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  1. #1
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    SSDs incompatible with AMD 990FX chipset RAID?

    I have an ASUS Sabertooth 990fx Ver 2 motherboard with a FX8350 CPU and a Radeon HD 7770 GPU. (My own build, all top quality brand name components). I am not able to run a RAID using SSDs. It worked fine with HDDs. I have gone around in circles with ASUS. Their tech support knows less than I do about this issue, and they will not escalate to someone who does know more. Anyway I have eliminated all problems except the motherboard, even to the extent of buying another brand of SSDs. Initially OCZ Vertex 3 and later Samsung 840 EVO disks. I now have over a $1,000 worth of SSDs that do me no good! Both sets of SSDs fail, due to dropping off the RAID array within hours or even minutes, of rebuilding them.

    I have read in a couple of forums that the 990fx RAID controller chip does not work well with SSDs. ASUS strongly denies that. They say it is my individual problem.

    Does anyone have any information regarding this situation?

    Thanks,
    Bill Rice
    Last edited by billrice; 2014-03-31 at 17:48. Reason: Spelling

  2. #2
    Platinum Lounger
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    With that much spare SSD you can image your disk every 15 minutes and not bother with RAID.

    cheers, Paul

  3. #3
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    Thanks Paul,

    Actually, I AM making a disk image every six hours since I have the disks!

    Can't say much for ASUS service. Today they offered to let me ship my board into them to test, but they said it did not qualify for advanced replacement. Can you imagine what it must take to get advance replacement? This is the second board of this model that has gone bad. It has a five year warranty making me think that they thought it was a quality product. I think I am through with ASUS since they won't really support their high end boards. Imagine again if it was a cheap board.

    Bill

  4. #4
    Super Moderator CLiNT's Avatar
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    Do you have the most up-to-date drivers and BIOS? (drivers directly from AMD)
    Have you thoroughly queried their forums?
    Which RAID are you attempting to set up (0,1,5, or 10)?
    They say it is my individual problem.
    Are you able to elaborate on that response?

    Please elaborate [fully] on how you are going about setting things up (step-by-step)
    DRIVE IMAGING
    Invest a little time and energy in a well thought out BACKUP regimen and you will have minimal down time, and headache.

    Windows 8.1, 64 bit
    Motherboard: DX58SO2*Chipset: X58 Express/Intel ICH10*BIOS: SOX5820J.86A.0888.2012.0129.2203*Processor: Intel Core i7 CPU X 990
    GPU: Nvidia GTX 580*Memory: Corsair 12 GB, 4x3@1600*PSU: Corsair HX1000*Hard drives: REVO X2 160GB*OCZ VERT X3 120GB*5 mechanical storage drives (12 TB) total.

  5. #5
    3 Star Lounger
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    My ASUS motherboard BIOS has a setting where you can choose IDE/Compatible or SATA. Under SATA heading you can choose AHCI or RAID. Have you checked those settings to see if maybe they need adjusting for RAID?

    Another option would be to install an add-on SATA/RAID controller card. For full-bandwidth be sure to choose a card that is "SATA III" and requires a PCI-e v2.0 X4 slot (or higher). In other words, the card must have 2 "Lanes" of bandwidth, not 1 Lane. There are some with 4 SATA ports and a hardware RAID chip which will totally bypass the motherboard RAID problem. RAID controllers can be very pricey, but HighPoint RocketRAID and SYBA both make add-on cards in the $40 - $70 range that should do the trick. These cards are not industrial-strength so go easy on plugging and unplugging SATA cables. At home i've successfully used a SYBA SD-PEX40054 add-on card plugged into an X4-slot on the ASUS P6TD Deluxe motherboard (which only has SATA II ports). In RAID 0 you get 80%-90% of theoretical maximum sequential Read speed with this card. After the card is physically plugged into your motherboard DO NOT CONNECT ANY DRIVES TO IT YET. Boot up and let Windows install default drivers for the card. Then Restart the computer to complete the driver install. After restarting fully, shutdown the computer. Now, you can connect drives to the controller card and boot up. CAUTION: If you are connecting a Windows boot drive to the controller card, go into the system BIOS as soon as you turn the power on. In the BIOS setup screen, in the BOOT tab, make sure the controller card/boot drive is selected as 1st Hard Drive, then make sure that same controller card/boot drive is selected as 1st Boot Device. This is a very important step BEFORE booting up to Windows the first time after connecting a boot drive to the controiller card. Failure to follow any of these steps may result in failure to boot and/or corruption of the Master Boot Record (MBR). These add-on controller cards include a little utility program to assist in setting up RAID. The downside of an add-on controller card is that it adds about an extra 15 seconds to your boot-up time but, hey, if you don't restart the computer very often then it's no big deal.

    Another thing to bear in mind is that TRIM (which helps maintain an SSD's performance over time) does not usually work in RAID arrays unless your motherboard has the latest Intel software/drivers. It may be that only very recent motherboards support that feature.

  6. #6
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    Okay guys, update here.

    I have been using a RAID for several years successfully. I have tried RAID 1 and 5. I have all the latest drivers, firmware, etc., and the settings are correct, as per over a month of working with ASUS tech support. God forbid I should have a board that doesn't function at all, ASUS wouldn't be much help. (Have any recommendations on what brand has better support?*) AMD had no comment on the chip issue and sent me back to ASUS.

    The actual specific problem is that the RAID chip disconnects the SSD drives and I have to rebuild them. The rebuild functions anywhere from 20 minutes to a couple of hours. The drive that is left after the disconnect of one of them functions fine as a single drive, even though on the RAID settings.

    ASUS is finally sending a replacement board. Will let you know if it helps.

    Current board is a Sabertooth 990FX Rev2.0, with a FX8350 CPU and Samsung EVO SSDs on RAID 1. RAID five was on the OCZ Vertex 3 drives, which I replaced with the Samsung under the mistaken idea that the OCZ drives were the problem.

    Sorry for the delay in getting back to you'all,

    Bill

  7. #7
    3 Star Lounger
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    Noticed the following note in ASUS Sabretooth user manual: "Due to chipset limitation, when set any of SATA ports to RAID mode, all SATA ports run at
    RAID mode together.
    ". Are there any other SSDs or HDDs connected singly to your motherboard that might cause a conflict resulting in the disconnect you are experiencing? What about DVD/CD drives connected to SATA ports? What happens if you disconnect everything except the RAID drives?

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by starvinmarvin View Post
    Noticed the following note in ASUS Sabretooth user manual: "Due to chipset limitation, when set any of SATA ports to RAID mode, all SATA ports run at
    RAID mode together.
    ". Are there any other SSDs or HDDs connected singly to your motherboard that might cause a conflict resulting in the disconnect you are experiencing? What about DVD/CD drives connected to SATA ports? What happens if you disconnect everything except the RAID drives?
    Nobody at ASUS or AMD mentioned that! I do not know if it is the answer, but when I install the new board I will try it first with no other connections to the SATA ports and find out. If this is true I can't understand why the RAID settings would have worked fine with the HDDs, since I had other drives attached then as well. At least it is something new to troubleshoot.

  9. #9
    3 Star Lounger bassfisher6522's Avatar
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    The Gigabyte boards (AMD) work well with RAID setups.m They have separate SATA ports specifically set aside for RAID. I know some Asus mobo's do as well, not sure if you mobo does.

  10. #10
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    You're probably right, but i've never seen a caveat like that before so it seemed worth mentioning. A couple of other thoughts arise regarding the use of SSDs in RAID. My own experience using a good SATA III SSD on my SATA II motherboard vs. using the same SSD with an add-on SATA III controller card is that there's only a slight, almost unnoticeable difference in performance of my Windows 7 64-bit system (with Core i7 cpu/12GB RAM/etc.). Benchmark tests such as CrystalDiskMark, AS-SSD, and ATTO clearly show the SATA III connection is way faster when handling large files, but it's only slightly faster on small files. This is interesting because Windows and most programs open and run using small files. After the benchmark tests, i compared loading times on SATA II vs. SATA III. Windows bootup SATA II - 18 seconds 'til the blue circle stops; SATA III - 17 seconds. Opening Chrome browser with 4 different pages/tabs on SATA II - 8.5 seconds; on SATA III - 8 seconds. Loading a game level on Crysis 3 on SATA II - 17 seconds; on SATA III - 16 seconds. You get the idea - there's not much improvement with SATA III even though maximum Sequential Read/Write speeds measure twice as fast! So, using RAID for speed may offer benefits when working with really huge file sizes, but it may not be dramatically better for simple home computing and gaming, at least not with good SSDs. As for RAID mirroring to provide data safety, these days you can use free or low cost backup software to backup your work frequently or even continuously while working and storage drive prices are very low which makes it very affordable. Not saying there's anything wrong with RAID, but the main benefits that RAID once offered are less unique now that we have fast cpus, fast RAM, SSDs and cheap data storage. Having said all that i remain curious as to why HDDs worked OK in RAID but your SSDs do not. It is strange, isn't it?

  11. #11
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    Bassfisher,
    Thanks for the mobo info. This high end board (for AMD FX products anyway) has separate SATA II and SATA III, but not separate RAID ports. I will check out Gigabyte when I need a new board, which may be soon if the replacement board has the same problems.

  12. #12
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    Starvinmarvin,

    So much to respond to. I received my replacement board Friday. I will replace it and play with it next week when I have a few hours. For now I will just say that a redundant RAID is the best backup for me for now. While I have 100 MGB download I only have 5 MGB upload, too slow for a system image. I also do the external backups, but a disk failure is so easy to correct with a redundant disk.

    I did find the time differences between HDD and SDDs more substantial on my system, so much so that I would not consider going back to HDDs (WIN8 may be part of it). There are 6 SATA III ports and 2 SATA II, so even if the SATA II work good enough, I have the SATA IIIs already anyway.

    Thanks for your continuing interest!

  13. #13
    Super Moderator jwitalka's Avatar
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    For now I will just say that a redundant RAID is the best backup for me for now
    Just be aware that while this covers hardware failures it doesn't cover OS corruption from Malware or Human failures like permanently deleting files by mistake.

    Jerry

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    Thanks for your concern Jerry, but as I noted, I also do external backups. I do both data files and system images, as well as a cloud back-up of data files. I can assure you I am more paranoid than most, from experience, and believe in stringent backing up! Saved my tail many, many times during the last thirty years or so.

    Bill

  15. #15
    Super Moderator CLiNT's Avatar
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    Let us know how the replacement board works out and if there are any differences in board revisions etc.
    DRIVE IMAGING
    Invest a little time and energy in a well thought out BACKUP regimen and you will have minimal down time, and headache.

    Windows 8.1, 64 bit
    Motherboard: DX58SO2*Chipset: X58 Express/Intel ICH10*BIOS: SOX5820J.86A.0888.2012.0129.2203*Processor: Intel Core i7 CPU X 990
    GPU: Nvidia GTX 580*Memory: Corsair 12 GB, 4x3@1600*PSU: Corsair HX1000*Hard drives: REVO X2 160GB*OCZ VERT X3 120GB*5 mechanical storage drives (12 TB) total.

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