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M5Pro Xtreme: Bought My First SSD, Have Some Questions In General

Well, the question isn't really about the SSD in general.

I have an ASUS ROG Rampage III Black Edition w/ the latest & last firmware for the board, I installed the SSD as well as the 2TB HDD to the SATA 6Gb ports on the mobo. After the ROG logo, I see a screen for Marvell, and after that I see a screen mentioning JMicron, and that there's no drive. What is up with that, and how do I get rid of it?

Also, I've upgraded the firmware to the latest: 1.05; which also appears to be the last.

When booting up, ASUS' BIOS reports that the SSD is in S0 and the HDD is in S1 -- this is part of the Marvell screen -- but the upgrade tool reported the same thing, and first tried to see if the HDD was the SSD because it was in S1 and didn't pass, but then it saw the SSD in S0 and started the upgrade.

So, my question is this:

Should I switch the SSD to S1 and the HDD to S0?

Also, when in Windows, both the SSD & HDD appear under the "Safely Remove Hardware", what the hell is up with that?

(I don't know if I should also post this to the mobo section of the forum as well).
6 answers Last reply Best Answer
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  1. The Marvell and Jmicron SATA ports are basically add-ons. They are SATA controllers as opposed to native SATA ports. You can do nice things like run RAID arrays off them when your Motherboard is not set up in RAID mode. The Marvell controller is actually a PCIe device, hence why you can safely remove it under OS. The Rampage III is an old board and while I don't have one, I believe I can explain a little to you. The manual is available for download from the Asus support page (very bottom of the list for the full english manual) and if you google rampage II ROG guide, you will come up with a step by step for using the marvel controller.

    Why they are the only 6GB/s ports on the board, I can't tell you. Someone else probably can. It seems as if the main purpose of this set up was to allow the marvell controller to be set up in RAID0 though, as that is what the ROG guide pushes. It's possible that SSDs were small back then, or it's just late and I'm not thinking clearly. Raptors were popular back then too - but as far as I'm aware, the Marvell controllers appear a lot on ROG boards and are never ideal for a boot drive. I may be wrong, it certainly seems as if your board has a different use in mind to my WS Revolution.

    The Jmicron adapter gives you the single black SATA port that faces out from the board. This is designed for an optical drive. Only use it for that.

    So anyway, back to the point...

    Open BIOS. Set SATA mode to AHCI, then go to "advanced" and there should be another option to set the 2x SATA 6GB/s to AHCI mode as well. Ensure that you have the intel sata driver installed, NOT the marvel one. This will afford you TRIM support, Marvell's will not!

    That should allow you to use your SSD to it's full potential, although your boot times will always be hampered by the 2 additional controllers loading.

    If you can't be bothered or do not know how to achieve any of what I've said, and can't find simpler instructions, remove your SSD from the Marvell controller (red ports I believe) and move them it the grey intel ports. You will be relegated to 3GB/s on SATAII but you will have TRIM support (under AHCI Mode) and you may be able to speed up your boot times by disabling the Marvell controller (press "ctrl+m" when the name appears at start up).

    The ROG Guide seems to be designed for users to install OS on a RAID0 array, leaving 6x intel ports for storage RAID and the Jmicron for optical drive - so I'm guessing that this board was made before the full potentials and pitfalls of SSD technology had been explored.

    When you say "the upgrade tool" what are you referring to? You said your firmware was up to date?

    And this is a motherboard question.
  2. Szyrs said:

    Why they are the only 6GB/s ports on the board, I can't tell you. Someone else probably can.


    There are only 2 6Gb ports onboard, the rest [6 of them] are 3Gb ports.

    Szyrs said:

    The Jmicron adapter gives you the single black SATA port that faces out from the board. This is designed for an optical drive. Only use it for that.


    I'm not seeing that, I only see the 8 [2x6Gb, 6x3Gb] SATA ports.

    Szyrs said:

    Open BIOS. Set SATA mode to AHCI, then go to "advanced" and there should be another option to set the 2x SATA 6GB/s to AHCI mode as well. Ensure that you have the intel sata driver installed, NOT the marvel one. This will afford you TRIM support, Marvell's will not!


    I've already got that set to ACHI, I did it after I installed the SSD yesterday. Also, TRIM is working with Marvell's driver, so I am not sure what you're getting at here.
  3. Best answer
    There are 2x SATA3 ports on board. They are red (they are the Marvell controller). There are actually 7 SATA2 ports. 6 of them are grey, they are the intel ports. The last one is black and sticks up perpendicular to the board (as opposed to laying flat against it). It is located in the bottom right hand corner, between the grey intel ports and the BIOS switch. It is clearly visible in this picture.
    http://www.asus.com/media/global/products/jy0uafxYBCrJwksC/jw3Uw25aGzimV1IB_480.jpg

    Why the only two SATA3 ports are hosted by a Marvell controller rather than being native to the board, I am not in a position to explain to you. Someone else might be, but I am not. The number of ports on the board is irrelevant to my knowledge of how and why the ASUS engineers came up with this layout.

    As for TRIM support, as I said - I don't have one of these boards, I can only read from those who do. It seems as if a late Marvell Driver may have included TRIM support but I cannot confirm or deny. If you are happy with your validation then by all means, stick with the Marvel driver. It seems as if others have opted for the intel driver though, even after the Marvell update.
    http://forums.anandtech.com/archive/index.php/t-2194992.html

    What I'm getting at, is that if you are wrong and you use a driver that doesn't fully support TRIM, you'll be back on here in a few months asking why your new SSD is dying, and probably blaming the SSD manufacturer.

    Basically what you have is a board based on a chipset that didn't support SATA3, but that the ASUS Engineers managed to fit an OEM controller to, using PCIe lanes to host 2x SATA3 ports - thus giving this board a huge marketing advantage at the time of its release. That goes to explain some of "why they are the only 6GB/s ports onboard" as well as why you are having so much difficulty using them as opposed to modern day users, who have SATA3 fully supported by their chipsets and are therefor native to the board.

    P.S. - No, you should keep the SSD in p0. Always aim to have your OS drive in the numerically lowest available port. If you end up moving to one of the grey intel ports, yoiu should similarly aim for the port numbered "0"
  4. Not trying to be a dick, but just to point out, there are 2 option fields in which you must set the sata mode to AHCI, the one to change the SATA3 ports is apparently located in the advanced menu.
  5. Szyrs said:
    There are 2x SATA3 ports on board. They are red (they are the Marvell controller). There are actually 7 SATA2 ports. 6 of them are grey, they are the intel ports. The last one is black and sticks up perpendicular to the board (as opposed to laying flat against it). It is located in the bottom right hand corner, between the grey intel ports and the BIOS switch. It is clearly visible in this picture.
    http://www.asus.com/media/global/products/jy0uafxYBCrJwksC/jw3Uw25aGzimV1IB_480.jpg


    The image you linked to is for the Rampage III Extreme, not the Rampage III Black Edition, which can be seen here:

    http://images.bit-tech.net/content_images/2011/05/asus-rampage-iii-black-edition-review/rampagemoth__6-1280x1024.jpg


    Szyrs said:
    As for TRIM support, as I said - I don't have one of these boards, I can only read from those who do. It seems as if a late Marvell Driver may have included TRIM support but I cannot confirm or deny. If you are happy with your validation then by all means, stick with the Marvel driver. It seems as if others have opted for the intel driver though, even after the Marvell update.
    http://forums.anandtech.com/archive/index.php/t-2194992.html


    I'll check out that link when I have some time.
  6. Oh my mistake, sorry. From what I can gather, the black edition uses the same Marvell controller though, 9182.
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