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SSD Toolbox can't communicate with Intel SSD nor HDD in SATA RAID

jmoomaw Community Member
Currently Being Moderated

I've discovered that having a direct SATA connection to Intel SSD is not enough for the Toolbox to communicate despite what the SSD product FAQ's and other instructions say.  It appears that configuring mobo BIOS for RAID is yet another hurdle the application can't get over.  I didn't test this w/o BIOS RAID configuration so I don't know if that works or not.

 

The relevant system components are entirely Intel.  My Intel DX79SI mobo with i7-3930 processor is configured with one 300GB Intel 320SSD as system disk and a set of 3 mechanical drives in a RAID5 data set controlled with an Intel C600 SATA controller.  It boots and runs fine.  However the SSD Toolbox reports that SMART is disabled so it can't display SMART wearout and drive health data.  Neither can the Toolbox view SMART data for any of the other SATA HDD in the RAID set.  Given this issue I don't trust that it is properly reporting the firmware level, or that it can safely update SSD firmware if it thinks it's warranted.  

 

It doesn't appear that Intel has posted this as a known issue in any literature, but I'm assuming this problem isn't strictly limited to my system.  I'd like a response saying this is either a known issue else is known to work.  We can proceed from there.

  • 1. Re: SSD Toolbox can't communicate with Intel SSD nor HDD in SATA RAID
    DooRules Community Member
    Currently Being Moderated

    I know in my bios on my x79 RIVE there is a bios setting to turn on or off smart data, maybe you have the same.

    I have two 520's in R0 and both are picked up by the toolbox and both give drive details and smart data even thru the raid.

  • 2. Re: SSD Toolbox can't communicate with Intel SSD nor HDD in SATA RAID
    parsec Community Member
    Currently Being Moderated

    From the Intel SSD Toolbox FAQ:

     

    Q6: Can I use Intel SSD Optimizer if I have multiple Intel SSDs installed as part of a
    RAID configuration?
    A6: No. The current implementation of Intel SSD Toolbox does not support SSDs installed as part of a RAID configuration. Intel is investigating RAID support for future versions of the tool.

     

    The Intel SSD Toolbox FAQ: http://download.intel.com/support/ssdc/hpssd/sb/intel_ssd_toolbox_30_frequently_asked_questions.pdf

     

    From the Intel SSD Toolbox Installation Guide:

     

    Intel SSD Toolbox works with single SSDs, SSDs in a simple Dynamic Disk configuration, and SSDs that are part of Intel® Matrix Storage Manager or Intel® Rapid Storage Technology (Intel® RST) RAID configurations.

     

    For SSDs that are part of RAID or Dynamic Disk configurations with multiple partitions, Intel SSD Toolbox provides limited functionality (for example, Intel® SSD Optimizer and Secure Erase are not supported).

     

    These statements are listed under "Limitations" in these documents, and these limitations have existed since the first release of the Toolbox. I assume the problem is caused by the layer of separation that the RAID software creates between the OS file system's view of files and directories, and the way they are actually stored in various RAID types. The TRIM command for SSDs is not passed to SSDs in RAID arrays using IRST for the same reason.

     

    The problem in your case likely is the version of the RAID software used on X79/C600 chipset mother boards, which is an enterprise version (RSTe) that is used with no other Intel PC chipsets. I've read about problems with the Toolbox on X79 boards with that IRST driver and drives in RAID arrays. I have no personal experience with this, so it's second hand information, but your post seems to confirm what I have read.

     

    I have no problems with the Toolbox on my G45, X58, and P67 chipset boards, with a different version of IRST, of course. For example, I have a PC using three X-25M G2 80GB Intel SSDs in RAID 0 as the OS drive. The Toolbox has an entry for the RAID 0 volume showing the used and free space on the RAID volume, but nothing else. There are also entries for each of the individual G2's in the array, and all the SMART information, etc, is displayed fine. I can see the SMART information for non-Intel SSDs and HDDs in the Toolbox, both individually or as members of a RAID array, on all the Intel chipsets I mentioned above, with different IRST software than yours of course.

     

    So from a big picture point of view, your general conclusion about the Toolbox not displaying SMART data for drives in RAID sets is generally not true. The Toolbox will be two years old this year I believe, and that would have been noticed long ago. But in your situation with a specific chipset and RAID driver (RSTe) unused by any other Intel-based consumer level PC, you and others have reported problems with the Toolbox and drives in RAID arrays. (I highly doubt this is not simply caused by needing to enable SMART in your UEFI/BIOS for the drives, right?)

     

    The simple question becomes does the SSD Toolbox not work at all, or to what degree with the X79/C600 chipset running the RSTe driver?

  • 3. Re: SSD Toolbox can't communicate with Intel SSD nor HDD in SATA RAID
    parsec Community Member
    Currently Being Moderated

    I know in my bios on my x79 RIVE there is a bios setting to turn on or off smart data, maybe you have the same.

     

    I have two 520's in R0 and both are picked up by the toolbox and both give drive details and smart data even thru the raid.

     

    OMGosh, how did I know! Well, that was a long post down the tubes, you posted while I was still writing!  I should of known...

  • 5. Re: SSD Toolbox can't communicate with Intel SSD nor HDD in SATA RAID
    Hopper64 Community Member
    Currently Being Moderated

    I have a RIVE too, but not a RAID array. I was considering two 520's too in RAID, but I don't think you can manually trim the drives. Does your optimizer (trim)work in RAID through the toolbox too? Thanks.

  • 6. Re: SSD Toolbox can't communicate with Intel SSD nor HDD in SATA RAID
    DooRules Community Member
    Currently Being Moderated

    It will not work on raided drives.

    I have had two 520's in R0 for almost a month now. If anything they are speeding up. These are very impressive drives to be sure, at least up till now.

  • 7. Re: SSD Toolbox can't communicate with Intel SSD nor HDD in SATA RAID
    parsec Community Member
    Currently Being Moderated

    No kidding Dave, I should have slept before posting, not after.

     

    Frankly, I was reluctant to say check the SMART setting in your BIOS, since I don't have that system and don't know what the UEFI/BIOS is like. You did notice I threw that in at the end, right?

     

    As I wrote, I've read that the Toolbox was glitchy on X79/RSTe, although I should have known that was a general statement, or not true... Doh!

     

    What do you mean, "... impressive up until now"?

  • 8. Re: SSD Toolbox can't communicate with Intel SSD nor HDD in SATA RAID
    DooRules Community Member
    Currently Being Moderated

    I simply meant that I do not have much experience yet with SF drives and i am pityful at predicting the future.

     

    But I could not be more pleased with the 520's, pleased enough that I am selling my beloved M4's.

     

    Almost four weeks with the drives now and I am on my second x79 mobo. Been overclocking the chip and gpu's mercilessly, and not one single drive issue. Says a lot to me, and I keep edging up in drive bench's also, thay are just getting broken in, lol.
    http://i546.photobucket.com/albums/hh423/doorules/Capturen.png

  • 9. Re: SSD Toolbox can't communicate with Intel SSD nor HDD in SATA RAID
    parsec Community Member
    Currently Being Moderated

    I simply meant that I do not have much experience yet with SF drives and i am pityful at predicting the future.

    But I could not be more pleased with the 520's, pleased enough that I am selling my beloved M4's.

    Almost  four weeks with the drives now and I am on my second x79 mobo. Been  overclocking the chip and gpu's mercilessly, and not one single drive  issue. Says a lot to me, and I keep edging up in drive bench's also,  thay are just getting broken in, lol.

     

    You sir are a maniac .

     

    I have 14 SSDs, and not one of them uses a SF controller, until my 520 of course. I have avoided SF like the plague until Intel used it, the only company I would trust to get the SF firmware right. Of the four manufactures of SSDs I own, including Intel (G2's, 510, 520) none of them have given me any problems at all, absolutely nothing, I don't know what a BSOD is . Seriously, I've had more HDDs fail on me than SSDs, my SSD failure rate is zero.

     

    Sell your M4's?!   I love my M4s (I consider Crucial/Micron to be Intel's cousin), in the US their prices have dipped so low recently, I can get a 128GB M4 for $170 or a bit less at multiple places. Today I saw the 256GB M4's for $295 with free shipping at the Egg!! I still paid ~$240 for a 120GB 520 at a local B&M store, but it was a little painful.

     

    My M4s have better results with AS SSD than my 520 (and my 510... OMG, my G2's can beat it!) although the Copy Bench results are very similar to the M4s, better in one file/data type, a bit less in another, used singly, non-RAID, P67 chipset, 6Gb/s ports, IRST driver. I don't worship AS SSD results, since my worst benching SSD (510) is the fastest virus scanner of any single SSD I have, except now perhaps the 520. What I need now is more real 6Gb/s SATA ports on my board!!!

     

    BTW, do your 520's show a huge number in the Uncorrectable Error Count SMART attribute? There is a thread about it in this forum. My 520 is showing a huge number for that attribute, but I can't see anything wrong with it. The Toolbox rates it Ok, another SMART tool did not.

  • 10. Re: SSD Toolbox can't communicate with Intel SSD nor HDD in SATA RAID
    DooRules Community Member
    Currently Being Moderated

    Just checked both in the toolbox parsec. Both show 0 as the raw value for uncorrectable errors.


    I am not sure about how much faith to put into the smart values yet.  I still have Power Cycle Count, Unexpected Power Loss, and Unsafe Shutdown Count all raising at the same pace, and that is obviously wrong. Don't get me wrong, means nothing to me really.


    As you know these or any SF drive will get hammered in as ssd when compared to any drive with that marvelle controller. I can live with that. the 520 kicks but in every other bench, and some by a huge margin.


    And my R0 scores for pcmark vantage hdd suite are very very good. Hammered my M4  R0 score pretty good

     

    http://3dmark.com/pcmv/485963

  • 11. Re: SSD Toolbox can't communicate with Intel SSD nor HDD in SATA RAID
    jmoomaw Community Member
    Currently Being Moderated

    While I suppose based on conjecture I think what you're saying is close enough to the problem I'm having.  For some chipsets and drivers and configs the Toolbox works, and in others it doesn't... like in this case.  There is that handy FAQ you've shown covering those times it doesn't work.

     

    I did add a SATA PCI card (also with RAID... seems they all come that way) to attach the SSD system disk to, and booted from another disk containing a minimal Win7 system image.  In that case the Toolbox worked since it was using another chipset and driver it liked.  However this is too much trouble to do very often.  It said firmware was current, which was my biggest concern, and showed no other problems.

     

    There is an IRSTe mgmt app running in the tray that has idiot status lights (G, Y, R) for all of the SATA disks but shows none of the SMART numeric values.  I guess that's all I'll get in terms of a disk-health indicator until someone throws pixie dust on the software.  Based on the virtually non-existent wear-out rate I've seen on other Intel SSD I'm not going to worry about that, but I'm going to miss not being able to monitor other SMART values for potential trouble.  Hopefully they'll go yellow at the right time.

     

    tx.

  • 12. Re: SSD Toolbox can't communicate with Intel SSD nor HDD in SATA RAID
    parsec Community Member
    Currently Being Moderated

    Ok, thanks for the info on UEC, I'm not worried about it either, I've never seen mine at 0. Smartmontools  report the 520's health as fine, and as I've seen in the past with  other drives, SMART data can be rather... dumb. We really don't have  enough information about it to make any assessment, and most SSDs don't even show this attribute.

     

    I basically have only used AS SSD to test my SSDs, worst case scenario for any SF controller SSD  as you say. The 520's product specs document clearly shows the  performance specs with compressible and incompressible data, and my 520  surpassed all the IOP specs for incompressible data in AS SSD, as well as the sequential write spec. But OMGosh, the sequential read was only 506 MBs in AS SSD, help, help, what is wrong...

     

    Here's another weird thing  about the the values of the Power Cycle, Unexpected Power Loss, and  Unsafe Shutdown Counts I noticed. They all had the same value on my 520  as you and others have mentioned (maybe the standard (pre-Intel)  firmware on SF 2281 SSDs count a BSOD or disappearing SSD as a normal power cycle... .) I had let my 520 burn in for a few days, and before installing an  OS, I did a SE in the Toolbox. I got a "security lock" message when  starting the SE, saying I need to power cycle the SSD before the SE would run. I had seen this before with my 510, so I was ready and had the side panel off the case. Pulled the SATA  power cable off the 520, put it back, and completed the SE just fine. I  then started the Toolbox to check the 520's SMART data after the SE,  out of curiosity. I noticed that the Power Cycle Count was one greater than the Unexpected Power Loss and Unsafe Shutdown counts!

     

    While that seems weird (and is... )  the 520 spec document states the Unexpected Power Loss and Unsafe  Shutdown counts are incremented whenever the 520 loses power without the  last command it receives being the SATA Standby Immediate command.  So does that imply that the Toolbox sends the SI command to the 520  during the SE process, but when the PC is shutdown, Windows or IRST is  not sending the SI command to the 520? Pure speculation, and likely yet  another question to put into my collection of unexplained PC hardware  and software weirdness.

     

    Yes, my 520 does not match my  M4 in AS SSD, but then I can always run ATTO and get a different  perspective (candy coated, magically high.) Like my 510, whose AS SSD  scores are... well, you know, it and the 520 rip through virus scans  like nothing else I've ever seen.

     

    I'm trying to put your PCMark Vantage score ( ! )  into perspective but it's not easy. So have you changed your mind about  the X79 chipset SATA 6Gb/s performance compared to the Intel 6-Series  chipsets?

  • 13. Re: SSD Toolbox can't communicate with Intel SSD nor HDD in SATA RAID
    DooRules Community Member
    Currently Being Moderated

    I am loving this x79 platform. The chipset itself can only get better with maturity I think.


    You don't like my Vantage score.   Best I ever got on M4's was 120000. Other guys running this bench are for the most part using the E drivers, they have zero chance  of getting me with those I think.


    Got me M4's sold now, shipping them out this week. They are awesome drives to be sure.


    Kept one for storage drive, call me setimental.

  • 14. Re: SSD Toolbox can't communicate with Intel SSD nor HDD in SATA RAID
    parsec Community Member
    Currently Being Moderated

    Now now, I never said I didn't like your Vantage score, I just couldn't find a score close to it (and that is great!) Your next project (and mine) should be getting two 180GB or 240GB 520's, and putting them in R0. But they are rather pricey, as you know.

     

    Regarding the X79 chipset, you once wrote on another forum that you weren't sure if it was better or the same as a 6-series chipset in SATA performance. You seem to have changed your mind, so I was just wondering about that.

     

    I won't mention that you sold most of your M4's on that other forum...

     

    The question now is, if you're not using RSTe drivers, what are you using? IRST 10.8.0.1003? Or is that a secret?

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