9 Replies Latest reply on May 11, 2016 7:03 AM by Intel Corporation

    Intel Rapid Storage Tech and RAIDing PCIe NVMe SSD cards

    duperon

      Hi All,

       

      We purchased an ASUS Z170 Pro Gaming motherboard and two Intel 750 PCIe NVMe 400 GB SSD cards with the intent to RAID1 the cards using IRST. We upgraded the firmware of the cards and the BIOS. However, we do not see the cards in IRST, which always says, "No disks connected to system". We can install any OS we want to the drives and they will boot. The BIOS sees the drives. But the IRST in the BIOS does not. We tried all of the HOWTOs we could find online. We found a video showing someone from ASUS appearing to do RAID0 with the same cards and an ASROCK Z170 Extreme7+, so I ordered that board to try it. However, the drives still do not show. The comments regarding that video suggest the drives in the video are connected using U.2. Other HOWTOs show people using M2 drives. Is the problem with IRST or with the board? Or is this just not possible with PCIe NVMe cards?

       

      Thanks for your help,

       

      John

        • 1. Re: Intel Rapid Storage Tech and RAIDing PCIe NVMe SSD cards
          nestor_intel

          duperon,

           

          We have tested this and it should works fine, make sure you have the latest version of the Intel® Rapid Storage Technology, you can download it here: Download Intel® Rapid Storage Technology (Intel® RST) RAID Driver

           

          On the link, you may check the readme file in order to check support options. In the BIOS, please make sure the settings are correct to enable NVMe and RAID storage options, as well under advanced the PCIe storage option enabled.

           

          Once you install the Intel® Rapid Storage Technology the drives should show up and you will be able to create the RAID.

           

          Let us know if you have any more questions or if it did not work so we can continue assisting you.

          • 2. Re: Intel Rapid Storage Tech and RAIDing PCIe NVMe SSD cards
            duperon

            nestor_intel,

             

            What you are talking about is using software RAID with IRST within the OS. I am talking about using it within the BIOS, before the machine even boots into an OS. This is possible using Intel 750s that connect to these ASUS boards using the U.2 connectors and adapters connected to the M.2 slots on the board. I have seen videos of this, read articles about it. I would like to do the same but with Intel 750s of the card variety. In this picture you have the U.2 connecting drive on the left. I have and want to do the same but with the one on the right: http://www.intel.com/content/dam/www/public/us/en/images/product/16x9/ssd-750-series-16x9.png.rendition.intel.web.480.270.png.

             

            Here is a video using the M.2 slot and configuring everything in the BIOS:

             

            https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Kp3eOrbQeiA

             

            You can see at 2:30 he uses the IRST within the BIOS to setup his RAID array. I want to do the same.

             

            Is this possible with this card?

            • 3. Re: Intel Rapid Storage Tech and RAIDing PCIe NVMe SSD cards
              nestor_intel

              duperon,

               

              We have researched on this situation and tested in our lab, it seems this is not possible.

               

              Bios in the Asus Z170 Deluxe seem to show we can use a u.2 and the PCIe slot 3 as PCIe/NVMe devices.

              We tried creating a RAID with one u.2 and an HHHL card in PCIe 3 and we were unable to have both cards visible in system BIOS simultaneously.

               

              Chipset Z170 uses Intel RST which works with the RAID controller inside the PCH – This requires the PCIe slot or U.2 drive to be routed through the PCH.

               

              RAID must use one of the 20x PCIe 3.0 attached to the chipset. (Not direct attached to CPU)

              Intel Skylake Z170 Motherboards: A Quick Look at 55+ New Products

              • 4. Re: Intel Rapid Storage Tech and RAIDing PCIe NVMe SSD cards
                nestor_intel

                duperon,

                 

                We have not heard back from you, we are wondering if you still require assistance about this case?

                 

                Thanks.

                • 5. Re: Intel Rapid Storage Tech and RAIDing PCIe NVMe SSD cards
                  duperon

                  nestor_intel,

                   

                  Thank you so very much for your answer. I did not realize that the PCIe card slots would bypass the PCH and go directly to the CPU, whereas the M.2 slots on the boards go through the PCH first. This makes a lot more sense.

                   

                  I wish it were such that this were better documented. Every site I see talks about "RAIDing PCIe drives". These sites talk about PCIe slots and M.2 slots as if they are they are the same, but obviously they are not. It also makes me wonder what to make of those PCIe cards with M.2 slots on them. I presume those also skip the PCH.

                   

                  Will this at any time change? If I buy a new machine in a year's time with the latest Intel chip/chipset, will I be able to RAID these cards using the IRST from the BIOS? I ask because we will likely buy a server at that time and would need to decide if we use cards like the ones I have or if we should buy drives with U.2 connectors.

                   

                  Thanks,

                   

                  John

                  • 6. Re: Intel Rapid Storage Tech and RAIDing PCIe NVMe SSD cards
                    nestor_intel

                    duperon,

                     

                    The features for the Intel® Rapid Storage Technology come in the BIOS option ROM, basically if it can't be done in BIOS it can't be done in Windows*.

                    This means it is related to the motherboard design limitation or you may check in the future with the OEM for the motherboard.

                     

                    Let us know if you still require any other assistance from us.

                    • 7. Re: Intel Rapid Storage Tech and RAIDing PCIe NVMe SSD cards
                      nestor_intel

                      duperon,

                       

                      We would like to know if you still require any assistance from us?

                       

                      Thanks.

                      • 8. Re: Intel Rapid Storage Tech and RAIDing PCIe NVMe SSD cards
                        duperon

                        nestor_intel,

                         

                        Your statement, "The features for the Intel® Rapid Storage Technology come in the BIOS option ROM, basically if it can't be done in BIOS it can't be done in Windows*." is incorrect.

                         

                        The point of this whole discussion and that which lead to my confusion was that the IRST is part of the chipset, and that drives attached to motherboards via the PCIe slot communicate directly with the CPU, skipping the chipset. The problem was not that the drives were not seen in the BIOS (they were) or that they could not be used in Windows (they could, Linux too, my target OS). The point was only that IRST will not see any drives connected via PCIe slots but will if one uses an M.2 or U.2 slot. That is a very important distinction which most on the Internet do not seem to know and it looks like even your people are just figuring it out.

                         

                        I was just wondering if there would be a way around this limitation in the future. This is likely a stupid question to ask as the design of PCIe is such that it will always skip the chipset. If so, future boards are likely to have U.2 slots in abundance which then replace the SATA ones.

                         

                        If you can't confirm/deny that, then you can just consider this issue closed and thanks for your help.

                        • 9. Re: Intel Rapid Storage Tech and RAIDing PCIe NVMe SSD cards
                          Intel Corporation
                          This message was posted on behalf of Intel Corporation

                          duperon,

                          We understand your position, about the limitations in the future, this is something we cannot comment or know at the moment.

                          Thanks for replying back.