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I bought a Dell XPS 8700 which comes with a 2TB HDD paired with a 32GB SSD cache drive using Intel's SRT technology. I'd like to install a new 512GB SSD for the OS and use the separate 2TB HDD as a completely separate file storage drive.

I don't want a cache drive or SRT at all.

After reading about Intel's Smart Response Technology it seems like a weird RAID setup which may have to be disabled in the BIOS. I basically just want to remove the 32GB drive and disable Intel SRT altogether. Can I do this by just unplugging the 32GB SSD, or is the process more complex?

I've searched through Google and found plenty of guides explaining how to setup SRT, but none which explain how to disable SRT.

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  • Smart Response Technology is RAID management. If you wanted to stop using it, you would want to make sure your system can boot once you disable it in BIOS before you remove the drive. But in my experience that is going to be tough without reinstalling Windows. Previous Question on ISRT – Ramhound Apr 9 '15 at 17:00
  • @Ramhound Thanks I do actually plan to reinstall Windows from scratch. I just want to make sure I'm disabling the SRT RAID setup and removing the SSD without doing any damage to BIOS settings or the SATA slots. – Richard S. Apr 9 '15 at 18:13
  • If you don't install the RAID drivers then it won't be enabled. – Ramhound Apr 9 '15 at 18:23
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If the setup is similar to Dell Laptops, then the SSD should be mSata format? And used for system speed improvement rather than with data on it or so. In that case just add 512 SSD to the system (you should have spare power, however no promises about spare SATA cable.

If the 32GB SSD is normal SATA drive, then just swap it and disable it in BIOS. And by disabling I mean change it to "AHCI", as it will be "Sata Operation" option (or similar).

On the other hand, having ISRT enabled may allow you to build RAID with USB drives (at least old IRRT allowed that, not sure about ISRT). It doesn't hurt in WIndows operation... I have laptop - Dell 7520 - with 256GB SSD, 1TB HDD and ISRT enabled and Samsung magician says it's about maxed out performance benchmark despite hysteric messages about AHCI not enabled and SATA 6GB/s not available.

The way the ISRT works is simple, but IIRC it won't work on OS drive. In other words, it's not needed if you have big SSD with OS installed on it.

And yes, as Ramhound says, its easier to do clean install of Windows after disable.

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  • Thanks! This is exactly what I needed. The only trick is to disable the mSata RAID setup in BIOS. Once that's done you set the SSD as primary boot and everything's gravy. – Richard S. Jun 1 '15 at 23:32
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On my HP Envy, I went into the bios and changed the disk setup to Legacy Mode, then tried to boot, go the RAID config screen, removed the raid setup from the 32gb ssd, then saved. Went back into bios, reset default values and installed win10 from usb (if you want to install win 7 just leave it on legacy)

My goal was to only use the 32gb ssd and remove the hard drive completely just using the ssd (32 gb is more than enough for what i need).

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