best current x79 RAID drivers

Thank you for your copious contributions here and even doing Intel’s job on their support forums. Although I have read much I am still undecided on the best route to solve my problem (which is actually common since x79 motherboards have an OROM that does not pass trim to RAID0 SSD arrays.)

My setup:
EVGA Dark motherboard (x79) w Intel OROM 3.5.0.1005
2 Intel SATA3 ports
2 Samsung 840 PRO 256 SSD
16 gig RAM
Win7 Pro

Clearly to enable trim I need to either
a) flash the OROM to a version that accepts the 12 series RST drivers
or
2) use a modified 12 series RSTe driver where you have doctored the inf file to allow its installation.

What is your recommendation and which versions of RST3 should I use for Win7 pro as well as Win 8.1?

Tnx again.
Cheers.
Stefan

Hello Stefan,

welcome at Win-RAID Forum!

If your X79 mainboard BIOS doesn’t allow to switch from RSTe to RST using the original Intel RAID drivers v11 or v12, I recommend to replace the Intel RSTe RAID ROM v3.x.x.xxxx of the BIOS by the “Especially modified Intel RST(e) RAID ROM with TRIM in RAID0 for X79 systems”, which you can find within the first post of >this< thread.

After having done that, I recommend to do the following:

  1. Make a backup of your RAID partitions, if you should have any.
  2. Prepare a bootable USB flash drive with the OS you want to install.
  3. Prepare an additional USB flash drive containing the latest 32/64bit Intel RSTe drivers v3.6.x.xxxx or v3.7.x.xxxx (maybe needed as F6 drivers while starting the later OS installation).
  4. Delete your current RAID0 array created by the Intel RAID Utility v3.x.x.xxxx.
  5. Enter the BIOS and set everything to “Default”.
  6. Flash the BIOS, which contains the modded Intel RST RAID ROM v12.7.0.1936. Then power off the computer for ca. 1 minute.
  7. Start the computer, enter the BIOS and set the Intel SATA Controller to “RAID” mode.
  8. Restart the system and hit CTRL+I while booting.
  9. Create a new RAID0 array with the stripe size you want (64K or 128K).
  10. Restart the system, enter the BIOS and do the settings you require (inclusive boot order).
  11. Restart the system and boot off the USB flash driver, which contains the OS image you want to install.
  12. Once the OS is up, install .NET Framework 3.5 (will be needed for the installation of the RST Software) After having done that, do a reboot.
  13. Install the latest Intel RSTe Drivers & Software Set v3.x.x.xxxx and reboot
  14. Run the Intel RSTe Console and enable the “Write-Back Caching” feature. Then do a reboot.
  15. Uninstall the Intel(R) Rapid Storage Enterprise Technology software from within the Control Panel. Then reboot.
  16. Install the Intel RST(e) drivers v12.8.2.1000 from within the Device Manager by using the “Have Disk” button (this will force the installation).
  17. Customize the OS according your demands and have fun with your system, which now will support the “TRIM in RAID0 feature”.

Regards
Fernando

Tnx Fernando for a prompt and thorough reply. I found the post you are referring to and read this section:

>Especially modified Intel RST(e) RAID ROM v12.7.0.1936 with TRIM in RAID0 for X79 systems< (>MIRROR<)
Note: This ROM is designed for DEV_2826, usable instead of the RSTe RAID ROM v3.x, credits go to Nodens for his work on the v11.6.0.1702 ROM.
Important:
The use of the “modded” Intel RAID ROM modules will be at own risk. Neither the error free function of the ROM modules nor the TRIM in RAID0 support can be guaranteed.
Intel RAID0 users should not install Intel’s RST(e) drivers v12.5.0.1066. These special drivers do not support the TRIM in RAID0 feature!

Obviously the part that says RISK worries me a little. I guess I could always flash back to the virgin OROM.

These are stock, yes?:
>Intel RSTe RAID ROM v3.8.0.1009< (>MIRROR<)

The contents is just a bin file. Somewhere I remember reading one of your posts on the intel forums about the flashing process and how one needs to extract the .bio file. Then convert that to an .ami file. Then change the .ami file, then convert back to a .bio file to flash. Is this correct or am I delusional? How are you flashing the OROM nowadays? Do I need to reflash every time I make a bios update?

Also I read on those forums this
https://communities.intel.com/thread/37403

>The OROM that is used with X79 chipsets is not an iRST OROM so; iRST driver was not designed to work with that type of OROMs.<

Later in that thread you said this:

>When will Intel add the missing HardwareIDs within the iaStorAC.inf file?<

specifically this:

>The only thing, which Intel should do for the X79 RAID users, is the addition of the following 2 lines into the iaStorAC.inf file of the actual RST(e) drivers v12.x.x.xxxx:
%PCI\VEN_8086&DEV_2826&CC_0104.DeviceDesc% = iaStorA_inst, PCI\VEN_8086&DEV_2826&CC_0104
PCI\VEN_8086&DEV_2826&CC_0104.DeviceDesc = "Intel(R) C600/C220 series chipset SATA RAID Controller"
This way all TRIM in RAID problems of the X79 RAID users will be solved at once.<


I conclude from those statements that I do NOT need to flash to a new OROM. I just need the modified drivers which I found here:

Modded Intel AHCI and RAID Drivers
The most recent is this one:
>64bit Intel RSTe AHCI & RAID drivers v12.8.0.1016 mod by Fernando< (>MIRROR<)

But you are recommending that I flash the OROM and go with
Intel RST(e) drivers v12.8.2.1000

Is your recommendation based on the fact that having a compatible OROM will allow easy future updates with standard intel drivers.? Or are the newer drivers “better”?

Tnx again for your splendid contributions.

Stefan

Each manual modification of a BIOS module or of a complete BIOS file includes the risk of having done something wrong.
It up to the user to decide, if he wants to use it nevertheless.

Yes, but with no TRIM in RAID0 support.

This is correct, but the .bin file of the Intel RAID ROM module has nothing to do with an Intel mainboard BIOS file with a .BIO extension.

Yes!

That is a wrong conclusion. If you want TRIM activity within your X79 chipset RAID0 array, you need both:
a) an RST RAID OROM v11.x.x.xxxx or v12.x.x.xxxx and
b) an RST RAID driver v11.x.x.xxxx or v12.x.x.xxxx.

Zitat

But you are recommending that I flash the OROM and go with Intel RST(e) drivers v12.8.2.1000



When I posted the quoted text, the Intel RST(e) drivers v12.8.2.1000 were not yet available.

Newer is not always, but mostly better, but this is only valid for systems like yours (with a reasonably actual Intel chipset).

You said:

When I posted the quoted text, the Intel RST(e) drivers v12.8.2.1000 were not yet available.
>64bit Intel RSTe AHCI & RAID drivers v12.8.0.1016 mod by Fernando< (>MIRROR<)

But the v12.8.0.1016 are modded by you
the v12.8.2.1000 are unmodded.

Since the OROM is modded, will either work?

Meanwhile I have replaced the modded v12.8.0.1016 drivers by the more actual modded v12.8.2.1000 ones. Look >here<.
By the way: You probably can use the original or the modded driver. In both cases you have to force the installation.
The only difference for you is, that the iaStorAC.inf file of the modded driverpack contains the correct name and DeviceID of your “Intel(R) C600 Series Chipset SATA RAID Controller” (DEV_2826), which will be shown within the Device Manager.

thank you for holding my hand through this. I dont want to irreversibly screw up if I can help it.I did notice that the modded OROM
8086-2822_v12701936.bin is 121,856 bytes but stock OROM 30.5.0105 is 93,184 bytes
and the CMSCORE module size changes after I replace the OROM
stock size 0002FFDB
modded size 00033A06

the final ‘compiled’ bios sizes are the same
16,777,216 bytes

I guess the MMToolAMI_Aptio_EFI_MMTool_v4.50.0.23 ‘pads’ the file? or is there an error?

Yes, the RST OROM modules are generally bigger sized than the RTe ones.

No, that is no error. The MMTool customizes the module sizes dynamicly by choosing a different compression, so that the total size of the BIOS will be exactly the same.

Just wanted to post some info from massive testing. I have found the with the X79 and win 7, the best performance was the 11.6 OROM, along with the 12.7.2.1000 driver, the 11.7.4, then the 12.8.0.1016 driver.

Seems that the best TRIM was with the 11.6 OROM and the 11.7.4.1001 driver, based on running TRIM check.

Now because you have a different board, and are using the modded OROM, you might find a different match to be better, but thought I would post this as a reference.

tnx odie for your findings but how do determine the ‘best’ trim? Isnt either trimmed or not? sort of like emptying the recycle bin - its either empty or its not.

You are generally right, but nevertheless the TRIM activity seems to be slightly different with different drivers. That is what odiebugs certainly meant.
Nobody knows, if this has any effect on the performance of the RAID0 system.

Tnx. As I’ve gathered from reading this board, series 11 is best for win 7 and series 12 for win 8.

But in your detailed instructions, why this:

13. Install the latest Intel RSTe Drivers & Software Set v3.x.x.xxxx and reboot


Can’t the series 11 or series 12 enable the write cache feature ?

Yes, they support the Write-Back Caching feature as well, but I doubt, that you will be able to get the v11/v12 RST software installed.
Reason: The installer will refuse the installation, because X79 RAID systems are not supported by the original RST v11/v12 packages and I haven’t yet found any way to circumvent this restriction.

I guess the confusion I am having is understanding the OROM. If I flash a modified bios that has the modded Intel RST RAID ROM v12.7.0.1936, how can I then install a system using the 3.x.x.x.xxxx drivers? Will I not need the 11/12 series drivers to enable the system to be run/be installed onto a RAID array set up by a series 11/12 OROM? Just as series 12 drivers will not work on a stock 3.x.x.x.xxxx OROM, why should series 3.x.x.x.xxxx drivers work on a modded series 11/12 OROM?

@ bwana:
If you will flash a BIOS containing an X79 modded RST v11/v12 Intel RAID ROM instead of the original RSTe v3.x.x.xxxx ROM, your Intel SATA RAID Controller will still be an X79 chipset one (DEV_2826). This is totally different from X79 mainboard BIOSes, which contain 2 Intel RAID ROM modules (the "normal" RSTe v3.x.x.xxxx ROM and additionally an RST v11.6.0.1702 ROM), where the mainboard manufacturer gives the user the option to use an original RST RAID ROM v11 by switching the DeviceID to DEV_2822.
That is why you will be able to install any original RSTe driver and software v3.x.x.x.xxxx without any problem, whereas you have to force the installation of any original Intel RST driver v11/v12, because the DeviceID DEV_2826 is missing within the original iaStorAC.inf file. If you are going to install any of my modified Intel RST drivers v11/v12, you will have to force the installation as well (because the driver has lost its digital signature by any modification of any associated file), but the Device Manager will show the correct "Intel(R) C600 Series Chipset Sata RAID Controller" with the DeviceID DEV_2826.
Is everything clear now?

Oh my goodness! I feel like it’s my first day in physics class for electricity and magnetism - trying to understand the relationship between two separate kinds of force. Just when you think you’ve understood it, something is said and then you are stunned.

I do not understand this:
>If you will flash a BIOS containing an X79 modded RST v11/v12 Intel RAID ROM instead of the original RSTe v3.x.x.xxxx ROM, your Intel SATA RAID Controller will still be an X79 chipset one (DEV_2826). <
The OROM version determines which driver I can load - the 3.x.x.x.xxxx or the series 11/12 - to install and run the OS. What does DEV_2826 have to do with it?

And I think I understand this:
>This is totally different from X79 mainboard BIOSes, which contain 2 Intel RAID ROM modules (the “normal” RSTe v3.x.x.xxxx ROM and additionally an RST v11.6.0.1702 ROM),<
Are you saying that SOME x79 main boards have a bios that includes both OROMS?
This is what the the wiki (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Intel_Matri…ager_option_ROM) says:
"For the X79 chipset, certain Motherboard MFG’s have added both RAID ROM’s in the BIOS, the RST and RST-E ROM. X79 is the Enterprise version, called RST-E. With the RST ROM added to the BIOS, this allows TRIM function to pass through the controller and TRIM SSD drives. As there is no support for TRIM with the RST-E version of the ROM. If the Motherboard MFG has not added the RST ROM to your BIOS, you can mod the BIOS with a modified ROM for the X79 found here, that only contains the RST-E ROM. ([24])
The Intel RAID ROM is the firmware in the motherboard BIOS that is used to create the RAID array.
NOTE: The RST drivers can be used for RAID and also on a single drive as it contains an AHCI driver. There is a BUG in the version 12.5.0.1066 RST driver, which cause TRIM commands NOT to pass through the controller to the drives. TRIM is disabled using this driver."
Obviously mine doesn’t because I cannot use the v11/12 drivers on the stock OROM. However, ASUS seems to allow it on their Rampage series of boards.

This part then becomes Greek to me
>That is why you will be able to install any original RSTe driver and software v3.x.x.x.xxxx without any problem, whereas you have to force the installation of any original Intel RST driver v11/v12, because the DeviceID DEV_2826 is missing within the original iaStorAC.inf file.<
How can you ‘force’ the installation of a v11/12 driver on a normal RSTe v3.x.x.xxxx OROM? I thought the whole point of flashing a modded bios was to enable a v11/12 driver. Y

I understand the bit about needing the v3.x.x.x.xxxx SOFTWARE to enable write back caching. I conclude that the v3 SOFTWARE requires an x79 chipset and does not care about what exists in the OROM, v3 or series 11/12. In step 13 where you said:
Install the latest Intel RSTe Drivers & Software Set v3.x.x.xxxx and reboot
The purpose was simply to achieve the write back enabled setting. I assumed that you cannot install the software without the drivers and that the driver part of the installation cannot be avoided. The drivers get written to the drivers folder (overwriting the v11/12 ones).I assumed that the v3 software should be uninstalled before you reboot and that the storage driver should be updated manually back to v11/12 through device manager. Right? If you did reboot with v3 installed, the OROM has been modified so the v3 drivers would not be used. The OS cannot load because the v11/12 drivers are missing and the RAID cannot be started.

Shouldn’t Steps 14 and 15
14. Run the Intel RSTe Console and enable the “Write-Back Caching” feature. Then do a reboot.
15. Uninstall the Intel(R) Rapid Storage Enterprise Technology software from within the Control Panel. Then reboot.

all be combined into one BIG step 13 before reboot?

Zitat von bwana im Beitrag #16
I do not understand this:

The OROM version determines which driver I can load - the 3.x.x.x.xxxx or the series 11/12 - to install and run the OS.



No, the RAID OROM version doesn’t determine the RAID driver version you can use. The correct statement would be: You can use any RAID driver version, which is compatible with your chipset resp. Intel SATA RAID Controller, but you can expect the best results, when RAID ROM and RAID driver belong to the same development branch.
Example: A user with an Intel Z77 RAID system is able to use any Intel RSTe driver of the v3.x.x.xxxx series (the installation has to be forced, but it will work!), vice versa each user with an X79 RAID system is able to install any Intel MSM and RST driver (has to be forced, but will work!).

DEV_2826 is the DeviceID of the "Intel(R) C600 Chipset Series SATA RAID Controller" und will stay untouched, if you replace the Intel RSTe RAID ROM v3.x.x.xxxx of your BIOS by an X79 modded Intel RST RAID ROM v11/v12.

Zitat von bwana
And I think I understand this:

Are you saying that SOME x79 main boards have a bios that includes both OROMS?



Yes, they contain an RSTe RAID ROM v3.x.x.xxxx and additionally an Intel RST RAID ROM v11 or v12 (it’s usually v11.6.0.1702).

Zitat von bwana
This part then becomes Greek to me

How can you ‘force’ the installation of a v11/12 driver on a normal RSTe v3.x.x.xxxx OROM?



That is no problem (as I have stated above).

If you want to get the TRIM in RAID0 feature and the best possible performance, you have to use both, an Intel RAID ROM v11 or v12 and an Intel RSTdriver v11 or v12.



So, I can install Win7 with v11/12 drivers even with a 3.x.x.x.xxxx OROM? It just wont pass the trim command and it will have slower performance? Now I am going to try this when I get home. Tnx for your patience. Not all Americans are as dense as I am. I know I should try things for myself but this particular motherboard has a non-replaceable bios chip-it’s soldered on (I guess you could replace it if you are good with a soldering gun). I dont want to screw up.

Yes, but I recommend to take the modded driver version. You have to force the installation by using the "Have Disk" button anyway.
Important: If you have installed the RSTe software, you should uninstall it, before you are going to update the Intel RAID driver.

Yes, you will not get TRIM into your RAID0 array. The performance may even be better than with the v3.x.x.xxxx RSTe drivers, but probably not as good as with an Intel RST RAID ROM v11 or v12.