Question Single NVMe SSD in RAID without RAID Array

shurzota

Junior Member
Feb 17, 2022
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Hi everyone!

I want to do a clean installation of Windows 10 Pro x64 on a newly assembled PC:
Motherboard: Gigabyte X570 AORUS Xtreme (UEFI v.F35, GPT);
CPU: AMD Ryzen 9 5900X;
OS (boot) drive: Samsung 970 Pro PCIe NVMe SSD (M2A socket);
Data drive-1: Samsung 980 Pro PCIe NVMe SSD (M2B socket).
Data drive-2: HDD Toshiba (SATA III).

The only connected (boot) drive is the Samsung 970 Pro PCIe NVMe SSD. I will connect Data drives 1 and 2 after the OS installation.

I have read that PCIe NVMe SSD has better performance in RAID mode in comparison with ACHI mode:
https://www.anandtech.com/show/7843/testing-sata-express-with-asus/4
I want to enable RAID mode for Samsung 970 Pro PCIe NVMe SSD in UEFI (to take advantage of the caching in RAID protocol), but I cannot set RAID to Array (because I have only one physical OS (boot) drive).

My questions are:
1. Can I successfully install Windows 10 on a single NVMe SSD with enabled RAID mode and without setting RAID to Array?
2. Should I and can I install the AMD RAID Driver (SATA, NVMe RAID) if I enabled RAID, but did not set RAID to Array?

Motherboard User’s Manual: https://download.gigabyte.com/FileList/Manual/mb_manual_x570-aorus-xtreme_1001_190708_e.pdf

I would greatly appreciate any help.
 
Last edited:

UsandThem

Elite Member
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May 4, 2000
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That Anandtech article is from 2014.

Since you only have one drive, you will install the NVMe using that setting (formatted in GPT and with secure boot enabled if you want to upgrade to Windows 11 later on).

ACHI deals with SATA drives (which you want enabled for your HDD). Details are on page 50 of your motherboard manual.
 

Tech Junky

Senior member
Jan 27, 2022
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@shurzota

Why would you be using the 970 instead of the 980 for the OS?

If you want to do Raid you need at least 2 drives to do either R0 o rR1. R0 is for speed w/o any redundancy and R1 is for redundancy w/ mirroring of the 2 drives.

If you want mass storage and a speed boost then you need more HDD's and go R5 or R10. I went R10 and get 400MB/s but R5 would be single controller speed ~200MB/s.
 

shurzota

Junior Member
Feb 17, 2022
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Why would you be using the 970 instead of the 980 for the OS?
Because 970 is 2-bit MLC, 980 is 3-bit TLC and slower for real problems:
Samsung 970 Pro.png

I do not want RAID Array for 2 boot drives, I know how to implement it. I want just to enable RAID for a single PCIe NVMe SSD and see if my settings will work correctly. I will use R10 for several HDD's.
 
Last edited:

UsandThem

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Shmee

Memory and Storage, Graphics Cards
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Sep 13, 2008
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The SATA controller could be put in RAID mode, though that is really just a subset of AHCI. The NVMe m.2 SSDs you are talking about use the NVMe protocol, NOT AHCI. Whatever you do with your SATA controller, whether in RAID mode or not, would not have any affect on your NVMe SSDs. I doubt having the SATA controller in RAID mode would make any difference vs AHCI if there is no array. Now I did once turn on RAID mode for an OLD motherboard instead of IDE, but that was because there was no AHCI option on the old board, only IDE or RAID. Not the case here at all.

And if you are trying to use one of the SSDs as a cache drive, I don't think this makes any sense given both are really fast, and I assume ample size. There would be no benefit. Now if you had a tiny NVMe drive that you wanted to use as a cache drive for a single HDD, this might make some sense.

I would simply leave SATA mode to AHCI, and install Windows on your SSD of choice normally.
 

Billy Tallis

Senior member
Aug 4, 2015
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Whatever you do with your SATA controller, whether in RAID mode or not, would not have any affect on your NVMe SSDs. I doubt having the SATA controller in RAID mode would make any difference vs AHCI if there is no array.
On Intel consumer platforms, this is something to watch out for, because activating RAID mode on the SATA controller will on several platforms also activate some hacks to support Intel's NVMe RAID and Optane Memory caching solutions, with the effect that standard NVMe drivers won't be able to find NVMe devices connected through the chipset/PCH any more. But OP's on an AMD platform and I'm not aware of them having any similar shenanigans.
 

00Logic

Junior Member
Oct 29, 2016
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So basically what you want to use some of your system DRAM as a read/write cache for your drive.

Windows does this already:
Disk Reads:
Superfetch/sysmain will dynamically use unused DRAM as an intelligent read cache that is aware of your computing routine.
Win 10 will also do Memory compression to cut down on PagefileI/O.
ie:
Superfetch L1:
Use unused DRAM to cache the most often used files. And if the user always loads Gmail at 8am; load it into RAM before 8...etc... (dynamic)
Superfetch L2:
Compress less often used files in DRAM to get more data cached without having to use the Pagefile.
Superfetch L3:
Move the even less used files to the Pagefile, but keep them compressed because reading half as much data from disk, then decompressing it, is much faster on todays multi core CPUs.

Benching:
You wont see the effect in CrystalDiskMark, but untick 'Direct I/O' in Atto to see your #s go bananas!

NB that PCMark DISABLES Superfetch/Sysmain completely!
ie: You CANNOT use it to gauge the perf improvement Superfetch provides..!
(The only reason I can think of for doing this is PCMark taking bribes from SSD manufacturers..?)

Superfetch Limitations:
As far as I know..?
Superfetch only caches data on the system drive. (C:)
ie: Any games or apps you have on a 2nd drive/partition (D: etc) will NOT benefit from this DRAM caching.
See

Researching Superfetch/Sysmain (Registry setting 3):
Almost every post is about disabling it "because it's crap".
Works for me.
Probably the "Crappers" have some read heavy misbehaving app or malware on their systems..?

Disk Writes:
Device Manager / Disk Drives / Policies /
Tick 'Write Caching'
Tick 'Disable Buffer Flushing' (Be aware of the possibly of data loss. Make Backups. Use Google drive etc for letter by letter saves of important/self made docs etc)

Research increasing disk cache size in Windows. (registry)


Alternatetives:

Primocache:

L1 cache in DRAM:
Enable deferred writes for a huge gain in perf and drive lifespan.
L2 Cache on fast/er SSD.
Hugely configurable, with active forum.
Will cache any/all drive combos.
(I have HDD RAID0 cached to NVMe, cached to deferred write DRAM cache)
30 day trial.

eBoostr:
Similar L1 and L2, but file aware so you can spec which games/apps/files to cache or ignore.
NB that the cache is auto updated once an hour, so dont decide it's crap after 5 minutes. You can manually update the cache.
Works fine on Win 10.
Works for 2 hours after reboot trial.

NB that 'Double DRAM caching' stuff (eg: Primo + Superfetch) means moving the same data around in DRAM and duplicate data wasting DRAM. Use one or the other...

Win 10 Compact/CompactOS (NOT Compress!):
If data is half the size on disk; it loads twice as fast...
Yes decompressing ads to that time, but todays multi core processors do that in no time...

For a gui and more info Google:
Freaky Compactor Github.
CompactGUI Github.
NB that both of these dont do the OS. Google Windows 10 CompactOS for that.

If you do decide to use Win 10 Compact with Primo; match block sizes... (and probably cluster sizes)
 

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