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Force 3 240 GB (fw 1.3.3) freezes


bbbl67

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I bought a Force 3 about two weeks ago, and image transferred my Windows 7 over to it from its original boot hard drive. I checked the firmware, it was already at 1.3.3, which apparently is the latest according to this forum.

 

Everything was going fine, I got a 7.6 in the Windows Experience index for the drive, which is outstanding. However, occasionally I see the drive just randomly freeze for no apparent reason. The freezing lasts for maybe 10 seconds, and then when it's over everything is normal again. While the drive is frozen, I can move my mouse, but I can't click anything. Using the Resource Monitor, I have watched the disk activity while it freezes, and it shows that disk activity gets pegged at 100%, but that there is actually no data transfer going on either reads or writes, and the disk queue size also shows nearly zero, during this time.

 

Are there any solutions, or should I exchange the drive?

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One thing I found out while running the ATTO benchmarks is that when the benchmarks are doing very small disk writes, that it hangs very similar to how I'm seeing it hang here. The really large disk writes (larger than 4K) are several orders of magnitude faster than the smaller ones. Does anyone else notice small file access hangs on their SSD's?
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BTW, I ran the CrystalDiskMark benchmark on this SSD, and it shows this freezing behaviour during the course of the benchmark:

-----------------------------------------------------------------------
CrystalDiskMark 3.0.1 x64 (C) 2007-2010 hiyohiyo
                          Crystal Dew World : http://crystalmark.info/
-----------------------------------------------------------------------
* MB/s = 1,000,000 byte/s [sATA/300 = 300,000,000 byte/s]

          Sequential Read :   201.359 MB/s
         Sequential Write :   144.412 MB/s
        Random Read 512KB :   190.524 MB/s
       Random Write 512KB :   145.877 MB/s
   Random Read 4KB (QD=1) :    19.039 MB/s [  4648.1 IOPS]
  Random Write 4KB (QD=1) :    51.636 MB/s [ 12606.4 IOPS]
  Random Read 4KB (QD=32) :   137.216 MB/s [ 33499.9 IOPS]
 Random Write 4KB (QD=32) :     3.022 MB/s [   737.9 IOPS]

 Test : 1000 MB [C: 51.2% (114.4/223.6 GB)] (x5)
 Date : 2012/04/04 18:10:39
   OS : Windows 7 Ultimate Edition SP1 [6.1 Build 7601] (x64)

As you can see during the random write 4KB (QD=32) test, the speed just drops off of a cliff from a high of 145 MB/s all of the way down to just 3 MB/s. I've also experienced the same thing while running the ATTO benchmark. This is the same sort of freezing that happens just randomly during normal operations on this drive.

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Same problem here, and I'm not happy about it. I see many others suffer this same issue. Seems to be caused by very poor read/write speeds under 8K (according to ATTO and Diskmark). Since Corsair isn't providing firmware updates, what should we do? Return the drives for a different brand product?

 

 

This service has already been disabled on my Windows 7 since day one.

 

 

Try another SATA cable

 

Try another SATA port on the mobo

 

Not an option for notebooks.

 

Try Secure Erasing the drive

 

Really? On a brand new drive? I don't think so.

 

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corsair_atto_fail.png.c59ea56f2b1990fee84461cdc86305a3.png

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I put the drive back in the notebook (which I bought it for), disabled AHCI in Windows Registry and in BIOS, 0.5K - 8.0K read/write speeds have improved dramatically. I think the "freezing" or "hanging" problems will be solved by this fact alone.
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I just exchanged the original 240GB SSD for a brand new one, exactly the same model. Both of them were upto the latest 1.3.3 firmware. Did the exchange fix things? Nope.

 

Before exchanging the old drive, I tried the secure erase of the SSD and reinstalling from backups. Didn't help. Now I'm going to try exchanging the cables.

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I put the drive back in the notebook (which I bought it for), disabled AHCI in Windows Registry and in BIOS, 0.5K - 8.0K read/write speeds have improved dramatically. I think the "freezing" or "hanging" problems will be solved by this fact alone.

 

Without AHCI, you also don't have TRIM support.

 

BTW, you don't have to disable the AHCI support inside Windows registry. Just disable it in BIOS, and Windows will automatically boot up using IDE drivers instead of AHCI drivers on those drives.

 

Anyways, your solution gave me an idea. I have a small PCI-e SATA/eSATA adapter which I normally use for attaching to an external eSATA hard drive. It's nothing special, it's just a relatively slow SATA1 (1.5 Gbps) controller, and it appears only as an IDE device to the OS, AHCI doesn't work with it. Whereas, my motherboard's onboard SATA connectors are SATA2 & AHCI. I attached the Corsair to one of the adapter's internal SATA ports. It boots up now as IDE without TRIM support, and I did not experience any freeze ups during the benchmarks at all. I'm going to put the SSD back on the motherboard SATAs and disable write-caching to see if that helps.

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Okay, I've done further testing. It looks like you can turn on TRIM support, even if you're using the IDE drivers rather than the AHCI drivers! Just use the following command at an elevated command prompt:

 

fsutil behavior set disabledeletenotify 0

 

This is as per the following article: http://is.gd/rfYxxO

 

If TRIM is allowable on the IDE drivers, then there's no use in trying to keep using the AHCI drivers if they result in the dreaded freeze-up. I'm just going to reboot now to see if TRIM support stays enabled after a reboot, or if you have to enable it everytime you boot.

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Trim shouldn't be much of a concern, since Corsair/Sandforce claims the drives already perform background garbage collection. Although arguably it's just something they made up, as there doesn't seem to be any real proof that it works.

 

People have shown that the disabledeletenotify command can return zero even with conventional spinning hard disks, so I don't trust it. On my machine it was always zero, even after disabling AHCI driver.

 

On my systems it was necessary to disable AHCI in registry before disabling it in BIOS, otherwise Windows got confused and blue screened.

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Trim shouldn't be much of a concern, since Corsair/Sandforce claims the drives already perform background garbage collection. Although arguably it's just something they made up, as there doesn't seem to be any real proof that it works.

 

People have shown that the disabledeletenotify command can return zero even with conventional spinning hard disks, so I don't trust it. On my machine it was always zero, even after disabling AHCI driver.

 

On my systems it was necessary to disable AHCI in registry before disabling it in BIOS, otherwise Windows got confused and blue screened.

 

The disabledeletenotify command is just a global option flag that is set inside the disk driver. If enabled, then any drive that supports TRIM will be notified, any that don't won't be. You'll notice that you can't send the disabledeletenotify to any one specific drive, it's just a global setting. I've also confirmed that TRIM support is available and enabled with a third party utility called Hard Disk Sentinel, it shows it enabled only with the SSD, and all other system hard drives don't have it. I have six internal hard drives, a SATA Blu-Ray drive and this SSD, only the SSD shows as TRIM supported and enabled. When the disabledeletenotify is set to disable this command, then HDSentinel shows the drive as supporting TRIM but disabled.

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So that hard disk sentinel program is likely just reading the output of disabledeletenotify command the same as you have already done. If disabledeletenotify is zero even with conventional hard disks (and no SSD installed in the system) it doesn't prove that Trim is working of course, because HDD's don't support Trim.
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You know I just recently tried to solve a different but similar problem (20-30 secs longer only on 1st boot, successive boot is fine ---> http://forum.corsair.com/v3/showthread.php?t=105789

My problem is similar, in a way, Windows welcome screen will get stuck around 20-25 secs doing nothing , but only during my first boot attempt.

 

and I read several cases like yours on the net (100% CPU pegged on idle for 20 secs or more), and AHCI driver turned out be the culprit. They all solved the problem by uninstalling & reinstalling Intel RST driver, and problem solved.

Actually, it forced me to check my Intel AHCI driver too, and to my surprise, it is the problem (suddenly become unknown device & Win7 install its own Standard AHCI driver as replacement). It's something I could never think of because I've used Acronis to restore my boot drive from a previously working image. Some physical manipulation I made previously to the drive definitely did some changes & caused Intel RST driver to malfunction even after image restore.

I reinstalled Intel RST driver .....problem solved.

 

Have you tried to reinstall AHCI driver to see if it resolves your freezing problem?

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So that hard disk sentinel program is likely just reading the output of disabledeletenotify command the same as you have already done. If disabledeletenotify is zero even with conventional hard disks (and no SSD installed in the system) it doesn't prove that Trim is working of course, because HDD's don't support Trim.

 

Check out Hard Disk Sentinel for yourself, there is an unregistered version that you can try out for free:

 

http://www.hdsentinel.com/

 

You'll notice that if you also have a hard disk in the system that the TRIM support and enablement are only listed for the SSD, not for the HDD.

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You know I just recently tried to solve a different but similar problem (20-30 secs longer only on 1st boot, successive boot is fine ---> http://forum.corsair.com/v3/showthread.php?t=105789

My problem is similar, in a way, Windows welcome screen will get stuck around 20-25 secs doing nothing , but only during my first boot attempt.

 

and I read several cases like yours on the net (100% CPU pegged on idle for 20 secs or more), and AHCI driver turned out be the culprit. They all solved the problem by uninstalling & reinstalling Intel RST driver, and problem solved.

Well, a few differences, my CPU wasn't pegged at 100% activity, it was the disk activity graph (using Windows 7's Resource Monitor, for example) that was pegged at 100%, but at the same time its disk queue was at or near 0.00, meaning that it was just proverbially spinning its wheels but going nowhere.

 

And I wasn't using the Intel drivers, but the default Microsoft ones.

 

Have you tried to reinstall AHCI driver to see if it resolves your freezing problem?

No didn't try to reinstall the AHCI drivers, as I was just using the default Microsoft ones. Reinstalling it would just bring back the exact same binary.

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Unfortunately for me Intel RST drivers were even more unstable than the default msahci. Drive hung up the CPU for longer periods.

Ironically, over the years, I've grown to trust the Microsoft drivers over any OEM ones. Both AHCI and IDE drivers are standard hardware drivers, all disk manufacturers support this command set, therefore the Microsoft drivers should be sufficient for everything. The AHCI disk drivers are based on the same model as the OHCI drivers that drive USB ports on PC's, all USB ports conform to the same standard so a single driver suffices. These are all industry standards, agreed to by the manufacturers, including Intel. So putting Intel drivers on makes no sense.

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Check out Hard Disk Sentinel for yourself, there is an unregistered version that you can try out for free:

 

http://www.hdsentinel.com/

 

You'll notice that if you also have a hard disk in the system that the TRIM support and enablement are only listed for the SSD, not for the HDD.

 

I already own AIDA64 which has that same feature. My point was that people say the disabledeletenotify flag can return zero even on a system without SSDs installed. So, just because it returns zero cannot mean that Trim is actually working.

 

Ironically, over the years, I've grown to trust the Microsoft drivers over any OEM ones.

 

I had trusted the default AHCI driver just the same. Not that I use Microsoft drivers for my graphics card...

 

It's pretty clear that this isn't a driver bug anyway, it's firmware or hardware related.

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I already own AIDA64 which has that same feature. My point was that people say the disabledeletenotify flag can return zero even on a system without SSDs installed. So, just because it returns zero cannot mean that Trim is actually working.

 

http://www.hdsentinel.com/faq.php

I believe TRIM is enabled (fsutil shows that), but Hard Disk Sentinel shows it is DISABLED. Why?

The fsutil shows if the operating system in general uses the TRIM function or not.

The result of this is completely useless - as it returns 0 (TRIM supported) even if there is no SSD present in the system.

 

If the result is 0, it means that the operating system is prepared to send the TRIM command for the proper device (an SSD with TRIM function supported).

 

The question is: does the hard disk controller (and its driver) pass this command to the SSD(s) used in the system or block it?

The problem is that some hard disk controllers (and their drivers) may block the TRIM command, does not pass it to the SSD, even if it is supported. (this is same as the "Acoustic management" command for hard disks may be blocked when using some disk controllers).

 

For example, if you'd have two or more SSDs (supporting TRIM) in your system, it may be possible that TRIM may be transferred properly to one of them - but not for the other(s) if the SSDs are connected to different hard disk controllers.

 

Hard Disk Sentinel checks the real usage of TRIM for each appropriate devices (one-by-one). If it displays "disabled", it means there is a problem with the driver of the hard disk controller (if both the OS and SSD should support TRIM). Usually updating this driver from the Driver Zone may help. If not, using a different hard disk controller may also helpful.

 

If you prefer, please use Report -> Send test report to developer option so I can check the disk controller and may advise on the proper driver used.

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I already own AIDA64 which has that same feature. My point was that people say the disabledeletenotify flag can return zero even on a system without SSDs installed. So, just because it returns zero cannot mean that Trim is actually working.

As Wired quoted in that HD Sentinel FAQ, it actually queries the hardware to see if TRIM is supported, and it doesn't just rely on whether the OS supports TRIM in general or not. If both conditions are affirmative, then TRIM is working.

 

I had trusted the default AHCI driver just the same. Not that I use Microsoft drivers for my graphics card...

There are certain classes of hardware devices that are standardized across all manufacturers. It doesn't matter if they were on AMD or Intel motherboards, or what generation the motherboards were, they will always show up exactly the same no matter what. USB ports are like that they use use either the OHCI or the EHCI drivers. Hard disk drives are like that, they use IDE, or AHCI drivers. And also optical drives like CD, or DVD, or BR, will all show up using the ATAPI drivers. These are the sorts of devices that you can use the standard Microsoft drivers on.

 

Video cards definitely don't fall into this category, so you have to use proprietary drivers for those.

 

It's pretty clear that this isn't a driver bug anyway, it's firmware or hardware related.

That's entirely possible, but since we have worked around it by changing the drivers, that indicates that some kind of interaction between the driver and the hardware is creating this issue.

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I had trusted the default AHCI driver just the same. Not that I use Microsoft drivers for my graphics card...

 

It's pretty clear that this isn't a driver bug anyway, it's firmware or hardware related.

 

Stop the presses! I think the real solution has now made its appearance! This solution appeared in the following thread:

 

The Corsair Support Forums - View Single Post - Hangs/Freezes with 1.3.3

 

This solved my issue, I'm now back on the AHCI drivers again, and my disk WEI is showing 7.5 now, up from 7.1. It's not quite as fast as the 7.6 I got with my original buggy setup, but it's close enough. No need to run the IDE drivers anymore.

 

It looks like the HIPM/DIPM settings were responsible for the issue:

 

AHCI Link Power Management - Enable HIPM and DIPM - Windows 7 Forums

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