Solved: Will SATA Controller cards ?work

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Bud Norris

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I have a motherboard with two SATA ports. I'm using one port for a Combo drive. I was thinking of creating a RAID 1 array. However, I need the one SATA port for the Combo drive since it doesn't work with IDE. So I thought of adding a PCI SATA controller card for additional SATA ports.
I contacted my motherboard manufacturer about this. They informed me that I cannot do this. They say the MB bios rom does not have space to add another SATA controller. I can accept this.
However if this is true of my MB why do the PCI SATA controller cards continue to sell? The cards tell you which OS to use but not the MB's.
I was of the impression that PCI cards were like standalone devices that would work with almost any MB that has PCI slots. Am I wrong? Evidently I am.
Anyone know about this restriction? Any way to overcome it?
 

crjdriver

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As long as you have an open pci slot, you can install a controller card.

Next a simple controller care is NOT going to allow you to create a raid array. You need a raid card. Raid cards cost quite a bit more than a simple controller card so make sure you understand what you want.

Next do not buy a cheap raid card. Good brands; promise or highpoint. A quality card is going to cost you $125 or more.
 

Bud Norris

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What is a RAID card? My understanding is that WIN XP supports RAID and all you need are SATA ports with SATA supporting drives. My problem is adding additional SATA ports.
 

crjdriver

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What you are referring to is software raid. This is one of the most problem prone items you could find. If you are in any way serious about data security/backup, you do not want software raid.

First and foremost, why do you want raid?

If you want raid, then you need to either buy a raid card and connect the drives to that OR you could buy a controller card and connect your sata optical type drive to that and use the onboard sata ports on the board [which support raid] for your hd and create the array that way.

FWIW I always recommend buying a real raid card if you want raid. The onboard type controllers are basically a cheap version of a real raid card. Again you have to decide what it is you want any why you want it; ie data security, speed, hardware redundancy, etc.

It would be best to post what it is you are trying to accomplish by setting up raid.
 

Bud Norris

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Evidently I didn't make myself clear about my wanting to create a RAID 1 (Mirror) array. I want to install a Serial ATA (SATA) controller card in a PCI slot. This card supports RAID 0 and RAID 1 arrays. I would then connect two Serial ATA (SATA) supporting hard drives to this PCI card. Since Windows XP supports RAID operation I would then be able to store my data on the two RAID drives so that if one fails I won't lose my stored data.

Now my problem stems from the fact that my motherboard already has two onboard SATA ports and the MB manufacturer says I can't do this because my motherboard BIOS rom doesn't have the space to add another SATA controller.

If this is so why don't the PCI card manufacturers mention that with certain MB's you can't use a Serial ATA (SATA) controller card if your MB has SATA ports onboard?

Aren't PCI slot cards supposed to operate with any MB that has PCI slots? Is Serial ATA (SATA) operation any different than other PCI slot operation? They sell these SATA controller cards every day without any warning about this problem.

Has anybody encountered this problem previonsly?

Can anyone explain what is meant by the BIOS rom?
 

crjdriver

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As I told you, yes you can install a controller card however it is NOT going to do what you want. If you are concerned about data security, you DO NOT want software raid. You want hardware raid where the raid card creates the array and not windows.

If you want raid, your options are what I posted above.
1 Install a raid card.
2 Install a controller card for your optical drives. Use the motherboard sata ports to connect your hard disks to and configure raid.

These are your only options. From your post, I get the idea you want to install a controller card and then use the motherboard's bios to create raid using the ports on the controller card. This will not work.
FWIW raid of any type [0,1,01,5, etc] is NOT a backup plan. If you run raid, you must have either a third drive that is not part of the array to store images, backups, etc OR have an external drive for image files, backups, etc.

You do understand that if you use the motherboard sata ports, you must do a clean install of xp. If you use a real raid card, this is not necessary if you follow the correct procedure.
 
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well i did a search on your mobo and i clearly see plenty of pci slots for a sata raid card so im not sure why the manufacture states "you cant add a pci card to your pc because you dont have pci slots", so like "CRJDRIVER" states use a pci sata raid card for your sata drives for redundency and use the onboard sata ports for your optical stuff, dont use onboard software raid it sucks....
 

Bud Norris

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I do appreciate all the replies I've received. Thank you!

However I'm beginning to get confused. First, isn't a "Serial ATA Controller card" a card that handles "RAID" disks? If this isn't a "RAID Card" then what is? Please let me know.

Second, I'm already using one of my SATA ports for a SATA only Combo drive so I need at least two additional SATA ports to set up a RAID 1 array. Follow me so Far?

Third, unless i'm totally lost, I will need to install a "Serial ATA Controller card" in one of my PCI slots in order to gain the additional SATA ports. (Forget about the two ports on my motherboard, they're not going to be used for the RAID 1 array). I'm assuming that the new card will have some software that setup the this card for RAID operation since the card info says it supports RAID 0,1.

Fourth, I will then connect two 250GB HDD's to this new PCI card's SATA ports and set up these two drives as my RAID 1 (Mirror) array.

Fifth, I do not plan on changing my present drive steup. My OS will stay where it is, on a drive that has nothing to do with the RAID 1 array.

Sixth, I don't plan on setting up anything called "software RAID"; I don't even know what that is.

Seventh, and last, if this doesn't explain what I want to do then I just have to forget about asking for help because I can't explain it any clearer. If so I apologize.
 

crjdriver

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A controller card and a raid card are two different things.

1 A controller card has 2 or more sata ports. It does NOT support raid. Depending on the card you may or may not be able to connect an optical drive to the card. Controller cards usually run $35 or so for a good one.

2 A raid card looks the same however it has 2 or more sata ports that DO support raid. A good quality raid card costs $125 or more. Do not buy a cheap raid card; it will cause ALL kinds of grief.

Since you do not want to change the current config of your board, you need a raid card and NOT a controller card. Good brands are promise or highpoint. FWIW the promise card has better performance however the highpoint card has an easier to understand and use bios.
 
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...
I contacted my motherboard manufacturer about this. They informed me that I cannot do this. They say the MB bios rom does not have space to add another SATA controller.
...
I suspect what the manufacturer means but is poorly explaining is you can not install a PCI card and use it AND the MB SATA ports to create a RAID array. The BIOS won't let you use an add-on card to add disks to a RAID array on the onboard ports. You can add as many controller/raid cards as you have available slots.

... the card info says it supports RAID 0,1.
...
If the card says it supports RAID then it MIGHT actually a SATA RAID controller, not just a SATA controller. However, when they say it supports RAID 0,1 they may actually just mean it supports WinXP Mirrorred Volumes and Striped Volumes, which is really saying nothing, and borders on false advertising IMO.

If you can post a link to the card you are looking at, we can tell if it is actually a SATA RAID controller, or just a standard SATA controller.

HTH

Jerry
 

Bud Norris

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Here the card I'm looking at:

This card is a SATA II card which has more RAID features than I would ever use. However it is a "RAID" controller card and I'm using some SIIG hardware now.

http://siig.com/ViewProductList.aspx?query=SC-SA3012-S1

I talked to my MB manufacturer again and now they say "no" is their standard answer because they haven't tested the board with any SATA controllers.

So I think my questions have been answered. The cards will work with my MB. Now all I have to do is get the $ required to add the RAID 1 disks.
 

crjdriver

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Just so you understand that card runs at sata 1 speed ie 150. It has "some" sata 2 features however it runs at sata 1 speed. FWIW I always recommend either promise or highpoint raid cards. It is up to you however I would go with one of those mfg.
 
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Definitely a RAID controller. Kind of confusing that they are calling it a SATA II card when it only supports SATA speeds though. Just be aware that with a PCI card you will be limited to the PCI bus speed of 133 MB/s and won't see the full SATA speed of 150 MB/s. If you have a PCIe or PCI-X slot you'll get much better speeds, and would be able to use true SATA II speeds as well with a card that supports SATA II speeds. A 66MHz PCI slot (266MB/s) if you have one would be better too, but this page doesn't say if this card supports 66MHz though.

If your issue has been resolved you (and ONLY you) can use the Thread Tools at the Upper Right to mark this thread Solved.:)
 
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In case it has not been mentioned, RAID IS NOT BACKUP
Raid 1 will only cover you against hard drive failure.
If you get a virus or windows get corrupted then it will be on both drives
 
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