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Guide: Using 1 SSD as system drive(OS) and acceleration drive(RAID/ Smart Response Technology/ SSD Caching)

post #1 of 15
Thread Starter 
- SSD 60GB or larger
- HDD single or raid.
- Windows 7 or 8
- Intel desktop board supporting RST (note: RSTe doesn't support Smart Response Technology)
- Download http://downloadmirror.intel.com/20110/eng/RST_11.6.0.1030_RAID_AHCI_driver_GUI_CLI_2012.10.11.zip

(In this example i will be reinstalling my W7 OS to my SSD and at the same time accelerating my existing RAID5 volume)

Part 1:
a. Extract downloaded file, open CLI folder then open DOS folder.
b. Prepare bootable DOS drive.
c. Copy RCfgSata.exe to the bootable DOS drive.

Part 2:
If you have existing raid volume or existing single HDD you may skip this
If you Will be creating a new RAID volume
a. Press [Ctrl+i] during boot up. - Ensure your SATA controller is configured as RAID in BIOS. not IDE or AHCI
b. Select necessary option to create your raid volume.

Note: RAID 0 (also known as a stripe set or striped volume) splits data evenly across two or more disks (striped) without parity information for speed.
RAID 1 An exact copy (or mirror) of a set of data on two disks. This is useful when read performance or reliability is more important than data storage capacity.
RAID 5 uses block-level striping with parity data distributed across all member disks. RAID 5 has achieved popularity because of its low cost of redundancy.
RAID 1+0, sometimes called RAID 1&0 or RAID 10, is similar to a RAID 0+1 with exception that the RAID levels used are reversed — RAID 10 is a stripe of mirrors.

Part 3:
a. Boot to DOS
b. Identify drive ID, and volume name for raid. Type RCfgSata /? to show help.
- type rcfgsata /st /p (Take note of the drive ID.(ex: ID of ssd = 0x1)
c. Allocate necessary spaces for System and Acceleration volume(minimum size 18.6GB)
- type rcfgsata /c:cache_vol /ds:0x1 /s:18.6 (this will create an 18.6 GB Volume - Will later be used as acceleration drive)
- then type rcfgsata /c:system_vol /ds:0x1 (this will create another volume and automatically consumes the left over drive space - Will later be used as system drive/OS)
d. Accelerate the volume. enh = Enhanced, max = Maximized
- type rcfgsata /accel:raid_5 cache_vol enh (this command will make cache_vol to accelerate raid_5)

Enhanced mode (Write-Through) sends all writes to the SSD and HDD simultaneously, at a significant performance expense since all writes slow down to HDD speeds. However, the HDD and SSD pair may be physically separated without any special precautions to preserve data. (near to SSD Read speed with normal write speed)

Maximized mode (Write-Back) captures most host writes into the SSD first and updates the copy on the HDD during available system idle periods. This enables a considerable boost in performance and also saves power, but Intel Smart Response caching must be disabled prior to HDD and SSD physical
separation. Where this is not a likely system configuration, Maximized mode is recommended for best performance and responsiveness. (Read and Write near to SSD, but you might lost data if there is power interruption before SSD and HDD sync completely)

Part 4:
a. Restart PC.

Part 5(Installing Windows):
a. Windows will not show any drive during installation. Load driver for RAID controller. Drives should appear.
b. Install windows normally on the system_vol // If you will be using Rapid start don't forget to ensure to leave enough space or you may shrink the disk space later on.
c. Windows is now installed on SSD with and with a RAID 5 that is accelerated.
d. Install necessary drivers for the system and dont forget to install latest IRST software.

Raid 5 not accelerated:

Raid 5 accelerated

Edited by hammerfell - 7/9/13 at 5:36pm
post #2 of 15
Thanks, stickied!
post #3 of 15
Thread Starter 
thanks biggrin.gif
post #4 of 15
Can you please Explain the Part 5
Where Installing windows in a more detailed fashion

Suppose i have a Windows 7 DVD then
what should i do ?
Edited by John117 - 8/18/13 at 5:57am
post #5 of 15
Edited by John117 - 8/18/13 at 5:55am
post #6 of 15
Thread Starter 
Hi John117,

On part 5.
1. Insert Win7 Installer.
2. Go to boot menu and select whether you would like to install your windows in UEFI or Legacy Boot (key depends on motherboard manufacturer)
3. Continue the installation until the part where Win7 installer should show list of available drives for installation.
- In this part, you might not see "system_vol" and "accelerated RAID volume" you created on "rcfgsata" if your "RAID controller driver" or "SATA controller driver" or sometimes they called it "F6 driver" not yet loaded. Ensure to load it by clicking "load driver" and select the proper driver. I suggest to get the latest version on your motherboard support site.
4. Now you should see the "system_vol" and your "accelerated RAID volume" you previously created. Now you may install your Win7 on the "system vol"
5. OS will now be installed on you SSD.
6. After installation of OS, ensure to install iRST software.

post #7 of 15
Quick question:

I've used this method with success to accelerate a 2TB HDD with 32GB of my SSD. I'd like to up the cache size to the max of 64GB. I've shrunk the data partition, so there's an extra 32GB of space sitting there. Is there any way I can increase the size of the cache partition without harming the OS on the data partition?
post #8 of 15
Thread Starter 
Hi Darius510, i'm not sure if cache volume can be modified, but ill try this to confirm. biggrin.gif
post #9 of 15
Well, I tried like hell to find some way to do it, but I just couldn't make it happen.

I also tried to follow this guide to get it to work with just accelerating a single drive, but I couldn't figure it out. When you try to accelerate the single drive, it says "volume not found". It must be looking for a RAID volume of some type, I couldn't figure out the command to use to get it to accelerate a single drive. When I restored my windows install, even though there was two separate volumes on the SSD, it refused to use the cache volume as a target for RST.

I ended up falling back on my old kludgy technique to get it to work. Install windows to a tertiary drive, and configure the SSD directly through RST. Since windows is running on the tertiary drive, you'll have no problem slicing up the SSD. Then pull the tertiary drive, and restore/install windows to the SSD data volume. Then you can use the SSD cache volume to accelerate another drive in RST.
post #10 of 15
Thread Starter 
hi Darius510, Actually you just need to create a raid volume on your single drive by doing:

for the single drive
- "rcfgsata /c:my_datadisk /ds:0x0" (where /ds is your disk id based on your /st)
this will create a volume name "my_datadisk" for your single disk

Your next step is simply to continue creating cache volume as per the step above

for the cache on ssd
- "rcfgsata /c:cache_vol /ds:0x1 /s:18.6"
for the os on ssd
- "rcfgsata /c:system_vol /ds:0x1"

lastly to accelerate
- "rcfgsata /accel:my_datadisk cache_vol enh"

for the resizing the cache volume, i wasn't able to test it for now, but i'll let you know once I'm able to test it.
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