I start a discussion about different solutions that I have tested to build Multiples DATAS NVMe RAID 0 on a X99 PC running W10 64bit.
The solution is similar to a VROC (Virtual Raid on CPU) solution.
VROC can be implemented only with new Intel CPU generation, new x299 chipset, and some specific Intel SSDs, and do use a key.
However, the proposed and tested solution is open (no specific SSD manufacturer, no RAID type restriction, and no need to have a VROC ready motherboard, etc…)
Moreover the solution does use as well a mix of some recycled NVMe SSDs (Samsung 950PRO) and also the last NVMe generation product line such as Samsung 960PRO.
NVMe SSDs devices such as 960EVO or OCZ Toshiba can be used as well.
Only a small subset of the tests results I have done are presented into this topic.
ASUS Sabertooth X99, CPU i7-5930K (40 lanes are fully used), 6 x PCIe x4 v3.0 SSDs are used (5 x NVMe, 1 x AHCI), 1 PCIe add-in card x16 v3.0 is installed HighPoint SSD7101A-1 to support up to 4 x NVMe SSDs.
The booting SSDs used is a NVMe Intel i750 400GB or a PCIe AHCI SATA Samsung SM951 512GB.
NVMe standalone configuration:
HighPoint NVMe DATAS RAID0 960PRO 2TB configuration:
A specific Driver (from HighPoint) named "RocketNVMe_Windows_StorPort" is installed.
A NVMe Manager Application is also installed to manage the 4 members on the add-in card SSD7101A-1.
W10 ARRAYs NVMe RAID0 960PRO 2TB configuration:
W10 Dynamics Disk ARRAYS (stripped mode 512K) is used.
it would be great if you could share more on this topic. It seems like you are suggesting that the software RAID in windows may be a high performing low cost option for those not ready to upgrade for VROC - especially if they have some extra cores with nothing better to do. Is the software raid bootable tho?
Thanks for your interest on the subject. I can share more with interested X99 users.
Yes, the tested solution is a “VROC like” solution, open to different NVMe M.2 manufacturers and different devices.
At the moment the RAID solution is not bootable. HPT is working on.
A new HPT NVMe driver solution will be released with better performance than the current one does offer.
Personally i don’t see lot of interest to have a 1TB or 2TB bootable solution.
My interest is focused on pure high performant and high capacity DATA storage solution.
Do you have specific questions/needs ? Do you have tested a similar solution on X99 machine ?
Nota: at the moment I am focused on the 960PRO/EVO firmware problem and Samsung does plan to fix in January 2018…
My opinion is that most people choose 1TB+ bootable for performance of those individual drives compared to smaller drives. Most people dont need the larger sizes in a boot partition (they could easily add non-bootable for larger sizes) but still choose 1TB+ drives for performance. Is there some reason the solution is tied only to the X99 platform? Will it eventually work on others, if so? Why is the performance less than Windows Native RAID and what is the advantage over the Microsoft software RAID option?
People who want reasonable cost high performance NVMe RAID 0 bootable solution can use, if the mother board bios/chipset/cpu does accept, a Intel RAID0 (500GB) NVMe solution based (for example) on two 960 EVO 250GB members.
Fernando has tested this kind of solution which does offer a high ANVIL score at a low cost.
About question why HPT solution is tied only on X99/X299 platform, I think only validation has been done for these platforms.
I ignore if it will eventually work on others. The needs are PCIe x16 slot available, and a 40 lanes CPU at least.
The current HPT RAID NVMe driver does not offer the full expected performance. A new HPT driver version will become to improve performance.
Windows native "RAID" dynamic drive configuration does seem more performant than HPT NVMe (at the moment) but I observed that some applications does ignore Dynamic disk technology.
Has Highpoint made any progress in making the RAID 0 bootable yet on this card?
I’ve tried to reach out to them but did not receive a reply.
The new HighPoint driver that should making a NVMe RAID 0 bootable is not yet released.
Expected driver should also provide better performance.
Thanks for the reply.
Wouldn’t the update have to be a firmware update, as well as a driver update? I would imagine the firmware would have to support pre-operating system card configuration during boot up so that the RAID instructions can be configured before OS installation.
Does the card offer the option currently to configure prior to boot, or is it technically just a pass through device with a PLX chip like the Amfeltec Squid card: http://amfeltec.com/products/pci-express…-2-ssd-modules/
I currently own the Amfeltec card, and it works well. I’m trying to determine if there is any advantage whatsoever to getting the Highpoint card instead.
I have asked multi times to HPT is there is a firmware and never got a reply.
I have tried to use my favorite Backup Tools (WinPE based) bootmedia to see if the HPT NVMe RAID0 are properly detected or not.
They are not.
At the moment I have no HPT driver version that can be injected into a WinPE W10 x64 image. The problem has been reported to HPT, and I hope the next ‘driver’ release should also offer 64bit HPT standalone versions.
I have look at the Amfeltec card specifications to compare.
Amfeltec solution is limited to 2 M.2 modules support only.
Does NVMe RAID 0 suported ? Specific drivers ?
Does NVMe single device bootable supported ?
Do you have tested with 960PRO/EVO devices ? Any Benchmarks ?
The Amfeltec has a 4 M.2 version of the card as well: http://amfeltec.com/products/pci-express…-2-ssd-modules/
Its not a RAID card, it just uses a PLX chip to enable multichannel use of the available PCIe Lanes for the different M.2 drives. For example, on the 4x PCIe version of the product, all 4 lanes are available to both M.2 drives. Each drive runs at 4x, but each drive will slow down if each is used at the same time.
My benchmarks are not valuable because what I am doing is different than most people. I’m splitting one M.2 slot on my Asrock x99e-itx/ac motherboard into 2 M.2 slots using a M.2 to SAS adapter card / SAS cable to PCIe card / to Amfeltec card. So the results would not be great, but it works. I’m going to make it better by getting a Gen 3 M.2 to PCIe adapter soon. That should get me very good speeds.
I’ll do some benches when I get a chance with my current setup and post them here though.
I have the Samsung 960 Pro 2TB
The HPT solution does also use a PLX chip as you can observe on the screenshots at the start post.
I think also drives performances will slow down when they are used at the same time with the HPT solution.