Alienware

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Area-51m, no choice of drive for OS installation

Hi guys I have purchased an alienware 51m with 512GB RAID 0 (2x 256GB PCIe M.2 SSDs) + 1TB (+8GB SSHD) Hybrid Drive I would like to know which of these drives dell will install the OS on as after doing some research it seems it is potluck which drive they choose  as after reading various forums some people with similar configuration have had the OS loaded onto the SSHD while others the ssd obviously I would want it installed on the ssd thank you in advance @DellCaresPro  @DELL-Sandeep P 

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7 Thorium

@Jollywanderer  fyi it might not make sense to run 2x 256GB NVMe drives in a RAID 0.  Modern NVMe drives can saturate a PCIe x4 link all on their own, and if the system is designed so that each M.2 slot has a PCIe x4 link but the two of them together share a single x4 link back to the chipset (which is common due to limits on the number of PCIe lanes supported by the CPU), then you're not going to get any performance benefit compared to just using a 512GB NVMe drive.

But if you want to make sure you have control over where the OS is installed, I'd suggest using standard Windows 10 installation media directly from Microsoft.  That will make sure you get the latest release of Windows 10 out of the box, which won't always be the case with Dell's recovery media, and regular Windows Setup definitely allows you to choose your target.  You MIGHT however need to manually supply the Intel RST driver if it doesn't detect your RAID 0 virtual disk (assuming you even decide to keep it).  It will depend on whether the current Windows 10 install media has built-in support for the Intel RST controller version on that system.  If not and you need to supply a driver, you'd download the "F6 floppy" version from Intel's site, then extract the zip file onto a flash drive, and at the point in Windows Setup where you choose your target, click the "Load Driver" option and point it at that folder.  After loading that driver, it will rescan your disks and should find your RAID virtual disk.

From there, you can use Alienware Update to grab any required drivers and firmware updates.


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7 Thorium

@Jollywanderer  fyi it might not make sense to run 2x 256GB NVMe drives in a RAID 0.  Modern NVMe drives can saturate a PCIe x4 link all on their own, and if the system is designed so that each M.2 slot has a PCIe x4 link but the two of them together share a single x4 link back to the chipset (which is common due to limits on the number of PCIe lanes supported by the CPU), then you're not going to get any performance benefit compared to just using a 512GB NVMe drive.

But if you want to make sure you have control over where the OS is installed, I'd suggest using standard Windows 10 installation media directly from Microsoft.  That will make sure you get the latest release of Windows 10 out of the box, which won't always be the case with Dell's recovery media, and regular Windows Setup definitely allows you to choose your target.  You MIGHT however need to manually supply the Intel RST driver if it doesn't detect your RAID 0 virtual disk (assuming you even decide to keep it).  It will depend on whether the current Windows 10 install media has built-in support for the Intel RST controller version on that system.  If not and you need to supply a driver, you'd download the "F6 floppy" version from Intel's site, then extract the zip file onto a flash drive, and at the point in Windows Setup where you choose your target, click the "Load Driver" option and point it at that folder.  After loading that driver, it will rescan your disks and should find your RAID virtual disk.

From there, you can use Alienware Update to grab any required drivers and firmware updates.


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Thank you for the help I'm going to use one ssd for OS and the other for games like star citizen which run better off of ssd then the hybrid drive for most of my steam library ect @jphughan

@Jollywanderer  then you'll want to make sure you are NOT using a RAID 0 setup.  RAID 0 causes the two physical SSDs to appear as a single virtual disk to the OS, with a capacity that is the sum of the underlying physical disks.  As a result, you wouldn't be able to "segment" data between those disks if they're set up in a RAID 0.  And on a side note, RAID 0 increases both the likelihood and consequences of disk failure, because if any disk in a RAID 0 fails, all of the data on the other disks in the RAID 0 becomes unusable.


@Jollywanderer  one more thing in addition to my note above about why you don't want a RAID 0 setup at all based on your setup.  Since you won't be using RAID, then if you'll be reinstalling Windows anyway, before you do that go into your BIOS Setup and switch your system from RAID mode to AHCI mode.  That will disable the Intel RST controller entirely, which means you definitely won't need to supply a driver to Windows Setup.  If you're using RAID, there's no point to keeping that function enabled.


6 Gallium

Welcome to the Dell Community  @Jollywanderer 

An employee purchased the same model about 6 months ago.

His only had one 256GB 2280 M.2 SSD and a 1TB SSHD.

The OS was installed on the M.2 SSD.

But his 256GB SSD filled very quickly as Dell did not set up the 1TB SSHD as the default storage drive.

This appears to be the responsibility of the consumer?

Best regards,

U2

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