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Community Manager

Intel 520 Series 120G SSD random BSOD's - please help

Gday guys,

just wanted to humbly ask for some help. I've recently fitted a new 520 Series SSD into my PC and im getting random BSOD's. I've had 2 today so far after loading a fresh installation of Windows 7 Ultimate 64 early this morning. I wasnt doing anything taxing (just using Firefox and copying files to another PC over ethernet).

My hardware:

Gigabyte P67A-UD7-B3 running 2nd latest BIOS.

8Gb Corsair Vengeance RAM

2x GTX570's in SLI

2Tb WD RE4

1.5Tb WD Green

72Gb WD Raptor.

LG Blu-ray


I had an OCZ Vertex 2 fail completely in my machine last week. No history of any problems before that. I fitted a backup SATA HDD till i received the Intel 520 i planned to replace the Vertex with. No issues with the backup SATA HDD running in IDE mode.

I fitted the intel 520 and initially set it up using IDE. Realising i should have set it to AHCI, i tried the registry tweak trick but it didnt work and wouldnt load windows on reboot anymore. So re-installed Windows fresh using AHCI. Loaded the latest Intel inf drivers, RST drivers and the other mobo drivers from Gigabyte. I also flashed the BIOS to the most recent non-beta version.

First issue was the extremely slow boot times (2 mins to desktop). After i was at desktop, there didnt appear to be any problems except for the first BSOD. Tracked the slow booting problem down to the 1.5Tb WD drive. If i remove it, the boot time is only about 20 secs. Fit the drive, and its back to 2mins. I plan to replace that drive this week but will leave it fitted for now to remove data from it.

Most annoying issue atm is the random BSOD's. The first time it happened, it was too quick and i didnt see the code/ file. No dump file either. I changed windows settings to catch the next one and it happened a few hours later calling a MSRPC.SYS file.

Problem signature: 

Problem Event Name: BlueScreen


OS Version: 6.1.7600.


Locale ID: 1033

Additional information about the problem: 

BCCode: 7a






BCP3: 0000000127165860


BCP4: FFFFF8800194D780


OS Version: 6_1_7600


Service Pack: 0_0


Product: 256_1

Files that help describe the problem: 




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If the online privacy statement is not available, please read our privacy statement offline: 


Im not sure what to do now. Im just waiting for it to crash again to gather more data i guess. I've read that the Sandforce controllers can cause BSOD issues but i would have thought intel would have ironed those issues by now if theyre using it on their new 520 series. You guys have any thoughts on this?

Apart from swapping the HDD out with another one, is there anything else i can do to narrow down/ force the problem? Maybe its the AHCI playing up? Maybe its not the SSD, but the history of events points towards it. Am tempted to try installing Windows again in IDE mode to see if that changes anything. Is there any special "drive erase" that i should do before reloading windows in IDE mode? Ive just been formatting the drive as per normal.

Would appreciate any advice at all guys. Bit disappointed and have had my head in the pc case for some days now and quite frustrated. Need to get up and running to continue my work. :-| Thanks for reading so far.



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Community Manager

Are you sure that you connected the Intel 520 (high speed!) 120GB SSD to the proper SATA port on your Gigagyte P67A motherboard?

Over the last months I noticed a number of issues concerning proper SATA port connection and drivers.


I have been using two 520's for over a week now. I have had them in R0 mostly but also in single drive configs. Absolutely no issues. You should probably download the Intel toolbox and do a secure erase on your drive. Then install W7 using achi mode.



Been impressed with the drives so far, we have to see how they perform over time now.
Community Manager

Thanks for the replies guys.

L10090 : I've plugged it into the SATA 3/0 slot which has the white connector it. Manual tells me its controlled by P67 chipset and is a 6Gb/s connector. Is that the right one? Other drives are plugged into the the other ports. Am using the most current driver as supplied by Intel site.

DooRules : thanks mate. I pretty much did that, (except for the secure erase part). I formatted it during Windows installation. Is that not correct? How do i do the secure erase if my O/S is installed on it please?

I persevered last night on AHCI mode and during a windows update, it BSOD again and wouldnt even load back into windows.

Frustrated, i set BIOS to IDE mode for all ports and installed Windows again. There hasnt been a single BSOD since and i changed nothing in the physcial config. Has been running all night without a problem and have installed several updates this morning.. still going strong.

So it seems to me like AHCI is the problem.

When i did have AHCI set, there were some BIOS settings i was unfamiliar with (transaction modes, SATA Firmware Selection. I dont understand that i have to switch RAID mode on even though im not using RAID (theres an option called Xtreme HDD). Could someone please tell me what BIOS settings i should have set? Think this would go a long way to making sure the base level setup was correct.


Also, do i need to load the latest Intel AHCI driver during windows install?

When i installed Win 7 with IDE mode active, the boot load times were MUCH quicker.

I ran some HDD benchmarks (ATTO and AS SSD) this morning and got the following results. Cant say that im overly impressed for a drive that is supposed to deliver read/write speed 550/500MB. Im lucky to get 400MB read.

And of concern is the "piciide BAD" field on the AS SSD screen. Is that referring to the fact that it should be running in AHCI mode or theres a problem with IDE?

HD Tune Pro gave me the following information. Average speed seems to be higher than the apps listed above, but why is UDMA Mode 5 active when Mode 6 is supported? Is this a limitation of IDE Vs AHCI? Also, why is Native Command Queuing ticked on when im running in IDE mode? I thought this was a feature only available in AHCI?

Again, thanks heaps for helping guys - much respect. Feel like im getting closer and at least i have a stable system atm (even though its not running as quickly as id like).

Would really like to be able to run the drive as it should be in AHCI mode, but until i can work out what BIOS settings i need and which drivers and how to do the secure erase, im stuck. Would be great to have an identical system sitting beside me that i could run tests on, alas.. i need to work on mine.


OK, first off a secure erase will blow away the OS, that is what I would do at this point. Can be done from Intel Toolbox.

If you do not want to reinstall you should have by now downloaded the Intel Toolbox. It has a function for cleaning up a drive in single drive config. Drive optimization, or forced trim I believe.

For a new install you will always want to use Achi mode or raid mode. In raid mode any single drive not part of a raid array will default to Achi mode, you do NOT need to load any Achi drivers on install.

You can switch between Achi and IDE without a reinstall but at this point for best performance I would secure erase the drive and reinstall in Achi mode.


You don't need to use Xtreme hdd.

Your as ssd score shows you have a pciide isue, this comes from the pciide warning in red.

I don't trust data from HDTune on our drives, Intel Toolbox can read smart data and drive data.


Soooooo, by now you should see that I would strongly recommend a fresh reinstall in Achi mode and get the Intel Toolbox downloaded.

Community Manager

Gday Dave,

thanks for your response mate. Let me fill you in on whats happened so far.

I assume your benchmarks are for a RAID array? Great performance.

Well, ive followed your advice and ive made some progress. Here's what i've done so far.

1) removed SDD and hot swapped it into another machine. Mucked around getting the secure erase done and followed a couple of the tutorials online. Basically, it was a case of deleting everything in diskmgmt, then "cleaning" the drive in DOS via the disk part tools. I then power cycled the drive and Intel SSD Toolbox finally let me do the secure erase.

2) I saw another guy (with the same motherboard and a SSD) had a youtube clip showing his BIOS settings, so i copied those. He had AHCI enabled for the PCH SATA, extreme HDD turned off, and also the esata and gsata controllers turned off. I installed windows from a bootable USB thumb drive i made up and it went on much quicker.

I also noticed that start up times were HEAPS quicker. I didnt load any other drivers about from the motherboard inf drivers, LAN, and audio drivers so that device manager was clear. I then ran my benchmarks again and got the following results. So these results are without RST loaded.

Everything was running stable for a day or so too. So i went the next step and loaded Intel RST. Got some slightly better results.

However, with RST loaded i started getting some BSOD. Maybe one or two a day. No stuttering or freezing, just straight to crash. Load times are still quicker (and quicker than when i tried IDE mode).

I read another forum post where the dude had issues with his Crucial C300 SSD and he suggested turning off LPM via registry. I did that and its been stable since. Have done a pile of updates, loaded several apps, played some games and it seems to be going well.

So hopefully, we've got it all sorted

Just thought i would get back to you and leave some notes if anyone else has similar problems.


That looks much better. Can you open your IRST control panel and check to see if you have write back cache enabled? If it's not just enable it and try atto again.

Community Manager

Unfortunately, the resident SSD-hater in the Anandtech forums (and others) is using this post as an example of the "failure" of the Intel 520 SSD.

As we can see, this forum is NOT filled with reports of problems with the 520, and although it is still early in this product's life cycle, I don't expect to see problems, simply because this is an Intel product.

I'll be receiving my 520 very soon.


Hey, I find they are good for a laugh parsec.


Been on two of these for over two weeks now, not a single issue in terms of the drives and performance. The guy above made mistakes that quite a lot of people make, all easily fixed.


One thing I would like answered though is if you are on an X79 mobo like me, and you use the recommended enterprise raid drivers, how come the Intel Toolbox is completely dysfunctional? I have to load the 11 series driver through device manager to get a fully working toolbox.
Community Manager

Yes Dave, Some of those forum posts are quite... entertaining.

Regarding the Toolbox on X79 platforms, DooRules may have some insights into that, but I think he also had problems with it on his X79 PC using the enterprise IRST driver. I don't see any mention of the Toolbox not being compatible with the enterprise IRST driver, but that info may be hiding somewhere.

Do you notice any difference in performance, etc, between the two drivers you mentioned?

Community Manager

Gday gents,

Dave, thanks for the tip, however from i what i read in the help section in IRST, writeback cache is for Arrays and volumes and i dont have that option to turn on.

You're both correct, i dont believe there is any problem with this drive, and i dont think this was an Intel 520 specific issue either. In my case, there was a long string of issues ranging from multiple BIOS settings that were wrong, another HDD pulling system performance down, and the Intel RST issue (LPM). This could have happened with any fast SSD on the market (in my opinion).

To date, after doing the LPM tweak, i havent had a single BSOD and the OS runs faster than it ever has.

However, i do feel for those consumers who are going to throw one of these fast devices into their machines and not know wtf is going on. Its been a steep learning curve for me and i've only gotten so far because of the broad range of helpful people who have shared their experiences and settings with the same mobo and SSD combos. Thanks also to the guys who have helped in this forum, really appreciate it.

Parsec, haters gonna hate. Enjoy your new drive when you receive it SSD's are the future. HDD's went out in the 80's, lol.

Community Manager

skiman, Dave might be referring to the write cache option that is available from Device Manager, in the Disk drives section. Select a drive and in the Policies tab you'll see the Write caching option.

The Intel SSD Toolbox is great to use with an Intel SSD, you really should use it if you have an Intel SSD.

I've used Intel SSDs with RST drivers on three different PCs, and never had any problems, including LPM. That may depend on your Windows Power option setting, if you use high performance, which I do, that is not a problem.


In terms of performance the 11 series driver just smokes the enterprise driver, either one of them.


Also, with the 11 series driver the Intel Toolbox is fully functionable.
Community Manager

Hey Parsec,

thanks for clarifying. I just checked write cache in device manager and it is turned on. Also checked my power settings before i did the LPM tweak and made sure they were on full. I do use the SSD Toolbox, but apart from using the optimiser and diagnostics and tuning (the first time), i dont imagine you would use it very often. How often should i optimise the drive if its my OS?

Cheers mate

Community Manager

The recommendation for optimization is once a week, as it states in the Optimizer screen. You can set it up to perform that on a schedule, automatically.

No, you don't use the Tool Box all the time, just like that special wrench in your other toolbox. But when you need it, you're glad you have it.

Community Manager

Thanks mate, much appreciated.

Community Manager

I had the same problem. Random BSOD's and random poor performance.

I purchased two of the Intel 520 SSDs. One worked perfectly in one of my

computers with Gigabyte motherboard. The other had these problems.

That computer is a Dell Optiplex 755 with Dell/Intel motherboard and an

Intel ICH9R SATA support.

I set BIOS to AHCI/RAID mode. I installed Windows 7 Home Premium.

Installed Intel Solid State Drive Toolbox version 3.0.2.

I took most of the published steps to fix this problem. I did secure erase.

I upgraded BIOS from A19 to A21 version. I reinstalled Windows two times.

I set power management to high performance. I could not get a good

windows 7 dump because the SSD interface was what was failing.

I finally got the main problem fixed and I am now getting good performance

and BSODs about once every 2 days. I found and applied the Intel LPM fix.

The Link power management (LPM) fix is to disable the LPM from

setting the SATA interface to reduced power.

I still get BSODs once about every 2 days, but performance is much

better. Intel still needs to fix the 520 SSD firmware to work with their

own SATA controllers.

Message was edited by: Kenneth Denbow. Now getting BSODs about once a day. Tried a different SATA port and a different SATA cable, but still the same problems, I reinstalled my old backup WD 500GB drive in AHCI mode and no problems with it.

Message was edited by: Kenneth Denbow for the 2nd time. I cloned the Windows 7 on Intel 520 SSD to an old Samsung 1TB non-SSD SATA drive model HD103SJ. Then booted computer with this drive. After windows 7 loaded MSAHCI driver and re-booted I ran the Windows Experience Index assesment again. My hard disk subscore dropped from 7.8 to 5.9 but my computer runs without any BSODs. I guess I have lost $200 on the Intel 520 and over 20 hours of work trying to get it to work.

Message was edited by: Kenneth Denbow for the 3rd time. I still get BDODs, mostly overnight while computer sits idle. I noticed that I gave some wrong information earlier. My motherboard chipset has an Intel ICH9D0 SATA controller and not ICH9R. The motherboard is made by Intel, model GM819, in a Dell optiplex 755 computer. I installed a new 450 watt power supply just to make sure that power was not the problem. Still fails.

Message was edited by: Kenneth Denbow for the 4th time. I changed power settings in BIOS from S3 to S1. No BSODs in last week since that change. I backed off some of the other attempted fixes and still no BSODs. It seems that Intel S3 support on the Dell Optiplex systems causes this problem.

Community Manager

EDIT: Actually I reinstalled Windows 7 and used the F6 (actually you don't press F6 anymore but you click on "load driver") method to load the Intel RST (Rapid Storage) driver. My bluescreens on the Optiplex 755 were gone!

Community Manager

I am running an ASRock X79 board and a 3930k with 2 Intel 180 GB 520 SSDs in raid 0. I was getting random BSODs and freezes with both drives. I tried single drives in non raid as well, and took the system apart trying to isolate the crash. It made no sense because I upgraded from 2 160 gb Intel 320 ssd's and had no issues with 32 gb ram. Also Intel had supposedly fixed the bsod issue. Then stumbled upon this thread.

I completely disabled Link power management, and went into the bios and disabled all the power saving C states. Rebooted and have not had a crash/freeze or BSOD in a week. I almost RMA-ed the drives!


Thanks to those who posted the LPM and bios power state changes!

Community Manager

I might have spoke too soon

my systems seems stable now after the reg tweak + rst.

was really stress out there for a while

Community Manager

I have four Intel 520's, all used as OS drives either singly or in RAID 0. Used them on two different mother boards, always with Intel RST drivers, in either AHCI or RAID mode. Never had a BSOD, not one.

While it's possible you may have a bad SSD, to conclude that all 520's have problems based on one sample is not valid.