Rapid Storage Technology
Intel® RST, RAID
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IRST for RAID Management + Optane support

JeffMus
New User
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Hi.

With over 2k posts, I imagine this information already lives somewhere on this forum, so feel free to point me at it if it does.

 

I have a desktop I built with:

 

ASUS Prime X299-Deluxe mainboard (supports both IRST and Intel Optum)

Intel Core i7 (8 core)

32GB RAM

I am running Windows 11 Pro.

 

I have recently upgraded the drives. I have been running 2x 256 GB Samsung 850 Pro SSDs in RAID 0, as my OS drive. The volume was created and managed at the BIOS level by IRST. And 2x 3TB Seagate Barracuda mechanical drives in RAID 1 for storage, created and managed by Windows Disk Management.

 

I recently purchased a 2TB Samsung 980 Pro M.2 drive to replace the OS system volume, and upgraded my storage with 2x 10TB Western Digital Gold drives. I kept the 2x Samsung 850 Pro drives to use as fast-access drives for projects I'm currently working on/data I need fastest access to. However, I have broken the striped volume and created a RAID 1 mirror for data redundancy.

 

Having IRST at both the BIOS and OS level, and Windows Disk Management, I decided to research a bit before redoing all the RAID arrays. The single 980 M.2 drive is obviously not in RAID. It singularly is the system volume.

 

I found an independent blog where the creator said he tried using a number of different RAID options, and IRST came out as significantly faster in performance, and he therefore endorsed it. As such, I have created both new Mirrors (Samsung and Western Digital) in IRST.

 

I've noticed a couple things and have questions.

 

The first is that I seem to have lost access to the RAID array in the BIOS. My BIOS still sees the striped volume from before, even though I've used IRST within Windows to break it and create a mirrored volume. While perhaps the ends justify the means and it really doesn't matter, does it matter? Also, am I forgetting the boot button to hit to access IRST at boot? According to ASUS, it should be accessible in the BIOS, and it's not. At least not anymore, perhaps after a BIOS firmware update. Should I even care about breaking the RAID volume at boot if I can effectively do that within Windows?

 

The other question is simply comparing IRST against Disk Management. One thing I like about WDM is that I can "see" the individual drives, check their health, and run diagnostics. Same goes for software from the manufacturers themselves, in this case Samsung Magician and WD Dashboard (which also adds benchmarking and firmware updates). Once the RAID volumes are created in IRST, WMD simply sees the singular volume and not the individual drives, and Samsung Magician doesn't even see that. Similar goes for WD Dashboard, though WD Dash DOES still see the individual drives and can test them.

 

So... for those with experience in all things RAID (software-based), IF there is a performance boost using IRST, is it worth not being able to manage the individual drives anymore?

 

The last question is regarding Intel Optum Memory (I know there are separate threads). I got the WD Gold drives after reading a thread comparing Seagate's Barracuda and Firecuda drives. Commenters said any performance gains from the Firecuda could be had 10x with Intel Optum. The advice was to get the best drives possible and use Intel Optum to enhance performance. So I got the WD Golds. However, everything I see on Intel's website is that Optum cannot accelerate RAID, so... is that something to forget about altogether then?

 

I know there's a lot here. I appreciate in advance anyone who took the time to read through and contribute. 

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n_scott_pearson
Super User
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In modern UEFI-based BIOS implementations, it is more common for the RST display, configuration and control capabilities to be presented within the BIOS Setup program. There are still systems that rely on the old text-based RAID Op-ROM interface, however. The usual key sequence for invoking this is CTRL-I (I for Intel).

On a system that can support Intel Optane, an Optane module provides a high-speed, write-through cache that is used to accelerate access to a single SATA HDD. That sentence should answer most of your Intel Optane questions.

I agree with the (unseen) comments regarding the performance of Intel RST versus Windows Storages Spaces - at least for 2-drive RAID0/RAID1 usage. Sadly, Intel RST's 3-, 4- and 5-drive RAID5 performance is abysmal.

Hope this helps,

...S

Ruda
Beginner
543 Views

I tested RAId5 about two years ago. RAID5 performance for 3-5 drives varies with data stripe size. The default size is certainly disastrous. By sizing it appropriately, it can be faster than a single HDD. The optimal size may vary depending on the number of HDDs, etc. Test it on your own system to find out.

This post from 2 years ago may be helpful.

https://community.intel.com/t5/Rapid-Storage-Technology/RAID5-%E3%81%AE%E6%9B%B8%E3%81%8D%E8%BE%BC%E3%81%BF%E3%81%8C%E9%81%85%E3%81%84/m-p/1380611

 

[Original Japanese text before Google machine translation]

わたしは、2年くらい前に RAID5 の検証をしました。3-5台のドライブのRAID5 のパフォーマンスは、データストライプサイズで変わります。デフォルトのサイズだと、たしかに悲惨な結果です。適切なサイズにすることにより、単体 HDD より早くすることがでます。最適なサイズは、HDD の台数等によって変わるかも知れません。自分のシステムでテストして確認してください。

2年前の投稿が参考になるかも知れません。

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Ruda
Beginner
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I tested RAId5 about two years ago. RAID5 performance for 3-5 drives varies with data stripe size. The default size is certainly disastrous. By sizing it appropriately, it can be faster than a single HDD. The optimal size may vary depending on the number of HDDs, etc. Test it on your own system to find out.

[Original Japanese text before Google machine translation]

わたしは、2年くらい前に RAID5 の検証をしました。3-5台のドライブのRAID5 のパフォーマンスは、データストライプサイズで変わります。デフォルトのサイズだと、たしかに悲惨な結果です。適切なサイズにすることにより、単体 HDD より早くすることがでます。最適なサイズは、HDD の台数等によって変わるかも知れません。自分のシステムでテストして確認してください。

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