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George2005
Beginner
6,155 Views

Updated list of third-party SSDs supported by VROC

Hello,

I'd like to ask where I can get an updated list of third-party SSDs supported by VROC on Basin Falls platform (C422 chipset) with Standard VROC key (VROCSTANMOD). There is the outdated list only avaliable in "Intel(R)_VROC_ReleaseNotes.pdf" from June 2017 containing quite older SSD models like Lenovo (Atsani), Huawei (ES3600P), Samsung (SM951, SM961, PM961, PM953), Toshiba (XG3) and Micron (9100 Series).

I have got SSD Samsung 960 Pro 512GB so I'd like to know if this SSD is compatible with VROC. As there is an newer model at the market called SSD Samsung 970 Pro which has different controller from 960 Pro (so it's slightly faster with more TBW), I'd also like to know if:

1. SSD Samsung 970 Pro 512GB is also compatible with VROC

2. it's possible to create RAID1 array using VROC from one SSD Samsung 960 Pro 512GB (which I've got actually) and one SSD Samsung 970 Pro 512GB (which I'll buy newly) or I have to buy the second Samsung 960 Pro 512GB to make RAID1 from two exactly the same 960 Pro drives.

Thank you.

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34 Replies
idata
Community Manager
613 Views

Hello,

 

 

Thank you for contacting Intel Customer Support.

 

 

We will check with our team in order to provide you with the correct solutions for your platform. We will get back to you once we get the information.

 

 

Regards,
idata
Community Manager
613 Views

Hello,

 

 

We apologize for the delay on the response while we were investigating your situation. In this case, we would like you to know that the Samsung 960 and 970 Pro aren't compatible drives, Samsung drives SM961 and PM961 are the compatible ones at this point. Additionally, since both 960 and 970 PRO aren't compatible with VROC, no key will enable those drives to be part of a RAID. We will continue checking if there is a new list containing updated drives.

 

 

Please let us know if you have any additional questions, we will be glad to assist you.

 

 

 

Regards,
George2005
Beginner
613 Views

Hello,

thank you very much for your response.

I must say that I'm quite confused now - as I've realised recently, the Samsung SM961 drive should be an OEM version of Samsung 960 Pro, so I suppose that 960 Pro could be compatible like SM961.

Well, you've written that: "no key will enable those drives to be part of a RAID" - does that mean that VROC key contains a list of compatible drives hardcoded inside? It sounds me strange, actually. But if not, how exactly does the VROC recognise the unsupported drive to refuse it as a RAID member?

Thank you very much for the clarification.

Regards,

Jiri Stencl

idata
Community Manager
613 Views

Hello,

 

 

We really appreciate the feedback provided and also the additional information in regards of this ticket. We apologize because this is taking more time than expected. But we would like to keep investigating to see if there is an updated list.

 

 

Also, in regards of the SM961 drive, we would like to check that as well in order to provide you with a complete answer.

 

 

Regards,
LBois
Beginner
613 Views

If I could add to this conversation.

I have recently installed an ASUS Hyper M.2 X16 Card in an ASUS WS C422 PRO/SE motherboard with an Intel VROC - Premium chip. The Hyper card has been equipped with 4 X Samsung 960 Pro M.2 512GB SSDs. I have configured a bootable RAID 5 volume bifurcated to 4X4 PCIe slot.

I was able to successfully install Windows Server 2016 Essentials but the system is very unstable and sluggish. Via the Intel RSTe GUI, I am having consistent parity errors. I am also having issues with Windows updates with error 0xc80003fa. Consequently, I am unable to successfully install any updates whatsoever. This is my 3rd complete Operating System installation attempt. I have contacted ASUS and escalated the issue to their engineering team. I now just opened a new account to open a ticket with Intel when I just read this post. I was under the impression the VROC would accept 3rd party M.2 SSDs which is why I purchased the Premium key as opposed to the standard version, as per Intel's VROC product briefs (https://www.intel.com/content/dam/www/public/us/en/documents/product-briefs/virtual-raid-on-cpu-vroc... https://www.intel.com/content/dam/www/public/us/en/documents/product-briefs/virtual-raid-on-cpu-vroc... ). I also was under the impression that the SSDs listed were only recommendations but all M.2 SSDs with this VROC - Premium chip would be accepted.

Would this explain the parity issues that I am experiencing? Is there something in these M.2 that the VROC is not compatible with? I was under the impression that the problem lies with the ASUS RAID Controller and not the VROC chip. I am now worried that if I install recommended SSDs as per Intel, that the issue will still occur. I too would like to know if there is a definite compatibility issue or if this is just a recommendation. Could your VROC's firmware but updated?

Please advise. Thank you.

George2005
Beginner
613 Views

Hello,

thank you very much for your effort which I appreciate so much, actually, and I'm patient to wait for your results of looking for the updated list of the compatible 3rd Party SSD drives.

I must say that as the C422/Basin Falls (as well as C620/Purley) are enterprise workstation/server platforms for Xeon CPUs I'd expected that they should support 3rd Party SSD drives with the appropriate VROC hardware key (on the contrary of X299 platform which is known to support the VROCISSDMOD key with the Intel SSD drives only).

So I would be glad if the VROC on C422 platform could support Samsung 960 Pro (and maybe also) Samsung 970 Pro SSD drivers (even if the Samsung OEM versions like SM961 are already on the list).

I am looking forward to your response with the updated list when available.

Best Regards,

Jiri Stencl

George2005
Beginner
613 Views

Hello,

thank you very much for your post, actually. It's a very valuable information that the VROC Premium key accepts the Samsung 960 Pro SSD drives and enables such drives to be part of a RAID!

You've written that you purchased the Premium key to support the 3rd party drives (as opposed to the standard version). But if I've understood correctly the Standard key could also support the 3rd party drives, couldn't it? As I'd like to create the RAID1 from two Samsung 960/970 Pro drives only, I wouldn't like to pay extra money for the Premium key. Well, if you need to create RAID5 you have to pay for it as you can't use the "Intel SSD Only" VROC key for the 3rd party drives.

About parity errors - I can't assess such problem at all as I have only got the single Samsung 960 Pro drive so far. I don't even have the ASUS WS C422 PRO/SE board, my motherboard is Supermicro X11SRA-F with two built-in M.2 slots connected directly to CPU lanes so there is no M.2 add-in PCIe card needed to make RAID1 array. But as this platform is quite new in general I've already RMA'd this board repeatedly due the several "teething problems" and finally got the completely new board revision (Rev. 1.02).That's why you maybe right that the parity errors could also be caused by some "teething problems" of Asus motherboard instead of VROC chip itself. I hope that the guys from Intel will clarify the situation with the Samsung 960 Pro support soon. But as I've said before - if its OEM version called SM961 is already on the list I suppose that the retail version (960 Pro) should be supported as well.

Btw: which version of Intel RSTe are you using now?

Regards,

Jiri Stencl

LBois
Beginner
613 Views

You are correct that the VROC Premium vs Standard differs only in an addition of RAID5 and they both allow 3rd party SSDs. The version of Intel RSTe is the latest, version 5.3.0.1413 (https://downloadcenter.intel.com/download/27331/VROC-and-RSTe-Driver-for-Windows- https://downloadcenter.intel.com/download/27331/VROC-and-RSTe-Driver-for-Windows-). I am currently waiting on Samsung PM953 SSDs (recommended by Intel), which I will replace the 960 Pro and I should get an idea if the issue is with the Hyper card/mb or the VROC. I'll let you know. I would also like to know from Intel if the VROC firmware could be updated or perhaps there exists a utility that could run diagnostics on the VROC chip. I would be very disappointed if these new disks coming would give me parity errors too.

Thank you.

Luc

George2005
Beginner
613 Views

Thank you very much for your response.

It will be interesting to see whether PM953 SSDs will be able to work in RAID5 without parity errors. Btw: Which firmware version do your 960 Pro drives have? As I remember the latest firmware version (3B6QCXP7) has been buggy, actually.

And let me ask something different now - have you ever tested Samsung 960 Pro drives in RAID1 configuration? I'd like to know if some errors and/or inconsistencies could happen in VROC based mirroring environment. So if you'd be willing to test just two 960 Pro drives in VROC RAID1 configuration I'd be grateful to you very much.

I also wonder if the VROC firmware is upgradable. And, who knows what exactly the VROC key contains - some kind of license key only, the list of the supported drives or even something else? It's quite unhappy that there is so little information available about the VROC technology, actually. Even the Intel OEM partners don't know quite much about it :-(

Regards,

Jiri

LBois
Beginner
613 Views

Just RAID5 for me for now.

George2005
Beginner
613 Views

Oh, I see ...

Well, I'm very sorry to bother you but could you please let me ask. As you've mentioned you will replace 960 Pro drives by PM953 ones. If you break the original RAID5 array so you will have got two spare 960 Pro drives would it be possible to create RAID1 for a while and test it if it works without any errors and/or inconsistencies?

I'm again very sorry to ask you for such a thing but you are the only man I know who would be able to check it so I'd be grateful to you very much. I must say that it would help me to decide what to do next with the VROC & 960 Pro drives issue ...

Thank you very much

Regards,

Jiri

LBois
Beginner
613 Views

Well actually I don't think you do see.

I'm not this kid living in his parents' basement playing with his new computer toys ... experimenting. I am trying to run a business and time is money. You are currently asking a stranger to rebuild a system and "create RAID1 for a while", reinstall an operating system and run diagnostics so that I can save you time and money. Are you for real? That's an unfair request. How about my time and money? I charge my clients for this kind of stuff. Seriously, I am trying to deliver this server to a client, that's all. I'm all for sharing experiences but that's as far as I go. I'm sorry if you don't understand this.

George2005
Beginner
613 Views

I'm very very very very sorry!

Please believe me that I wouldn't make you angry at all! And I'm not a kid playing with my new computer toys, actually. As an university IT administrator I got a task to make an upgrade of workstations for our Scientific department. So I chose C422/Xeon-W platform last autumn but I'm quite sad of it, actually, because I've encountered with many problems so far. As I've mentioned before, I've had to send the motherboard for RMA (3 times!) and now I'm trying to solve the issues with the VROC technology. I must say that the main problem is a lack of relevant information about such technology (even Intel OEM partners know almost nothing about the details of it). I hope that you could agree with me that if we had got sufficient information about this platform it could save the time and money for both of us.

I'm also very sorry that I haven't understood correctly to your previous posts. As you've mentioned that you've encountered with the parity erros, Windows update issues and repeated Windows installlation attempts I've thought that there isn't a production system which your clent is waiting for, actually. And I've also been wrong if I've supposed that you would replace 906 Pro drives by PM953 so you could give 906 Pro drives as a spare ones to allow you to make any experiments like RAID1 building. I've realised that's been an unfair request which has been my fault, actually.

At the end please could you allow me to apologize for such situation. I wouldn't waste your time in any way, actually. I've just wanted to share experiences only, nothing else.

Best Regards,

Jiri

LBois
Beginner
613 Views

I'm not angry and I didn't say you were a boy in your parents' basement, I simply said that I wasn't; just that you understand that this is not a hobby for me, it's a livelihood. Regardless, let's move on ;>]

So I installed the new disks Samsung PM953 and I get the same errors. I think the VROC chip and/or the motherboard is defective. What "teething issues" did you encounter with your ASUS board?

I'm starting to think that perhaps this whole VROC system, not only is it controversial because of its price tag, I think it may not be ready for prime time yet.

I have spent way too much time, effort and money on this ... but I WANT THE SPEED!! ... but it has to be reliable.

Even if I would rebuild a system for you with PRO 960 and no errors were found just because it's RAID1 as opposed to RAID5, do you truly believe that you would find it reliable knowing what happens at RAID5? I wouldn't.

George2005
Beginner
613 Views

OK, I understand that's your livelihood so you couldn't waste your time by experimenting. So I apprecitate very much that you are willing to share your experiences but it's a very bad news that you've got the same errors with Samsung PM953 drives (even such model is on the Intel VROC list of the supported 3rd party SSD)!

Well, I agree with you that it seems that something is defective (either VROC chip or motherboard or maybe VMD controller inside CPU?). I must say that I don't have an ASUS MB, I have got the Supermicro X11SRA-F one, but with many "teething issues". E.g.: if I enabled the VMD controller and inserted NVMe drive the motherboard freezed every time during POST; the VMD ports were identified incorrectly, and mainly: after inserting the PCIe SAS RAID card the motherboard hung on D4 Post Error (PCIe parity error) every time and this problem persisted even after removing the card (CMOS clear & BIOS recovery = no success). After the third RMA the issues were solved as a combination of BIOS/UEFI changes & replacing for the new PCB revision. So I'm sorry that I have no information about possible "teething issues" of your ASUS WS C422 PRO/SE motherboard, but after my experiences mentioned above I wouldn't except them, actually.

So, you are definitely right that the VROC technology doesn't seem quite reliable (even using the approved SSD models) based on your experiences. I would like to know what the guys from Intel are thinking about that ...

LBois
Beginner
613 Views

Because I piggybacked on your thread, I opened my own question to the forum here if you're interested.

Good luck.

George2005
Beginner
613 Views

OK, thank you very much for the information about your new question thread. I will definitely watch it.

idata
Community Manager
613 Views

Hello,

 

 

Intel VROC was designed to be used with Intel SSD's in order to get the best performance, however Intel test some third party drives

 

in order to provide a small list of third party drives that have been tested and can be used with Intel VROC; however, Intel cannot test all SSDs on the market.

 

 

We recommend using Intel SSDs with VROC in order to get the best performance; However, you can attempt to use other third party drives on his system but we cannot guarantee that will work as expected and we will not support them.

 

 

Please let us know if you have any other question.

 

 

Regards,
George2005
Beginner
613 Views

Hello,

thank you for your response.

Well, I understand that you prefer your own Intel drives. I'm verry sorry to say it but please could you consider that if I have to pay an extra money for license allowing to use the 3rd party drives (in form of Standard/Premium VROC key) I would expect that the VROC technology should support wider range of the 3rd party drives rather than few almost obsolete drives which are currently on your list.

So, I will try to test the RAID1 with VROC Standard key using Samsung drivers but before I buy second Samsung SSD drive please let me ask again to clarify your statement mentioned above that "no key will enable those drives* to be part of a RAID" (* meaning the 3rd party drives which aren't on your list). Is that really true? If yes, how exactly could the VROC technology recognise the unsupported drive to refuse it as a RAID member?

(It sounds me strange, actually, even the Mr. Luc "lboisvert" has been able to create RAID5 from "unsuported" Samsung drives with Premium VROC key).

Thank you very much for your clarification.

Regards,

Jiri Stencl