11 Replies Latest reply on Dec 7, 2012 3:50 PM by Jim

    330 SSD appears as SATA 2, not SATA 3


      Hello all... I am hoping you can help me with an issue I am having with a new Intel 330 180gb SSD drive.   I have been battling with this all weekend, to no avail.


      My computer: HP Pavilion HPE h9-1130 Phoenix AMD

      Technical details: http://h20000.www2.hp.com/bizsupport/TechSupport/Document.jsp?lang=en&cc=us&taskId=120&prodSeriesId=5154893&prodTypeId=12454&objectID=c03272947


      Motherboard info: http://h20000.www2.hp.com/bizsupport/TechSupport/Document.jsp?objectID=c03117539 HP and Compaq Desktop PCs - Motherboard Specifications, M3970AM-HP (Angelica) - c03117539 - HP Business Support Center

      The computer is brand new.  It came with Windows 7.  I installed the SSD, installed Windows 8 on it and have been booting from the SSD drive.  The drive appears fine in BIOS, works in Windows (it is my boot drive) and is recognized by the Intel Toolbox which has no complaints.  There are no firmware updates available.


      However... when I run benchmark tests, the speeds returned are SATA 2.  When I run a utility like Speccy to show me the specs of the drive, it is reporting back as SATA 2 and NOT SATA 3.


      The original hard drive that came with the system is consistently reporting as SATA 3.  I have swapped cables and swapped SATA ports, both to no avail. I see nothing in the BIOS that will tell me the detected SATA speed so I can determine if it is some kind of Windows driver issue.


      I called HP tonight and they were clueless as I thought they would be.  According to my research on the motherboard, all 6 ports support SATA 3.  HP support was able to confirm this.


      Intel's phone support is closed and I will be at work during their normal business hours, so I am hoping you guys can share some of your briliiance.   Thank you for any advice.  Much appreciated!

        • 1. Re: 330 SSD appears as SATA 2, not SATA 3

          First of all, I doubt anything is wrong with your 330 SSD.


          Next, your description of the 330's speed being SATA II is vague, what are you using to test it? What are the speeds you are seeing?


          SSD performance depends upon the SATA mode used, is your SATA mode set to IDE, AHCI, or RAID? Any idea what SATA driver you are using, AMD's or Windows?


          You mentioned your original hard drive as consistently reports as SATA III. Is that a standard HDD, or SSD? The link for your PC you provided shows a 2TB standard HDD SATA II (yes SATA 2) drive, but there might have been options for different drives. Any and ALL standard HDDs, even those that claim to operate at SATA III speeds, will not even reach the real world maximum speed of SATA II.


          Programs that supply drive information can do two things, read the data populated by the manufacture in the drive regarding its SATA protocol or speed, or read the actual SATA port interface a drive is attached to. The former is much easier and does not really tell us what SATA protocol/speed the drive is operating in. A SATA III drive connected to a SATA I interface will still report SATA III if all the program does is read the drives spec data. Few programs report the true speed of the SATA interface. Unfortunately, one that does, the Intel AHCI/RAID driver Windows UI, will not work on an AMD SATA chipset.


          I tried Speccy on my PC, that has a SATA III SSD connected to a SATA II port. It reported it as a SATA III SSD, which is true, but I know it is on a SATA II port. Speccy is just reading the drives information. I have no Intel SSDs on this PC, so I can't check Speccy on them, but it sounds like it has a problem reading its data if it claims it is a SATA II SSD, or the 330 SSD has some compatibility problem with Speccy.


          Start the Intel SSD Toolbox and select your 330. Right below the Serial Number field is the Drive Details button, click on that. On the left of that screens heading line, you should see Word, and just below it a 0. On the right side you'll find Hex Value, which are numbers in the hexadecimal number system. In general, a single 0 or 1 in the Hex Value field means off or on, no or yes, false or true (0 = False, 1 = True.) Scroll down that screen to Word 76. Scroll down slowly and find bits 3, 2, and 1, which show the SATA Generation Speed support. What values do you find in those three fields?


          AMD SATA chipsets (I cannot determine which one your board has) can allow multiple configurations of each SATA port/connection. Your boards BIOS may not allow you to access all of them. Their SATA III performance is very good, but not as fast as the latest Intel SATA chipsets, if you are comparing your SSDs results with its specs or reviews, which are always done on Intel SATA III boards.

          • 2. Re: 330 SSD appears as SATA 2, not SATA 3

            Thanks for replying!


            AS SSD benchmark gives me these numbers:


            Sequential: 254 / 162

            4K: 13 / 42

            4K-64Thrd: 161 / 135

            Acc Time: .238 / .329

            Score: 201 / 194

            Total: 498


            I initially had it accidentally setup as RAID.  I switched to AHCI and reinstalled Windows today.  I am not sure which driver I am using.  Do you know how to determine?


            The default drive is a 2 TB Hitachi 7200 RPM regular hard drive, not SSD. 


            Value for the data in Word 76 is: 0/1/1, meaning Gen3 is 0, Gen2 is 1, Gen1 is 1.   That doesn't look good.

            • 3. Re: 330 SSD appears as SATA 2, not SATA 3

              Well, so much for nothing wrong with your 330, or at least the drives technical data. There is a Intel SSD 320, but that is not sold in 180GB models, so I highly doubt you have a 320. Then again, do you have version 3.1.1 of the Toolbox, a recent new version? If so, that SSD has a problem, if not try it with the newest version, I know some of the earlier versions of the Toolbox would not work well with some newer Intel SSDs.


              If you can, return that 330 to the retailer if it still shows up as a 0 in the SATA Gen 3 data field. I've never seen that before in this forum. Might be hard to convince them of your issue, or even Intel's support, but if you sound like you know what you are talking about, which you should, at least with Intel support, you could at least RMA it to Intel. I'm sure they will ask you what version of the Toolbox you have, which should be this one:




              Maybe Intel support has seen this before, and may even be interested in seeing your SSD, unless you got so unlucky to get the only one like that. That data field should not be changeable by anything, certainly not a mother board or BIOS. Glad I thought of checking that.

              • 4. Re: 330 SSD appears as SATA 2, not SATA 3

                Parsec - thanks for your continued support.


                I left work early so I can call Intel and talk to someone about this issue.  The person I spoke to was not very knowledgeable.  Of course he just wanted me to contact HP which I already did.  He reviewed the motherboard specs here and insists that they are SATA 2 ports and not SATA 3.




                He is not willing to do a drive swap since it is working great and the problem is that I am plugging into a SATA 2 port even though I do not have any on my motherboard.  They are all SATA 3.


                Frustrated, I called back and was told that they were closing in one minute and there was nobody I could talk to.  Something tells me the first person just wanted to go home so I tried a chat session...


                Same roadblock there.  "The drive is working fine.  It must be an issue with the controller."


                Neither would acknowledge the issue you pointed out above where the Intel Toolbox reports than gen3 is somehow disabled.


                At this point, the issue is either with the drive itself or an incompatability with the drive and AMD chipsets or the drive and the SATA controller.  I don't know how to prove what the issue is though and I am hitting nothing but dead ends.


                When you call tech support and you are more knowledgeable than they are, it is a very frustrating experience.  If I don't hear from someone at Intel that reads this board within a day or so, I guess I will send this drive back and buy another brand.  Nothing is worth this aggravation.

                • 5. Re: 330 SSD appears as SATA 2, not SATA 3

                  One more tidbit of info...


                  PC Wizard reports that the SATA port is running at 6 gb/sec (SATA 3) while the drive itself is running at 3 gb/sec (SATA 2).

                  • 6. Re: 330 SSD appears as SATA 2, not SATA 3

                    I have the same problem with a 330 series 180 gig ssd. Did this get resolved? I have gone everywhere I can go except to think the drive itself is defective.

                    • 7. Re: 330 SSD appears as SATA 2, not SATA 3

                      Jim - interesting adventure this turned out to be.


                      After returning the Intel SSD, I tried a Mushkin SSD.  The Mushkin was reporting itself as being SATA 3, so that was a positive. However, the speeds were STILL ONLY SATA 2!


                      I went another couple of rounds with HP support who tried to blame it on the cable and that was a dead end.  After posting my frustrations to the HP support forums, where one of the community members tried his best to to help me, it turns out that someone else had this same exact issue.  After putting this poor guy through hell, HP finally admitted that they were able to duplicate the problem and they blamed it on an incompatibility with AMP chipsets.  They took care of him and upgraded him to an Intel based system. 


                      I returned the HP and I have an Intel based Acer system in transit to me and I am hoping this solves my problem.


                      I am curious if you have an HP AMD config or something else? 

                      • 8. Re: 330 SSD appears as SATA 2, not SATA 3

                        Incompatibility with the AMD chipset? So one of AMD's latest chips from their 900 series can't recognize or negotiate SATA III with a SATA III SSD? That sounds ridiculous, and could be a driver issue. I wonder if (pure speculation) HP somehow limited the SATA interface to SATA II, as is sometimes seen with laptops. Could also be a BIOS issue, where the limited options HP provides does not allow the correct configuration of the SATA ports. AMD SATA chipsets can have all kinds of options and settings, depending on the driver. I've read that using RAID mode with single, non-RAID volume drives on AMD chipsets increases performance, but I've never used an AMD board.


                        This is an example of why all in one PCs are not good for modifications.

                        • 9. Re: 330 SSD appears as SATA 2, not SATA 3

                          To clarify my specifics: I am running a HP dv7t - 6100 CTO Pavilion notebook. It is a second gen Sandy Bridge chip with the Cougar point chipset. The chipset for this unit is specified to support SATA 3 and the HP support person told me that the port on the notebook is SATA3 as well. Intel tells me that it is the fault of the notebook because notebooks typically are built not to support SATA3 because they are trying to sell them as cheap as possible. His suggestion was to configure the drive into a desktop that had known SATA3 ports and see if it configures to SATA 3 and if so it was a good drive. Intel's Rapid Storage Software says that the drive is SATA2 and their Toolbox software also says SATA2. PC Wizard software shows the controler bandwidth on the computer as SATA3.  Problem is I dont have a SATA 3 Desktop to put it into to check it. So where I go from here I dont know.

                          • 10. Re: 330 SSD appears as SATA 2, not SATA 3

                            Another HP as the culprit.


                            The only way to know for sure (and this sucks, I had the same problem):


                            • Plug this SSD drive into another machine that you know supports SATA 3
                            • Plug in another SSD drive that supports SATA 3 and compare the benchmarks


                            I am wishing you luck.  I know your frustration!

                            • 11. Re: 330 SSD appears as SATA 2, not SATA 3

                              Well I dont know if I found a solution or not but the drive is now working properly at 6Gb/s. There is one thing that I did that may have just had something to do with it changing to SATA 3. I was reading about the practice of overprovisioning the drive or short stroking the drive. So I went to drive manager and decided to shrink the partition down to less than 160 Gigs. It is a 180 Gig drive. The tech support person said that the drive couldnt be larger than 160 gigs which I remember that there was an option to order this with a SSD of that size. At any rate that was part of the reason to drop the partition size down to just below 160 Gig.  After doing that I checked the drive with the Intel Rapid storage Technology Software and the PC Wizard program and nothing had changed. Still sata 2. So I decided to try changing the drive to the other port and see if by chance it would boot from thaqt port and go to SATA 3 because PC Wizard said the available unused port was a SATA3 port. No go! It would not even see thedrive on that port so I was SOL there. The BIOS for this dv7 has no changable inputs at all. Never seen something so devoid of choices in a BIOS before. Cant change the boot order. So I decided to put it back in the port 0 and reboot. I did disconnect all the power and battery in the process of changing the ports and I dont know if that had anything to do with it but when I rebooted the computer and chaeked it the disk was connected at SATA 3! I couldnt believe my eyes when I saw it. In an effort to make myself be convinced I ran a transfer rate test and it was indeed at almost 500Gb/s as advertised.


                              I hope that this helps someone else avoid all the headaches I went through even if I do not know exactly what made the thing work. Im just glad its working properly now! Thanks to all for the help!