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Upgrading from IDE HD to RAID 0 plz help

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May 18, 2006 8:43:31 PM

Okay, here's the situation. I'm getting ready to do my newest upgrade for my PC ... and it's something I've never worked with :p 

Well, I have two Western Digital Caviar SE 80GB 3.5" SATA 3.0Gb/s Hard Drives on the way from newegg.com to do a RAID setup RAID 0.
Yes Raptors are faster... but they cost a good bit more even for only 36GB drives and I read these are pretty fast, and were only $45 each

I have read up on this a bit, and of course my ASUS MB book has all the info I think I need for basic setup, but I have a few questions left....
I still have my 160GB IDE hard drive, and because I have read that a RAID 0 setup can fail.... I want to know if I can use my IDE Hard drive somehow in the setup.

Reading about RAID has been a bit confusing cause there seems to be hints at the answers I want, but I need to know these things for sure before digging in. I think.. from what I read that the SATA HD's in RAID 0 have to be set as Master.. or at least it's how the OS see's them. Originally I thought my IDE HD could be Master, and OS. I also (think) from what I read that an IDE Hard drive can be used as a secondary drive. If nothing else I'd like to be able to use the IDE HD to make backup copy's of the system... just in case one of the SATA's ever failed. If there is no way to use it, I guess I'll have to buy another SATA and set up something like RAID 1+0. Most install guides are great for SATA alone, but found very little on combining SATA RAID 0 and IDE HD's. Another question is - if I can use my IDE HD in the set up, and it cannot be the master drive.. do I need to somehow erase it? It has XP and everything already. I don't mind starting over, but wonder if it would be a conflict on first startup with new drives. I'll be grateful for any help :) 

More about : upgrading ide raid plz

a b G Storage
May 18, 2006 9:55:03 PM

You can use both SATA RAID and the IDE drive at the same time, this is the setup that I currently use. I think you are confusing "master" drive with "boot" drive though. Master and slave drive settings are irrelevant for OS bootup. What does matter is the boot settings in your BIOS. If you set the BIOS to boot from the RAID first, then it will do so (as long as there is an OS installed on it). If it's set to boot from IDE first, then it will do that.

If you have the proper imaging or drive copy software to transfer your old IDE HDD contents to the new RAID, you can do that and then set the BIOS to boot from the RAID. Or you could perform a clean install and transfer what you need. Here's how you do that:

#1 Copy the drivers for your SATA RAID controller onto a floppy disk then turn off your computer.
#2 Connect your new SATA drives to the RAID controller, and disconnect your IDE drive (as a safeguard).
#3 Go into BIOS and turn on the RAID controller, if needed, and set the first boot device to your CD-ROM and the second device as RAID (or sometimes SCSI). Reboot.
#4 During the POST, there should be a way to enter the RAID BIOS (this is different from the motherboard BIOS). Once in there, set up your RAID 0 array. Reboot.
#5 Boot up to your WinXP CD. It will ask at the bottom of the screen to press F6 to install third party RAID drivers. Press F6 at that time and install the drivers from the floppy.
#6 Continue to install Windows onto the RAID. After windows is installed, turn of the computer and reattach the IDE hard drive. Reboot and go back into the motherboard BIOS and change the boot order to boot from the RAID array first if you wish to bypass CD bootup and make sure that the IDE is NOT selected to boot before the RAID. Reboot.
#7 Once windows loads up, verify that you have booted to the fresh install on the RAID and not the old install on the IDE. Pull any important files off of the IDE drive and transfer them to your new RAID setup. Once you have everything you need, format the IDE drive to wipe everything off of it so you can use if for a backup drive.
#8 Use any of the backup applications available to create regular backups to your IDE hard drive in case your RAID craps out on you.
May 18, 2006 10:04:51 PM

Thanks so much for the advise. I'm going to start working on this tonight. I've got a few new cooling components to install as well to keep those drives cool, and air flowing. So may be tomorrow before I get it all back together. Thx again :) 
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a b G Storage
May 18, 2006 10:36:00 PM

Just for fun, download HDTACH and benchmark your current drive and then benchmark your RAID after you get it running to get an idea of the performance gain.

Have you decided on what stripe size to use for your array? Also, I assumed that you know about partitioning and formatting hard drives. If you don't, just ask.
May 20, 2006 12:17:24 AM

Well, I'm responding from my wifes computer at the moment. I worked late today, so I hope to finish putting everything back together by Sat. evening. Sorry was to late to run the HDMark lol.
Also I don't know much about partitioning and formatting hard drives, so that info would help. I've seen the option to format on the drop down list looking at C drive... but that's as far as I've seen it :lol:  My MB handbook says it has an auto option after choosing what type of array. Not sure if that handles stipe size or not. I can do it manually, but not sure about the best settings.
May 21, 2006 12:38:30 AM

Okay, here is an update. I have hooked everything up, and followed the insturctions you gave. When I go into Bios my first problem is under boot order, my options are CD-ROM, hard disk, removable, none. I do have SATA and RAID enabled in Bios. Also the bios does not see the SATA hard drives - have tried removing batt from MB- reboot.
After trying entering the RAID bios, I get the screen, but an error saying there are not enough hard disk for RAID array. ???
So tried XP CD, and I did install drivers from a floppy ... gets to the point of starting windows - no hard disk detected. So, I'm very confused now. I do have power connectors to the two drives, and the red SATA cables connected to SATA 1 and 2 on MB. Computer will boot off old drive if I connect it. Whaty am I doing wrong? It's as though the drives are not there.
May 21, 2006 4:42:56 PM

wow Vode... I was just going to post the EXACT same problem. I can use the MaxBlast software that came with my hard drives and transfer all the data from my IDE drives to my striped RAID 0, but it is HIGHLY unreliable to get into XP. The boot process either stops completely, or the computer becomes unresponsive after loading windows and I have to reboot anyway.

I have an ASUS A&N8X-E Deluxe mobo and 2 matching Maxtor 200GB SATA drives.

I too have followed the above instructions for a clean install, and XP says there is no disk present.

Any help is appreciated.
a b G Storage
May 21, 2006 5:03:27 PM

Quote:
Just for fun, download HDTACH and benchmark your current drive and then benchmark your RAID after you get it running to get an idea of the performance gain.


No offence, but thats a dumb idea, unless he uses HDTACH on a daily basis. A better idea would time bootup with the old drive and the new ones, and check load time for games/maps. It might make him rethink the "glory" of raid to see that the game load times went down by a couple of seconds, and if he spent $100 instead of $90 on a single large drive, he could have had a 250Gb+ drive in his computer, instead of 160Gb.

As for the problem hes having, it sounds like one of the harddrives he put in isn't working. (DOA) Boot into windows and see which drive is working. Switch the power and data cables to see if its a drive problem or cable. As for the boot/bios problem, see if there is some way to change the bios setting for harddrive. I've encountered bios that have the same floppy/drive/cd-rom boot option, but they had a second menu that lets you select which harddrive the bios sees as the boot "drive".
May 21, 2006 5:29:29 PM

Okay, here's a small update.

I put my original HD back in and ran the MaxBlast Software to set the SATA drives up as storage drives. That worked, so I tried to reboot and see if I could get a new windows installation on the SATA drives but again, XP doesn't recognize the drives.

I am now going to take an older 80GB HD that I use for storage and put a clean windows install on there, then hook up MaxBlast to get a clean install on the SATA drives. (crossing my fingers)
May 21, 2006 7:18:45 PM

I think I (may) know the problem now, but having trouble fixing it. My SATA drives are SATA 3.0gb, and though my ASUS MB says nothing about 150 only, I'm thinking it can't see 3.0 drives. From what I found on Western Digital's site I can use a jumper on each drive to revert to 150 .. next lesson learned is this - I ordered these drives from newegg as OEM, and they did not come with any jumper caps. I can find jumper caps online that I can order, but no stores seem to sell them. I'm kicking myself now cause I just threw away an old toasted MB from my wife's computer a couple weeks ago. Who new I could have used jumpers off there :lol:  Wish I could get this up and running, but looks like I will have to order some caps and wait yet again. That or buy a controller that supports 3.0 drives .. which also seem to be out of stock at most stores near me.
a b G Storage
May 21, 2006 11:38:16 PM

Quote:
Just for fun, download HDTACH and benchmark your current drive and then benchmark your RAID after you get it running to get an idea of the performance gain.


No offence, but thats a dumb idea, unless he uses HDTACH on a daily basis. A better idea would time bootup with the old drive and the new ones, and check load time for games/maps. It might make him rethink the "glory" of raid to see that the game load times went down by a couple of seconds, and if he spent $100 instead of $90 on a single large drive, he could have had a 250Gb+ drive in his computer, instead of 160Gb.

Four comments on this:

What do you have against running benchmarks such as HDTACH? (examples please)

Since when do you have to run a benchmark daily to see if you've made an improvement?

You're examples of testing the performance give objective rather than subjective evidence to the actual performance. Benchmarks provide tangible results that have meaning.

Suggesting that he try a benchmark FOR FUN is hardly a "dumb" idea. Had I suggested that a benchmark MUST be run or his RAID setup would not work, then I would accept your observation.
-----

You obviously have some reservations with RAID setups, and that's OK. It's not for everybody. Maybe this person doesn't need 250GB and is willing to go with lower capacity but higher performance.
May 22, 2006 12:27:17 AM

Thanks for suggesting hdtach. I ran it against my raptor 74 and my 2x300GB maxtor RAID 0 drive. My RAID 0 read speed was up to almost 3 times that of my raptor and the burst speed was about 2.5 times faster (approaching SCSI territory). The RAID 0 random access time was almost twice the raptor time, which makes sense, since the raptor time is about half that of either maxtor drive. Arguing against RAID 0 in my setup (assuming reliability for the life of my PC) is hard to do with these numbers.
May 22, 2006 1:06:11 AM

Well, it turns out I was right about the 3.0 SATA not working with my MB. I'm to impatient to order a controller lol, so I ran down to BestBuy. They had 320GB SATA hard drives on sale for $99. Got two and I'm up and running :)  Thx again for the step by step instructions. Now I have just hooked up the old Hard Drive, and I'm going to try to get what I need off of that. If there is any help you could offer on formatting/partitioning it would be great. Also ... don't guess I'll be able to make copy's of that whole RAID setup now that it's bigger than the old 160GB. Maybe I can at least backup the OS and a few other things.

As for the two 80GB SATA 3.0 drives ... anyone want to buy a couple hard drives?? :lol:  j/k
May 22, 2006 1:21:28 AM

Quote:
Well, it turns out I was right about the 3.0 SATA not working with my MB. I'm to impatient to order a controller lol, so I ran down to BestBuy. They had 320GB SATA hard drives on sale for $99. Got two and I'm up and running :)  Thx again for the step by step instructions. Now I have just hooked up the old Hard Drive, and I'm going to try to get what I need off of that. If there is any help you could offer on formatting/partitioning it would be great. Also ... don't guess I'll be able to make copy's of that whole RAID setup now that it's bigger than the old 160GB. Maybe I can at least backup the OS and a few other things.

As for the two 80GB SATA 3.0 drives ... anyone want to buy a couple hard drives?? :lol:  j/k
You're booting off of the RAID 0 drive?
May 22, 2006 3:11:53 AM

Quote:
Well, it turns out I was right about the 3.0 SATA not working with my MB. I'm to impatient to order a controller lol, so I ran down to BestBuy. They had 320GB SATA hard drives on sale for $99. Got two and I'm up and running :)  Thx again for the step by step instructions. Now I have just hooked up the old Hard Drive, and I'm going to try to get what I need off of that. If there is any help you could offer on formatting/partitioning it would be great. Also ... don't guess I'll be able to make copy's of that whole RAID setup now that it's bigger than the old 160GB. Maybe I can at least backup the OS and a few other things.

As for the two 80GB SATA 3.0 drives ... anyone want to buy a couple hard drives?? :lol:  j/k
You're booting off of the RAID 0 drive?

Yes the RAID 0 is the boot device.
a b G Storage
May 22, 2006 8:30:34 AM

Quote:
Four comments on this:

What do you have against running benchmarks such as HDTACH? (examples please)

Since when do you have to run a benchmark daily to see if you've made an improvement?

You're examples of testing the performance give objective rather than subjective evidence to the actual performance. Benchmarks provide tangible results that have meaning.

Suggesting that he try a benchmark FOR FUN is hardly a "dumb" idea. Had I suggested that a benchmark MUST be run or his RAID setup would not work, then I would accept your observation.
-----

What do I have against HDTACH? HDTACH isn't a program. You never use it. This is the same dabate as Synthetic vs real benchmarks. Who cares how many 3dmarks you have, or what your throughput is. What gamers really want to know is how many more FPS does X get me. I don't care if the Raptors seek time is half of other drives, what does it get me. From the benchmarks I've seen, Raptors and (two disk) AID0 arrays fail to provide enough boost to make the cost worth it. I would rather buy a "normal" drive over a raptor if it means I can go from a 7900GT to a 7900GTX, as the GTX will give me more extra fps then the raptor can.

I run benchmarks when I'm testing an overclock. I don't run them daily.

Benchmarks provide tangible results, but synthetic benchmarks fail to paint the entire picture. Again, from what I've seen, if you look at synthetic harddrive benchmarks, one drive can appear to be much faster then others. But when you switch to real world usage, it becomes marginal at best.
Examples? Lets try this. http://www.tomshardware.com/2006/02/06/wd1500ad_raptor_... Oops, synthetic benches only. Again, I don't care how great the Raptor is, what does all this synthetic greatness get me? Lets try this one. http://www.anandtech.com/storage/showdoc.aspx?i=2760&p=... It took me awhile, but I finally found a site with measured times. Here, the raptor proves to load 1.5 seconds faster then the WD500 drive, and a whoping 3.4 seconds faster then the slowest drive of the bunch. Is that worth $300? For the sims 2 test, the raptor is 1.2seconds faster then the WD500, and an amazing 3.4 seconds faster then the slowest drive. It isn't until you get down to the anydvd test that the AID0 and raptors start to be faster in a way that people without stopwatches would feel/see. Even in the winzip tests the AID0 and Raptor, while faster, isn't fast enough to make me take notice.
This is the basic thought I've been trying to get people to see. If you have tons of $$$ (and a good backup stratagy) then AID0/Raptor is great. But for the rest of us, more ram, better video card, and faster CPU will provide a bigger bang for the buck, or will return something you can feel/see.
!