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Thread: Intel Rapid Storage Driver and freezing




  1. #1
    JohnnyGui is offline Junior Member
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    Question Intel Rapid Storage Driver and freezing

    Good day to you all,

    For the past weeks I have been trying to dig up the cause of my Metro start screen freezing randomly after restart and login. This led me to reformat my PC and reinstall Windows 8.1 Pro.

    After installing some drivers the freeze welcomed itself back again. Doing some googling about the drivers that I installed beforehand made me notice something:

    I always install drivers from my manufacturer's website, one of them being the Intel Rapid Storage Driver found here: ASRock > Z77 Pro4

    As shown, the version of that driver on that website is 12.8.0.1016 which is pretty outdated.
    After looking outside that website for a newer version, I found the following: Intel® Matrix Storage Technology

    What caught my eye in that version is it saying that it resolves an issue with the Metro UI hanging after a restart when using SRT (Smart Response Technology). Now, I don't have this SRT on my PC so I'm not sure how applicable this fix is to my scenario but this really made me think that this outdated Rapid Storage driver I have on my PC might be the culprit of my freezing problem.

    Now, I REALLY want to install this updated version but the thing that's worrying me is that it's not uploaded by my own manufacturer on their website. I have read that your manufacturer usually modify drivers to make them 100% compatible with your PC component. That's why I'm scared to install it from Intel and take the risk of getting BSOD's or even my PC not booting up.

    Is there a mod or any user around here who can confirm that Asrock doesn't modify the Rapid Storage driver (specifically for my mobo: Asrock Z77 Pro4)? Is it safe to install the updated version from Intel? If so, what specs do I have to select on the Intel site to download the correct version for my mobo?
    Last edited by JohnnyGui; 12-02-2014 at 01:47 AM.

  2. #2
    parsec's Avatar
    parsec is offline Senior Member
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    Default Re: Intel Rapid Storage Driver and freezing

    You scared me initially when I saw the term "Matrix Storage Technology", that was the name of the Intel RAID/AHCI driver before the Intel Rapid Storage Technology (IRST) driver existed. The driver in your link is the IRST driver, not Matrix driver, and I would not suggest using a Matrix driver on your board.

    The only thing ASRock or any other mother board manufacture modifies about any driver is possibly the installation option settings, but I highly doubt they do that. I've used IRST drivers from Intel on many different boards, including four different ASRock boards, without any problems.

    Actually, ASRock had the IRST 13.2 driver available for download with their Z97 boards before Intel had it available on their download site.

    I use Windows 8 and 8.1, and have never had a freezing problem. I always use the IRST driver since I always use RAID mode.

    The IRST 12.8 driver is about a year and a half old, so not terribly outdated. Actually the IRST versions released with the Z77 chipset were the IRST 11 drivers. My ASRock Z77 Extreme 4 board has IRST 11.7 available for Windows 7. IRST 12 was the first for Windows 8, although earlier versions work with it too.

    SSD enthusiasts know that the fastest version of IRST is 11.2, and use that version on every chipset and OS version combination possible.

    IRST version 13 has features not supported on the Z77 chipset. That is not a problem, they just aren't available in the IRST Windows UI.

    There is nothing on the Intel download page that you can specify to find the correct version for your board. The correct version is whatever ASRock has on your board's download page. If you checked what driver Intel provides with their own Z77 chipset boards, you would find a version 11.x or 12.x driver, depending on the OS.

    If you look at the Readme file on Intel's IRST download page, it lists the chipsets the driver will work with. You can use any IRST driver from 13.2 and earlier.

  3. #3
    JohnnyGui is offline Junior Member
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    Default Re: Intel Rapid Storage Driver and freezing

    Quote Originally Posted by parsec View Post
    You scared me initially when I saw the term "Matrix Storage Technology", that was the name of the Intel RAID/AHCI driver before the Intel Rapid Storage Technology (IRST) driver existed. The driver in your link is the IRST driver, not Matrix driver, and I would not suggest using a Matrix driver on your board.

    The only thing ASRock or any other mother board manufacture modifies about any driver is possibly the installation option settings, but I highly doubt they do that. I've used IRST drivers from Intel on many different boards, including four different ASRock boards, without any problems.

    Actually, ASRock had the IRST 13.2 driver available for download with their Z97 boards before Intel had it available on their download site.

    I use Windows 8 and 8.1, and have never had a freezing problem. I always use the IRST driver since I always use RAID mode.

    The IRST 12.8 driver is about a year and a half old, so not terribly outdated. Actually the IRST versions released with the Z77 chipset were the IRST 11 drivers. My ASRock Z77 Extreme 4 board has IRST 11.7 available for Windows 7. IRST 12 was the first for Windows 8, although earlier versions work with it too.

    SSD enthusiasts know that the fastest version of IRST is 11.2, and use that version on every chipset and OS version combination possible.

    IRST version 13 has features not supported on the Z77 chipset. That is not a problem, they just aren't available in the IRST Windows UI.

    There is nothing on the Intel download page that you can specify to find the correct version for your board. The correct version is whatever ASRock has on your board's download page. If you checked what driver Intel provides with their own Z77 chipset boards, you would find a version 11.x or 12.x driver, depending on the OS.

    If you look at the Readme file on Intel's IRST download page, it lists the chipsets the driver will work with. You can use any IRST driver from 13.2 and earlier.
    Thanks for your informative post. I have a few questions however:

    1. So are you saying that even though Intel's website only provides drivers for their own Intel Z77 motherboards, it should be also be 100% compatible with my Asrock Z77 motherboard?
    2. Is any RST driver compatible for my mobo as long as it shows that it supports Intel 7 Chipset Series?
    3. I noticed afterwards that the newest driver in the link I provided doesn't indeed support my mobo. However, after googling I found a 13.1.0.1058 version of RST here: Intel(R) RST/RSTe Drivers (newest: v13.5.0.1056/v4.1.0.1046 WHQL) . I couln't make out from Intel's website if this one is really compatible for my motherboard or not (there are no release notes about supported chipsets)
    4. Would that 13.1.0.1058 version of RST be compatible even if I run AHCI mode instead of RAID? (I can only see RAID drivers on Intel's website)

    Although the one I have installed at the moment (12.8 version) isn't very outdated, I really want to update to see if it fixes my freezing problem.

  4. #4
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    Default Re: Intel Rapid Storage Driver and freezing

    Quote Originally Posted by JohnnyGui View Post
    Thanks for your informative post. I have a few questions however:

    1. So are you saying that even though Intel's website only provides drivers for their own Intel Z77 motherboards, it should be also be 100% compatible with my Asrock Z77 motherboard?
    I never said that Intel only provides IRST drivers for their own boards. My point was if you searched for drivers on Intel's site for their own Z77 boards, you would see the version that Intel provided for their own Z77 boards, if you wanted to learn what version of the IRST driver was released for Z77 boards.

    But you are not limited to a specific version of an IRST driver. You can see the version 12 IRST drivers are meant for use with Windows 8 for example, and several different chipsets.

    If you search from the Intel Download Center page, using the following options: 1. Software 2. Chipset Software 3. Intel Rapid Storage Technology (IRST), you'll get this page:

    https://downloadcenter.intel.com/Sea...ng&ProdId=2101

    These IRST drivers can be used with any manufacture's boards that use Intel chipsets. I personally use the IRST drivers from this page, and normally use the latest version with my Z77, Z87, and Z97 boards.

    Quote Originally Posted by JohnnyGui View Post
    2. Is any RST driver compatible for my mobo as long as it shows that it supports Intel 7 Chipset Series?
    Yes that is correct. This is an excerpt from the Readme for the IRST version 13.2 driver:

    Intel(R) Rapid Storage Technology Release is designed to provide
    functionality for the following Storage Controllers:
    - Intel(R) 9 Series Chipset Family SATA AHCI/RAID Controller
    - Intel(R) 8 Series/C220 Series Chipset Family SATA AHCI/RAID Controller
    - Intel(R) 7 Series/C216 Series Chipset Family SATA AHCI/RAID Controller
    - Intel(R) C600 Series Chipset SATA AHCI Controller


    Note it includes the 7 series Chipset Family, which includes your Z77 chipset.


    Quote Originally Posted by JohnnyGui View Post
    3. I noticed afterwards that the newest driver in the link I provided doesn't indeed support my mobo. However, after googling I found a 13.1.0.1058 version of RST here: Intel(R) RST/RSTe Drivers (newest: v13.5.0.1056/v4.1.0.1046 WHQL) . I couln't make out from Intel's website if this one is really compatible for my motherboard or not (there are no release notes about supported chipsets)
    I don't know why you think the driver in the link (13.2) is not compatible with your board. The excerpt from the Readme file I included above is from the IRST 13.2 driver's Readme file. It clearly includes the 7 series chipsets.

    This is a link to the IRST 13.2 download page, click on the Readme file link in the upper right side of the screen and check the compatibility:

    https://downloadcenter.intel.com/Det...ng&ProdId=2101

    The IRST 13.5 driver you found is what I consider to be a non-official version, at least as of this date. You won't find that driver version available on Intel's IRST download page. How the early released drivers are made available I do not know, but you can't get it from Intel as of this date. That does not mean that driver is bad, IMO Intel allows driver versions like that to be released unofficially as a beta test for the driver, since they know PC enthusiast will try it and will find any bugs quicker than a non-enthusiast.

    You are over thinking the compatibility situation, it is no where near as restrictive as you are concerned about.


    Quote Originally Posted by JohnnyGui View Post
    4. Would that 13.1.0.1058 version of RST be compatible even if I run AHCI mode instead of RAID? (I can only see RAID drivers on Intel's website)

    Although the one I have installed at the moment (12.8 version) isn't very outdated, I really want to update to see if it fixes my freezing problem.
    Every Intel IRST driver is both an AHCI and a RAID driver. Intel does not provide a separate AHCI driver. You can use any IRST driver in either AHCI or RAID mode.

    Feel free to try any of the IRST 13 drivers to solve your problem. FYI, you don't need to uninstall the IRST driver you are using now, just run the installation program of the different driver, it will take care of cleaning up the driver currently installed.

  5. #5
    JohnnyGui is offline Junior Member
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    Default Re: Intel Rapid Storage Driver and freezing

    Quote Originally Posted by parsec View Post
    I don't know why you think the driver in the link (13.2) is not compatible with your board. The excerpt from the Readme file I included above is from the IRST 13.2 driver's Readme file. It clearly includes the 7 series chipsets.

    This is a link to the IRST 13.2 download page, click on the Readme file link in the upper right side of the screen and check the compatibility:

    https://downloadcenter.intel.com/Det...ng&ProdId=2101

    The IRST 13.5 driver you found is what I consider to be a non-official version, at least as of this date. You won't find that driver version available on Intel's IRST download page. How the early released drivers are made available I do not know, but you can't get it from Intel as of this date. That does not mean that driver is bad, IMO Intel allows driver versions like that to be released unofficially as a beta test for the driver, since they know PC enthusiast will try it and will find any bugs quicker than a non-enthusiast.
    The reason is, I have found numerous sources stating that the 3.2.4.1000 WHQL version only supports the Intel 8 and 9 Series.
    Did a quick history search of the sources of I found and those are just a few:

    Intel Rapid Storage Technology Version 13.2.4.1000 WHQL

    Intel has released Version 13.2.4.1000 of RST

    Someone had a error saying that his Z77 platform is not supported with the 13.2.4.1000 version:

    https://communities.intel.com/thread/56417

    As for the Readme file, I noticed that it's mostly the generic information about any RST version.
    It seems that the 100% reliable way to determine if the version is for your chipset or not is to download the driver's zip file and open the INF file itself of that RST driver version. When you open the iaAHCIC inf file of the 13.2.4.1000 version (download the zip version of that driver) you'll see that it only shows Intel 8 and 9 Series.

    See last post in this link: INtel RST 13.1.0.1058 will not load - AnandTech Forums

    Also, a quote from AbsoluteJoe from a thread on this forum:
    "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"

    As for my provided link, it's not the 13.5 version that I was talking about but the 13.1.0.1058 WHQL between the provided links. It seems that the last official support from Intel for the 7 Series is the 13.1.0.1058 as seen in this link (also on this forum): http://forums.tweaktown.com/gigabyte...394-print.html
    This seems only to be the case when your 7 Series chipset is in AHCI mode (my case). When it's in RAID, the 3.2.4.1000 version somehow bypasses the check and installs.

    Sorry for filling my post with a bunch of links but I wanted to show you why I was so concerned about the correct version.

    I thank you very much for the support and help nonetheless.

  6. #6
    parsec's Avatar
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    Default Re: Intel Rapid Storage Driver and freezing

    Very interesting...

    I don't mind the links at all, they tell a great story! OMG some people will be mad!

    Very unusual for Intel to change chipset support within a major version (13.x) of IRST. Normally they would go with a new version number (like 14) but that is probably due to the unusual release of a new chipset (series 9) for the Haswell Refresh processors that are not a new processor generation. Every Mainstream processor generation has its own chipset version, but never two chipsets within one generation of processors.

    I've been waiting for Intel to do this, and they finally did! They've allowed the IRST driver to work with a wide range of chipsets, as far back as the ICH "Southbridge" (and Northbridge) style used with Core 2 and the first i7 generation processors. That puts constraints on new features and makes implementation more difficult.

    Intel has been very gradually cutting off older chipset support in the IRST driver. To cut off the 7 series relatively early in IRST is surprising. The link to the ROG forum had people complaining about the X79 chipset being removed from support, and X79 is actually a 6 series chipset with the usual Extreme series naming standard, one tens digit higher than the Mainstream chipsets. Now we have X99 for Haswell-E, which is really an 8 series chipset. The 6 series chipset used IRST versions 10 and 11, and could run version 12 drivers. Your Z77 chipset used IRST version 11 drivers, and version 12 for Windows 8. A much smaller range of IRST drivers, possibly the smallest of any Intel chipset.

    What's the old saying, supporting too many chipsets spoils the driver...

    Plus the IRST installation program (actually a data file is the cause) is enforcing the installation restrictions, that is also new. Earlier versions of IRST would install on unsupported chipsets, unsupported according to the Readme file.

    If you can't trust the Readme file, the only documentation for the driver, what can you trust? Yes it was not updated, but it has been in the past. How many people know enough to check a certain file that contains the actual supported chipset list?

    I've been scolding people for using the latest IRST driver with their ICH10R SATA chipset, for example, and wonder why they have problems with their RAID arrays. But the driver installed... or they hacked the support list to allow it to install, which is possible.

    So you were right about the IRST 13.1 driver being the last one compatible with your Z77 board. But understand that the timing of you searching for a new version of IRST, coincidentally running into a major change in IRST chipset support, and the abrupt change in IRST, is what caught me unaware. I was giving you the standard advice that worked for years, but not anymore.

    Plus, the Readme file is wrong...

  7. #7
    JohnnyGui is offline Junior Member
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    Default Re: Intel Rapid Storage Driver and freezing

    Quote Originally Posted by parsec View Post
    If you can't trust the Readme file, the only documentation for the driver, what can you trust? Yes it was not updated, but it has been in the past. How many people know enough to check a certain file that contains the actual supported chipset list?

    I've been scolding people for using the latest IRST driver with their ICH10R SATA chipset, for example, and wonder why they have problems with their RAID arrays. But the driver installed... or they hacked the support list to allow it to install, which is possible.
    With Intel's case, I guess the best thing to trust now is the INF file that comes with the driver. I agree that not everyone would know that that's the case. It's a pity Intel was updating their readme file in the past and not anymore. People are taking risks when downloading drivers.

    Just for the sake of it, I ran the 3.2 IRST driver installer and it immediately told me that it was not supported on my Z77. As I said, RAID arrays users of Intel 7 Series seem to be able to run the 3.2 installer fine unlike AHCI users of Intel 7 Series.

    Also a pity that Intel is dropping the support for Intel 7 Series so fast...

    Regarding the freezing issue I have; so far I have restarted my PC more than 10 times with the 13.1 IRST and the Metro UI didn't hang after logging in. I shouldn't be cheering too early though since from experience this issue is very random and could be absent for a whole week.

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    JohnnyGui is offline Junior Member
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    Default Re: Intel Rapid Storage Driver and freezing

    Aaaand I was right. The Metro screen froze again after a restart just now. I'm fed up with finding the cause here, considering not installing RST at all at a Windows clean install.
    A question though; do I even REALLY need this RST? Even when I'm running a single HDD in AHCI mode? What are the benefits when using RST on such a system?

  9. #9
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    Default Re: Intel Rapid Storage Driver and freezing

    The IRST driver in AHCI mode is considered to give better IO performance than the standard Windows AHCI driver. That is shown by benchmark results of using each driver, such as AS SSD, Crystal Disk, etc.

    I don't suggest running most drive benchmark tests on HDDs, the small file 4K random tests take forever on HDDs. A full AS SSD test will take ~45 minutes on an HDD, while a SSD will complete the same test in a few minutes.

    I've used the IRST driver for years, and besides a few versions that had a problem (not related to freezing) IMO they are fine. I've seen forum post where the IRST driver is blamed for various issues, but I don't believe it is the cause.

    Feel free to uninstall the IRST driver, and if it fixes your problem, great. I doubt the performance difference using the Windows AHCI driver with an HDD will be noticeable.

  10. #10
    JohnnyGui is offline Junior Member
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    Default Re: Intel Rapid Storage Driver and freezing

    Quote Originally Posted by parsec View Post
    The IRST driver in AHCI mode is considered to give better IO performance than the standard Windows AHCI driver. That is shown by benchmark results of using each driver, such as AS SSD, Crystal Disk, etc.

    I don't suggest running most drive benchmark tests on HDDs, the small file 4K random tests take forever on HDDs. A full AS SSD test will take ~45 minutes on an HDD, while a SSD will complete the same test in a few minutes.

    I've used the IRST driver for years, and besides a few versions that had a problem (not related to freezing) IMO they are fine. I've seen forum post where the IRST driver is blamed for various issues, but I don't believe it is the cause.

    Feel free to uninstall the IRST driver, and if it fixes your problem, great. I doubt the performance difference using the Windows AHCI driver with an HDD will be noticeable.
    Is it the NCQ that you're talking about that gives better performance?
    If so, is there a way to enable NCQ without installing the RST driver?
    Also, would there be any other benefits besides NCQ to have RST on a single AHCI HDD?
    Last edited by JohnnyGui; 12-07-2014 at 05:36 AM.

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