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Anybody having problems with Intel's Rapid Storage Technology enterprise drivers on X79 ?

post #1 of 23
Thread Starter 
I had the first BSOD in years, the last time I had a BSOD was with Windows XP if I'm not mistaken, I couldn't take a photograph of it, but I still managed to read "iastor.sys", which is from Intel's drivers.

I wasn't doing anything special at all, I was actually watching a youtube video from a news article posted here on OCN.


I was using driver version 3.0.0.3011, which I believed were the most recent ones, except they aren't. Intel has a newer version, which is 3.1.0.1068, that doesn't come in .exe format, instead it comes in a .zip file, and it looks more like something a developer would get instead of an end user. There isn't even a setup file in the main folder, you have to go to the GUI folder to launch the setup.


I still haven't had any BSOD with this one, but then again I didn't have any with the other for days, but there is something intriguing me: before I installed any of Intel's Rapid Storage drivers, I installed the Intel SSD Toolbox, and found out the latest version has two nice graphs à la SSD Life to show you how healthy the SSD is. Turns out that after installing the RSTe drivers it now shows this, and updating to the latest RSTe drivers didn't solve the problem:

375

Did Intel create drivers that are incompatible with their own SSD toolbox ?

I also had some initial difficulty finding the drivers (Yes, the driver CD that comes with the motherboard has an earlier version and names them Rapid Storage Technology enterprise, but Intel would do good to add "X79" to the enterprise C600 chipset that is already listed in the compatibility listing.).

Even in the Device Manager this can be confusing, and, together with the two problems I mentioned above, raise the question of whether these drivers are optimised at all for the X79 chipset:

40


Anyway, I'm not using the RAID feature, should I still use these drivers or completely uninstall them ? And will I have any problems doing so ? When I uninstalled the first RSTe drivers, the only thing that was effectively uninstalled for good was the GUI, the drivers themselves were probably reinstalled upon reboot by Windows, since the Device Manager still reported the same version as being installed.
 
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post #2 of 23
Thread Starter 
Seems nobody on OCN is having problems. I guess nobody installed the RSTe drivers that came with their motherboard.

If anybody is interested, I found this thread over at Intel, describing this very same problem. Seems like these drivers are rubbish. If you really want Intel drivers installed you have to manually install the non enterprise drivers. You have to do it manually because the automated process will say you don't have a supported platform. Of course, by doing a manual install you don't get to have a control panel, only the drivers. And from what I read from a user there, there still seems to be some slowdowns with the non enterprise drivers.

What a way to treat enthusiasts, Intel. The X79 platform has been launched almost six months ago now, and there still aren't drivers listed that say "X79 compatible" on your website. No wonder it only says C600, they don't work properly on the X79 platform. Until the problems are solved, it would be best for Intel to not alow the C600 drivers to be installed on the X79 platform from the automated installation, just like they don't allow the non enterprise drivers to be installed, that way users would know they could find problems if they did it manually.
 
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post #3 of 23
Thread Starter 
And here is another thread over at Intel forums I found today:

http://communities.intel.com/thread/27974

Also, I uninstalled the Intel drivers completely. Uninstalling using the uninistall program only really uninstalls the GUI, so, after a reboot I had to uninstall the drivers by going to the device manager. Then it takes two reboots for Windows to fully install the generic drivers for the storage devices. Intel's SSD Toolbox and other programs like HDTune can now report S.M.A.R.T values and I can run the SSD optimizer in the Intel Toolbox, which was something that was also disabled when using Intel's RSTe drivers.

I also used CrystalDiskMark before and after, and the performance difference is negligible, yes it is a little slower, but you probably won't notice it. If anybody is interested I can post screenshots.
 
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post #4 of 23
Thread Starter 
A quick follow-up:

I think I will install Intel's latest 11 series RST drivers manually. Microsoft's AHCI drivers work, but I just tried a game (GTA: EFLC) that has to fetch a lot of data from the HDD and it stutters every thirty seconds or so. I remembered this behaviour from when I put together a legacy Pentium 3 system a few years ago and I observed the same behaviour until I installed Intel's drivers, which solved the problem.
 
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post #5 of 23
The 11 series provide much better bench numbers on x79. Not sure if it would even be noticeable in an OS, probably not.
post #6 of 23
Thread Starter 
I had another BSOD, this time with the newer RSTe drivers.

Here is the BlueScreenView screenshot showing the two BSODs I have had, the first time using RSTe 3.0.0.3011, the second using RSTe 3.1.0.1068:

(Edit: they were both with the same RSTe 3.0.0.3011, I mistakenly installed them again instead of RSTe 3.1.0.1068; see my next post)

179

Both BSODs occured a few minutes or hours after having played a game, and both during mostly idling (was watching a Youtube video the first time, and wasn't even at the computer the second time, the browser was just idling).

What is going on with Intel's drivers ?

I'm using Windows 7 64-bit Home Premium
The motherboard is an Asus Sabertooth X79 with BIOS 1104 from the 10th of April 2012
CPU: Core i7-3820


Note: I am NOT running the system in RAID mode, no matter what RSTe says.

I have set the BIOS to AHCI mode since the beginning and S.M.A.R.T. is enabled.

I have an Intel 320 Series 120 GB SSD and two WD Caviar Black HDDs, one 1TB Sata 3, and one 500 GB Sata 2, all of which had been running flawlessly with Windows 7 Home Premium 64-bit for more than a year on a Gigabyte EP45-UD3LR motherboard with a Core 2 Quad Q9550 in the exact same configuration (SSD as boot drive), and using Intels RST drivers.

I'm using only the SATA ports the X79 chipset provides. The 320 Series SSD is connected to SATA 3 port 1 and the WD Caviar Black 1 TB SATA 3 is connected to SATA 3 port 2, while the WD Caviar Black 500 GB is connected to SATA 2 port 1. I also have the additional SATA controller provided by the motherboard disabled in the Bios given that I don't need more SATA ports.

And no matter what, I still can't use Intel's SSD Toolbox properly. I can't run the SSD Optimizer and S.M.A.R.T. data is unavailable, to the extent HD Tune also can't access it.

318

Do I really have to manually force the installation of Intel's RST (non enterprise) drivers to get rid of all these problems ?

What is Intel planning to do ? This is the enthusiast platform and it is more than 6 months old and bugs like this still exist ?

TRIM is not yet available in RAID mode on the X79 platform, but I'm not using my system in RAID mode, and yet the RSTe GUI says the system is in RAID mode.


What gives ?
 
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post #7 of 23
Thread Starter 
I'm so sorry, a day after having posted the post above I realized I mistakenly re-installed the same RSTe (the latest drivers available from Asus on their site for my motherboard as of today) instead of RSTe 3.1.0.1068, so this second BSOD happened using the same drivers as the first time. I posted this on the Intel Community forums too and updated it there immediately, however I kept on postponing updating this thread until today, my apologies to the community.

In the meantime I have been using the system extensively with the latest RSTe available from Intel's website RSTe 3.1.0.1068 (this is the version number that is actually installed; the version number you have to search for on Intel's site is RSTe 3.1.0.1085) and have had no more BSODs. I have done everything I had done before, run the same games and applications, and put the computer in and out of sleep mode for several days (also performed some traditional shutdowns too), and have to say that the problem definitely appears to be Intel's RSTe 3.0.0.3011.

I will send an e-mail to Asus telling them about my experience.


Everything else I said in the post above still stands - stuck in RAID mode; Intel SSD optmizer not available, S.M.A.R.T. values neither. However, Christian Franke over at the thread I created over at Intel forums pointed me towards HWiNFO's Known Issues thread that says the following:
Quote:
5. Missing disk, SMART and drive temperature information on Intel RST 11.5 drivers.
Description: Using Intel Rapid Storage Technology (RST) driver v11.5 or Enterprise RST driver will probably cause loss of disk information including SMART and temperature. This is a bug in the Intel RST driver v11.5 and Intel fixed this problem in version 11.5.0.1153 of the RST driver and Enterprise RST driver v3.2.
Workaround: Update the RST driver to v11.5.0.1153 (or eRST to v3.2) at least.

RSTe 3.2 is not yet released, but if this information turns out to be correct, it shouldn't take too long now.
 
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post #8 of 23
Thank you so much for this thread!

I also have been running my system without issue and then installed what I believe are same version driver as you and had BSOD random (D1 code) without anything running on the machine and idle. When I run the dump file from the BSOD thru the Nirsoft BlueScreenview tool, it points the driver related to the crash as the iaStorA.sys driver. The F6 driver for RSTe I used was version 3.0.0.3011 while label on driver folder says 3.0.0.3020 the actual version on the AHCI driver via device manager properties says 3.0.0.3011 (see below).
Quote:
Intel_RSTE_3.0.0.3020_F6-Drivers
\RSTe_f6_iaStorA_64

iaStorA_64
# ** Filename: txtsetup.oem
# ** Revision: 12/02/2011,3.0.0.3011
# ** Abstract: Windows* OEM File for Intel(R)Rapid Storage Technology Enterprise RAIDPort SATA Drivers

So it looks like as to avoid this BSOD with X79 boards, we need to use the below driver as OP has mentioned.

Intel RSTe 3.1.0.1085 drivers
PBG_RSTe_Drivers_GUI_CIM_CLI_3.1.0.1085_2012.04.24.zip
Version: 3.1.0.1085
04/26/2012
NOTE: It's 3.1.0.1085 on the Intel site and 3.1.0.1068 when installed

Also of important note is that their is a performance issue with these RST drivers and X79 which requires all drives (SSDs, HDDs, etc) to set the "Turn off Windows write cache buffer flushing" to be checked. This is what the setting looks like, screenshot below

461

NOTE: Should you computer lose power, there is a chance for data loss. I run on a UPS, so not as concerned. But having this option checked, permits the chance of data loss but comes with benefit of much better performance.

Below are some excerpts from the source that highlight some top points and comments.
Quote:
Q: Are you confusing "Enable write caching on the device" for "Turn off Windows write-cache buffer flushing on the device"?
I always run my SSDs with "Enable write caching" checked and "Turn off...buffer flushing" unchecked,

A: I'm afraid not - Both needs to be checked on the X79, the terrible write result is due to the buffer flushing being active. (unchecked)
(a bit confusing naming unfortunately)

That is unfortunate, since disabling write-cache buffer flushing is not the safest thing you can do. But it looks like you almost have to do it with the X79 unless you want terrible performance.

Anvil states:
There is nothing wrong with RSTe.
Intel has changed how Buffer Flushing and Write Through are handled on the Series 3 driver.

All you have to do is to Check the "Write-Cache Buffer Flushing" option on each drive in the Device Manager.
It affects all drives connected to the chipset whether they are SSDs or HDDs.

I'm sure Intel has some reason for doing this and in my opinion they have done the right thing.
This way you now have an option to have buffer flushing working, it didn't work on earlier versions of the RST

So, today I ran a test using the same drive (Samsung F3 1TB) and copied (from another drive) a folder consisting of 627MBs of data, 8471 files in 622 folders.
(this to compare performance with and without buffer flushing)

Buffer Flushing Unchecked (Enabled) : 40 seconds
Buffer Flushing Checked (Disabled) : 6 seconds

The X79 without buffer flushing Disabled is dead slow.

source: xtremesystems forums posting

In addition, based on these recent comments (June 2012) from AIDA64 developer, looks like there are many issues with Intels RST and RSTe drivers

As mentioned above looks like there are issues with SMART features with this driver as well. Hopefully this will all be fixed when they release the 3.2 driver.
Edited by jfcarbel - 6/24/12 at 6:49pm
post #9 of 23
SMART and trim seem to work now finally. I have installed the AHCI driver from intels package RSTe_3.2.0.1135. The driver is shown up as version 3.2.0.1126.

Bu i had to upgrade to the latest beta of AIDA64 otherwise the current final AIDA64 2.50 caused a bluescreen when loaded. AIDA beta shows now the SMART parameters and temperatures of all my drives including HyperX SSD and also CrystalDiskInfo reports trim to be running.

My drive performances is much better than with the original msahci driver so im quite happy.

BUT i used over 8 months with total write of 1.31 terrabyte on ssd RSTe 3.0.2003 trim off. I wasnt aware of that bug.

The ssd still performs well and i hope the sandforce garbage collector did a good job so i have no disadvanteges from the old RSTe now. Can anyone comment on this issue?
Edited by uweFR - 8/4/12 at 11:08am
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post #10 of 23
I got my first BSOD that was caused by iaStorA.sys. I am using the latest RSTe drivers (3.2.0.1126) since they were released. I never got a BSOD with the previous RSTe drivers.

Any solution?
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