Thursday, August 31st 2017

AMD to Enable NVMe RAID on X399 Threadripper Platform

When AMD Ryzen Threadripper HEDT platform launched earlier this year, a shortcoming was its lack of NVMe RAID support. While you could build soft-RAID arrays using NVMe drives, you couldn't boot from them. AMD is addressing this, by adding support for NVMe RAID through a software update, scheduled for 25th September. This software update is in the form of both a driver update (including a lightweight F6-install driver), and a motherboard BIOS update, letting AMD X399 chipset motherboards boot from RAID 0, RAID 1, and RAID 10 arrays made up of up to ten NVMe drives. AMD confirmed that it has no plans to bring NVMe RAID support for the X370 or B350 platforms.
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14 Comments on AMD to Enable NVMe RAID on X399 Threadripper Platform

#1
Rehmanpa
This is very good news. It deals with the major advantage that the intel platform had over it. AMD is now, at least in my opinion, objectively better than intel in their HEDT lineup (except with the 18 core 2000 processor that's only nominally faster than the 16 core threadripper with less features).

If only I had buckets of money, multiple samsung 960 pros in a raid for booting, dual threadrippers, multiple gpus, render anything in sony Vegas instantly :P
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#2
Flaky
It may be a purely software solution. And if it happens to be, it might be possible to be ported to other platforms :)
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#3
EarthDog
How many people really boot off nvme raid arrays though? I can see using them but to boot from seems pretty pointless.

Still a good value add and better than intels VROC jazz..
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#5
Solidstate89
EarthDog, post: 3718862, member: 79836"
How many people really boot off nvme raid arrays though? I can see using them but to boot from seems pretty pointless.

Still a good value add and better than intels VROC jazz..
Doesn't really matter how many use it - it's something AMD gets to shove in Intel's face with their VROC bullshit and having to buy a fucking dongle just to get it to work. Any feature they can use against their giant of a competitor is a good thing.
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#6
Rehmanpa
Solidstate89, post: 3718897, member: 106000"
Doesn't really matter how many use it - it's something AMD gets to shove in Intel's face with their VROC bullshit and having to buy a fucking dongle just to get it to work. Any feature they can use against their giant of a competitor is a good thing.
Well said. It's about time intel gets what's coming to them.
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#7
theeldest
EarthDog, post: 3718862, member: 79836"
How many people really boot off nvme raid arrays though? I can see using them but to boot from seems pretty pointless.

Still a good value add and better than intels VROC jazz..
Businesses will buy workstation systems and generally want fast storage that's redundant. Look at Dell's Precision line. They offer SAS controllers and hot-swap bays so they can accommodate customers that need the high performance of a RAID array.

Individuals probably won't use it much, but businesses absolutely will.
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#8
EarthDog
Again, why would they BOOT from a RAID array? I understand, and mentioned, uses for it. There isnt a need to boot from these.

Solidstate89, post: 3718897, member: 106000"
Doesn't really matter how many use it - it's something AMD gets to shove in Intel's face with their VROC bullshit and having to buy a fucking dongle just to get it to work. Any feature they can use against their giant of a competitor is a good thing.
I hear you. But if you NEED to boot of nvme, then one would assume you can afford the dongle.

I know that isnt the point, but, just saying...
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#9
MRFS
My questions have more to do with the NVMe ports
that are currently available, and will be available
on future motherboards with the X399 chipset.

If I could be permitted to speculate a little bit
about how AMD expects to support bootable RAID modes,
for example, it could be that AMD is quietly
working with an OEM controller manufacturer
to provide BIOS support for bootable add-in cards.

What comes to mind, therefore, are the several
AICs with x16 edge connectors and room for
4 x M.2 sockets. Some are proprietary,
like the ones already being offered by
HP and Dell.

On the other hand, AMD have announced
an "agnostic" approach, implying that
their solution(s) should inter-operate
on all X399 chipsets, with all compatible
M.2 NVMe SSDs, regardless of vendor
e.g. 4 x Samsung 960 Pro, or
4 x Intel M.2 Optane SSDs.

To illustrate, Highpoint have announced
NVMe AICs with x16 edge connectors,
and support for installing two of those
AICs in the same motherboard.

Thus, existing motherboards with X399 chipsets
would only need a BIOS update and,
assuming compatible AICs become available,
2 x AICs @ 4 M.2 ports = 8 NVMe M.2 ports
with support for bootable RAID 0, 1 and 10 modes.

My 2 cents, FWIW :)
Posted on Reply
#10
MRFS
> Individuals probably won't use it much

We have an approaching need to increase the size of our ramdisk,
because we've run out of memory in our 16GB workstation.

So, by going with a TR system and 32GB of DDR4,
our ramdisk will then have plenty of room to grow.

Using RamDisk Plus from superspeed.com,
we have enabled automatic SAVE and RESTORE
at SHUTDOWN and STARTUP.

This setup benefits a LOT from a very fast
non-volatile storage subsystem where
the ramdisk's image is saved at SHUTDOWN
(because the DRAM hosting our ramdisk is still volatile).

Likewise, STARTUPs should be accelerated a LOT
by hosting that image on a RAID-0 array
using 4 x M.2 NVMe SSDs.

So, such a RAID-0 will definitely help our individual
workstation users.
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#11
EarthDog
What does a ramdisk have to do with TR? Why cant you add more ram to [insert system here] and expand your ram disk?

Anyway, niche use... :)
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#12
MRFS
EarthDog, post: 3719986, member: 79836"
What does a ramdisk have to do with TR? Why cant you add more ram to [insert system here] and expand your ram disk?
... because my workstation is starting to age,
and the motherboard only supports 16GB max DRAM.

The ramdisk is already sized at 14GB, which
leaves only 2GB for the OS.

(We don't buy new motherboards every 3 years :)

TR is attractive because it should support
multiple add-in RAID cards with x16 edge connectors,
in addition to one or more GPUs.
Posted on Reply
#13
EarthDog
16gb max support...? Yeah, thats aged alright. :)

Id have to imagine if your work benefits that much from such a setup, you wouldnt he holding on to such an old dog. :)
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#14
Fx
RAID 10 is awesome. Thank you AMD.
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