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Old 12-14-2012, 11:46 AM   #1
wpcoe
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Default Is my SSD faulty, is it Win8, or other hardware?

About two weeks ago, I installed Win8 and have had almost daily blue screens, system freezes or other errors. The CPU, motherboard, power supply and case are less than six months old.

Twice now, three days apart, my system froze and when rebooting could not see the Intel 520 SSD (the boot drive.) The first time, I immediately removed the drive from the system and attached it to my notebook via a SATA/USB adapter. It was immediately recognized, and I copied everything from it as an additional backup. I replaced the drive in my desktop system and it booted right up like nothing had happened.

Today when it occurred, I simply pulled the power plug, had dinner before reapplying power and it booted right up. Not even a data gathering error message from Windows.

I have done several secure erases of the drive -- before changing from MBR to GPT to MBR back to GPT and now again on MBR. (Long story involving a retiree with waaay too much time on his hands.)

Does anything in the SMART data seem amiss?



When I had the SSD out, I traded power connectors with the HDD to see if the cable/connector were the culprit. I meant to trade out the SATA cable, but forgot. It is a new cable, one that came with the motherboard.

How can I be sure my Intel 520 SSD is not the cause? It could be symptom of some other problem, too, no? If so, how does one definitively track it down?

I don't have a spare processor, motherboard or power supply to swap.

It seems suspicious that all of this started when I installed Win8, but could an OS cause a drive to (fleetingly) not be recognized by the motherboard? I could see Win8 causing all the blue screens, freezes and other weirdness, but the disappearing SSD?

I had blue screens and freezes before I flashed a beta, Win8-aware UEFI(BIOS) and after I reverted to the stable (non-beta) non-Win8-aware UEFI(BIOS). (Confusing because Gigabyte calls it BIOS, but it's actually UEFI.)
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i3-3225, 3.3GHz w/stock HSF, GigaByte H77M-D3H
2 x 2GB + 2 x 4GB Kingston RAM = 12GB, no discrete graphic card (just IGP HD4000)
Samsung 840 EVO 250GB SSD | Intel 520 120GB SSD | 1TB WD Green HDD
Silverstone Temjin TJ-08E case | CoolerMaster eXtreme Power Plus 460W PSU
Dell U2312HM 23" LCD | Samsung 171N 17" LCD | Windows 8.1 Pro 64-bit

Location: Thailand (several hours south of Bangkok)
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Old 12-14-2012, 11:59 AM   #2
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If you have a copy of Win7 (or XP, Linux), format the drive and install it. Put it through it's paces and see if it chokes. Only way I can think of that you can rule out the OS. If you get the same behavior with another OS, then you likely have a hardware issue, but good luck figuring out which component is the culprit. Please report back; I have a 520 that has performed excellently for my thus far, so I'd be interested to learn if the drive is the issue.
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Old 12-14-2012, 12:08 PM   #3
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To better understand the SMART status, I would run Intel's Toolbox instead. As for your instabilities, if this PC is in Thailand, it could come from your power grid slowly killing your power supply. Seriously. Power in 3rd world countries in Asia is full of surges and brown outs are too common.

Several times I have brought computers back to Asia, the Dell desktops I brought back ALWAYS handled the odd 110/220v 50/60 cycle oddities better than the clones I helped build in Philippines that used generic or after market power supplies. A good surge protector and a real serious power supply was key to having a stable PC there. Luckily as time passed and their desktops got old, they got replaced with laptops which like to run off batteries and their power supplies tend to be tested better and wham... no more instabilities.

Last edited by razel; 12-14-2012 at 12:12 PM.
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Old 12-14-2012, 01:14 PM   #4
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The Intel Toolbox SMART report is identical to CrystalDiskInfo's, it's just that it was easier to give one screen shot with no scroll bars from CDI.

Yes, I'm VERY aware of our tetchy power grid here. I have a substantial surge protector/line filter, and (RSN!) plan to get an APC UPS. I also installed a ground wire for the outlet that the computer plugs into. (Don't laugh, folks. A vast majority of even new houses don't have earthed/grounded power outlets!) It's not uncommon to have power "snaps" or "twitches" where the power is off for less than a second -- this can happen several times a week during rainy season. My power supplies have generally lasted way more than six months even at the height of such activity, but who's to know if my CoolerMaster is up to it. I really wanted something like a Seasonic, but "no have" in Thailand. Just like Samsung SSDs. <sigh>

On the agenda -- also RSN! -- is to research how to dual boot Win7 and Win8. I'll see how things go for a day or two, first. <fingers crossed>

Almost forgot:

Quote:
Originally Posted by jhansman View Post
Please report back; I have a 520 that has performed excellently for my thus far, so I'd be interested to learn if the drive is the issue.
There is another thread from an Intel 520 user which was mainly focused on the benchmark figures, but he mentioned that he also said he experienced the disappearing SSD phenomenon a couple times.

Last edited by wpcoe; 12-14-2012 at 01:20 PM.
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Old 12-14-2012, 02:05 PM   #5
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As I was typing in the comments I realized I "upgraded" from IRST 11.6 to 11.7 around 06-Dec. If this thing is not stable for a day or so, I might roll that back to 11.6. I'm not sure if the problems predate installing 11.7, or not...

Last edited by wpcoe; 12-14-2012 at 02:08 PM.
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Old 12-14-2012, 07:10 PM   #6
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Dual booting Win7 and Win8 is easy. With your existing Win7 install in place, just install Win8 fresh on a separate partition and it will allow you to boot between the two.

Last edited by razel; 12-14-2012 at 07:13 PM.
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Old 12-15-2012, 05:55 AM   #7
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Hopefully the reverse is true, now that I have Win8 installed?

I've now gone a full 24 hours with no odd behavior. Too soon to call a victory, but I'm cautiously optimistic.
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Old 12-15-2012, 10:38 AM   #8
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yes.. the reverse method is also true and I'd be quick to blame W8 for your issues there.
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Old 12-15-2012, 02:43 PM   #9
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Ha! I just read the other thread with your long post first, attributing possible blame to Win8.

Thanks again!
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Old 01-22-2013, 01:18 PM   #10
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I'm starting to get nervous about my Intel 520 again. Twice now in the past 10 days or so, the drive was not detected by my system: once on boot-up it reached the point of presenting the Win8 desktop but failed before loading all apps, and once just randomly while surfing the net it stopped. When I reboot, the drive is not detected in BIOS (UEFI).

So far, I've relied on powering down, unplugging the system for five minutes, then replugging and booting and the system works like new. But, how long will that continue to be a successful recovery method?

I have no idea if it's the SSD itself, the motherboard, power supply, or something else. The problem is so random/elusive that I don't know how to determine the weak link.

Apparently it is not a widespread problem for Intel 520's, or the board would be ablaze with threads. The only other reference I've seen was in this thread.

I wanted to move this SSD into a revived Socket 775 system with an e6750 to give to my mother for her basic use, but if the SSD *is* flaky it'd be a bad, bad move on my part. She's 94 years old and lives in USA and I live in Thailand -- not much help to her if the drive bombs out.

Any ideas on how to track down why the Intel 520 disappears infrequently and randomly?

FWIW, here's the SMART data as reported by CrystalDiskInfo (the same data as reported by the Intel SSD ToolBox, just easier to screen cap in CDI):

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2 x 2GB + 2 x 4GB Kingston RAM = 12GB, no discrete graphic card (just IGP HD4000)
Samsung 840 EVO 250GB SSD | Intel 520 120GB SSD | 1TB WD Green HDD
Silverstone Temjin TJ-08E case | CoolerMaster eXtreme Power Plus 460W PSU
Dell U2312HM 23" LCD | Samsung 171N 17" LCD | Windows 8.1 Pro 64-bit

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Old 01-22-2013, 03:51 PM   #11
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if that drive doesn't exhibit the same exact behaviour with W7?.. then you already know why it's acting up.

This is why many board mfgrs are having similar issues(regardless of drives used) and actually validate the board for use with W8. Or not.
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Old 01-25-2013, 09:17 AM   #12
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I guess I should uninstall Win8, re-install Win7 and then wait ... how long? couple of months? ... to see if the problem goes away.

I'm actually not clear how the OS would affect a drive so that BIOS/UEFI very occasionally and randomly won't recognize it, so not sure: Is it likely that if Win8 is the culprit that permanent damage of some nature has been inflicted on the drive? (i.e. Will I still experience the drive-not-recognized symptom even if I were to regress to Win7?)

I'm also perplexed that other than groberts101 and I, I don't see many other folks even conjecturing that Win8 might be the culprit. Nor do I see any other reports of drive failures being pinned on Win8. (And, I *do* seriously suspect Win8 is, at the very least, a contributing factor. My Intel 520 was rock solid until I installed Win8.)
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Old 01-25-2013, 02:55 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by wpcoe View Post
... My Intel 520 was rock solid until I installed Win8.
And that is a very revealing statement. Just curious - was that a direct upgrade or a fresh install?
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Old 01-25-2013, 04:24 PM   #14
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I've had zero problems with Windows-8 on any of my computers to date.
Samsung 830 - desktop
Intel 320's - RAID O
Crucial M4 - laptop
Samsung 830 - laptop
And "YES" a Vertex 3 in a laptop but Win-7.
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Old 01-25-2013, 06:13 PM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kbp View Post
I've had zero problems with Windows-8 on any of my computers to date.
Samsung 830 - desktop
Intel 320's - RAID O
Crucial M4 - laptop
Samsung 830 - laptop
And "YES" a Vertex 3 in a laptop but Win-7.
consider yourself lucky then.. because W8 is sometimes being advised against with older hardware on some forums. MS also recommend using their compatability assitant(or whatever it's called) to reduce some issues when trying to install on last gen's that were not validated to use it just yet(not unusual though).

The mobo mfgr forums are also rampant with issues right now and laptops are the hardest hit from what I read around the net about incompatability issues.

As usual though.. they'll get most of it worked out right about the time that they announce the next OS iteration. lol
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Old 01-26-2013, 04:22 AM   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by groberts101 View Post
As usual though.. they'll get most of it worked out right about the time that they announce the next OS iteration. lol
I'd rather have Windows 7 SP2 than go anywhere near that metro-sexual interface they've got going there.
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Old 01-26-2013, 06:58 AM   #17
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I agree with groberts101. UEFI/ older mobos & Win 8 can cause issues. I experienced a number of problems with a 6 series mobo that disappeared by upgrading to a 7 series Win 8 certified mobo. On the 6 series mobo I found that problems were reduced if Win 8 was installed using media in BIOS rather than UEFI mode. Features like fast boot only work with devices specifically developed for Win 8, so unless you have a large HDD I donít see any benefit of UEFI.
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Old 01-26-2013, 08:33 AM   #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BFG10K View Post
I'd rather have Windows 7 SP2 than go anywhere near that metro-sexual interface they've got going there.
So would 95% of the entire segment. But SP2 got cancelled in the hope of forcing people to Windows 8. Guess Windows 8 gonna suffer the fate of WinME. Even Vista did better....
Microsoft is as usual blaming OEMs: http://www.theregister.co.uk/2013/01..._8_blame_game/

Windows 8 also contains so many flaws...fix is always reinstall, reinstall, reinstall. Never seen anything like it before.

Last edited by ShintaiDK; 01-26-2013 at 08:36 AM.
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Old 01-26-2013, 04:18 PM   #19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by corkyg View Post
And that is a very revealing statement. Just curious - was that a direct upgrade or a fresh install?
It was a clean install. I had a bunch of oddities/problems trying to install Win8 as a UEFI boot on a GPT partition. I currently have Win8 on a MBR partition, but with Win8 features enabled in UEFI -- like QuickBoot, or whatever it's called. Before I do anything as radical as uninstalling Win8, I think I will undo those Win8 UEFI settings.

Quote:
Originally Posted by groberts101 View Post
consider yourself lucky then.. because W8 is sometimes being advised against with older hardware on some forums. MS also recommend using their compatability assitant(or whatever it's called) to reduce some issues when trying to install on last gen's that were not validated to use it just yet(not unusual though).

The mobo mfgr forums are also rampant with issues right now and laptops are the hardest hit from what I read around the net about incompatability issues.

As usual though.. they'll get most of it worked out right about the time that they announce the next OS iteration. lol
Since I am using current generation hardware, at least that should not be a part of the equation?

Ironically, Win8 on my two-year old Acer TM1872 notebook works without a hitch. It has a 256GB Samsung 830.
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i3-3225, 3.3GHz w/stock HSF, GigaByte H77M-D3H
2 x 2GB + 2 x 4GB Kingston RAM = 12GB, no discrete graphic card (just IGP HD4000)
Samsung 840 EVO 250GB SSD | Intel 520 120GB SSD | 1TB WD Green HDD
Silverstone Temjin TJ-08E case | CoolerMaster eXtreme Power Plus 460W PSU
Dell U2312HM 23" LCD | Samsung 171N 17" LCD | Windows 8.1 Pro 64-bit

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