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Help with new WinXP RAID5 system setup

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August 30, 2006 4:18:44 PM

I've read thru several of the posts regarding RAID setup, etc but still have some questions. This is my 2nd build but I've never done RAID before.

Here's the basics of the system: AMD Athalon 64 X2, Asus Crosshair mobo with onboard RAID, Win XP Pro x64, 4 WD RE 250 GB HDs.

I'm gonna use the mobo onboard RAID controller to setup a RAID 5 array using the 3 WD HDs. There's nothing loaded yet. What is the order to setup the system for OS install, RAID config, etc?

Do I install Win XP first and then configure the RAID array, or vice versa?
The RAID array is configured in the BIOS -- right?
I want to partition the array into 3 logical drive letters. When is that done?
What else should I be thinking about?

I'd appreciate any help. Thanks.
August 31, 2006 5:45:57 PM

c'mon ... anyone?
August 31, 2006 6:21:17 PM

Here how I understand it.

1) Boot to bios and configure your raid array
2) Boot XP disk and load raid driver disk at prompt
3) Format array in xp setup
4) Finish loading xp
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August 31, 2006 7:24:21 PM

1) Setup the array using the controller's BIOS.

2) Install XP. The installer will "see" just one big hard drive. Create one partition only of the size that you want your system (Windows) drive to consume. You'll probably need to hit F6 during the install to supply the drivers for the RAID controller. You need a floppy disk for this.

3) Once XP has finished installing, use the Disk Management console to create and format the remaining two partitions. Choose the "Quick Format" option to save time.
September 1, 2006 3:51:34 PM

Good advice. Thanks, I appreciate the help.

When is the best time to flash the BIOS?

I read some other posts about needing X2 drivers. I wonder if I'll need to install those. I read that one builder's X2 system didn't have both cores recognised. Is there anything special about a X2 system that I need to worry about?

On a side note....all of this reminds me of the days when I used to supe up my hot rod. Each weekend the guys would bolt on new carburators or headers or cams to reach the next HP goal. Now we do the same thing with our computers. Times are changing, eh.
September 1, 2006 4:22:59 PM

Quote:
Good advice. Thanks, I appreciate the help.

When is the best time to flash the BIOS?

I read some other posts about needing X2 drivers. I wonder if I'll need to install those. I read that one builder's X2 system didn't have both cores recognised. Is there anything special about a X2 system that I need to worry about?

On a side note....all of this reminds me of the days when I used to supe up my hot rod. Each weekend the guys would bolt on new carburators or headers or cams to reach the next HP goal. Now we do the same thing with our computers. Times are changing, eh.


Had I been this age back in the late 60's, I probably would have been in my garage every night tweaking a 'Cuda or Camaro. Instead, I'm down in the basement tweaking my PC. Yep - times are a changing!

Unless you are experiencing problems that would be resolved by a BIOS upgrade or the upgrade would boost performance, there's no compelling reason to flash your BIOS. I have never had a flash go wrong on me, but it happens to some folks. You know the saying - if it isn't broken, don't fix it.

I don't have any experience with the X2 processor - my Athlon64 is a single core - so I can't give you an informed answer. I would check the AMD site for CPU drivers and/or patches, or visit the support page for your motherboard to see if something is available there. Perhaps an updated cool n' quiet driver is required for the X2.

Remember that you'll need the RAID controller x86 driver on a floppy disk prior to installing Windows XP on the array. You must supply the diskette when prompted to hit F6 during the text setup portition of the install. If you're installing XP on a single drive and setting up the array as a non-system drive, you can wait until XP is installed before loading the RAID driver from the CD that came with your motherboard.
September 1, 2006 5:30:04 PM

That brings up a good question. I was thinking of having everything in the RAID5 array. The usual C: drive stuff (OS, Docs & Settings, registry, etc) is all stuff that I would want protected. However, being new to this type of tech, is there a better way to approach my HD & RAID configuration? I suppose the ideal would be a 2-HD RAID1 array for the OS, and then a 4-HD RAID5 array for everything else. But that seems like more mula and tech (and heat) than I want to jump into right now.
September 1, 2006 6:16:15 PM

Quote:
That brings up a good question. I was thinking of having everything in the RAID5 array. The usual C: drive stuff (OS, Docs & Settings, registry, etc) is all stuff that I would want protected. However, being new to this type of tech, is there a better way to approach my HD & RAID configuration? I suppose the ideal would be a 2-HD RAID1 array for the OS, and then a 4-HD RAID5 array for everything else. But that seems like more mula and tech (and heat) than I want to jump into right now.


Just put everything in the RAID 5 array.

If you're not dependent on the contents of your hard drive for your living, then anything more sophisticated than what you are doing is not necessary. Unless you like trying new things and can spend the money...

For most consumers, I'm still an advocate of a simple RAID 0 solution, even with it's inherent increased risk (it's not as significant as people think)
!