Sign-in / Sign-up
Your question

Windows 7 native AHCI drivers vs Intel RST drivers.

Tags:
  • Hard Drives
  • Windows 7
  • Drivers
  • Windows Vista
  • Intel
  • Storage
  • Product
Last response: in Storage
September 23, 2010 1:56:19 PM


Hi Forum Members,

I just upgraded a PC from Vista Business 32bit to Windows 7 32bit. In Vista, the Intel Storage Manager "F6" disk drivers were used for the drivers source (ie. Intel Storage Manager or Rapid Storage Technologies installs where not used because RAID was not needed, but rather just compatability with the BIOS's AHCI enabled functionality).

Now in Windows 7's Device Manager, I see the normal "Disk Drives" branch, and the leaves say "ST3250410AS ATA Device" for each of the drives. Here's what I'm curious about:

If I go into "Properties | Driver tab" it says
Driver Provider: Microsoft
Driver Date: 6/21/2006
Driver Version: 6.1.7600.16385

That 6/21/2006 date doesn't sound so reassuring or like the latest technology. That's sounds like pre-Vista to me.

Fyi, The Win7 driver details are:
disk.sys and partman.sys (both 6.1.7600.16385, win7_rtm.090713-1255)
There's also a Roxio (Sonic Solutions) and Acronis driver enumerated there also.

I mentioned that RAID functionality is not needed currently on this Win7 machine, but should I install the latest RST package (ie. "Intel(R) Rapid Storage Technology - 32 & 64 bit - v9.6.0.1014 - 0323310) to get the best driver performance and funtionality possible? Btw, I tried doing an "Update Driver" and pointed it to a directory with "F6" 32bit files, but it just said I already had the latest drivers.


I appreciate any comments, corrections or suggestions that you care to offer.

Regards,
Brcobrem

More about : windows native ahci drivers intel rst drivers

a b $ Windows 7
a c 105 G Storage
September 23, 2010 6:14:24 PM

Hi there,

I am using Windows-7 Ultimate 64 bit, and my HDD driver is exactly as you listed
Driver Provider: Microsoft
Driver Date: 6/21/2006
Driver Version: 6.1.7600.16385

That's not bothersome. Must be they have that driver pretty much perfected!
m
0
l
a c 209 $ Windows 7
a b \ Driver
a b å Intel
a c 415 G Storage
September 24, 2010 2:29:50 AM

Remember that Windows 7 is a relatively minor update of Vista. The drivers required to talk to disk drives are very simple - they really don't change over time. Remember that these aren't RAID drivers, they're just a software layer that passes I/O commands to the physical or logical drives.

I wouldn't be concerned at all that they're 4 years old - in a way it's actually a bit of an endorsement that they were solid enough never to have needed any patching since then.
m
0
l
Related resources
Can't find your answer ? Ask !
September 29, 2010 8:30:32 PM

John_VanKirk said:
Hi there,

I am using Windows-7 Ultimate 64 bit, and my HDD driver is exactly as you listed
Driver Provider: Microsoft
Driver Date: 6/21/2006
Driver Version: 6.1.7600.16385

That's not bothersome. Must be they have that driver pretty much perfected!


Hi John,

Yes, it must be "perfected" :->

That must be why my disk performance tests are about 5% lower than they were with XP when I was using the Intel AHCI/SATA drivers.

But it certainly does look pretty!

Thanks for the reply.

Regards,
Brcobrem
m
0
l
September 29, 2010 8:52:32 PM

sminlal said:
Remember that Windows 7 is a relatively minor update of Vista. The drivers required to talk to disk drives are very simple - they really don't change over time. Remember that these aren't RAID drivers, they're just a software layer that passes I/O commands to the physical or logical drives.

I wouldn't be concerned at all that they're 4 years old - in a way it's actually a bit of an endorsement that they were solid enough never to have needed any patching since then.


Hi sminlal,

Thank you also for your reply and comments.

Perhaps I'm old fashioned, but I just more comfortable when I'm using drivers from the chipset manufacturer (ie. Intel ICH9 in my case).

Here's a question that perhaps you or someone else may like to chime in on:
Right now I have AHCI in the BIOS enabled, and I have 4 SATA disks: no RAID enabled in BIOS, simply running as JBOD. If I first install the Intel RST drivers and the RST RAID management software too (then enable RAID in the BIOS), do the RST RAID drivers allow for JBOD, or require that some RAID be configured (ie. perhaps RAID 1 or 0 on at least two of the disks) ? Humm . ..

I'd be willing to make an incremental backup image of the OS drive, and see if it works if someone could confirm that RST allows JBOD. I understand that RST is generally for RAID, but perhaps it also allows for JBOD (like Promise Technology controller firmware and their drivers do).

Regards,
Brcobrem
m
0
l
a c 209 $ Windows 7
a b \ Driver
a b å Intel
a c 415 G Storage
September 30, 2010 3:08:03 AM

I don't use RAID so I can't really help you with your question. I think the RAID protocols for the chip are based on AHCI, and I know you can configure indivdidual disks with the chipset in RAID mode - so I'm guessing that you could just switch to RAID mode, configure everything as single disks, and it would work.

But it's just a guess...
m
0
l
a b $ Windows 7
a c 105 G Storage
September 30, 2010 3:10:26 PM

Hello,

You may get different answers on setting up RAID depending on your understanding.

JBOD is technically a Dynamic configuration called Spanning, instead of Stripping or Mirroring, where you have a volume across several disks and the controller stores data where there is space. It has to be set up as a Dynamic Volume. Some folks think of JBOD as having a bunch of different disks as Simple Volumes on separate controllers.
m
0
l
a b $ Windows 7
a b å Intel
a c 352 G Storage
September 30, 2010 4:02:31 PM

The native (Default) AHCI drivers are fine in windows 7. Only improvement I've found using the Intel RST is with some of the newer SSDs (may be a SF1200 controller issue). With the Gskill Phoenix Pro (120 Gig) the Intel RST (requires the "F6" install) is recommended. Using the default AHCI controller will decrease the Sequential reads/writes and the 512k reads considerablly as opposed to the Intel RST (ver 9) driver.

All of my other SSds (Intel 80 gig G1 & G2, 128 Gig Torqz, WD blue 128 Gig) come very close to specs using the AHCI uSoft driver.
Not true for My new Gskill phoenix Pro 120 Gig SSD. Seq read, Advertized 285 MBs, get about 185 Mbs with uSoft driver. Have to reinstall using ver 9 RST to verify

Ref. (read manuf responce on poor performance)
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

In your case with a HDD, no need to switch. 5% deviation from published benchmarks are not uncommon and proabaly not detectable in day-to-day operations.
m
0
l
September 30, 2010 4:39:57 PM

RetiredChief said:
The native (Default) AHCI drivers are fine in windows 7. Only improvement I've found using the Intel RST is with some of the newer SSDs (may be a SF1200 controller issue). With the Gskill Phoenix Pro (120 Gig) the Intel RST (requires the "F6" install) is recommended. Using the default AHCI controller will decrease the Sequential reads/writes and the 512k reads considerablly as opposed to the Intel RST (ver 9) driver.

All of my other SSds (Intel 80 gig G1 & G2, 128 Gig Torqz, WD blue 128 Gig) come very close to specs using the AHCI uSoft driver.
Not true for My new Gskill phoenix Pro 120 Gig SSD. Seq read, Advertized 285 MBs, get about 185 Mbs with uSoft driver. Have to reinstall using ver 9 RST to verify

Ref. (read manuf responce on poor performance)
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

In your case with a HDD, no need to switch. 5% deviation from published benchmarks are not uncommon and proabaly not detectable in day-to-day operations.


I just got my 2nd Phoneix Pro 120 in and I am wondering is it really worth the effort to run in the ACHI mode over the IDE? (I have windows 7 Pro 64bit). How do
you install the Intel RST ver9 driver with a F6 install? That's something totally new to me.

I had a OCZ vertex 60gb before the Gskill and it ran okay but was too small. The first Phoneix Pro 120 I put in the ACHI mode and was dissappointed with the
performace. It ran for 5 days and died. So I'm tring it again and wondering if ACHI had anything to do with my first Gskill's earyly death?
m
0
l
a b $ Windows 7
a b å Intel
a c 352 G Storage
September 30, 2010 5:07:06 PM

Running in AHCI mode (prefered mode for all SSDs) should not have "Killed" your SSD

.. Download the F6 drivers. have to expand, or extract. Put these on a Floopy if you have a FDD - most newer systems do not, may put on USB jump drive.

..F6 install. When the Win 7 setup gets to the part where you choose what hard drive you want to install to; it will then present you with the option of installing additional drivers. Select that. Then use the browse to locate driver.
m
0
l
October 1, 2010 12:00:31 AM

I put the new drive in the ACHI mode and had about a 10% improvement in the
speed of the drives read & write according to ATTO and HD Tune 4.6. Thanks for
you prompt help.
m
0
l
October 4, 2010 6:07:49 PM

John_VanKirk said:
Hello,

You may get different answers on setting up RAID depending on your understanding.

JBOD is technically a Dynamic configuration called Spanning, instead of Stripping or Mirroring, where you have a volume across several disks and the controller stores data where there is space. It has to be set up as a Dynamic Volume. Some folks think of JBOD as having a bunch of different disks as Simple Volumes on separate controllers.


Hi John,

Thanks for the clarification on JBOD. I mistakenly differentiated between JBOD and what I know as Microsoft Windows "Dynamic Disk"s. Never realized that JBOD was spanning !

Yes, you correctly realized that I am asking questions about using a RAID controller for "...different disks as Simple Volumes on separate controllers.".

Regards,
Brcobrem

m
0
l
October 4, 2010 6:55:19 PM

RetiredChief said:
The native (Default) AHCI drivers are fine in windows 7. Only improvement I've found using the Intel RST is with some of the newer SSDs (may be a SF1200 controller issue). With the Gskill Phoenix Pro (120 Gig) the Intel RST (requires the "F6" install) is recommended. Using the default AHCI controller will decrease the Sequential reads/writes and the 512k reads considerablly as opposed to the Intel RST (ver 9) driver.

All of my other SSds (Intel 80 gig G1 & G2, 128 Gig Torqz, WD blue 128 Gig) come very close to specs using the AHCI uSoft driver.
Not true for My new Gskill phoenix Pro 120 Gig SSD. Seq read, Advertized 285 MBs, get about 185 Mbs with uSoft driver. Have to reinstall using ver 9 RST to verify

Ref. (read manuf responce on poor performance)
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

In your case with a HDD, no need to switch. 5% deviation from published benchmarks are not uncommon and proabaly not detectable in day-to-day operations.


Hi RetiredChief,

Thank you (and everyone else too) for sharing your observations on my question about the native vs RST AHCI Win7 drivers. I'm going to consider this issue resolved.

I see that the threads are now turning to discussion of RAID drivers for SSDs. That is fine and very interesting as well.

Regards,
Brcobrem
m
0
l