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11-12-2009

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SSD bottleneck with ICH8

2009-11-12, 18:43 PM

Can the BIOS developers unlock the ICH8 chipset in the X-series of Thinkpads so the owers who are interested in upgrading their laptops can fully utilize the huge performace gains that the latest generation of SSDs provide?  Its really annoying to spend a bundle of money on a new SSD only to find you are capped at 120MB/s read/write.

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Re: SSD bottleneck with ICH8

2009-11-12, 18:46 PM

Some of you might recall this very same issue happenend with Apple imposing a cap of SATA 150 speeds when the NVIDIA chipset in the Macbooks supported SATA 300.  The Apple customers rightfully made a huge stink about the matter and sure enough, a firmware fix was provided that unlocked the speed. Why can't Lenovo do the very same thing?

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12-20-2008

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Re: SSD bottleneck with ICH8

2009-11-12, 21:25 PM

The X61, T61 and R61 would not be updated to support the SATA3 speed according to Lenovo.

Regards,

Jin Li

May this year, be the year of 'DO'!

I am a volunteer, and not a paid staff of Lenovo or Microsoft
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Re: SSD bottleneck with ICH8

2009-11-12, 21:52 PM

Did they provide a reason?  Technical or otherwise?

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11-24-2007

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Re: SSD bottleneck with ICH8

2009-11-12, 22:49 PM

first off, welcome to the forum!

 

regarding an answer, please see this post for an explanation.

 

these systems will not be able to run 3 Gb/sec due to possible reliability/stability issues because of a SATA/PATA bridge chip used in santa-rosa-based thinkpads.   systems introduced after this series do not have such a restriction because they are 100% SATA native.

 

with that said, synthetic benchmarks aren't the best indicator of high-performance SSDs on T6x systems.   a good SSD will run quite fast in these systems, including file copy speeds.

ThinkStation P700      ThinkPad X1C7

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Re: SSD bottleneck with ICH8

2009-11-13, 5:29 AM

erik,

 

Thanks for the response.  I read all the posts from the link you gave me, not impressed.  There seemed to be a few good suggestions in that thread about a possible work around, but it seemed to fall on deaf ears.  The developers I believe are instructed by their directors to allocate their time on current products, and not to back track and properly fix this short coming.  I would go as far as to say it looks like the developers/engineers rushed the products to market before fully testing and implementing a complete feature set.  The official Lenovo literature specifically states the native capabilities of the chipset, as well as Intel describing what the chipset is meant to provide.  Letting a series of products go to market functioning at half of what they can do is quite poor on Lenovo's part.  Especially when other competitors managed to get it right.

 

This bridge chip excuse that was mentioned is weak.  I throughly enjoy my X61, and have gone to great lengths to endorse Thinkpads in my place of work as well as ordering them for the staff.  This poor showing will definetly give me strong incentive to look elsewhere for our next round of laptop upgrades.

 

 

Thanks.

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Re: SSD bottleneck with ICH8

2009-11-13, 14:42 PM

i understand your frustration and disappointment.

 

keep in mind that in 2006, when the T60 platform was first released, SSDs weren't mainstream consumer products.   prices were $2500+ for 16GB SLC drives.   when the T61 was released early 2007, SSDs still weren't widely used and still cost astronomical prices compared to HDDs.   because the T60 already used a SATA/PATA bridge chip to interface with ultrabay devices, the T61 was built the same way to help businesses migrate to the new systems without losing peripheral/accessory compatibility.

 

you may feel that the bridge chip is a weak excuse.   you're entitled to that opinion.   but, i want you to realize that engineering tested T60 and T61 systems extensively at 3 Gb/sec with the bridge chip, found the combination to be unstable, and made a cognizant, educated decision to limit bus speed to 1.5 Gb/sec based on many factors.   had SSDs been both affordable and widely available back in 2006~2007, i guarantee things would have been different.

 

if it helps, i have a 64GB samsung SLC SSD in my X61s and am completely happy with its performance in real-world tests.   there's absolutely no way any of my HDDs can come close to its speeds.   while a higher-performance SSD (such as the intel X25-E) will test higher in my X200T under synthetic benchmarks, i don't see much difference in app launch times, in-app tasks, file copy speeds, and so on.   i'm sure there are cases where having 3 Gb/sec makes an appreciable difference.   until someone definitively proves me wrong, i'm staying with the opinion that T6x/X6x systems will benefit markedly from installing a good SSD. ;)

ThinkStation P700      ThinkPad X1C7

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  • Message 8 of 9

Re: SSD bottleneck with ICH8

2009-11-13, 18:41 PM

eric,

 

Your explanation is fine, and your reasoning about what was available to the general public in 2006-2007 is also fair, but lets be honest: that was then, and this is now.  In 2006-2007 your Thinkpad install base was in the process of growing.  Fast forward to 2009, that generation of Thinkpads has penetrated the market in a number of different business sectors.  Some people are using their laptops for casual word processing, some spreadsheet calculations, etc.  Others choose to use their Thinkpads as mobile workstations for doing rendering of 3D graphics, sound editing, video editing, photo editing, etc.  Some tasks might not use an SSD to its full potential, while others will benefit a great deal.

 

I'm sure Lenovo has the talent to come up with a solution that would satisfy the users in 2009.  Hanging on to an excuse based on market availability in 2006 is quite sad.

 

Based on a few suggestions in the thread you linked, providing users with a choice to run at full SATA 2 spec while disabling the Ultrabase would be all that is required.  Take this bridge chip out of the equation and let users who aren't concerned with adding a PATA disk in the Ultrabay to fully utilize their Thinkpads and high performance SSD.

 

No offence to you, I'm sure your Samsung SLC SSD is nice, but don't try and sell me on a 120MB/s cap when many of the mainstream SSDs today can approach 300MB/s with read and writes.  People want what they pay for: whether its a laptop that performs up to spec, or an SSD that provides read and write speeds that can turn an otherwise mediocre laptop into a mobile powerhouse.

 

This ICH8 bottleneck is weak.  I don't care how Lenovo tries to spin it.

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12-20-2008

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  • Message 9 of 9

Re: SSD bottleneck with ICH8

2009-11-14, 2:23 AM

no company is going to rework their whole bios that for few thousand people, this is unfair to the rest of the users. The fact is you won't have SATA3 capability in your X61, just live with the fact. 

Regards,

Jin Li

May this year, be the year of 'DO'!

I am a volunteer, and not a paid staff of Lenovo or Microsoft
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