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idata
Community Manager
1,895 Views

Intel SSD 520 240 GB problems

I received my Intel SSD 520 240 GB mid-June, and since then, I have been nothing but frustrated with this SSD and Intel's email support.

First off, let me start off with my system specifications:

Asus U20A Notebook

Intel Dual-Core ULV SU7300 1.3 GHz

Mobile Intel GS45 Express Chipset + ICH9M

4 GB DDR2-800 RAM

Intel GMA X4500MHD Graphics

Before upgrading to this SSD, I ran a 320 GB HDD in AHCI for 3 years on Windows Vista, and later, Windows 7 with absolutely no problems. After upgrading, I freshly installed Windows 7. The installation went without issue, but upon booting up into Windows, my system would frequently pause/freeze/stall for a minute-or-so, then resume for a few minutes only to pause again. I could still move the mouse, but running application would become completely unresponsive.

After multiple re-installations of Windows, updating Windows (which took all night with all the frequent pauses) and installing IRST 10.8.0.1003 drivers, the problem still remained. After installing Intel SSD Toolbox (took 15 minutes) and running a full diagnostic scan on the SSD, it came up with read errors within a few seconds. I RMA'ed the SSD only to have its replacement do exactly the same thing.

So now I'm thinking maybe it's my notebook. So I tested the new SSD in my older desktop with the following specifications:

Shuttle SG33G5

Intel Core 2 Quad

Intel G33 Chipset + ICH9DH

4 GB DDR2-800 RAM

Intel GMA 3100 Graphics

The SSD ran perfectly.

So with the SSD back in my notebook, and after some troubleshooting, I discovered that if I run the SSD in IDE mode, the pauses do note happen. Still unsatisfied, as obviously the SSD is much slower in IDE mode, I took to the forums in-search of a fix as Intel's email technical support is totally and utterly useless.

I found on Corsair's SSD support forums that one of their SSD that also uses the SandForce controller was suffering from similar pauses. The fix (discussed http://forum.corsair.com/v3/showthread.php?t=96663 here) was disabling Link Power Management (LMP) and it worked. Since then, Corsair has released a firmware update that addresses this issue. You also need to disable Device Initiated Power Management (DIPM) in the Intel SSD Toolbox, or else the pauses come back.

The fix is specific to the IRST drivers and involves modifying values within HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SYSTEM\CurrentControlSet\services\iaStor.

With the pauses fixed, now I am having another issue: I am getting a BSOD with STOP 0xF4 after resuming from sleep. Again, I took to the forums, and unsurprisingly, an OCZ SSD that also uses the SandForce controller was suffering from the exact problem (discussed http://www.ocztechnologyforum.com/forum/showthread.php?93140-Random-BSOD-0x000000F4-with-Vertex3-120... here). Just as Corsair did, OCZ released a firmware update to address these issues.

So besides disabling sleep, how do I fix the this BSOD STOP 0xF4? When is Intel releasing a firmware update to address these SandForce-related issues?

Also, below is my email communique with Intel technical support, just in case anyone is thinking that they will be useful.

Hello Marc,

Thank you again for contacting Intel Customer Support.

It is not necessary, they are in the previous emails.

Sincerely,

Mark B.  

Intel Technical Support

 

 

Original TextFrom:<<snipped>>To:mailto:support.replies_@mailbox.intel.com support.replies_@mailbox.intel.comCC:Sent:07/18/12 09:41:39Subject:Re: {ticketno:[8000475687]} - Your Intel Customer Support Inquiry

Can you please reiterate your recommendations?

On Jul 18, 2012 12:33 PM, <</span>mailto:SUPPORT.REPLIES@mailbox.intel.com SUPPORT.REPLIES@mailbox....

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13 Replies
idata
Community Manager
63 Views

Starchild is not the only one having this issue. Last Thursday I received my brand new Dell Precision M6600. Before I started to use the system I upgraded the hard drive to an Intel 520 Series..

After dropping in the SSD, I was ready to install Windows 7 Pro. I first went into the BIOS and left the setting on RAID. After reading tons of forums, this seemed like the right way on installing the hard drive. Once complete I installed all the necessary drivers (which is a story in its self!). After, I went on the Intel website and ran the driver utility make sure everything is up-to-date. I also installed the SSD toolbox to optimize the drive.

After dealing with the BIOS not always detecting the SSD and the occasional OS freeze, I made my way into the Intel control panel. I noticed the hard drive was only running at 3GB/s, I thought that was kind of odd since the computer is capable of running 6GB/s. I decided to change the BIOS to AHCI and reinstall 7..

Once complete I still had to deal with the BIOS not detecting the SSD and 7 freezing up every so often. Anywho, once I re-installed all drivers and utilities. I now see the hard drive running at 6GB/s. I was a very happy camper until I started to use the computer. I noticed it freezed up the more I use it.

Finally, after I finished reading all documents I could find on the internet on my trusty apple. I decided to post this issue on the Intel forum. Approximately 13 hours later, Starchild wrote me back two possible ways of correcting the issue. One was the power management options in windows and the other was a registry modification. I couldn't find the power management option; skeptically I went ahead and modified the registry. After I rebooted the computer now works perfectly!

Intel (typing this while simultaneously shaking my pointer finger) you have a serious issue with your SSD. You need to post a firmware update. Not only to fix the issue with 7 but, also so folks who have M6600 and other affected laptop/desktops; who decide to buy your SSD, can just turn on the computer and have it boot up normally.

 

Thanks Again Starchild..

 

plee21
Valued Contributor I
63 Views

Hi

Please note that if not using RAID, you do not need, and should actively avoid the Intel RST drivers. There is zero performance difference between using the Windows built in ACHI drivers or the Intel ones. I've had several issues over the years using Intel drivers for ACHI including blue screens that have all been fixed by using the Windows built in drivers. Check out Intel's own release notes, they often document known issues for various problems and are being updated every few months in a desperate attempt to fix issues, whereas Windows built in drivers rarely require updates and when they do, they are part of a very heavily tested service pack or update.

Regards

Phil

idata
Community Manager
63 Views

I switched to MS' AHCI drivers and the pauses returned. With all the pausing, it took more than an hour, but I was finally able to enable control of DIPM/HIPM in Power Options via the registry (discussed http://www.sevenforums.com/tutorials/177819-ahci-link-power-management-enable-hipm-dipm.html here). From there, I disabled DIPM/HIPM for each Power Plan and the pauses stopped. I have also successfully resumed from sleep without a BSOD STOP 0xF4. Additionally, I went from 7.7 to 7.8 primary hard disk Windows Experience Index subscore.

So far, switching to MS' AHCI drivers have solved all my problems. Thanks for the help Phil!

idata
Community Manager
63 Views

Thanks Phil and Starchild for the additional help, I'm still new to troubleshooting these issues so I really appreciate all the feedback!! I'm currently using the "Intel(R) Mobile Express Chipset SATA AHCI Controller", I will try the "Standard AHCI 1.0 Serial ATA Controller". Hopefully soon Intel will come out with a revision that solves all issues.

Also, I have heard a lot about TRIM how can I tell if the TRIM option is running?

Thanks again

***update***

The computer is still having issues, it continues to freeze while surfing the web.. On the bottom it says "waiting for cache"

idata
Community Manager
63 Views

I also spoke too soon, as I am still getting STOP 0xF4 after resuming from sleep. I will make a new thread for this specific issue.

Josh: You can check if TRIM is enabled by opening a Command Prompt as an administrator and typing:

fsutil behavior query DisableDeleteNotify

0 means enabled while 1 means disabled.

To enabled TRIM, type:

fsutil behavior set disablenotify 0

I believe TRIM is enabled by default.

Are the pauses only happening with your browser?

idata
Community Manager
63 Views

Thanks Starchild, yes, TRIM is enabled. and yes, the freezing only happens in the browser (Chrome).. At the bottom of the browser it reads "Waiting for Cache". I haven't had a chance to push the computer but, I will this weekend!!! Photoshop, games, run-of-the-mill operations.. I'll let you know how it turns out.

****UPDATE*****

Its just happened!!! outlook was checking for mail and I was cruising the internet.. Anywho.. I will send more updates as things happen.

idata
Community Manager
63 Views

Unfortunately, I can't stop the freezing either in a Lenovo W520 Win7 system. I have the LMP set to active / active in the windows power options, and the SSD Toolbox says DIPM isn't supported. However, I still had the drive hang in the on state (LED lit) over the weekend. It seems more likely to happen when I login remotely, but it also can happen right after reboot while actively loading up programs (so I don't think any type of power management comes in to play there). Any other ideas on how to fix this? Should I just RMA?

idata
Community Manager
63 Views

I still have the freezing problems too.. But, since I followed the recommendations of Starchild.. it seemed to be freezing less.. I wish Intel would come out with a fix, I had the drive for over a month and I haven't seen any new updates. My opinion would be to return it and get a different brand.. or just hope something comes down the pipe soon.

idata
Community Manager
63 Views

I have these issues too, on a Lenovo W520.

I had a 160GB 320 series and that ran fine and never froze.

Then I upgraded to the 520 series and got a 180GB - started freezing. Tried to fix it but assumed the disk was faulty so I grabbed a 240GB as well, the 180GB is in another PC and works great but the 240GB is having the same symptoms/issues as you.

Please fix this Intel!

idata
Community Manager
63 Views

Returned the 240GB and swapped it for a Samsung 830, ended up being $70 cheaper and works great!

Problem solved. Kinda

idata
Community Manager
63 Views

I'm still testing, but it seems like all of my issues (periodic freezing and BSOD 0xF4 after resuming from sleep) have been fixed after upgrading to IRST 11.6.0.1030.

It also seems like this IRST disables HIPM/DIPM and LPM.

idata
Community Manager
63 Views

Hey starchild, I also had the same issue as you on my 520 drive. It seems that after swapping to the RST drivers, all issues went away. I also had my own thread about it;

After further research about Intel Chipset drivers, MS AHCI drivers and Intel RST drivers, I stumbled upon a thread on the Intel forums (though not in SSD sub-category) which the user explains in a small portion of his actual problem regarding Intel SSDs being used in laptops. That particularly helpful thread is included in my own thread in a quote.

Cheers to our 520 drives!

idata
Community Manager
63 Views

I'm glad it worked out for you.

Unfortunately, it appears that updating to the latest IRST corrupted my SSD, causing explorer.exe and other Windows components to crash constantly and requiring the SSD to be scanned before each boot to recover bad sectors.

This was the last straw.

I sold the SSD and, like shadenz, purchased a Samsung 830 and I've never been happier.