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KenXPSInspr
1 Copper

XPS 8920 SATA Operation AHCI or RAID ON mode

I purchased a XPS 8920 2 weeks ago.  I really am very happy with it.  I am running Win 10. I bought a Western Digital 1TB drive to use for backup and cloning which I cannot get to work for cloning.  The Software is a WD subset of Acronis.  This Acronis software does not work with RAID.  I looked in BIOS or AHCI and found an entry for SATA Operations which is set to RAID.  I have researched this within the community but have not located my specific configuration.  My question is this:  Can I change the setting to the other option AHCI in order to  accomplish this task without affecting my system.  The HDD that came with the tower for Operating system is an Intel Optane 1 TB.  I would eventually like to install an SSD drive which I do  have a SATA port for. Would I need to make changes when I do this.

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beamermt79
4 Germanium

Re: XPS 8920 SATA Operation AHCI or RAID ON mode

I'm not sure how Intel does things with Optain but in the past Raid On was used for high speed cache using Intel Rapid Storage Technology. Basically you would have 32GB of fast SSD and your normal hard drive set up in a **bleep** RAID and frequently used files or programs would be copied and accessed via the SSD. All that aside, if you turn it off it would render your system unbootable as the drivers used for booting your HDD/SSD/Optian system are for RAID and not AHCI. I have heard there are workarounds that possibly work but i'm personally not familiar with them.
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Cbarnhorst
2 Iron

Re: XPS 8920 SATA Operation AHCI or RAID ON mode

You say your 8920 has a 1TB Optane HDD.  You may be confusing some things here.  What I think you have is a 1TB HDD in a SATAIII bay and a much smaller Optane drive in the M.2 slot on the motherboard.  The Optane drive acts as an accelerator for faster startups.  That is a configuration Dell sells.  Besides, Optane is a solid state technology.  A HDD is a mechanical device using platters.

Leave the RAID setting alone.  The RAID setting allows the Optane memory to pair with your HDD to save frequently used files on the Optane drive for these faster startups.  

You certainly can install an SSD drive using your available SATAIII port.  I have two in my 8920.  You can use the SSD as either a boot drive or a data drive.  The Optane memory already accelerates your startups better than a SATA III SSD would but if you have large programs or data files, such as videos, The SSD would provide a lot faster loading for those.

If you plan to use the SSD for a boot drive, be aware that some users do not like the cloning function of the free Acronis tool.  I don't.  I use the free version of AOMEI Partition Assistant to clone boot drives when I am changing my boot device from an HDD to an SSD.  I have found it very reliable and as user-friendly as such a tool can be (you still have to understand the rudiments of what cloning does).  The cloning operation will require an external 2.5" enclosure for the SSD.  You will install the SSD in the computer after you have first done the cloning and removed the HDD.

Once you have cloned the HDD to the SSD, remove the HDD and re-start the computer.  Put the HDD in an external USB 3.5" enclosure and reformat it to use it as an external backup drive or as a second internal data drive.  If you intend to continue using it as an internal drive then reformat it in the external USB enclosure before re-installing it in the computer.  The reasons for the external drive gyrations is that you do not want two bootable drives in the same system at the same time.  It is also important that if you plan to boot with the SSD that you connect the SSD's data cable to the same SATA port on the motherboard to which the HDD is currently connected.  That doesn't matter for data drives but your BIOS is already set to find a bootable drive at that port so you might as well connect your new SSD to that port to start with.

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Vic384
3 Zinc

Re: XPS 8920 SATA Operation AHCI or RAID ON mode

You don't need an external enclosure to clone a HDD to a SSD. Cloning with an external enclosure over USB is slow. If you purchase a Samsung SSD you can use Samsung Data Migration software which is free to do the cloning. You just install the SSD into the computer as you normally would and run the software. When cloning is complete you must disconnect the HDD, otherwise you will have two bootable disks. When you are satisfied that everything is working you can re-connect the HDD and re-initialize it to use as backup storage. Be aware that Samsung Magician software which gives SSD status and ability to update the firmware requires SATA AHCI mode to work. 

I believe that Macrium Reflect Free edition can also clone without the use of an external enclosure. 

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RoHe
6 Thallium

Re: XPS 8920 SATA Operation AHCI or RAID ON mode


@Vic384wrote:

You don't need an external enclosure to clone a HDD to a SSD. Cloning with an external enclosure over USB is slow. If you purchase a Samsung SSD you can use Samsung Data Migration software which is free to do the cloning. You just install the SSD into the computer as you normally would and run the software. When cloning is complete you must disconnect the HDD, otherwise you will have two bootable disks. When you are satisfied that everything is working you can re-connect the HDD and re-initialize it to use as backup storage. Be aware that Samsung Magician software which gives SSD status and ability to update the firmware requires SATA AHCI mode to work. 

I believe that Macrium Reflect Free edition can also clone without the use of an external enclosure. 


But if Window was installed with SATA Mode set to RAID, you won't be able to use Samsung Magician without reinstalling Windows in AHCI mode  And in AHCI mode case you won't be able to use the Optane drive the way it was intended as a cache for Windows, though you might not need the Optane cache if Windows is running from the SSD.

Catch-22  :Wink:

Ron

   Forum Member since 2004
   I am not a Dell employee

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Vic384
3 Zinc

Re: XPS 8920 SATA Operation AHCI or RAID ON mode

Ron, you are correct about Optane being intended as a cache for Windows. In fact, Optane memory can only be used to accelerate SATA based boot drives. This means that there is not very much benefit with installing a SSD as a boot drive with an Optane system. 

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