14 Replies Latest reply on Oct 24, 2012 6:03 AM by Özgür

    Intel 520 Series SSD - Poor Performance Issues


      CPU: 3770K

      MB: DZ77GA-70K

      SSD (Boot): Intel SSD 520 Series (120GB, 2.5in SATA 6Gb/s, 25nm, MLC)

      HDD (Storage): WD Green Caviar, 3TB, SATA 6Gb/s

      OS: Windows 7 Ultimate 64bit


      I have a the SSD on SATA port 0 and the HDD on SATA port 1 (the two blue ones). The BIOS was set to AHCI before I did a clean install of Windows 7. The BIOS is the latest version (0039).


      I installed all the motherboard drivers (except Intel Rapid Storage Technology) and the Intel SSD Toolbox and ran the SSD Optimizer. Then I did this AS SSD Benchmark:




      I then installed Intel Rapid Storage Technology and ran the AS SSD Benchmark again:




      There was an overall decrease in performance.


      Both times the Acc.time failed on the read test giving this error:




      This is the first build I've done with an SSD so is there anything obvious I'm missing? I was excepting much closer to the promised 550Mb/s read and 500Mb/s write speeds.


      One thing I thought may be causing the problems was using SATA 3Gb/s cables but I've read that it shouldn't have any effect.


      Message was edited by: Will When I copy a 3GB file from my HDD to my SSD I'm getting about 30-40Mb/s transfer speeds. When I copy the same file from my SSD to my HDD I get upwards of 100Mb/s speeds.

        • 1. Re: Intel 520 Series SSD - Poor Performance Issues

          No idea about the Access Time problem, but the write speeds seem rather low. The AS-SSD Write Score should be in the 270-280 range, giving an overall rating of ~600. I had problems using the supplied Foxconn SATA cable, as it was folded very tightly to fit in the SSD box, giving greatly reduced write speeds (reads were unaffected ???). A new (6gbps) cable fixed this, so don't rule it out - try a few cables and both 6gbps ports.


          If you want to see the 550/500mbps speeds quoted by Intel (and every other Sandforce drive), try ATTO for benchmarking, as it uses compressible data (CrystalDiskMark also gives higher write speeds than AS-SSD). My 120gb 520 gets 555/520mbps with ATTO (and the new cable), so you should be getting close to these speeds if everything is set up correctly. I'm not suggesting ATTO is the better benchmark, but it does give the maximum read/write speeds so you can tell that the SSD/cable/port are working properly.

          1 of 1 people found this helpful
          • 2. Re: Intel 520 Series SSD - Poor Performance Issues

            ATTO does give much closer to the 550/500mbps speeds quoted by Intel. It still doesn't explain why when I copy a 3GB file from my HDD to my SSD I'm getting about 30-40Mb/s transfer speeds and when I copy the same file from my SSD to my HDD I get upwards of 100Mb/s speeds.

            • 3. Re: Intel 520 Series SSD - Poor Performance Issues

              The copy speed from your HDD to the SSD is not hard to explain. You're seeing the limitations of a HDD in actual usage. I imagine you're thinking you have a SATA 6Gb/s WD Green HDD, so it should be much faster. I have a (so called) SATA 6Gb/s HDD too, but not the same model as yours. While these HDDs can be labeled SATA 6Gb/s due to meeting some part of the SATA III specification, in use they will never even surpass the SATA 3Gb/s transfer rate most of the time, or even come close to it. Next, yours being a "green" drive, it uses less power and its internal disks likely spin at less than the 7200 RPM speed usually seen in standard consumer HDDs. That of course further reduces its speed potential.


              Have you ever tried running an AS SSD test on that or any HDD? If you do, just do the Sequential test by un-checking the other boxes (4K, etc.) Otherwise, it will take about half an hour to complete the entire test. My 2TB, 7200 RPM SATA 6Gb/s HDD scored ~130MB/s for both sequential read and write, on the 1GB data file used by AS SSD. That is just over real world SATA I (yes, one) speed. ATTO will likely show better results, as it displays the theoretical, best case performance. AS SSD is an average of a few runs, and is a more real world result. If you let an AS SSD run on all tests complete on a HDD, as I have, you will be shocked at the performance compared to a SSD, night and day.


              There are all kinds of other factors that may have affected that ~40MB/s speed. How much free space is on the HDD? HDDs become slower as they are filled up. Windows was performing other tasks while the copy was running, it always is, and depending upon what they were, they can affect other tasks. Windows 8 Release Preview has a new, real time graph and numeric display feature that can be seen during a file copy, The copy speed goes up and down from second to second.


              Try running AS SSD by right clicking on it and choosing Run as Administrator, you may get a higher priority in the mix of running programs and a better score.

              I have seen that missing read access time in AS SSD once or twice. It happened on a new Windows 7 installation with a SSD (not a 520 or Intel) I used. That stopped happening, so my guess is I may have not had the .inf files, and other required programs (ie, Intel ME) and all the endless Windows updates installed yet (likely the latter.) IMO, that missing access time is not a problem with your SSD.

              • 4. Re: Intel 520 Series SSD - Poor Performance Issues

                I just started looking at this subject after replacing an opriginal x-25M 80gb SSD a new 120GB 520 ssd. Sadly the new 520 is appreciably slower than the x-25 and repeated tests with crystaldiskmark and even windows 7 performance tool show it.


                I also put a 120gb  520 SSD in my 2nd pc at the same time and it is also slower than the 40GB -320 it replaced.


                One is a p55 and the other an x-58 , new good 6gbs cables and indeed tried other cables as well to no avail. Latest windows 7 updates as well as intel RST drivers. Both units have 12gb of ram and seperate hitachi 2 tb drives for data and other programs.


                SSD toolbox says all are fine. - I only know that something is wrong.

                • 5. Re: Intel 520 Series SSD - Poor Performance Issues

                  All X58 and P55 systems do not have Intel chipsets with SATA 6Gb/s support. That is provided by a Marvell chipset that is known for poor performance, due to their limitation of using one PCIe lane, so are limited to 5Gb/s at best. Plus the Marvell chipset and driver pair have lower high queue depth performance than the Intel SATA 3Gb/s ports and IRST AHCI/RAID driver pair.


                  The Intel 520 SSD has been found in reviews to be one of the highest performing SSDs available today. As an owner of X-25M G2 and 520 SSDs, I find it hard to understand how the G2 can outperform a 520, on any SATA interface, particularly with the G2's maximum sequential write performance of 80MB/s.

                  • 6. Re: Intel 520 Series SSD - Poor Performance Issues

                    Agreed and in my case I am connected to the intel 3gbs controller which is faster and more stable than the marvel one in my units. I have no clue whatsoever why the x-25 is faster / more responsive but the difference is upsetting.  For instance the windows 7  performance test disk transfer rate shows the x25M to be 7.8 whereas the 520 is 7.1. This has been repeated. - Even my older 2TB SATA hard drives show better than that.

                    I am clueless right now but will keep searching for a solution.


                    * i also see that intel has released version of the RST drivers so may try that tomorrow and see what happens.


                    If you think of anything else to try - please let me know



                    • 7. Re: Intel 520 Series SSD - Poor Performance Issues

                      I must say that i am having the same "issue" and i am very disappointed.


                      I have Asus Rampage IV Extreme (2011) and Intel i7 3930K with Intel 520, 180 GB SSD.






                      My cruical m4 128 GB is performing much better.



                      • 8. Re: Intel 520 Series SSD - Poor Performance Issues

                        Your M4 is on another PC, is it also a X79 chipset PC?


                        The RSTe driver on your X79 board does not quite perform in the same way as the usual IRST driver used on all other Intel chipset boards. Many SSD benchmark enthusiasts have found performance is better on PCs that use IRST with other chipsets.


                        You are also seeing, on AS SSD, the performance difference of the SandForce SSD controller when tested with all non-compressible data. The Marvell controller on a M4 is not affected by compressible and non-compressible data. Most other disk benchmark programs use compressible data, which the SandForce controller excels with.


                        If you check the detailed specs of the 520, there are two sections, one for compressible data, the other for non-compressible data. All SandForce based SSDs perform in this way, although Intel is the only one that notes this in their detailed specs.

                        • 9. Re: Intel 520 Series SSD - Poor Performance Issues

                          it was on the same PC.


                          What tests (at least 2, if possible) would you recommend me for compressed?


                          I just would like to make sure my SSD is good.


                          How this affect windows\games and everything? what kind of data is that?

                          In Games, Apps, would M4 be faster then 520?



                          • 10. Re: Intel 520 Series SSD - Poor Performance Issues

                            ATTO, CrystalDiskMark, Anvil, are free or have free trial versions of their benchmarks.


                            I have four 520's, they all score similar to yours in AS SSD.


                            In general, most data is compressible, but it depends on what you do on your PC.


                            I know many SSD users believe these synthetic benchmark tests are all that matters, but that is not the case. My favorite example of this is the Intel 510 SSD (Yes, 510), which I use. It seems to have poor performance in some benchmark tests, it scores worse than an Intel X-25 M G2 in AS SSD, and the 510 is a SATA III SSD. But check it with more sophisticated tests, and custom real world tests, and it can perform equal to or better than many of the latest SSDs.


                            For a great review and comparison, check this review of the 520, one of many on the Internet. It will answer many questions for you:



                            • 11. Re: Intel 520 Series SSD - Poor Performance Issues

                              Thanks for info.

                              I just did ANVIL test, and write is very very bad.

                              I just checked their forums (where i got the download link) and most of ppl have better results.


                              ATA INTEL SSDSC2CW18 SCSI Disk Device_180GB_1GB-20120822-0917.png


                              Please advise.

                              • 12. Re: Intel 520 Series SSD - Poor Performance Issues

                                Actually it says 100% incompressible, need to see how to compress the test?

                                • 13. Re: Intel 520 Series SSD - Poor Performance Issues

                                  I finally gave up on the 520 in both my pc's, put the x-25 back in pc #1  and got a samsung for pc #2. I have no clue what is wrong with the 520's but they are now relegated to the closet for some future firmware update that will hopefully make them work properly.

                                  • 14. Re: Intel 520 Series SSD - Poor Performance Issues

                                    hi. I'm using my intel 520 120gb on Asus 1215B, with C60 processor.
                                    I think there is a problem on 4K speeds.


                                    system configration:

                                    AMD C60 CPU

                                    6gb DDR3 1333 ram

                                    Win7 ultimate

                                    İntel 520 120gb, on Sata2 interface