Samsung EVO 850 plus 2-drive RAID 1 on Gigabyte Z97X-UD5H-BK

Hello all,

Apologies in advance for asking what seems like a question that's been asked a lot - I guess I'm confused by the lack of info, yet the abundance of info as well on the subject.

I finally said enough is enough to my old computer back in February and went out and bought a whole bunch of new gear, put it together and ran into an error here, changed some things, reloaded it, got a different error there, changed it some more, another error, etc... Now it's July and it's still just an expensive paperweight... Please help me put my Devil's Canyon together the right way so I can finally take my old box outside and have a funeral for it.

Here's what I'm trying to build:
Corsair Carbide 400R Case
EVGA SuperNova 1000G1 Gold 1000W PSU
Corsair Hydro H100i Water Cooler
Intel Core i5-4690K 3.5GHz CPU
Gigabyte GA-Z97X-UD5H-BK v1.0 Motherboard
Crucial Ballistix Tactical 16GB DDR3-1600 (PC3-12800) CL8 (2x8GB) DIMM Kit
EVGA GeForce GTX 970 FTW ACX 2.0 4GB GDDR5 PCIe Video Card (PN 04G-P4-2978-KR)
LG WH14NS40 SATA Internal Blu-Ray Rewriter
Samsung EVO 850 500GB SATA III 6Gb/s 2.5" Internal SSD (PN MZ-75E500B/AM)
2x HGST Deskstar 4TB SATA III 6Gb/s 3.5" NAS Internal HDD (PN 0S03664)
Windows 8.1 Professional 64-bit

Hopefully it'll be quite a step up from my old box - a Dell OptiPlex 755 with a 2.4GHz Intel Core 2 Quad Q6600, 4GB RAM, an ATI Radeon HD 2400 Pro, a 250GB and a 500GB internal SATA II drive and 5 1TB+ external USB MyBooks. I've had 3 of the hard drives die in the last 6 months and I've lost a good bit of data as a result, so I'm in crisis mode here... Sorry for the tangent, but it underscores my problem.

The new motherboard has both the Intel chipset as well as two ports using the Marvell 88SE9172 chipset.

Initially I just hooked everything up in order on the Intel controller - SSD, Optical, then the two HDD's and configured it to RAID, but when I ran the Samsung Magician utility it told me it wanted the controller to be AHCI for best performance. I then read some forum posts problems with something called TRIM and something called RAPID mode? So I was going to move it to the Marvell controller, but I read some posts saying that the SSD always performed better on the Intel rather than the Marvell. So I was going to move the HDD's to the Marvell, but then I'd theoretically lose all the extra ports on the Intel controller, since I'm more likely to add more drives to be RAIDed in the future than just the 2 that I have Marvell ports for.

Another thing I didn't understand is that after I had already configured the 2 HDD's mirrored on the Intel controller, through the Windows Disk Manager as a mirrored volume (do I need to do that? - It seems like I shouldn't have to) and then disconnected and plugged them into the Marvell ports, they're not recognized during boot by the controller nor by the Marvell CLI utility (no VD found) but Windows still sees a drive E, and I can still save files to those drives...

So, what's correct, or, at least what's best/optimal? And what's the right order to set the drives up? Please help me turn this paperweight into something I can actually finally use.

Immense gratitude in advance.
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  1. Best answer
    Unless you're short on ports, don't use the Marvell ones. Ignore them.

    Using the motherboard RAID controller is generally not recommended - it's no faster than the Windows one, and can be harder to deal with if you have to replace the motherboard.

    I'd suggest setting the motherboard to AHCI and disabling RAID. Then connect just your SSD to port 1 (and ODD if present to port 2). Install Windows, and get all the drivers installed and windows updates done.

    Next, power down and install the spinning disks in the remaining ports. Boot into Windows and set up RAID 1 there.
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