SSD Speed halved when running outside of Safe Mode

Hi there,

I'm running into an issue with a particular SSD when benchmarking it outside of Safe Mode. I've been trying to disable various startup services and processes to determine the cause, but to no avail.

When fresh installing a 2015 version of Windows 10 Professional with no further installations of drivers or updates, I've achieved scores in Crystal Disk Mark matching expectation. Running the same fresh install in safe mode yielded even higher results, but this discrepancy is understandable due to background system processes that may exist in Regular boot of even a fresh installation.

That said, after running windows updates and nothing more, 4KiB results are halved or worse in Normal boots. Safe Mode restores this performance to around 80% of expectation. 

I've performed the above tests with Windows 10 Enterprise, Windows 10 Professional (both to current latest release updates), Windows 10 Professional (2015 installation, no updates), Windows 10 Professional (2015 installation, full updates).

With the exception of base installation 2015 Windows 10 Professional (no updates), all benchmarks result in ~40% 4KiB speeds (tested via both CrystalDIskMark and AS SSD) while running in Normal boot - base installation, no supplemental programs/drivers added on. 

My conclusion at the moment is that this may be caused by some kind of Windows update/patch/windows provided drivers. Given that safe mode yields excellent results in all tests, the base drivers from a fresh installation should work just as well for a Regular boot (to my knowledge). Do also note that the 2015 run in Regular boot also ran nearly matching Safe Mode results - I imagine this points to a recent Windows update causing this issue.

I have tested this same SSD across multiple laptops and desktops (all running windows 10 Professional - up to date) - all yielding the same pattern of performance drop in Regular boot vs Safe Mode.

For reference, the primary system configuration:

Gigabyte Aorus Z390 Xtreme
Intel i9 - 9900k

EVGA 1080 TI SC2 Hybrid

Intel Optane SSD 905p 1.5TB - Add in Card  (This is the SSD that is causing the aforementioned issues)

Samsung 970 Pro 1 TB M.2 SSD x2
Corsair Dominator Platinum DDR4 3200MHz - 16GB x 4
Corsair AX1600i PSU

I've contacted Intel to no avail, being referenced datacenter articles for a different line of SSDs. Any help or advice would be greatly appreciated. Thank you kindly in advance.

Best regards,

Andi 

 

Have you tried installing the latest version 1809 directly instead of using the 2015 build.?

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Hi there,

Yes. This results in the same 40%-half Regular boot benchmarks and full speeds in Safe Mode from a fresh installation.

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Okay, don't have any other suggestion sorry.

I never bothered to test mine in that way, if I get the chance I might give it a go. I would have thought though it's just down to running processes. How does it fair with a clean boot.

https://support.microsoft.com/en-gb/help/929135/how-to-perform-a-clean-boot-in-windows

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I've tested "clean boot" as well. Same results as Regular boot.

I've attached screenshots of a few runs.


In order - Regular boot (multiple versions of Windows, same results), 2015 Windows 10 Professional, Safe Mode (multiple versions of Windows, same results)

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Hi,

I see a slight difference between normal and safe mode but not as much as you. My specs are completely different on a 10 years old custom desktop with a replaced SSD from the original HDD.

Normal mode, ran as administrator.

Safe mode with networking ran as administrator.

I wouldn't expect the same numbers as you have but my system was much quicker with SSD rather than HDD.

i5 750 (1st Gen) 2.67GHz

8GB RAM

240 Kingston SSD

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Hi there,

Thank you kindly for the personal testing as reference. The results you've shown are well within expectation and would be acceptable. Unfortunately, I'm seeing a delta of up to 3x higher speeds in Safe Mode for some tests.

I am currently intending to run benchmarks once more with this SSD as a secondary drive, in case Windows OS is somehow burning through a large majority of the primary drive's resources when outside of Safe Mode. If results remain the same, I will relent and revisit the next generation of this tech, hopefully with more success. Thanks once more.

Best regards,

Andi

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Just as a matter of interest are you running safe mode with or without networking, is there any difference.

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Hi,

I've been testing all 3 instances of Safe Mode from the beginning. Due to nearly identical results, I've resorted to only running standalone Safe Mode (no networking or command prompt).

Out of curiosity, I tested this SSD once more today on a different system (latest Windows 10 Pro update The results werre wildly inconsistent. Considerably below expectation once more (60%), Regular boot gave underwhelming results. Safe Mode proceeded to yield even lower results than Regular boot (50%). 

After running Intel's NVMe Driver installation utility for this SSD, results further dropped to ~40% of expected and remained the same across Regular boot and Safe Mode, with Safe Mode scoring higher.

Other SSDs were tested under these same conditions (namely Samsung 970 Pro and 960 Pro 1 TB), yielding results withing 90-105% of expectation regardless of boot mode and driver installation. My conclusion currently is that this technology is simply inconsistent in its current state. Hopefully this will be addressed in future revisions and generations.

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Last updated August 4, 2020 Views 317 Applies to: