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ASRock X79 mobo needs SATA drivers on a FLOPPY!? Is this a joke?

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March 9, 2012 10:16:01 AM

I just built a new system with an ASRock X79 Extreme6 motherboard. Everything went great until I booted the machine up and my hard drives were no where to be found in the BIOS.

It recognized my SATA dvd drives just fine, but the SATA hard drives aren't there are at all.

I read in the setup manual that "If you want to install Windows on a SATA hard drive you have to make a SATA driver floppy disk"

This has to be a joke, right? I haven't had a floppy drive in a machine for well over five years, and I have never heard of a BIOS that is unable to recognize a SATA hard drive on its own. Does anyone know what the deal is here?

It seems totally backwards to me that I have to install Windows to get my BIOS to recognize a SATA hard drive.

I've tried setting all of the BIOS options to SATA to IDE mode and compatibility mode and still nothing.

Help, please!

Thanks!
a c 328 V Motherboard
March 9, 2012 10:35:11 AM

U can use USB pen drive as a floppy : )
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March 9, 2012 10:42:49 AM

I tried plugging in a USB drive, but the utility seems to not recognize it. I just get the response "ONLY SUPPORT 1.44MB FLOPPY!" and then it asks me to reboot.
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a c 328 V Motherboard
March 9, 2012 10:55:28 AM

U can use only USB2 ports.
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a b V Motherboard
March 9, 2012 11:30:08 AM

mallok sez... "I read in the setup manual that "If you want to install Windows on a SATA hard drive you have to make a SATA driver floppy disk"
Maybe you can tell us what page that was on. I just looked through all 101 pages of that users manual and didn't find a mention of floppy disk.
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March 9, 2012 11:45:59 AM

DelroyMonjo said:
mallok sez... "I read in the setup manual that "If you want to install Windows on a SATA hard drive you have to make a SATA driver floppy disk"
Maybe you can tell us what page that was on. I just looked through all 101 pages of that users manual and didn't find a mention of floppy disk.


My mistake. It doesn't explicitly tell you you need to use a floppy drive to do it in the manual. But the BIOS does not natively recognize the SATA HDDs. And when you insert the setup disk that comes with the motherboard, it prompts you to make a driver disk to use when installing Windows.
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March 9, 2012 11:55:38 AM

jaquith said:
Do it my way as posted here (I should probably make a sticky) - http://www.tomshardware.com/forum/303873-30-wont-resume...

The problem is Window 7 and not anything else, Widows lacks the drivers. Probably not an issue in Windows 8.

Let me know and Good Luck! :) 


First, thanks for the reply!

Secondly, this problem is deeper than Windows, isn't it? My hard drives should show up in the BIOS, regardless of whether or not I have installed Windows. This is the part I don't understand. Why does Windows have anything to do with whether or not my BIOS can see a hard drive device attached via SATA?
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March 9, 2012 11:56:32 AM

nikorr said:
U can use only USB2 ports.


That doesn't work with the driver creation utility. I just tried it, and it really, really wants a 1.44MB floppy.
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a c 328 V Motherboard
March 9, 2012 11:57:39 AM

One more thing, it should be formatted FAT32.
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a c 716 V Motherboard
March 9, 2012 12:02:59 PM

mallok said:
First, thanks for the reply!

Secondly, this problem is deeper than Windows, isn't it? My hard drives should show up in the BIOS, regardless of whether or not I have installed Windows. This is the part I don't understand. Why does Windows have anything to do with whether or not my BIOS can see a hard drive device attached via SATA?

Not if they're on Marvell and quite often if they're not formatted. Rather than driving yourself crazy, create a Flash Drive installer with the appropriate Intel RST Enterprise (F6) drivers, set the SATA -> RAID and afterwards either leave as-is or back to AHCI. See if the Windows installer 'sees' the HDD/SSD's and if not then worry. I assume that both the SATA and power is connected if for some reason they don't show-up.
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March 9, 2012 12:05:58 PM

nikorr said:
One more thing, it should be formatted FAT32.


I just did a fresh FAT32 format, and I still got the same response. Have you gotten this to work with this mobo?
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March 9, 2012 12:10:44 PM

jaquith said:
Not if they're on Marvell and quite often if they're not formatted. Rather than driving yourself crazy, create a Flash Drive installer with the appropriate Intel RST Enterprise (F6) drivers, set the SATA -> RAID and afterwards either leave as-is or back to AHCI. See if the Windows installer 'sees' the HDD/SSD's and if not then worry. I assume that both the SATA and power is connected if for some reason they don't show-up.


These HDDs were transferred from an old build of mine. They are all formatted and they all work. It's just crazy to me that the hardware and BIOS don't work together out of the box. I really can't wrap my mind around why the SATA controller would not be able to natively recognize an HDD... aren't the protocols for this stuff standardized? In my last build these SATA drives just worked.

I will give your solution with the Intel RST Enterprise drivers a shot, though. If it works then great, but I just don't get it.

EDIT: One more thing... One of these SATA drives has data on it that I do not want to lose. Should I back this data up to an external drive before I move ahead with your solution? It seems like I will lose all the data on these drives, correct?
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a c 716 V Motherboard
March 9, 2012 12:24:27 PM

Most folks do NOT properly install their OS, and IF those OLD HDD's were connected while a primary (SSD/HDD) was being installed then their MBR or GPT is corrupted.

No the X79 has it's own/new and modified version of MBR/GPT; BootX is added. Further, if these OLD HDD's are going to be used as 'DATA' drives then disconnect them until the 'Primary' SSD/HDD has its old partitions deleted and is (re)formatted.

Take 5 seconds and read 'FIX' #'s 1~6. I can assure you if the drives are good that following what I posted they'll work.

BACKUP ALL DATA!!! It's best to have the drives formatted and cleaned. The OLD HDD if being used as a boot drive then MUST be reformatted and its' partitions deleted.
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March 9, 2012 1:47:28 PM

jaquith said:
Most folks do NOT properly install their OS, and IF those OLD HDD's were connected while a primary (SSD/HDD) was being installed then their MBR or GPT is corrupted.

No the X79 has it's own/new and modified version of MBR/GPT; BootX is added. Further, if these OLD HDD's are going to be used as 'DATA' drives then disconnect them until the 'Primary' SSD/HDD has its old partitions deleted and is (re)formatted.

Take 5 seconds and read 'FIX' #'s 1~6. I can assure you if the drives are good that following what I posted they'll work.

BACKUP ALL DATA!!! It's best to have the drives formatted and cleaned. The OLD HDD if being used as a boot drive then MUST be reformatted and its' partitions deleted.


Do I need to create a USB Win7 boot drive? I have a Win7 OEM DVD. Does that do MBR by default?

I have tried setting my SATA configuration to RAID and installing the linked RAID driver at the Win7 install screen. The RAID driver installs but Windows is still unable to detect the drive (neither the setup screen nor diskpart see it)

I have disconnected all the HDDs with the exception of 1 (SSD), connected to an Intel SATA2 port (not Marvell, which I'm not sure I even have on this board). Is it possible I need to flash the firmware on my SSD? Could I try a standard, non SSD SATA HDD in place of this SSD to test if it's the SSD firmware that's the problem?

Thanks!

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a c 716 V Motherboard
March 9, 2012 2:42:46 PM

Every single X79 install I did was from a Flash Drive and using the Intel RST Enterprise drivers. Again, if you read then I don't recommend using both the DVD and Flash Drive; I have seen instances where doing so required the folks to leave in the Flash Drive otherwise they get errors and boot failures.

Don't 'rethink' what I posted.

Sure, it's possible that both your SSD and HDD require updated Firmware. It's best to do that on another PC with both the SSD and HDD's not as boot drives and if the other PC is running in AHCI mode in most cases for the Firmware to install or properly install.

If your SSD is a SATA3 type then use the Intel SATA3 port. Marvell in (many) cases is not for booting and instead for data-only. ASUS using them differently and of SSD Caching for the HDD (boot) + SSD (cache) which I really don't recommend.

AGAIN, the SSD/HDD or whatever WILL NOT show-up UNTIL THE PROPER Intel RST Enterprise SATA DRIVER IS LOADED!!! Once driver is loaded then like magic it'll (SSD) show-up, but not until. If you boot the Flash Drive, F8, then as soon as you see Install Windows at the bottom as I recall there should be something Load Drivers...

In that link, there's a very nice and needed video to watch 'How to make a MBR OS Flash Drive' and then you'll need to also add the Intel RST Drivers in a folder i.e. 'RAID' call it anything -- BUT the drivers must be UNZIPPED FIRST!!! I'd also add the Chipset and NIC drivers in another folder. Use only the latest drivers and NOT from the ASRock CD/DVD.
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a c 716 V Motherboard
March 9, 2012 2:54:35 PM

Another CYOA, creating a Bootable Flash Drive installer, as in the video, wipes clean i.e. bye-bye all of the Flash Drives data. So if needed Backup that data!!!
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March 9, 2012 3:42:58 PM

jaquith said:
AGAIN, the SSD/HDD or whatever WILL NOT show-up UNTIL THE PROPER Intel RST Enterprise SATA DRIVER IS LOADED!!! Once driver is loaded then like magic it'll (SSD) show-up, but not until. If you boot the Flash Drive, F8, then as soon as you see Install Windows at the bottom as I recall there should be something Load Drivers...


So, I tried that... and nothing. The driver installs fine but still no drive.

Again, I want to be sure you understand that the drives don't even show up in the BIOS itself. My SATA dvd drives show in the BIOS but my SATA hdds do not show. I can't help but think there is something else wrong here. I'll keep trying though.
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a c 716 V Motherboard
March 9, 2012 4:10:29 PM

Make sure to choose Custom/Advanced:

Then click on Add Drivers:


Assuming in the BIOS SATA is set to RAID then load this driver:
'Flash Drive':\...RSTe_V3002003_XPWin7\RSTe_V3002003_XPWin 7\Driver\Disk\64bit\iaStorA.inf
'Flash Drive':\...RSTe_3.0.0.3020_F6-Drivers\RSTe_f6_iaStorA_64\iaStorA.inf

Another screen will appear confirming the 'Intel C600 RAID...' otherwise if you loaded the wrong driver i.e. AHCI and the SATA is RAID sure nothing will appear. Both the BIOS and DRIVER must match-up.
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a c 716 V Motherboard
March 9, 2012 4:14:38 PM

If the newest Intel RST on Intel's sites failes then use the ASRock's {588.71KB SATA RAID Driver (For system to read from floppy diskette during Windows installation)} listed here - http://www.asrock.com/mb/download.asp?Model=X79%20Extre...

There's also a Installation Guide:

SATA RAID Driver Installation Guide
SATA RAID Driver is for users who plan to install Windows OS on SATA / SATAII HDDs with RAID functions. To use RAID functions, you need to make a SATA RAID Driver floppy diskette before you install the operation system, such as Windows XP. If you do not plan to use RAID functions, it is not necessary to make a SATA RAID Driver floppy diskette. Please follow below steps for the usage of SATA RAID Driver:

Copy the SATA RAID Driver from our website to your SATA HDDs. Unzip it, and copy all the files and folders to an empty diskette.
Make sure that the “SATA Operation Mode” option in BIOS setup is set to RAID mode.
Install Windows OS to your system. At the beginning of Windows setup, please press F6 and insert the SATA RAID Driver floppy diskette you just made. Then you are allowed to select the required driver to install after your system reading the SATA RAID Driver floppy diskette.
After Windows OS installation, use the RAID tool in our support CD to configure RAID arrays under BIOS or Windows environment.
For the details of RAID operation procedures, please refer to our user manual in the support CD or quick installation guide for further information.
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March 9, 2012 5:04:26 PM

I just want to thank you again for your help and patience.

Unfortunately, this is exactly what I've been doing and it's not working at all. I can select the driver manually and it will install, but the hdd just does not show up. This is quite frustrating. Maybe I'll try looking for updated mobo firmware or something.

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Best solution

a c 716 V Motherboard
March 9, 2012 5:30:14 PM

BIOS version 1.20 just came out today. So IMO update your BIOS. Use ASRock's Instant Flash - http://www.asrock.com/feature/InstantFlash/index.asp

'Listed BIOS fixes', in my experience there always more that are 'unlisted':
1. Update CPU code.
2. Modify USB keyboard/Mouse can't work after resume from S3.
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March 9, 2012 8:24:37 PM

I had the same problem with an old ASUS MoBo in the past. It has sata but it cant recognize large drives. My guess is you are putting in a really large sata drive? If the drive is smaller it will work. If you get a floppy drive and follow the instructions you can get a larger drive to work.
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March 13, 2012 2:30:23 PM

jaquith said:
BIOS version 1.20 just came out today. So IMO update your BIOS. Use ASRock's Instant Flash - http://www.asrock.com/feature/InstantFlash/index.asp

'Listed BIOS fixes', in my experience there always more that are 'unlisted':
1. Update CPU code.
2. Modify USB keyboard/Mouse can't work after resume from S3.


So, I finally figured out the problem, and I feel really stupid for not double checking this. The hard drive is actually fried, which is why it's not being detected. :pfff:  I knew something was weird about the BIOS not recognizing the drive. It had nothing to do with drivers... just a fried hard drive and my stupidity!

After installing brand new hard drives, the BIOS detects them without a problem (and without installing Windows). After that, I installed Windows and everything works fine (I didn't need to install SATA drivers either).

Even though it wasn't the solution to my problem, I chose your most recent post as the best answer to acknowledge your help and to close off the thread.

Again, thanks for your help!
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March 13, 2012 2:35:29 PM

Best answer selected by mallok.
n
nPlease note that the best answer was not actually the solution to my problem. Read my post above for an explanation.
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a c 716 V Motherboard
March 13, 2012 3:03:09 PM

If you installed as AHCI and by not using the (F6) driver as I suggested then the wrong driver is running and will eventually if not already corrupt your MBR. More than likely if the PC fails to wake from sleep properly this is the cause.

To test, simply set the SATA -> RAID if it BSOD's then the Intel RST Enterprise drives i.e. the wrong drivers are installed. This typically cannot be corrected after the fact.

Sorry you had a bad SSD, it happens. :( 
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March 13, 2012 3:16:59 PM

jaquith said:
If you installed as AHCI and by not using the (F6) driver as I suggested then the wrong driver is running and will eventually if not already corrupt your MBR. More than likely if the PC fails to wake from sleep properly this is the cause.

To test, simply set the SATA -> RAID if it BSOD's then the Intel RST Enterprise drives i.e. the wrong drivers are installed. This typically cannot be corrected after the fact.

Sorry you had a bad SSD, it happens. :( 


Interesting. Will this also corrupt the non-windows drives, or is it only on the boot drive?

I really don't want to reinstall Windows again, but I will if I must.

Also, I should ask if this corruption will happen even if I keep my drives in AHCI mode (which they all are, and have been since installation)
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a c 716 V Motherboard
March 13, 2012 4:11:34 PM

Try as I suggested changing to RAID (BSOD), Sleep (Start menu / select Sleep), or simply start-up Windows repair (something like problem found and unable to repair).

This Intel RST Enterprise (AHCI/RAID) is so far universal to the X79 Chipset, but maybe ASRock is fine (immune) with AHCI Windows then Intel RST replacement after the fact. If I didn't build X79's then I too would have assumed, but incorrectly, that the (F6) or as I described wasn't required.

Further, unless the Intel RST Enterprise is properly used (MBR) then you are, no doubts about it, losing significant performance -- not to mention the MBR.

IMO test with ATTO now, reinstall OS and compare ATTO with the latest Intel RST-E drivers.

It's your rig, do as you want.

I ran across this once the hard way and then I re-installed 'properly' and all the problems were corrected. Most X79's I've done were RAID 0 boot SSD so there's no choice but to install properly using the Intel RST-E driver; however, once I had a single SSD and later 'tried' to change to RAID to add a RAID 1 data drive. I could add the RAID but Windows BSOD even with the Intel RST-E driver installed after the fact. Installing Windows is a cake walk.
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March 13, 2012 4:20:24 PM

I will probably do as you suggest. It's not so much that installing Windows is difficult... it's more that I will have to re-download Skyrim, and I just got it running!

I have definitely put this rig into Sleep/Suspend a couple times and it comes back fine, so I'm not sure what that indicates. But I will try the RAID thing tonight, I suppose.
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a c 716 V Motherboard
March 13, 2012 4:36:09 PM

My best suggestion, and one that's often difficult to follow. I 'get' the need to play, but I also get the PITA of failures.

Never install anything other than Windows, Drivers, normal/OC BIOS environment, and Testing Application(s) e.g. AIDA64 until there's a MINIMUM of 24 hour or better a 48 full burn-in followed by 4-6 full passes of Memtest86+, and the PC works as expected (booting, sleep, hibernation, shutdowns ... you name it).

If a PC cannot endure those tests in the 'normal operational' environment then your time wasted is greatly reduced.
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a c 716 V Motherboard
March 13, 2012 4:42:26 PM

@Nikorr - Please leave Thread opened until I receive feedback from OP. Then I'll PM you to close. Thanks!

@Mallok - Please let me know your findings. Thanks!
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March 13, 2012 4:56:40 PM

I am familiar with memtest86, but is there any special tool for you use to burn in your new builds? Do you just do Prime95? How do you test your gfx card?

Also, is 24 hours really necessary? I have heard this before but have never heard a reasonable explanation as to why. 24 hours at full load is not realistic and it seems like it would put unnatural and unnecessary stress on the machine.
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a c 716 V Motherboard
March 13, 2012 5:36:08 PM

ANS - yes IMO folks are crazy not to do a proper burn-in, and in most instances your ultra-fast RMA/Exchanges goes bye-bye after 30 days. In comparison, a typical non-cross-ship MOBO RMA is 3+ weeks from ship to receive date. You might as well find out now than later. I do a series of tests and validations, pretend you're building this PC for a paying customer and want repeat business. Nothing will piss them off faster than the PC going poof two days later, so why short change yourself?! IMO makes no sense!

Since I assume the 'plan' is to game for more than 1 to 2 hours, it seems crazy not to fully test for a lot longer period of time. Remember, Prime95 only stresses the CPU and to a limited extent the RAM only not to mention ignoring several instruction sets that aren't tested. AIDA64 tests them all.

Futuremark tests like 3DMark 11, PCMark 7 and 3DMark Vantage are primary benchmarks than ideal stressing test unless you have a copy that can 'loop' repeatably. Ditto with ATTO benchmark to benchmark vs testing the drives.

I own a copy of AIDA64 Extreme Edition, It's $39 USD and IMO worth the costs and has the ability to stress and test everything. Recently added features can be found here. The free version I'm not sure what it limits or omits, but it's better than Prime95.

On PC's I build, 48 hours for a PC and 96 hours for a Workstation. In this time you'll find 99% of any component issues. Another 0.5% within <30 days, and the other 0.5% just happens.

Memtest86+ is a must for at least 4-passes or simply overnight. Download the ISO/zip file and extract the ISO, in most cases a simple double-click puts the image in you DVD/BR to be burned. Once burned, keep it in the ODD and press F8 until the boot selection comes up and select the ODD, the test will start automatically. The more RAM the longer it takes.

--

Conversely, if you prefer to have a PC fail in a middle of a game then ignore my advice. Doing it Wong is easy. Note my Motto here ;) 
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March 13, 2012 7:41:30 PM

You raise a good point. Does stress testing for 48 hours straight reduce the lifespan of any components?

It seems like my plan is going to be (1) play an hour or two of Skyrim ;)  and then (2) reinstall windows and start the diagnostics.

I'll probably purchase AIDA64, since it seems like a great tool to have around. But it seems like purchasing it gives you a license to free upgrades for only 1 year? That's not horrible, but I would hope for more like 5 years.
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a c 716 V Motherboard
March 13, 2012 8:00:59 PM

Reduce it's lifespan no, that is assuming you don't do something stupid like excessive voltages. Example, >1.45v on any SB-E or VCCSA >1.30v is simply crazy and will indeed shorten both it's life and permanently damage the SB-E CPU (at least a 2 or 3 bin for good loss).

If it's running at stock (F5) then it should be good for years straight non-stop. I have servers that are running on average 80% 24/7/365 until they break.

I have nothing to do or control of AIDA64's policies. It's a quality product and does the job. You can certainly try/use the free version; all I know or remember it disables some read outs and perhaps tests.

Remember, the objective now is to make the PC fail and hopefully any poor component(s) fail. Better now than to baby it and have it fail after the easy exchange period.

This is simple logic -- go play and enjoy. Then try to find the weak link -- if any.

(2) days no toy, but afterwards a PC you can trust for years!
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March 13, 2012 8:13:52 PM

jaquith said:
Reduce it's lifespan no, that is assuming you don't do something stupid like excessive voltages.


Yeah, I am planning to run stock. I am not really an OC enthusiast. There's not much a 3.6Ghz quad core can't do for me.

jaquith said:
I have nothing to do or control of AIDA64's policies.


:lol:  I didn't think you did. It was more of a rhetorical comment. I am spoiled by FRAPS free for life license.

jaquith said:
Remember, the objective now is to make the PC fail and hopefully any poor component(s) fail.


Yes, as a software engineer this is standard practice for me (in software terms). It's logical to weed out the problems now, but the petulant child inside me doesn't want to have to deal with RMAing anything.

I will report back with my findings as I discover them.
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a c 716 V Motherboard
March 13, 2012 8:22:56 PM

I write PHP and SQL, that's all I do is to find bugs and to improve the quality of our product lines.

Nobody wants failures, but I absolutely HATE regular RMA's (3 weeks+)! If you're running it all at stock then it should run fine for ... say ... 3~4 years straight.
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March 14, 2012 1:54:24 AM

Update 1:

I tried changing my SATA mode from AHCI to RAID, and my machine did indeed BSOD immediately after the windows boot screen appeared.

If I understand correctly, the BSOD is an indication that I am using an incompatible driver. And further, that incompatible driver will, over time, probably corrupt my MBR. As I understand it, normal use will even corrupt the MBR - that is that even if I never attempted to switch from AHCI to RAID that the MBR will still be corrupted through normal booting/rebooting/usage.

Because of this, I am planning to reinstall windows using the latest Intel x79 RAID driver. I'll make another post when I've made further progress.
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a c 716 V Motherboard
March 14, 2012 2:01:05 AM

Put (X79) in the title otherwise I might not notice your new Thread.

There's only (2) ways to install Windows 7 on the X79...the 'Right Way' and the 'Wrong Way'...you pick.
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March 14, 2012 1:02:55 PM

Update 2

First, I ran memtest overnight and it passed 5x with no errors.

I followed your instructions. So far I have:

1. Switched my SATA mode to RAID.
2. Reinstalled Windows 7 using the latest Intel X79 SATA RAID driver. I installed Windows on a Simple non-RAID volume.
3. After installing Windows, I installed all of the motherboard drivers, including the Intel chipset driver and RST driver bundle.
4. Installed latest GFX and Sound card drivers.
5. I plugged in my other hard drives and re-partitioned them using Simple non-RAID volumes.

Next I will download AIDA64 and begin the burn-in test for this machine.


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a c 716 V Motherboard
March 14, 2012 1:21:58 PM

Sounds good, set a restore point and later you can try the latest Intel RST Enterprise from Intel's website. In my experience I did see a notable increase in drive speeds.

Keep me up to date.
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March 15, 2012 2:21:50 PM

Update 3

I downloaded the trial version AIDA64 to perform my stress test. I have managed to get it stress testing all 4 CPU cores and the GPU.

With an ambient room temperature averaging around 70 F, my temperature readings as of 12 hours into the System Stability Test are (in degrees C):

CPU Core 1 37 min, 61 max, 55 avg
CPU Core 2 36 min, 60 max, 53 avg
CPU Core 2 40 min, 63 max, 56 avg
CPU Core 2 40 min, 63 max, 57 avg
CPU Socket 44 min, 49 max, 46 avg
Motherboard 41 min, 44 max, 42 avg
GTX560 GPU 59 min, 74 max, 72 avg

Those temps look to be within tolerance to me. I plan to let the test run for 48 hours
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a c 716 V Motherboard
March 15, 2012 2:51:54 PM

Looks fine so far. :)  In the long run this is the best way to do it. Otherwise, it's like pulling out into traffic making a turn and questioning vs knowing your car can do the job; knowing is a damn good feeling!

Keep me updated.
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March 17, 2012 1:07:19 AM

Just finished 48 hours of stress testing. Temps were stable throughout. I'm off to install some games now.

Is there any reason for me to switch back to AHCI from RAID? I am only using non-raid volumes, but is there any down side to staying in RAID mode?
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a c 716 V Motherboard
March 17, 2012 1:23:29 AM

No you can leave it as RAID.

I am thrilled everything is good! Go blow up some s**t and have some fun! :) 
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March 20, 2012 10:41:17 AM

Thanks again for your help!
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May 4, 2012 9:53:15 PM

jaquith said:
Most folks do NOT properly install their OS, and IF those OLD HDD's were connected while a primary (SSD/HDD) was being installed then their MBR or GPT is corrupted.


I installed a pair of SSDs in RAID 0 as my primary boot drive on the same motherboard the OP is talking about (Asrock X79 Extreme6). I didn't have to install any special drivers for the the UEFI bios to see the SSDs connected to the Intel sata3 ports.

I also had 2 other mechanical drives connected to the Intel Sata2 ports. I set up my RAID 0 array and Installed Windows 7 with these other drives connected without issue. What do you mean that my MBR is probably corrupted?

I just made an install USB drive with Windows 7 and added an extra directory for the RAID0 drivers (no floppy required). I did encounter the common glitch where I had to change USB ports part way through because WIN7 installer stopped recognizing the USB drive, but other than that, no problems.

I'm not noticing any performance issues either. Are you saying I am/have potentially damaged something because I had my two other HDDs connected while installing Windows?

One thing I noted is that when setting up the RAID 0 array, RSTe does not tell you the actual max array size. My drives listed as 238.4GB each, however the max array size was indicated as 453.1GB. However, I was able to manually enter an array size up to 476.9GB and RSTe accepted it.
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