Intel Rapid Storage Technology
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Intel Rapid Storage Technology (RST), until 2010 called Matrix RAID, is a "soft" RAID solution built into a wide range of Intel chipsets. As of 2020, it includes a RAID system capable of RAID levels 0, 1, 5, and 10, a block level SSD caching accelerator ("Smart Response Technology") with support for write-back and write-through modes for speed or data protection of any disk or RAID array, and support for intelligent caching, speedy recovery from certain issues, and for PCI Express based drives. Intel RST comes in two variants, RST for desktops, and RSTe (now rebranded as VROC ) for enterprise scenarios, although for many chipsets, the user can choose as both variants will operate correctly.
Intel RST is provided by a combination of firmware, chipset and CPU capabilities, and software. As such, the chipset, the firmware included in the BIOS, and the software installed by the user, must be compatible versions. Online forums and communities exist which compare the benefits of different versions of these, advise as to best compatibility for specified hardware, and modify existing firmware and software to allow optimal combinations or updates beyond those provided by the hardware manufacturers.
Like all RAID (Redundant Array of Independent Disks), Intel RST RAID employs two or more physical hard disks which the operating system will treat as a single disk, in order to increase redundancy which avoids data loss (except RAID 0), and/or to increase the speed at which data is written to and/or read from a disk. Intel RST RAID does not provide new RAID levels. It allows different areas (e.g. partitions or logical volumes) on the same disk to be assigned to different RAID devices, unlike some other RAID controllers. Intel recommends to put any critical applications and data on a RAID 1, 5, or 10 volume, with redundancy to protect against data loss. The RAID 0 volume in Matrix RAID provides fast access to large files where data loss is not a critical issue but speed is; examples include video editing, swap files, and files that are backed up. Intel Matrix RAID, Intel Rapid RAID, and Intel Smart Response Technology are together described as Intel Rapid Storage Technology.
Operating system support
"Rapid Storage Technology" (RST), including creation of RAID volumes, works under Windows 7 and newer versions of Microsoft Windows. The older "Intel Matrix RAID" is supported under Microsoft Windows XP.
Linux supports Matrix RAID through device mapper (DM-RAID) for RAID 0, 1 and 10, and Linux MD RAID for RAID 0, 1, 10, and 5. Set up of the RAID volumes must be done by using the ROM option in the Matrix Storage Manager, then further configuration can be done in DM-RAID or MD-RAID.
FreeBSD and MidnightBSD support Intel Matrix RAID using the "ataraid" driver, managed through the atacontrol command. However, with older versions[when?] of FreeBSD there were critical reliability issues which include array device renaming when a disk in an array is replaced, an array being considered healthy if the machine reboot/crashes during an array rebuild, and kernel panics when a disk is lost or is removed from the bus. Some of these problems, when experienced in combination, could result in the loss of an entire array (even in the case of RAID 1).
PGPDisk does not support Intel Matrix RAID based on Intel ICHxR, and does not support standalone drives if the "RAID" mode is enabled on the motherboard.
Matrix Storage Manager option ROM
The Intel Matrix Storage Manager (IMSM) option ROM is a part of Matrix RAID that has to be used in the BIOS to create new RAID arrays. As of 2014[update] Intel uses "Rapid Storage Technology" -"Option Rom"- on its new chipsets, dropping the "Matrix" name. An Intel document notes that Matrix RAID storage changed to RST (Rapid Storage Technology) beginning with version 9.5.
There have been several driver versions:
|v5.5.0||2006||Last version to support ICH5R|
|v6.0.0||2006||Included on P965 chipsets with ICH8R southbridge|
|v8.0.0||2008||Standard on Intel X58-based motherboards.|
|v8.9.0||2009||latest version with WIN XP support, data loss risk: no S.M.A.R.T.support for newer HDD/SSD|
|v9.5.0||The product name was changed from "Intel(R) Matrix Storage Manager" to "Intel(R) Rapid Storage Technology"|
|v10.1.0||2011||Last version to support ICH8R|
|v10.5.0||2011||Standard on Intel Z68-based motherboards.
This version is the first to support RAID arrays made of HDDs with over 2.2 TB.
|v10.8.0||November 2011||Last version to officially support ICH9R.(Supermicro X7SPA-L)|
|v11.2.0||June 2012|| 11.2 which offers TRIM support on RAID 0 compatible with Windows 7 on Intel 7 series chipsets (earlier chipsets are officially orphaned by Intel).But you can mod RST or MSM oROM to support "TRIM on RAID 0" on ICH8R and up.|
|v188.8.131.521||March 2013||Last version to support ICH7R and ICH7M, ICH9M, ICH10R and ICH10D|
|v184.108.40.2060||June 2013||This option ROM version is the last version for the X79 chipset, Intel has updated to a 13 series, but no function on X79.|
|v220.127.116.116||July 2013||This version is installed on some Intel C226 Chipset-based motherboards (e.g. Asus P9D WS).|
|v18.104.22.1686||August 2013||Windows Boot Problem when using Windows 8.1 & 10 use 13.1 and up, no solution for PCH 6 as of October 2015[update].|
|v22.214.171.1240||July 2014||Last version to support PCH 5 and PCH 6 series|
|v126.96.36.1990||August 2013||This version is designed for the new 8 series chipset. This can be injected into a X79 chipset with modification.|
|v188.8.131.522||December 2014||Last generic version to support PCH 7 series|
|v14.x.x.x||2015||Last version to support PCH 8 & 9 series|
|v184.108.40.2065||November 2017||Last version to support Windows 8.1 and earlier|
|v220.127.116.116||February 2018||First generic version to support Skylake CPUs|
|v18.104.22.1680||February 2018||First generic version to support the 300 series chipsets|
|v22.214.171.1244||August 2019||Improved Optane support|
Intel states that RST support was added for the X79 chipset in RST version 11.6.0.0000 and after.
For the X79 chipset, certain motherboard manufacturers have added both RAID ROMs in the BIOS, the RST and RST-E ROM. X79 is the Enterprise version, called RST-E. With the RST ROM added to the BIOS, this allows TRIM function to pass through the controller and TRIM SSD drives when RAID is enabled. This workaround was needed before RST-E driver version 3.8 was shipped which passed through TRIM commands to a RAID array without modifications to the RST-E ROM. There is no support for TRIM in the RST-E version of the ROM when RAID is enabled and the RST-E driver version is less than 3.8. It is possible to add an RST ROM to the BIOS to enable TRIM passthrough in RAID mode by using the RST ROM and driver.
The newest Option ROM version is a 13 series ROM, this ROM will not be used by motherboard manufacturers for the X79 chipset BIOS, and it can be injected into a BIOS to use on the X79 with modded code, for those MFG's who have added a ROM switch, this is where the MFG has added both RST and RSTe to the RAID option of a BIOS, but there needs to be a code added for TRIM commands to be sent, when you inject the RST and replace the RSTe with RST option ROM in X79 boards that do not contain the ROM switch, TRIM can be dysfunctional.
There are modded RST 13 series Option ROMs (legacy) available at certain BIOS modding sites that have been made functional for use in the X79 chipsets.
When booting in a BIOS environment (legacy) and some / EFI, the RST option ROM is used. When booting in a true UEFI environment the Option ROM is not used as a SataDriver with the RST version takes over. In BIOS mode the legacy/BIOS booting is under CSMCORE. In true UEFI mode the RST is controlled under SataDriver in BIOS.
The Intel RAID ROM is the firmware in the motherboard BIOS that is used to create the RAID array.
Note: The RST drivers can be used for RAID and also on a single drive as it contains an AHCI driver. There is a bug in the version 126.96.36.1996 RST driver, which cause TRIM commands not to pass through the RAID driver to the drives. TRIM is disabled using this driver.
Rapid Storage Technology enterprise (Intel RSTe)
Intel Rapid Storage Technology enterprise (Intel RSTe) provides performance and reliability for supported systems equipped with Serial ATA (SATA) devices, Serial Attached SCSI (SAS) devices, and/or solid state drives (SSDs) to enable an optimal enterprise storage solution. The main difference between RST and RSTe is that the RST is used for desktop systems and the RSTe is mostly used for server systems.[clarification needed] RST supports regular SATA controllers from desktop systems.
If the BIOS of the motherboard has RSTe feature then the user cannot install Intel Rapid Storage Technology software (error message: This platform is not supported). The user has to install RSTe software.
There have been several Option ROM versions:
|v188.8.131.520||2014||This version is installed on some Intel C236 Chipset-based motherboards (e.g. Asus P10S WS)|
Intel VROC (Virtual RAID on CPU)
This section needs expansion. You can help by adding to it. (February 2020)
Intel VROC is a successor to Intel RSTe. This was mostly designed with NVMe SSD's in mind and it is directly attached to the Intel Xeon Scalable processors. For the full functionality it uses a newer Intel technology called Intel VMD (Intel Volume Management Device).
Intel VMD is a technology from the Intel Xeon Scalable processors series and is used to provide hot-plug, surprise-removal, and LED management of NVMe SSD's for server usage. Intel VROC is targeted for Linux O/S, Microsoft Windows Server OS and Microsoft Windows 7 and 10. For client PC's (with Intel Core, Pentium and Celeron processors) Intel RST is still the advised software package to use.
- Intel® VROC vs. Previous Intel® RSTe: Name Change Explained - Intel article
- win-raid forum is a website that provides guidance as to whether specific chipsets perform better with RST or RTS(e), if a choice exists and both will work.
- "Getting Started", Intel Rapid Storage Technology 184.108.40.206.07 Help, Intel
- "Linux support for Intel RAID controller hubs". Intel website. Retrieved November 5, 2011.
- "ataraid -- ATA software RAID support". FreeBSD manual. February 17, 2006. Retrieved November 5, 2011.
- Soren Schmidt (February 21, 2009). "ATA device driver control program". FreeBSD manual. Retrieved November 5, 2011.
- "kern/121899: [ar] [patch] Drive detached from Intel Matrix RAID and returned comes up as entirely new ataraid". Freebsd.org. Retrieved 2014-04-02.
- "kern/102210: [ar] [patch] reboot system makes rebuilding array ready (ICH7)". Freebsd.org. Retrieved 2014-04-02.
- "kern/102211: [ar] [patch] detach raid member and reboot will cause panic (ICH7)". Freebsd.org. Retrieved 2014-04-02.
- "kern/108924: [ar] Panics when Intel MatrixRAID RAID1 is degraded". Freebsd.org. Retrieved 2014-04-02.
- "RAID-5 ON VMWARE ESXI | VMware Communities". Communities.vmware.com. Retrieved 2014-04-02.
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- Allyn Malventano (2011-05-11). "Intel Smart Response Technology: SSD Caching on Z68 Tested | Boot Option ROM / Boot Performance". Pcper.com. Archived from the original on 2012-04-04. Retrieved 2014-04-02.
- "Intel® Rapid Storage Technology (Intel® RST) — System requirements". Intel.com. Retrieved 2014-04-02.
"Supported Intel Chipsets and Controller Hubs". Intel.com. 2016-02-05. Retrieved 2016-03-01.
The product name was changed from Intel Matrix Storage Manager to Intel RST beginning with version 9.5
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- "[veraltet] AHCI/RAID ROM modules for BIOS modding - already extracted". Win-lite.de. 2007-02-11. Archived from the original on 2013-08-30. Retrieved 2014-04-02.
- "Intel Rapid Storage Technology enterprise (Intel RSTe)". Intel. Retrieved 2019-01-07.
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- Ben Freeman (May 7, 2004). "Storage Basics: Choosing a RAID Controller". Enterprise Storage Forum.com. Archived from the original on June 6, 2008. Retrieved February 5, 2008.