Nice work Absolute Joe
Just upgraded the Intel RST drivers on my X79 system to 188.8.131.528 to see what fixes and changes were actually visible to my system.
I used one of the RST 184.108.40.2068 driver packages made available for the Asrock Z97 boards and it upgraded the X79 drivers just fine.
The most obvious change so far is that the OS sees as the cache accelerated HDD drive as an SSD (Corsair GT on my system).
This also changed the behavoir of some Windows 8.1 utiltiies. For example, the Windows defrag functions, such as boot optimization,
will no longer run against the RST accelerated HDD drive because it now thinks that it is an SSD - 3rd party defraggers still work OK.
The RST accelerated drive r/w performance seems a bit better, with disk benchmarks maxing out at over 540MBs.
I'm not sure what other RST features may now be available on my system using the 220.127.116.118 drivers.
The RST OROM on my X79 system may not support all the new features available on the newer chipsets.
It is still unfortunate that RST can only accelerate one HDD drive (or HDD raid array).
There has been a lot of take about striped raid 0 SSD arrays being able to reach speeds of over 1 GB/sec (2x500MB/s per drive) using two 6GB SATA III ports. If that is true, I'd like to see RST accelerated caching support a 2xSSD raid 0 array which should in theory max out at about 1 GB/sec transfer rate.
I may also try to setup an RST 2xSSD raid 0 array and use it for PrimoCache L2STORAGE - should beat RST acceleration without a sweat while still keeping TBs of data on one, or more, HDD drive(s).
Nice work Absolute Joe
Jon Coulter Storage Editor TweakTown
Now that Intel is not marketing their own mother boards, it seems they have stopped adding new versions of IRST to their download center. The latest version they now have is 18.104.22.1681. We may need to depend on downloads from mother board manufactures for the latest versions of IRST. There are other sources like StationDrivers, but I don't care for their numerous beta versions, and who knows what the source really is.
An excerpt from the IRST 22.214.171.1248 Release Notes"
The RAID OROM & UEFI version for this release is 126.96.36.1995, the driver and user interface version is 188.8.131.528.
RST 13.0 release enables support for
Intel® 9 series chipset (Haswell refresh desktop platform).
Haswell H Mobile Refresh (2 chip) – C stepping (no support for Intel® RST PCIe Storage).
Support for PCIe AHCI Storage devices with RST in RAID mode (no Legacy OROM support).
Support for 16GB minimum cache requirement for SRT “Dual Drive SSD cache”.
Dynamic SSD cache sharing with Intel® Rapid Start Technology.
Support for 8GB minimum cache requirement for SSHD
Support for PCIe NVMe Storage devices will be enabled in 13.1 RST release.
13.0 UEFI utilities will require UEFI shell 1.0 to run. Support for UEFI shell 2.0 will be added in 13.1.
Due to Dynamic Storage Accelerator feature being enabled by default it might work on unsupported platforms and we recommend to disable it in the BIOS.
No RST support for PCIe storage devices enabled in AHCI mode.
One thing that caught my attention is the warning about Dynamic Storage Accelerator (DSA), but it seems strange. How can a user disable DSA in the BIOS on an unsupported platform, when the DSA option should not exist on those platforms? Or is this warning meant for mother board manufactures, who should add a hidden DSA option and set it to disabled on unsupported platforms?
DSA has two basic modes, Automatic and Manual. When Manual is selected, three sub-options may be selected, Power saver gear, Balanced gear, and High Performance gear. Power Saver gear is the default for Manual.
Automatic will shift between these gears (Intel's terminology, not mine ) depending upon the IO load. In Manual mode you must change gears... manually.
My concern would be if DSA was enabled on an unsupported platform, and was set to Manual - Power Saver gear, IO performance would be limited in some circumstances. The default setting is Automatic, and the Power Saver gear may be related to package C State support, but who knows what might happen on an unsupported platform. Sorry to create paranoia instead of an FYI.
Thanks for your concern.
Yes, I saw that DSA info in the notes but it didn't say that having the default DSA enabled would destroy anything.
As I infer from the limited knowledge I have of DSA, it throttles the transfer rate to help reduce power loads on the system.
I was a bit more concerned about the (No legacy OROM support) note, since it didn't specify the legacy versions affected.
I can't believe that the RST firmware and driver designers or their QA folks would allow the update to install if the chipset
or OROM would choke on it.
As required by WHQL, the driver .inf files and driver installer is supposed to check for device compatability before allowing any update.
As a retired software designer and QA alpha/beta tester, I know that it's not a good idea to use the release notes to as a substitute for compatibility checks that should be done by the installation package - if you are not sure that the update is compatible, the install
should block it. It's never a good idea to let a new, possibly incompatible, feature be enabled by default if it can't be verified by the
driver installer. The Intel RST setup package does do a lot of checks before allowing the update to install. But I also know that the
pressure to push updates out lets a lot of checks fall through the cracks.
In any case, I have run a lot of i/o benchmarks and haven't seen any problems so far. If it was causing issues, I would expect that
my system would have choked on something by now, or shown up the the benchmark burn-in tests.
Until officially blessed by Asrock or others I'll consider the update on my X79 system to be a beta field test.
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