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Thread: ASRock H87M-ITX SATA Mode: AHCI vs. RAID




  1. #1
    marco1475 is offline Junior Member
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    Default ASRock H87M-ITX SATA Mode: AHCI vs. RAID

    Hi,

    Over the weekend I built my new computer using the ASRock H87M-ITX motherboard (BIOS is up to date with version 1.50). I have three hard drives connected to the motherboard:

    • 1x Samsung 120GB SSD (purpose: system disk) and
    • 2x WD 4TB HDDs (purpose: RAID1 for data).

    So far I am just mucking about with the BIOS and I haven't installed any OS yet. In fact neither of the three disks have anything on them - neither partitions, nor file systems - they are completely clean and empty. As expected when I let the boot process continue past the BIOS I get an error telling me to select a proper boot partition.

    I want to set up the two WD disks in a RAID1 mirroring array using the motherboard's BIOS, but I'm having issues with that. In the BIOS's "Storage Configuration" (under "Advanced") I can select one of three values for the "SATA Mode Selection":

    1. IDE
    2. AHCI
    3. RAID

    When I select "AHCI" as the SATA mode, the "Boot Option Priorities" menu allows me to select "AHCI-P0 Samsung ...", which is the SSD. The two WD disks are available separately under the "Storage Device BBS Priorities" (where I can set the order of which disk the BIOS attempts to boot from first), but not under the "Boot Options Priorities" menu. So far this is what I expected.

    However, when I select "RAID" as the SATA mode, I can create a RAID1 array using the "Intel(R) Rapid Storage Technology" menu in "Advanced", but I no longer see the SSD in the "Boot Option Priorities". In fact I don't see any of my hard drives in the boot options menu.

    Why can't I select my non-RAID SSD as the boot disk in the BIOS when I switch the SATA mode to "RAID" from "AHCI"?

    Is the "RAID" SATA mode in the BIOS meant to allow me to use a RAID array as the boot disk and therefore allows only RAID devices in the "Boot Order Priorities"?

    Thank you for any help you can provide.

    Marek

  2. #2
    parsec's Avatar
    parsec is offline Senior Member
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    Default Re: ASRock H87M-ITX SATA Mode: AHCI vs. RAID

    When you created the RAID 1 array from the BIOS option, did you then restart the PC into the BIOS, and then discover the "missing" SSD from the boot order? If not, you must restart after changing to RAID mode, no drives will be recognized correctly until you start the PC in RAID mode.

    RAID mode has nothing to do with boot order, and does not restrict the use of RAID arrays in the boot order. If you did restart after changing to RAID mode, and found nothing in the boot order, that could be caused by the uninitialized and unformatted drives, but I suspect the problem is simply not restarting after changing to RAID mode, that is essential. The same is true when changing to any SATA mode, as it really has not changed until the PC is restarted.

    Regardless, boot order is meaningless when installing Windows. You'll be able to choose the target drive during the installation, which is independent of boot order setting in the BIOS. Boot order is simply where to check first, second, etc, for an OS or bootable media, it does not affect an OS installation.

    There is another problem that will affect you later if you install Windows with your SSD and RAID 1 volume connected to the PC during the installation. Windows will put the MBR (Master Boot Record) on the RAID 1 volume if the SSD is the OS drive, a bad trait of Windows. Later if the RAID 1 volume is changed or removed, the PC will not longer boot. That can be fixed with a Windows repair, but it's much better to just have the target OS drive connected to the PC during the installation. Then the MBR will be put on the OS drive. You can just remove the power connectors from the HDDs during the installation.

  3. #3
    marco1475 is offline Junior Member
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    Default Re: ASRock H87M-ITX SATA Mode: AHCI vs. RAID

    Thanks for your reply, parsec. I also appreciate the heads up about Windows, MBR, and RAID1 - I didn't know that and it will save me some trouble :)

    Quote Originally Posted by parsec
    When you created the RAID 1 array from the BIOS option, did you then restart the PC into the BIOS, and then discover the "missing" SSD from the boot order?
    Yes, I did reboot the machine after changing the SATA mode. When I changed the SATA mode from "AHCI" to "RAID" I noticed that the "Intel(R) Rapid Storage Technology" option in "Advanced" that the manual talked about wasn't there, so I realized that I have to restart the machine for any of these changes to go into effect. After I rebooted the machine and entered BIOS again the "Intel(R) Rapid Storage Technology" entry was present, but the "Boot Options Priorities" didn't list any disks any more.

    I am not a fan of how "newer" BIOSes (newer since the last time I built a computer, which was 2003) hide boot options that aren't currently available - think not being able to change the boot order between HDD and a USB drive as long as a USB drive isn't plugged it - but the fact that my SDD wouldn't show up once the SATA mode was changed to "RAID" scared me. I didn't check whether the RAID array would show up in the "
    Boot Options Priorities" after I created it, but it wouldn't matter anyway since I don't want to boot from it, but the SSD.

    Quote Originally Posted by parsec
    If you did restart after changing to RAID mode, and found nothing in the boot order, that could be caused by the uninitialized and unformatted drives

    All of my drives are unformatted (not sure what "uninitialized" means in this case). Do you think it is possible that while "AHCI" SATA mode was able to detect unformatted drives, "RAID" SATA mode isn't (outside of the
    "Intel(R) Rapid Storage Technology" panel) and that is the whole problem? When I booted from a Linux LiveCD it found all the drives correctly, so the OS install should be fine, I was just worried about not seeing anything in the "Boot Options Priorities".

    Thanks again for your help.

  4. #4
    parsec's Avatar
    parsec is offline Senior Member
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    Default Re: ASRock H87M-ITX SATA Mode: AHCI vs. RAID

    Initialized is a Windows 7 and 8 thing. When you connect one or more new, unformatted drives to a PC with Windows 7 or 8, and start the PC, those drives will not be "seen" by Windows Explorer. That is, until you start Disk Management, and when it starts it will immediately prompt you to Initialize the new disk(s). But that really should not affect the boot order, since that is an OS specific thing, so that is not correct, I was wrong to mention that.

    I'm not sure why your SSD was not shown in the boot order, and I understand why you were worried that it seemed to disappear. If you had cleared the CMOS/BIOS, and then changed to RAID and restarted again, your SSD might have appeared in the boot priority.

    I have never seen a missing drive in the list myself, and I use RAID mode all the time.

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    Default Re: ASRock H87M-ITX SATA Mode: AHCI vs. RAID

    Quote Originally Posted by marco1475 View Post
    Hi,

    Over the weekend I built my new computer using the ASRock H87M-ITX motherboard (BIOS is up to date with version 1.50). I have three hard drives connected to the motherboard:

    • 1x Samsung 120GB SSD (purpose: system disk) and
    • 2x WD 4TB HDDs (purpose: RAID1 for data).

    So far I am just mucking about with the BIOS and I haven't installed any OS yet. In fact neither of the three disks have anything on them - neither partitions, nor file systems - they are completely clean and empty. As expected when I let the boot process continue past the BIOS I get an error telling me to select a proper boot partition.

    I want to set up the two WD disks in a RAID1 mirroring array using the motherboard's BIOS, but I'm having issues with that. In the BIOS's "Storage Configuration" (under "Advanced") I can select one of three values for the "SATA Mode Selection":

    1. IDE
    2. AHCI
    3. RAID

    When I select "AHCI" as the SATA mode, the "Boot Option Priorities" menu allows me to select "AHCI-P0 Samsung ...", which is the SSD. The two WD disks are available separately under the "Storage Device BBS Priorities" (where I can set the order of which disk the BIOS attempts to boot from first), but not under the "Boot Options Priorities" menu. So far this is what I expected.

    However, when I select "RAID" as the SATA mode, I can create a RAID1 array using the "Intel(R) Rapid Storage Technology" menu in "Advanced", but I no longer see the SSD in the "Boot Option Priorities". In fact I don't see any of my hard drives in the boot options menu.

    Why can't I select my non-RAID SSD as the boot disk in the BIOS when I switch the SATA mode to "RAID" from "AHCI"?

    Is the "RAID" SATA mode in the BIOS meant to allow me to use a RAID array as the boot disk and therefore allows only RAID devices in the "Boot Order Priorities"?

    Thank you for any help you can provide.

    Marek
    Have you figured this out yet? I have the exact same problem!
    Please share your solution, Thanks!

  6. #6
    marco1475 is offline Junior Member
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    Default Re: ASRock H87M-ITX SATA Mode: AHCI vs. RAID

    Quote Originally Posted by Phaze13 View Post
    Have you figured this out yet? I have the exact same problem!
    Please share your solution, Thanks!
    Sorry, I haven't. I decided to go with software RAID rather than the BIOS RAID, so I just left the setting in AHCI and created the RAID1 using my OS.

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    Default Re: ASRock H87M-ITX SATA Mode: AHCI vs. RAID

    Quote Originally Posted by marco1475 View Post
    Sorry, I haven't. I decided to go with software RAID rather than the BIOS RAID, so I just left the setting in AHCI and created the RAID1 using my OS.
    Thanks!

    Not the answer I was hoping for. I may have to go that route as well.

  8. #8
    parsec's Avatar
    parsec is offline Senior Member
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    Default Re: ASRock H87M-ITX SATA Mode: AHCI vs. RAID

    At least part of marco1575's problem is (according to his system specs) he is using Linux. Unless Intel's RAID data format (SNIA standard) is also used by Linux, of course it won't work. Most mother boards don't have Linux RAID option ROMs in their BIOS, so their RAID is not supported.

    What OS are you using?

  9. #9
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    Default Re: ASRock H87M-ITX SATA Mode: AHCI vs. RAID

    Quote Originally Posted by parsec View Post
    At least part of marco1575's problem is (according to his system specs) he is using Linux. Unless Intel's RAID data format (SNIA standard) is also used by Linux, of course it won't work. Most mother boards don't have Linux RAID option ROMs in their BIOS, so their RAID is not supported.

    What OS are you using?
    I just noticed this in the UEFI Guide

    "If you change SATA Mode after install of an operating system you might not be able to boot into OS normally. You should select SATA Mode prior to installing the OS"


    Does this make any sense? Should I have selected SATA Mode (RAID) in the BIOS "UEFI" before installing the OS?


    This sounds wack, but oddly enough may be my problem. If this is the case, this MB sucks (for me).


    I noticed when you change SATA Mode to (RAID) in the UEFI and reboot back into UEFI all the drives are in RAID Mode. That's when the computer refuses to boot.



    And this from Wikipedia - Advanced Host Controller Interface

    Boot issues
    Some operating systems, notably Windows Vista and Windows 7, do not configure themselves to load the AHCI driver upon boot if the SATA-drive controller was not in AHCI mode at the time of installation. This can cause failure to boot, with an error message, if the SATA controller is later switched to AHCI mode. For this reason, Intel recommends changing the drive controller to AHCI or RAID before installing an operating system.[1] (It may also be necessary to load chipset-specific AHCI or RAID drivers from a USB flash drive, for example at installation time.)

    Think if I want RAID I need to start over.
    Last edited by Phaze13; 01-07-2014 at 11:15 AM.

  10. #10
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    Default Re: ASRock H87M-ITX SATA Mode: AHCI vs. RAID

    Well, turns out the Intel H87 Chipset does not support what I want to do. It only has one SATA controller. I need a Z87 chipset.

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