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idata
Community Manager
2,420 Views

IDE-AHCI-RAID... so far

When I start my bios i can choose how to set up my SSD: AHCI,IDE,RAID

AHCI and IDE are similar (AHCI newer and more advanced, IDE more standard and compatible) AHCI, I guess, support the automatic TRIM in window7 while IDE don't but i am not sure about this...

RAID has two possibilities:

a) single SSD

Doesn't support automatic TRIM but support the TOOLBOX (correct me if wrong)

b) With RAID-0 SSD (2xSSD disk)

Doesn't support anything but go faster ^_^ (there is any way to trim or clean the empty space with this configuration?)

This said if you have just one SSD which one would you advice?

AHCI?

IDE?

RAID-mono disk?

0 Kudos
26 Replies
DZand
Valued Contributor I
271 Views

You should choose the "AHCI" Mode.

Big advantages:

1. You will get the automatic Trim command.

2. You will get a better performance than by choosing the "IDE" Mode.

3. Only the AHCI Mode supports the "hot plugging" feature (plug-in and plug-out of mass storage devices while running the OS).

If you choose the IDE Mode, you will get automatic Trim support too, but you will miss the AHCI features (better performance and "hot plugging").

Disadvantage of RAID Mode:

No Trim support and not even the option to run the Optimizer of the Intel SSD Toolbox, because it doesn't work with an SSD, which is within a RAID (single or as an array).

Regards

Fernando

idata
Community Manager
271 Views

Thanks that was very clear...

now this... I saw you advertise to use RST driver.

I was just wondering the difference between MSM - JMicron - RST - Marvell

From my understanding MSM is the one intel advice to use since they don't have a certified RST ready yet but the future seem to be the RST one.

What is JMicron?and Marvell? and why to use it?

Last but not least where do i see if i am using a MSM or RST driver? I noticed that Win7 just updated my MSM to the latest version automatically do i have to uninstall it when i install the RST one?

DZand
Valued Contributor I
271 Views

1. Intel has stopped the development of the Intel(R) Matrix Storage Manager" (MSM), the successor is the "Intel(R) Rapid Storage Technology" (RST). So the new RST drivers will be the better choice, if you want to use any Intel AHCI driver.

2. JMicron and Marvell have nothing to do with MSM or RST. Both are chipset producers like Intel.

3. If your mainboard has Intel and JMicron or Marvell SATA ports, you should connect the Intel SSD to an Intel and not to any other SATA port. Otherwise it would be a good idea to connect your optical drive (DVD Burner) to a JMicron or Marvell SATA port, if it is a SATA connected device.

4. If you are using any Intel SATA AHCI driver (either MSM or RST), you will not have the automatic Trim support, but you can clean your SSD with the Optimizer, which is part of Intel's SSD Toolbox.

idata
Community Manager
271 Views

Okey it's almost everything clear now

I though the new version of MSM did pass TRIM.... if not i have to use MS AHCI drivers...

DZand
Valued Contributor I
271 Views

Pekish79 schrieb:

I though the new version of MSM did pass TRIM.... if not i have to use MS AHCI drivers...

Alternatively you may use the new Intel RST driver v9.5.6.1001, which may have a better support of your Intel SATA AHCI Controllers. As long as the new RST drivers do not pass the Trim command, you can easily clean your SSD by the Optimizer of Intel's SSD Toolbox.

idata
Community Manager
271 Views

I just did a clean install from DVD of Windows 7 64bit to my new pc. I have 4 hard drives installed.

 

 

1 Intel X25M 160gb SSD --> OS

 

2 Samsung F3 500 ---> RAID 0 volume

 

1 Samsung F3 1TB ---> Storage

 

 

I set my motherboard Gigabyte EX58-UD5 to RAID mode, then I created the RAID 0 of the two Samsung 500Gb disks, then I installed Windows 7 on the Intel X25M (non raid disk).

 

 

After I got into windows, I ran the Intel Chipset Software Installation Utility, and then I ran the current Intel Matrix Storage Manager. Everything works, no problems, opening Intel Matrix Storage Manager shows the RAID 0 disks and the two non-raid disks and the storage controller is using the latest Intel Matrix Storage Manager driver.

 

 

In the device manager of Windows, it tells me under "Disk Drives" that my drives are using the Microsoft Driver disk.sys. But, under "Storage Controllers", the controller shows that the computer is using the Intel ICH10r Sata RAID controller.

 

 

I have three questions:

 

 

1. Is my Intel X25M using the Intel Matrix Storage Driver, and should I not worry that in Device Manager under "Disk Drives" it says it's using the Microsoft driver?

 

 

2. I still need to format the RAID 0 Samsungs, and the other 1tb Samsung. Using Disk Management, do I just create a simple volume for both of them? As well, for the RAID 0 Samsungs, I set the stripe size in the BIOS at 128K the default, but when I create the NTFS volume, it asks me for the size I think of the clusters, do I just use default?

 

 

3. Should I use MBR (master boot record) type of partition for those drives?

 

 

Many Thanks,

 

David

PS. If it helps, I loaded the Intel SSD Optimizer Toolkit and it detected my SSD as being available to be trimmed, my single Samsung drive, and it also showed my RAID 0 Samsungs greyed out as not being able to be optimized because they are part of a RAID.

DZand
Valued Contributor I
271 Views

davem1979 schrieb:

1. Is my Intel X25M using the Intel Matrix Storage Driver, and should I not worry that in Device Manager under "Disk Drives" it says it's using the Microsoft driver?

 

 

2. I still need to format the RAID 0 Samsungs, and the other 1tb Samsung. Using Disk Management, do I just create a simple volume for both of them? As well, for the RAID 0 Samsungs, I set the stripe size in the BIOS at 128K the default, but when I create the NTFS volume, it asks me for the size I think of the clusters, do I just use default?

3. Should I use MBR (master boot record) type of partition for those drives?

Here are my answers:

1. All your storage drives (SSD, RAID0 and single hdd), which are connected to the Intel SATA ports of your mainboard, are always using the same SATA driver, in your case the Intel MSM driver named IASTOR.SYS. The drivers, which are shown within the "Disk Drives" section of the Device Manager, are not the drivers, which are used by the SATA Controllers.

Conclusion: Everything is fine, there is nothing to worry about.

2. It is your decision, if you want more than 1 partition on each drive. If I were you, I would divide the RAID and the 1TB drive into 2-3 Partitions. When you are creating an NTFS volume and you are asked for the size, it means the size of the desired partition and not the size of the clusters, which is 4KB for the NTFS file system..

3. As far as I understand, the active partition with the MBR/bootloader is on your SSD. So you should just create non-MBR partitions (primary or enhanced with logical drives) on your RAID0 and 1 TB hdd.

idata
Community Manager
271 Views

Thanks again Fernando! You've been a great help in these forums!

I'm glad to know that the drives are installed properly. As well, I will take a look again at the disk managment today with your recommendations in mind.

Best,

David

idata
Community Manager
271 Views

Just wanted to update on my disk managment question: I used Windows 7 disk management to partition the RAID 0 and the single 1tb drive. I used MBR not GPT and just made a simple volume on both of them. GPT I think is for when you want to partition a disk into more than 4 partitions. Anyway, I just used all the default values, and all is well.

GCatt
Beginner
271 Views

Fernando wrote:

davem1979 schrieb:

1. Is my Intel X25M using the Intel Matrix Storage Driver, and should I not worry that in Device Manager under "Disk Drives" it says it's using the Microsoft driver?

 

 

2. I still need to format the RAID 0 Samsungs, and the other 1tb Samsung. Using Disk Management, do I just create a simple volume for both of them? As well, for the RAID 0 Samsungs, I set the stripe size in the BIOS at 128K the default, but when I create the NTFS volume, it asks me for the size I think of the clusters, do I just use default?

3. Should I use MBR (master boot record) type of partition for those drives?

Here are my answers:

1. All your storage drives (SSD, RAID0 and single hdd), which are connected to the Intel SATA ports of your mainboard, are always using the same SATA driver, in your case the Intel MSM driver named IASTOR.SYS. The drivers, which are shown within the "Disk Drives" section of the Device Manager, are not the drivers, which are used by the SATA Controllers.

Conclusion: Everything is fine, there is nothing to worry about.

David,

Ferando is correct that all of your SATA devices connected to the Intel Storage Controller are using the Intel MSM driver. Since you have set the controller to RAID mode, that means ALL devices connected to the controller are in RAID mode, and your SSD will not receive TRIM commands since Intel's MSM driver does not support TRIM when in RAID mode. Please correct me if I'm wrong, Ferando. This is the exact reason I'm not using a SSD right now, as my Intel Storage Controller is also in RAID mode and will not send TRIM commands to the devices connected to it.

idata
Community Manager
271 Views

When RAID mode is set in the BIOS, Windows 7 cannot pass the trim command to a single SSD on the Intel ICH10r or similar. This is why Intel has the "SSD Toolbox". With the SSD Toolbox, you can set up the single SSD on a schedule to be trimmed by the SSD Toolbox, or trim it manually, even when the BIOS on the motherboard is set to RAID mode.

The Intel SSD toolbox will not however trim 2 or more SSD's that are setup in a RAID configuration such as RAID 0, RAID 1 etc...

At this point in time, there is no reason to avoid SSD's, because we have all the tools necessary now to keep them optimized at peak performance. The only thing we don't have now is the trim command for 2 or more SSD's in a RAID configuration.

Best,

David

DZand
Valued Contributor I
271 Views

davem1979 schrieb:

The Intel SSD toolbox will not however trim 2 or more SSD's that are setup in a RAID configuration such as RAID 0, RAID 1 etc...

At this point in time, there is no reason to avoid SSD's, because we have all the tools necessary now to keep them optimized at peak performance. The only thing we don't have now is the trim command for 2 or more SSD's in a RAID configuration.

Currently the Trim command will not be passed, if your SSD is connected to any SATA Controller running in RAID Mode.

The cleaning of an SSD by using the Optimizer of Intel's SSD Toolbox has the same result but doesn't use the Trim command.

Furthermore the ability to use the Optimizer of Intel's SSD Toolbox doesn't depend on the number of SSD's running in RAID Mode, but only on the question, if they are part of a created RAID.

You can create a RAID containing just 1 SSD, but you won't be able to run the Optimizer of Intel's SSD Toolbox with this SSD.

idata
Community Manager
271 Views

Am I correct in assuming that if I simply buy a separate PCI SATAII controller and plug my SSD into it while the Intel RAID controller on the motherboard supports, say, a RAID 0 array, I can get the best of both worlds, RAID and a TRIM'ed boot SSD?

- Eric

GCatt
Beginner
271 Views

Possibly, but if you want to boot from your SSD, you need to make sure that's possible from the PCI Card. I was intersted in the ASUS U3S6 PCI card to get SATA 6.0 GBps performance for a boot SSD (http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16813995004&cm_re=u3s6-_-13-995-004-_-Product http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16813995004&cm_re=u3s6-_-13-995-004-_-Product), but Asus confirmed that drives connected to that card are data only and will not boot. Also, the Intel on-boad controller will perform better than a PCI SATA interface due primarly to Intel's controller cache and on-board I/O.

idata
Community Manager
271 Views

Perhaps I should flip it around, using the motherboard's SATA (in non-RAID mode) for the SSD and buy a PCI RAID controller for the storage array. The PCI penalty may not be as significant in this setup.

GCatt
Beginner
271 Views

That's a good option. Of course, you would need to get a PCI card with RAID support. Or you can do what I'm doing: Waiting for Intel to release their RST drivers with TRIM support. That way you can have all your disks running off the high performance Intel raid controller, in RAID mode, with full TRIM support. Intel is known to be working on new drivers with TRIM support, but no one has a idea of their planned release date. Hopefully, soon.

idata
Community Manager
271 Views

Here is a post by xact from another thread relating to actual bootability of drives connected to the ASUS card--

Feb 16, 2010 4:35 PM /message/83366# 83366 in response to: /message/83366# 83366 algoroth /message/84032# 84032 Re: Will Toolbox work without AHCI?

I have an XPS 720 with a 680i-based mobo/clunky nvidia SATA hardware and was in the same boat as you guys. Performance was fine, but I had no Trim support, no SSD Toolbox, and firmware had to be upgraded using a different machine.

To bypass the restrictive nvidia hardware, I ended up purchasing a $29 ASUS U3S6 PCI-E add-in card to control my SSD. This ended up working out very well; once the SSD was connected to the new controller, my BIOS allowed me to select it as a boot device instead of the mobo's controller. I left my bulk storage drives connected to the motherboard's SATA ports.

The U3S6 has 2 SATA 6G ports and is based on a Marvell 9123 controller. This controller is picked up by Windows as a standard AHCI device and works fine with the MS AHCI drivers. Intel's SSD Toolbox is now 100% functional and I assume Trim is working as it should since I'm using the MS drivers.

There are other add-in cards on the market based on the same controller that would do the same job. Whatever you get, just make sure it will work with the standard MS AHCI drivers.

Not an Intel motherboard, but I would expect similar results with Intel and AMD. However, I have not seen any other reports. The "same boat" referred to by xact is that creating a Raid array on the main chipset Sata controller forces all other Sata drives using the controller to use the Raid controller, making the SSD Toolbox unusable for all drives--including any SSDs--on the controller.

The only manual available on the ASUS site is in Chinese. So I ordered a U3S6 from Amazon to find out what it will do. I found one report from a user with an AMD cpu (definitely not an Intel chipset) to the effect that the U3S2 required the installation of a drive to prevent a boot freeze. However, that user may not have looked at the Bios boot order prior to installing a drive, and hence missed pertinent information.

Message was edited by: Einride

GCatt
Beginner
271 Views

Einride wrote:

Here is a post by xact from another thread relating to actual bootability of drives connected to the ASUS card--

Feb 16, 2010 4:35 PM /message/83366# 83366 in response to: /message/83366# 83366 algoroth /message/84032# 84032 Re: Will Toolbox work without AHCI?

I have an XPS 720 with a 680i-based mobo/clunky nvidia SATA hardware and was in the same boat as you guys. Performance was fine, but I had no Trim support, no SSD Toolbox, and firmware had to be upgraded using a different machine.

To bypass the restrictive nvidia hardware, I ended up purchasing a $29 ASUS U3S6 PCI-E add-in card to control my SSD. This ended up working out very well; once the SSD was connected to the new controller, my BIOS allowed me to select it as a boot device instead of the mobo's controller. I left my bulk storage drives connected to the motherboard's SATA ports.

Hmm. Tha's interesting. I sent an e-mail to ASUS to verify the ability to boot from the U3S6. Here's their reply:

Hello, 

 

No this card is set up for data transfer only as the card is configued in AHCI at all times, and there is no OS driver for the card. The card will let Windows install the generic PnP driver.

 

 

Best Regards,

 

 

Rob

 

Lead Support Technician

 

 

The "No" asnwer in this message from ASUS means that you can't boot from a disks connected to the U3S6. Now, I'm not sure what to believe. Perhaps the cobination of my motherborad (ASUS P7P55D) with the U3S6 will not allow the boot?
idata
Community Manager
271 Views

The "No" from Rob @ ASUS does not match up with the rest of the text in Rob's message. Drives do not boot from drivers. Drives boot--this occurs when the machine bios hands off the start-up process to a selected disk--from the boot sector on the disk. Boot sector code then hands off the process to the selected operating system. Disk drivers are added to the equation by the operating system later in the overall boot process. Maybe Rob was responding to some other question--whether asked or not.

By the way, Rob, there is are drivers on Rapidshare for the Marvell Sata 6 controller.

I will be able to speak more knowledably in a few hours when my U3S6 arrives. Testing will be done on ASUS P55 boards.

Steve_Lionel
Black Belt Retired Employee
117 Views

It is often the case that a PC cannot boot from an add-on storage adapter. The BIOS needs to have support for the adapter and this would be unusual for a plug-in card.

There are often restrictions on the add-on RAID chips on motherboards - for example, you can't attach a DVD drive to one of their connectors and have it seen by the BIOS.

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