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Old August 19, 2011, 08:56 AM
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Default Step-by-step guide to setting up SSD caching on Z68

Thought I would post a short guide on setting caching as it can be sort of confusing the first time.

First a few notes:
1) Your caching SSD should be 64GB or less as this is the max that can be allocated.
2) You can cache 1 HD or RAID array only so ensure you have an OS partition and games/storage partition on the HD you want to accelerate. You can cache any type of RAID array except matrix.
3) RST takes a bit of time for the cache to get populated with your OS and utils you use most. It might not seem fast at first but it will get faster over time.

Enhanced mode vs Maximized mode:
Enhanced mode is more secure because if your SSD dies you wont lose any data. With maximized mode if your SSD dies you could lose data. Basically it works like this:

With enhanced mode read perf is improved but write perf is bottlenecked by the write perf of the HD so it will be a bit slower. With maximized mode the data is written to the SSD first and then synced to the hard disk later. Thus if the drive dies before it writes to HD you lose data.

There is only a minor difference between enhanced and maximized so you have to decide if you want to risk any data of the accelerated drive for that extra 2 seconds in boot time. The difference in performance between the two is shown here.

Procedure:
1) Plug your caching SSD and storage HD (the one to accelerate) into the Intel SATA ports. Do not use 3rd party like Marvel, it will not work.
2) Enter BIOS, change HD mode to RAID
3) Install OS
4) DL the latest RST driver from Intel. Dont bother installing from mb disk, it will be outdated. Grab it here.
5) Open RST utility, go to accelerate tab
6) Enable acceleration, select your OS/storage drive as the accelerated drive, select enhanced or maximized mode. Enhanced is the most secure, maximized is the fastest.
7) Reboot. If you get a message about boot options being changed or something and are unable to boot into windows go to the BIOS and check your HD priority. It often gets changed when caching is implemented so you just have to put your OS HD back at the top.

If you already have W7 installed and do not want to reinstall do this:
1) Do not connect the caching SSD yet. First apply the following registry tweak:

HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\System\CurrentControlSet\Servic es\Iastorv
In the details pane, right-click "Start", and then click modify.
In the Value data box, type 0

This registry change enables the RAID driver in Windows.
2) Next install the raid driver.
3) Connect your caching SSD
4) Set up EST with RST util.

Any questions just ask.
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Last edited by Eldonko; August 19, 2011 at 03:35 PM.
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Old August 19, 2011, 09:25 AM
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Just what I needed!

Thanks very much.
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Old August 19, 2011, 09:45 AM
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I was wondering how this world work. Good job! (sticky in the "Guides and How to" forum?)
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Old August 19, 2011, 09:59 AM
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Hope it helps some of you save some time. I tried to explain it in plain english (Intel's documentation is confusing as hell) and include tips that I learned from experience with caching. The first time I set up RST my caching SSD would unattach every reboot. Then when I got the latest RST drivers from Intel it was fine. The second time I set it up I was getting that "boot options have changed" message and was unable to boot to OS. Here I discovered that HD boot priority had been changed by RST. Third time all was good :D
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Old August 19, 2011, 06:19 PM
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Very nice. I really want to give this a try, but I wouldn't be using it for a boot drive. Shame we can't cache large arrays though since only 6 drives total are possible on current generation boards.
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Old August 19, 2011, 06:41 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by lowfat View Post
Very nice. I really want to give this a try, but I wouldn't be using it for a boot drive. Shame we can't cache large arrays though since only 6 drives total are possible on current generation boards.
That would be a pretty amazing feature for budget servers. I'm surprised there is so little development in the SSD caching area.

Slightly off topic, does anybody know if Gigabyte's SRT utility works on non Gigabyte boards? It would be pretty awesome to just enable caching without having to reformat. Especially in the event of a failure.
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Old August 21, 2011, 02:53 PM
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HD mode must remain RAID as long as you are using SSD for Smart response, right?

Just asking because having it that way lengthens a boot a bit. It displays a menu for RAID, etc.
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Old August 21, 2011, 03:04 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Valamyr View Post
HD mode must remain RAID as long as you are using SSD for Smart response, right?

Just asking because having it that way lengthens a boot a bit. It displays a menu for RAID, etc.
You likely enabled RAID on the board's third party chipset. You want to enable RAID on the native Intel chipset. There are two settings in your BIOS, refer to your manual.
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Old August 21, 2011, 05:54 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ilya View Post
You likely enabled RAID on the board's third party chipset. You want to enable RAID on the native Intel chipset. There are two settings in your BIOS, refer to your manual.
Manual says to enable it where Ive enabled it (PCH SaTA Control Mode = RAID(XHD)) and I cant find any other option, so I guess Ill live with it. Its just an extra splash screen after all. SMART works and I can feel it already, its booting very fast.
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Old August 21, 2011, 06:40 PM
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Yes leave it enabled.
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