10 Replies Latest reply on Nov 17, 2009 10:57 AM by ambizytl

    Upgrade motherboard just to get AHCI > Trim?

    calbearz024

      I installed my X25-M 80GB SSD on an older system with an EVGA 680i SLI motherboard for my Windows 7 installation.  I recently found out that the 680i doesn't support AHCI, so I'm considering replacing it with a board using an Intel P45 chipset (Gigabyte GA-EP45-UD3P). Can TRIM function on a motherboard that doesn't have AHCI, or would I need to run the SSD toolbox?  Can I even run the toolbox without AHCI?  Is it worth upgrading to the P45 chipset to add AHCI functionality?  What kind of lifespan can I expect from the SSD without TRIM?  The system runs solidly right now, so I'm hesitant to go through the potential headache of basically rebuilding the system with a new motherboard.

        • 1. Re: Upgrade motherboard just to get AHCI > Trim?
          TheHulk

          Windows 7 Trim commands work in IDE and AHCI mode (even if some guys say on this forum that it only works in AHCI mode, that is totally false....).


          But you have to install Windows 7 Sata IDE/AHCI drivers (they are installed by default duing Windows installation), and not Intel or Nvidia ones (until they officially support trim in the near future)

          • 2. Re: Upgrade motherboard just to get AHCI > Trim?
            ambizytl

            Windows 7 will not install AHCI driver unless BIOS is set to AHCI, and he should not try to install AHCI driver if his board does not support AHCI.

             

            To the OP, you can use non-AHCI mode but probably will not have NCQ, nor will it be as fast as in AHCI mode. How old is your MB?

             

            If sticking with your present MB, you could use the Optimizer in Toolbox that runs the TRIM automatically by scheduling or you can run it manually to keep your drive to specs, or at least close to specs and no need to worry about longetivity. After installing Windows 7, just make sure Defrag is turned off.

            • 3. Re: Upgrade motherboard just to get AHCI > Trim?
              calbearz024

              The 680i board came out in late 2006 and I built the sytem in January 2007.

               

              If the Toolbox can take care of TRIM for me with the SSD hooked up in IDE mode and I can schedule it to run, I'm more inclined to stick with the existing board since it serves my needs already and I don't plan to upgrade the rest of the system anytime soon; the new MB would just be to get AHCI for automatic TRIM.

               

              Windows 7 disabled Defrag when it installed, so it was still able to detect that the drive is an SSD.  I downloaded the firmware update, which trashed my original install, but I was able to reinstall Win7 anyway and it has been running well for the last 3+ weeks.  I'll have to keep an eye out for the Toolbox since it isn't available right now.

               

              HD Tune does detect some damaged blocks after the failure after the firmware update, should I be worried about them and RMA the drive?

              HDTune_Error_Scan_INTEL_SSDSA2M080G2GC - 2009-11-14.png

               

              Thanks for the replies.

              • 4. Re: Upgrade motherboard just to get AHCI > Trim?
                ambizytl

                I guess you could try HDDerase to see if that gets rid of those damaged blocks; otherwise, I would contact Intel and let them know about it and see what they say.

                 

                I built my system in early 2008 and MB is I think from late 2007, so I am a bit surprised your board doesn't support AHCI.

                • 5. Re: Upgrade motherboard just to get AHCI > Trim?
                  calbearz024

                  I'll have to find some time to try HDDerase and then reinstall.  Thanks for the tip.

                   

                  My board uses an NVIDIA nForce 680i chipset, so maybe they didn't have a license agreement to use AHCI when the chip was designed.

                  • 6. Re: Upgrade motherboard just to get AHCI > Trim?
                    ambizytl

                    I am curious since you said Windows 7 disabled defrag, is Superfetch also disabled? You can type in Start/Search/ services local and look at the listing.

                    • 7. Re: Upgrade motherboard just to get AHCI > Trim?
                      calbearz024

                      Superfetch is enabled and its startup type is automatic.  Should I disable it?

                      • 8. Re: Upgrade motherboard just to get AHCI > Trim?
                        ambizytl

                        The choice is yours. Here is the blog from Microsoft that gives information:

                         

                        Will disk defragmentation be disabled by default on SSDs?

                         

                        Yes. The automatic scheduling of defragmentation will exclude partitions on devices that declare themselves as SSDs. Additionally, if the system disk has random read performance characteristics above the threshold of 8 MB/sec, then it too will be excluded. The threshold was determined by internal analysis.

                         

                        The random read threshold test was added to the final product to address the fact that few SSDs on the market today properly identify themselves as SSDs. 8 MB/sec is a relatively conservative rate. While none of our tested HDDs could approach 8 MB/sec, all of our tested SSDs exceeded that threshold. SSD performance ranged between 11 MB/sec and 130 MB/sec. Of the 182 HDDs tested, only 6 configurations managed to exceed 2 MB/sec on our random read test. The other 176 ranged between 0.8 MB/sec and 1.6 MB/sec.

                         

                        Will Superfetch be disabled on SSDs?

                         

                        Yes, for most systems with SSDs.

                         

                        If the system disk is an SSD, and the SSD performs adequately on random reads and doesn’t have glaring performance issues with random writes or flushes, then Superfetch, boot prefetching, application launch prefetching, ReadyBoost and ReadDrive will all be disabled.

                         

                        Initially, we had configured all of these features to be off on all SSDs, but we encountered sizable performance regressions on some systems. In root causing those regressions, we found that some first generation SSDs had severe enough random write and flush problems that ultimately lead to disk reads being blocked for long periods of time. With Superfetch and other prefetching re-enabled, performance on key scenarios was markedly improved.

                         

                        http://blogs.msdn.com/e7/archive/2009/05/05/support-and-q-a-for-solid-state-drives-and.aspx

                        • 9. Re: Upgrade motherboard just to get AHCI > Trim?
                          calbearz024

                          What did you do with Superfetch, boot prefetching, application launch prefetching, ReadyBoost and ReadDrive?

                           

                          HD Tune won't complete a benchmark of my drive because of a read error (presumably from one of those damaged blocks), but it shows transfer rates ranging from 201.6 to 204.9 MB/sec for the parts that it does manage to test.

                          • 10. Re: Upgrade motherboard just to get AHCI > Trim?
                            ambizytl

                            I am pretty sure ReadyBoost is disabled. When I disabled the other things, I saw error warnings in the event log so I put them back to enabled.

                             

                            You should either try HDDerase or contact Intel about your SSD and those read errors/damaged blocks.