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Thread: Step-by-step guide to setting up SSD caching on Z68

  1. #1
    Xtreme Addict Eldonko's Avatar
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    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. You can also use a larger SSD if partitioned.
    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.
    4) Ensure chipset drivers are installed before attempting any of this
    5) If you have a Gigabyte board, use the SRT utility. It will do all this for you including the registry tweak if you didnt install Windows in RAID mode.

    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 Dont bother installing from mb disk, it will be outdated.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 caching with RST util.

    Any questions just ask. :thumb:
    Last edited by Eldonko; 01-31-2012 at 11:37 AM.
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  2. #2
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    First off, thanks for your time and energy writing this up dude.

    Hope you dont mine but I need help understanding it a little more. So, traditionally, I'm use to the of 1st HD being OS/games/programs and 2nd HD storage. With the SSD caching, is the new setup: 1st SSD (64GB) caching, 2nd SSD (128GB) OS/games/programs, 3rd HDD (2TB) storage?
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  3. #3
    Xtreme Addict Eldonko's Avatar
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    If you have a 64GB SSD, 128GB SSD, and a regular HD you will want to run the OS from the 128GB and the set up caching with the 64GB with acceleration on the storage drive. Same procedure as above. Then you have your OS on a SSD and SSD speeds for your storage drive.
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  4. #4
    Xtreme Bandwith Whore Haltech's Avatar
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    Did you notice speed improvements? I remember ready boost didnt do much. Curious if people ran benchmarks with the caching.

  5. #5
    momentarydogma
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    Okay, I'm tearing my hair out over this one... I didn't realize that you had to switch to RAID mode in the BIOS before installing Windows, so my system kept rebooting during Windows startup after I switched to RAID. I tried doing the registry fix that you mentioned, but that didn't work either. When I try running the RST utility, it tells me that "this computer does not meet the minimum requirements for installing the software". I applied the registry change and installed my RAID drivers, but I can't install RST. If I go back into my BIOS (I'm using an ASUS P8Z68-M Pro) and try to change the SATA mode to RAID, I still can't boot into Windows. I've tried reinstalling three times at this point, so I'd prefer not to do that again. Is there any way to work around this, or do I need to install Windows with RAID enabled in my BIOS? Any help would be much appreciated. Thanks!

  6. #6
    momentarydogma
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    I got antsy and couldn't wait for a response to my post, so I decided to do a re-install. Unfortunately, this didn't help at all! I apologize in advance for my ignorance-- I don't have a lot of experience with RAID setups. I have my SATA HD (3TB Hitatchi) and my SSD (32GB Hitatchi) connected to SATA ports 1 and 2 on the motherboard (both have been formatted). I switched the BIOS SATA setting to RAID mode. Boot priority favors the Hitatchi drive. When Windows setup loads, the only option for installation is the SSD, but when I try to select it, it says "setup was unable to create a new system partition or locate an existing system partition." If I disconnect the SSD and try installing Windows on the 3TB drive, it doesn't show any available drives in setup. If I change the SATA mode back to IDE, everything loads as normal and I can select a drive to install Windows on, but doing that would probably lead me back the same problem as before. I have updated the BIOS and don't see any additional RAID settings. What do I do now? Thanks in advance!!
    Last edited by momentarydogma; 10-08-2011 at 07:17 PM.

  7. #7
    Xtreme Enthusiast aoch88's Avatar
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    Exactly I would like to know how well this caching performs and if it does make hell a lot of difference then it's pointless to buy huge capacity SSD's.

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  8. #8
    momentarydogma
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    Case closed on this one-- I finally realized that I had to install the intel RAID drivers during Windows setup in order for it to recognize the HD in RAID mode.
    Last edited by momentarydogma; 10-11-2011 at 03:05 AM.

  9. #9
    Dfieldman
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    Eldonko - Thank you!

    And it worked for me - bringing up SRT on an MSI Z68A GD-80 - UNTIL....

    Once I was up running, happy - drivers loaded - I started windows updates - and the windows easy transfer (from old pc)
    106 updates and 8 boots later - I noticed the characteristic Drives display window (offering the option to hit CTRL-I in 1.7 seconds) disappeared
    and then I checked the Smart Response tech app in Control Panel - it fails
    and then I checked the bios setting - and the SATA setting had reverted to "IDE"
    I also checked the Registry - the Iastorv value=0

    -

    I checked with MSI and the tech said I probably have to re-install ! But - I tried changing the SATA value to "RAID" - because why not
    And windows Blue-screened.
    I tried running the repair, and at the drivers prompt offerend the RST driver downloaded from INTEL - referenced above - but no go

    So I reverted the SATA setting to IDE - and I'm up - but not SSD Caching

    Any thoughts?

  10. #10
    Xtreme Addict Eldonko's Avatar
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    Hi there and welcome

    To clarify, you had W7 originally installed with AHCI mode or IDE?

    To use caching you have to be in RAID mode and if you get bsod when booting it sounds like windows update screwed your drivers up. Try DLing and installing the latest Intel Rapid Storage Technology Driver and see if you can boot w/ raid mode.
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  11. #11
    Dfieldman
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    I followed your instructions PRECISELY - changing Sata to "RAID" then installing OS, mobo drivers, Intel driver, video drivers. Rebooted - and it came up gloriously, and then started windows updates, followed by Easy Transfer - and it was gone.....

    Since that time.... Norton security has failed - Windows Firewall won't start - and I can't backup through windows!

    So I am restarting, doing a fresh install. and I'll leave out the Easy Transfer - and update here.

  12. #12
    Xtreme Enthusiast 3lfk1ng's Avatar
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    Follow this guide if you're itching for even more SSD performance. I managed to scrape out another 30mb/s myself.
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  13. #13
    Xtreme Addict Eldonko's Avatar
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    Yea that is quite strange, perhaps easy transfer has something to do with it. If you are installing fresh ensure you install in RAID mode and you wont have to deal with registry.

    Quote Originally Posted by Dfieldman View Post
    I followed your instructions PRECISELY - changing Sata to "RAID" then installing OS, mobo drivers, Intel driver, video drivers. Rebooted - and it came up gloriously, and then started windows updates, followed by Easy Transfer - and it was gone.....

    Since that time.... Norton security has failed - Windows Firewall won't start - and I can't backup through windows!

    So I am restarting, doing a fresh install. and I'll leave out the Easy Transfer - and update here.
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  14. #14
    Dfieldman
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    A fresh install using raid mode was a no-go. Windows could not detect my drives. I had the Drivers you pointed to above on a USB stick at the ready and tried them when Windows offered the LOAD drivers option - but Windows was disinterested.

    So I disconnected the ssd. I reverted to IDE once again. Installed Windows, drivers, apps - selected specific items on easy transfer and I'm up and running.

    So I'm searching now for how to implement the Smart Response technology WITHOUT reloading everything. I notice your post indicates I can change a single Registry entry.
    What's unclear is the sequence.

    Assume I have an operating windows environment on a Hard drive with Sata 3 ports (6GB) SATA set at IDE.
    1. Can I switch to a sata setting of AHCI or RAID on the mobo and boot back safely into windows?
    2. If I switch to a sata setting of AHCI or RAID from IDE and boot fails - CAN I SWITCH BACK to IDE?
    3. If I have backedup my drive image while Sata was at IDE, and successfully bring up the system on AHCI or RAID - is my backup still pertinent, and vice versa?

    From your excellent post:
    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 caching with RST util.

    Any questions just ask. :thumb:


    This suggests - I can NOW (windows up and operational with Sata at IDE on the Mobo) -
    a) change the registry setting -
    b) install the driver -
    c) shutdown -
    d) install the ssd -
    e) CHANGE SATA TO RAID on the MOBO -
    f) reboot and execute the intel RST util......

    I am FIRST going to reconnect the SSD while still in IDE mode - and just verify it's operational.

  15. #15
    Xtreme Addict Eldonko's Avatar
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    Yup, that is the sequence. I suggest trying the below and see what happens. You are sure you are using the Intel ports for the SSD and drive you want to cache right? Ive never had an issue installing Windows in RAID mode..

    Quote Originally Posted by Dfieldman View Post
    This suggests - I can NOW (windows up and operational with Sata at IDE on the Mobo) -
    a) change the registry setting -
    b) install the driver -
    c) shutdown -
    d) install the ssd -
    e) CHANGE SATA TO RAID on the MOBO -
    f) reboot and execute the intel RST util......
    Last edited by Eldonko; 02-02-2012 at 08:51 AM.
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  16. #16
    Dfieldman
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    Quote Originally Posted by Eldonko View Post
    Yup, that is the sequence. I suggest trying the below and see what happens. You are sure you are using the Intel ports for the SSD and drive you want to cache right? Ive never had an issue installing Windows in RAID mode..
    - - - Y E S - - -

    ELDONKO you ROCK! (how DO we THANKS btw?)

    OK - just a note, for others in the same boat

    My attempt execute the INTEL driver FAILED after making the registry change - system not suitable (summary of message)
    I rebooted - changed SATA setting from IDE to RAID - continued after saving
    the raid screen appeared - I did NOTHING - but I noticed my HDD was listed as DISABLED
    the boot failed - no hard drive
    I rebooted and hit CTRL-I at the raid screen - and had an "R" option to reset the HDD
    Windows came UP !
    I applied the SRT drivers
    restarted
    Windows came UP
    I executed the Intel SRT APP
    Windows applied an update
    I restarted
    - -
    ----------It is UP AND WORKING !

    I'm so happy I'm considering taking a break from hitting my head against the wall and having lunch.

    Thanks Eldonko - thanks
    (and How DO I post a thanks in the forum?)

  17. #17
    Xtreme Addict Eldonko's Avatar
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    Glad you got it sorted, cheers
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  18. #18
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    Thanks for the write up. Helped me get this up and running.

  19. #19
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    Hi all,

    Thanks for this informative thread. My previous Z68 configuration was similar to the above; however, recently on booting I was getting a blue screen with a "REGISTRY_ERROR" message, and subsequently couldn't perform a repair install (the OS wasn't being detected at all). So since then I've purchased an additional - 128GB - solid state drive.

    Now I'm planning the following:

    * 128GB SSD drive with OS installed on it
    * 1TB HD with programs installed, accelerated usingb 60GB SSD

    Should I set my bios to RAID before I insert the 128 GB and install the OS onto it? Then, afterwards, insert the remaining driver and activate SRT?

    Regards,

    P.

  20. #20
    Dfieldman
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    Quote Originally Posted by oceanclub View Post
    Hi all,

    Thanks for this informative thread. My previous Z68 configuration was similar to the above; however, recently on booting I was getting a blue screen with a "REGISTRY_ERROR" message, and subsequently couldn't perform a repair install (the OS wasn't being detected at all). So since then I've purchased an additional - 128GB - solid state drive.

    Now I'm planning the following:

    * 128GB SSD drive with OS installed on it
    * 1TB HD with programs installed, accelerated usingb 60GB SSD

    Should I set my bios to RAID before I insert the 128 GB and install the OS onto it? Then, afterwards, insert the remaining driver and activate SRT?

    Regards,

    P.
    My understanding is that if you are running the SSD as your boot drive there's no benefit to accelerating it with SSD cache.

    Sad to hear about the boot error, I KNOW there is a registry entry for SRT. As I posted, though maybe not clearly, I encountered the problem that the recovery option (booting from the Windows install media) didn't see my OS either. I used an IOLO repair disk to re-enable the DRIVE, and re-install.

    If you have an SSD that can comfortably hold the OS, and an HDD for data - it might be easier and no slower to skip SRT.

    (one old man's opinion)

  21. #21
    Dfieldman
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    I forgot to answer YOUR question - sorry

    If you have a new fresh drive for the OS, then follow the instructions in the first post, Turn ON raid and install the OS.

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