Well, I tried uninstalling Intel RST and then doing a new install. It made no difference. The SSD drive is stilllabeled as "Disabled" when I boot the machine, and even when running the new RST install for the first time, it already has the Acceleration tab up, and thinks the SSD is associated with an accelerated volume that is not available. Can anybody confirm that they have been able to successfully disable SRT once that had it working? I'm a little bit troubled by the fact that enabling and disabling this feature might put me in a state that requires rebuilding the machine from scratch (or just abandoning SRT, which means that maybe I shouldn't have waited for the Z68 chipset).
Going into the Intel RST screen at boot (via CTRL-I) I was able to select OPtion 4 "Set isks to non-RAID) and change the SSD drive from a disabled RAID0 caching volume to a non-RAID device. Meanwhile, I left the BIOS setting for my motherboard set to RAID for SATA devices. After this, I was able to boot up, go into the Intel RST software and see that it no longer viewed the SSD drive as in use on an unusable volume. I was able to reestablish Smart Response Technology as I had it before, and everything is working normally now.
Drives are connected to SATA ports on your board and they are numbered from 0 to N (where N is the number of SATA ports you have). The first drive that windows sees during its installation is the drive that has the lowest SATA port number (0, or 1 if 0 is not used, 2 if 0 and 1 are not used, etc). Windows creates a reserved partition on the first drive it sees and that partition is required to boot your OS later. If you happen to have your SSD seen as the first drive during the installation of Windows you'll end up with a 100mb reserved partition on it (no drives letter assigned to that partition in Windows)... Which is a reason why ISRT can't later unmount the drive and whipe it off to make it an acclerated drive.
Quick fix is to reinstall Windows with the SSD disconnected, or move the ssd higher in the SATA chain. If someone knows how to relocate the 100mb rserved partition on another drive and make Windows use it, well that would be another solution.