Raid Setup on new build

Leoslocks

Leoslocks

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#1
The parts for a new build are coming in. What I want to do is build a Raid5 Array for Music, Video and Data storage.

Hardware specs Here

Using 4 SAMSUNG SpinPoint T Series HD501LJ 500GB 7200 RPM 16MB Cache SATA 3.0Gb/s Hard Drive - OEM

Install Vista Ultimate on a SATA drive ( Raptor).
Can I use 3 drives for the Array with 1 dirve (Connected) as a hot spare?

The GIGABYTE GA-P35-DQ6 supports SATA RAID 0/1/0+1/5 Matrix RAID.
North Bridge Intel P35
South Bridge Intel ICH9R

My plan is to Install the OS and then install the 4 drives. Would the Onboard Controller setup the Raid or would this be implimented in Windows? Either way, could I run the OS on one drive and the Raid5 Array on the 4 drives (same controller)?
 
Bink

Bink

Will moderate for food
#2
If you have RAID-5 with 3 drives and 1 drive as "a hot spare", then you've effectively given yourself the same usable drive space as RAID-1. The advantage of RAID-5 is that you get more usuable space, so put all 4 drives into a RAID-5 array (1.5TB usable space) or put 4 drives into 2x RAID-1 arrays (1TB usable space).

You would setup the RAID arrays in the RAID controllers configuration screen (usually prompted to press a certain combination of keys on boot to get into it). This is the better way to do it, but you may need to have a driver disk for the RAID controller standing by for the initial parts of Windows setup (the bit where you press F6).

As long as there's enough ports on your RAID controller, there's no problems with running everything off the one controller, OS, RAID-5, etc.
 
Leoslocks

Leoslocks

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#3
I have more space than I will use. It looks like 6 SATA ports on one controller and 2 on the second controller. I would be able to use a SATA DVD drive, an OS drive and 4 drives in Raid5.
I will use the second SATA controller for the eSATA backup drive.

I do not have a floppy planned for this system. Might the Raid drivers be accessed via USB during the OS install? If not, I will dangle a drive till I get the OS installed.

Thanks!
 
Bink

Bink

Will moderate for food
#4
I've only ever provided the drivers in two ways.

  • Via floppy disk.
  • Integrating the drivers into the Windows installation CD using nLite.

I'm not sure if USB is an option or not. Someone else might be able to give you a definite answer.
 
Tuttle

Tuttle

Resident Cynic
#6
Windows Vista (and Windows Server 2008) will allow you to install storage drivers from a USB flash drive during setup, so you should be okay. For anything earlier, you need a genuine A: floppy drive.
 
Leoslocks

Leoslocks

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#7
Again, thanks for the input. I will try the USB drive first. Still, I am not sure of which controller drivers to use for the safest Raid5 array.
AHCI would enable NCQ and other hard drive features but WrathChild states that the monitoring is self service.
SATA RAID seems simple enough to set up (Ctrl +I during boot), F6 during OS install. Yet I am unaware of how this method monitors itself. The manual screen shots indicate this is still Intel AHCI Controller. Curious about whether the NCQ would work in SATA RAID.

Right now the plan is to set the Bios up for SATA RAID vs AHCI.

Another interesting feature is the Xpress Recovery2 function. Basicly it is used to clone the OS partition to another partition for recovery problems. If I use this, I need to remember to create a partition large enough to handle the OS and software.
 
MAyers57

MAyers57

Elder Geek
#8
I have the Gigabyte too and yes that option caught my eye too. Unfortunately I have not even tried it yet. But just off the top of head I
thought it had to be a 2nd physical drive for the backup. Which would make more sense anyway.
 
Tuttle

Tuttle

Resident Cynic
#9
If you do it with the SATA controller's RAID functionality, make sure you install the full software package once Windows is on. The USB key during setup will give you drivers so Windows doesn't bluescreen on boot, but that full package will also give you a tool that lets you manage the array online and alerts you if a drive fails.
 
Leoslocks

Leoslocks

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#10
Thanks, I now have the latest file. Managing the Array is why I would use the SATA controller vs the AHCI (software?) raid array.
 
Leoslocks

Leoslocks

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#11
Vista installed the SATA Controller drivers from the USB drive. Everything went well until I installed and tried using the Matrix Storage Console. Looking like it would take all day to Initialize the Array, I decided to install the rest of the drivers....... Display drivers installed, Mobo drivers installed and rebooted without permission. I do not know if anything is hosed or not. Vista will only boot into Safe Mode yet the Array Initialization is going on in the background.
The DVD on the SATA controller doesnt work now.

Here is a screen shot of the process.



The Drive on Port 5 was added as a spare to the Data Volume prior to the machine rebooting. It shows up as a spare in the SATA RAID bios.

I intend to let the Array finish Initializing and see if it works. If not, I will delete the Raid Array in the SATA Bios and just use the Intel Matrix Console to create the array.
 
Last edited:
wrathchild_67

wrathchild_67

Hidden Member
#12
If you build the array from the BIOS option ROM instead of from the Windows GUI program, I believe you can skip initialization of the array or at least do a quick initialize which is much faster- on the order of seconds instead of hours.
 
Leoslocks

Leoslocks

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#13
One issue may involve the way I set the drives up.

Port 0 is the OS drive. It is not part of the Array.
Port 1 is the SATA DVD drive
Ports 2 through 5 are used for the Array with 2,3 and 4 as the Raid 5 array and Port 5 as a spare.

If it was as simple as you make it sound, I would be installing software and games now.
I did setup the array from the Bios Rom but after installing Vista, they were still not accessable from windows or the Matrix Software. I formated the drives but may not have initialized them? Hopefully I am learning...

Thanks for pointing me at the Q6600.
 
Tuttle

Tuttle

Resident Cynic
#14
If you could get at the individual drives to format them, it wasn't treating them as an array yet.

In any case, that initialisation is the process it goes through when you're creating an array without destroying the data on all the drives. Just let it run (you can reboot or turn off; it'll recover) and once it's done you should be able to partition and format the array as a whole through Disk Management.
 
Leoslocks

Leoslocks

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#15
One nice big drive. Now for the prospect of getting my business software installed. You know, it was just about as simple as you are saying. Cheers!
 
Leoslocks

Leoslocks

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#16
I moved nearly 100 GB of music files from an ATA drive to the Raid 5 Array. I think I was getting 34 Mb per second transfer rate. It took nearly an hour.
 
Tuttle

Tuttle

Resident Cynic
#17
RAID5 is the slowest of the common RAID types for writing, just because of the need for a parity calculation. That's more noticeable on software-based arrays (including the controllers built into motherboards), where you'll probably see a CPU spike while you're writing as well.

Copying in the other direction doesn't have the same hit.
 
Leoslocks

Leoslocks

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#18
Still, it is blazing fast compared to the old IDE setup I came from. Learning Windows Vista is quite a chore. MS did a good job hiding many admin things from the average user.

Looking at Acronis True Image 10 to see if it can clone Raid Arrays. No reference to it in the sales info.?
 

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