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Solved: RAID problem and fastrak problem

Discussion in 'Hardware' started by garybrobro, Jan 11, 2006.

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  1. garybrobro

    garybrobro Thread Starter

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    I have a promise RAID controller on my gigabyte motherboard. The BIOS appears to recognise the 2 seagate drives I have connected. They are also recognised by XP as two seperate drives. What I appear to be lacking is the FASTRAK utility to build the array. I can not locate this anywhere. I have tried both gigabyte and promise with no luck. What am I missing here. How do I build the array?

    TIA gary
     
  2. bistro

    bistro

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    You should have received a floppy or CD with that card, but you can use Promise's wizard here to obtain the Fastrak driver and installation instructions.
     
  3. crjdriver

    crjdriver Moderator

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    Ok, the onboard promise controller is probably the most complicated and [IMO] the worst of the onboard controllers.

    First you need to set the promise controller for raid mode. This is done in the system bios [not raid bios] It can function as a raid controller OR a regular sata / ide controller but it cannot do both. Next there are two different drivers again depending on whether you use raid or not. You must load the correct driver that corresponds to the mode you have selected.

    From your post, I assume you are not installing the os [windows] on the raid array. Is that correct? If so, then once you enable raid in the system bios you will get the prompt to enter the raid bios. It should be ctrl>F.

    I actually like promise products and have a promise raid card in my own system. Their bios is a little hard to navigate, however you only use the raid bios once to create the array.

    It has always been my opinion that if you want to run raid, buy a real raid card. The onboard ones are just a dumbed down version of a real raid controller.
     
  4. crjdriver

    crjdriver Moderator

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    I should go over the steps to do this in a more understandable order.

    1 Enter your system [not raid] bios and enable raid on the promise controller. Check your mb manual for details on this since each bios is a little different.

    2 Make sure drives are connected and powered.

    3 When restarting, you should get a prompt to enter the fastrack bios. It should be crtl>F if it is like other promise products, however check the prompt.

    4 Select the mode of raid ie raid0 for performance or raid1 for security. Some raid bios just call this performance or security. Other names are mirror and stripe.

    5 Select the drives to add to the array and have the raid bios create the array.

    6 When you are finished, you can use disk management in windows to partition and format the array. If you are installing windows to the raid array, you must install the raid driver during setup.

    Note you MUST install the driver for the mode you have selected ie fastrack driver for normal mode OR fastrack raid driver for raid mode.
     
  5. garybrobro

    garybrobro Thread Starter

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    I have been there but cannot find. I quote
    "Promise does not offer support on any of the following:
    • Controllers sold under another vendors' name
    • Systems such as those from Dell, Gateway, Micron, NEC, Fujitsu or others that may include a
    Promise controller
    • Motherboards which have an embedded Promise controller

    If you have purchased any of the products listed above, please contact the vendor from whom you purchased the product for technical support.
     
  6. garybrobro

    garybrobro Thread Starter

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    thanks cjdriver. You are probably right about onboard being a bad implementation.
    On my gigabyte GA-6RXB motherboard you do not enter the raid BIOS. THis option does not exist. The AMIBIOS appears as normal but the RAID BIOS appears to execute without allowing entry. The drives are recognised by this BIOS. It then boots to XP which recognise the drives seperately. I dont think the arrays are built by the BIOS. I think it then needs a utility called Fastbuild in order to build the array. I do not have and cannot find this utility.
     
  7. crjdriver

    crjdriver Moderator

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    That is because the controller is still set for standard ide. You need to enter the mb bios and set it for raid. Once you do that, you will receive the prompt to enter the raid bios and you can create your array.
     
  8. garybrobro

    garybrobro Thread Starter

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    I really appreciate you trying to help me but I think the BIOS setup is very basic on this motherboard. In the normal BIOS there is no RAID option. It simply moves to the RAID BIOS automatically after it processes the normal BIOS. There is no user option to enter the RAID BIOS! The promise RAID controller swings into action and recognises the two drives but that is it. It does not swing into the Fastbuild utility which the manual implies it will do.
    Thanks again
     
  9. crjdriver

    crjdriver Moderator

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    Have you checked your manual? In the manual for your mb, it shows a jumper to enable the raid function. This must be an older board since this is now handled in the bios. This is from your manual. Once you set the jumper, you will have access to the raid bios.

    JP16: Raid/ATA100 Selection
    Pin No. Definition
    1-2 close Raid Function
    2-3 close ATA 100 Function
    (Default)
    Please note:
    If you want to use "Raid Function”, your IDE3 and IDE4 must be connected with
    Hard Drive. Please set JP15 as enable before adjusting JP16.
    1 1
    Raid
    function
     
  10. Luvpeaceguru

    Luvpeaceguru

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    Could someone please explain what RAID is and what the benefits of it are? I have two serial ATA drives (200GB Maxtor & 500GB Seagate). Is it worth considering changing to a RAID confiuguration?
     
  11. crjdriver

    crjdriver Moderator

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    You would not want raid with those drives. If you setup raid0, you would have a 400 gig raid array. It would be 2X the size of the smallest drive. If you went raid1, you would have a 200 gig array. In short you would loose 300 gig of your large drive.

    In order to setup raid, you should have drives of the same size ie 2 120 gig drives, etc. I like to use drives of the same mfg.

    Generally for most people the complexities of raid do not win out over the speed increase in disk access. If you use very large files like 2 or 3 gigs, then you might see a little increase when using raid0.
     
  12. kam338uk

    kam338uk

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    If its not too much trouble, could you please explain what RAID is in layman's terms, please.
    If you dont feel like it, thats fine too :)
     
  13. crjdriver

    crjdriver Moderator

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    RAID
    Redundant array of independent disks. It is a means of using 2 or more disks that are seen as 1 disk by the os. You can use raid 0 which is for performance, part of each file is written to each disk. This gives you faster disk access times however if you loose one drive, everything is lost.

    Raid1 uses two disks and everything written to one drive is written to the other one. This does not provide any performance increase however it does provide redundancy. If you loose one drive, it is a simple matter to replace the drive and have the raid bios rebuild the array.

    Raid 01 is just like the first example except you use 4 disks; two for stripe and two for mirror.

    I do not like raid controllers that are onboard the mb. They are a very cheap way of using raid. Onboard controllers do not have all of the options a real raid card would have.

    It has always been my opinion that if you want raid, buy a real raid card. Do not use an onboard controller. However that is just my opinion; others may feel differently.
     
  14. garybrobro

    garybrobro Thread Starter

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    Thank you crjdriver. It all seems so obvious in retrospect. i should probably have read the manual from page1 online. It always pays to start from scratch!
     
  15. crjdriver

    crjdriver Moderator

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    I should have checked your manual first. This procedure is now handled in the bios. I assumed it was so for your board also however yours is an older model. That is what I get for assuming.

    Glad you got it to work. I think you will find raid to be more work than it is worth, however it is a learning experience. I generally see about a 25-30% increase in disk access using raid0.
     
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