Intel RAID driver adds pass-through TRIM support

In our latest system guide, we pointed out that folks who opted to run dual Intel X25-M solid-state drives in RAID mode wouldn’t be able to enjoy TRIM capabilities, potentially impacting used-state performance. Some sources now say the latest Intel RAID software update lifts that limitation, but it ain’t so.

Here’s what Intel told us before the update hit the web last Friday:

The latest: Intel® RST 9.6 will be released this week which includes TRIM support for SSDs. It will support TRIM with SSDs in an AHCI configuration, or with the RAID controller enabled and the SSD is used as a pass through device. An example of this use case is for users that want to use the SSD as a boot drive but still be able to RAID multiple HDDs together to allow for large protect data storage – a great use for the home theater PC. TRIM support for SSDs in a RAID configuration is under investigation and is not included in Intel® RST 9.6.

Translation: if your Intel storage controller is set to RAID mode, you’ll now be able to benefit from your solid-state drive’s TRIM functionality when running it alongside a RAID array comprised of mechanical drives. TRIM isn’t supported for SSDs participating in a RAID array, however. Intel may add that feature in the future, but it hasn’t committed to doing so.

Of course, running multiple SSDs in RAID mode might not appeal to the majority of users to begin with—if only because SSDs still tend to cost upward of $2 per gigabyte. Besides, capacities and pricing tend to increase in a fairly linear fashion. Instead of blowing almost $300 on, say, a pair of 64GB Kingston SSDNow V drives, one could as well opt for the 128GB model for $279.

Comments closed
    • LoneWolf15
    • 10 years ago

    When did Intel switch from “Matrix Storage Manager” to “Rapid Storage Technology”? I don’t remember any big announcements.

    I don’t have an SSD, but I just upgraded from MSM to RST, and it seems like my 3 x 500GB RAID5 (ICH10R) is a little faster under Win7 x64, but it could be just me.

    • Ryu Connor
    • 10 years ago

    A couple items of notes for those who may be deploying these.

    This is the next iteration of the Matrix Storage Drivers and replace the final build under that name (8.9.0.1023). Reaching these through Intel’s website is convoluted. You must select Desktop Boards > A Chipset Series > An Intel Motherboard.

    For example:

    Desktop Boards > Intel 5 Series Chipset Boards > Intel Desktop Board DX58SO

    They have not /yet/ spread to other sections of the download center.

    An Intel developer in their infinite wisdom decided that the old command line switches of the installer needed to be arbitrarily changed.

    For example one could install the old Matrix package as drivers only with the switch -nogui . That switch has been replaced with -noirstgui. Noirstgui is insufficient to install drivers only.

    An application will still be installed. One needs to use -noicc -noirstgui -noservice -notray. The package then installs drivers only and an uninstall option.

    • rUmX
    • 10 years ago

    OK so wait, this has got me confused. I’m got a OCZ Vertex as my boot drive, and I also got 5X WD Green 1.5TB drives in Raid-5. All this on a X58.

    Does this mean TRIM isn’t working on my setup? BTW I’m using Intel RST v9.5.7.1002.

      • Shining Arcanine
      • 10 years ago

      Intel’s old drivers did not support trim, so yes, it is not working on your PC.

        • Kulith
        • 10 years ago

        So basically Intel just fixed something I didn’t even know was broken…

        And here I got all excited thinking there was raid on ssd’s now.

      • BKA
      • 10 years ago

      This confuses me too. I have an OCZ Vertex as a boot drive also with two 500GB in a RAID 0 for data. Trim is working on the Vertex according to the TRIM command line verification. So I don’t get it.

        • rUmX
        • 10 years ago

        Yeah, I figured so too. I’ve had the SSD for just over 2 months now and only ran the wiper tool once (it’s a long process, around 5 hours). I just ran a few benchmarks right now, and the numbers I’m getting are lower than they were new/wiped.

        This is leading me to believe that TRIM isn’t working, even though that command line tool there says it is, but I guess that means that the OS just supports it and nothing else. Even more confusing is that people suggest that you use MS’s driver if you’re running in AHCI/RAID and that’s what my drive is using according to Device Manager.

        /shrug

        I haven’t really noticed much if any real world performance degradation. SSDs are an order of magnitude faster than mechanical disks, after all. Looks like I’ll be running the Wiper tool overnight to get this thing back up to snuff.

          • 5150
          • 10 years ago

          Remove the Intel driver and just use Microsofts and you’ll have TRIM. Wiper will finish in a matter of minutes rather than hours too.

            • rUmX
            • 10 years ago

            I need the Intel driver for the RAID array.

      • rUmX
      • 10 years ago

      I decided to try out these new drivers.

      Here are the numbers with the old 9.5.7.1002 drivers
      §[<http://img406.imageshack.us/i/ssdused032310.png/<]§ After installing the new 9.6.0.1014 drivers, I copied a 11gb ISO image to the drive filling it up. As you can see there is a huge drop in performance. §[<http://img716.imageshack.us/i/ssd11gbcopy.png/<]§ To see if TRIM was working, I then deleted the ISO image and here are the numbers for that. §[<http://img62.imageshack.us/i/ssd11gbdelete.png/<]§ Seems like TRIM is working. After deleting the ISO image my speeds went right back up, to almost new speeds. They are even better than the numbers I first posted. Happy with the update so far :)

    • darksynth
    • 10 years ago

    So does the SSD run with TRIM support if your using the windows driver but its configured as raid in the bios? I am running an SSD as my C: a stripe array for apps and a mirrored array for backup’s… does that mean my ssd isnt using trim until i install this driver? I was under the impression it supported TRIM in this config with the windows driver?

      • MadManOriginal
      • 10 years ago

      No, yes, no.

      As other posts have said with the new drivers a stand-alone non-RAIDed SSD on a controller configured as ‘RAID’ in BIOS can take TRIM commands from the OS. Previously this was not the case. It’s not completely clear from your post whether you have the SSD striped with another SSD or as a standalone drive. If it’s striped with another SSD then TRIM will still not be available.

      • barich
      • 10 years ago

      There is no “Windows driver” for the controller when it’s in RAID mode. It’s an Intel driver that’s included with the OS, and like any Intel driver older than the one in this announcement it doesn’t support TRIM.

      AHCI mode does have a a generic “Windows driver” that works on any AHCI controller and supports TRIM.

    • shank15217
    • 10 years ago

    The way RAID works, you could never add TRIM support to a RAID device unless the controller itself supported trim on it’s devices. What Intel did was merely configure the raid driver to support SSDs and present them to the OS without virtualizing the device so TRIM support in the OS could do it’s thing.

    • sleeprae
    • 10 years ago

    The title had me going for a second, too. For the record, my two Intel G2’s in R0 on an ICH9R score 7.9 in the W7 Disk Assessment.

    • Vaughn
    • 10 years ago

    Ok so I installed the drivers on my Single SSD setup. Trim seems to be functioning and my AS SSD scores actually went up…. So far so good.

    • sweatshopking
    • 10 years ago

    how does this help my 8 gb hard drive?

    • ColdMist
    • 10 years ago

    Are there some regular Matrix storage drivers that support TRIM yet, for a single drive? I’ve got an X25 as my boot drive, but the default MS drivers don’t support hot-plug for eSATA drives.

    I haven’t seen any new Matrix/storage drivers for win7 yet that keep TRIM. Either you get Intel’s driver with no TRIM, or the default MS driver without hot-swap.

    • Sahrin
    • 10 years ago

    What’s the over under for ‘time between release and first bricked SSD’ caused by this driver?

    Five hours?

      • yuhong
      • 10 years ago

      This is not a firmware update!

    • sotti
    • 10 years ago

    seriously, the title of the article sucks.

    • zagortenay
    • 10 years ago

    Misleading headline. This is not good!

      • CasbahBoy
      • 10 years ago

      It seems misleading, but the article title is actually quite true. It adds TRIM support for SSDs not participating in a RAID array. The shortest way I think it is possible for me to say that is “Intel RAID driver gains TRIM pass-through support.”

      Maybe “Intel RAID driver gains TRIM support for stand-alone SSDs” or something, but I think my first (Cyril’s) choice is a very tiny bit more clear.

        • oldDummy
        • 10 years ago

        Maybe:

        Intel enables non-raid trim in mixed systems with new driver.

        hmm…kinda lame.

          • UberGerbil
          • 10 years ago

          “TRIM Support in Intel RAID Drivers: Not What You Think”

            • CasbahBoy
            • 10 years ago

            Ding ding ding! This one sounds fine.

            I still think people would have complained because they can’t see the alternate future in which we currently exist!

    • oldDummy
    • 10 years ago

    my twin Intel 80G G1’s in raid0 won’t benefit anyway and I’m still getting 5.9 rating with MS performance index.

    Apps are responsive so I don’t know how that rating works.

      • CasbahBoy
      • 10 years ago

      My guess is that the numbers are based on hard limits like class/type of hardware and rated [i.e. spindle] speeds rather than actual levels of performance.

      I have two 147GB 15krpm SAS drives in a RAID0 that I can yank data off at nearly 200MB/s and my disk transfer score is 6.2. But then again, if my guess above was right you would have a better score because you have the same interface speed (300MB/s SATA, right?) but a class of hardware (SSD) that I assume would give you a higher score.

      God, I feel like when I was teenager back in the late 90s comparing benchmark scores, only this score is somehow even more worthless.

        • oldDummy
        • 10 years ago

        r[<... a class of hardware (SSD) that I assume would give you a higher score....<]r Yeah, thats my point. l[<........ back in the late 90s comparing benchmark scores, only this score is somehow even more worthless. <]l hehe...I see your point. when you get the same score as WD greens it makes you think: hmm...wtf. and this measure of performance, or lack thereof, will only deteriorate due to the nature of the beast [ssd].

      • MadManOriginal
      • 10 years ago

      Interesting that you run ‘apps’ on your PC. Have you got some special iPhone OS hack going or what?

        • Buzzard44
        • 10 years ago

        Application software, also known as software application, application or *[

          • MadManOriginal
          • 10 years ago

          Sorry guys I just hate the shorthand lazy dumbing down of ‘txt-ish’ language. I know ‘app’ is short for ‘application’ aka ‘program’…

        • UberGerbil
        • 10 years ago

        I realize some people refuse to believe anything exists until Apple starts talking about it, but that’s just ridiculous.

        We’ve been running “apps” on our PCs, and calling them that, for more than 20 years.

          • MadManOriginal
          • 10 years ago

          Really? Who was calling programs or applications ‘apps’ before Apple (the first syllable of the company name, no coincidence I’m sure) started calling them that? Because I cannot recall reading it anywhere more than a few years ago, and certinaly not 20 years ago.

            • oldDummy
            • 10 years ago

            hmmm…you should back off on that statement.

            Apps were called apps for a long time.

            Pre-desktop.

            • Prion
            • 10 years ago

            Plus we also had “appz” which were more commonly referred to as “warez”

            • d0g_p00p
            • 10 years ago

            winner right here.

            • UberGerbil
            • 10 years ago

            *[<"Who was calling programs or applications 'apps' before Apple...?"<]* Uh..... everybody. "Windows apps" "16 bit apps" "32 bit apps" "Killer app" All of those pre-date the web (ie before 1994). If you want to look I'm sure you can find video of Bill Gates giving a keynote at Comdex in the late 80s or early 90s using any and all of those. A trivial google coughs up this article from 1991: §[<http://findarticles.com/p/articles/mi_m0SMG/is_n11_v11/ai_11278261/<]§ Or an InfoWorld article from 1994: §[<http://tinyurl.com/yjf56p4<]§ Doom was widely described as the "killer app" for 3D hardware in the mid 90s, while the search for the "killer app" to make Linux popular continued throughout the decade. VisiCalc and 1-2-3 were each described as a "killer app" in their day; in fact "Killer App" broke out of the tech ghetto and found wider use -- here's a book published a decade ago: §[<http://www.amazon.com/Unleashing-Killer-App-Strategies-Dominance/dp/1578512611<]§ I remember first hearing the word in 1986 or 87, and wondering whether it was spelled with one "p" or two. But it was already clearly in common currency at the time -- I was just relatively new to tech jargon then. I can certainly believe that some people hadn't heard it until Apple started their ubiquitous marketing, but the idea the word wasn't in widespread use until a couple of years ago is laughably ridiculous.

            • CasbahBoy
            • 10 years ago

            That you can suggest that the word ‘application’ has never once commonly been shortened to ‘app’ before Apple released their iPhone has me absolutely stunned. Flabbergasted. Gobsmacked even.

            Unless you’re just trollin’ I guess 🙂

        • oldDummy
        • 10 years ago

        *[http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16832116758<]§ Sell it to ya for ~150 USD. ;-)

    • KarateBob
    • 10 years ago

    Won’t SSD’s with automatic garbage collection still do their thing in RAID?

      • 5150
      • 10 years ago

      Yes.

      • UberGerbil
      • 10 years ago

      Yes, but that’s not the same thing as TRIM. As an SSD gets close to being full, TRIM becomes increasingly valuable as the garbage collection becomes increasingly inefficient with less free space to work with And given how small a lot of SSDs are, many are going to spend much of their lives very close to full.

    • etymxris
    • 10 years ago

    Anyone know about the state of trim support in linux, especially with regards to software raid?

      • stdRaichu
      • 10 years ago

      Last I read it’s in the kernel but not available by default… perhaps it’s on in 2.6.33.

      Software RAID uses the same driver as a regular disc, so as soon as TRIM is working it should work in softraid.

      • AlvinTheNerd
      • 10 years ago

      You have to be using kernel 2.6.32 AND ext4 to get TRIM support with the Intel, Samsung, or Indilinx controllers. The other controllers will be coming along with the 33 or 34 release.

      Now wether or not your distro has it enabled, idk. I roll my own kernels and have it working.

    • eternalmatt
    • 10 years ago

    Sounds like Intel is half way there

    • ScythedBlade
    • 10 years ago

    Edit: You guys made me excited from the title … =.=

      • clhensle
      • 10 years ago

      It still does not do trim if the SSD itself is part of the raid, but its nice to know that maybe a driver update in the future will fix this.

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