I have recently purchased an Alienware M14x from dell. After recieving the laptop I varified that everything was working as is and then shut it down and flipped that baby over to install my new Intel 510 120GB SSD. Once installed and everything was back in place I booted up and was looking forward to installing a fresh copy of Windows 7.
However, when I booted the computer it seemed to hang at the POST with a '_' in the upper left corner of the screen for around 10-20 seconds. Then I could hit F2 and get into the bios. In the BIOS the SSD was not detected. Confused about this I changed the AHCI mode to ATA and tried again. Again the laptop hung at the POST with a '_' in the upper left corner for around the same period of time. When I finally got to the BIOS the drive was still not detected. I thought maybe the drive was not plugged in all the way so I played with that but it was in all the way.
I figured I would try the original HDD in the computer to make sure nothing got goofed up. Sure enough the computer booted up with no problems. Thinking that the SSD was dead I threw it in my old Alienware m9700 for kicks. To my surprise the Alienware m9700 actually detected the drive! Shocked I thought man it must be something with the M14x. I called Dell support and was walked through the process of changing the drive from AHCI to ATA and visa versa. They then stated that it was the drive since the original HDD worked even after I told them the drive was detected fine in another pc. They told me to contact Intel since they wont help me out with an aftermarket product (which i understand)
So i called up intel and got a tech guy on the line and he says that it sounds like it is a dell problem since the drive is detected in another laptop. Figured they would tell me that. After another heated call to Dell and practically yelling at the guy on the phone half because I couldnt even understand what he was saying I figured I'd take it to a buddys house and have him throw it in his laptop.
Surprisingly it did the same POST hang with the '_' in the upper left corner. Now I am very confused and believe it is the SSD. So I RMA the drive back to NewEgg. Yesterday I recieved the new 510 SSD and did the same procedure. Flipped my laptop over, installed the drive, and then sealed everything back up. I turn it on and crossed my fingers. Opened my eyes and BAM the same damn '_' in the upper left of the screen with a nice 15-20 second hang and then nothing detected in the BIOS.
My question is what the heck is happening? Is this SSD somehow not compatable with the M14x. The chipset on the M14x is Intel, it supports both SATA II and SATA III drives, I updated the BIOS to A03 I even tried to update the firmware from while putting it in my m9700 but got the message that the firmware was up to date.
I am not very happy as now I am out about $300 for a drive that doesnt even work with the brand new system that I own that should be compatable. Another thing to add in here is that I was posting on Notebook Forums and another guy bought the same computer... same SSD... however his BIOS detected his just fine. So where goes the finger pointing? Is it DELL or INTEL???
Thanks for anyone that can lend a thought or two...
It sounds like you have a bad SSD. It's as simple as that. Really. :-)
As for the "underscore after POST" -- what you're seeing is actually a blinking cursor that's hung. What's happening is that the system seems to disagree with whether or not the SSD is actually on the SATA bus; the hang is happening because the BIOS (yes, really) is actually trying to read LBA 0 ("sector 0") from the SSD to determine whether or not the device is bootable. The same thing can happen with mechanical hard disks.
Regardless of what Intel tech support tells you on the phone, this really does sound like you have a bad SSD. If Intel won't RMA it, return it to the place of purchase and get a different one.
If a new/replacement 510 doesn't fix the problem, then it's pretty obvious what the issue is: Dell has a BIOS bug. Yup, that simple. Good luck getting them to acknowledge it; most Dell technical support folks don't do the engineering of their BIOSes, and have no idea how they function. I've only managed to get companies to fix BIOS bugs a couple times in the past; the amount of red tape you have to go through is insane.