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Can't install operating system on raid 0 sata II hard drives

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March 30, 2006 7:41:08 AM

hi,

im trying to set up a raid 0 pair of hitachi 7k80 sata 2 hard drives. however when i try to install the operating system, i get an error screen saying that it can't detect any connected hard drives. i have an asus a8n sli motherboard. i think i have the latest drivers and firmwares. i need to double check though. besides the drivers and firmwares could there be any other problem that would cause this. im setting up raid 0 in the bios option of my motherboard. please advise. thanks
March 30, 2006 8:12:10 AM

what OS are you trying to install? If it's Windoze, you need to provide it with the SATA array's driver at install - put said driver on a floppy and feed it to the comp...

More detailed instructions should be provided in the Asus' box, so... RTFM!
March 30, 2006 6:01:13 PM

im trying to install windows. i looked through the manuel but it doesn't say anything more than setting up the raid function through bios. any more suggestions?
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March 30, 2006 6:28:23 PM

first off you have to get into the RAID bios and configure your raid.

Next when you boot off of the Windows disk--as soon as you see the blue screen it will say at the bottom "Press F6 to load a third-party driver"

Press F6: note the F6 is not acknowledged. A few moments later it will prompt you to insert the floppy disk for the SCSI/RAID. Insert it and follow the prompts.
March 30, 2006 7:07:57 PM

I actually had the same problem.
Haven't fixed it yet.
Two things you need to do:
1) when you first install windows and theblue screen appears, for few seconds, at the bottom, you can read "Press F6 to install 3rd party RAID drivers" (or something similar).
Press F6 and you'll be asked to insert a floppy disk.
With the Asus MoBo you should have a CD with drivers. One of the menu should let you create a floppy for Nvidia RAID drivers (there are for Win ME, XP and 64 bit).
If you don't have a PC, use the Asus CD to boot the PC and you'll have a menu that will let you create the disc.

2nd thing you need to do: when you enable RAID in the BIOS you'll have to enter the Nvidia RAID config menu.
You typically access it by typing F10 at startup.
Here's where I still have a problem: according to the Nvidia RAID manual I should be able to set the RAID to 0, 1 or 0+1. You will see options as striping, mirroring or striping + mirroring.
In brief, mirroring means you have the same data in two drives (safest). Striping menas that you will see only one drive and Windows will access the two drives in parallel when possible (fastest).
This means a file could be spread across two disks. If one breaks, you'll likely loose most of the data.
Mirroring + striping is a compromise: almost as fast as striping but almost as safe as mirroring. Of course, if you have mirroring, you'll be able to use half of the total capacity only.

Anyway, back to the setup: once you set the mode you like you'll see the new logical drive(s) listed.
You should be able to set one to "Bootable". I couldn't and I don't know why, but that's the procedure.

If you see "n/a/" in the bootable column, then Windows won't install.

Hope this helps.
March 30, 2006 7:55:05 PM

i may be wrong... but...
XP won't let you use a CD for updating RAID drivers... it needs to be a floppy
you'll need to transfer those pesky RAID drivers off the mobo disk
March 30, 2006 8:31:19 PM

I thought that's what I said ...
Mmmm. not very clear: I said
<<
If you don't have a PC, use the Asus CD to boot the PC and you'll have a menu that will let you create the disc.
>>

I meant to say: if you don't have a PC working (cause has no OS) you can use the Asus CD to boot such PC and create the floppy disk with the RAID drivers.
Then you need to reboot and use the WIndows CD to start the installation. Once the instllation start, press "F6" multiple times (to be sure) and enter the floppy disk when requested. Note that there will be 2 drivers on the floppy. Both will need to be installed.

Hope it's clear now.
And yes, windows won't let you use a CD with those drivers.
April 1, 2006 6:35:25 PM

Hi

In my experience (I can't speak for anyone else!!) its a lot easier to build a custom XP disc with Nlite (freeware). Especially if like me you consider the floppy drive to be obsolete (why does Windows still insist on using it!!)

If you want to try using Nlite just integrate the drivers and leave the other settings unchecked (until you know what you are doing :-). That way you can't break Windows by striping out important bits. Is a 5 minute job to do this (just put all your machines extra Windows drivers onto your harddisk - SATA drivers, printers, UPS, audio, whatever!!). Just burn the new version to a CD-RW and you can update it later on as well!!

I hate all that farting about filling in the settings when installing Windows. It is a lot easier to automate all of that as well...

Bob Wya
April 1, 2006 7:49:46 PM

Quote:
You should be able to set one to "Bootable". I couldn't and I don't know why, but that's the procedure.


I had the same problem. Couldn't find a fix for it, so gave up and didn't raid.

Please let me know if you fix that problem.
April 1, 2006 7:53:53 PM

I will. I'm about to return the MoBo (I started having problems with the memory as well) but I'm going to get another Asus w/ Raid.

Will keep you posted.
April 1, 2006 8:01:33 PM

Quote:
I will. I'm about to return the MoBo (I started having problems with the memory as well) but I'm going to get another Asus w/ Raid.

Will keep you posted.


Which motherboard do you have ?

I know there is a problem with the Asus BIOS on my board (A8N32-SLi) and the memtest86/memtest86+ programs that cause errors in test #6. This can be fixed by disabling 'Legacy USB Support'.

Apologies for hijacking this thread :p 
April 1, 2006 9:00:04 PM

I have an A8N-VM.
I know it's a MoBo problem cause the RAM started disappearing ...
I tested each one of the 4 1GB modules and they work fine.
If I use 2, they work fine, but when I load all 4 modules the MoBo shows 2960MB.
If I enable the "memory hole" I get 4013MB. Weird number, but the OS does not load, so it's useless anyway.
It worked fine the first month.
April 2, 2006 10:15:47 AM

try updating the BIOS - could be a problem detecting the upper RAM. Reset your CMOS too.
April 2, 2006 8:05:22 PM

I actually did update the BIOS. No luck.
There's a beta-version too (0902) for my MoBo. I haven;t tried that.
I also have not tried resetting the CMOS: how would that help?
April 2, 2006 9:13:28 PM

Hi

With reference to the 4x 1 Gbyte RAM sticks showing as just under 3Gbyte in the BIOS... That sounds like the RAM is being addressed using 32bit addressing like Windows 32bit XP?? I am not sure why the BIOS doesn't see all the RAM but all Windows 32-bit editions can only address ~3Gbytes max.

If you want to be able to access all the RAM have you tried using Linux (most modern distros have a 64-bit version) or Windows 64-bit XP??

I am not quite clear how the machine would switch between a 64-bit kernel OS and a 32-bit kernel OS?? Maybe the BIOS defaults to 32-bit addressing (for compability) and as soon as you boot into a 64-bit O.S. you would be able to see all 4Gbytes??


Bob Wya
April 2, 2006 10:06:25 PM

The BIOS is OS-independent.
It used to show 4096MB, as it should have.
We're going off-topic here, but I did use both Win XP (standard - 32 bit) and Win XP 64.
When the BIOS showed all 4GB I used to see 2.93GB with Win XP 32 and all the 4GB with Win XP 64.
Other softwares did show different amount of RAM when I was using Win XP 32.
I did not try Linux. I would assume it would report all 4GB like Win XP 64 did.
April 2, 2006 10:50:31 PM

Hi YankeeDDL,

I don't have the particular MB. But perhaps I can help??

First off it looks like you can rule out the old double sided/single-sided modules (i.e. say your board could only support 6 sides total and your 1Gbyte modules were double-sided) since the RAM used to work...

Is the RAM decent branded stuff? It doesn't sound like a RAM failure but I suppose you could rule this out... Also since the memory controller is build into the Athlon-64 CPU (unlike Intel chips) you may have to check if your RAM is really supported (or just appears to work). Also are the RAM SPD timings correctly reported in the BIOS??

Is the behavour the same with all the modules (i.e. can you always see 2048Mbytes RAM in the BIOS whichever pair of modules you install?)
The board is dua channel so try moving modules around between channels...Would likely rule-out seriously problematic memory modules...

Could a BIOS update have subtly broken the functioning MB - causing incorrect behavour (i.e. forcing 32-bit addressing)?? Have you tried rolling back the MB BIOS Revision to a previous one that worked in this case?? RE: taking out the BIOS battery this tends to only help to reset the BIOS settings if you are overclocking,etc. and are locking the board on each reboot. It probably won't help with your problem (but anything is worth a try and it won't hurt any :-)

If the BIOS has stopped reporting the correct amount of RAM but used to work I would probably be looking to ASUS support if none of the above helps... I found the Gigabyte support to be pretty crap (who cares about single users when volume sales is where the money is :-) but you might have better luck with ASUS!!

Bob Wya
April 2, 2006 11:50:40 PM

Hi all, thanks for all the advice. I got it working. I used a friends computer to make a floppy boot disk using the asus support cd. then i just followed your instructions and it worked fine. the only problem I have is that my automatic restart doesn't work. i would have to physically press the button whenever i need the computer to restart. no huge deal. otherwise it works fine. I get have a pair of hitachi 7k80 sata IIs and i did an hdtach. got around 360 burst and 96 read. I can post more specific #s if anyone wants. again thanks all for the advice.
April 2, 2006 11:59:00 PM

Hey BobWya,

any help is appreciated. So thank you. Let's see ...

Quote:
Hi YankeeDDL,

I don't have the particular MB. But perhaps I can help??

First off it looks like you can rule out the old double sided/single-sided modules (i.e. say your board could only support 6 sides total and your 1Gbyte modules were double-sided) since the RAM used to work...


Yes. But, also, maybe it was "marginal" so at the first sign of deterioration (power glitch?) it fell off the edge ...

Quote:

Is the RAM decent branded stuff? It doesn't sound like a RAM failure but I suppose you could rule this out... Also since the memory controller is build into the Athlon-64 CPU (unlike Intel chips) you may have to check if your RAM is really supported (or just appears to work). Also are the RAM SPD timings correctly reported in the BIOS??


The RAM is OCZ Platinum. I'd call that good stuff. 8)
Timings are reported correctly by the BIOS (as in: if I switch to manual, th evalues that I see have been set in Auto match what the RAM are spec'd for: 2-3-2-5.
How would you suggest I check if my RAM is "really" supported?
Also, I did try ine DIMM at the time and run 6hrs stress test with Memtest86. Each module worked flawlessly taken individually.
I also did test 2 modules paired, both in the first 2 slots and in the second two. No problems in any case.

Quote:

Is the behavour the same with all the modules (i.e. can you always see 2048Mbytes RAM in the BIOS whichever pair of modules you install?)
The board is dua channel so try moving modules around between channels...Would likely rule-out seriously problematic memory modules...


Yep ...

Quote:

Could a BIOS update have subtly broken the functioning MB - causing incorrect behavour (i.e. forcing 32-bit addressing)?? Have you tried rolling back the MB BIOS Revision to a previous one that worked in this case??


Nope: have not tried that. I'm going to get to that right now ...

Quote:

RE: taking out the BIOS battery this tends to only help to reset the BIOS settings if you are overclocking,etc. and are locking the board on each reboot. It probably won't help with your problem (but anything is worth a try and it won't hurt any :-)


This MoBo actually has a CMOS reset onboard. But everything worked with default settings. No overclock. And everything stopped working with default settings ...

Quote:

If the BIOS has stopped reporting the correct amount of RAM but used to work I would probably be looking to ASUS support if none of the above helps... I found the Gigabyte support to be pretty crap (who cares about single users when volume sales is where the money is :-) but you might have better luck with ASUS!!


I did. They told me to return the board. Not much help there. I will return it though.

Thanks BobWya.
April 3, 2006 12:33:19 AM

Hi

Since that RAM is top drawer looks like that could be a BIOS problem then...

I am not familar with AMDs memory controller setup really... I am just in the process of switching from a self-built Northwood-based PC to a dual-Opteron system so will have to run myself up-to-speed on the issues.

I tried to get some OCZ RAM for my Opterons cause they do some souped up CL2.5 EEC-RAM but its only available in the US - major bummer)

My understanding about the Athlon-64 memory controller issues (from reading THG you must understand - not practical experience :-) are you would either get a POST failure or the wrong SPD detection so it sounds like you are clear on this front...

Bob Wya
!