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DeerSteak DeerSteak is offline
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Default Mini 9 stutter in XP - 03-09-2010, 03:42 PM

First of all, hi.

Second of all, I've found these forums very useful before I ever registered and posted, so thank you to all who make this community helpful.

Third of all, I have a Dell Mini 9 with a 16GB SuperTalent SSD. It works pretty well with Ubuntu and Windows 7, but I want to use specific Windows apps (which rules out Ubuntu as I never got them to play well with Wine) and Windows 7 is just too much of a disk hog. I've fooled around with vlite and I was never quite satisfied with what I got so meh. The machine originally came with Windows XP Home SP3 and I have the original media. I can successfully install the original media from a USB drive and I can get all drivers installed.

My problem is that the machine will seemingly lock up (become unresponsive other than the mouse) for 10-15 seconds every so often, and then when I click in a panic everything I do eventually happens all at once, often times doing stuff I didn't mean to. Even during the text-based portion of the XP install, copying files would go in spurts - it'd copy to 50% really fast and then stutter on every 10-12 files, locking up on what wind up being really quite small DLL files like USRFAX somethingorother. Definitely not normal behavior; the only pause I've ever observed in this context on any other computer has been on, which really is a large file. So from the get-go there's every indication that things aren't going according to plan.

I read - alot - about partition alignment on OCZ forums and whatnot, but I'm not sure I ever got my partition aligned correctly. I tried several different methods, including booting to Win7 to create the partition (create the partition, let it create the 100MB partition, delete the big one and extend, to have one large partition) and a few other things like a gparted live ISO but I've never been able to get the stutter to go away. Any suggestions? Thanks in advance.
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reflex reflex is offline
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Default 03-09-2010, 04:46 PM

Your problem certainly sounds like SSD stuttering due to low write speed.

Partition alignment may help, but I wouldn't be excessively hopeful. To check partition alignment, I'd boot into Linux and run "sudo fdisk -lu" in a terminal. fdisk is a partitioning utility, sudo runs it with super-user privileges, and "-lu" tells it to list partitions, using sectors (512byte) as units.

My Mini 9's single partition aligned to 512kB (1024 512byte sectors) looks like this:
   Device Boot      Start         End      Blocks   Id  System
/dev/hda1   *        1024     7404543     3701760   83  Linux
Start and end are on 1024 sector boundaries (1024 modulo 1024 equals 0 and (7404543 + 1) modulo 1024 equals 0)

You could also look into a program to buffer SSD writes. Here's a thread about one. Be aware, since I use Linux, I've never tried the program discussed there.

Mini 9 | Intel 5100 Wifi | Ubuntu 10.04 Netbook
Mini 1012 | SSD | Intel 6200 Wifi | Ubuntu 11.10 64bit
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DeerSteak DeerSteak is offline
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Default 03-09-2010, 05:43 PM

Thank you for your reply. It turned out to be most helpful.

I've got a flash drive with Ubutnu 9.10 Netbook Remix on it (I kinda like the dumbed-down UI only because it doesn't use so much space vertically; combining the tabs to the top menu bar lets me see more of a webpage or whatnot).

I'm definitely not aligned correctly. I start at 63 rather than a power of 2. I'm apparently not offsetting correctly. Is there a way to do this in fdisk? From what I've read, Gparted doesn't allow me to manually specify an offset.

---------- Post added at 11:43 AM ---------- Previous post was at 11:18 AM ----------

OK so here's what I did. I booted into my flash drive and used this guide to create partitions using 56 sectors per track:

Guide Partition alignment importance under Windows XP (32-bit and 64-bit)..why it helps with stuttering and increases drive working life.

(see Pigeon's post)

Then I used gparted to format that new partition as NTFS. When I do "sudo fdisk -lu" I get starting at sector 56, file system is NTFS/HPFS. Sweet. 56*512 = 28672, which when divided by 4096 is 7, a perfect multiple of 4k. I'm now re-creating my WinXP flash drive (had wiped it in favor of fooling with trying to install OS X, which I'm still dealing with, but I might just give it up if this works). Once that finishes I'll try reinstalling and see what happens.

---------- Post added at 12:15 PM ---------- Previous post was at 11:18 AM ----------

edit again: well, in the file copy process during the text installer portion, things are going MUCH faster with my manually-aligned heads. Like it took half as long. Thanks for giving me the idea, it's working out well early on and I will post back when I'm done.
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DeerSteak DeerSteak is offline
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Default 03-09-2010, 07:48 PM

Stuttering was still present but greatly reduced. Using FlashFire elimintating the stutter completely. It's great. Still, without your suggestion to use Linux and check alignment with Fdisk I'd have never thought to do it, so thanks again! You put me on the track to success.

Now if I can just get Snow Leopard working on my spare SSD, I'll be set.
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