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Thread: Rampage III Extreme Edition Marvell Raid Issue

  1. #1
    New ROGer yogg +10
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    Rampage III Extreme Edition Marvell Raid Issue

    Hi

    I tried to set up an raid 1 array with two Corsair Force GT 120GB SSD drives.
    So I entered the Marvell Raid configuration with CRTL + M and set up everything.

    This works fine and I started the installation of Win 7 prof x64.
    In the setup menue the drive was found and formated.
    After that the installation starts. But the installation dies after some time with strange errors.

    After this the raidcontroller is gone. It shows not up anymore after the BIOS screen (No CRTL + M possible).
    And if I start the Win7 setup no drives where found.

    If I now unplug the system and wait ~10 Minutes the Marvell raidcontroller comes back and I can enter the Raidsetup again.

    If I plug in a single SSD to the Marvell controller and set up Win7 everything works fine.

    I have the newest firmware on the SSD drives (1.3.2).
    And newest BIOS on the board (1401)

    Has someone an idea how to fix this?
    Is the Marvel controller damaged?
    Or is there something else i have overseen in this setup?

    yogg

  2. #2
    ROG Enthusiast TrickMasterPC +10 TrickMasterPC's Avatar
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    The Rampage III Extreme has the Marvell 88SE9128 SATA III controller which is only a 1 lane PCIe controller. It can barely support the full bandwidth potential of one SandForce 3 SATA III Drive. If you run RAID on that SATA III controller your Read/Write performance will actually be less than if you set-up your RAID on the Intel SATA II Controller.

    I highly recommend that you set-up your SSDs on the Intel SATA II Controller. You will be much happier with the Read/Write speeds. Trust me, I used to have the Rampage III Extreme. I upgraded to the Black Edition specifically for the Marvell 88SE9182 Controller which is a 2 lane PCIe bus. Even this controller featuring twice the bandwidth capacity has a MAX Read/Write of 780MB/s and 600 MB/s respectively. Those figures are for SSDs which have the SandForce 3 controller. Some typical SSD drives which feature the SF3 controller include Vertex-3 and FORCE GT.

    If you still want to run RAID on the Marvell 9128 Controller follow these steps. Your issue is related to one of these problems:
    - Faulty SATA III Cables or cable/power connections
    - Using an SSD Converter instead of hooking directly to the SATA III port from your drive
    - Not using the 1003 RAID drive listed below (doesn't matter if windows recognizes the RAID, you must load this driver when using Marvell RAID)
    - Bad SSD firmware flash (follow manufacturer proceedure again)
    - PSU power instability (make sure you are using a dedicated power run for your SSDs so that there is no fluctation in amperage draw from other devices).



    Pre-install Instructions:
    1) Ensure you do not have a CD/DVD Drive hooked up to the Marvell Controller
    2) DO NOT use an ICYDOCK or any other 2.5 to 3.5 HDD Converter device. Hook your SSD directly to the Marvell Port using a SATA III 6Gb/s cable of 18" or less. If you already have a SATA III cable, swap it out.
    3) Check your power & SATA III connections to ensure they are solid on both ends.
    4) Update the firmware for your SSD drives. You must have the drives hooked up to an Intel SATA Controller to flash. Updating is critical especially if your drives have the SandForce 3 Controller in them.

    Note* If your SSD drives don't show up in BIOS check your firmware version again and follow the flash, secure erase clear CMOS steps as outlined by the drive manufacturer.


    5) Under Onboard Devices Enable and set the Marvell SATA III controller operating mode to RAID. Set the Intel SATA II, and jmicron eSATA controllers to AHCI. (if you're also running RAID on the Intel controller that's fine)
    6) Reboot again and after POST, press CTRL + M to access the Marvell Configuration Utility.
    7) Create the desired array. The RAID options on the Marvell 88SE9182 controller include: RAID 0,1 ** Stripe Sizes of: 32KB, 64KB, 128KB ** (recommend 128KB for 2-4% better overall performance) Write Back Cache On/Off (recommend On for 5-10% higher performance).
    8) Reboot and re-enter the BIOS. Under Hard Disk Drives re-order the drives so that the newly created array is the first disk in the list.
    9) Download the Marvell 88SE91xx driver 1.2.0.1003 WHQL from the Intel's website. Extract the folder and copy it to a USB memory stick. Do not use driver version 1002 or 1006 your performance will suffer.
    10) Initiate Windows install
    11) The install will not see the "disk" just created, click on "Load Driver" and browse the memory stick for the appropriate driver. During Windows install load the driver from this directory: \SATA3_allOS_1.2.0.1003_PV\SATA3_allOS_1.2.0.1003_ PV\storport\amd64\
    12) After the RAID0 is recognized by Windows, click on "Drive options (advanced)". Then click on "New" to create your new system partition. It should make a 100MB partition and the rest will be allocated for your system C drive. The system reserved 100MB much exist or Windows will fail install every time.


    Note: after windows installation and all windwos updates. download and install Diskeeper 2010 or 2011 Professional with Hyperfast. Right click on you C drive and select "SSD Volumes" indicate which drives are SSDs. The program can't tell if the drives are in RAID mode. After that right click on the C drive and select "Optimize". This is the best SSD optimizer program I was able to find. Run it once per week. Or if you install or remove large programs or files run it afterwards. It maintains drive performance and clears up lots of space.

    Motherboard: Rampage IV Extreme
    CPU: Intel 3970x 4.2GHz
    GPU: 2x Nvidia GTX 780 Hydro Copper in SLI (Core: 1333MHz, Memory: 3500MHz)
    Memory: Corsair Dominator GT 32GB (4x8GB) 2436 MHz
    SSD: 2x 120GB Corsair FORCE GT in RAID0
    Sound: Creative XFI Fatal1ty Champion Series
    PSU: Corsair AX1200
    Case: Zalman Fatal1ty Champion Series
    Cooling: Koolance H20 (CPU 2xGPU)

  3. #3
    New ROGer yogg +10
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    Thanks for the answer.

    So it seems I have to work with the SATA II controller.

    To the list:
    - Faulty SATA III Cables or cable/power connections
    -> I use the SATA III cables that was included to the motherboard ("SATA 6Gb/s" stands on them)

    - Using an SSD Converter instead of hooking directly to the SATA III port from your drive
    -> The SATA cable goes from the Motherboard directly to the drive (no converters or anything else)

    - Not using the 1003 RAID drive listed below (doesn't matter if windows recognizes the RAID, you must load this driver when using Marvell RAID)
    -> I tested many drivers also the 1003

    - Bad SSD firmware flash (follow manufacturer proceedure again)
    -> The problem accours with firmware 1.3 (I get the drives with this firmware) and with 1.3.2 (I flashed them). On other controllers the drives works just fine.

    - PSU power instability (make sure you are using a dedicated power run for your SSDs so that there is no fluctation in amperage draw from other devices).
    -> Its an new 1200W BeQuit PSU. I also have tested to but the SSD's on their own sub unit of the PSU.

    I can now also recreate the problem without windows.
    In the BIOS options under "Tools" I can setup the raid and see all pluged in drives to the marvel controller.
    If I set up the raid here the controller dies after the next reboot and the extra raid bios disappears.

    After my tests I am realy shure the controller is damaged
    But if I can't use it anyway in Raid configuration because of the PCIe 1 lane problem then it is not an greate issue.

    But I'm not shure what configuration i now use.
    Single SSD on Marvel controller with manual syncs to the second SSD or Raid1 on SATA II controler.

    Any ideas what would be faster?

    yogg

  4. #4
    ROG Enthusiast TrickMasterPC +10 TrickMasterPC's Avatar
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    It's unfortunate that your Marvell Controller has the issue. You've certainly take all of the right steps to ensure proper operation. It could also be that the 9128 controller firmware isn't up-to-date enough to work properly with SandForce 3 based SSDs.

    I would recommend setting up a RAID 0 on the intel controller. This will net you the best disk performance given your motherboard and the drives. RAID 0 will be completely stable and you shouldn't have any issues with data integrity. a RAID 1 is okay too if you are extremely concerned about data integrity, but both of those SSDs in RAID 0 will give you the highest level of performance and maximum amount of storage.

    Motherboard: Rampage IV Extreme
    CPU: Intel 3970x 4.2GHz
    GPU: 2x Nvidia GTX 780 Hydro Copper in SLI (Core: 1333MHz, Memory: 3500MHz)
    Memory: Corsair Dominator GT 32GB (4x8GB) 2436 MHz
    SSD: 2x 120GB Corsair FORCE GT in RAID0
    Sound: Creative XFI Fatal1ty Champion Series
    PSU: Corsair AX1200
    Case: Zalman Fatal1ty Champion Series
    Cooling: Koolance H20 (CPU 2xGPU)

  5. #5
    TeamROG Moderator xeromist +100 xeromist +100 xeromist's Avatar
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    If you run RAID 0 just make sure to do backups. This is for two reasons: first, if one drive fails it will take everything with it. Your failure rates on SSD's aren't bad so you should be fine but better safe than sorry. Second, TRIM doesn't work on a RAID array so you'll probably have to rebuild it at some point. Having a backup will make that process easier.

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  6. #6
    New ROGer yogg +10
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    It could also be that the 9128 controller firmware isn't up-to-date enough to work properly with SandForce 3 based SSDs.
    Is there a way to update the controller? I now have firmware version 1.0.0.1019 on it.
    I have seen that there is 1.0.0.1029 available.
    But I think this goes only hand in hand with an BIOS update.
    Or is it possible to only update the controller?

    I don't would use Raid0. I know that it is fast, but the chance for an failure is to high (I don't trust in SSD's, maybe in 5 years).

    I think I would use one drive on the Marvell controller and backup with "dd" to the second drive once a week or so.

    yoog

    Edit:
    I have do send in the motherboard to ASUS to get a new one. The controller makes more and more problems. Also single drives does not work without problems any more.

  7. #7
    ROG Enthusiast TrickMasterPC +10 TrickMasterPC's Avatar
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    Failure rate on RAID 0 with SSD is very low not even approaching 1%. I have never once had a failure and I've been running RAID 0 like crazy for 10 years.

    You cannot update the Marvell firmware by itself. On ASUS boards the Marvell firmware is actually part of the ASUS motherboard ROM file and is stored in the Marvell oboard Flash EEPROM, but is programmed along with the motherboard EEPROM. eVGA on the other hand allows you to flash the EEPROM independently. See if you look at this white paper, there is a block diagram which shows the oboard FLASH PROM. Some people have tried to flash this EEPROM using the eVGA flash proceedure on an ASUS board and they basically bricked their Marvell Controller. If you do want to try and flash it anyway make sure you back-up the ROM image from the Marvell Controller first!

    With regard to a lack of TRIM support on RAID 0. Here is the solution for that. After windows installation and all windwos updates. download and install Diskeeper 2010 or 2011 Professional with Hyperfast. Right click on you C drive and select "SSD Volumes" indicate which drives are SSDs. The program can't tell if the drives are in RAID mode. After that right click on the C drive and select "Optimize". This is the best SSD optimizer program I was able to find. Run it once per week. Or if you install or remove large programs or files run it afterwards. It maintains drive performance and clears up lots of space.

    Before you send your motherboard back try flashing your system BIOS to 1208 or 1301 to see if that resolves the issue. If it doesn't, then send that puppy back to ASUS!

    I'm actually getting access to Marvell's extranet site right now so I may be able to get the latest firmware image for the 9128 and 9182 controllers including a flash utility. We'll see. I'll report back.

    Motherboard: Rampage IV Extreme
    CPU: Intel 3970x 4.2GHz
    GPU: 2x Nvidia GTX 780 Hydro Copper in SLI (Core: 1333MHz, Memory: 3500MHz)
    Memory: Corsair Dominator GT 32GB (4x8GB) 2436 MHz
    SSD: 2x 120GB Corsair FORCE GT in RAID0
    Sound: Creative XFI Fatal1ty Champion Series
    PSU: Corsair AX1200
    Case: Zalman Fatal1ty Champion Series
    Cooling: Koolance H20 (CPU 2xGPU)

  8. #8
    New ROGer yogg +10
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    No chance to get the controller back to work.
    The HDD led on the mainboard lights the whole time but nothing happens.

    I have also tried to flash the BIOS with 1301 and 1208 but no chance.
    I have now sent the mainboard back. Two to three weeks (maybe more) to get the new one back

    Hope the next one works better.

    yogg

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