To add some additional info, ran a standard AS SSD test - attached are the results plus two screens from Intel SSD Toolbox. The HDD light on the front of the case continues to flash rapidly non-stop, even after a few reboots. CPU monitoring gadget indicates some activity, however the HDD gadget doesn't show the activity level that I'd expect to see given the non-stop flashing HDD light.
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Windows never sits "idle" so there will always be disk activity. Your utilities just confirm activity which is normal. To see what's running, open Task Manager and click on the Processes tab. This will show you what's running along with I/O. To see the actual files being read or written, click on the Performance tab then click on Resource Monitor at the bottom. Expand the Disk section and you can see disk activity. Allow the screen to sit for about a minute or so and you'll see that there is always at least one file being updated about once per second. This is normal.
There are numerous processes running all the time. Perhaps you have additional software adding I/O. In any case, you should be able to identify what's running. Oh yeah, I might mention that even when logged off, Windows still performs I/O on the disk.
Thanks CarWiz, appreciate your feedback. I recall I noticed the same thing when I got this system a year ago and after I got through the initial pain with Vertex2 I noticed the same non-stop disk activity. Although I think it eventually died down, whereas with Intel 520 it hasn't stopped yet. But as this is no cause for concern, I won't worry about it.
Just for fun I placed the image from the Vertex2 onto Intel 520 and everything worked just fine, however I prefer to have a clean install which is exactly what I did. Once I receive a new Vertex2 via the RMA, I'll have to figure out whether I can swap it as the drive for Asus K72F laptop and apply an image from the laptop's HDD onto the Vertex2. Time will tell. As it is an Intel Core i3 350M / 2.26 GHz machine with 4GB RAM and has a 500GB HDD (two partitions - OS and Data), it should see a performance improvement with Vertex2. But I digress.
So far I'm quite happy with Intel 520 - BIOS recognized it right away (the same cannot be said about Vertex2 - lots of crashes lately; even after Secure Erase wasn't recognized by BIOS), OS installation went well and the system is up and running. Was a little hesitant to replace an SSD with a SandForce controller with another one with the same controller, but I have some faith in Intel's testing procedures which allegedly resulted in fixed to the firmware. Keeping fingers crossed - so far, so good.
Use resource monitor-->disk activity to narrow down what is using up your I/O.
Given your screenshot with the CPU usage gadget at 30% overall, with an i7-2600k, that is certainly not an idle PC situation. That may not be representative of the typical, low load CPU usage level on your PC, but if it is, you have all kinds of things running. Therefore, you'll have quite a bit of I/O in your file system to go along with that.
Windows 7 has many logs that are being written to all the time. If you've never seen them, from Control Panel select Administrative Tools, and then Event Viewer. Click on just about anything on the left side of that screen to view one of the many logs, and their many entries. Don't be scared immediately if you see some marked Error, check them and they'll likely be nothing.
So your previous SSD did not cause the HDD activity light to flash like the 520 does? You're not using a new case that has an extra bright HDD LED, or fixed the connection to that LED from the mother board, or something along those lines? Hmm, was your other SSD that screwy that the HDD LED would not come on when it was in use (or having issues?)
The drive activity LED on all my PCs are flashing all the time, I'd be worried if it slowed down or stopped, frankly.