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idata
Community Manager
5,533 Views

Intel 510 SSD Seen as 3Gbs Drive

I just built a system on an Asus P8Z68 Deluxe motherboard that includes two Intel 510 256Gb drives. One is drive C and the other is drive D on ports 0 and 1 respectively of the Intel controller. I am not using the Marvell controller. I was dissapointed in the Primary Drive WEI score so I opened the Intel RST Management panel and noticed the C drive is reporting a SATA Transfer Rate of 3Gbs while the D drive is reporting a 6Gbs transfer rate. The only difference between the two drives is the C drive is running the PWG2 firmware while the other one is running the PWG4 firmware. Does anyone have any thoughts on what may be holding this drive back?

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60 Replies
idata
Community Manager
72 Views

Sounds relevant:

/thread/23608?tstart=30 http://communities.intel.com/thread/23608?tstart=30

Also, the Windows Experience Index means absolutely nothing. You shouldn't bother to base anything on that number; the number means nothing, quite literally.

idata
Community Manager
72 Views

Hi,

It was me who started the other thread on the almost identical topic (/thread/23608?tstart=30 http://communities.intel.com/thread/23608?tstart=30). It looks like we have exactly the same problem and indeed by doing a complete shutdown and cold start the problem goes away. At least until you reboot!

I tried using Intel's "chat" system to report it but that was utterly useless and despite promising to pass it on to someone who could help (as they certainly could not) I never heard anything back. I then tried their e-mail support and got nothing but an acknowledgement. So I phoned their expensive phone number and finally the ball started to roll. They asked for all sorts of information - VAT invoice from the supplier, a number from the casing (as they weren't interested in the serial number that their own tool reported) which meant taking the system to pieces. Anyway, they said someone would get in touch and I now seem to have some kind of case ID. My Intel ref is 8000290527 so if you do manage to get through to them tell them that and it may get them more interested.

I also have the same situation of one firmware being PPG2 and the other PPG4 (mine seems to be "PPG" and yours is "PWG"?) and when I asked about this during the "chat" they said that both firmwares were the latest and the different numbers referred to revisions. In that case I would say the later revision is the newer firmware but they didn't seem to get that. Maybe this is the problem? I used to have reboots that gave me one drive at 6gb/s and the other 3gb/s but lately they both seem to go to 3gb/s after a reboot.

Well, I suggest you call Intel and get a case going and if I hear anything from them I'll post it here. It's good to see it's not a motherboard thing so in my case they can't shift the problem to Dell which I'm sure would have been the first trick they would have tried! Let me know if you make any progress/discoveries too.

idata
Community Manager
72 Views

You can run WEI on command line to see the underlying benchmarks to isolate the problem: http://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/library/cc770542%28WS.10%29.aspx http://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/library/cc770542%28WS.10%29.aspx

I'll follow up with Intel on this curious SATA mode issue.

idata
Community Manager
72 Views

Hi,

Many thanks - I've got a case reference number (8000290527) but it seeems I have to take my system to pieces again as they need me to check another number printed on the drive itself!

I also notice that when I benchmark these 2 drives, one is significantly faster than the other in the first part of the benchmark (420mb/s vs 372 mb/s). I have the trim tool scheduled to run once a day but this hasn't levelled out their speeds although I don't suppose it is meant to. The one with firmware PPG2 gets better results and benchmarks using ATTO show the same difference between the drives. I've run the different benchmarks many times on different days and the difference always shows up.The drives are in AHCI mode and the CrystalDiskMark benchmarks are shown below:

Please let me know if you find anything out.

idata
Community Manager
72 Views

I will share anything I find out.

idata
Community Manager
72 Views

One new tidbit ... Last night before I went to bed RST reported drive C to have a 6Gbs transfer rate. This morning RST reported the same drive having a 3Gbs transfer rate. I had not rebooted the system between times nor did the system sleep.

idata
Community Manager
72 Views

Hmm that's a curious one. I haven't found my system doing that. I remember being told by Intel that the tool only reports the situation that exists at startup so that if anything changed post-startup it wouldn't show the change. If your RST has changed its information without a reboot/restart then it means Intel were wrong about that.

I was also wondering if your drives have the same difference in speeds that mine have. One runs at 430mb/s and the other 370mb/s as in the picture I posted above. I used CrystalDiskMark benchmark software (which is free) to get these figures. If you have time could you check your speeds too? I have a feeling the different firmware is behind this.

idata
Community Manager
72 Views

It just occurred to me that it is Tuesday and Microsoft may have pushed some patches that could have rebooted the system in the middle of the night. I'll chec on that when I get home. I haven't run any benchmarks but I'll look into that as well.

idata
Community Manager
72 Views

I validated that my system did NOT reboot over night. So, sometime between the time I went to bed last night and woke this morning the transfer rate on Port 0 drive C dropped from 6Gbs to 3Gbs as reported by RST. The following are Crystal Disk Mark results for both drives before and after a power off/on:

Drive C RST reporting 3Gbs before power cycle:

Drive D RST reporting 6Gbs before power cycle:

Drive C RST reporting 6Gbs after power cycle:

Drive D RST reporting 6Gbs after power cycle:

I have yet to call Intel. Do they have a presence here?

idata
Community Manager
72 Views

Because you're using RST, this makes figuring out if the problem is with the drive itself or with the SATA controller very difficult. Excessive PHY errors could cause the speed to be re-negotiated at a lower rate. These sometimes manifest themselves as CRC errors in SMART statistics.

EDIT: Nevermind. I forgot that Intel SSDs don't provide SMART attribute 0xC7, so determining if there are CRC errors is impossible. PHY errors may be possible to get but you'll need an Intel engineer to provide the low-level details of which SCT page in the drive contains that information and what byte offset.

EDIT # 2: I see you're using the on-board Intel controller and not the Marvell. Okay.

idata
Community Manager
72 Views

HI,

The difference in speeds between your 2 drives isn't as marked as mine but am I right in guessing that drive C is the one with PPG(PWG)2 firmware?

It's interesting that you've proved RST doesn't just report the state at boot as the person on the Intel chat insisted. I wasn't 100% sure that they knew what they were talking about anyway!

I think Intel are like Coke - they'll be everywhere. Where are you exactly?

I've now given Intel every single bit of information that they requested - Grandmother's shoe size, colour of the guy next door's car, etc. so they should finally pass the case on to an engineer. I hope to hear from them soon.

idata
Community Manager
72 Views

You are correct. The firmware for drive C is PWG2 and drive D is PWG4. I will try to contact Intel tonight.

idata
Community Manager
72 Views

After a quick search it seems that firmware that starts "PPG" is for 120gb drives and "PWG" for 256gb drives. I came across a lot of discussion on a German site about the difference in firmware and speed and also some people in a Mac forum talking about it. I think Intel must be aware of this issue by now but I don't know whether or not this includes the drives changing from 6gb/s to 3gb/s

idata
Community Manager
72 Views

I opened my own problem record with Intel tonight and she immediately escalated it after referring to yours. She said it typically takes between 24 and 48 hours before someone get's back to you so maybe we'll know something more by the end of this week.

idata
Community Manager
72 Views

I just put the phone down on a "technician" from Intel who was utterly useless and completely unhelpful. Before I could even give him any details he told me that Intel had never had this problem with any of their own systems so it must be Dell's fault. He wasn't intersted in the fact that there is another open case (yours) which is non-Dell. Likewise he wasn't interested in the fact that our drives run at different speeds depending on the firmware. In fact, he didn't know anything about PPG/PWG numbers and when I told him that was the information in the RST tool he said that tool was for developers only and as such he couldn't talk about anything it may report!?

So no progress made apart from learning that even Intel can have rubbish technical support. I have asked for someone else to call but who knows when that might happen.

Is there any chance you could give me your case ID so that I can show them that it's not just Dell when I next speak to them?

idata
Community Manager
72 Views

Ok - just had a conversation with a more senior technician called Mario. He was interested in knowing your case ID but it's possible you've contacted Intel in the USA, not Europe where I am, so they haven't found it yet.

Anyway, he started off by telling me that it was probably a controller issue and therefore not Intel's problem. I pointed out that my SATA controller was an Intel chipset but he said that as it was on a Dell motherboard it was their responsiblity! I then asked him about the speed difference even when both drives were on 6gb/s and he couldn't say much. He tried to finish the conversation along the lines of "I'll do some research and if I find anything out I'll get back to you" which is frankly unacceptable. When I told him what I thought about that he then admitted he wasn't an SSD technician and would escalate this to a product and SSD engineer. I suggested that as it was an SSD problem it might have been an idea to get an SSD engineer to make the call in the first plalce but he didn't have anything to say about that either.

So far not very impressive response from Intel. I hope you have more luck and if you could post your case ID maybe it ight make some difference over here.

idata
Community Manager
72 Views

I am disappointed to read that. I chose Intel based on my experience with their X-25 series of drives and their positive reputation. I chose not to go with Corsair or OCZ to avoid having probelms even though their drives are reportedly faster. I wanted to just plug it in and have it work. I still hope to hear something more constructive from Intel and if I do I'll pass it along.

idata
Community Manager
72 Views

It is disappointing but do post your case ID if you get chance.

I'm going to buy a PCI-e SATA 3 card to put in my system to see if it really is the onboard controller.

idata
Community Manager
72 Views

My US case number is: 8000297531.

idata
Community Manager
8 Views

Another possibility.... what storage driver is being loaded while in SATA 3Gb/s mode? How about SATA 6Gb/s mode?

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