[SOLVED] Is anyone able to tell me why my SSDs are slow? I'm stumped.

11gauge

Commendable
Feb 15, 2019
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I recently benchmarked my PC to see how it's holding up now that its a few years old. Everything is performing as expected except for my SSDs, which are both vastly underperforming at nearly identical rates to each other. I googled a few remedies to try, like clearing out some space so the drive isn't near capacity, making sure the drives have the latest firmware, resetting the CMOS and updating my bios firmware, disabling VGA (my setup doesn't appear to have VGA, at least I couldn't find IGPU multi-monitor in bios anyway), making sure my MB has SATA3 ports (it does), checking if AHCI is enabled (it is), checking if TRIM is enabled (it is), optimizing the drives (no change), configuring boot sequence (was already correct: SSD 01 -> SSD 02 -> HDD), and turning on the high-power plan (already on). Nothing worked. One of the few options left is to change the SATA cable, but given that the drives are both underperforming in the same way my gut tells me this isn't it, and I have seen a bunch of things suggesting that there isn't any actual difference between SATA cables. The last few options are reformatting/defragmenting the drive, which I was told was bad for SSDs because it shortens their lifespan due to the limited number of possible rewrites (and the windows utility told me they are 0% fragmented anyhow), or backing up and erasing the drives, which has the same rewrite issue as well as being a huge pain. Please help, bottlenecks make me sad, and I'm not tech savvy enough to pinpoint what's going on. Am I doomed to have to buy m.2 drives?

Build is as follows:

Case:
NZXT S340 ATX Mid Tower Case
PSU: EVGA G1 650 W 80+ Gold Certified Fully Modular ATX Power Supply
Motherboard: ASRock X299 Taichi ATX LGA2066
CPU: Intel Core i7-7740X 4.3 GHz Quad-Core Processor
GPU: EVGA GeForce GTX 1080 TI 11 GB SC Black Edition Video Card
RAM: G.Skill Trident Z RGB 8 GB DDR4-3866 CL18 Memory - 4 (32GB Total)
SSD 01: Samsung 850 EVO-Series 500 GB 2.5" Solid State Drive
SSD 02: Samsung 860 EVO-Series 2 TB 2.5" Solid State Drive
HDD: Seagate Barracuda 2 TB 3.5" 7200RPM Internal Hard Drive
Sound Card: Creative Labs Sound Blaster Zx 24-bit 192 kHz Sound Card
Firewire Card: Texas Instruments 1394 OHCI Compliant Host Controller
OS: Microsoft Windows 10 Home OEM 64-bit

And the aforementioned Benchmarks:

Benchmark
SSD 01 Stats
SSD 02 Stats
 
Solution
except for my SSDs, which are both vastly underperforming at nearly identical rates to each other.
Your motherboard has 2 sata controllers.
8 sata ports connected to Intel chipset, 2 ports connected to Asmedia sata controller.
Asmedia sata controller is a bit slower. So - I suspect your sata SSDs are connected to it and not Intel sata ports.
Asmedia sata ports are SATA3_A1 and SATA3_A2.

Ralston18

Titan
Moderator
Use Task Manager, Resource Monitor (use both tools but only one at a time) to observe system performance.

Another tool to help is Process Explorer (free, Microsoft).

https://docs.microsoft.com/en-us/sysinternals/downloads/process-explorer

Do not jump to any immediate conclusions: simply observe at first while the system is idle, then light work/browsing, then heavier use via applications and gaming.

Very likely you will be able to discover the culprit(s). May be a combination of things.....
 

ErickParker

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Dec 30, 2021
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I've been through similar situations with SSDs. What I did : I used MyDefrag (free) to defrag a 480GB SSD. The SSD looked like a slow turtle on a sunny day ;) I didn't think twice if defragmenting would be bad for the turtle's health". The result was good, it improved a lot in practice and in the Crystal Disk test. The other time it was the fault of the PSU I turned off the DVDRW, HDS and retested. The SSD came back to life. Probably the PSU was not providing the necessary power.
 

Pextaxmx

Reputable
Jun 15, 2020
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It is not like whole lot slower than advertised - do you notice the speed? feeling sluggish?
I wonder it is because you have quite a full 2Tb drive. However your 500GB one is only half full while showing similar performance... so it might not be it.
Do you have any other PC that you can plug one of your SSD and check the speed?
 

King_V

Illustrious
Ambassador
I've been through similar situations with SSDs. What I did : I used MyDefrag (free) to defrag a 480GB SSD. The SSD looked like a slow turtle on a sunny day ;) I didn't think twice if defragmenting would be bad for the turtle's health". The result was good, it improved a lot in practice and in the Crystal Disk test. The other time it was the fault of the PSU I turned off the DVDRW, HDS and retested. The SSD came back to life. Probably the PSU was not providing the necessary power.
Uh, I think defgragging is supposed to be really, REALLY bad for SSDs...

This is bad advice.

From https://www.crucial.com/articles/about-ssd/should-you-defrag-an-ssd
The answer is short and simple — do not defrag a solid state drive. At best it won't do anything, at worst it does nothing for your performance and you will use up write cycles.
 

11gauge

Commendable
Feb 15, 2019
6
1
1,515
It is not like whole lot slower than advertised - do you notice the speed? feeling sluggish?
I wonder it is because you have quite a full 2Tb drive. However your 500GB one is only half full while showing similar performance... so it might not be it.
Do you have any other PC that you can plug one of your SSD and check the speed?

This is the only PC I have access to unfortunately. It's not every game I play, but sometimes I get microstutters when running to new areas or coming out of a loading screen, and sometimes I see objects and textures pop in way closer than I feel they should, or they remain low detail closer or longer than I feel they should. sometimes combined with microstutter when the assets come on screen. When the microstutter ends, the game goes back up to mid 70 - 143 fps (I capped it there with Nvidia control panel), depending on the game. In my estimation this would track with the PC struggling to read the information quickly enough to be processed by the other components.

Use Task Manager, Resource Monitor (use both tools but only one at a time) to observe system performance.

Another tool to help is Process Explorer (free, Microsoft).

https://docs.microsoft.com/en-us/sysinternals/downloads/process-explorer

Do not jump to any immediate conclusions: simply observe at first while the system is idle, then light work/browsing, then heavier use via applications and gaming.

Very likely you will be able to discover the culprit(s). May be a combination of things.....

What should I be looking for? Idling I had drive C at 0 - 1% (This drive has the OS on it), D and E at 0% (D has my games and E has all my non program files like music, videos, and pictures), light browsing I had C at 1 - 3% with the others still at 0%, and then I played 7 Days to Die and monitored the drives during world generation and initial world load. D topped out at around 35% usage with a read speed in the neighborhood of 135mb/s. I also ran to a city with a bunch of assets to load. When standing still in the city there was no stutter and the game runs at 100 - 120 ish fps at medium -high settings. Running through the city causes the fps to drop to the 80 -100 range with microstutter whenever the game loads a new point of interest. The game pauses for a few milliseconds and then the new POI pops into existence. This stutter doesn't happen when returning to previously visited POIs if I don't go too far away, which I imagine indicates that the POI is being held in RAM and is cutting the SSD out of the process. Also, I noticed that drive E is listed as disk 0 in task manager, C as disk 1, and D as disk 2. Does that hold any significance? The boot order is different in my bios but maybe I am mistaken and did something wrong.
 
except for my SSDs, which are both vastly underperforming at nearly identical rates to each other.
Your motherboard has 2 sata controllers.
8 sata ports connected to Intel chipset, 2 ports connected to Asmedia sata controller.
Asmedia sata controller is a bit slower. So - I suspect your sata SSDs are connected to it and not Intel sata ports.
Asmedia sata ports are SATA3_A1 and SATA3_A2.
 
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Solution

11gauge

Commendable
Feb 15, 2019
6
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1,515
Your motherboard has 2 sata controllers.
8 sata ports connected to Intel chipset, 2 ports connected to Asmedia sata controller.
Asmedia sata controller is a bit slower. So - I suspect your sata SSDs are connected to it and not Intel sata ports.
Asmedia sata ports are SATA3_A1 and SATA3_A2.

This is it. This is very likely the answer. It's my own fault, as usual. I know from looking in the BIOS yesterday that the SSD drives are in A1 and A2. I remember when I built this thing that I simply plugged the drives into the MB in order starting with the first available port, because I figured what better place to start than A1? I must have missed, or more likely didn't understand, the fine print. This explains why the SSDs are both similarly slow and the HDD is normal, because the HDD is in a faster port. Thank you so much. Now my question becomes, will windows still retain the drive letters, file pathways, and recognize the OS installation if I switch ports? Does that matter?

I will update when I try this fix out.
 

Ralston18

Titan
Moderator
"Also, I noticed that drive E is listed as disk 0 in task manager, C as disk 1, and D as disk 2 "

Not uncommon and probably best just left alone unless that is proven, in some manner, to be an issue.

What you are looking for is some resource usage peak when the game stutters or fps drops.

How old is the PSU? History of heavy use for gaming, video editing, or even bit-mining?

Switch SATA ports as suggested by @SkyNetRising. Determine if performance improves - use the tools again to see if the numbers change.
 

11gauge

Commendable
Feb 15, 2019
6
1
1,515
Your motherboard has 2 sata controllers.
8 sata ports connected to Intel chipset, 2 ports connected to Asmedia sata controller.
Asmedia sata controller is a bit slower. So - I suspect your sata SSDs are connected to it and not Intel sata ports.
Asmedia sata ports are SATA3_A1 and SATA3_A2.

After rooting around and rearranging the computers guts I can happily confirm that this was the solution. Both SSD drives are performing well above average in benchmark tests now and everything is booting and loading noticeably faster. Thank you so much!
 
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ErickParker

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Dec 30, 2021
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Uh, I think defgragging is supposed to be really, REALLY bad for SSDs...

From https://www.crucial.com/articles/about-ssd/should-you-defrag-an-ssd

I wouldn't want to create controversy, but that's not bad advice, especially if SSD's performance can't be restored with Trim adjustment and optimization.

According to Greg Hayes, leading file system and optimization expert at Raxco (creator of Perfect Disk), and former Microsoft MVP for File Systems, "theoretically SSD fragmentation doesn't affect computer performance, but if the SSD is at a high level of fragmentation, the controller does not take care of this, becoming a bottleneck for the computer, regardless of the amount of RAM memory or disk cache, in which case, defragmenting can solve it.
SSD lifespan reduction is also a sensitive issue.
Take for example a Samsung EVO 850 SSD that had a 5 year warranty, A 256GB EVO had a 75TB TBW. Considering 100075/3655 years = 41GB /day.
This means that this drive would support 41GB saved per day, all day until the 5 year warranty expires. With very rare exceptions no one would do that. So defragmenting won't reduce almost anything in the life of an SSD, but in case of extreme fragmentation it will improve the PC's performance.

On the EaseUs website you can also find defragmentation as an alternative to improve performance, as long as it is not done very often.
3. Should You or Should You Not Defrag SSD
Should you or should you not defrag SSD? Here are some tips for you to follow:
  • For a brand new SSD disk, don't defrag it.
  • For a long-term used SSD, don't defrag it too frequently. One or two times of defragmentation so to maximum its fragment tolerance is fairly enough.
from: https://www.easeus.com/partition-master/defrag-an-ssd.html
 

USAFRet

Titan
Moderator
I wouldn't want to create controversy, but that's not bad advice, especially if SSD's performance can't be restored with Trim adjustment and optimization.
The issue is to determine the actual problem, then fix that.

Here, "defrag" was absolutely not the problem.

Defrag on an SSD rarely fixes whatever the perceived problem was.

Is it disatrous for an SSD?
DOne once in a great while, No.
But generally, it just incurs write cycles that are not needed, and brings no benefit.
 

ErickParker

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Dec 30, 2021
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USAFRet, you are a moderator and I respect your experience, your time and your opinion. I shared my experience of improving an SSD performance through defragmentation when everything else had failed. I didn't suggest frequent defragmentation of SSDs.
I'm adding another explanation, not written by myself, but by the Microsoft team of Windows storage developers.
I hope it helps you to have another opinion on the subject:

"Yes, Windows does sometimes defragment SSDs, Yes, it's important to intelligently and appropriately defrag SSDs, and Yes, Windows is smart about how it treats your SSD "
"Storage Optimizer will defrag an SSD once a month if volume snapshots are enabled. This is by design and necessary due to slow volsnap copy on write performance on fragmented SSD volumes. It’s also somewhat of a misconception that fragmentation is not a problem on SSDs. If an SSD gets too fragmented you can hit maximum file fragmentation (when the metadata can’t represent any more file fragments) which will result in errors when you try to write/extend a file. Furthermore, more file fragments means more metadata to process while reading/writing a file, which can lead to slower performance.

As far as Retrim is concerned, this command should run on the schedule specified in the dfrgui UI. Retrim is necessary because of the way TRIM is processed in the file systems. Due to the varying performance of hardware responding to TRIM, TRIM is processed asynchronously by the file system. When a file is deleted or space is otherwise freed, the file system queues the trim request to be processed. To limit the peek resource usage this queue may only grow to a maximum number of trim requests. If the queue is of max size, incoming TRIM requests may be dropped. This is okay because we will periodically come through and do a Retrim with Storage Optimizer. The Retrim is done at a granularity that should avoid hitting the maximum TRIM request queue size where TRIMs are dropped."

...Yes, your SSD will get intelligently defragmented once a month. Fragmentation, while less of a performance problem on SSDs vs traditional hard drives is still a problem. SSDS do get fragmented.

from > https://www.hanselman.com/blog/the-real-and-complete-story-does-windows-defragment-your-ssd
Scott Hanlseman - Microsoft employee
 

worstalentscout

Distinguished
Nov 1, 2016
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USAFRet, you are a moderator and I respect your experience, your time and your opinion. I shared my experience of improving an SSD performance through defragmentation when everything else had failed. I didn't suggest frequent defragmentation of SSDs.
I'm adding another explanation, not written by myself, but by the Microsoft team of Windows storage developers.
I hope it helps you to have another opinion on the subject:

"Yes, Windows does sometimes defragment SSDs, Yes, it's important to intelligently and appropriately defrag SSDs, and Yes, Windows is smart about how it treats your SSD "
"Storage Optimizer will defrag an SSD once a month if volume snapshots are enabled. This is by design and necessary due to slow volsnap copy on write performance on fragmented SSD volumes. It’s also somewhat of a misconception that fragmentation is not a problem on SSDs. If an SSD gets too fragmented you can hit maximum file fragmentation (when the metadata can’t represent any more file fragments) which will result in errors when you try to write/extend a file. Furthermore, more file fragments means more metadata to process while reading/writing a file, which can lead to slower performance.

As far as Retrim is concerned, this command should run on the schedule specified in the dfrgui UI. Retrim is necessary because of the way TRIM is processed in the file systems. Due to the varying performance of hardware responding to TRIM, TRIM is processed asynchronously by the file system. When a file is deleted or space is otherwise freed, the file system queues the trim request to be processed. To limit the peek resource usage this queue may only grow to a maximum number of trim requests. If the queue is of max size, incoming TRIM requests may be dropped. This is okay because we will periodically come through and do a Retrim with Storage Optimizer. The Retrim is done at a granularity that should avoid hitting the maximum TRIM request queue size where TRIMs are dropped."

...Yes, your SSD will get intelligently defragmented once a month. Fragmentation, while less of a performance problem on SSDs vs traditional hard drives is still a problem. SSDS do get fragmented.

from > https://www.hanselman.com/blog/the-real-and-complete-story-does-windows-defragment-your-ssd
Scott Hanlseman - Microsoft employee


what if i set the schedule for optimization to ''Daily''...........??o_O

is that for TRIM or Defrag ?? :eek:
 

ErickParker

Prominent
Dec 30, 2021
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what if i set the schedule for optimization to ''Daily''...........??o_O

is that for TRIM or Defrag ?? :eek:

I personally only use TRIM once a month as my SSD is reserved for OS and programs. I don't see the need or advantage of daily use.

USAFRet is absolutely correct in saying that you shouldn't make use of SSD defrag. If necessary, Windows does it automatically.

Remember that I suggested defragmentation in "extreme cases", when nothing that has been tried has worked and you can be sure by the way you use the SSD that it must be very fragmented.
Use the old rule: "If it ain't broke, don't try to fix it".
 

worstalentscout

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Nov 1, 2016
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I personally only use TRIM once a month as my SSD is reserved for OS and programs. I don't see the need or advantage of daily use.

USAFRet is absolutely correct in saying that you shouldn't make use of SSD defrag. If necessary, Windows does it automatically.

Remember that I suggested defragmentation in "extreme cases", when nothing that has been tried has worked and you can be sure by the way you use the SSD that it must be very fragmented.
Use the old rule: "If it ain't broke, don't try to fix it".

so the ''Storage Optimization'' is only TRIM and not Defrag, right ?