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Horribly slow SSD drive - brand new install

Posted on 2008-10-09
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I am asking this here in hopes that someone can help me.  I did my research ahead of time & looking at the speeds etc, I settled on buying a Patriot Warp 2 128gb SSD drive.  I originally did a mirror of my existing drive & was dumb-founded at how slow & non-responsive it was.  So, I did a factory restore using the Lenovo provided XP discs for my brand new x200 laptop.  The boot up time is incredibly fast...but, the second I launch anything, it slows down so much that I think I could boot dos off a floppy disk and be more productive!  Literallly every few minutes, I will click on the start menu or something & wait 30-60 seconds for it just to respond.  I have downloaded all of the latest drivers from Lenovo's website & have seen no improvements.  I have tried a few of the things that I have read on-line & nothing seems to help.

That said, I am VERY dependent upon Outlook 2007 & its indexing features, so I am wondering if the index is what is killing me.  The disc activity laptop is ALWAYS on, so that's where the slowness is coming from.

I am literally shocked that a drive that performs like this can really be released, so I am wondering what I could be doing wrong.  (I did a fresh install on my T60p with this drive too & experienced the same horrible slowness)  I would say that my productivity would be cut in more than half if I kept using this drive.  Fortunately I have a 130 dollar Western Digital Scorpio Black drive with a mirror image, so I can always roll back, but NewEgg offers no return on the 500 dollar SSD drive, so I would like to get my monies out of it.  (primarily since I am very hard on hard drives, moving around etc, so that was the main reason to get an SSD)

Please let me know if you have any tips or tricks - as I mentioned, it is an x200 from Lenovo, so maybe someone knows of a chipset driver that would work with the Intel ICH9M-E/M SATA AHCI Controller.

Other info:
Lenovo x200
2.4ghz Intel P8600 processor
3gb RAM
Windows XP Pro, SP3 (could SP3 be the issue?)

Thanks for your help!
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Question by:rustyrpage
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garycase earned 500 total points
ID: 22680456
There are known issues with Outlook and SSD's that can cause exactly what you described (the frequent long pauses) [http://support.microsoft.com/kb/940226 ].   Microsoft's current "workaround" is to use a non-SSD drive for the Outlook files ... not very helpful in a single-drive laptop !!

While you did indeed buy a good SSD drive, but the issue with Outlook is a major stumbling block for anyone who uses Outlook.   Not much choice here except to go back to your WD Scorpio until Microsoft resolves the Outlook issue.
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by:garycase
ID: 22680466
... by the way, SP3 is not the issue ==> XP should run just fine as long as you don't use Outlook.   [Not sure if the indexing activities of Microsoft Search cause the same issues -- you may want to experiment a bit with that]
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by:rustyrpage
ID: 22680472
But this happens even without Outlook open - very strange.
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by:garycase
ID: 22680602
Outlook doesn't have to be open -- just installed (it indexes in the background).   I'd uninstall Outlook and turn off disk indexing [Uncheck the "Index this drive for faster searching" box on the Properties page for the drive] and see if things run well => then you'll at least know what the issue is.
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by:rustyrpage
ID: 22680877
Well that sounds quite lame =)

No point in doing that - I will go back to my Scorpio.

Would the fix really come from Microsoft, or would it be a firmware upgrade on the SSD?

That said, is it worth holding on to the SSD for a little while longer to see what happens, or should I try to ditch it on Ebay?
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by:Alan Henderson
ID: 22681031
@ Gary

Is this a problem with Outlook 2007 only or is it all versions?

If it's only 2007 that's the problem, Outlook 2007 can be uninstalled and Outlook 2003 installed while keeping the rest of Office 2007.
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by:rustyrpage
ID: 22681040
AHHHH - no categories or indexing???
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by:garycase
ID: 22681766
"... Is this a problem with Outlook 2007 only or is it all versions? " ==>  Don't know for sure; but I believe it's only with 2007 -- at least the reported problems are all related to that version.   I believe it's due to the disk access mode associated with the indexing operations.   Other e-mail clients (Thunderbird, Eudora, etc.) do not seem to have the problem.

... SSD's are great drives -- but clearly have a few issues that need to be resolved.   I believe Microsoft is working on a modified indexing scheme (doing more work in RAM between disk accesses) that will resolve the issue for Outlook.   Meanwhile, the SSD manufacturers are also working a revised controllers that will help as well.   So this issue WILL be resolved ... but that doesn't help right now with this particular issue.
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by:rustyrpage
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I don't mind shelfing the drive for right now, I just need to know, if it is a hardware fix, will it be firmware based, or will I have to shell out 500 dollars more?
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by:garycase
ID: 22681930
Difficult to say -- it depends on what they have to modify in the controller.   Hopefully it will be a firmware update ... or, better yet, Microsoft will revise the access mode and eliminate the issue altogether.   They certainly indicate this may be the case on the page I referenced above [Note the comment:  "... The Outlook product team is aware of this issue and is investigating solutions for a future release."].

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by:rustyrpage
ID: 22681997
But, that still doesn't address the main issue that SSD drives cannot handle reading & writing at the same time.  I just loaded my T60p with the SSD drive & did not put on Office at all...even then, multi-tasking is somewhat painful.  I am guessing that fix will not be a firmware upgrade though, but rather a hardware upgrade?

To Vallis - reading on-line, people with Outlook 2003 have the same issue of slowness, although, it may not be as drastic.
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by:garycase
ID: 22684002
Do you have write caching enabled for the drive?   This should minimize the simultaneous read/write activity and may help the performance.   But as you've discovered, SSD's aren't quite ready for "prime time."   That's probably why Dell reportedly has a nearly 1/3rd return rate for laptops shipped with SSDs.
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by:rustyrpage
ID: 22687017
I tried it with it on & with it off, it was faster when on, but still slower than ANY hard drive I have seen.

I just don't know how they get by selling these!
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by:garycase
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Agree.   They provide excellent boot times (as you've noted); and work very well with certain application mixes where the read/write mix doesn't cause the sluggishness you've noted.   But clearly they're not ready for prime time.
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