When I started, nothing was broken, it just didn't work how I wanted it. So, I made sure to break something along the way.
I've always been a bit of a storage nerd, so when I found myself with 3 - 2.5" drives from new laptops I had taken them from to replace with SSDs along with a PCIe Dell RAID card, I decided it would be fun to make a RAID0 array for a scratch disk/temporary storage location in my main machine. Things didn't quite go smoothly from the beginning, but with a little care and feeding (and some rather ugly case modding with a pliers to make the SATA and power connections) I had my little 3 disk array up and running.
It only stayed that way for a few days before interminably long boot times (seriously, what is that thing doing on startup? Calculating Pi to 1M places?) and more often than not complete failure to boot, I pulled the card out and left it that way for a few weeks.
Last night, I decided in my infinite wisdom that I would use the built-in Intel RAID on my motherboard to create a RAID0 - that would solve the boot speed issue and I wouldn't need the extra card. So, after figuring out which SATA ports were active (some get disabled when using an M.2 ssd) I hooked all the drives up and booted into the BIOS to set up an array. And that's when the problems began.
I'm sure none of you are like me and have a 2 year old W10 install that has been set to AHCI mode for the SATA controller from the beginning of time. If you have experienced this before, you will know that it is not as simple as switching from AHCI to RAID and booting back into windows. I read about 10 different guides and they all made it sound pretty simple, except no one seemed to be doing it with a NVME ssd and few were using Windows 10. I tried every suggestion I could find, but no matter what, when I set the SATA controller to RAID mode in the bios, I would get a failure to boot.
At that time I figured that maybe the SSD was the variable that was causing my pain. I couldn't quite figure out how SATA controller mode related to the SSD which is NVME so SATA shouldn't be a part of the picture, but I'll be darned if it certainly seemed to affect whether or not it would boot. I had a Eureka moment some time in the process and decided to clone my SSD over to one of the 2.5" hdds and try to get that to boot in RAID mode. I used Macrium Reflect (great program, btw) to perform the clone and then I powered off the computer. I removed the SSD to make sure I wasn't unintentionally booting from it as well as to preserve my known-good configuration and then, for good measure, decided to completely destroy the power plug on one of the hard drives.
Somehow in my brutish yanking on one of the SATA power cables, I inadvertently pulled one of the connectors perpendicular to the drive it was plugged into whereby it used its leverage to simply snap off the plastic bit that holds the power contacts on the drive. Completely gone and the power pins/contacts were not at a lovely 30 degree angle from the drive itself. Nice.
I managed to fix what I broke by ever-so-carefully straightening the pins and then holding the plastic piece (that I was able to find) in place long enough to shove it into an external enclosure I had laying around unused. I guess I have a 1TB portable drive should I need it.
After that drama was behind me, I got back to the task at hand. I had set windows to boot into Safe mode (per many of the guides I had followed) and got into the bios on the reboot. I switched the SATA controller into RAID mode, hit F10 and crossed my fingers. Holy cow, it worked! I had successfully changed into RAID mode on my existing Windows install! I also got a taste of just how horrible it is to use Windows with a slow hard drive. Here's the thing, though, these aren't old drives. They're drives I pulled out of laptops within the last 12 months or so. There are new computers being sold with these turds as their primary storage. At first I thought something was wrong because Windows was taking more than a minute to boot like I've gotten so used to. This was a good reassurance that the best money you can spend to upgrade your machine if you haven't already is an SSD for your OS drive.
After a successful boot in safe mode, change to normal boot mode, boot into windows normally, and convince myself everything was OK, I shutdown and reinstalled my SSD. I booted up from the HDD still and made sure the SSD was recognized in Windows, in RAID mode, and then started the clone BACK to the SSD with the now-RAIDified windows installation. I let that run overnight because it was painfully slow. When I checked it this morning, it had finished the clone and I shut it down. Tonight I created a 2 drive (sad face) RAID0 array, booted from the SSD and can be happy with the fact that I was able to figure that all out.
So, I hope if anyone else finds themselves in the same situation, be happy to know there is a solution. Just have patience, be careful with those SATA connections, and always make sure you have a Plan B if things go south. My hardware is in my signature, but in case that gets updated and someone finds this via google in the future, here's what I was working with:
i7-6700K | Z170X-Ultra Gaming | 512GB 960 Pro | Win10 Pro x64.
i7-8086K | Z370 AORUS GAMING WIFI | 32GB DDR4-2400 | EVGA GTX 1080 Ti | 512GB 960 Pro | 27" Dell 2560x1440 Gsync | Fractal R6 | Seasonic Focus Plus 850W | Win10 Pro x64.