11 Replies Latest reply on Feb 17, 2013 5:42 AM by Bill Gehrke

    Drivers and BIOS Settings for a new build

    William GS Level 1


      I would appreciate your help with these questions, I did my last custom build more than 8 years ago, so probably some of them are easy.

      My new system is:

      CPU:                          3930k

      Motherboard:               ASUS P9X79 PRO

      RAM:                          G.SKILL 64GB F3-12800CL10Q2-64GBZL

      CPU Cooler:               Noctua NH-D14

      Blu-ray/DVD burner:    Pioneer BDR-2208

      Video:                         EVGA GeForce GTX 660 FTW

      PSU:                           Seasonic Platinum 1000W

      HDD:                          2 Seagate Constellation ES (Onboard RAID 0, for working files)

      SSD:                          Samsung 840 PRO 256GB (OS and programs)

      CASE:                        TT Chaser MK-I Full Tower

      Cooling paste:               Coollaboratory Liquid Ultra

      OS:                            Win8 PRO


      I will use it with Photoshop CS6 and Lighroom, not for video editing.


      1. Which settings need to be changed or updated in the BIOS before the OS installation? (for the 64 GB RAM, for the RAID and SSD, etc.).

      2. Does something need to be changed in the BIOS after the OS installation?

      3. Which drivers should be installed during the OS installation?


      Also, any key point to have in mind when setting and installing is very welcome.


      Thank you so much,

      William Gonzales

        • 1. Re: Drivers and BIOS Settings for a new build
          JEShort01 Level 4

          1. Regarding bios settings before load OS - nothing except only have the Samsung Pro 840 connected (no HDs yet) to one of the Intel SATA ports for initial OS install to C:\

          2. After OS are all installed and working fine, turn off and connect the two HDs to Intel SATA ports (3GB ports that support RAID); see tip below on how to set up RAID 0

          3. Yes, install all of the latest and greatest drivers from Asus's www site as a part of your OS installation (LAN driver, Intel support, etc.)


          Other tips:

          - Use Intel's software from Asus site to set up your HDs in a RAID 0 configuration; this application will even set the necessary bios settings for you

          - after OS is installed and two HDs are working as a RAID 0, do a complete image backup of C:\ drive to your RAID 0 array (I use Shadow Protect, Paragon is good, Norton Ghost used to be good but had turned pretty lously last I heard)

          - uncheck MS indexing for all drives

          - load programs

          - make another image backup when everything is working

          - consider changes to drive caching options for SSD and RAID; I will not give any more details since I have not yet built a Win8 system

          - point Photoshop and Lightroom thumbnail caching to c:\Adobe_caching; others may warn of wearing out your SSD, I say do what gives the best performance and it will surely last long enough!


          Enjoy -I think you will love the new found speed of what you are building.





          • 3. Re: Drivers and BIOS Settings for a new build
            William GS Level 1

            Jim & Harm, thank you so much, valuable information.



            • 4. Re: Drivers and BIOS Settings for a new build
              Alan Craven Level 4

              If you are going to have a RAID array on the Intel ports, you MUST enable RAID in the BIOS before you start to install Windows.  If you try to enable it later, Windows will almost certainly become un-bootable, and in my experience, there is no way back from this.


              You will also probably need to use the F6 method to install a pre-installation Intel driver as Windows 7 does not have this driver.  the latest version of Intel RST requires an appropriate BIOS.  Not all motherboard makers have these available yet - e.g. the Gigabyte is beta only.

              • 5. Re: Drivers and BIOS Settings for a new build
                JEShort01 Level 4



                The following text is taken from Intel's IRST user's guide:



                2.7 RAID Migration


                The RAID migration feature enables a properly configured PC, known as a RAID-Ready system, to be converted into a high-performance RAID 0, RAID 1, RAID 5, or RAID 10 configuration by adding one or more Serial ATA hard drives to the system and invoking the RAID migration process from within Windows.

                The following RAID migrations are supported:

                • RAID-Ready to 2,3,4,5 or 6-drive RAID 0

                • RAID-Ready to 2-drive RAID 1

                • RAID-Ready to 3,4,5 or 6-drive RAID 5

                • RAID-Ready to 4-drive RAID 10

                Note: All migrations may not be available as each migration is supported on specific platform configurations.

                The migrations do not require re-installation of the operating system. All applications and data remain intact.




                The following Intel link explains RAID-ready:




                And, William's Asus P9X79 Pro motherboard, as well as most any motherboard with Intel on-board RAID chipsets are indeed RAID-ready.



                • 6. Re: Drivers and BIOS Settings for a new build
                  Alan Craven Level 4



                  I am going on my own experience with an X79 board. 


                  Many boards still have EIDE as the default setting. The problem occurs if you install Windows with the EIDE setting, and then try to migrate to AHCI or RAID.


                  There is a document on the Microsoft site (KB 922976) warning of this problem and giving details of a registry hack to get Windows to boot after the change to AHCI or RAID in the BIOS.


                  Until recently Intel RST enterprise had to be used with these boards, and drivers for this are not included in Windows, so you needed an F6 pre-install driver.  Some X79 boards now have a BIOS avaiable which allows the use of plain old RST - which needs no pre-install driver.

                  • 7. Re: Drivers and BIOS Settings for a new build
                    JEShort01 Level 4



                    The Intel application will take your MB bios setting from EIDE and convert it to AHCI. AHCI will recognize a RAID 0 (or other RAID level for that matter) at boot time, so it does not set it to RAID.

                    • 8. Re: Drivers and BIOS Settings for a new build
                      Alan Craven Level 4



                      Your mileage clearly varies.  What you describe was not my experience with my Gigabyte GA-X79-UD5 motherboard.



                      A link on the intel paper you reference in your post #5, contains a link to the following:




                      That account reflects my experience.

                      • 9. Re: Drivers and BIOS Settings for a new build
                        JEShort01 Level 4



                        Check out another skeptic's experience in the following thread:




                        In that thread, Kouper was challanging the RAID migration technique from within Windows just like you are. Then, in his post #18 he states, "Jim, I tried your way on another PC and this is much much easier and better, and modern!, Thanks for dusting my skills..."


                        You are citing your experience here (post 4 above) that if you change the RAID level in the bios after Windows has been installed you will have a huge mess, and to that I would agree. However, if you let Intel's application (running in Windows, not the boot level utility!) do the RAID level migration for you after Windows has installed, then all appropriate and essential changes are made in concert including bios settings, how Windows boots, and changes on the drives themselves.


                        I think I do understand how your experiences of frying a Windows load can make you guarded. BTW, I've fried a fresh Windows install that way too .


                        As you have not tried doing an Intel RAID migration using Intel's Windows application, I do hope you stop bashing this method until you have personally tried it.



                        • 10. Re: Drivers and BIOS Settings for a new build
                          Alan Craven Level 4

                          Jim, I am not doing the bashing - as I said your mileage clearly varies.  I am sure that your method works for your motherboard, and others like it.


                          But I cannot try it with my motherboard. Without the pre-install driver the Windows disk will not run as it cannot recognise my hard drive.  When I last posted, I did not know why there was this difference between X79 boards.  After some research and experimentation, I think I do now.


                          There are two versions of the Intel Rapid Storage Technology:


                          IRST (current version 11.6), which is used with consumer grade motherboards, and the Windows 7 disk includes suitable drivers, so with your motherboard, your HDD is recognised and Windows will install whether SATA control mode is set to EIDE, AHCI, or RAID, and because suitable drivers are present, you can switch from AHCI to RAID using the software.


                          RSTe (current version 3.2 for W7, and 3.5 for W8) is used on server grade motherboards, and some high-end consumer grade boards - of which my gigabyte GA-X79-UD5 is one.  Windows 7 does not include the drivers for this version of RST.  As a result if AHCI or RAID is selected, the Windows installation disk does not detect the hard drive, and will not run, unless the provided pre-install driver is loaded using F6.  The USB stick containing the driver has to remain present until Windows is fully installed and the full drivers installed by running RSTe.  After this is done your RAID array can be created when you are ready.


                          The original BIOS on my motherboard required RSTe to be used, so I had to use the method I describe, but a new version allows the use of either RSTe or IRST, selection being made in BIOS.


                          I have tried this choice, and if I select IRST, then Windows loads without problem, just as you describe.  If I select RSTe then Windows goes nowhere until the F6 driver is deployed.


                          There are still two Gotchas:


                          1.  Whichever RST you are using you have to select either ACHI or RAID in SATA control mode in the BIOS befire you start to install Windows - some motherboards have EIDE as default.  If you install Windows with EIDE set, you cannot move to AHCI or RAID later without re-installing Windows, or hacking the registry.  You also lose out on the enhanced speed features provided by AHCI.


                          2.  If you have the choice of RST, you must commit yourself at the start, as again, later change is not available.  A year ago there were many threads on motherboard forums claiming the RSTe was flawed and slower than IRST, but these claims seem to have died.  Also RSTe is supposed to be ineffective with TRIM, so if there is a choice, IRST may be better.


                          I expect the the OPs P9X79PRO board will use IRST, so the simple method will work - but he needs to check which version of RST he is to use first.


                          Message was edited by: Alan Craven - further information

                          • 11. Re: Drivers and BIOS Settings for a new build
                            Bill Gehrke Adobe Community Professional & MVP

                            Just to add to the confusion let me tell you about my Gigabyte board Intel RAID experience.  The board is an older GA-Z68XP-UD4 which after having it setup as a Win 7 board has been subject to much testing in PPBM5 with CS5, CS5.5 and CS6.  Quite a few months back I decided to create also an Hackintosh and install Apples OSX which requires the motherboard to be set to AHCI, the only way OSX can use RAID is with third party boards.  My concern was after resetting to AHCI mode and reiinstalling the Win7 disk could I use the RAID BIOS setting.  The answer was yes.  Now anytime I want to run OSX 10.8.2, I change the BIOS to AHCI and when I want to run Win7  (like this minute I am using it) I change it back to RAID.  I am booting to the Marvel port to save the Intel 6 Gb/s ports for my SSD's  My IRST software is which follows the description Alan describes in post 10