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Setting up NVME raid array in Dell 3659T workstation

New Contributor I

I am but a humble user, without system support.  I have been looking high and low for a solution to the "create a RAID array" on my Dell 3650T.  No luck till I saw a thread and TekChicLaurie's post.  My machine has the same specs as hers (but my SSDs are only each 512GB).  

I have the service manual, and can see where the several M2 slots are located on the mother board, but which is slot 1, 2 and 3?  I can "guess" that the origaninal boot SSD is #1 (is tht correct?).  That the one "close by" is #2 (is that correct?), and the one on the other side of the board is #3 (correct?).  Your help would be appreciated, since I too want to use M2 #2 & 3 to create a RAID array.

Is there any is in having the newly created RAID array as the boot drive?  Whether I create a RAID 0 or a RAID 1 - DOES IT MATTER REGARDING BOOTING?

How do you configure the boot order in bios?  If Raid 0, if Raid 1?


PS: Dell was no help to me. They wanted to sell me a $99 "software consult" on the issue of creating a raid array, which I knew was bogus.

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7 Replies
Super User Retired Employee

I hate to say it, but the only response I can give regarding the slots is that you need to get this information from Dell or from other Dell customers. Intel does not control how they implement their motherboards or their BIOS and can provide no insights into how they have done so and how you need to interact with it. If their support people won't help you (I agree that Dell support is nothing but a scam to claw more money from you), then you should check their forums to see if there is anyone there who has the same system and has sorted out its configuration.

Here is the general information that I can give you: Once you have created a RAID array, the physical drives that make up this array will no longer appear in the list of drives available for boot. Instead, the volumes that you create within this array will appear as logical drives in the device list. If your array has a single volume, then one logical drive will appear in the list. Whether you create a RAID0, RAID1, RAID5 or RAID10 array really doesn't matter; each volume is represented by a logical drive and you treat these logical drives as you would any physical drive (i.e., you can create bootable or non-bootable partitions on them, these partitions can have logical drive letters assigned to them, etc.).

Hope this helps,


New Contributor I

Thanks, Scott. Since Dell boot SSD + SSD closest physically didn't work to create a raid array, I will proceed as if the boot drive is M2 #1, and use the other two slots…which must be 2 & 3.
I now plan to use raid 1 (redundant), so...as you inform me... I will expect to see two logical drives. By default, I'll designate the entire first logical drive in order to be the boot SSD.
Does that sound plausible?

Steps I will take:
1. Remove SSD from slot #1 (the default Dell boot slot). Place SSDs in slots 2 &3 (as determined above), leaving slot #1 empty.
2. Boot to BIOS and designate logical drive #1 as boot, and #2 as next in order, (with USB as choice #3).
3. Restart (hopefully to the 1st logical drive)
4. Install the RST driver
5. Restart into the BIOS RAID setup, designate both logical drives as “raid” and choose RAID 1 (redundancy).
6. Reboot back into BIOS and set RAID drive as the boot drive.
7. Restart and expect that SSD 1 will be the bood drive and SSD 2 will be the raid 1 (redundant drive)
Scott, does this sound like the proper proceedure to you?

Super User Retired Employee

No. Typically (read: unless you performed additional steps yourself), there will only be one volume on a RAID array and thus only one logical drive will be created. You can still create multiple partitions on this logical drive - and indeed the Windows installation tool typically will create several - and make it bootable and use as your system drive.

When you start up the system after locating the two SSDs to slots 2 & 3, you need to go into BIOS Setup, set the SATA Mode to RAID and then reboot. After the system resets, enter BIOS Setup again and use its capability for setting up the RAID array. If there isn't such a capability in their BIOS Setup program, exit from BIOS Setup and, after the system resets, use CTRL-I key sequence to get into the Intel-supplied tool. You can create the RAID1 array from there.

When you have the RAID1 array in place, you will need to boot from a flash drive that provides the Windows Installer. You can set up this flash drive using Microsoft's Media Creation Tool (available here: https://www.microsoft.com/en-us/software-download/windows10). Once set up, you will also need to add the Intel RST drivers to this flash drive. Dell should have a download for this package wherever they have their Intel RST downloads. The download, as named by Intel (though Dell may change it), is a file named f6flpy-x64.zip. Place all files included in this ZIP file into the root folder of the flash drive.

When you boot from the flash drive, you will proceed until you get to the scene where you select where to install Windows. In this scene, there are buttons that will allow you to load the RST drivers from the flash drive. Once the drivers are loaded, the logical volume should show up in the list of drives. Highlight the entry for this logical volume and proceed to install Windows there (I do not create partitions on the logical drive myself; I let Windows control this).

Even though you have installed the RST drivers during the Windows installation process, you should still install the larger Intel RST package. This will result in the RST application being installed that is used to monitor and manage the RAID array.

Clear as mud?


New Contributor I

Thank you Scott.

Only one problem.  I have windows 11 already installed.  I have cloned it to the 2nd SSD, so either can boot.  I will set up a raid 1 array.

Can I install the RST package as decribed by you WITHOUT installing (overwriting) windows?

Super User Retired Employee

There is one possibility, but it is complicated...

  1. In BIOS Setup, change the SATA Mode to RAID.
  2. Save change and exit.
  3. Boot into Windows in Safe Mode (this will automatically fix the SATA Mode change issue).
  4. Do a Shutdown/Restart from there and boot into Windows normally.
  5. Install the full Intel RST package.
  6. From the Intel RST GUI, I believe (though have never tried) that you can create the RAID1 array retaining the current drive image. It wipes out the contents of the second drive, but that's ok, since it will backup the current drive to this drive (albeit taking some number of hours to do so).

Hope this helps. Unfortunately, due to a motherboard failure (I only got 8 years out of it dammit), my test system with RAID support isn't functional right now and thus I cannot test the process myself.



New Contributor I

Thanks, Scott.  That sounds like something I can do.

BTW, my last primary computer, a Dell XPS 8920 got three years on the motherboard (just past warranty...but covered under Visa).  The 1st replacment board failed in one day, the 2nd seems to be fine.  This now one of my "several" backup computers!

New Contributor I

This "Probably a Solution" (Intel is bugging me to list it as such). 

But the press of business has delayed my attempt at implementation to next week.

Once I try the “fix”, I will post results and note if the problem was “solved”.

Thank you all.