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koitsu
Premium,MVM
join:2002-07-16
Mountain View, CA
kudos:23
reply to trparky

Re: Buggy Intel SSD 520 Series SSD Firmware

said by trparky:

Oh god, I think you're the one who works for Intel. Crap.

I've never worked for Intel directly or indirectly. My CV/resume is on my home page (see profile) if you want to know where I've worked. And my forum signature here applies universally even if I did work for Intel (though if I did, I would not have touched this topic with a ten foot pole; anyone who has worked for enterprise corps knows you avoid commenting on your own company's products if you value your job).

said by trparky:

Narrowing down the fact that I believe that the SSD is the part that's failing is that none of the other devices that are connected to the same SATA ports and controller are having issues.

I have two HDDs and one SSD that are connected to the Intel SATA controller that's on my motherboard.

I went through the process of determining if the port is possibly what went bad. I tried the SSD on SATA Port 1 which another drive that has been known to not have any issues in this system of mine has been connected to for months with no issues. I plugged the SSD into that port, SATA Port 1, and that HDD into SATA Port 0 which effectively not only swapped the ports but also the SATA cables themselves. This revealed no change, I still had the SSD drop off the bus.

Thanks for explaining -- I understand fully what you went through per your description. You ruled out a bad motherboard SATA port, which is excellent. But all you concluded as a result was: "it's the SSD which is dead". Why it's dead is what's driving my responses here.

The "issue" the Internet dude is talking about pertains to drives falling off the bus as a result of either a) ATA or AHCI-level PM (my guess is ATA-level) or b) being physically disconnected and reconnected to the SATA bus.

You stated your system is a desktop therefore you don't use drive PM (sleep/standby) (which I assume also means you've disabled that capability in (presumably) Windows -- if you haven't, i.e. power management in Windows is actually set to power down the drive after X seconds of it being idle, then you've been using ATA-level PM), and you obviously didn't sit around unplugging the power to your drive (you certainly wouldn't be complaining about the issue had you been doing that).

So how did you determine the root cause for your issue was absolutely what "sandfarce" described?

What I'm getting at here is that it seems to me you jumped on a convenient bandwagon based on little-to-no actual hard data confirming the issue you experienced was the result of this "bug" some guy on a forum said exists.

SSDs die all the time, and the way they die is significantly different than a MHDD solely because they're solid-state. It's akin to a mobile phone ceasing to work, a digital wristwatch ceasing to work, or even a stick of RAM ceasing to work (that's stretching it a bit though; there's a lot more that goes on within an SSD than a DIMM). What you experienced is just a flat out failure, and without an actual engineer to take the drive and do proper analysis of it, I don't think you've provided enough evidence to say "yeah, this random Internet guy said the 520-series drives stop working, and I had my 520-series drive stop working, therefore it must be this thing this guy described".

Generally speaking "tech" people on the Internet are not actual engineers. I'm not talking about you, I'm talking about that guy making wild claims without any hard technical data. They're usually end-users who can do things like, say, build a PC or know how to replace a video card therefore they're somehow skilled at knowing how to determine the root cause of an SSD failure. They know how to do more than their grandparents, or more than the average joe who uses a computer, and this somehow makes them a wizard. To those of us who are engineers, which even the wizards refer to as wizards ( ), we look at guys on forums (not you) flailing their arms and making wild claims and say "sigh, dime a dozen".

Please note that I say all of this quite willingly with the admission that when I first heard about the 320-series 8MByte issue I had a very hard time believing it (mainly because I've owned 6 separate 320-series drives during my life, 4 of which were used in server-class hardware which was power-cycled on occasion, and not one experienced the problem). I sat thinking how that problem could actually be a firmware-level problem and it made no sense. I was very, very surprised when Intel announced that they had found the reason for the problem and fixed it (or possibly worked around it -- I don't know) with a firmware update. I'm still left wondering what the real root cause of that problem was, because there still hasn't been anything highly technical released by Intel or anyone else -- only the symptoms. I have some suspicions but they're purely assumptions until I can get proof, thus I keep my mouth shut.
--
Making life hard for others since 1977.
I speak for myself and not my employer/affiliates of my employer.


trparky
Apple... YUM
Premium,MVM
join:2000-05-24
Cleveland, OH
kudos:2

Did you read my post about how the failure of the SSD seemed to coincide with an issue of the TRIM command to the SSD?



koitsu
Premium,MVM
join:2002-07-16
Mountain View, CA
kudos:23

said by trparky:

Did you read my post about how the failure of the SSD seemed to coincide with an issue of the TRIM command to the SSD?

No, that comment hadn't shown up by the time I wrote my explanation. This just brings even more nonsense into the picture:

1. How are you issuing "TRIM commands" for the drive on a nightly basis? On Windows Vista onward you should not need to do that (presumably you're running the "Intel SSD Optimizer") using Intel's SSD Toolbox; that's intended for XP systems which do not offer native OS-level TRIM (see below). You should not be doing this daily unless you are doing massive amounts of I/O every day (I'm talking maybe 60-80GBytes of writes and deletes, daily, on a 100-120GB SSD).

2. Why are you doing this on Windows 8? Since Windows Vista the OS has had TRIM capability natively within the ATA I/O subsystem driver. The OS takes care of this natively, and cleanly, for you per every I/O delete operation (or may submit large consecutive/linear LBA blocks in an optimal way, rather than one at a time -- both methods are fine). You should let the OS take care of this for you; it will do a more efficient job and consistently 100% of the time.

3. Are your partitions on your SSD properly aligned to either 1MByte or 2MByte boundaries (or possibly other multiples of (2^10)*4)? Windows Vista onward has ensured that, but if you did something like use XP back in the day, then installed Vista (including a clean install but without deleting the existing partition (not the same as formatting the existing partition; that would not change the alignment)) or newer, then that would explain very bad TRIM performance in general. I'm not talking about 4KByte alignment here, I'm talking about NAND erase block size alignment (which is represented by N number of sequential NAND pages, and the NAND page size varies per SSD brand, model/device, revision, and lithography. Most manufacturers do not disclose this info, which still to this day pisses me off). You can read about the ill effects of non-NAND-erase-block-aligned partitions here (read, do not skim): »wiki.laptop.org/go/How_to_Damage···e_Device

4. How much free space did your Intel SSD have before you deleted 10GB of data off of it, and what capacity is that SSD? You should always keep roughly 30% of free space on the SSD.

5. Have you ever done something like a "full format" on the SSD, i.e. every LBA ("sector") written to with data (or zeros)? If so, this would explain awful performance of the SSD, especially during TRIM or GC operations -- the FTL is completely maxxed out. Do not do this on an SSD. ATA-level Secure Erase is the proper way to do this.

6. Did you ever look at any of the SMART statistics on your Intel SSD? If so, do you have that data somewhere (screenshot, etc.)? It would give me some indication of its internal state.

TRIM in general is an expensive operation, and likewise, GC (garbage collection) takes even longer. The drive can go catatonic during this state, to the point where kernel/device drivers may think the underlying device has "fallen off the bus" (in actuality the kernel/drivers hits an internal I/O timeout and then kicks the drive off the bus itself). Any OS will see this. The timeout on FreeBSD is 30 seconds with a 5-attempt retry count. What Windows uses as a timeout depends on the underlying storage drivers; if you're using Microsoft's AHCI, you would need to ask them or look through MSDN. If you're using Intel's RST drivers (be sure to state what version) you would need to ask Intel what the value is.
--
Making life hard for others since 1977.
I speak for myself and not my employer/affiliates of my employer.


DarkLogix
Texan and Proud
Premium
join:2008-10-23
Baytown, TX
kudos:3
reply to koitsu

This is why I always set windows to not turn off the harddrive ever.

though oddly and I blame marvell my intel 520 480gb shows a crazy number of unclean shutdowns.

But my 520 is running great.
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»Death Star Petition



Ghastlyone
Premium
join:2009-01-07
Las Vegas, NV
kudos:5

said by DarkLogix:

This is why I always set windows to not turn off the harddrive ever.

How do you do that?

I must have overlooked that option in there.


Cheese
Premium
join:2003-10-26
Naples, FL
kudos:1

It's in power options



DarkLogix
Texan and Proud
Premium
join:2008-10-23
Baytown, TX
kudos:3
reply to Ghastlyone

See here.


Ghastlyone
Premium
join:2009-01-07
Las Vegas, NV
kudos:5

said by DarkLogix:

See here.

Awesome, thanks.

So this doesn't effect sleep mode, or shutting down completely?


DarkLogix
Texan and Proud
Premium
join:2008-10-23
Baytown, TX
kudos:3

If you shut down completely it'll still turn it off, but the drive won't (in the case of MHDD's) spin down. while the computer is on.

I think putting the computer in sleep mode would still turn it off.

I always set this setting because with a MHDD I don't want to have to wait on spin up to use my computer again, and I figure for a SSD it'd be more ideal for the drive to be as ready as possible.

Though I always kinda figured that a SSD wouldn't really do much when windows tells it to "spin down"
--
»Death Star Petition