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slow P256 / SSD diagnostic utility


techcafe

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we recently bought an S128 and a P256 to evaluate, before upgrading our ThinkPads.

 

the S128 performs well, certainly better than the Seagate Momentus 7200rpm HDD that it replaced, but the SSD is not blistering fast or anything... it's OK.

 

however, the P256 performs WORSE, it is noticeably SLOWER, in the exact same machine (ThinkPad T61p).

 

any ideas what's going on here?? i thought the P256 had a 128MB of cache, compared to the S128's paltry 32MB? something isn't right, i was expecting the P256 to be lightening fast, but it definitely is NOT.

 

is there a diagnostic utility, preferably from Corsair, that we can download/run to test the SSD? i'm thinking there must be something wrong with the drive, because the P256 is slower than the S128.

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The P256 should be about 2 times faster than the S128, can you test the drive on another system and use ATTO, CrystalDiskMark, HDTune, SiSoft Sandra are all very good benchmarks of your SSD performance.

I would use another system that support's S-ATA2 to test the drives and one of the programs listed.

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as requested, ran HD Tune Pro, the results are:

 

[benchmark tab]

 

Minimum = 71.7 MB/sec

Maximum = 92.3 MB/sec

Average = 90.4 MB/sec

 

Access Time = 0.2 ms

Burst Rate = 71.6 MB/sec

 

CPU Usage = 14.6%

 

[info tab]

 

Buffer = N/A (not available, where's the cache?)

Firmware = VBM1801Q

 

the Write test could not be performed b/c HD Tune wants to 'remove all partitions', which i'm not about to waste my time with. yes, the OS is installed on the same partition as HD Tune, and no, we can't test the drive in a different system, that would defeat the purpose of evaluating these SSDs, which are intended as upgrades for our ThinkPads. in any case, one would expect that the write tests to be even slower than the (Read test) numbers above, correct?

 

look, the P256 'feels' slower than the S128 on two ThinkPad T61p systems that we've tested it in. no, we haven't wasted our time with non-real world benchmarking utilities, we actually USE our systems with real applications & software. that should be the ONLY test needed to determine if the drive performs well enough for our needs... or not.

 

is there a diagnostic utility for Corsair SSDs or not?? i just need to determine whether this P256 is a dud (bad cache ram or something?) OR it simply doesn't live up to Corsair's spec's, at least in our ThinkPad T61p machines.

 

thanks.

 

system info: ThinkPad T61p, Vista x64 SP2, 4GB RAM, clean install, NOD32 disabled

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The issue is from what you have posted:

Q: The S256 as you have reported is running under spec?

A: The proper way to test the drive if it is a drive problem would be with it on a system as a second drive that is not the Boot drive and run the benchmark.

 

Running the drive with the O.S. installed and running will cause system over head on the test and the results will not be consistent enough to know if it is a problem with the drive.

 

My suggestion was based on trying to determine if you have a failing drive or not if you prefer not to take my suggestions that is your prerogative but I do not know what you would expect from me. It sounds to me like the way you partitioned the drive may have complicated the process and why I suggested retesting on another system with the drive back to its default configuration.

And many Notebooks will not support S-ATA2 thus you would get S-ATA1 results I would check with the notebook manufacturer to see what your system is supposed to support and if there are any BIOS and or driver updates that may address this as well.

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RAM GUY... are you really Corsair's Product 'Guru'?? gheesh.

 

anyway, please explain how/why 'OS overhead' would impact the benchmark to the point where READ throughput becomes *less than half* of the P256's product specifications.

 

do you really think the results would be dramatically different IF the OS was not installed on the SSD?

 

oh, the P256 was partitioned as a single 256GB drive, what's so "complicated" about that?

 

as for BIOS & driver updates, the systems are completely up-to-date with the latest firmware and drivers.

 

btw, you still haven't answered the question: does Corsair have an SSD DIAGNOSTIC UTILITY that we can use to determine the health of the drive?

 

i'd like to hear from others on this, preferably those with ThinkPads, what kind of results are you getting?

 

either Corsair's performance spec's are grossly inflated OR this P256 is a dud OR the P256 + ThinkPad T-series machines do not perform well together.

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anyway, please explain how/why 'OS overhead' would impact the benchmark to the point where READ throughput becomes *less than half* of the P256's product specifications.

A: If you do not believe me then I would suggest doing a Google search!

do you really think the results would be dramatically different IF the OS was not installed on the SSD?

A: No and why I asked you test test the drive in a situation where you are not facing two possible issues compounding the problem!

 

oh, the P256 was partitioned as a single 256GB drive, what's so "complicated" about that?

A: Sorry I miss read what you posted about the partition, not sure why you would get such an error, but would like to see the drive results on a system not as a boot drive.

 

btw, you still haven't answered the question: does Corsair have an SSD DIAGNOSTIC UTILITY that we can use to determine the health of the drive?

A: No there is no utility other than what has been mentioned in the F.A.Q

 

either Corsair's performance spec's are grossly inflated OR this P256 is a dud OR the P256 + ThinkPad T-series machines do not perform well together.

A: What is the IDE Spec for your specific Notebook? Everything I can find suggests it is S-ATA1 and if so while the results you got were indeed low it may be the notebook that is the root cause, in which case doing an RMA would be a waste of your time and money and ours. Again why I asked if you can test it in another system. But if you just want to replace the drive by all means, let's get it replaced, please use the On Line RMA Request Form and we will be happy to replace it.

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btw, as i mentioned previously, with regard to HD Tune, it reports that there is NO BUFFER in the P256. shouldn't HD Tune show 128MB for the buffer?

 

i'm assuming that 'buffer' and 'cache' are the same thing?

 

would someone please check that on their system(s) - does HD Tune report anything, other than 'n/a', for the Buffer? (click on the Info tab (in HD Tune), Buffer is at the bottom)

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I think you already got most of this answered from reading your other post this morning.

The Buffer would mean the cache on the drive and should be 128 MB, according to our Data Sheet for the CMFSSD-256GBG2D.

And I would not trust all of the software that is on the market in reporting properly as SSD drives are new and they may need to update their SW in some cases.

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...

The Buffer would mean the cache on the drive and should be 128 MB, according to our Data Sheet for the CMFSSD-256GBG2D.

And I would not trust all of the software that is on the market in reporting properly as SSD drives are new and they may need to update their SW in some cases.

 

ok, well i used HD Tune to test the drive, because that was one of the utilities that you suggested. in any case, HDT reports that there is NO cache ram present in the P256, but as you say, that might be b/c the present iteration of HDT is unable to detect the SSD cache?

 

you see, this is why i feel it's important for Corsair (and other SSD vendors) to provide a (downloadable) diagnostic utility, just something simple, that would perform rudimentary tests on their drives, to ensure that the hardware is working properly and meets specifications. other (HDD) vendors provide diagnostic utilities for their drives, so why not for SSD also?

 

please forward this on to the Corsair software engineers as a suggestion.

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How is the drive performing and have you ran any other software? I would suggest ATTO, CrystalDiskMark, SiSoft Sandra are all very good benchmarks of your SSD performance. And then compare the results.

What is the performance of your drive and is it the Boot drive?

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I have a few suggestions:

 

1. Did you do a full format when you formatted the drive? If so, you need to reformat the drive and do a quick format. Bit-tech found a bug with the drive that effects drive performance when doing a full format as stated in there review of the drive. This bug was confirmed by Corsair and I'm surprised it was not suggested to you here.

 

Reformatting the drive with a quick format will restore the drives performance.

 

2. Make sure write caching in enabled in windows.

 

Go to: Control Panel/Device Manager/Disk Drives. Reveal drives from the drop down menu and right click on the drive. Choose properties and go to the Policies tab. Make sure Enable write caching check box is checked.

 

BTW HD Tune 3.5 will not show you the Buffer specs for the drive. I have the P128 and it does not display it either. I am getting 223 Mb/s read and 187 Mb/s write with my drive. Also I ran the File benchmark test with my OS and all programs installed on the drive.

 

Hope this helps. GL!

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I have a few suggestions:

 

1. Did you do a full format when you formatted the drive?

 

NO, i did a quick format, which is the default option when installing Vista anyway.

 

Reformatting the drive with a quick format will restore the drives performance.

 

really, how?

 

2. Make sure write caching in enabled in windows.

 

did that already. btw, that parameter (advanced performance), has nothing to do with the drive's internal cache. it only enables delayed writes/caching in Windows, instead of write-thru.

 

BTW HD Tune 3.5 will not show you the Buffer specs for the drive. I have the P128 and it does not display it either. I am getting 223 Mb/s read and 187 Mb/s write with my drive. Also I ran the File benchmark test with my OS and all programs installed on the drive.

 

hmm, well that's interesting... on my system, HD Tune will not perform the Write test, it complains that, "writing is disabled, delete all partitions to enable writing." there's nothing unusual about my setup, i simply installed Vista from the DVD (retail version), onto a single 256GB NTFS partition. i then installed HD Tune on the same (system) drive. pretty standard. don't know why HDT has a problem, but i don't care either. my StinkPad T61p was butchered by Lenovo when their 'clever' engineers decided it was a 'good idea' to cap the SATA bus at 1.5 Gb/s, rendering high-performance (SATA II) SSDs practically useless.

 

good to know that the buffer in HDT is not really 'n/a'

 

UPDATE - good news... i got a call from Lenovo today, a nice guy named Mark offered to make things right by giving me the option to trade-in my T61p machines for different/newer ThinkPads, ie, that are not effected by the notorious GPU 'latency' issues and SATA I restriction.

 

so, that makes me happy, thank you Lenovo for caring about your customers. i was surprised by the phone call, and pleased.

 

i'll follow-up on this later, after i get my new ThinkPads... hopefully with more good news.

1043641215_HDTwritefailure.jpg.748fe5f038065cc74dd89613cb38d7a3.jpg

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I use the pro version of HD Tune. There is an option for File Benchmark not to be confused with just the regular Benchmark (which I can't run the write test with either).

 

Despite the format bug, bit-tech still gave the P256 a very good review verdict. You can read the review at bit-tech.net

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I use the pro version of HD Tune. There is an option for File Benchmark not to be confused with just the regular Benchmark (which I can't run the write test with either).

 

Despite the format bug, bit-tech still gave the P256 a very good review verdict. You can read the review at bit-tech.net

 

ah ic, you are correct, the File Benchmark does work (in Write mode), whereas raw Benchmark mode seems to require an empty partition/drive.

 

i also tried CrystalDiskMark, which is simpler to use.

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