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Thread: M28 Windows 7, FirmWare, TRIM, Optimizations, Etc...

  1. #1
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    Thumbs up SSD Windows 7, FirmWare, TRIM, Optimizations, Etc...

    Hello to all my fellow and future users of the Patriot SSD drives.

    I wanted to set an area with tips on getting the most out of our Patriot SSD Drives and the Windows 7 operating system. I will separate each type of tip to its own message to keep things easier to read and to follow.

    All of this has been tested on my laptop system, configured as follows:
    HP DV2270us, Core 2 qual 2ghz, 4 Gig RAM.
    Disk 0: Patriot M28 64-gig SSD (Boot drive), Disk 1: Seagate ST9500420AS 500 Gig 100MBs second drive.
    Windows 7 ultimate 64-bit.
    Machine is used all day every day at work and home, lots of virtual machines running.

    These suggestions are just the way I choose to set things up and get GREAT performance and utilize the SSD to its fullest potential. Your mileage may and probably vary. The tutorials and suggestions are not meant to be debated, its all up to you to decide if you want to try them or not.
    All standard disclaimers apply... I am not responsible for breaking your stuff, only mine.
    With all that said, on with the tutorials...
    Last edited by magic-man; 08-18-2010 at 03:26 AM.

  2. #2
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    Smile Windows 7 prep to update firmware

    This tutorial is for those who are already running Windows 7 on their SSD as a boot drive. If like me, you first installed to hard drive then used an image backup program to put the OS on the M28, then this step is necessary to allow Windows 7 to set the proper settings for SSD use and set things up for optimizing the OS after burning the firmware and cleaning the drive to factory specs. If you installed directly to the SSD, you don't need to follow this step, but it can be helpful if you followed the XP and vista guides and things just aren't up to snuff.

    *** read all the steps first so you can create the images and boot USB and CD/DVD and print the instructions before you start, especially the next 2 messages!!!! ***

    FIRST.... MAKE A BACKUP IMAGE just in case!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Be sure to create the restore disk, too.

    Basically, you need to do a repair install of Windows 7 so Windows can set itself up properly for SSD use. The following link will step you through this step:
    http://www.sevenforums.com/tutorials...r-install.html

    When done, we need to verify that TRIM is active. At a command prompt (start/run/cmd), type the following: fsutil.exe behavior query DisableDeleteNotify

    It should respond back with DisableDeleteNotify=0 if trim support is ready and active. If it is not, type fsutil.exe behavior set DisableDeleteNotify 0

    This will set Windows 7 to use TRIM when the drive and drivers are ready to do so.

    Next, we need to make sure our ATA/ATAPI ACHI controller is set to use trim.
    EDIT! 3/22/10: The new INTEL chipset drivers 9.6.0.1014 support TRIM! Use these instead of the MS AHCI ones for Intel Chipsets.
    http://downloadcenter.intel.com/deta...&DwnldID=15251.

    For NON intel chipsets:
    To see/change it, go to device manager and select IDE ATA/ATAPI controllers. If it says "Standard AHCI 1.0 Serial ATA Controller", you are good to go. If not, double click it and select the driver tab. Click update driver. Select browse. Select let me pick. select Standard AHCI 1.0 Serial ATA Controller.

    Once it has reboot and all is fine, then U can go on to the next step (after making an IMAGE backup of the whole SSD with the new changes (I use Windows backup)).
    Last edited by magic-man; 03-30-2010 at 05:35 AM. Reason: Add info for INTEL chipset

  3. #3
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    Smile M28 and Updating the firmware...

    The only reason at this time (unless Patroit says otherwise) to update the drive firmware to VBM19C(0)1Q is:
    IF you are running or going to install Windows 7 on the M28 (for TRIM support) OR
    IF your current firmware is older than VBM18C(0)1Q. There is nothing to gain if you are not running Windows 7.

    To see what version of firmware you have, use this tool:
    http://crystalmark.info/download/ind...rystalDiskInfo

    First, you need to get the tools to make a boot USB:
    http://ssdtechnologyforum.com/Thread...rmware-Updates
    Then get the Firmware update:
    http://www.patriotmemory.com/support/firmwarep.jsp

    ***** WARNING!!!!!!!!! ALL DATA WILL, REPEAT WILL BE ERASED FROM YOUR M28 WHEN YOU DO THE FIRMWARE UPDATE!!!!! MAKE AN IMAGE BACKUP BEFORE YOU START!!! *****
    I also suggest backing up personal stuff U can't live without separately just in case the image is bad.

    Make the boot USB and unzip the firmware update to it. Follow the instructions that come with the firmware update on the update page.

    Once the firmware is updated, on to the next part...
    Last edited by magic-man; 03-30-2010 at 05:36 AM.

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    Default Reset to Factory Spec (ATA Secure Erase) to restore performance

    This step is necessary IF you have been using the SSD for a while before updating the firmware and/or want to return performance back to factory fresh (this will fix isues created if you ran 'tony-trim' method on another site). I did it right after the firmware update since it will ERASE the entire SSD, loosing all data. It is called an ATA secure erase for a reason.
    The firmware update tool does not issue the proper ATA secure erase command when it is done, so the SSD will 'inherit' any performance issues it had before. Using this method resets all the memory cells to factory values.

    IF you just pulled the SSD out of the box and updated it, or have never used it, then this step is NOT NEEDED.
    Remember! Make sure U have that image backup I keep yelling about, you WILL lose everything on the SSD if you haven't already!

    Download and print the instructions from http://ata.wiki.kernel.org/index.php/ATA_Secure_Erase
    Get the lin*x boot image from http://partedmagic.com/ and burn it to a CD/DVD.
    Boot to the CD/DVD and click the bottom where it looks like a black window (prompt).
    Follow the instructions you just printed. On my laptop, I had to unplug the SSD while the OS was running and plug it back in real quick to make it not be frozen as in the instructions.

    When all done, you have a nice empty clean SSD to restore your image to!
    Restore the image to the drive and boot up.

    See U at the next part... Optimizing Windows 7 for the SSD!
    Last edited by magic-man; 03-30-2010 at 05:36 AM.

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    Default Optimizing Windows 7 for the SSD and TRIM...

    Now that you have gotten everything done as far as firmware, and image restored and have a working Windows 7, we can do some things to make Windows 7 a bit 'friendlier' to your SSD and make things faster to boot.

    FWIW, Microsoft did a great job in pre-optimizing Windows 7 for SSD use. Except for installation, over 95% of Windows 7 operations are READS, perfect for your SSD. You COULD just use it as is and things would be fantastic. BUT, there are some things to verify first.....

    1: Verify that TRIM is enabled as in the prior messages.
    2: Make sure your AHCI controller is using a TRIM compliant driver as in the prior messages.
    3: Make sure the defrag program is disabled for the SSD... Admin tools/Services set Disk Defragmenter to disabled. I use auslogics disk defrag (free) for my other drives manually. U almost never have to defrag an SSD. It can lower its life expectancy.
    4: Page File. There has been much debate about this. The idea that you do not need a page file is a bunch of crap. I have tried it both ways, moitoring writes and reads, and YES, it IS used even with 8 Gigs of RAM. I left mine at 4 Gigs, but it is just fine at 2 Gigs. Writes to the page file are 95% sequential now. Page file is also read at boot time to speed things. Keep it on your SSD where it belongs.
    5: Superfetch/prefetch/bootfetch: Windows 7 does not always turn it all off as it should. The purpose of these things are to pre-load the programs you load from slow hard drive to fast memory (cache) in case you want to run them. With your M28, there is no need. We will disable them and free up some memory and resources and stop a LOT of writes to the SSD.
    To disable Superfetch, etc: Admin tools/Services. Select superfetch and set to disabled.
    Run regedit and change the following values: HKLM/System/CurrentControlset/Control/Session Manager/Memory Management/Prefetch Parameters and change the key valus of Enableboottrace, enableprefetcher, enablesuperfetch all to 0 and exit regedit.

    This will disable MOST of the superfetch/prefetch stuff... The boot prefetch will get disabled in the next part along with some un-necessary logging that is done (and writes a lot).
    Last edited by magic-man; 03-30-2010 at 05:37 AM.

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    Smile Optimizing Windows 7 for the SSD and TRIM part 2

    Now on to some things we can do to reduce some on the unnecessary writes to the SSD. WIndows 7 has the most event logs that I have seen. If you are having issues, then I would not change the logging options. If not, then we can stop a lot of writes that frankly, only an engineer would need (we leave the basic event logs alone).
    Go to start/admin tools and select performance monitor. Expand data collector sets. Click on Startup Event Trace Sessions.
    With the exception of the following NECESSARY logs (Application, Security, System, Security Essentials) we can stop them from starting. To do so, right click on each one that has a status of Enabled (except the ones mentioned above) and select Properties. Click the Trace Session tab. Unselect Enabled. Click Ok. Repeat for the others (including readyboot).
    After your next boot, you will have a lot less writes going to the SSD that are not needed.

    Write caching... Enable on the SSD: http://www.sevenforums.com/tutorials...e-disable.html

    TEMP FILES... IF you have another NON SSD drive installed, I would move the TEMP and temporary internet files to them.

    Since I have Windows 7 make an image backup of the SSD to my other drive every day (only takes a few minutes and very little resources), I completely turn off system protection (system restore).

    You can also turn off Windows reliability monitor. I will post a short tutorial if you want. It does quite a bit of writing too, but only every few hours.

    There are some other more advanced things I do, but to be honest, they result in very little speed increase (less than 1%).
    Last edited by magic-man; 03-30-2010 at 05:37 AM.

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    Talking SSD Benchmarking...

    There are a lot of sites and programs out there that are touting how important benchmarks are to your SSD and I agree, to a point. One of the problems in most benchmarking programs is equalization of results.
    My benchmark will NEVER equal yours unless we have the exact same hardware and software installed, including drivers, etc. They DO give a good general indication of potential performance if we follow a few ground rules to try to keep things equal as follows:

    REMEMBER: Over 95% of Windows 7 are READS, we need to be mainly concerned with READ speed.

    1) PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE do NOT do the write benchmarking. Each memory cell on a SSD has a set number of times it can be written to. The controller keeps track of the number of writes to a cell and makes it read-only when this value is met or exceeded. Most of the write benchmark programs out there write all across the SSD several times to every open cell either at the block level or file level then erase the block/file. Then the controller is left to clean up the mess, hurting performance and drive life. I watched an OCZ tech burn out one of their SSDs running write benchmarks over and over for several days non-stop. The drive became read-only after a slowdown of 98%.
    2) To eliminate the differences in services running, software installed, work-loads, etc. do your READ testing in SAFE MODE. This mode has the least things interfering with the READ test.
    3) Lets settle on a bench-marking tool that can do no harm. Personally, I use HDTUNE 2.55 free (not pro): http://www.hdtune.com/files/hdtune_255.exe
    It does not even have write testing installed in the program.
    3A) Lets all use the same testing parameters (settings) in the program. In HDTune 2.55 free, click the options icon at the top next to the diskette icon. Click on the Benchmark option and select 8 MB block size. You can also move the slider up to fast, since we are testing an SSD and the 'accurate' setting makes no difference in the benchmark stats on an SSD (just takes longer to get results).
    4) Run the benchmark 3 times, writing down results after each run. Use the highest one. Even in safe mode, there are services running that can throw off a read benchmark, so running 3 of them gets you inside the 'service free' window.

    We can then go to safe mode and run the benchmark and see. Here is mine:
    WEI (Windows Experience) Hard Disk score: 7.2
    HDTUNE: Minimum 189.1, Maximum 247.4, Average 225.5, 0.1 ms, 181.1 Burst.

    Next, we cover free tools to help keep things smooth.
    Last edited by magic-man; 03-30-2010 at 05:37 AM.

  8. #8
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    Wink Cool free Tools

    What would SSD speed be without some free, cool tools that are helpful...

    Benchmarking (as above): http://www.hdtune.com/files/hdtune_255.exe
    Auslogics Disk Defrag: http://www.auslogics.com/en/software...frag/download/
    CrystalDiskInfo: http://crystalmark.info/download/ind...rystalDiskInfo
    Crap Cleaner (Keeps things cleaned up): http://www.ccleaner.com/ (I have it auto-clean on logoff)

    Helpful well behaved Windows 7 gadgets (get them from http://windows.microsoft.com/en-US/w...desktopgadgets )
    All CPU Meter (shows memory and cpu usage, all cores)
    Wireless network meter (also works for wired) shows network usage
    Drive Meter 1.0.0.1 Shows all IO to your drives.. MOST useful of the three!

    More to come later...
    Last edited by magic-man; 02-22-2010 at 09:31 AM.

  9. #9

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    AWESOME write up Magic. Thank you.

  10. #10
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    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by magic-man View Post
    There are a lot of sites and programs out there that are touting how important benchmarks are to your SSD and I agree, to a point. One of the problems in most benchmarking programs is equalization of results.
    My benchmark will NEVER equal yours unless we have the exact same hardware and software installed, including drivers, etc. They DO give a good general indication of potential performance if we follow a few ground rules to try to keep things equal as follows:

    REMEMBER: Over 95% of Windows 7 are READS, we need to be mainly concerned with READ speed.

    1) PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE do NOT do the write benchmarking. Each memory cell on a SSD has a set number of times it can be written to. The controller keeps track of the number of writes to a cell and makes it read-only when this value is met or exceeded. Most of the write benchmark programs out there write all across the SSD several times to every open cell either at the block level or file level then erase the block/file. Then the controller is left to clean up the mess, hurting performance and drive life. I watched an OCZ tech burn out one of their SSDs running write benchmarks over and over for several days non-stop. The drive became read-only after a slowdown of 98%.
    2) To eliminate the differences in services running, software installed, work-loads, etc. do your READ testing in SAFE MODE. This mode has the least things interfering with the READ test.
    3) Lets settle on a bench-marking tool that can do no harm. Personally, I use HDTUNE 2.55 free (not pro): http://www.hdtune.com/files/hdtune_255.exe
    It does not even have write testing installed in the program.
    3A) Lets all use the same testing parameters (settings) in the program. In HDTune 2.55 free, click the options icon at the top next to the diskette icon. Click on the Benchmark option and select 8 MB block size. You can also move the slider up to fast, since we are testing an SSD and the 'accurate' setting makes no difference in the benchmark stats on an SSD (just takes longer to get results).
    4) Run the benchmark 3 times, writing down results after each run. Use the highest one. Even in safe mode, there are services running that can throw off a read benchmark, so running 3 of them gets you inside the 'service free' window.

    We can then go to safe mode and run the benchmark and see. Here is mine:
    WEI (Windows Experience) Hard Disk score: 7.2
    HDTUNE: Minimum 189.1, Maximum 247.4, Average 225.5, 0.1 ms, 181.1 Burst.

    Next, we cover free tools to help keep things smooth.
    what is your CrystalDiskMark score?http://www.patriotmem.com/forums/att...0&d=1266871205

    wei 7.4

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