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Old 05-09-18, 07:34 AM
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Daiyus Daiyus is offline
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AMD RAID with an NVMe Boot Drive?

I recently bought a pair of SSD's to RAID0 cache my large HDD. However trying to get this set-up with an NVMe boot drive is proving to be a rather frustrating, if educational experience.

My system is a Ryzen 5 1600, Gigabyte X370 Gaming K5, with 4x 4GB Corsair Vengeance LPX Memory. The drives are 1x Kingston 240GB A1000 NVMe drive, 1x Toshiba 5TB X300 7200rpm HDD (both of which have been working fine since I bought them) and the new 2.5" SSD's for the cache are Kingston 460GB A400's.

I started from a clean slate; wiped all the drives and reset BIOS to defaults. Got both types of the RAID driver from the motherboard support page too. From there I've tried two different approaches.
  1. Set the SATA mode to RAID and leave the NVMe mode as default. Set up the arrays for the SSD's and HDD. Install windows onto the NVMe drive as normal and try to add the AMD RAID drivers once into the fresh OS. The AMD RAID installer won't install onto an OS running from a bootable NVMe drive. Bugger.
  2. Set both SATA and NVMe modes to RAID. Set up the arrays for the SSD's and HDD (no NVMe drive listed in the RAID config utility though). Install Windows loading the AMD RAID drivers from a USB stick during set-up. The first reboot during install freezes then the RAID config utility detects a non-running array (the NVMe drive) but can't set it to online because it's still not listed as a disk. Double bugger.
I'm going to go ahead and assume I'm being really dense and missing something obvious as I've never messed around with RAID before.

I'm currently on the F22 BIOS so I'll try the F23 tonight. I've also noticed that the motherboard support page lists a lower version of the RAID driver than AMD's page so I'll try the newer ones from AMD too; these also come with some recommended BIOS settings which I'll try as well (although I've had to clear my CMOS multiple times already due to freezing at the splash screen).

My other idea was to install the OS onto one of the SSD's, install the AMD RAID drivers then clone that to the NVMe drive before configuring the RAID, but there's got to be a reason AMD won't let those drivers be installed onto a bootable NVMe, right?

Anyone got any advice? I'd really like to have this RAID set-up at the motherboard level as I was hoping to split the HDD and cache equally for Windows/Linux games storage (and I'm really hoping Linux has an easier time managing this set-up).

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Old 06-09-18, 06:32 AM
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Daiyus Daiyus is offline
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Update time.

So I more-or-less got this working. I updated to BIOS version F23 and got the latest RAID drivers direct from AMD's website.

Having set both SATA and NVMe modes to RAID, then installing Windows using the AMD RAID drivers on a USB stick and having it freeze at the first restart I then set the NVMe mode back to Default, set the boot option to UEFI (it had default to Legacy when switching to RAID mode) and booted the system back up and finished the OS install. Now I can see the RAID controlled drives and everything works.

Almost. For some reason my system now won't power-off automatically. Windows will shut down but the system will stay powered on until I manually cycle the power.

I think my journey with FakeRAID (as I have discovered it is widely referred as) is at an end. I'll likely just use Windows and Linux software RAID for the cache arrays and continue using the other drives as I have been; as normal AHCI controlled partitioned drives. Still it's all been good fun.
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