AMD Releases NVMe RAID Support for X399 Threadripper Platform

Subject: General Tech | October 2, 2017 - 04:12 PM |
Tagged: X399, Threadripper, nvme raid, NVMe, amd, 960 PRO

A recent support page and community update posting suggest that NVMe RAID support is coming to Threadripper and the X399 platform imminently (as soon as motherboard manufacturers release an updated BIOS/UEFI). AMD will support up to six NVMe drives without adapters in a RAID 0, 1, or 10 array with all the drives wired directly to the PCI-E controller in the CPU rather than being routed through the chipset (meaning no DMI bottlenecking). There are no limits on the brand of drives and the NVMe RAID update is free with no hardware or software keys needed to unlock it.

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NVMe SSDs are very fast on their own, but when combined in a RAID array directly wired to the CPU things really get interesting. AMD claims that it saw read speeds of 21.2 GB/s when reading from six Samsung 960 Pro 512 GB drives in a RAID 0 array! The company also saw near perfect scaling with their test array (when adding up to six drives over a single drive) with reads scaling 6x on reads and 5.38x on writes. Intel's VROC seems to have the theoretical performance advantage here with the ability to RAID more total drives (four per VMD and three VMDs per CPU) but only after purchasing a hardware key and when using more than one VMD it can't be a bootable OS array. When it comes to bootable arrays, AMD would appear to have the upper hand with free support for up to six drives that can be used to run your bootable OS array! Windows has never booted faster! (heh)

Along with its partners releasing BIOS updates, AMD is releasing updates to its NVMe RAID Driver (version 17.50) and RAIDXpert2 Windows management ultility. Currently, Windows 10 x64 build 1703 is officially supported and fresh installs of Windows are recommended (and if you are currently running your Windows OS off of a RAID array a fresh install is required).

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Once BIOS updates are available (and they are coming shortly), users will have to jump through a few hoops to get a NVMe RAID up and running, but those hoops may just be worth it for enthusiasts wanting the best storage performance! For one, if you have a RAID array (bootable or not) you will not be able to do an in-place upgrade. If you have a SATA RAID you must back up your data and break down the array before updating the UEFI/BIOS and installing the Windows driver. Further, if your existing array is bootable with your operating system installed on it you will need to back up your data, upgrade the BIOS, and perform a fresh install of Windows with the AMD supplied F6 driver. After upgrading the BIOS, there will be a new menu item (the exact name will vary by manufacturer but SATA Mode and SATA Configuration are likely suspects) where users will need to change the mode from SATA or AHCI to RAID.

Oh, and did I mention to back up your data before diving into this? NVMe RAID support for Threadripper is a long-awaited feature and has a lot of promise with Threadripper offering up 64 PCI-E lanes and, according to AMD, many boards offering 7 slots (6 with a graphics card) which is where AMD is getting the six drive support number. It is appears that using adapters like the Asus Hyper M.2 cards or DIMM.2 slots would allow users to go past that six drive limit though. 

NVMe RAID support on X399 / Threadripper is a feature we are in the process of testing now (see comments) and I am very interested in what the results are! Stay tuned for more information as it develops!

Also read:

Source: AMD

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October 2, 2017 | 05:36 PM - Posted by agello24 (not verified)

please redo the drivers for the ryzen b350 platform. im experiencing a ton of lag with 2 - 1gb drives. i cant find a benchmark for windows 10 to test the raid array.

October 2, 2017 | 08:11 PM - Posted by Paul A. Mitchell (not verified)

Finally figured out why THREADRIPPER has so many PCIe lanes (en)

October 3, 2017 | 02:39 AM - Posted by Baldrick's Trousers (not verified)

All this for free while Intel STILL insists on enforcing it's upsell model trying to make you pay for every little extra feature.

October 3, 2017 | 12:26 PM - Posted by WayBackOnThePCIeLanes (not verified)

It's called product segementation and majority market share holders all practice product segementation once they get majority makret share. Once majority market share is obtained the ony way to increase revenues is to start increasing the levels/segements of produtts offered in that market in an attempt to obtain revenue growth that way.

The only market solution to the majority market share holder's segementation schemes is for there to be healthy competition and we can now see that competition heating up between Intel and AMD with AMD offering more CPU/Motherboard platform features that are standard at no extra cost. Intel will continue to increase its product segementation schemes in order to maintain revenues in the face of having to compete with AMD's Ryzen/Threadripper/Epyc products.

And Intel has had to lower its CPU margns accordingly just to maintain competition so Intel has given up massive amounts of revenues and Intel will fruther its product segementation schemes in an attempt to stop the revenue bleeding that resulted in Intel having to lower its CPU margins to compete with AMD's CPU offerings. Intel still has the majority market share and will use that market share accordingly until Intel no longer has that much of a market share lead with which to practice product segementation to achieve/maintain revenues/revenue growth.

It's more competition that leads to lower consumer prices and as long as one company has such a lopsided market share advantage the product segementation will actually initally get worse in the face of better competition and not better as Intel will be desperately trying to maintain revenues/revenue growth until Intel looses enough marketshare to force Intel to completely forgo revenues in the face of even greater market share losses.

Intel has been a little short with its overall R&D investment as a percantage of its total revenues for many years. So Intel has let itself get behind the curve for CPU/Micro-Arch and graphics improvments and has had to accelerate the introduction of what little newer IP that Intel has to offer and any newer IP will take some years to develop/validate and get to market. So AMD has had time to catch up to Intel and AMD's Fab partners have reached 14nm and smaller on the process node front relative to Intel's in-house fabs so Intel is in for a level of competition that Intel has never seen in its entire existance.

October 3, 2017 | 09:55 PM - Posted by GooGooMamaLisaSu (not verified)

AMD is so great and wonderful. Intel are big old poopy heads for making contiunual improvements when AMD was afraid of making anything new or power efficient for those 5 years. Now they're coming back with Avengers. The gang is all here. The Threadripper is like the Hulk because it is strong. The i7- whoops I mean R7 is like the Hulk because it is strong. The good old R5 is like the Hulk because it is strong. And finally rounding out the group is the stout little performer R3 RYZEN CPU, which I personally own, who is just like the Hulk because it is strong.

Sorry, I had to close and re-open all my tabs because Chrome crashed with my $300 kit of DDR3-2133 memory that pegs my processor.

Where was I? Oh yeah, AMD is so great. There is no way I see Intel being solvent through the rest of the month, or even being a company with any assets by the start of 2018. What is that stupid range of motherboards they're launching? Z370? Ummm, sound familiar anyone? Have some originality Big Blue, that name sounds waaaaay to similar to AMD's amazingly excellent X370. But we're not gonna get mad though, we're above all that petty stuff. Gotta go, my Infinity Fabric blankets are done in the drier (which is powered by my 1000W THREADRIPPER build.

October 3, 2017 | 09:57 PM - Posted by ThermallyPastedGoodGuysForPeace (not verified)


Almost forgot that close parenthesis and looked foolish. Glad I avoided that.

October 5, 2017 | 07:38 AM - Posted by YTech

What I am interested to know is if TR has support for the equivalent of Intel Smart Response Technology.

On the X99, it's supported through the BIOS, but limited to SATA drives. On the next generation Intel boards, it supports PCIe drives.

Now that TR has similar features, is there an equivalent ISRT hardware support available on those boards? It would be nice to know if Ryzen 3-7 supports it as well.

October 10, 2017 | 04:23 PM - Posted by peter j connell (not verified)

"Windows 10 x64 build 1703"

Of the dozen or so accounts of tr's raid i have read, not one bothers to put readers minds at rest about what exactly is build 1703. We are all left wondering if thats all win 64 installs or not.

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