2 TB HD
32 GB mSATA SSD
Machine had Intel Rapid Storage Technology (IRST) installed out of the box. Cached acceleration was functioning normally.
HD suffered catastrophic failure and was replaced under warranty. Dell support contractor installed a new HD, gave me a Windows 8 re-installation USB key, started the new install and hit the road. After installing OS and updating windows (nothing like 160+ updates), I re-installed IRST (most current version from Dell for my Tag).
In IRST, there is no option to accelerate. Both drives are visible in IRST, but the SSD has no volume assigned and does not appear in Explorer. After reading forums, I was concerned that the prior cache may have left something on the mSATA drive. Used Diskpart to clean the drive. No change in IRST. Applied a master boot record to the mSATA drive, but left it unallocated. No change in IRST.
Checked BIOS (updated to latest version, A07). BIOS was set to RAID.
Called Dell Tech Support. A rep tried for about an hour to get it running (all sorts of BIOS checks, IRST uninstalls and reinstalls, basically a lot of what I tried). He decided to send out a new mother board.
New mother board installed by field tech. Fired up the computer. IRST still doesn't show an accelerate option. I tried shrinking the main HD OS partition, as some suggest. No success. I tried re-cleaning the SSD. No change.
I uninstalled and re-installed IRST. Despite reporting that both drives are fine, no option to accelerate is present.
I have a question and a comment.
The question: How do I get my system, which failed under warranty, working in the manner it did when I bought it? How do I make IRST work after having to reinstall a HD after the first one failed?
Comment: IRST appears to be some sort of black magic that Intel cooked up for their own SSDs first. There are so many forum posts by people that are trying to get this tech working, that it suggests a catastrophic failure on Intel's part. Why Dell is placing consumers in the position of having to sort out this mess post-hardware failure is beyond me. I am trying to be understanding (hardware isn't perfect, this happens), but there should be a smooth path to returning to out-of-box condition when you are serviced under warranty. This is not fair to me and other consumers. I bought a $2,500+ machine, maxed out in every way possible, and now it doesn't do what I paid for. There is no caching acceleration using the SSD, and it does make a difference.
The BIOS SATA operation should not be set to RAID. It should be set to Intel Smart Response Technology. The Intel Rapid Storage Technology won't be able to accelerate unless this SATA operation is selected. Likely your previous motherboard was fine.
You will need to reinstall Windows after altering the SATA operation within the Dell BIOS setup. See page 366 of my Windows Reinstallation Guide:
You can also set the SATA operation to AHCI and replace the mSATA cache drive with a 128 GB or superior Samsung 840 Evo:
The price of these being far more economic then it was a year ago. In such a configuration you should install Windows directly on the SSD and this will lead to the best performance.
The 30 GB cache drive was an intermediate between OS installation on the HDD and OS installation on the SSD because high capacity SSDs were too expensive.
Note in either case when you change the SATA operation the system will not boot and you will need to clean install Windows again.
P.S. regarding your comment. I made an Idea on IdeaStorm a few weeks ago on a Storm session with Samsung which if implemented would have addressed the issue:
I appreciate the feedback, but I believe your information is incorrect, at least as far as I can tell.
I actually have 2 Dell XPS One 27s, a 2710 and a 2720. Both, for different reasons have required re-installation of Windows. Both came with the mSATA 32 GB SSD for Rapid Storage Technology cache speed boosting. Both worked out of the box. Both are no longer functional after re-installation.
The crux of the problem is that nether machine, with up-to-date BIOS, has ever had an "Intel Smart Response Technology" option in the SATA configuration. They both have RAID, AHCI and ATA as the only modes they offer. The 2720 is in RAID mode. The 2710 is in AHCI. The Rapid Storage Technology is broken in BOTH.
My major problem with all of this is that I was never told by Dell to take any special steps while re-installing Windows with the USB image they sent to me. Why is it now my problem that my IN WARRANTY machines each went south for different reasons. The hard drive failure in the 2720 is the most outrageous, since Dell would know, beyond any doubt, what my configuration was (they had the machine ID, after all) and what had to happen to set it back up the right way.
I am very frustrated by this, and suggesting that I change settings in the BIOS that do not and have never existed in my machine just adds to it.
I can understand your point of view easily. I also had an in-warranty hard drive failure. Dell replaced it twice and could not get W8 to authorize. They have made registry changes without documenting them, and have used RW-Anywhere for who knows what. For over a week Dell personnel insisted that my machine shipped with W Home, not Pro. There has been a lot of tinkering done by remote access support; there is no way of knowing what "tweaks" have occurred to BIOS or other firmware. For the first sessions, they were attempting to force the system to accept Windows 8 Home Premium.
Now that Level 3 tech support cannot "save" the 2nd replacement drive, they say they are shipping an install disc for W8P. I am very concerned, as I can see no possibility of this system getting restored to a factory-new configuration in this way. I've had a PC since 1982, but I am NOT an IT person. I have built a PC out of Fry's Electronics parts and learned first-hand how difficult Initial configuration Is to do properly. THAT was with much simpler technology than we have today, and I know that the home-built was never optimally configured.
Dell has acknowledged that they cannot provide an image of my system configured as the machine shipped originally. They have tried twice to do just that, with no success. They refuse to replace this six-month-old machine, and I cannot believe there is any other way for Dell to replace what I paid for. Fourth- generation i7 processor, SSD cache, 16GB DDR3, and a dozen or so proprietary accelerator routines, and I am to be the IT person to reinstall W8P? !! Not one chance in a million that this is going to end well.
Dell support level 2 just gave up (after long hours trying and downgrade to W8.1) and asked for a return in factory meaning they don' t know and they don't care. They push back knowing warranty is over and I can't return it to Germany on my own.
Not the kind of support I would expect for such a company.