I am running Windows 8 on a Z77 Chipset mobo, and it's all running swimmingly, but I want to put my documents/music/etc. on two HHDs running under RAID 1.

On my motherboard I have four SATA 3GB/s ports and two 6GB/s ports. All four are used (1 Bluray Optical Drive, 1 Spare HD, and the 2 I wish to turn into a RAID 1 drive).

My Windows 8 SSD drive is the 6GB/s controller altogether.

You can see my setup here:

enter image description here

So my question is:

If I turn the 3GB/s Controller into a Firmware RAID controller (using my Intel Z77 Chipset), will that negatively affect the non-RAID hardware plugged into it? I.e. Will the HDD or Bluray drive be slower/incompatible with being plugged into a non-AHCI controller?


It would not affect your SSD. You should be able to switch between AHCI/RAID and still boot from your SSD. Keep ind mind that all data on the two HDDs will be deleted when you make them part of the RAID1.

However, regarding the two other devices, I would not suspect that you would have any issues with them performance-wise or functionality-wise. Since they are considered Non-RAID Members, they would not be affected. However, you would want to make sure that you have the latest BIOS update to ensure stability and performance of the chipset and fakeraid controller.

  • I'm trying to figure out how this answers my question :-/ – Django Reinhardt Oct 30 '12 at 17:25
  • Do you have any documentation that backs up your "suspicion" that they won't be affected? – Django Reinhardt Nov 9 '12 at 15:25

The main reason for keeping AHCI on when you use a SSD to install windows is to instruct the OS to run its TRIM command. Once this has been activated windows will continue to run the TRIM command.

My current set up is similar to yours, if not identical in implementation. I have a 6Gb/s Intel 830 128 gb SSD which i installed windows 8 on using AHCI. Trim is currently running. I have 2 x 320gb HDs in RAID 0 as well. My current BIOS setting for Hard drive orientation is RAID, this is so that it sets up the array each time. You can even keep other singular drives on the other SATA controllers, you need to actually specify the drives used in RAID for them to be so.

Therefore to answer your question, no they won't affect it at all. The RAID setting in the BIOS just informs the controller that it needs to set up and maintain a specific array that needs to be defined in the RAID BIOS(yes the controller has its own BIOS).

For reference i leave my BIOS mode in RAID.

Hope this helps, i can answer any other specific questions you have as i have had considerable experience with RAID

  • Do you have any links you could site for your assertion that non-RAID devices are not hindered by being placed on a RAID controller? Thanks. – Django Reinhardt Nov 9 '12 at 15:26
  • 1
    i'm sorry i don't. All i have are benchmarks that show that there is no difference. Theoretically as well, it shouldn't impact it at all. The reason for that is because there is a separate BIOS for the RAID chip. If there was no separate BIOS then yes, setting the ports to RAID mode should have an impact since its controlled from one chip. But since all they do is inform the RAID chip that these ports are eligible for a RAID array, no actual RAID commands are passed through them until they are actually set up through the RAID controller's BIOS. Make sense? – pneumatics Nov 9 '12 at 21:01

The BIOS setting probably changes the entire controller mode from AHCI to IntelRapidStorageTechnology. (aka Intel fakeRAID). That will try to use all drives on that controller in a different way. So yes, it will affect some of them. (The BR drive should be fine since it is not a HDD).

What you might want to do is to leave the BIOS on AHCI, boot windows and create a RAID volume via LVM/Dynamic disks.

  • And how would I do this on Windows 8? – Django Reinhardt Oct 30 '12 at 17:40
  • I still use windows 7, where it is: My computer, right click, manage, disk management, select the drive, convert to dynamic disk, ok, then create new mirrored volume. – Hennes Oct 30 '12 at 17:52
  • im sorry but i don't agree with this post at all. Intel Rapid Storage Technology doesn't set up RAID and has nothing to do with the controller, it merely allows for advanced tools when passing RAID commands to the drives such as dynamic de-fragging and power management. – pneumatics Nov 9 '12 at 22:06

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