Samsung SSD firmware update requires SATA AHCI

It’s been more than a year since my last blog entry (yes, I’m still here).  I have several exciting personal and business technology projects underway, and today’s post relates to a personal project.  I have begun construction of a high-end gaming / photo editing / daily use PC.  Today’s post is a quick lesson about updating Samsung SSD firmware on the ASUS Rampage IV Extreme motherboard, but I am fairly certain it applies to other boards as well.

So my Tier 1 storage in this new rig is a pair of Samsung 830 SSDs in a RAID0 stripe for the operating system.  To configure the RAID0, I had to enter the BIOS and change the SATA mode from AHCI to RAID.  This opens up access to the Intel RAID utility (Ctrl + I) during post.  The Intel utility easily allowed me to setup a RAID0 mirror.  Time to move on to installing the latest Samsung firmware.

I burned the ISO image to a CD and booted up.  To my surprise – it did not recognize any drives in the system that qualified for the firmware (and promptly exited to a DOS prompt).  A bit puzzled, I sat scratching my head for about a minute.  Then I remembered a time when I was installing an Intel SSD in my laptop, and their instructions said it the controller had to be in AHCI mode for the firmware update utility.  So I deleted the RAID set and returned the BIOS back to its original AHCI setting.  Thank God I had not installed the operating system yet.

I booted back up on the CD again, and this time – BINGO – it saw both drives.  I went ahead and performed the update.  The utility warns you that it will be necessary to power down your system after the firmware update.  What wasn’t so obvious was that it updates the drives in sequence (one at a time).  The firmware updated quickly and reported success.  I almost hit the power button to reset, but just then I noticed the second drive was being updated.  Samsung should do a little better with the wording otherwise customers will accidentally power off during a firmware update (which could be very bad).  This picture was taken after the updates were performed (I ran the utility again just to confirm that both drives were on the new firmware).

SSD Firmware

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