Updating Firmware on SSD raid

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Updating Firmware on SSD raid

Postposted on Mon Apr 07, 2014 4:37 pm

Hey TR team,

I have a pair of 160GB Intel X25-m SSD's in raid 0 on an MSI Z77 Mpower board. I know there is a firmware update available for the drives but I am have zero experience updating firmware on a raid array.

My gut is telling me that I will have to back up my install, plug the drives into another PC (I have a dock so that's not a problem) update the firmware, run TRIM since the drives don't support TRIM over raid [silly Intel] , then put the drives back together in the original PC.

My trepidation comes in putting the drives back together. Will the firmware update affect the raid array at all? As well should I be worried about TRIM compromising the data on the drives since they have only ever been operated in a RAID array. Will Intel's TRIM mark sectors for deletion if they have partial data on them?

I am probably just worrying too much but I wanted to reach out and ask to see if anyone else had done this so I could avoid any potential pitfalls.
Phaleron
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Re: Updating Firmware on SSD raid

Postposted on Mon Apr 07, 2014 5:20 pm

I wouldn't trust that your data would survive through all that back and forth. Since they're so small, I would imagine you could backup all the data on there to ensure you don't lose anything before you get started. If they are being used as a boot volume for your computer I would take an image backup of everything as is now - I've used Acronis on a RAID0 before without a problem, and with RAID0 increasing your chance of a drive failure, probably not a bad idea to find an imaging solution that works for you. Personally, my plan would be image backup, update firmware on other machine, secure erase to get back to full performance, rebuild RAID array in BIOS, restore image.

Also, I thought newer Chipsets and Intel drivers DID support TRIM in RAID1 and RAID0 - yep: http://techreport.com/news/23430/intel- ... aid-arrays

Finally, is there an issue you're trying to address with the Firmware update? I usually let well enough alone, especially if things are working well enough as it is...
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frumper15
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Re: Updating Firmware on SSD raid

Postposted on Mon Apr 07, 2014 5:25 pm

My drives currently have an older firmware version installed which is why I would like to update the firmware on them as an update is required.

I am running Windows 8.1 Pro and used the system image service to back it up as mentioned here: http://winsupersite.com/windows-8/windo ... age-backup

It is just my inexperience in reloading to a RAID array that has me wary and a double check that this method "should/would" work is appreciated.

(Thanks for the quick reply Frumper15)
Phaleron
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Re: Updating Firmware on SSD raid

Postposted on Mon Apr 07, 2014 9:16 pm

Phaleron wrote:My drives currently have an older firmware version installed which is why I would like to update the firmware on them as an update is required.


I think that what frumper15 was asking is "have you hit a bug that the firmware fixes?" Just because a new firmware is out doesn't mean you have to update. Now, if there are a number of fixes that address really nasty bugs that you are likely to hit, and luckily haven't, then you might consider it. If there is a giant performance or longevity boost, you might consider it. If it is just because there is a new firmware out, don't bother unless you just like to tinker.

Assume you will brick one or both of the drives. Theoretically, you can survive loss of one as that is the point of RAID 1. Still, take an image of both disks with your favorite tool. A regular old spinning drive big enough to hold raw images of both is under $100. Personally, I would take a raw image of the disks, no intepretation, just a sector for sector copy.

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