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adding identical HDD to my existing SATA Drive to make RAID0

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June 30, 2006 12:36:07 AM

Hello, I'm contemplating trying to build my first RAID Array (RAID 0 off my MB controller, or I can use the 4-port PCI card...don't remember the brand, but it's a decend card...that I ordered off Newegg)

I have read endless forum info about the benefits and drawbacks of implementing a RAID, but I was unable to find any info on how to go from 1 drive to 2 in a RAID 0.

my hardware is in the SIG:
the specific model my OS is built on is: ST3200826AS

the 2nd drive I have that I would like to consider putting in RAID 0 with the one above is: ST3200822AS

Other than the seek times and support for NCQ on the newer one (my mobo doesn't support NCQ anyways) is there any big deal with using slighly different drives, or should i find another ST3200826AS?

also, the thing that I haven't found discussed on the forums is how exactly to do the switch to a RAID 0 Array when all data currently resides on 1 drive. Does anyone have any hints or suggestions on how to do this? I'm looking to speed up the speed it takes to load my games and music, etc.

If this is not the best way to go, I do have 2x160 also in my sig, which are the exact same model number that I could use as a secondary drive for my games, music, movies, etc.

I will backup all my data, so losing data and a drive failing are not a concern to me, but increasing the speed at which I can access files is. and it's also not something I can implement right away...until I can get the 40 Stargate SG-1 ISO's off my drives. Theory and what works for you are much appreciated.

trying to type this up quick at work, so I apologize if parts of what i'm asking are unclear. ask me any questions you have and I'll reply again later tonight if possible.

Thanks guys
June 30, 2006 1:22:48 AM

what does "my hardware is in the SIG: " mean?

and if it means "signature" , best to include one.
June 30, 2006 1:55:30 AM

Unless your card supports OCE/ORLM you'll have to wipe the old drive when you add the new, unless of course you already had the first drive setup as a RAID0 array, then you'r card just needs to support array expansion.

It'd be nice to know what onboard controller you have and what the pci card is.
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June 30, 2006 3:20:33 AM

Here's what has worked for me:

Use a disk cloning utility like Symantec Ghost or Acronis True Image to make an image of your present C drive. Make sure that the RAID driver for your controller is installed before you take the snapshot of your drive. Test your boot media (Ghost or Acronis) to make sure that it recognizes your RAID controller and the 160GB drive(s). Acronis has a boot CD creation utility built right into the program. Save the image file to one of your 160GB drives.

After you have created your image file and verified its integrity (again, Acronis will do this for you), install your second drive and boot your system into the RAID controller's setup utility. Create your RAID 0 stripe set and reboot your system once more, this time from the bootable media that you created earlier. Your RAID array should appear as a single large drive to the imaging program. Use the restore function to drop the image of your C drive onto the RAID array and reboot. You might need to enter your motherboard's BIOS to change the boot sequence from the old single drive to the new RAID array. This should be covered in your motherboard manual. The end result is that you will have a running system which is just the way you left it, with all of your settings and programs intact, only it should be faster because it now resides on a RAID 0 array, and you don't have to spend hours reloading everything from scratch.

Acronis True Image is one of the best imaging programs that I have used for a number of reasons. It will create images of your C drive (and hence, your Windows installation) while Windows is running, which is very cool. The image creation process is very fast, even when you compress the image file. You can choose to perform full or incremental backups which goes way beyond XP's System Restore feature. For example, I take snapshots before upgrading drivers or programs and if I don't like the results, I just revert back to the previous snapshot. This guarantees that there are no residues left behind as there might be after attempting a basic uninstall. Also, I tinker alot so I have images saved of Windows with and without drivers, and with my favourite programs. If I go too far and hose my system, I just reload it from one of the image files and build up from there. This saves me tens of hours every year from having to load Windows from scratch.

One more tip - you can drag and drop (Move) your Documents, Desktop and Favorites folders to another drive or partition on your system and Windows will "remember" the new location. You can then create and restore image files without having to worry about overwriting these folders because they're on a seperate drive from your Windows installation. As long as you make regular backups of these folders, your data will be safe. The advantage is that you can restore your C drive as often as you like without having to restore your data files every time. If you have a lot of data, this helps to cut down on the image creation time and the size of the image file itself.

I might have oversimplified things a little but this pretty much covers it. Good luck!
June 30, 2006 10:48:26 PM

Okay, sorry I thought my signature was showing, but apparently it's not.
here's a copy of it:
Athlon XP 3200+ 400FSB
Abit KV7-V with Via Sata RAID 150
2x512MB DDR400 Kingston ValueRAM
Seagate 200GB 1x ST3200826AS & 1x ST3200822AS
Samsung 16x DVD/RW DL
Ultra X-Connect 500W
MSI FX5700LE 128MB
PROMISE SATA300 TX4 PCI SATA

The promise card is not installed...and I guess I'm not even sure if it does have RAID support.

Thanks for the ghost/acronis tip, I do have Ghost so I may do it that way if I decide to implement it...i'm also tinkering with the idea of a file server, just haven't had time since i'm moving and getting married soon.

any thoughts on the variance in drive model numbers?
June 30, 2006 11:31:18 PM

won't matter, if the drives aren't exactly the same size it will use the capacity of the smallest
July 1, 2006 12:22:04 AM

They are the same capacity...and I understand that there would be wasted space if they weren't the same size. I guess i might ask this question as:

I have 2 hard-drives that are the same capacity, but not the same production model...possibly even different brands (which they aren't) can I build a RAID 0 array with these drives, or will I run into trouble?
July 1, 2006 12:34:02 AM

yes, that's why I said:

Quote:
won't matter


to:

Quote:
is there any big deal with using slighly different drives, or should i find another ST3200826AS?


I've made arrays on ide and sata drives in the same system with very different sizes, no problems ever, you waste space but it works, and the speed will decrease relative to the overall performance of all drives of course.
!