bits, i re-installed the evalution

W7version 32bits build 7100.

waiting anxiously for the Intel new firmware.

idata
Community Manager
116 Views

I just loaded both the hdderase 4.0 .exe and flash firmware updater files onto a bootable USB flash drive (took out the auto startup from autoexec.bat) using the procedure from here:

http://communities.intel.com/thread/7705?tstart=0

idata
Community Manager
116 Views

I'd followed your hyperlink and tried to repair my brand new 80GB G2 (flashed with the new firmware) by using the Windows Vista Recovery Disc. After setting the correct alignment and create a new partition, Win7 x86 could be installed without any problem. Afterwards I'd installed the SSD toolbox v1.1 and examined the status of the SSD, no smart error and dead block could be found. However, the HDD score of Windows Experience Index is only 5.7 (shall be something 7.x or above?), is it necessary to update the AHCI driver (curruently using the driver bundled with Win7)? Anyway, I'd like to say thank you for your valuable information, and I hope that Intel can provide us the "respond" shortly.

The spec. of my PC:

HP Compaq Presario CQ20-130TU Notebook PC

CPU: Core 2 Duo P8400 2.26 GHz

RAM: 4GB DDR2-800 (2GB x 2)

CHIPSET: Intel GM45, ICH9M

idata
Community Manager
116 Views

Did some more expirments:

1.) Wiped drive with HDDErase 4.0

2.) Used the diskpar.exe to create / align partition at 2048 sectors (1 megabyte)

3.) Restored form Symantec Ghost 11.5 corporate using a image to parition restore option (to maintain drive geometry)

4.) Drive immedietly bricked became raw/unreadable on reboot (couldn't even boot up to OS once)

Tried the above procedure twice, same result.

However in step # 2 if I align to 1024 sectors (512 kb) then all, except for SMART error, works fine. 1MB is the default partition alignment value of a new partition made with Vista/Windows 7/Server 2008 R2, yet it caused my drive to brick......

idata
Community Manager
116 Views

Great work JoeGershogrin! It make one wonder who's to blame. Intel's firmware, Microsoft's W7, or both? Incidentally, OCZ users (Vertex etc.) are also occasionally reporting bricked drives in combination with Windows 7. W7 crashes and the Vertex/Agility or whatever is bricked. Same symptoms: no longer visible in the BIOS setup, not even on a different machine. It can happen anytime, any moment. Not necessarily related to flashing new OCZ firmware. In some cases, they also were able to recover their drives using HDD Erase. Their problems look strangely similar to Intel's problems. Could this be more than just coincidence?

Has anyone ever reported a bricked G1/G2 in combination with XP, Linux, Apple? I wonder.

Thanks anyway for your great research. Very helpful.

idata
Community Manager
116 Views

My problems with the 80gb postville ssd, seem only to occur in combination

with Windows 7 64 bits version.

installed W7 evaluation 32bits no problems sofar.

could be a coincidence, however read that some people who had initially

no problems but after numerous restarts of their pc the problem surfaced.

I did the firmware update immedialtely same went A okay but only after

a couple of days the problems began.

if the problem is not only related to the Intel ssd's, you would tend to

think Windows 7 64 bits is causing the problems in conjunction with

the ssd's.

hope both Intel and Microsoft are able to determine what is causing

the current problems.

idata
Community Manager
116 Views

Octron,

I'm using a MAC and updated the firmware and it is running perfectly. I did not change or mess around with aligning the partition. I used it as is out of the box. Using Xbench i'm getting the following:

1) Sequential Uncached Write 103.56-MB/sec (4k blocks)

2) Sequential Uncached Write 94.91-MB/sec (256 blocks)

3) Sequential Uncached Read 43.39-MB/sec (4k)

4) Sequential Uncached Read 216.03-MB/sec (256k)

5) Random Uncached Write 82.74-MB/sec (4k)

6) Random Uncached Write 98.32-MB/sec (256k)

7) Random Uncached Read 12.69 MB/sec (4k)

8) Random Uncached Read 186.93 MB/sec(256)

When I brought the drive I used SuperDuper to clone from 80SSD to the 160SSD pre firmware update.

idata
Community Manager
116 Views

Here is a partition trick I used to install my ghost image after using HDDErase. After erasing the SSD, I started the Win7 install disk. I started a new install to the SSD. I let it run until the first re-boot. Then I booted to DOS, ran Ghost and did a partition restore (not a full disk restore) to the SSD. Everything running fine in AHCI mode with the Intel drivers.

idata
Community Manager
116 Views

My personal experience.

I was getting, indipendently of the os installed (Windows 7, Vista or Ubuntu), the "not a system disk" error just after some reboots or a shutdown.

Yesterday I gave my G2 another try. First I erased the ssd with hdderase 3.3 in ide compatibility mode. Then I switched to ahci and using diskpart I aligned the ssd with an offset of 128kb (only one ntfs primary partition). I later installed Windows 7 x64 leaving untouched the partition scheme.

Since then I updated the os, installed apps, gamed, rebooted dozens of time, shutted down (even unplugging from the wall outlet) and till now the ssd has worked flawlessy.

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