AMD Launches Superfast NVMe RAID Support for Ryzen Threadripper Processors

AMD Launches Superfast NVMe RAID Support for Ryzen Threadripper Processors

When AMD launched Ryzen Threadripper Processors back in early August, it promised that features like NVMe RAID would arrive at a later time. As of now, drivers to enable NVMe RAID are now available for RAID 0, 1, and 10 (1+0) configurations. This is a significant selling point for AMD’s ultra high-end storage configuration, AMD’s X399 chipset.

This NVMe RAID support is separate from conventional SATA RAID arrays built via the X399 chipset. NVMe RAID hangs directly off the CPU’s PCI Express lanes. Up to three M.2 drives can be used to create an array, and up to six NVMe drives total if you use a single GPU and dedicate the other PCI Express lanes to the task, as shown in the X399 chipset diagram below:

Recently, Intel has talked about a new storage option called (Virtual RAID on CPU),but it hasn’t provided much information about how it works. Tech Report states that VROC will only be compatible with Intel-brand SSDs, and that you will have to pay for the feature, with an additional fee on top of the RAID 5 support. Intel is charging twice for VROC to enable NVMe RAID support where as customers already bought a costly X299 motherboards and Skylake-SP CPUs. Thankfully, no such restrictions are in place with AMD.

Notes from AMD’s support website:

    • Users with an existing RAID array cannot perform an in-place driver or BIOS upgrade to add NVMe RAID support to their system
    • Users with an existing SATA RAID configuration must back up data on the SATA RAID array, and break down that array, before proceeding with any BIOS update or driver installation containing NVMe RAID support
    • If the existing SATA RAID array is a bootable configuration with an operating system, then a fresh install of Windows 10 will be required
    • A motherboard BIOS update is required to support NVMe RAID. After updating to a supporting BIOS, the disk configuration must be changed to RAID (from SATA or AHCI). This BIOS menu entry is often labeled ‘SATA Mode’ or ‘SATA Configuration’.

Performance looks to scale well, provided you need 21.2GB/s of read performance and 11.5GB/s writes. Then again, as esoteric as storage workloads that require this much firepower are, there are occasionally individuals that benefit from them. If you are shooting 4K video or higher, this kind of storage performance will come in handy.


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