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Setting up RAID Array

Discussion in 'Hardware' started by jlabit, Jan 24, 2006.

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  1. jlabit

    jlabit Thread Starter

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    I have a lot of experience building my own computers but no experience at all with RAID arrays. I have purchased a RAID PCI Card that should arrive at the house today. I already own 2 Seagate 80 gig hard drives and want to set them up in a RAID 0 configuration. I have Googled to try to find instructions for setting it up but really haven't found setup instructions. From what I have read, it looks like I will lose everything on my 2 hard drives and will have to reload OS and software again because I don't have a 3rd hard drive. For just a quick start, I plug in the PCI card, install both HD's, electrically connect the 2 HD's to the RAID card, and then reboot? Is there some type of software that needs to be loaded for the RAID on the reboot? You guys know of any place I can find instructions on how to do this? Any assistance would be greatly appreciated. Thanks.

    Jim
     
  2. D0C_Hol1d@y

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    It's not hard. Understand this though, you will wipe out any data on those drives and you will be installing Windows. That being said. I'm pretty sure the controller you bought comes with a driver CD or floppy disk. Hook up everything without power. Power up and Install Windows. It will ask if you need to load any special controller drivers to hit F6. Do so and load the disk for the controller and select the driver and continue installing Windows. Enter the BIOS and select RAID from the IDE configuration Thats pretty much it. Make sure you follow the directions given by the controller and you won't have a problem. If you have any questions when it's time please feel free to ask.
     
  3. jlabit

    jlabit Thread Starter

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    If I understand, install the new equipment, start reloading WinXP and hit the key when XP asks whether u want to load additional drivers. Do so, selecting the parameters for the RAID, and finish installing XP normally. That doesn't sound difficult at all. Appreciate your response.
     
  4. D0C_Hol1d@y

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    you got it exactly.
     
  5. slawless

    slawless

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    I think you left out one part. After you install the hardware. you will need to get into the RAID bios and set up the array. On my Promise card, the computer will begin to POST and you will see a new screen telling you to press something( I am using the computer right now so I cant check) to get into the raid setup utility. Once you set up the array, then you reboot and install XP with the F6. also be sure the raid drivers are on a floppy. XP will not accept a CD.

    I dont know what type of card you have, but the promise card gives you 5 or 6 seconds to push the right key. I have another computer with ICH5 raid on the motherboard. it gives you abouth 1/2 second to hit the right key.

    good luck
    steve L
     
  6. dickster

    dickster

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  7. crjdriver

    crjdriver Moderator

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    Slawless is correct. The raid array must be created BEFORE you can install anything to it.

    Steps to create raid.

    1 Install card to your system. It is just personal preference, however I like to use the bottom pci slot. On many boards, this slot does not share resources.

    2 Connect drives to the card. If they are ide drives, install each drive as the master on it's own channel. If it is sata, disregard; there is no master for sata. Connect power to the drives.

    3 Restart and enter the raid bios. For promise cards it is Ctrl>F for highpoint it is Ctrl>H. Check your manual for the key combo. Once in the raid bios, you will need to select the drives for your raid array. Note you can connect more than 2 drives to most raid cards. I run 2 seagate 120 sata drives in raid0 and a third WD sata drive connected to the controller for backups. Create the array. Note some controllers use the terms performance or security for raid0 or raid1; again check your manual.

    4 Once the array is created, you can load the os. Use the F6 key to load your raid driver during setup. Once setup finds the array, you partition and format it just like any other drive. With 2 80gig drives in raid0, you will end up with an array of 160. I would partition it into at the very least two partitions. Make the first one around 20 gig for the os and basic apps like office, photoshop, etc. The rest can be used for games, data, etc.

    How you partition is really up to you; it is a personal preference.
     
  8. crjdriver

    crjdriver Moderator

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    BTW if you run raid0, a backup plan is essential. Have a third drive for backups, or very often burn dvdrs with your backups. Remember if one drive of a raid0 array dies, you loose everything. With two drives, you have twice the chance of failure.

    Good decision btw to get a real raid card. I dislike the onboard type of raid controllers since an onboard controller is just a dumbed down version of a real raid controller. The onboard does not have all of the options such as the ability to connect raid and non-raid drives to an onboard controller. Some onboards [nvidia] do allow this, however a motherboard raid controller is still a very limited option.
     
  9. JohnWill

    JohnWill Retired Moderator

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    However, the MB RAID controller is free if it came with the MB. :D FWIW, if you attach a pair of WD Raptor drives to a PCI RAID controller in RAID-0 configuration, you are approaching the bandwidth of the PCI bus, which could be a bottleneck in performance. Just a thought...
     
  10. D0C_Hol1d@y

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    I didn't forget. Don't listen to these dudes. You're going to get faster read times. If all you keep on your drives is the OS who cares is one goes. Ok I will just install Windows again. Big deal. Keep your storage on other disks.
     
  11. crjdriver

    crjdriver Moderator

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    Entering the bios and selecting raid just enables raid for an onboard controller. It does NOT create the raid array. To do that you must enter the raid not system bios and create the array. Once that is done, you can continue.

    No one said you would not get better performance with raid0. Just that a backup plan is essential. Even if you just have your os and apps on the raid array, do you still want to reinstall everything? With something like acronis, I can restore my raid array in about 7 min total start to finish. That beats having to reinstall the os, apps, copy data, etc.
     
  12. jlabit

    jlabit Thread Starter

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    I received the RAID PCI card i ordered on E-Bay today and it is dead. Will return it tomorrow but you get what you pay for and I bought a cheap no name brand with that one. After more reading it looks like Promise and High Point are 2 of the best manufacturers. Could I get one of you guys to recommend a good card for me. I'm good at building computers but no experience with RAID. I want to set up either a RAID 0 or 1 array using 2 Seagate 80 gig IDE hard drives, using the PCI outlet on my computer. My motherboard does not support RAID. Would like to keep it as inexpensive as possible. Also the hard drives are IDE ATA 133. Appreciate any recommendations. Thanks.
     
  13. jlabit

    jlabit Thread Starter

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    Bump.
     
  14. crjdriver

    crjdriver Moderator

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    You are correct. Both highpoint and promise mfg quality cards. IMO the promise cards work a little better, however the highpoint bios is more user friendly. So it is up to you. Here are cards from both mfgs.

    Highpoint

    Promise
     
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