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Getting the best performance out of Force 3 SSD


MisterAegir

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Hey all,

 

This is generally an enquiry as to tips and tricks to getting the best out of the drive to get close to that 550Mb/s read, 510Mb/s write performance.

 

As it stands, I haven't touched my BIOS or done any firmware updates (I'm assuming this will be part of the problem). I simply installed the drive into one of the free SATA bays on my PC.

 

I've installed the drive today into my Acer G7200 that I've had for a few years now. In that time I've gone onto win7 x64, gone up to the max 8GB RAM, upgraded the graphics card slightly, and getting a SSD was the main aim to keep the performance at a good level without forking out for a new PC.

 

Anyway, from simply plugging it in, I currently get 126.8Mb/s read and 137.5Mb/s write off the benchmark test.

 

My question is, from this point, what can I do to improve that speed? Although I managed to install it OK, I'm not exactly a techno wizard, so any helpful information you can provide would be greatly appreciated! :)

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@MisterAegir; Little speck's couldnt hurt here :sigh!: as G7200 may have different specks on different countrys.

 

What i read is, it has only some sata-3 ports in it. So make sure you use correct port and try different wires. Also updates on Acer site are old so try them directly from AMD.com

 

Also updateing BIOS may help it depends have they done some thing on part of it control.

For examble here are my test on my current mb's BIOS versions 0506 and 0705.

 

Note1. only differens here is the BIOS version (see time at right down). In my FIN w7 time culture format is DD/MM/YYYY.

Note2. BIOS update info on ASUS site dont show any updates/fix on part of Chipset raid/sata support. I just notised it when i tested my system. (on my board BIOS can be downgreaded ;): )

187428941_ATTOon0506closeup.jpg.33a274d15aa9c6c03fd7133977a74b3e.jpg

456234664_ATTOon0705closeup.jpg.70b07eb92aed839e8649e14b627357aa.jpg

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It's this model here

 

Changes from that are:

 

1. running Win7 x64

2. increased RAM to 8GB

3. Changed to ATi 4870 as I had one going spare ;)

 

In terms of the board itself, it lists the SATA ports I have in the Acer documentation here.

 

*edit* sidepoint, downloaded BIOS update for this off Acer's site yet their own installer said I was missing a ROM file... *shrug* There's also a whole host of SATA driver updates available off their website:

 

SATA Driver 1.5.19.1

SATA Driver (Lycom) 1.2.15.2

SATA Driver PCI to SATA Driver 1.2.14.2

SATA Driver eSATA controller driver 1.2.15.0

 

The BIOS is dated 2010 too with the current version at 2008, so I'm pretty set on doing that if I can get it to work.

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According to the linked AMD document, the chipset is a SATA II 3Gb/s interface. All SATA II interfaces will have a real world top speed of ~250MB/s. Given that document, you clearly do not have a SATA III, 6Gb/s interface.

 

All of the recent additions to your PC won't affect the bottom line performance of its SATA II interface. But hopefully the addition of Windows 7 will help you improve the current performance of your SSD.

 

First, the SATA mode in the BIOS must be set to AHCI, if it is not set that way now. If not, and since you already installed Win 7, simply changing that setting won't work. You'll need to perform a little Registry edit to get this to work properly.

 

Before we continue with this, you need to verify your SATA mode, AHCI or IDE, and that you can change it in your BIOS. The figures you posted look like SATA I, 1.5Gb/s speeds.

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In my BIOS I can see the option (it's currently set to IDE) yet it's greyed out and I can't select it to change it.

 

I'm going to figure out how to update my BIOS and various SATA drivers first to see if I get the option to change it then and go from there.

 

One problem is the launcher that the program that Acer provide to do the firmware update is a 16-bit program which doesn't load in win7 at all :( There is a stand-alone windows updater but it searches for a ROM file and just throws up a ROM ID error because it can't find one... why can't they make these things simple! :P

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In my BIOS I can see the option (it's currently set to IDE) yet it's greyed out and I can't select it to change it.

 

I'm going to figure out how to update my BIOS and various SATA drivers first to see if I get the option to change it then and go from there.

 

One problem is the launcher that the program that Acer provide to do the firmware update is a 16-bit program which doesn't load in win7 at all :(

 

Wow, a 16 bit program, that is ancient. Are you certain that a newer version of that program does not exist?

 

Did you try right clicking on that program, and then click on Properties. From there choose the Compatibility tab, and check the Run in Compatibility mode box. From there, I don't know which OS to choose from, likely an old one like ME? I don't know if this will work for you or not, and I cannot be responsible for the results. You should contact Acer support and see what they recommend.

 

Unfortunately, your problems are all to common with all in one PCs. They are usually locked down against changing things in the BIOS, since most of their customers are non-tech types. I have heard of BIOS' that have levels of permissions, meaning you must be logged in as an administrator in order to have access to all the options, but I have no idea if your BIOS is of that type.

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@MisterAegir, did you read/look "FlashBiosSOP(under_Win7&Vista).pdf" under FlashBiosSOP folder?

 

Could you take a picture from your BIOS and upload it here? the manual i downloaded didnt show anything about BIOS.

On my Acer laptop sata mode is set under "Main"/"SATA Mode" -> "AHCI Mode"

 

Edit: i would install those 1.5.19.1 drivers, but you may have to have that AHCI working before they may work. if it realy already arent on.

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For both of the below, I followed the instructions exactly as instructed in both pdf's for DOS and win7 installs.

 

Install from DOS:

 

dos_install.jpg.7d7519e2fc772d2784e750891a622f1b.jpg

 

Install from Windows:

 

win_install.jpg.edbec5b82433defd89d47871a1af9758.jpg

 

BIOS screen (not a great pic but you can just about see the mode is greyed out)

 

bios.jpg.52a0ffcb249626acbf7bfecc6e5a3b39.jpg

 

I am logged in as admin there too, unless Acer have another super secret level they haven't made anyone aware of :P

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If you Disabled IDE controller, that wount enabel, Sata mode control?

Edit: That just dont make any sens, to force use IDE mode, if your Harddisk is SATA and not PATA.

 

Edit2: Did you try to redownload that BIOS zip? or find it or little older from another hoster.

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I tried a number of sources, including going to AMD and then Silicon Image directly but they're all the same drivers and BIO downloads regardless of where I get them from.

 

As far as disabling features, disabling IDE controller didn't allow me to select the mode and disabling SATA controller removed the option all together.

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Well Acer contacted me and tbh I was a bit disappointed. Because the PC is out of a guarantee, they refused outright to assist me with the BIOS update. Will probably have to take it to a specialist and see if they can assist me as without it I'm pretty much screwed in terms of getting a bit more performance out of this. A little customer support goes a long way. It wouldn't have been something drastically hard for Acer to provide this but because of their lack of assistance I'd be put off buying from them again.
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I looked on Acer's website, both the UK and US sites, and can't find your PC being sold anymore. Going to their Support and Download page, there is no listing for that PC in their Desktop listing. I looked through them anyway, but did not find it. Now there's some support for you, right?

 

A simple search for your PC found this link to drivers, BIOS, Acer utilities, etc.

 

http://www.laptop-software.com/acer-software/acer-aspire-g7200-windows-vista-7-drivers/

 

I've been thinking, and even in IDE mode I would think you'd see better performance than you stated if the SATA interface is running at SATA II speeds. Your PCs specs on that link to the drivers implied IMO that it might be in SATA I mode. What did you benchmark your SSD with?

 

I suggest you search for AS SSD Benchmark, and download it (free), run it and see what it states. It will also list your SATA mode, SATA interface or driver, and check the alignment of your Windows installation.

 

IMO, the BIOS is critical for you to have any chance of improving your SSDs performance.

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Remember that updateing your BIOS may allso do nothing to your SATA speed! so dont buy too high priced service for nothing special.

 

For the speed test program ATTO is 1 and only one you should use in Corsairs SSD's to test on speed. They spect them with it. Left sidepanel of every page has link for it ;)

 

Going to their Support and Download page, there is no listing for that PC in their Desktop listing.
its under "Desktop/ Aspire". "Aspire G7200" is the model.
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VICTORY!!!

 

Took it into a friend I know at Currys of all places who used a secondary program to update the BIOS. Apparently I'm not the only one to have this issue with Acer releasing "updates" to their BIOS using 16-bit programs up till the end of 2010 for a lot of their units.

 

Anyway, the update to the BIOS and the new controller driver resulted in me being able to change it off IDE. Now the drive runs at 220MB/s for read and write, which is pretty close to maximum speed I'm going to get out of SATA II.

 

Thanks to everyone here for providing helpful pointers along the way. Was really getting frustrated by it but now I know I'm getting the best out of what I've got and also that I've got a drive that'll be good for a long time and when I buy a new PC it'll go even faster on SATA III.

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