Hi! First of all thank you for creating this wonderful base of information! I am using an ASRock P55 Deluxe3 which natively has the IRST RAID ROM module in version 188.8.131.527. Since I’ve bought a new HDD and need to reinstall everything anyways, I thought of updating this dated module. I have decided to integrate the v184.108.40.2066 ROM (with Universally modified trim support) into my BIOS, as it has been recommended for the Intel 5-Series controller.
Everything went well, the BIOS flashed without any issues and Windows seems to run fine in AHCI mode using v220.127.116.110 WHQL. Unfortunately I did not do a benchmark before, but to my eye the current result looks like it’s decent:
It’s a WD Black 2tb HDD (WD2003FZEX) if you wonder
Now, one thing seems to be a little bit off; I followed this advice:
The first issue is that my Mobo BIOS seems to work different than most and as such, I am not able to access the IRST setup by pressing CRTL+I. I tested the original BIOS version by setting RAID mode and disabling my HDD (I don’t want anything to mess my Windows up)… there has never been any option to press CRTL+I, instead I see the normal BIOS post messages and then of course it says that no OS is installed. This is pretty weird to me, since there is definitively a mention of the IRST setup in the docs starting with page 11.
When I tried the new modified BIOS with the above mentioned settings however, I cannot even enter my BIOS settings. After the usual start-up post messages (independant if I try to enter BIOS settings or not) I simply get a black screen with a blinking cursor, while dear Dr. Debug gets stuck at ‘78’ (-> “Initializes IPL devices controlled by BIOS and option ROMs.”, from manual). Since I am unable change my settings to AHCI again, I am being forced to reset my CMOS and start over.
Soo any ideas here? May it be that my Intel 5 Series RAID controller is incompatible with v18.104.22.1686? Is this even an issue considering I am only using AHCI? I attached the latest original ASRock BIOS in case it helps.
Help would be appreciated, thanks in advance!
@Fernando : I have found an inconsistency in your guides, which managed to really get me confused for a while. Once you say:
While on the other hand you suggest:
Well, I cannot even believe they are from the same author considering they are totally diametral in their meaning I suspect the second info to be true, but please fix since it really can create a chaos in human brains, especially when getting bombarded with such an amount of infos^^
@ NucleoN: Welcome at Win-RAID Forum and thanks for your report!
If you want to see the Intel RAID ROM version, which is within your mainboard BIOS, you may have to to completely power off the computer for a minute after having temporarily set the Intel SATA Controller to "RAID" and saved this changed BIOS setting.
You are absolutely right and I am sorry about my mistake, which has just been corrected by me.
This is what I thought many years ago, because I couldn’t believe, that the Intel SATA AHCI Controller of Intel Chipsets from 5-Series up do not need and use any Firmware resp. Option ROM module. Later on I realized, that the Intel RAID ROM module has indeed no impact at all on a system, which is running in AHCI mode, but I forgot to correct this passage within my guide. Thank you very much for having pointed me to that wrong and absolutely misleading statement. I am very sorry about not having corrected my mistake earlier (nobody has given me a related feedback before). Now the Forum members and visitors will read this corrected statement instead:
Conclusion: Although I do not believe, that the updated Intel RAID ROM module has harmed your system, you can reflash the original BIOS without any disadvantage. As long as you are running your Intel SATA ports in AHCI mode, the Intel RAID ROM module within the BIOS doesn’t matter at all.
Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year! Dieter (alias Fernando)
Now this info really changes everthing and I am pretty surprised it is that way. I do still have some remarks though:
In this quote you say “from 6-series up”, while in the above post you mention “from 5-Series up”. This info is pretty crucial for me having a 5-Series controller. Also you mention “AMI UEFI BIOSes of the newer mainboards”, which is again confusing since I’ve got a legacy BIOS but probably already got the AHCI module hardcoded (don’t I?). My educated guess would be that the change starts from Intel 5-Series, since that was a big change compared to the ICH - ICH10 line-up. Maybe you should display the information similar to this this:
ICH - ICH10 controllers -> seperate AHCI and RAID module in BIOS
Intel 5-Series and up -> AHCI module probably hardcoded into BIOS, only RAID module available as Option ROM
This is at least my understanding for now. Also, I have noticed there is no guide how to identify and replace a pure AHCI module (for those users with ICH - ICH10) in [Guide] AMI (non-UEFI) BIOS Modding - Otherwise I would have already checked if my legacy AMI BIOS doesn’t contain the AHCI module after all.
Good edit for sure! However you mention "Firmware is not required anymore" (Since when!?) but there is no mention of those poor ICH - ICH10 (?) users which do indeed have a seperate AHCI module. Maybe the infos from above should also be incorporated into this sentence.
Hm, after processing all this new information, I’m actually more confused than before: Assuming the AHCI module is hardcoded into my BIOS and I do not have any advantages of updating the RAID OROM in my non-RAID system, I conclude that the IRST driver isn’t even necessairy for non-RAID systems - since meaning not to update the RAID OROM means not being able to update the IRST driver under windows either… I conclude that it doesn’t matter if I have v9.xxx or v12.xxx of IRST installed on my Windows system, since it doesn’t affect AHCI anyways and does bring neither performance or stability improvements or improvements at all.
Considering that, the table you have given in post Which are the “best” Intel AHCI/RAID drivers? at the bottom, would make no sense, since there cannot be a “Recommended AHCI driver” considering AHCI (non-RAID) is totally unrelated to IRST.
I’m so confused I nearly cry, please help out with some insider infos Fernando!!
Thanks in advance! Also merry Christmas und einen guten Rutsch!
Since I am not sure, that there is no Intel 5-Series Chipset mainboard BIOS, which contains an Intel AHCI ROM (I haven’t yet opened all BIOSes and looked for the related module…), I don’t want to write this.
This guide is valid for all Option ROM modules. The Intel RAID ROM is just an example. To make this clearer than before, I have just customized the headlines of the guide.
You can check it yourself, but there is no Intel AHCI ROM inside. These are the 3 Option ROM modules of your attached BIOS: 1. Intel RAID ROM v22.214.171.1247 (for the currently not in-use Intel SATA RAID Controller), 2. Intel VGA ROM v1914 dated 10/15/2009 (for the Intel Graphics Controller) and 3. Realtek LAN ROM v2.35 dated 06/14/2010 (for the Realtek Ethernet Controller).
That seems to be too complicated. Much easier and safer: An Intel Chipset mainboard BIOS, which doesn’t contain an Intel AHCI ROM, doesn’t need any. All Intel Chipset systems with an UEFI BIOS (mainboards from 6-Series up have it) neither have nor need such Intel AHCI ROM/EFI module.
That is nonsense. An Intel Chipset system, which is running in AHCI mode, needs an AHCI driver. This can be a generic MS AHCI driver, which is available for all Windows Operating Systems from Vista up, or an Intel AHCI driver. When you look into the start post of >this< thread, you will realize, that there are noticeable differences between the different AHCI driver versions.
Thanks, that definately really clears some things up.
Ah ok, so apparently optimizations are still being done to the AHCI driver with newer IRST drivers -> thus updating the RAID OROM does indirectly affect my AHCI setup, since only an updated RAID OROM will allow me to use newer and possibly more performant/optimized IRST AHCI drivers.
I wonder why Intel doesn’t offer the AHCI and RAID drivers seperately (since they are tied together they cannot be installed seperately right?), as this would allow to only update the IRST AHCI driver without the need of updating the RAID module. Or is it actually possible to install the latest IRST drivers without updating the RAID OROM without any drawback, when only AHCI functionality is being used?
No, as long as you are running your Intel SATA Controller in “AHCI” mode, the Intel RAID ROM version within your mainboard BIOS doesn’t matter at all.
You are mixing driver and OROM module. All Intel MSM and RST drivers do support the AHCI and the RAID mode, because both modes are managed by just 1 single driver name iaStor.sys resp. iaStorA.sys. It is the associated information file (iaAHCI.inf resp. iaAHCIC.inf for the AHCI mode and iaStor.inf resp. iaStorAC.inf for the RAID mode), which determines, whether the driver is configurated and used as AHCI or RAID driver.
Ok nice. Considering all the info above I conclude, that I can install e.g. IRST v126.96.36.1990 under Windows and stay with the original RAID ROM module (v188.8.131.527), as long as I do not use the RAID functionality. Is that correct?
Thanks, finally I grasped it! =) Maybe it might be wise to edit the follwoing paragraph in a way that it better reflects the situation, to prevent further misconceptions by other members:
I think this is the key paragraph for getting a grasp of the whole situation. After reading the text in this revision, the common user might get the impression that updating the RAID ROM (to match the driver version) is essential, even if only AHCI is being used. Or at least the paragraph doesn’t exclude the possibility that it might be so.
A reader will probably feel better with a definitive statement that AHCI users do not need to update the RAID ROM module to use the latest IRST drivers, and version numbers dont need to match (and maybe a reference to the chart in Which are the “best” Intel AHCI/RAID drivers? for the recommendations for their individual controller instead). Also statements like Best matching Intel RAID ROM: v10.1.0.1008 under every download might be misleading to the user. Maybe a note at the very top might say something like: “NOTE: Machting RAID ROMs to specific IRST releases is only relevant when the system is being used in RAID Mode”.
Just my opinion of course! Again big kudos for writing and maintaining such a huge amount of guides and knowledge with incredible attention to detail, and making it available for the community! Great job!
Thank you for your advices to prevent misunderstandings by the users. As you proposed I have just customized the text of the chapter “Relevance of the Intel RAID ROM resp. EFI RaidDriver version” within the start post of >this< thread. I hope, that it is better/clearer now for users, who are running their system drive in AHCI mode.
The blinking cursor when in RAID mode with 12.x OROM tells us that you won’t be able to use anything higher than 10.1.0.1008 ROM in RAID mode, due to some size restrictions imposed to OROMs at that time. For the later it is as Fernando has posted: if you can’t find an Intel AHCI ROM, you don’t need one. An exception can be added for older boards that could use an Intel AHCI ROM, but the OEM didn’t added one for some reason. I believe that 4 series chipsets were the last ones to use AHCI ROM, while 5 series and any PCH architecture has dropped it. Strange thing is that Intel has released some (newer) Intel AHCI ROMs for 2822 ID, while some of the older pure AHCI ROMs support 2822, based on their device list. It would be interesting to test these modules in mixed mode, if someone has a spare board.
While the AHCI ROM is gone, the code is still there, just that it has shifted to generic modules. For AMIBIOS I believe to reside in main 1B modules - SouthBridge code, while in Aptio is stored in AHCI* and AINT13* modules. Don’t change those modules, a brick is imminent!