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3xSSD Raid 0 drives under performing

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October 17, 2012 5:23:51 AM

Hey guys,

I've been trying to figure out why my SSD drives don't want to clock higher rates but nothing I do is fixing it.
I recently bought 3 Intel SSD drives to run in raid 0 and found I can't get them to run at their correct speed. I'm using a HighPoint RocketRAID 640 4-port 6Gb/s RAID controller with these 3 in AHCI mode with a fresh install of windows on a ASUS P6X58D-E Motherboard

Anyone got any ideas?
October 17, 2012 9:05:46 PM

use use them in RAID while in AHCI mode? what?
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October 17, 2012 9:24:32 PM

miken said:
Hey guys,

I've been trying to figure out why my SSD drives don't want to clock higher rates but nothing I do is fixing it.
I recently bought 3 Intel SSD drives to run in raid 0 and found I can't get them to run at their correct speed. I'm using a HighPoint RocketRAID 640 4-port 6Gb/s RAID controller with these 3 in AHCI mode with a fresh install of windows on a ASUS P6X58D-E Motherboard

Anyone got any ideas?
http://imageshack.us/a/img542/9260/ssd1.jpg


SSDs don't work well in RAID. Many hard drive controllers do not support the full extended AHCI command set which is necessary for proper SSD operation and only Intel 7 series chipsets support TRIM on RAID. Without these, SSDs will underperform as you have experienced. Dedicated RAID controllers like that are designed for hard disks and will minimize access time, but will not maximize throughput as they lack the internal processing power to handle it and will also be limited by the 4x PCIe 2.0 link.

The Intel PCH firmware RAID is done by the CPU, hardware RAID is done by the much weaker ASIC on the RocketRAID. This frees up the CPU but limits the possibilities of the RAID
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October 17, 2012 11:37:27 PM

Thanks for the reply Pinhedd,

Well I actually just tried to run one ssd by itself and it only scores 321/215 r/w. Their not even performing at their default spec on sata 3 ports, there must be something wrong with motherboard or settings??
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October 17, 2012 11:59:35 PM

I get 1300 read and write on my 3x Corsair Force GT 120s in RAID 0 on my 990FX
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October 18, 2012 12:01:07 AM

PS, I get 400 read and write on my Seagate 1 platter HDs in RAID 0
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October 18, 2012 1:08:38 AM

miken said:
Thanks for the reply Pinhedd,

Well I actually just tried to run one ssd by itself and it only scores 321/215 r/w. Their not even performing at their default spec on sata 3 ports, there must be something wrong with motherboard or settings??


That's probably the highest IO operation rate that the RAID controller is capable of. RAID controllers are designed for reliability, flexibility, and scalability; they are not designed for speed. Try it on the Chipset's native ports which are CPU driven and see what you get
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October 18, 2012 1:32:34 AM

Hi Pinhedd, I'm not running single drives with any controllers, just whatevers on the board, tried the 2 and 3 sata ports, both run very slow.
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October 18, 2012 2:35:17 AM

I have some bad news for you.

The RocketRaid 640 is not a very good card. Problems are well documented in technical reviews. I have consistently recommended not purchasing it. It is a low end, low budget card. A good card will cost several hundred dollars. Prices for an outstanding card start at about $1,600.00 and go up from there. Those expensive cards are designed for the enterprise market. They are not intended for consumer use.

You have already found out that if you connect 3 ssd's to the card you will experience performance degradation. The card cannot handle 3 ssd's in a RAID array very well. The card is a major bottleneck. Technical reviews recommended connecting only 2 ssd's. There is still a possibility of a performance hit and compatability issues with just two ssd's.

The two gray colored SATA 3 6Gb/s ports on your motherboard use the motherboard's Marvell 9128 controller. Those two ports only support data hard disk drives. The rest of the ports are SATA 2 3Gb/s ports that use the motherboard's Intel ICH10R controller which support Raid 0, 1, 5, and 10.

BTW - What do you do with your computer that requires three solid state drives in a RAID array? Are you using it for some sort of heavy duty professional, scientific, or business work?
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October 18, 2012 3:19:25 AM

Thanks for the Feedback Johnny,

Would you have any idea what would explain the slow performance using the gray color sata 3 ports? I've tried just running one of the ssd 520 120gb to test by itself and I'm only averaging 300/200 R/W.
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October 18, 2012 3:46:38 AM

miken said:
Thanks for the Feedback Johnny,

Would you have any idea what would explain the slow performance using the gray color sata 3 ports? I've tried just running one of the ssd 520 120gb to test by itself and I'm only averaging 300/200 R/W.


Most motherboard manufacturers include additional chips to provide extra SATA ports. The Intel/AMD consumer chipset's have a Southbridge chip which provides between 4 and 6 SATA-II and SATA-III ports. If the motherboard manufacturer wants to add more ports, they have to include an add-in chip from another company such as Marvell, ASMedia, or LSI. Some of these are better than others but some are rather embarrassing. Regardless of the quality of the chip, they are connected to the Southbridge via the Southbridge's generic PCIe lanes (not to be confused with the Northbridge or CPU-integrated PCIe lanes that are used to power graphics cards). Since these Southbridge PCIe lanes are limited in quantity they are often shared with other devices such as audio codecs, add-in USB 3.0 controllers, BlueTooth controllers, Ethernet ports, etc...

To make matters worse, they often don't implement the full AHCI/ATAPI specifications necessary to operate all SATA devices properly which makes them effectively just a weaker version of your existing RocketRAID card, but often lacking the RAID part. They're to be used for platter disks only, and only as a last resort.
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October 18, 2012 3:59:04 AM

As I mentioned in my previous comment the two SATA 3 6Gb/s ports only support hard disk drives. A solid state drive is not a hard disk drive. The information is in a footnote at the bottom of the Asus motherboard product page. A modern ssd will work but there will be a performance hit. The numbers you posted are very close to the ATTO benchmarks used to measure motherboard controllers when the motherboard was introduced in 2009. Technical reviews were showing around 305/210. Those numbers were for SATA III 6Gb/s ssd's. Looks like you're right on the money.

A lot has changed in the last 2 years. You might want to consider a motherboard upgrade.


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October 18, 2012 4:14:31 AM

Hey guys,

Thanks Pinhead, very informative info, I didn't realize there were so many factors that come into play.

Johnny, thanks for the info also, I had feeling my motherboard was to blame. Most medium to high end motherboards would run 3 SSD in raid 0 just fine correct?
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October 18, 2012 4:29:23 AM

Hmmm....good question. The Intel 520 reviews that included RAID0 only used two ssd's. I don't recall one using three 520's.

Tom's Hardware did a review using five ssd's but it was with an LSI MegaRAID 9280-24i4e controller card that cost $1,600.00 at the time.
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October 18, 2012 5:10:39 AM

You guys have gone so far out into the weeds on hardware, you missed the answer ro his second question entirely.

Download AS SSD benchmark. You are using CrystalMark, which is intended for HDD testing. Run a test with default settings, then go into options and run "fill 0's". My bet is the results are ridiculously varied. I can get faster write than read results on my 520 series SSD with CrystalMark.

Also, make sure you have the settings optimized for an SSD. Turn in write cashing, off buffer flushing, disable superfetch, move the page file off the ssd if you have a good amount of RAM, disable indexing and defeat on the drive.... that's all going to matter.

Also, I don't buy the SATA 3 HDD vs SDD assessment of Asus boards. My M5A97 has no issues there. The computer doesn't care whats on the other end of the SATA cable so long as the drive is in ACHI mode and has an NTFS filesystem.
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October 18, 2012 5:57:23 AM

miken said:
Hey guys,

Thanks Pinhead, very informative info, I didn't realize there were so many factors that come into play.

Johnny, thanks for the info also, I had feeling my motherboard was to blame. Most medium to high end motherboards would run 3 SSD in raid 0 just fine correct?


The only motherboards right now that will run SSDs properly in any RAID are the Intel 7 series motherboards (excluding X79). No other motherboard has TRIM support and I don't believe that many manufacturers have managed to backport the firmware change which made it possible.
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October 18, 2012 8:15:00 AM

ocmusicjunkie:

1. You are partially correct. CrystalMark was originally developed for hard disk drives. Newer versions support solid state drives including Version 3.0.1 used by the OP. Many of the technical review sites use it. Here are some newer examples:

http://www.techspot.com/review/566-crucial-v4-vs-ocz-ag...

http://www.techspot.com/review/495-intel-ssd-520-series...

http://www.legitreviews.com/article/1980/5/

It was a long time ago when I made the same mistake. Like you, I posted that CrystalMark was only for hard drives. That generated quite a few comments from the veterans.

2. One of the first SATA 3 6Gb/s controllers was the Marvell 88SE91XX series. The OP's Intel based motherboard with the AX58 chipset has the Marvell 88SE9128 controller from that series. The motherboard was released in 2009 when the SATA 3 standard was first adopted. Those early controllers only had a 1x lane PCI-e 2.0 bus which limited performance. That is why Asus published the motherboard supported hard disk drives but not ssd's. As I previously stated ssd's worked but there was a big performance hit. Intel evaluated the situation and recommended use of the onboard Intel SATA 2 3Gb/s controller for better performance. Tom's Hardware published a review which mentioned it also. In January 2012 Marvel finally released their 88SE92XX series which used a 2x lane PCI-e 2.0 bus. The use of 2 lanes raised ssd performance to Intel levels. Well, almost Intel levels.

3. You are correct about your M5A97 board. It is an AMD based board that was released in June 2011. It is a much newer board equipped with the SB950 chipset. That SouthBridge chipset fully supports SATA 3 6Gb/s solid state drives. I'm not sure why you mentioned it because it is a much newer board with newer components and features. A lot happened between 2009 and 2011.

The general rule of thumb is use a modern Intel based motherboard with Intel chipsets and drivers for optimal SATA 3 6Gb/s ssd performance.

Miken:

Yes, you should be able to configure three SATA 3 6Gb/s ssd's in a RAID0 array providing the motherboard has three SATA 3 6Gb/s ports that support RAID0.

I asked earlier but did not get an answer. What do you do with your computer that requires 3 ssd's in a RAID array?


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