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Converting One SATA drive with data to RAID0 w/o reformat?

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March 16, 2006 5:03:01 PM

Please forgive me as I'm a total noob when it comes to RAID (plus this is my first post ever on THG!)

First my applicable specs:
CPU: P4 2.8GHz Northwood (overclocked to 3.35MHz w/ Zalman fan, ok that wasn't applicable 8) )
MB: ASUS P4P800 Deluxe
Hard Drive 1: WD Parallel ATA-133 IDE drive ~70GB (with XP Pro)
Hard Drive 2: WD SATA-150 250GB (for games)

The motherboard has two SATA connections and supports RAID-0 on these.

I recently added the SATA-150 drive just to check out this new(er) technology. But now I'm interested in setting up a RAID-0 for Gaming by buying another 250GB SATA hard drive. My operating system and important files will remain on the drive 1 (the IDE). That leads me to my questions:

a.) Does it matter if I get a SATA-150 or one of those newer 3Gb/sec drives? Will my motherboard support those drives even if I don't get any extra performance (eg like running a ATA-133 drive on a board that supports only up to ATA-100)?

b.) Is it possible to covert an existing drive with data (games) to RAID-0 by adding another drive without losing the data on the first drive in the RAID? If so how?

c.) Is it better to set up the RAID through the motherboard bios or through Window's XP Pro?

Sorry if this has been discussed before but I couldn't find the all the answers to my questions in these forums or through Google searches.

MisfitSELF
March 16, 2006 6:02:33 PM

You can not make the PATA drive into a raid 0 without wiping out your data.

You can add a second sata drive, and build a raid 0. You will need to use the BIOS config for the drives. Hardware raids are better than the software type. Again you will loose you data on the drives. RAID 0 spreds the data between 2 drives, so there is no way to preserve the data. Having another HD you could copy all of your files to it.

It is a industry standard that when you set up RAID of any kind, that best performace is made with all drives being equal. Which means MFG, Model, PN, Capacity, and if you can the same firmware on the drives. Corporations generally buy drives in bulk. That way they all come from the same production run.

If I recall correctly on your Asus MB you can set which drive you want to boot from. So you could have 2 different setup, and control through bios, without the use of a boot manager.

As other post Raid 0 (stripping) increases your odds of failure, and add no data redundency. You will need some kind of backup program if the data is critical, and you can not afford to loose.
a c 144 G Storage
March 16, 2006 6:06:32 PM

I do not know of a way to use a drive with files on it to make raid 0. raid 0 puts a small chunks of file on both drives to get its speed. i would recomend if your use raid 0 you back up often. if one drive goes all the data on both goes too :( 
now why do i run raid 0 for my files....damn i need space to store then while i rebuild with 2 120s and not 2 250's. that fear of one going and taking all is starting to freak me out after 3 years.

so just use raid 0 for windows and keep important files on non raid 0 volumes and CD/DVD just in case.

it is best to build your raid in the bios. at least i think.

EDIT
well Blue68F100 beat me to every point while i typed mine...LOL
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March 16, 2006 6:46:24 PM

Thanks for the input. I wasn't planning on "Raiding" the P-ATA drive anyway just the SATA drive. Since it's just games on that drive, I'm not really worried about data loss as much as having to reinstall them all after I go to RAID-0.

I do have a home network, however, so I may just move all the files over to a spare hard drive will I work on the RAID on my main computer. Then just move it all back when it's up and running. Does anybody now if there are any pit falls with this plan?

I was also hoping to get one of the newer "3Gb/sec" drives as opposed to the SATA-150 (SATA-I?) as they are about the same price on Newegg. Just to clarify, does the second drive REALLY have to be the same make, model, PN, etc, etc? I'm not sure WD makes the exact same drive anymore. :( 

MisfitSELF
Anonymous
March 19, 2006 12:42:11 PM

If you don't want to reformat, use a program like norton ghost or the likes to make a complete image of your partition(s), then install the new drive(s) then restore the image to that new drive(s).

I just had to do the same thing myself a few weeks back after adding my second SATA drive to my system then running raid 0.

the process took about 1 hour and i had about 32G to back up and restore
March 23, 2006 2:58:10 PM

Well, I went and ordered two 160GB Western Digital S-ATA II drives from Newegg and they came in yesterday.

To test whether or not I can get away with just copying the files off, setting up the raid and copy the files back, I went ahead and copied the files to a temp directory on another computer on my home network. I've also used the Microsoft "Backup" to create an image of the same drive (also stored on my spare computer). I've never used Microsoft Backup before so this is kind-of a "test with-in a test" for me.

Tonight I'm going to remove the current S-ATA-I drive from my computer and install the two new drives and set-up the RAID-0. I realize I may have to apply a jumper to "force" the drives into SATA-I (or 150M/sec), but first I'm going to see if they'll work without the jumper. Tomorrow or the next day I'll report on the results.

I have Battlefield 2 loaded on the current "D" drive and I'll call it successfull if I can run the game after simply copying the files back from my spare computer. If that doesn't work, then I'll restore the backup from my spare computer and I've learned something. At worst, I'll have to reinstall the games on the RAID.
March 25, 2006 4:29:16 AM

Quote:
I do have a home network, however, so I may just move all the files over to a spare hard drive will I work on the RAID on my main computer. Then just move it all back when it's up and running. Does anybody now if there are any pit falls with this plan?

Just the personal files only.
It won't work with moving the OS&programs.

Wusy,

Sorry you were not entirely correct. I finally set up my RAID last night and today with two 160 GB Western Digital SATA drives and successfully ran Battlefield 2.

Like I stated in a previous post, I merely copied my installed games from the D: drive to another computer on my home network. I then installed the drives, set up the raid in bios (using 128KB cluster or strip size), downloaded and installed the ASUS/INTEL raid driver in XP, initialized and formated the drive (note: this was a little more complecated than I first expected but I learned a lot). I then merely copied the files back to the "new" D: drive and ran Battlefield 2 and it loaded just fine.

I suspect that why it worked was all the "pointers" in the operating system (XP Pro) were not broken since they still "pointed" to the "D" drive for the game and the game was exactly where it was expected to be after all my file transfers....namely right back on the "D" drive (which is now a RAID-0.

I do agree, however, with you Wusy that if it had been operating system files I probably would not have been successful.

Now could anyone please comment on what the proper strip size should be for a RAID-0 which is primarily used for games? Or at least point me to the right Thread?

Thanks all.

MisfitSELF
March 25, 2006 8:00:56 AM

raid 0 also known as striping......combines two hdds for speed consideration...
the data is interleaved between the two drives...the total amount of storage resulted is 2x smolest drive..the drives can be different in capacity sata or pata...of course you cannot combine one sata with one pata........there is pata raid 0 and sata raid 0
if one hdd fails the entire matrix is doomed.......for data faulty protection use raid 1 ... for speed and data faulty protection use raid 1+0
March 25, 2006 3:00:07 PM

Fainis,

How does this have to do with what we are talking about? Don't hijack my thread!! :x

I didn't ask for a definition of RAID, I can find that on other threads. I asked for a recommendation on strip or cluster size for RAID0 for gaming. I'm not at all interested in data protection only speed. My original question, about how to set up a RAID-0 and retain the data on the original single drive was answered.
March 27, 2006 6:03:33 AM

look man i wasn`t....i was just correcting the man above ...if you already know the answer the why posting...............
March 27, 2006 6:04:55 AM

if you read carefully the posts you`ll see a lot of mistakes ... you don`t expect the answer from me just pick the advice ...
March 27, 2006 1:15:38 PM

But you replied to me and my message. Which mistakes did I make or state?
!