08-04-2010 07:26 PM - edited 08-04-2010 07:29 PM
I have a new X301 with a Toshiba 128 GB SSD, model THNS128GG4BAAA-N. I have a problem that the computer had become unresponsive for 15-60 minutes three times in the past 2 days with the hard drive going wild, investigated, and have a few questions. Thought I share the research with you all.
First of all, I believe it supports TRIM. I believe it's the older 43 nm HG2 model listed on Toshiba's website. According to several website reviews, the HG2 series support TRIM. The review serial numbers and mine are almost identical. Though strangely, the Toshiba website does not mention the 43 nm models as supporting TRIM.
The Windows Experience Index shows the hard drive rated at 7.1, great. However, it has superfetch active and Readyboost as well. According to a Microsoft blog, Windows 7 deactivates those 2 when it senses a SSD, but not if it determines the SSD has poor performance. So what gives? Did Windows sense it's small random write performance was poor?
I ran a SSD specific benchmark called AS SSD. It rates the speed in 4 areas in read and write - Sequential, 4k, 4k-64THRD and Acc. Time. The Toshiba was fast on sequential, below average on 4 k, but stunningly slow on 4k-64THRD writing.
Sequential write - 156 MB/sec
4k write - 4.65 MB.sec
4k-64THRD write - 0.19 MB/sec!!
The 4k-64THRD read was good at 13.71 MB/sec.
To reduce the hard drive lockup, I deactivated the Windows paging file, and limited the Search Indexing and deactivated Compress Drive to Save Space. Each time it became unresponsive, Resource Monitor showed the hard drive at 100% utilization, and something was writing in the background, though Resource Monitor was mostly showing writing at only 1-2 kb/sec.
OK my questions:
1. How do I know that TRIM is enabled by Windows 7? I'm not sure Win 7 is recognizing this is an SSD.
2. Any comments on what I'm seeing? For my older platter drives, background writing such as paging file or indexing slowed the computer, but never made it unresponsive.
3. Anyone know how to improve the 4k-64 THRD figures?
I should mention that other than the lockups, everything is really fast!! Lockups are unacceptable since I give business presentations on this laptop. Also, diagnostics show nothing wrong, so Lenovo wouldn't consider it defective.
Solved! Go to Solution.
08-05-2010 06:50 AM - edited 08-05-2010 06:51 AM
I don't think the Toshiba SSD support trim or maybe more correctly that the current firmware lack trim support. Either way the problem you see should not be because your SSD do not have trim support.
With regards to the superfetch and readyboost the same thing happened to me when doing a clean install of Windows 7 on a Intel X25 and it's for sure fast enough. I just decided to disable those services manually even if i didn't notice much difference doing so. Even if you got a SSD i believe it's a good idea to keep the paging file. The same goes for indexing even if the difference might be more noticeable when using a HDD with and without indexing. I don't even notice the indexing on my computer so it shouldn't be a problem to leave this one enabled.
To enable trim in Windows 7 you need to use the Microsoft AHCI driver or the Intel RST 9.6 driver (or newer). Intel RST older than 9.6 do not support trim. Also your SSD and the firmware for the SSD have to support trim. You can check if trim is enabled or not in Windows, but it doesn't actually tell you if trim is working since you need the correct driver, firmware and SSD with trim support as well. So even if Windows tell you trim is enabled that doesn't necessarily mean trim is performed. I don't know if there is any way to improve the 4k-64 THRD figures a lot. New drivers, firmware and so on might increase the performance a bit though. Unless you already checked i would recommend to check if Lenovo release a new firmware for your SSD.
I think you should find out what process is resposible for the lockup and start the investigation there.
Did you see what process that were responsible for the disk activity?
You can find another existing thread about Toshiba and trim support here:
08-07-2010 05:29 PM
Thanks for your time to comment.
The 4K-64THRD figures were so far below posted benchmarks on the net, the number is consistently above the 4k figures on those posts. Something is wrong there and I'll have to look into.
Resource Monitor is the Win 7 tool I use to try to figure out what programs are using excessive resources. But it's given unusual results. For at least 2 slowdowns/lockups, the SSD ran at 100% utilization, but i/o was reading 0-1 kb/sec. At other times, there've been large figures for i/o but 0% SSD utilization, with no slowdown. Running Norton Ghost backup, it had a steady stream of 33 MB/sec reading with no slowdown. Writing seems to be the problem. Today there was a slowdown but not total lockup, and CPU related. McAfee was using 46% CPU while strangely Resource Monitor itself was using 49%, my point is that it's a strange result.
Software install, pagefile writing and Win indexing were running during the lockups. As to software install, a normally 3 minute Java update turned into a 25 minute lockup and all was well after the install. I have 2 indexers, X1 and Win 7. X1 poses no problems as it runs with background priority, but Win indexing at normal priority was running at of one lockup so I mostly run it limited to Outlook PST files. Then I deactivated the pagefile and no problems so far with 4 GB of main memory and not gone past 60% utilization yet. None of those should cause a lockup.
I'll change McAfee to Norton which runs virus scans at idle times, McAfee uses a schedule. TRIM is something I'll look into when I have the time to investigate by posting on pure SSD forums. I'll keep you informed if anything interesting comes up.
No lockups for the past 2 days. Some conditions of writing to the disk is causing a problem and I'll keep looking into it.
10-02-2010 09:40 PM
Tweaktown did a review of the OEM Toshiba with the same model number, explaining the problem. The drive uses a modified JMicron controller which grinds to a snails pace when too much data is being written. I must have run into that case when the drive was filled the first time, but haven't run into it since. For my work, it's fine and much faster than the platter drive it replaces. Tweaktown concluded as well that it's OK for day to day work, but expensive for the performance relative to other SSD drives and implied Lenovo hasn't kept up with the latest SSD developments.
In the AS SSD synthetic benchmark I used, the 4k write figures started off well, around 10 MB/sec. The benchmark writes 1 GB of data, and as it continued the speed figures slowly dropped to 0.19 MB/sec. Tweaktown noted that after the small JMicron controller buffers fill with large writes, performance drops off a cliff, mirroring what I've seen.