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    Skull Canyon SSD RAID

    JrocketB

      I've read in several places, including Intel's site, that users can set up SSDs in RAID 0 in the Skull Canyon NUC....as long as both drives are identical.  However, I attempted this with 2 X Samsung 950 Pro 256GB drives and I can't get the Windows 10 setup to see any drives.  I can get setup to see (2) individual drives if AHCI is set in BIOS.  BIOS version is current as of today.

        • 1. Re: Skull Canyon SSD RAID
          N.Scott.Pearson

          In order to use Intel's Rapid Storage Technology with NVMe/PCIe M.2 SSDs (like the Samsung), you need to enable remapping. When you change the Chipset SATA Mode from AHCI to RAID, two new options are displayed titled, M.2 Slot x RST PCIe Storage Remapping. Enable (check) them both.

           

          Hope this helps,

          ...S

          • 2. Re: Skull Canyon SSD RAID
            JrocketB

            Scott,

             

            Thank you for taking the time to reply. The information you provided is right on the money. Unfortunately, I tried that and I'm still unable to see any drives present during Windows 10 setup. I'll backtrack and see if I missed a step somewhere along the way.

             

            Regards,

             

            Jon

            • 3. Re: Skull Canyon SSD RAID
              N.Scott.Pearson

              I guess I should have been more complete. Still within Visual BIOS (after making the above changes or in a separate invocation (and after clicking on Advanced)), do the following:

               

              1. Click on Boot and then on the Boot Configuration tab.
              2. Set Expansion Card Text to Enable.
              3. Exit from Visual BIOS, saving all changes.
              4. Once screen goes blank, enter CTRL-I (press the CTRL and 'I' keys simultaneously) over and over and over until you see the dialog that allows you to create the RAID array.
              5. Proceed to create the RAID array.
              6. After exiting (and system reboots), use F10 to select the device to begin the install of Windows.
              7. When you get to the scene where you select the drive/partition to install to, if the RAID array appears, select it and go. If not, well, the rest of these instructions are for you.
              8. At this point, you need to load the RST (Storage) drivers. This is done by downloading the F6 package (get correct one for 32-bit vs. 64-bit Windows install; get from same page you get the RST package for Windows) and placing the drivers in this package onto either a separate flash stick or (what I do) place them in the root folder of the flash disk you are installing Windows from ahead of time).
              9. Select to load drivers. Browse to the flash stick that contains the RST drivers and select all present.
              10. The RAID array should appear now; select it and go.

               

              Hope this helps (I know it's rough). I am here if you have additional questions...

              ...S

              • 4. Re: Skull Canyon SSD RAID
                cwizardtx

                I've got two MX200 500GB SSD's up and running in RAID 0, it's beautiful

                • 5. Re: Skull Canyon SSD RAID
                  JrocketB

                  GREAT info!  Thanks so much.  I'll update this thread as soon as I get a chance to try the steps you provided.

                  • 6. Re: Skull Canyon SSD RAID
                    JrocketB

                    NICE.  I had an extra 950 Pro laying around, so I just ordered another one and decided to RAID those.  My initial concern was that I kept reading that you could RAID two identical SATA III SSD's, but not PCIe SSD's. 

                     

                    One thing's for certain:  the Skull Canyon NUC is for real.

                    • 7. Re: Skull Canyon SSD RAID
                      N.Scott.Pearson

                      The new version of RST, released at the same time as KY, provides this remapping capability for NVMe drives. Previous generations could only support SATA. I won't go into how this works, just understand that the rules are SATA+SATA or NVMe+NVMe and that, to do NVMe+NVMe, you need to enable Remapping for both. Then, insofar as RAID volume creation, the RAID support is provided in a BIOS extension (which is enabled when you select RAID as the Chipset SATA Mode), just like that on expansion cards. Thus, in order to make the RAID creation manager visible, you need to enable Expansion Card Text.

                       

                      ...S

                       

                      P.S. Yea, it is definitely for real. I was given a pre-production unit about two months ago and have been absolutely blown away by how powerful it is. I have a DZ87KLT-75K board with Core i7-4770K, 16GB of RAM and Intel mSATA SSD as primary. The similarly had the KY outfitted with 16GB of RAM and Intel M.2 (SATA) SSD. My big software build, which takes ~10 minutes on the KL system, takes only ~9 minutes on the KY. I know this is explained by the later-generation processor and 2133 DDR4 (vs. 1600 DDR3); my point is that this isn't some watered down mobile SOC, it's the full kick-a$$ solution. This RAID capability for NVMe drives only adds to the performance barrier-breaking it offers. Now, I am an old f@art and not really into cutting-edge gaming (not like my boys), so I find the Intel graphics solution to be acceptable (give or take the driver bugs and deficiencies), but I can imagine that there are folks out there that would love to see a SKU of this board with a high-end NVIDIA graphics solution built in...

                      • 8. Re: Skull Canyon SSD RAID
                        cwizardtx

                        No need, we just need egpu cages to start getting produced at a better price point than $500 bucks.  I didn't outfit mine with PCIe/NVMe drives but I'm very happy with the RAID 0 peformance on the MX200's.  I went with 32GB of DDR4 just because why not.  Love this unit.

                        • 9. Re: Skull Canyon SSD RAID
                          N.Scott.Pearson

                          Yea, I am like you; I didn't spend the extra for NVMe. While the raw throughput capability of the NVMe drive is up to 4GB/s (compared to the 6Gb/s), the actual flash write capability is much lower and the performance at the file copy level is not that much different (I am talking about the feel of it, not the actual capability)...

                          • 10. Re: Skull Canyon SSD RAID
                            dlink7

                            Scott, i am having troubles see both drives with AHCI, is something disabled?

                            • 11. Re: Skull Canyon SSD RAID
                              N.Scott.Pearson

                              I don't understand what you are asking. Are you talking about a configuration with SATA+SATA, NVMe+SATA or NVMe+NVMe M.2 drives? Actually, the spec. for NVMe drives includes an AHCI emulator, so both drives should be seeable under AHCI regardless of type.

                               

                              One other note to the wise: If you select RAID, do not enable remapping for SATA M.2 drives. It won't work right. As well, if you enabled remapping while configured for RAID, make sure you disable it before you switch back to AHCI.

                               

                              ...S

                              • 12. Re: Skull Canyon SSD RAID
                                Intel Corporation
                                This message was posted by Intel Corporation on behalf of

                                Hello, All:

                                The wise and accurate N. Scott Pearson enlighting us as usual, thank you for the information provided.

                                Peers, please provide with the answers requested.

                                I am also glad to hear you are enjoying the Skull Canyon NUC.

                                Regards,
                                Esteban C

                                • 13. Re: Skull Canyon SSD RAID
                                  dlink7

                                  Both drives are NVMe of different sizes . One 256 and one 512. Only the hardware id shows up in the 2nd Bay.

                                  • 14. Re: Skull Canyon SSD RAID
                                    N.Scott.Pearson

                                    Ok, different sizes; I presume you are not going to use RST (RAID or SSD Caching) with this system. Let's try something (a just-in-case thingee). Do the following:

                                     

                                    1. Use F2 to get into BIOS Setup (Visual BIOS).
                                    2. Click on Advanced, then Devices and then SATA.
                                    3. Change the setting for Chipset SATA Mode from AHCI to RAID.
                                    4. Two new parameters will pop up (titled M.2 Slot 1 RST PCIe Storage Remapping and M.2 Slot 2 RST PCIe Storage Remapping). Make sure both of these parameters are unchecked.
                                    5. Change the setting for Chipset SATA Mode from RAID back to AHCI.
                                    6. Exit Visual BIOS saving all parameter settings.

                                     

                                    If the second M.2 SSD is still not being fully seen and identified, you may be looking at a hardware issue - but don't give up yet.

                                     

                                    Have you loaded Windows onto the first SSD? If not, I would proceed to do so and then, once running in Windows, start up the Disk Management Control Panel applet (using command "diskmgmt.msc") and see whenther the second drive can be initialized. If is can, great, you can ignore the issues you were seeing in Visual BIOS. If not, you are back to square one and looking at getting a replacement.

                                     

                                    BTW, if you are not a Windows user, you can also to this initialization attempt (perhaps quicker) using a bootable Linux USB flash disk.

                                     

                                    Hope this helps,

                                    ...S

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