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Windows 7: brand of SSD matters

11 Aug 2011   #1

Windows 7 Enterprise 64-bit
brand of SSD matters

If you can afford it, an SSD is so incredibly awesome for Windows 7. The machine boots in 30 seconds; applications are turbocharged. It actually makes bloated Microsoft software enjoyable.

One thing is that I learned the hard way that the Micron SSDs (the RealSSD C300 256GB) do not play well with Windows 7. The Micron SSDs would freeze and cause Windows to crash, usually at inconvenient moments. This was not just one bad drive instance; to avoid the full system install with all of my apps and data, I tried doing system restore to move from one Micron drive to an identical drive. I did this three times. My guess is that it is something to do with the firmware; I checked - I had the latest firmware. Those three devices are going back to the reseller as defective.

Still not wanting to give up SSDs, I tried an Intel 300 GB drive and it works great. No crashes. Well, almost no crashes. I've found that if I set (in the Lenovo Thinkvantage Power manager) my CPU speed to highest, and then run an IO intensive job (a big unison for example across a big directory), Windows 7 crashes, slowly and painfully, as jobs die. My theory on this is that the SSD is so fast, that the CPU becomes the bottleneck, and is busy 100%, and slowly gets hot. Or maybe it is my DRAM getting hot. Whatever it is, the solution is to set the power settings to Adaptive. That stops the crash.

My System SpecsSystem Spec
11 Aug 2011   #2

Windows 10 Pro. EFI boot partition, full EFI boot

I have no problem with my Micron based Crucial M4 (C300 successor) on Windows 7. No freezes, nada issues. Even with S3 sleep (with the latest firmware).

More likely your issues are with the SATA chipset on your motherboard and how the SSD maker's firmware works with the chipset, especially in power management. It is not Windows 7 that is a problem.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
11 Aug 2011   #3

Windows 7 Enterprise 64-bit

Sounds plausible. For the record, my laptop is a Lenovo X201, a year or so old. The Device manager reports that I have the driver Standard ACHI 1.0 Serial Driver for SATA. The driver is from Microsoft, so there's still a chance to blame Microsoft for the suffering I had with this!
My System SpecsSystem Spec

11 Aug 2011   #4
Microsoft MVP

Windows 7 Ultimate X64 SP1

If you have a Lenovo supplied version of Win 7, you may be correct.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
11 Aug 2011   #5

Windows 7 Enterprise 64-bit

Why would Lenovo Win 7 be a problem?

As it turns out, when I set up the Intel SSD I used an install disk from my IT department for Windows Enterprise; our company has a corporate subscription.

But when I was having problems with the Micron SSD that was with the Lenovo installed version.

That is an interesting variable I hadn't considered. What is it about Lenovo's Win7 that you are referring to?
My System SpecsSystem Spec
11 Aug 2011   #6
Microsoft MVP

Windows 7 Ultimate X64 SP1

All OEM's modify Windows to their own liking and Lenovo's has shown to be fairly pesky with several things. They and HP add a lot of crapware too.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
12 Aug 2011   #7

Windows 10 Pro/ Windows 10 Pro Insider

I have 2 Crucial M4's and an Intel X25 and a Vertex2. I have had no problems with any of them. I have 2 in a Sandy Bridge desktop(M4 and Intel) and an M4 and the vertex2 in a Samsung Sandy Bridge Laptop. Neither setup has caused any problems with any of them. If you have an Intel laptop, install the IRST and try the iaStor AHCI driver. That may work better.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
15 Aug 2011   #8

Windows 7 Enterprise 64-bit

OK - I hope that saves someone else; my Crucial drives are on their way back to Micron.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
31 Aug 2011   #9

Windows 7 Enterprise 64-bit

So an update on the SSD saga. My Intel SSD failed over the weekend.
Luckily, I had a very recent system image so the overall impact hasn't been devastating.

I am not sure what happened with the Intel SSD but looked into it a little.
Intel provides a software download called the Intel SSD Toolkit that I should have been using in the first place.

Trying to do a system restore to the old drive sort of worked; the system booted but the Lenovo Thinkvantage Toolbox was complaining strenuously about bad messages coming from the SSD storage device. Like many drives the SSD reports SMART Attributes to the operating system, and the B8 parameter was way out of tolerance. B8 End to End Error Detection Count was something like 1580 (raw). I'm not sure what the normalized and threshold values of this were, but it was making things complain. The Intel SSD Toolkit reported this and basically said the drive is hosed, talk to my Intel representative.

Other SMART attributes related to the wear and tear on the device all seemed to be fine, it was just this B8 attribute that was bad.

I tried using the device for a while, and also ran the Intel SSD toolkit device integrity check over lunch, but when I got back from lunch the system had crashed and would no longer boot. I tried again to do a system restore but got more or less the same result - it worked for a while then wouldn't boot.

These SSDs have a lot of firmware under the hood. My theory is that some internal data structure for the firmware on the flash drive got hosed. I will be sending it back; it's only a few months old.

As to why I have such bad luck with SSDs it is looking more and more like it is the laptop or controller itself, rather than anything to do with Crucial or Intel. The Intel devices do seem to be a little bit better - with the toolkit they are a notch less opaque and do seem to be willing to give a heads up that they are about to fail.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
31 Aug 2011   #10

Windows 7 Ultimate x64 SP1

I own two C300 SSD drives and have no issues with either of them. I bought them because of all the positive reviews and feedback I found online about them. Don't interpret one person's bad luck with a failed product line.
My System SpecsSystem Spec

 brand of SSD matters

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