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Old Dec 16, 2010, 10:25 PM   #1
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Destroy
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Default SSD 4KB boundary aligning, WTF major like??

So everywhere I read SSDs should have a 4KB alignment offset.

On Win7 this is done automatically when you simply setup the drive in Win7.


I'm on Vista64 so no help there.


How is it done in Vista64?

And once its supposedly done, how can I tell its ACTUALLY aligned?

Edit: While on SSD subject, I need to run my Bios in Raid mode cause I have a Raid 0 setup and don't wish to disturb it. How does one run AHCI(which SSD needs) with Raid?
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Old Dec 16, 2010, 10:38 PM   #2
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I believe AS SSD bench tells you if you don't have correct alignment.

The vista installer should setup the alignment correctly, like windows 7, as long as you don't override the default auto created partitions.

if you want to do it manually, you have to use diskpart to create the partitions.

If you're running RAID then you can't use AHCI... cos you're using RAID. TRIM commands are not passed to RAID members even if the controller has AHCI support when in RAID mode, as it only applies to non-member set disks. For Vista you need a TRIM tool anyway.

If you're running raid, don't worry about TRIM.
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Old Dec 16, 2010, 11:00 PM   #3
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Thanks for the quick reply.

I'm guessing by the green 64k my drive is aligned properly. I think speed seems to be about right.

Now just need to figure out TRIM stuff. I was under the impression the Sandforce controller did a supplementary garbage collection routine in the background on non-TRIM native OSs?
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Old Dec 17, 2010, 08:01 AM   #4
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Is it safe to switch between IDE and AHCI for the SSD's after the OS has been installed?
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Old Dec 17, 2010, 08:44 AM   #5
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Originally Posted by H001iGAN View Post
Is it safe to switch between IDE and AHCI for the SSD's after the OS has been installed?
Yes, it can be done either direction. However one direction requires a registry change. If you install the OS in AHCI and then later switch to IDE, it should still boot and new drivers are installed and a reboot usually occurs. If you install in the OS using IDE, you usually have to find the registry setting and set it to AHCI before you can change over to AHCI. Same thing will happen though when you boot, that new drivers are installed and it usually asks you to reboot right after.

I wouldn't imagine it's the problem it used to be, but I'd often have to switch into IDE mode when I had to update the firmware on my SSD. That also requires another drive with Windows loaded just to do the firmware upgrade. And you also needed an image to restore the OS back onto the SSD after the upgrade unless you want to reinstall everything from scratch.

A fresh install from either Vista or Win7 will align the partition correctly.

Doing firmware upgrades is how I ran into the partition alignment issue. I used to use third party imaging software that I would use to restore disk images rather than doing full reinstall. I was using Acronis True Image I believe. Which normally is great software. However, it has one annoying thing in that it would restore an image with the alignment the same way Windows XP created the partition. Which meant it was mis-aligned after restoring an image after doing a firmware upgrade.

I don't remember how I did it, or even how I checked it, but I remember it being some what a daunting task to align the partition after Acronis ruined the alignment. I do remember using GParted. But as to how I did it, I don't remember. I think perhaps I made a thread about it on the OCZ forums or some where.

Now I use the Windows 7 backup software to make images of my OS drive and restore using that instead. I've never checked, but always assumed that both the OS itself installing and it's own backup software should be aligning the partition correctly.

Edit: Here is the thread I made about aligning the partition.

http://www.ocztechnologyforum.com/fo...ut-Losing-Data
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Old Dec 17, 2010, 08:47 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ristogod View Post
it would restore an image with the alignment the same way Windows XP created the partition. Which meant it was mis-aligned after restoring an image after doing a firmware upgrade.

Acronis ruined the alignment
Acronis ruined the alignment?
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Old Dec 17, 2010, 09:48 AM   #7
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Found a great guide on SSD installing and using and alignment even. Vista, like Win7, does automatically do proper alignment when you setup/format the drive in Windows.
http://www.ocztechnologyforum.com/fo...l=1#post567557
Quote:
Default Vista and Win 7 create aligned partitions at an offset of 1024KiB.
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Old Dec 17, 2010, 11:01 AM   #8
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Originally Posted by caveman-jim View Post
Acronis ruined the alignment?
The version I was using at the time restored partitions the same way Windows XP created them, which was misaligned.

We contacted Acronis about the issue and they basically said that in the version we were using, they would not offer any fix or change and hinted that that issue could be possibly fixed/changed in future revisions.

I haven't followed up to know whether True Image still performs that way, or if it's a non-issue anymore. That is because I stopped using True Image and just use the backup image tool built into Windows 7, which suits my needs adequately.
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Old Dec 17, 2010, 11:03 AM   #9
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Originally Posted by Destroy View Post
Found a great guide on SSD installing and using and alignment even. Vista, like Win7, does automatically do proper alignment when you setup/format the drive in Windows.
http://www.ocztechnologyforum.com/fo...l=1#post567557
Very informative, thanks!
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Old Dec 17, 2010, 01:41 PM   #10
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all that sounds so confusing, and makes me thing I would mess something up, since I always reinstall from scratch when something goes wrong, I never even attempted to change anything in the registry.
anyway.... how much performance am I loosing here
I have the new Agility 2 SSD 120GB 40 gb OS partition and 70GB games partition,which supposedly takes advantage of AHCI, then I have the old Summit 256GB for games which is suggested to run in IDE, and a 1TB wd Caviar black for games, the thing is I just finished installing all my games about 200 games alltogether I have everything installed in the 1TB and junctioned to the SSD for the games I use the most, I would really hate to have to redo all that, my windows boots really fast about 10-15 seconds, and I have no problems with performance, should I even bother to change it to AHCI at this point? Is it easy to mess this kind of thing up?
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Old Dec 17, 2010, 01:45 PM   #11
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Just a fyi, I used EASEUS Todo Backup 2.0 Beta in order to clone my current used Vista install onto my new SSD. It worked great BUT did not setup the partition with 4KB boundaries, is slower too.

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Old Dec 17, 2010, 02:35 PM   #12
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About Acronis True Image behaviour with alignment:

http://kb.acronis.com/content/2699 (this is official info)

A very informative thread:

http://forum.acronis.com/forum/3823?page=1 (it's actually the page 2)
for some reason I cannot make links to individual posts from this thread

post 52: how to check alignment with Acronis True Image
post 60: alignment problems found when restoring with Acronis True Image 2011
post 65: explanation from an Acronis engineer. I'll copy-paste it here:

If you restore the image to the existing partition, the program checks the alignment of this partition.

If the starting offset of the target partition is 2048, the program restores the image with starting offset 2048. All other offsets makes the program to restore the image with 63 starting offset.


If they've varied this in a later build, this info is obsolete.

As for Acronis True Image 2010 build 7046 (2010 version's last), I need to restore track 0 and MBR to get it work properly at all, otherwise it will screw some of my partitions (although not the data so I've been able to recover them in all cases, with the Vista disk or with EASEUS Partition Master Professional). Once I set it to restore the Track 0 and MBR too, apart from restoring fine it also conserves the alignment.

I got my partitions aligned with the Paragon Alignment Tool v2.0. PAT aligns the first partition to 4096 sectors (2MB) and the rest to 2048 sectors (1MB) boundaries, or at least that's what it did here.

I'll add that some partition management programs, maybe including some free ones, can report the offset of existing partitions, but you could need a calculator to check the alignment of partitions different from the first one. Afaik, any partition can be considered aligned for all purposes if its first sector is 2048 or a multiple. If the "drive" isn't a SSD or a RAID of them, the alignment requirements could be lower as traditional HD's don't have native 512KB blocks for writing or similar.

The AS SSD bechmark alignment info is fine for primary partitions, but not or not always for logical ones.
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Old Dec 17, 2010, 04:12 PM   #13
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I'll add that some partition management programs, maybe including some free ones, can report the offset of existing partitions, but you could need a calculator to check the alignment of partitions different from the first one.
This would be good as all I want to do is align my current Windows install without a reformat.
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Old Dec 17, 2010, 04:43 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Destroy View Post
This would be good as all I want to do is align my current Windows install without a reformat.
The Paragon Alignment Tool is meant for it and it worked well here. I recommend it. First you see a warning about backuping your data, not interrumpting the process, save your work before starting etc. You click Next and you see a list of your drives and partitions and their alignment status. If there's anything to align you'll see checkboxes and a button to proceed. It reboots and does it out of the normal Windows environment. Reboots back to Windows after finishing.

A recovery CD (downloadable iso file) is provided in case there's a power cut or something. Burn it before starting. I don't know how much effective it can be as I hadn't any problem .

It can be slow. I have 5 partitions with 500-600GB total and it spent about 3 hours, but a SSD is faster and not as big.

The other fix I know of is with G-Parted in a somewhat tricky way. That's free but too complicated in my opinion.
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Athlon64 X2 5000+ Brisbane (@13*201=2613MHz)
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56k modem, drives etc
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