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  Topic : Intel RAID - Questions and Answers New Topic
Hiker
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Posted:1/1/2007 6:37:00 PM # 1
This thread is listed in the Elite Posts.

Intel RAID configurations - FAQ

Revised September 13, 2012 – IRST driver v11.6.0.1030 released. First version to include X79 motherboards support.


For:

Intel ICH7R storage controller,

Intel ICH8R / ICH9R / ICH10R storage controller,

Intel H67 / P67 Express storage controller,

Intel Z68 Express storage controller,

Intel H77 / Z77 Express storage controller,

(Intel X79)

 

The H67 / P67, Z68 and H77 / Z77 storage controllers differ from ICHxxR controllers by having 2 SATA 6Gb/s ports and 4 SATA 3Gb/s ports. The 6Gb/s ports can be combined with the 3Gb/s ports for a 2-6 drive RAID volume.


Preface
Definitions:
RAID Array – the physical drives that contain the RAID volume(s).
RAID Volume – the logical drive for selected RAID level (0, 1, 5 or 10). The RAID volume will appear as a single hard drive, e.g. “C:”

Considerations:
If you want to run HDDs in RAID mode, either for the OS or for data storage only, you have to make that decision before installing the operating system. The BIOS setting 'Configure SATA as' / 'SATA Configuration' has to be set to [RAID] before the OS is installed. It is not possible to change the default IDE mode, or AHCI mode, to RAID mode after the OS installation.

At the time a RAID volume is created, it is possible to save space for a second RAID volume on the same RAID array by reducing the maximum size that has been filled in by default. The free space on the RAID array can only be used for creating another RAID volume. The second RAID volume must also use all drives in the array.

The 2TB limitation
Due to a Microsoft limitation for MBR (Master Boot Record) drives, drives that are initialized as MBR drives only sees the first 2TB of a larger drive and the rest of the drive is invisible and inaccessible.

To create RAID volumes, or any partition for that matter, larger than 2TB, the HDD, or RAID volume, has to be initialized as GPT (GUID Partition Table). The main drawback with a GPT volume, is that the volume isn't bootable - unless the PC has an (U)EFI BIOS. (U)EFI stands for (Unified) Extensible Firmware Interface.

This means that a RAID volume, hosting the OS (system), cannot be larger than 2TB.

GPT only applies to WinXP x64, Vista x64 SP1, Windows 7, Windows Server 2003 and Windows Server 2008 R2 (or later).

(Another problem related to GPT partitions, is that in a dual boot configuration, both system drives has to be of the same type, normally MBR drives).

The chipset itself
ICH8R can host RAID volumes with a size up to 2TB.
ICH9R and ICH10R can host RAID volumes with a size up to 256TB. A boot volume is limited to 2TB.

H67 / P67, Z68 and H77 / Z77 chipsets can host RAID volumes up to 256TB.

The 2.2+TB (3TB) limitation

Only IRST versions from 10.5 and later support 2.2+TB.

 

TRIM

TRIM is supported in AHCI and RAID mode for drives that are not part of a RAID array from IRST version 9.6.0.1014.

TRIM is supported for drives in a RAID 0 volume from IRST version 11.6.0.1030.


RAID volume expansion
this only applies to RAID 0 and RAID 5 volumes. One or more drive(s) can be added to the RAID array, allowing a larger RAID volume.
Supported by Intel Rapid Storage Technology on the following storage controllers:
- ICH8R – No
- ICH9R – No
- ICH10R – Yes

- H67 / P67, Z68 and H77 / Z77 chipsets – Yes


The expansion is performed with the utility Intel Rapid Storage Console.

Restore RAID mode after a CMOS reset
when loading BIOS Defaults (F5), or when a CMOS Reset is performed, the BIOS setting 'Configure SATA as' reverts to the default IDE mode / AHCI mode. This setting should be set to [RAID] again before allowing the OS to start up.


Related links
Intel Matrix Storage Manager (IMSM) / Rapid Storage Technology (RST) - User's Manual
Intel Rapid Storage Technology
Supported features under each I/O controller hub (ICH)
Supported RAID Migrations
Microsoft about the 2TB limitation for a boot partition
How to create a GUID Partition Table (GPT) disk
Windows and GPT FAQ
Windows XP F6 installation using USB Floppy Drive
Is there TRIM support for RAID configurations?
Solid State Drives and Caching
Intel Solid State Drive Optimizer

FAQs

Q1:
Can I create more than one RAID array on the ICH8R / ICH9R / ICH10R controller?
A:
Yes, you can create multiple RAID arrays. There are 6 sockets for connecting SATA drives, named SATA1-6 (port 0-5) on the ICH8R / ICH9R / ICH10R storage controller. On ICH8R and ICH9R, four are Red (bootable) SATA 1, 2, 5, 6, and two are Black (slave) SATA 3, 4 (port 2-3).
All ports work the same in RAID (and AHCI) mode.

Q2:
If I've created a RAID array, then 'Configure SATA as' in BIOS would be set to [RAID]. Can I still combine that RAID array with single non-RAID Hard Drives?
A:
Yes. Single, non-RAID, drives will work in AHCI mode.

Q3:
Is it possible to connect a SATA Optical Drive to the ICH8R / ICH9R / ICH10R controller together with RAID arrays and possibly non-RAID Hard Drives?
A:
Yes. The Optical Drive can be connected to either a Red (bootable) or Black (slave) socket, and you will be able to boot from it. The designations 'bootable' and 'slave' have no meaning in RAID and AHCI modes.

Q4:
Are there any special considerations to reflect on when I'm going to design my drive configuration?
A:
Yes, first of all you need do decide what you want to achieve. Are you looking for maximum performance, system security, data security (redundancy), maximum storage capacity or do you want everything? Well, you can't have everything, so you will have to make some decisions.
There are several RAID levels, and I'm not going to describe them fully here, you can read about them in the User Guide.

Here is a summary:

RAID 0 (Stripe)
Maximum performance and maximum storage capacity (at least two and a maximum of 4 drives (ICH8R) or 6 drives (ICH9R / ICH10R) are required). Disadvantage: With two drives, the MTBF (Mean Time Between Failures) will be half compared to that of a single hard drive.

RAID 1 (Mirror)
Two identical disks are maintained for secure data storage. Storage capacity is the same as for one disk drive. Two drives are required.

RAID 10 (Striping and mirroring, combines the functions of RAID 0 and RAID 1)
Note that this is only one (1) RAID volume.
Four drives are required.

RAID 5 (Maximum redundancy and fault tolerance)
Storage capacity as for the number of drives - 1 (one of the drives is used for parity data).
A minimum of three drives are required. Maximum four drives on ICH8R, and six drives on ICH9R and ICH10R

Intel Matrix RAID (sometimes called Matrix Storage)
Makes it possible to create two RAID volumes on the same array of disks, for example a RAID 0 volume and a RAID 1 volume on two identical drives. (Note that this is not the same as RAID 10, as we here have two separate RAID volumes, while RAID 10 is one (1) RAID volume).
At least two drives are required. Both RAID volumes must use all the drives in the array, e.g. a 3-drive RAID 0 and a 3-drive RAID 5.

Q5:
How do I set up BIOS and install Windows XP / Windows Vista / Windows 7 on let's say a RAID 0 Volume?
A:
That's a good question. Windows has sometimes shown problems to install correctly when there is more than one possible target for the OS, for example when more than one RAID Volume / single Hard Drive are connected to the ICH8R / ICH9R / ICH10R storage controller.

The fault proof way is to disconnect all HDDs from the ICH8R / ICH9R / ICH10R controller, except those that hold the RAID volume, or the single Hard Drive, on which you want to install Windows.

In the following example we are going to install Windows on a RAID 0 volume to get maximal performance using two disk drives which we connect to, for example, SATA1 and SATA2.

BIOS
Under IDE Configuration, set 'Configure SATA as' to [RAID].
Save and Exit (<F10>).
Intel recommends the RAID configuration for AHCI / RAID to get maximum future flexibility, even if no RAID is planned for now. This will result in a "RAID Ready" system, which later on can be migrated to a RAID volume of your choice, without the need to re-install the OS. The RAID driver also includes the AHCI driver.

Creation of the RAID volume (skip this part when you install OS on a single drive).
When BIOS is starting up again, press <Ctrl-i> to enter Intel Rapid Storage Technology option ROM. (Note: The 'option ROM' will not appear if only one HDD is connected to the ICH8R / ICH9R / ICH10R controller, or if 'Configure SATA as' is not set to [RAID]).
Select: Create RAID Volume.
Give the RAID volume a name, for example SystemRaid0.
Follow the instructions and create only the RAID 0 volume for Windows, and when ready
Exit the 'Option ROM'.

Exit from BIOS (press <F10>).
When BIOS is starting up again, press <Del> to enter BIOS Setup and set up your Boot Priority - DVD as first boot device and the RAID volume you just created as the second boot device.
Insert the Windows Installation CD/DVD.
Save and Exit (<F10>).
When BIOS has restarted, Windows Setup begins.

WinXP:
Note: Unless you have one of the three USB Floppy Drives listed
here, WinXP demands an internal Floppy Drive for the F6 installation. An USB Flash Disk will not work, nor will a CD/DVD.
If your PC doesn't have an internal Floppy Drive, I recommend using the excellent, and free, utility
nLite, to create a new installation CD, based on the one you already have, with integrated (slipstreamed) Intel(R) RST Driver Files for F6, and at the same time, include the latest Service Pack (SP3). The utility is easy to use. You will now have a Windows XP Installation CD that doesn't need the F6 installation method - just a normal installation.

In the very beginning of the Windows XP Setup, you will be asked for Third Party Drivers.
Press <F6>.
Setup continues, and later on you will be asked to provide the drivers.
Insert the floppy containing the 32-bit/64-bit Intel(R) RST Driver Files for F6, 11.6.0.1030 (or later) at Intel's website. 
Press <S> and select the "Intel(R) Desktop/Workstation/Server Express Chipset SATA RAID Controller", which also includes the AHCI driver.

Windows Vista and Windows 7:
Note: Although Vista/Win7 will install on a RAID array without loading the Intel drivers, I strongly advice to get the latest drivers from Intel's website.

When the Windows install asks 'Where do you want to install Windows', select the RAID volume / single Hard Drive where you want to install Windows Vista.
Insert the floppy containing that the 32-bit/64-bit Intel(R) RST Driver Files for F6, 11.6.0.1030 (or later) at Intel's website.
If you don't have a Floppy Drive in your PC, then copy all (7) files to an USB Flash Disk. (Vista/Win7 handles Floppy Drive, USB Flash Disk and CD-ROM).
Down to the left, click 'Load Driver'.
Select the driver "Intel(R) Desktop/Workstation/Server Express Chipset SATA RAID Controller", which also includes the AHCI driver.


Windows XP, Vista and Windows 7:
When Windows is fully installed (including latest Service Pack + patches), install this before anything else:

Chipset Device Software (Intel INF Update Utility) 9.3.0.1021
http://downloadcenter.intel.com/Detail_Desc.aspx?agr=Y&ProdId=3154&DwnldID=21805&keyword=%22Intel+Chipset+Device+Software%22&lang=eng

Then install:
Intel Rapid Storage Technology 11.6.0.1030 (or later) (full version with the utility Intel Rapid Storage Console + RAID/AHCI drivers).
http://downloadcenter.intel.com/Detail_Desc.aspx?agr=Y&DwnldID=21852&keyword=%22Intel+Rapid+Storage+Technology%22&lang=eng

Now, connect any other hard drive(s). If you want to create another RAID volume, use Rapid Storage Console for that.
(Press Start - All Programs - Intel - Intel(R) Rapid Storage Technology).

Press Start - right click My Computer - Manage - Disk Management.
New RAID Volumes and single HDDs will here be seen as “Unallocated.
Initialize - (Partition) - Format.


Available drivers to choose from in "F6" / "Load Driver" installation:
AHCI drivers:
"Intel(R) ICH7R/DH SATA AHCI Controller"
"Intel(R) ICH7M/MDH SATA AHCI Controller"
"Intel(R) ICH9M-E/M SATA AHCI Controller"
"Intel(R) ICH10D/DO SATA AHCI Controller"
"Intel(R) ICH10R SATA AHCI Controller"
"Intel(R) 5 Series 4 Port SATA AHCI Controller"
"Intel(R) 5 Series 6 Port SATA AHCI Controller"
"Intel(R) 5 Series/3400 Series SATA AHCI Controller"
"
Intel(R) Desktop/Workstation/Server Express Chipset SATA AHCI Controller"
"Intel(R) Mobile Express Chipset SATA AHCI Controller"
"Intel(R) 7 Series/C216 Chipset Family SATA AHCI Controller"
"Intel(R) 7 Series Chipset Family SATA AHCI Controller"

RAID drivers:
"Intel(R) ICH7R/DH SATA RAID Controller"
"Intel(R) ICH7MDH SATA RAID Controller"
"
Intel(R) Desktop/Workstation/Server Express Chipset SATA RAID Controller"
"Intel(R) Mobile Express Chipset SATA RAID Controller"



RAID Properties

RAID Level

PerformanceA

SizeB

Data Security

Hard Drives Required

RAID 0

Fastest read
Fastest write

Combined capacity of all hard drives

None

2, 3 or 4 (ICH8R)
2, 3, 4, 5 or 6 (ICH9R / ICH10R)

RAID 1

Better read
Slightly degraded write

Capacity of 1 hard drive

Yes

2

RAID 10

Fast read
Slightly degraded write

Combined capacity of 2 hard drives

Yes

4

RAID 5

Fast read
Fast write

Combined capacity of all hard drives minus 1

Yes, parity

3 or 4 (ICH8R)
3, 4, 5 or 6 (ICH9R / ICH10R)

A Performance as compared to single hard drive performance
B Assumes all hard drives are of the same capacity.  If drives are not the same capacity, then the size will equal that of the smaller drive.

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Geronimo
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Posted:3/1/2007 12:40:00 PM # 2
Hiker, in your response to Question 3, a SATA DVD drive will work even if BIOS is set to RAID. I have a Plextor PX-755SA SATA optical drive connected to SATA5 with RAID0 drives in SATA1 & SATA2 and a non-RAID drive in SATA3 in one of my computers. The SATA DVD drive and the non-RAID disk drives works fine with the RAID volumes. I can also boot off the SATA DVD drive.

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Hiker
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Posted:3/1/2007 6:17:00 PM # 3
Hello Geronimo

Yes, I also was under the conviction that there wasn't any problems with connecting a SATA DVD drive to ICH8R in any configuration mode (IDE/AHCI/RAID). I also knew that you had succeded in connecting your Plextor PX-755SA SATA drive to ICH8R with SATA Configuration set to RAID.
But yesterday I saw the disturbing post quoted below, which made me change the answer to the Question 3 that you referred to.

Now I don't know what to believe. Could it be that not all SATA optical drives are behaving the same way? I think of sata optical drives from Samsung, Lite-On, NEC and so on. I vaguely remember a post about a fix through an update of the firmware, but I can't remember what that fix was for.

It would be nice if owners of those drives could share their experiences on their sata optical drives connected to ICH8R.

At least it's good to hear that it works for you. Thank you for verifying that.

Quote:
Author: rogelah Posted: 2/28/2007 12:48:00 AM

I received a response from ASUS Tech Support regarding having the SATA DVD-ROM plugged into one of the 6 SATA ICH8R connectors when the SATA Configuration is set to  RAID.

The DVD-ROM cannot be plugged into the ICH8R  SATA connectors when the SATA Configuration is set to RAID.


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Brave
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Posted:5/30/2007 9:41:00 PM # 4

Hi hiker,

I have just one quick question for you, I have resently taken my computer apart to replace the PSU and i can not remember which way around two drives for my raid 0 config was connected to the the mobo i had them connected to ports one and two. On rebuilding will this cause a problem if i have swapped the connections over

Thanks Dave

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Hiker
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Posted:5/30/2007 11:52:00 PM # 5
Hi Dave

When I press <Ctrl-i> to enter Intel Matrix Storage Manager Option ROM, I can see the information below about my RAID 0 (and other drive). It is not possible to enter the Option ROM unless at least two hard drives are connected to ICH8R. One could try to temporary connect the drives to for example SATA5, SATA6.
Would the information still be shown this way, your problem is resolved (the port identified by the drive's serial number), but if you now sees the drives on port 5 and 6, you are not helped.

Don't go any further than into BIOS when doing this (after Exit from the Option ROM, press <Delete> to enter BIOS).

Sorry, but I can't give you a definite answer. I don't know if this matters at all. I've been thinking of this, since I have seen people here switching ports for their drives in an attempt to make their RAID work. If the information below is static in the Option ROM, you probably won't be able to move the drives around.

Let me know if you can find a way to solve the problem.

Port

Drive Model

Serial #

Size

Type/Status

0

ST3250620AS

5QE09999

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xylo
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Posted:6/6/2007 11:49:00 PM # 6
Hello Hiker,

Good guide! :)

When you say that WinXP installer doesn't see a USB "floppy" drive during F6 install, do you mean an actual 3.5" floppy drive with a USB interface, or a USB flash disk?

In either case, did you plug in the USB floppy drive or USB flash disk (less than ~500MB) before you booted to install XP?

(Note: I have never tried the F6 install with a USB device, so I'm not sure. But the BIOS will only give a drive letter (A:) to the USB device if it is already plugged in at boot time.  So if the Windows installer can't detect USB devices with no drive letters already assigned, it will not see the device, which I think is the case with WinXP.)

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Hiker
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Posted:6/7/2007 1:21:00 AM # 7

Quote:
Author: xylo Posted: 6/6/2007 11:49:00 PM

When you say that WinXP installer doesn't see a USB "floppy" drive during F6 install, do you mean an actual 3.5" floppy drive with a USB interface, or a USB flash disk?

In either case, did you plug in the USB floppy drive or USB flash disk (less than ~500MB) before you booted to install XP?

(Note: I have never tried the F6 install with a USB device, so I'm not sure. But the BIOS will only give a drive letter (A:) to the USB device if it is already plugged in at boot time.  So if the Windows installer can't detect USB devices with no drive letters already assigned, it will not see the device, which I think is the case with WinXP.)


Yes I mean an actual USB 3.5" Floppy Disk Drive - not an USB Flash Disk.

WinXP, in opposite to Vista, can't use an USB Flash Disk or a CD-ROM for the F6 install (I don't really know why). It has to be a conventional Floppy Drive connected to the Floppy connector on the mobo.
In this context, I think it's strange that Intel continues to provide only a Floppy Configuration Utility for creating a floppy disk containing the AHCI/RAID drivers for "F6" / "Load Driver" as many PC builders doesn't install a Floppy Drive anymore.

BTW, the size 530 MB for BIOS to decide how to interprete the USB Flash Disk, as a Floppy Drive or a Hard Drive, can be overridden by setting 'Forced FDD' for the USB device.

Your view on the need to connect USB drives before reboot is relevant as I've seen for instance when updating BIOS through EZ Flash 2. Inserting the USB Flash Disk after reboot to BIOS makes the drive unseen by the BIOS utility.

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Wikkie
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Posted:6/8/2007 1:44:00 AM # 8
Hi Hiker. Thanks for the guide.

I'm just wondering if you can help me. I am currently using non-SATA drives (I only have 1 IDE hard drive and 1 IDE DVD drive; I'm planning to upgrade to SATA sometime next month). Will I need to install the JMicron driver as well? The reason why I'm asking is that there seems to be a problem everytime I boot up. I'd hear a single BEEP from the computer and the message "searching for hard drives" appears on the monitor. This takes about 30 seconds or so, which kind'a long enough of a wait.(I just don't know if this is normal considering I'm not using SATA drives, or is it?)

Do you think installing the raid driver would solve this issue? Or do you have any suggestion, Please.

Thanks.

Wikkie

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Hiker
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Posted:6/8/2007 5:14:00 AM # 9
Hi Wikkie

You only need to install the JMicron drivers if you are going to to use any of its two SATA ports, 1 internal (SATA_RAID) and 1 external (eSATA) for another mode than IDE - that is AHCI or RAID mode. If you want to use the eSATA port, I recommend that you set JMicron Controller Mode to AHCI, which enables Hot-Plug of external SATA drives. That would mean that you have to install the JMicron AHCI/RAID driver (jraid.sys).

For the IDE (PATA) port of the JMicron controller you don't need the JMicron driver, but should use the native Microsoft driver 'Standard Dual Channel PCI[E] IDE Controller'. If I understand you correctly, that is the driver you are using today for your IDE (PATA) hard drive and IDE optical drive.

(Note that the JMicron Controller mode IDE/AHCI/RAID only applies to the SATA ports. There is no such setting for the IDE (PATA) port).

About the long time for drive detection. Are the Master/Slave settings correct for the drives? You can either set both drives to Cable Select (CS) or jumper one drive as Master and the other drive as Slave (with Cable Select, the drive at the end of the cable is Master).

When you get your SATA drive(s), you can choose to install the OS as "RAID Ready" or AHCI or IDE. See in the guide how it's done.

Good luck!

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Brave
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Posted:6/9/2007 4:34:00 AM # 10
Hi all Ok just got my system back together and it eather seems i was very lucky or it just doesnt matter which way around you raid disk go on a rebuild

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intelq6600(G0) with Fuzion WB and PA 120.3 rad,corsair twin3x-2048-1800c7df g ,enermax infinity 720 psu,2x 320 raid 0, Palit 8800gts, soundblaster x-fi.
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