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Some AHCI/RAID Confusion

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October 1, 2012 3:39:34 PM

Hi all,

I've been trying to find some situation-specific info similar to my dilemma, but haven't been having a good time of it, so I'm hoping someone can assist with some insight.

A little background: I'm currently using a build based on an MSI P55-CD53 motherboard and a Core i5 760 (Lynnfield, LGA 1156). I currently have two Adata S510 120 GB SSDs in a RAID 0 array as well as two 640 GB WD Caviar Blacks in another seperate RAID 0 array. These arrays are hardware-based, configured at the BIOS level, no F6 drivers needed during Windows install or anything like that, Win7 install automatically recognized these two arrays as single drives, SSD @ 240 GB and HDD @ 1.1 TB. The latest Intel RST drivers are installed after Windows setup was completed (version 11.6.0.1030).

I've been doing some tinkering and research concerning various configurations and necessary protocols/settings for SSDs, etc. While looking into this, I've been seeing some conflicting info regarding Intel RST driver 11.5 and forward only supporting RAID 0 TRIM on 7-series chipsets, which my P55-CD53 obviously doesn't have, although I've had good experiences with SSDs in RAID 0 with this board in the past, and I've also checked at the command line to make sure TRIM is enabled, and according to Windows, it is.

At any rate, I'm thinking about retaining the WD Caviar Black RAID 0 array while potentially using the SSDs as single drives. However, the Intel RAID controller on the board is either all or none - either all RAID-enabled or all AHCI-enabled for all six SATA ports. For the record, there's also two SATA ports controlled by a Jmicron controller that I can configure independently from the Intel RAID controller, but I've read a lot of stuff about this Jmicron chip being pretty abyssmal for drive usage and/or RAID configurations, so I will only bother enabling that controller if needed for optical drives or other miscellany.

My question: considering that AHCI is ultimately a subset of RAID, if I have RAID enabled on the Intel controller for the benefit of the WD HDDs in RAID 0, can I still run the SSDs through other ports on this active RAID controller as single drives and still retain the benefits of AHCI?

I can't say I've tried this yet myself, it's a massive hinderance to do so considering everything is currently installed on RAID 0 arrays and any deviation from these arrays would require me to back up a ton of data and perform full reinstalls of Windows and all games/applications.

Any insight on the potential possibilities of this would be helpful. Thanks!

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a c 318 G Storage
October 1, 2012 7:20:59 PM

Yes, you can break up the SSDs and use them individually with the WD drives in RAID 0. AHCI is indeed a subset of RAID and if the drives are not in an actual RAID setup they will perform TRIM just fine.
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October 1, 2012 9:16:55 PM

Excellent, thanks for your input. I'll have to give this a try at some point. I'm sure I'll be upgrading to Win8 by the end of the year, so perhaps I'll play around with it some then. Thanks again!
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October 15, 2012 3:01:39 AM

Best answer selected by helicon574.
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November 28, 2012 5:50:00 AM

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