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Switching AHCI Driver from Intel iaStor to Microsoft MSAHCI Tutorial

Switching AHCI Driver from Intel iaStor to Microsoft MSAHCI Tutorial
Category: Tutorials
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Synopsis: Getting less than advertised speeds from your MyDigitalSSD Smart Series drive? We had the same trouble until we tried switching drivers to better suit the SandForce 2281 controller, now we're reaching speeds up to 550MB/s. Try making the switch today using this tutorial.

Switching AHCI Driver from Intel (iaStor) to Microsoft (MSAHCI)

We here at My Digital Discount take it upon ourselves to try and test all the products we sell to provide the best technical support possible. Recently, during a benchmark with our test computer, we noticed a peculiar trend with SSDs featuring the SandForce 2281 controller and the Intel Rapid Store Technology AHCI driver that comes standard in most laptops featuring an Intel processor.

The MyDigitalDiscount test laptop, used specifically for testing mSATA and 2.5 inch SSDs, is the Lenovo X220 featuring the i5-2520M CPU, 4GB of RAM, and Windows 7/8 64 bit. With the x220 we have, the mSATA slot is SATA II and the 2.5 inch bay is actually SATA 6G. During all the testing with the MyDigitalSSD Smart Series SSDs that feature the SandForce 2281 controller, for some reason while running ATTO tests, we were only getting SATA II speeds both in the mSATA slot and the 2.5 inch bay while using a MyDigitalSSD mSATA to 2.5 inch SATA adapter. The SSD was peaking at about 280MB/s. We knew this was not typical because of the test results from the MyDigitalSSD BP3 which was giving us ATTO results in the 500MB/s range without any hesitation. So we started tinkering with some settings, one of which was the AHCI driver.

We tried some of the newer versions of the Intel Rapid Storage Technology driver, but to no avail. Finally we just set it to the standard Microsoft AHCI driver and, sure enough, that is how we were able to get the speeds in the 550MB/s range as they should be. Obviously, we then tried the MSAHCI driver in the mSATA slot with the hopes of getting SATA 6G speeds out of that port as well, but that port is definitely only SATA II in this machine. After having a few customers experience this same issue or something like it, we decided it best to create a short tutorial for how to switch from the Intel iaStor driver to the Microsoft MSAHCI driver to see if it boosts your speed, keeps you the same, or even slows you down, it's a fairly seamless transition. Post your config and your results, we would love to see them!

Tutorial: AHCI Driver Tutorial

This entry is not an official tech review, merely an observation from the My Digital Discount tech team with our specific hardware configuration, your own results may vary. My Digital Discount is not responsible for any loss of information or damage to equipment if the following tutorial is not compatible with the end users configuration.

Douglas Hare
MyDigitalDiscount.com

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Home : MY Blog : Tutorials : Switching AHCI Driver from Intel iaStor to Microsoft MSAHCI Tutorial