Very slow SSD on Lenovo ThinkStation D20

Case: Windows 7 64-bit Pro boot time is around the 2-minute mark. OS reports TRIM is working. HardDiskSentinel reports TRIM is off, SSD speed is at 80%, SSD health is at 100%.

Case Synopsis

Note: Issue is relevant to the SATA controller and is driver-agnostic.

Machine Identifiers (for reference)

ThinkStation D20
Type: 4158
S/N: S4VNT31

Layout for SATA Controllers and Connectors

The motherboard has two SATA controllers and a group of SATA ports for each controller:

  • Marvell SATA/SAS controller
    • 5+ blue ports designated for HDD
  • Intel ICH SATA controller
    • 5+ black ports designated for optical drives

Solution

Explanation: In contrast to the Marvell SATA controller, Intel ICH is widely supported and provides enhanced SATA features that are know prerequisites for SSDs. Switching the SSD over to the ICH controller enables TRIM and other features, required for the expected SSD performance.

  1. Enter BIOS (F1 key).
  2. Visit Devices tab.
  3. Disable Marvel SATA/SAS controller
  4. Set ICH SATA to:
    1. SATA Mode Selection: AHCI
    2. SATA Controller Mode Option: Enhanced
  5. Press F10 to save and exit.
  6. Power down the workstation, unplug power cable and wait up to a minute for any electrical charge to dissipate.
  7. Unplug all blue SATA connectors
  8. Connect SSD to black SATA port #1 (text label should be next to the port or on the port itself)
  9. Connect complimentary HDDs and optical drives to the rest of the black SATA ports.
  10. Power on the workstation and leave it boot normally.
  11. Confirm the improvements with the latest version of HardDiskSentinel.

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