My Solid State Sorrow

I recently installed a Solid State Disk, an Intel X25-M to be precise, as my operating system disk. (It was time to upgrade to Windows 7!) Despite the fact that it would not really increase compiles times, I was very excited about the other anticipated performance improvements.

Solid State Society. I'm a fan of Ghost in the Shell, but I haven't seen this one yet. After the installation, I had Windows 7 and Visual Studio installed quickly; less than an hour I think. However, shortly after that, my machine froze. Then it froze again. <heart stop/>

It was definitely a problem with the new drive. A little bit of research turned up that my motherboard, MSI P6N SLI Platinum, uses a chipset with a known problem. Specifically, the nForce 650i and 680i.

By default, the SATA controllers on these boards have a featured enabled called command queuing. This is the feature that causes the problem with the ssd. However, I could not find anywhere to disable this feature.

There was speculation on some forums that upgrading to the latest firmware would fix everything. I did, and it didn’t.

Needless to say, I was getting a little bit concerned.

The Solution

I had not installed any vendor-specific drivers. Since this was vendor specific feature, I reasoned that that using the NVIDIA drivers might allow me to disable command queuing. It did, and now my system has four times as much awesome as previously.

  1. Install the NVIDIA nForce drivers.
  2. In Device Manager, under IDE ATA/ATAPI controllers, locate the NVIDA nForce Serial ATA Controller associated with your SSD and click Properties.
  3. Switch to the tab for the port that the SSD is located on.
  4. Uncheck Enable command queuing. You only need to do this for the SSD drive.
  5. Rejoice!

click to enlarge

On a side note, I built my machine based on The Coding Horror Ultimate Developer Rig. That’s right kids, it is pure rock and roll.

Posted 08-31-2009 7:44 AM by Christopher Bennage


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