Has anyone ever successfully installed and used a Mini 10 system with Windows 7 on a Corsair P256 SSD
? If so, are special settings or drivers required to get the system to work properly?
This is a bit of a long story, but I am really hoping someone can help me with the problem, or at least explain why I have hit a wall with Corsair and the Dell Mini.
I have a Mini 1010 Z530 with 2GB ram running Win XP SP3 on top of Dell Phoenix bios version A11. I installed a Corsair P256 solid state hard drive just after buying the machine almost a year ago. The system was never especially fast with the P256, but it was always quiet and the battery lasted a long time. And it always seemed to perform well enough to justify the cost, or so I thought. Any performance problems I attributed to the processor, not the hard drive.
Recently I upgraded the Corsair SSD
's firmware to enable TRIM garbage collection. I then tried to install Windows 7 x86 Ultimate in order to take advantage of the native TRIM support. The installation process went flawlessly, but once I booted up under normal conditions Win 7 ran incredibly slowly, often hanging for up to 30 second stretches (with a "not responding" message showing in the open application's title bar). It was vastly slower than the XP build, largely because of these periods of unresponsiveness.
So I formally checked the P256's performance on the Mini 10 with ATTO Bench32. It showed the drive achieving max read/write speeds of about 60MB/s, which is only about 25% of what the drive is capable of. More importantly, it also showed that the drive periodically locks up and access times drop to nearly 0MB/s. This result pretty much captures my real life experience in a nutshell. I tried several reinstalls, thinking that I did something wrong at setup, all with the same result. Disappointing.
I then tried to systematically diagnose the source of the problem: Was it (a) Win 7 or (b) the Corsair P256 SSD
or (c) the Mini 10 itself.
(a) I installed Win 7 on the Mini using a regular HDD (the one that originally shipped with the system).The performance was great, in fact vastly better compared to what I had seen with Win XP on the SSD
. The Mini has no problem with Win 7 per se. In fact, it's clear that the Mini 10 loves Win 7.
(b) I have a second Sony laptop that runs Win 7 x64. So I decided to clone its 320GB HDD to the new Corsair SSD
and then pop it into the Sony to see what happened. It worked beautifully. In fact, I was positively blown away by the performance. ATTO access times jumped to 220MB/s and I have never seen a machine so quick to load and responsive. The drive is evidently fine.
(c) Finally, I took the Corsair SSD
out of the Sony, put it back into the Mini 10 and reinstalled Win XP. The machine functioned as it always has with XP, no better, nor worse. There were no serious hang times or delays, but it wasn't super responsive either. ATTO Bench32 confirmed this behavior. It showed that read/writes were only around 60MB/s, with no abrupt drop offs to 0MB/s. Not great, but also not unbearable. I guess I never realized that the drive was under performing in this way when the Mini ran XP.
I think it's fair to say that the Mini 10 seems not to like the Corsair P256 under any circumstance. With XP, performance is mediocre. With Win 7, performance is unbearable.
I can't help but wonder if the Mini 1010 is simply incompatible with this drive. I recently upgraded to bios A11, but I don't think that caused the problem. Dell of course sells an OEM SSD
made by Samsung, which also makes controllers for Corsair's SSDs. Dell in fact has its own firmware upgrades for its Mini SSDs that are virtually identical to Corsairs - only a single letter of the firmware version is different (a "D" for Dell rather than a "C" for Corsair).
I have no idea where to look next for a solution. Corsair has offered to replace the drive, but I suspect that won't do any good.
So, has anyone ever succeeded in getting a Corsair P256 SSD
to run at expected levels of performance on a Dell Mini?
Thanks very much in advance for the help!