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Thread: Asrock Z77 Extreme4-M




  1. #11
    scorpionking is offline Junior Member
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    Default Re: Asrock Z77 Extreme4-M

    Quote Originally Posted by parsec View Post
    There is no requirement to use RAID mode to install the IRST driver, or to get the full benefits of the AHCI features, that are not available in IDE mode. I use RAID mode so I can only show how my DM entries appear in that configuration. RAID mode provides all the features of AHCI mode. AHCI is considered a subset of RAID, with RAID adding the ability to create RAID arrays out of multiple drives.

    You can use RAID mode and never create a RAID array, RAID mode does not require you to use RAID arrays at all. The only constraint of using RAID mode is once you install your OS (on a single drive, or a RAID array) you must always have the SATA mode set to RAID or the PC won't boot. So every time you clear the CMOS/BIOS or do a BIOS update, you must go into the BIOS and set the SATA mode to RAID, since RAID is not the default SATA mode. The default SATA mode is AHCI, and has been for years now, although AHCI drivers were available for years before it became adopted as the standard SATA mode.

    The irony of AHCI features is it was originally developed to enhance the performance of standard HDDs. It was created by Intel and Seagate and became a SATA standard, long before SSDs existed. AHCI, or really the NCQ feature of AHCI, allows SSDs to perform at their true capability.

    I'm not sure what you meant by, "... the NFI driver...", is that the INF driver I imagine? The thing about creating the disk sounds like the so called "F6" driver installation option, which at one time was done from a floppy disk. Otherwise I'm not sure what you were doing.

    It might help me understand what your problem is if you posted a screen shot of the AS SSD benchmark of your SSD.


    Ok Here we go



    Alex Intelligent Software - Downloads

    Scroll down to find the download link. The AS SSD display shows driver and alignment information about the SSD being tested, and checks if AHCI mode is being used. For example:

    Attachment 7607
    Ok here we Go



    You see I am getting know where near the speed this drive is capable of.


    Kevin
    Attached Images Attached Images Asrock Z77 Extreme4-M-ssd-bench-owc-mercury-elec-02-03-2015-20-01-25-png 
    Last edited by scorpionking; 03-03-2015 at 03:08 AM. Reason: Fault

  2. #12
    parsec's Avatar
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    Default Re: Asrock Z77 Extreme4-M

    I can see your AS SSD results fine. Your SSD's alignment is fine, you are using the IRST driver (iaStor) in AHCI mode (if not the line with the driver would be in red text and say "Bad".)

    But what it looks like is... SATA II. The Sequential read speed is below the maximum for SATA II (~270MB/s), as well as the sequential write speed.

    For example, this is a different Samsung SSD on my Z77 Extreme4 board, in one of the Intel SATA II ports:

    Asrock Z77 Extreme4-M-ssd-830-z77-win-8-uefi-sata-ii-mbs-5-10-2013-png

    OWC did make a SATA II version of the Mercury Electra, but yours shows as Mercury Electra 6G, which I assume is this SSD:

    https://eshop.macsales.com/shop/SSD/...ry_Electra_6G/

    Anyway, it sure seems you have this SSD connected to an Intel SATA II port, one of the four black SATA ports. Or you have a really poor SATA data cable on that SSD, but that would be rather unusual.

    There is no chance the IRST driver is causing the performance difference.

  3. #13
    scorpionking is offline Junior Member
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    Default Re: Asrock Z77 Extreme4-M

    Well it seems I am at a loss here. Everything is connected right and It is defenitely A SATA3 6G Mercury SSD.
    Is it true that the intel Rapid storage Technology is only for raid purposes. So I could do without this application?
    I don't know what else I can try. My other SSD which I am not runing in raid any way is a crucial 128Gb, which is faster than this drive. It's speed mantains over 300Mb/s.
    It does seem that what your saying could be true, but I have checked things over and over again, and all is correct.
    I just can't understand why it is so slow and the bench marks are insufficient. It would appear it's runing at half the speed it's meant to be runing at.
    Any more sugestions you thing I could try parsec, Thanks for all your help. Truly appreciate it.
    This is Dual write technology as well, and it seems pretty hopeless to me.
    I've also updated the SSD firmware, which went well. But to no avail still no change. Do you think it could be a faulty drive.


    Thanks


    Kevin
    Last edited by scorpionking; 03-03-2015 at 07:08 PM. Reason: wrote something wrong

  4. #14
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    Default Re: Asrock Z77 Extreme4-M

    Before you remove the IRST Windows UI, which you don't need if you're not using RAID mode, you can use it to check your OWC SSD like this:

    Asrock Z77 Extreme4-M-irst-sata-speed-png

    Notice under the Advanced heading, the SATA transfer rate line, which is "6 Gb/s" for this SSD, which is what you should see for SATA III. For SATA II, you would see 3Gb/s.

    This is NOT just the speed the drive is meant to be operating at, it is the actual speed it is running at.

    Also note just under Manage Disk is the SATA Port number, which is 0 for this SSD. It is in the first Intel port on the board, six in total, numbered 0 to 5.

    Otherwise, if you have any program to check that SSD's SMART data, you might see something. Some SSDs have a "SATA Downshift" or similar attribute, that indicates the SSD changed its connection speed from SATA III to SATA II, for example, for some reason.

    If you Crucial SSD is an M4, that should be at ~500MB/s sequential read speed. If it is a C300, then that is the normal speed you would see.

  5. #15
    scorpionking is offline Junior Member
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    Default Re: Asrock Z77 Extreme4-M

    Quote Originally Posted by parsec View Post
    Before you remove the IRST Windows UI, which you don't need if you're not using RAID mode, you can use it to check your OWC SSD like this:

    Asrock Z77 Extreme4-M-irst-sata-speed-png

    Notice under the Advanced heading, the SATA transfer rate line, which is "6 Gb/s" for this SSD, which is what you should see for SATA III. For SATA II, you would see 3Gb/s.

    This is NOT just the speed the drive is meant to be operating at, it is the actual speed it is running at.

    Also note just under Manage Disk is the SATA Port number, which is 0 for this SSD. It is in the first Intel port on the board, six in total, numbered 0 to 5.

    Otherwise, if you have any program to check that SSD's SMART data, you might see something. Some SSDs have a "SATA Downshift" or similar attribute, that indicates the SSD changed its connection speed from SATA III to SATA II, for example, for some reason.

    If you Crucial SSD is an M4, that should be at ~500MB/s sequential read speed. If it is a C300, then that is the normal speed you would see.
    Ok I checked that and everything normal there. Except under type and I did not notice this before. Yours read SATA Solid State Drive. But mine only reads Solid state Drive, which seems strange or confussing. I would have posted a picture, but I don't know how to do that here.
    Everything else checks out as it should. Yes my crucial is a C300
    If I uninstall Intel Rapid storage utility, will I still need to install the driver. Or can that go too?


    Thanks

    Kevin
    Last edited by scorpionking; 03-04-2015 at 02:56 AM. Reason: forgot To add some Info

  6. #16
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    Default Re: Asrock Z77 Extreme4-M

    The missing word "SATA" is just because of the version of the IRST driver you are using, an older one compared to the one I use.

    Before uninstalling the IRST driver package, you probably should do a manual driver update on the Intel storage controller through Device Manager. Change to the Windows msahci driver, with the "Browse my computer for drivers" method.

    You kinda lost me on this, "If I uninstall Intel Rapid storage utility, will I still need to install the driver. Or can that go too?"

    So your OWC SSD shows as connected at 6Gb/s but runs at SATA II speed? Never saw that happen before, I'm at a loss to explain it. I use SSDs exclusively, many different kinds, and I've never had this problem. That includes SSDs with the SandForce SSD controller like your OWC, which has been in use for a long time.

    The drivers are not the problem, something else is wrong somewhere. If I were you I would contact OWC support.

  7. #17
    scorpionking is offline Junior Member
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    Default Re: Asrock Z77 Extreme4-M

    Quote Originally Posted by parsec View Post
    The missing word "SATA" is just because of the version of the IRST driver you are using, an older one compared to the one I use.

    Before uninstalling the IRST driver package, you probably should do a manual driver update on the Intel storage controller through Device Manager. Change to the Windows msahci driver, with the "Browse my computer for drivers" method.

    You kinda lost me on this, "If I uninstall Intel Rapid storage utility, will I still need to install the driver. Or can that go too?"

    So your OWC SSD shows as connected at 6Gb/s but runs at SATA II speed? Never saw that happen before, I'm at a loss to explain it. I use SSDs exclusively, many different kinds, and I've never had this problem. That includes SSDs with the SandForce SSD controller like your OWC, which has been in use for a long time.

    The drivers are not the problem, something else is wrong somewhere. If I were you I would contact OWC support.
    Me too I am Baffled to why this drive dosen't operate the way it should. Yeah sorry about the last comment I got confused with Rapid Start Driver. Any way I feel your right I will take it up with OWC. I purchased the SSD from Ebay brand new and I have Just read his description again, and he has mentioned that some old Macs don't like this drive in SATA3. However this can't be associated with my computer as I don't run a old MAc. But I was wonderig if this could possibly be the answer. My board is about 3 years old now, but it seems quite up to date. Just wanted to know your thoughts on this. In the mean time I've contacted OWC like you sugested, to see what they have to say about this issue. Once again thanks for taking the time to read through and all your help
    it's much apprecited.

    Kevin
    Last edited by scorpionking; 03-05-2015 at 10:46 PM. Reason: Flash Plug in stop working

  8. #18
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    Default Re: Asrock Z77 Extreme4-M

    Hmm, the thing about the old Macs not liking the SSD being SATA III, or really any SATA III drive, was caused by those Macs using an Nvidia SATA chipset. I recall the fury of those Mac owners well, although their anger was aimed at the wrong thing, the SSDs instead of the Nvidia SATA chipset.

    The Nvidia SATA II chipset, its driver, or both, were obsolete when still used by Apple. That chipset/driver was not aware of what "SATA III" was when that data was received from a SATA III SSD. The Nvidia chipset was trying to negotiate the SATA interface speed to use, and since it could not understand the data it received, that was considered an error. So to be "safe" in its operation, the Nvidia chipset would set the interface speed to SATA I. Imagine having a 6Gb/s SSD running at 1.5Gb/s, the speed of SATA I. Or in this case the Nvidia chipset was only SATA II capable, but downshifted the SATA interface to SATA I. This did not affect the SSD directly, nothing changed in the SSD.

    Uh oh, I just remembered something else about this. A few SSD manufactures that had angry SSD customers whose drives were running at SATA I speeds (the customers refused to believe the Nvidia chipset was at fault) created a special firmware update for their SSDs to "fix" this problem. The fix was to set the SATA interface speed data in the SSD to "SATA II". The Nvidia chipset would then see a SATA II SSD, and set the interface speed to SATA II. But can you guess the side affect of this fix?

    Yes, the SSDs that had this firmware update were converted into SATA II drives! But only in the sense that their data (metadata to be accurate) told the SATA chipset they were used with that they were a SATA II SSD.

    I know that OCZ and SanDisk had the special firmware updates available. I don't know if OWC did the same thing. Given that they aim their SSDs at Apple PC owners, that makes it more likely.

    IMO this is a possible scenario, but you must ask OWC about this. Again, I don't know if OWC also had a firmware update with this "fix", and if they did, if it was applied to the SSD you now have by a former owner. If both are true, a rather dirty trick by the seller IMO. If they were aware of it, that is.

    OMG am I glad you mentioned the thing about old Macs not liking the drive being SATA III...

  9. #19
    scorpionking is offline Junior Member
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    Default Re: Asrock Z77 Extreme4-M

    Quote Originally Posted by parsec View Post
    Hmm, the thing about the old Macs not liking the SSD being SATA III, or really any SATA III drive, was caused by those Macs using an Nvidia SATA chipset. I recall the fury of those Mac owners well, although their anger was aimed at the wrong thing, the SSDs instead of the Nvidia SATA chipset.

    The Nvidia SATA II chipset, its driver, or both, were obsolete when still used by Apple. That chipset/driver was not aware of what "SATA III" was when that data was received from a SATA III SSD. The Nvidia chipset was trying to negotiate the SATA interface speed to use, and since it could not understand the data it received, that was considered an error. So to be "safe" in its operation, the Nvidia chipset would set the interface speed to SATA I. Imagine having a 6Gb/s SSD running at 1.5Gb/s, the speed of SATA I. Or in this case the Nvidia chipset was only SATA II capable, but downshifted the SATA interface to SATA I. This did not affect the SSD directly, nothing changed in the SSD.

    Uh oh, I just remembered something else about this. A few SSD manufactures that had angry SSD customers whose drives were running at SATA I speeds (the customers refused to believe the Nvidia chipset was at fault) created a special firmware update for their SSDs to "fix" this problem. The fix was to set the SATA interface speed data in the SSD to "SATA II". The Nvidia chipset would then see a SATA II SSD, and set the interface speed to SATA II. But can you guess the side affect of this fix?

    Yes, the SSDs that had this firmware update were converted into SATA II drives! But only in the sense that their data (metadata to be accurate) told the SATA chipset they were used with that they were a SATA II SSD.

    I know that OCZ and SanDisk had the special firmware updates available. I don't know if OWC did the same thing. Given that they aim their SSDs at Apple PC owners, that makes it more likely.

    IMO this is a possible scenario, but you must ask OWC about this. Again, I don't know if OWC also had a firmware update with this "fix", and if they did, if it was applied to the SSD you now have by a former owner. If both are true, a rather dirty trick by the seller IMO. If they were aware of it, that is.

    OMG am I glad you mentioned the thing about old Macs not liking the drive being SATA III...
    Hi Again,

    I was just reading through the decription again and I have discovered that this drive has a Sandforce SF2281 controller. If so can it be up[dated. I did mention earlier on as well in the post that I updated the firmware of the drive to the latest which was 541ABBF0 Am I to take this that this controller runs on the drive on in the motherboard or indeed the old Macs. I am a bit confused about this and I think I need educating in ths particular area, if you don't mind. Is this the whole issue of this drive. And can this controller be updated. I was doing some scouting around on the net and I came across this.

    Performance Issues

    There have been reports on the forums, and support websites that some users with Sandforce SF-2281 SSD controller based drives in combination with the Marvell 9128 SATA 3 controllers were unable to achieve advertised speeds. This is certainly true when we are talking about a first generation SATA3 chipset (this may be true of other SATA3 chipsets as well), keep in mind SATA3 is still a rather new specification and there were not SSD drives this fast for Marvell’s engineers to do the testing. Marvell has since replaced the Marvell 9128 SATA 3 controller with a Marvell 9182 SATA 3 controller.


    Thanks


    Kevin
    Last edited by scorpionking; 03-06-2015 at 03:12 AM. Reason: More Info

  10. #20
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    Default Re: Asrock Z77 Extreme4-M

    The SandForce SF-2281 SSD controller, or any SSD controller (Marvell, Intel, Samsung, and a few others manufacture SSD controllers) is the interface between a SSD and the SATA chipset in a mother board. The SSD controller also performs all the operations on the NAND storage chips in a SSD. Besides the NAND chips in a SSD, the other main component is the SSD controller.

    SSD controllers have firmware, the software that works with the controller. Most if not all SSDs have the ability to update their firmware, SandForce controllers certainly can update their firmware, I've done that myself with some of the SSDs I own.

    In my last post, I was describing the problem that some older Mac PCs had with SATA III SSDs. Those Mac PCs used an Nvidia manufactured SATA chipset, that was on the mother board of those Mac PCs. Your Z77 board has Intel and ASMedia SATA chipsets, while those older Macs used the Nvidia SATA chipset. It is ONLY the Nvidia SATA chipset that has problems with SATA III SSDs.

    I've owned mother boards that had a Marvell 9128 SATA chipset, almost all Intel X58 mother boards included the Marvell 9128 chipset, since the Intel SATA chipset used on those boards was only a SATA II interface. The Marvell 9128 SATA chipset was supposed to add SATA III support to those boards.

    I am painfully familiar with the Marvell 9128 chipset and its almost, kind of, not really, SATA III interface. That SATA chipset and others made by Marvell, is one of the biggest false marketing programs in PC hardware history IMO. We can go to Marvell's website today and download the data sheet for the 91xx series of SATA chipsets, and clearly see that they can only be connected to one PCIe 2.0 lane, whose speed is 5Gb/s, not the full 6Gb/s of SATA III. The use of only one PCIe 2.0 lane is marketed as a feature to the companies that purchase these chips.

    The idea that the Marvell engineers did not have SATA III SSDs to test their chipsets with is a false argument, since they knew their chips only worked at 5Gb/s, not the full 6Gb/s of the SATA III specification, published officially by the SATA IO organization.

    Obviously, it is not only SATA III SSDs that use a SandForce SSD controller that will have reduced performance when connected to the Marvell 9128 SATA chipset, it is any and ALL SATA III SSDs. I've run benchmarks myself and have copies of them that show this happens with any SATA III SSD.

    If you are doubting the performance of the Intel Z77 chipset's SATA III ports, forget that, it's not the case. I have two ASRock Z77 Extreme4 boards, and their SATA III performance is just as good as any newer Intel SATA III chipset. The first Intel SATA III chipset was the P67, about a year older than the Z77.

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