I have an ASRock FM2A85X Extreme 4 motherboard and would like to install two 500GB HDDs in a RAID1 array, for data storage only. I already have a boot disk in place, which is an SSD, with Win 7 Home Premium. This version of the OS does not support software RAID1, only RAID0, which is not what I need. Plus I would rather not encumber the CPU with all the calculations needed for RAID. So I'm looking for a hardware solution that's completely "OS-blind." Never done that, though, and would appreciate your help with my newb questions.
Firstly, do I need to buy an add-on RAID controller/card? If so, which one would you recommend?
[I cross-posted this to the Motherboards forum as well, as I did not know where it would fit better.]
Cheers, but I would rather use the drives as internal HDDs. I have read that some motherboards have an embedded RAID controller but I do not know if the ASRock FM2A85X Extreme 4 does - it probably doesn't as I have not seen it explicitly mentioned anywhere. So I suppose I need to buy an add-on RAID card, but I am at a total loss as to which one I should go with.
Well even if you get an expansion RAID card, you will have to set up your array in your BIOS or with Easy Raid Installer. This probably means it will interact with the OS itself. Since your mobo is RAID ready, i think any PCIe raid card will be compatible. Since I used my mobo directly to set my RAID 0 array, I can't recommend a RAID card insightfully more than another.
Since your mobo is RAID ready, i think any PCIe raid card will be compatible.
So - does "RAID ready" not mean that it has an integrated hardware RAID controller with a RISC chip? Oh well, I'll get a PCIe RAID controller card then. What I also thought about was dumping this whole RAID idea, and use one HDD as my data disk and the other one as a backup, with something like CrashPlan installed - I have heard it can do backups every minute if you set it up that way. Naturally, this is not the same as mirroring but comes quite close AND it offers some accidental file deletion protection, whereas with RAID, if you delete a file, it will be gone from both disks. The downside is that it uses the CPU's resources whereas a good RAID controller card comes with its own RISC chip.
When I said ''RAID ready'', I was referring to the manufacturer's website where they say the motherboard supports Easy Raid Installer. The website also mentions that the mobo can use RAID 0, 1, 5 and 10 array.
That being said, you mentioned that Win 7 couldn't configure RAID 1. I'm pretty sure you can chose the type of array depending on how many drive you have in your disk manager when creating your RAID config. This mean you might not need an expansion card after all (unless all your SATA III ports are already all used).