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Windows 7: Sata=RAID and PCIe M.2 drive problems

16 Aug 2016   #1

Windows 7 HP 64
Sata=RAID and PCIe M.2 drive problems

This is NOT a question post.
This is a report of my problems with my new Gigabyte motherboard.

I bought my new GA-Z170-HD3P to replace a five year old GA-Z68A-D3-B3.
The GA-Z68A-D3-B3 was working great, only the UEFI BIOS (U1B) wasn’t controlling the fans properly.

- My new system configuration:
- GA-Z170-HD3P rev 1.0 Bios F6d (beta)
- I5 6600K CPU
- 4+4 GB – G.Skill F4-3000C15
- SM951 – 128GB M.2 AHCI PCIe SSD drive.
- 2x 500GB HDD (WD5002AALX) on a RAID 0 array on ports 0 and 1.
- Thermaltake 450W high efficiency power supply.
- Graphics – Intel 530 internal graphics.

I’ve installed Windows 7 HP 64 with these BIOS configurations:
- OS=Other
- Storage Boot and PCI device to UEFI only
- XHCI Hand off to disabled

Everything is working fine, except that when it enters “Sleep mode” it doesn’t wake up. The HDD led flashes continuously but it doesn’t wake up. Even the reset button doesn’t work. The only solution is to press the power button until it shuts down.

I'm sure there is a problem with the Intel system. And this isn't happening only to mine.
On a WEB search I’ve found many people complaining the same problem:

With SATA=AHCI I can boot Lubuntu and there is no problem recovering from sleep.
With SATA=RAID and SM951 detached, I can also boot Lubuntu and there is no problem recovering from sleep.
The problem is when SATA=RAID and SM951 in attached, even if booted from another drive.

I’ve asked Gigabyte for help, but they didn’t even understand the problem. They said that Gigabyte tested the motherboard with the SM951 AHCI M.2 drive and found no problems etc, etc.
So I’ve asked Intel for help. After a week exchanging posts, they said that “The SSD is not prepared for RAID, so random issues are expected”. In other words, the SM951 AHCI PCIe M.2 drive is incompatible with SATA=RAID.
And the problem isn’t only with the SM951. I’ve seen that the new OCZ PCIe M.2 drive is also incompatible with SATA=RAID.
I've tested my SM951 CrystalDiskMark5 and the results are impressive. 1.5 times faster on write and 3.5 times faster on read, so I was expecting to have a much faster boot. However, my boot time on SM951 takes, from pressing the power button to Skype log in, 41 seconds.
I've cloned my SM951 to the 850 PRO and boot time, from pressing the power button to Skype log in, it takes 42 seconds.
How to explain?
On a normal use, I didn't notice any difference between both.

Anyway, as I wasn't seeing any performance gain with the M.2 PCIe drive, I've already replaced the SM951 M.2 drive with the 850 PRO SSD SATA disk and now everything is working as it should.
I'm very disappointed with my new Z170 system. I was expecting some real performance gain.
My advice is to avoid the PCIe M.2 drives. If you want real speed improvement, make a RAID 0 array with two SATA SSD drives.


Gibabyte has finally released a new BIOS update file (F20b) that has a new IRST Raid Driver.
This new BIOS Raid Driver has fixed the "Recover from sleep" when using the SM951 AHCI PCIe M.2 drive.
There is another problem when using the SM951 AHCI PCIe M.2 drive that wasn't fixed.
It can't boot Lubuntu. It loads Grub boot loader (on the EFI Fat32 partition) but freezes when trying to boot Lubuntu. On a regular SATA SSD with same BIOS settings it boots normally.
Will continue to use the 850 Pro. The SM951 AHCI PCIe M.2 is for sale.

My System SpecsSystem Spec

 Sata=RAID and PCIe M.2 drive problems

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