I have a pre-purchase question about the SATA RAID functions on this board. It has serial ATA ports as both a function of the Intel chipset, and from a Silicon Image chip. The latter clearly, at least from the manual text, provides hardware RAID 0 and RAID 1. The text, at least in once place, also mentions that the Intel-based SATA offers RAID 0 and 1, but that it "only works with Windows XP". The BIOS features setting indicates an SATA device can be part of the boot device list, but it's unclear which SATA chip is available.
-Do both SATA chips provide RAID at the BIOS level, or does the Silicon Image chip require a driver within Windows XP to work?
-Can both chips host a bootable device? Can it be a RAID array? Is there a performance advantage for one or the other?
-With the addition of another drive, can a single drive be converted to a RAID 1 set after-the-fact while keeping the data intact?
Gigabyte needs to get more clear labels in their BIOS if they're going to keep using multiple controllers.
The BIOS is very unclear and confusing because this board has two SATA controllers, potentially three RAID controllers, and a lot of BIOS SATA and RAID options, but it doesn't specify which controller each setting is for. I was pretty sure one of them was referring to the Intel controller, but when I changed it and rebooted, it turned out I had changed the settings for the Silicon Image controller.
If you go to the Gigabyte website and look under the FAQ for the 8knxp, it says that you can now use the Intel controller for RAID1 if you update the ICH5R driver and then update the BIOS.
Unfortunately, the Intel RAID driver update does not recognize my Intel ICH5R chip, so I can't complete the process. Intel says I have to reinstall the OS.
I wanted to do RAID 1 on the Intel controller instead of the Silicon Image, as one might expect it to be faster that way. Then I could free up the Silicon Image with its hot-swappable feature for an external SATA HD.
A partial answer to your second question is YES both chips can for sure host a bootable device. I have two WD740GD Raptors (not arrayed yet), and I ran SANDRA twice, once with both HDs on the Silicon Image controller, and once with both HDs on the Intel controller. The Silicon Image actually came out about 4% faster, although I wasn't very careful about it. I suspect if I could update my Intel driver, the comparison would change.