My rig consist of an ASRock Z97 Extreme4 motherboard with 8 SATA ports. 2 Optical drives occupy 2 of these, one is occupied by an SSD drive (system drive) and 4 are occupied by 1TB HDDs set up as a RAID 5 array. Unfortunately one of these is connected to port 0 which preferably should be used for the system drive. Can I move this drive to another free port without messing up the array?
First of all, let me clarify some things,
Let me first summarize what I think you should be doing. I will explain why afterward.
Ok, so let's discuss the why's,
Back to the raw question that you asked: Can you move the HDDs in the RAID array to a different port? I believe that you can, but remember that you cannot involve ports SATA3_A0 or SATA3_A1. If moving them is not supported, you will know it immediately and can put it back. Avoid any heartache and make a backup of the RAID array contents before you make any changes.
Hope this helps,
Thank you! This was much more than I had hoped for. 😁
First and foremost: The ODDs are already on ports 3_A0 and 3_A1 so that matter is straightforward. Two of the HDDs are located on 3_4 and 3_5 respectively while the SSD is on 3_3. Port 3_2 is available. So if I want to install Win 10 on an M.2 NVMe SSD then I have to move the two HDDs. I guess it would make sense to move one at a time in case I have to rebuild the array.
I have already thought about installing Windows on an M.2 NVMe SSD, but I have some doubts about what is supported. According to Asrock's support pages (QVL), only 9 disks based on various PCIe Interfaces are supported and none of them can be obtained today. (It takes weeks and weeks to get a reply from Asrock support.) Will it be possible to use any M.2 NVMe SSD as long as it is based on PCIe, PCIe2 or -3? I also expect to have to upgrade the BIOS since the machine today has version 1.3. Newer BIOS versions appear to have enhanced support for NVMe.
I can't comment on what this particular mobo can or can't support (well, other than to say that this *is* an older mobo), but very few M.2 NVMe SSDs support - and none (yet) absolutely require - PCIe4. You should, in theory, be able to use most of the existing drives - after you update the BIOS, of course. I would think that that list you saw is old and only referenced the first few drives that existed. If you want a second opinion, call ASRock technical support and ask them for an update (hopefully this doesn't get you dead air in response).
Once again: thank you. Your replies have been very helpful. A Corsair Force Series MP510 980 GB is in the mail, and I can't wait to get it installed. Have to Upgrade the BIOS first, though.
(One small remark: In the installation guide from Asrock it says: "To minimize the boot time, use Intel Z97 SATA ports (SATA 3_0) for your bootable Devices." But that'll be of no concern once I get the M.2 running. 😁
Yea, that's one of the standard boilerplate statements that they always include. In fact, most modern BIOS (ably assisted by Intel's UEFI technology) perform the boot device scan so quickly that it adds very little to the boot time (sadly, external - and especially older - USB Hubs can slow things noticeably).
Let me know how the upgrade goes...
Prepairing the system for the M.2 (still in the mail) I moved one of the HDDs from port 3_5 to 3_2 yesterday. The array was marked "degraded" in the RST Control panel but after having chewed bits and bytes thru the night everything seems OK now.
I'm a litle puzzled about what to do when installing Win 10 to the M.2 when time comes. As far as I can see I have to install RST from a CD in UEFI to get RAID support in the "new" installation. Right now I don't know where I left the original installation CD for the mobo so I'll probably have to download it from Asrock support and burn it to a new CD. (Along with other drivers and utilities I may need.) Or can I use a USB memory stick? And what version should i use? The onboard RST OPTION ROM is version 22.214.171.1245 and the latest driver and utility available from Asrock support is version 126.96.36.1999. (The current version from Intel support is 188.8.131.521 but as far as I can see it is not recommended to use any newer than the one supported by the mobo manufacturer.)
Intel implements support for RAID within the chipset and firmware (including BIOS). At runtime, nothing is actually needed unless you want to monitor the array's health and/or change its configuration. As a result, you do not need to worry about the drivers during the Windows installation process. Do the following:
Hope this helps,
The M.2 runs just fine. I had to do some justifications in UEFI naturally but installation of Win 10 went like a house on fire. The RAID array is working just fine. The rig boots pretty fast but the improvement wasn't as big as I expected it to be. Starting and running apps like Adobe Creative Suite seems to benefit greatly from the upgrade. :-)