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Thread: Z87 Extreme4: Intel Rapid Storage/RAID Issue




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    Default Z87 Extreme4: Intel Rapid Storage/RAID Issue

    System:
    Z87 Extreme4
    Core-i5 4670K
    2x8GB Crucial Ballistix Elite 1866MHz (9-9-9-27)
    Three WD Black 640GB
    Windows 7 64-bit

    I followed the RAID configuration instructions for Windows 7 found on page 8 here (http://download.asrock.com/manual/ra...e4/English.pdf) and set the Boot>CSM> "Launch Storage OpROM policy" to UEFI-Only. This gave me the Intel Rapid Storage Technology (IRST) option on the UEFI's "Advanced" page. After using the utility to create a RAID5 array, the array would never show up as an option on the Boot page no matter how many times I restarted the system or how many drive-related options (DSA, Fast Boot) I changed. So, I couldn't install Windows 7 on the array, even after partitioning it and despite verifying that it is indeed marked "Bootable" within IRST. Here's the thing...

    If I set the Boot>CSM>Storage OpROM policy to "Legacy Only" I can access the IRST utility using CTRL+I immediately upon system start-up. Creating the RAID5 array through this method allows the UEFI to see the array as a proper "Bootable" drive on the UEFI the Boot page. Using the "Legacy" method, I was able to install Windows 7 on the array.

    So, something's screwy... Either the UEFI needs an update, or ASRock's instructions need modifying. Additionally, I'd like to point out that the current version of IRST is 12.8.0.1016. The version on my Z87 Extreme4's ROM is 12.5.0.1815. Perhaps the outdated version within the ROM could be the culprit?

    Also, since taking the time to read through this, perhaps someone could tell me which CPU Fan option within the UEFI is most akin to the standard, full-range PWM function?

    Thanks in advance!

  2. #2
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    Default Re: Z87 Extreme4: Intel Rapid Storage/RAID Issue

    I'm a bit surprised your RAID 5 array created with the UEFI Option ROM was not detected as a boot option, but OTOH it does make sense.

    Actually, there are two Intel RAID OROMs in the UEFI, one legacy BIOS, one UEFI. They may be identified as the same version, but they are different.

    Did you format either of the RAID 5 arrays you created?

    Did you run the Window installer despite the first RAID array was not shown in the boot order?

    IMO, the only thing that matters for boot order during a Windows installation is the installation media. That is because I only have the OS target drive installed so Windows does not put the boot partition on another drive, which it will do if given the chance.

    Selecting the UEFI-Only OROM policy causes the UEFI OROM to run during POST, and the Boot menu to show only true UEFI booting, GPT formatted drives with an EFI Windows installation on them. That is, in an otherwise legacy/BIOS booting environment, a strange combination.

    Option ROMs are rarely updated by mother board manufactures, just to lazy to I assume. You can do it yourself with a modded UEFI. IMO, ASRock is better at that than other manufactures, but they don't see a reason to yet. The OROM version is not critical and does not need to match the driver version. 99% of mother boards have very mismatched OROMs and IRST drivers. People have pre-IRST, Matrix Storage OROMs on X58 and earlier chipset boards, and use IRST versions 10 and 11 just fine. But then, they don't have multiple Intel SATA OROMs in their non-UEFI BIOS.

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    Default Re: Z87 Extreme4: Intel Rapid Storage/RAID Issue

    Yes I created (and formatted) a partition on the UEFI-created array when I began Windows 7 installation. All the while, the Windows installer was warning me Windows could not be installed to the array because it wasn't a boot device according to my "system." (I don't recall the exact message, but it did reference the BIOS configuration. So, by system, I have to assume it meant the BIOS/UEFI.) But it didn't matter if I partitioned and formatted said partition or not -- Windows was not going to install on the array because the array wasn't bootable.

    The legacy (CTRL+I) IRST-created array worked (and works) just fine. After creating the array with the legacy utility, I went straight into the UEFI and to the Boot tab. There it was, finally -- a RAID array listed in the boot order options. The system is up and running. Windows is currently updating, and 600+ GBs of back-up data have since been transferred back onto the array and tested.

    GPT has no relevance I can see since we're talking about a 3x640GB RAID5 array, which equates to a 1.2TB drive. That's well below the 2.2TB limit of MBR partitioning.

    What I believe to be happening within UEFI version 2.30 is that unless the array is created within the legacy IRST utility, the UEFI won't add an array to the Boot order options. No matter how many times I created an array using the UEFI IRST utility, the array was never added to the Boot order. Additionally, every one of the UEFI-created arrays was flagged "Bootable" when selected within IRST, but none would ever appear on the UEFI Boot page.

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    Default Re: Z87 Extreme4: Intel Rapid Storage/RAID Issue

    Well, it looks as though I may have spoken too soon about the system working just fine...

    Windows 7 completed its download and installation of ~90 updates, and of course needed to be restarted. Upon restart, the system hanged on POST (Debug A2). It was a total hard-lock -- no capslock/numlock/scroll-lock. I hit reset and hit CTRL+I to access the legacy IRST, which worked and showed my healthy array. I exited but couldn't access the UEFI. After a reset, I was able to hit TAB to get rid of the Splash, and it hanged at the "Copyright (C) 2012 American Megatrends, Inc. BIOS Date: 07/03/2013 20:48:49" point prior to where it would typically display the UEFI version. So, I tried the "B" UEFI/BIOS, and was able to access it. I loaded defaults, saved, and the system restarted. I re-entered the UEFI, changed the storage configuration from AHCI to RAID, and used "Save & Exit." Unfortunately, it was the same story -- hard lock.

    So, I changed back to the "A" UEFI and moved the CLRCMOS jumper. I held the jumper in place for about 5 seconds, and as soon as I removed it to reposition it to the regular setting, the system powered up. I quickly slid the jumped into the regular position, and I was able to access the UEFI. I changed one thing -- AHCI to RAID. Result: the same hard-lock.

    (Now this CLRCMOS powering-up happens every time as soon as the jumper is removed from the "clear" position, and seems to loop until the jumper is placed in the regular position... How the heck are users supposed to get the jumper set properly, or even know if they have?)

    Since using the CLRCMOS jumper was a bit awkward and "wonky" (from my point of view), I decided to try the CLRCMOS button instead... Big mistake... Hit the button, release it, system powers up, but nothing happens -- no debug LED, no power/reset switch light. All I get is fans and disks spinning up... I hit the power button to power-down, then flipped the PSU switch. I changed to UEFI/BIOS "B", flipped the switch, used the CLRCMOS jumper, and it was as if I had used the button -- again, no debug LED, no power/reset switch lights -- nothing but fans... I can't seem to reset either UEFI/BIOS now.

    Long story short, I had a system that worked for several hours. Now it apparently won't even reset the CMOS, let alone access the UEFI/BIOS, and clearly it won't boot. Since I can't access either UEFI/BIOS option, I'm now worried this board is bricked. The only thing I can do with it is access the legacy IRST, and it shows a healthy, 1.2TB, 3-drive RAID5 array. (I guess that's something...)

    Edit: Not being one to just give up...

    I left the system powered down for a few minutes, then I set the board jumpers up for UEFI/BIOS "A" w/ the CLRCMOS jumper in the standard position, then tapped the CLRCMOS button again. This time, it completed two power cycles and took me to a screen where it said the CMOS was reset -- hit F2/DEL to enter UEFI, or F1 to continue. I chose DEL.

    I entered the UEFI and changed 1 thing -- AHCI to RAID -- and it's still hanging at the same point. Good news -- it's not bricked. Bad news -- it doesn't work correctly.

    CLRCMOS button again > Boot > CSM > Storage OpROM > UEFI-Only. Advanced > Storage > RAID. Save & Exit. LOCK.

    CLRCMOS button > Storage OpROM left as Legacy. Advanced > Storage > RAID. Save & Exit. LOCK.

    Windows Update sure as heck didn't modify the BIOS, so I haven't a clue what's causing this problem...

    Edit 2: Since the only thing I can access once I change the Storage Settings from AHCI to RAID is the legacy IRST utility, I'm considering wiping the array and starting over. I have my doubts it'll help, and an entire day's worth of Windows installation, file transfers, driver installation, and updating will have been wasted. However, it seems the next logical step. I'm going to sleep on that idea, though.
    Last edited by RazberyBandit; 12-08-2013 at 06:08 PM. Reason: Update.

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    Default Re: Z87 Extreme4: Intel Rapid Storage/RAID Issue

    You really must have the PSU switched off when using the CLRCMOS jumper, or the CLRCMOS button, doing otherwise will have strange results.

    Forget using the UEFI-Only OpROM, just use the Legacy via Ctrl-i to create your RAID 5.

    Clear the CMOS with the PSU off and using UEFI B, don't use UEFI-Only OpROM, and try your current RAID 5 again.

    If it fails, rebuild it via Ctrl-i and install againl

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    Default Re: Z87 Extreme4: Intel Rapid Storage/RAID Issue

    Since there's no "rebuild/repair" option within the IRST OpROM, I guess that means deleting the current array and starting over. I wanted to avoid that so I didn't lose a day's worth of work. I'll give it a shot.

    And... Apparently the array was somehow broken/corrupted.

    I reset the UEFI, set Storage to RAID, configured the RAM, and Saved & Exited. I then entered the legacy IRST, deleted the array volume, created a new RAID5 array, and exited. The system didn't hang, and I was able to enter the UEFI and set the boot order. I'm now re-installing Windows.

    I just have to hope this won't happen again after transferring 600GBs worth of files and updating Windows... I wish I knew what caused the problem.

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    Default Re: Z87 Extreme4: Intel Rapid Storage/RAID Issue

    My system was up and running again. Yes, was... File transfers went smoothly. Driver installs? That's another story...

    I performed a restart after completing all the file transfers. I then began some additional driver installs, beginning with the Intel USB 3.0 drivers downloaded here: ASRock > Z87 Extreme4

    Now I've got the same damn problem as before -- a hang at POST where the system would usually display the UEFI version after "Copyright (C) 2012 American Megatrends..."

    There is something seriously wrong here, and I haven't a clue what the cause could be. It would appear to be software-related since the problem has arisen twice after updates -- once after Windows Update, and now once after an Intel driver installation. If it happens to be software-related, and I'm using official ASRock-, Intel-, and Microsoft-provided software, then I don't know what to do... It's just absurd to think that this machine won't update using a RAID array. The fact that I'll probably have to delete and re-create the array a third time is making me very angry... I've never had this much trouble configuring a stable RAID array before. Mind you, these drives came out of a functioning AMD-based system, and were configured in RAID5 within that system.

    P.S. I deleted and recreated the array for the third time, and I'm trying to reinstall Windows to it. Again, and I cannot reiterate this enough, but Windows will NOT install to a UEFI-created RAID array as per the instructions I linked within my opening post -- the Legacy OROM must be used!
    Last edited by RazberyBandit; 12-10-2013 at 08:52 AM. Reason: for the P.S.

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    Default Re: Z87 Extreme4: Intel Rapid Storage/RAID Issue

    If this were baseball, this motherboard would have just struck-out looking at three pitches.

    For the third time after an install and required restart, this system has hanged at the exact same point -- A2. This time it was after the installation of the IRST Windows package. And this time, the system never went into Hibernation/Sleep mode, so there goes that hypothesis...

    I'm almost at the point where I'm just done with this board... with the entire system. In reading product reviews at Newegg, it would appear I'm not the first person to experience Debug A2 lock-ups and/or issues getting RAID functioning on this particular Extreme4 board, let alone other ASRock Z87-based boards.

    I called ASRock tech support today and the tech told me that a system hang at A2 occurs when the system is trying to detect SATA drives. I've proven this is a RAID issue because the only way to get around the A2 hang is to delete and recreate the RAID array. He suggested I not use RAID, to which I replied, "Doing so would do nothing since RAID is the intended use. If RAID won't work, the board is defective." When I went on to explain Windows won't install to UEFI-created arrays, and that I had to use the Legacy OROM to create it so Windows would install, he decided I must not be following the setup procedure properly. After telling me the proper procedure for RAID setup is to set RAID mode in the BIOS, save & exit, hit CTRL+I, build the array, enter the UEFI, set the boot order, save & exit, hit F11 on startup, select the Optical Drive, boot from Windows disc, and install, (as if I didn't know how to install Windows after telling him I'd already done it twice and the system hanged again), I told him that's what I did and it doesn't work. At some point after each installation, the system locks at A2. I also explained the discrepancy with the online instructions, which call for a UEFI-created RAID array. (I would like to point out the steps he outlined are clearly contradictory to the UEFI-created RAID instructions I linked to in my first post.) He asked me for screenshots and wanted to give me his email. Without a functioning PC up and running, I asked him to allow me to get a pen, then told him I could use my laptop and to give me a moment to wake it from sleep. Once I logged into Windows, I asked him for the email address. There was no reply. I waited two minutes to see if maybe he had put me on hold -- he hadn't. I hung up and called back -- 10 rings -- no answer.

    I certainly hope I don't have to go through this nonsense again when I call back tomorrow. If someone from ASRock can't get this board working for me tomorrow when I call, then I'll have little choice but to take it back to the store. Which is saying a lot since the place I purchased it (MicroCenter) is 200 miles away. (I bought the board when I was down near MC's Duluth, GA store, but I live just outside Charlotte, NC.)

    I'm just confused as to what could possibly cause the system to lock-up trying to ID the RAID array on POST after a restart... With the incredible number of restarts required when installing and updating Windows, I don't think this board will ever work properly with RAID. I have no confidence a replacement one would, either.

    Funny how this is becoming more of a personal build blog instead of a Q&A...
    Last edited by RazberyBandit; 12-10-2013 at 06:18 PM.

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    Default Re: Z87 Extreme4: Intel Rapid Storage/RAID Issue

    I forgot to ask you, what version of IRST are you using? That is important.

    Originally all the ASR Z87 boards had IRST 12.6 from Intel as the RAID driver. I had problems with that driver version, which I have never had before, and switched to IRST 12.5 from Intel's download pages. That fixed my problems. Intel later removed IRST version 12.6 from their own download pages, and it remains that way. IRST 12.8 is the latest version, and the one RAID 0 array I was using worked fine with that version. It took a while for mobo manufactures to update their versions of IRST to 12.8.

    Check if "Aggressive SATA Link Power Management" is enabled in the BIOS, if so disable that and do not use it!

    I tried to explain earlier about the use of the UEFI RAID creation option in the BIOS. Don't use it if you will be legacy booting, but you seem to be past that. This is regardless of what the instructions say.

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    Default Re: Z87 Extreme4: Intel Rapid Storage/RAID Issue

    Thanks for replying, parsec.

    I stated the IRST versions in my opining post. The OROM has 12.5.0.1815 (which isn't listed among available Intel downloads) and I've been trying 12.8.0.1016 in Windows. One of the times this error arose was prior to the installation of the IRST software, and twice it has happened with it installed. Also, the closest IRST version to the OROM's reported version which I can download from Intel is 12.5.0.1066, and I'm going to use it on my next attempt. It will be the first utility/driver I install. (Scratch that last part... Explained in closing.)

    I've never had ASLPM enabled in the UEFI. That might explain why the error arose the first two times after the system had entered Sleep mode and awoken, and then required a restart. But, the first thing I did after the most recent Windows installation was to enter the Power profile and disable Sleep, as well as HDD shutdown.

    I've tried the install with DSA both enabled and disabled, as well as with Hot-Swap enabled and disabled -- neither seems to have made a difference since the issue has arisen no matter the setting. (I never actually swapped a drive, though.)

    I'm beginning to think Windows software RAID would be far more reliable than the RAID functionality of this particular Z87 board.

    I've decided to try kidnapping an old Seagate 250GB SATA1 drive from another system and installing Windows to it as the only HDD in the system. Once I get Windows fully installed and updated, I'll reinstall the RAID array and use Acronis True Image to copy the installation to it. Once the image is transferred, I'll remove the Seagate drive, boot from the RAID array, install IRST 12.5.0.1066 (instead of 12.8.0.1016 since the ROM has 12.5.0.1815), and perform a dozen or so system restarts to see if the array holds. If it doesn't, this board is going back. (It probably should already, but like I said, I have to drive 200 miles one-way to return it.)
    Last edited by RazberyBandit; 12-11-2013 at 03:23 AM.

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