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[color=red]RAID 5 with USB2 drives. Is this possible[/color]

  • Hard Drives
  • NAS / RAID
  • Windows XP
  • Storage
Last response: in Storage
November 8, 2006 7:41:44 AM

Is it possible to set up RAID 5 under Windows XP pro / Windows XP Mediacentre Edition with external USB2.0 drives?

Since you can enable RAID5 support in Windows XP I was wondering whether it would be possible to create a 4 external USB2 disk RAID 5.
Since every drive should show up as a separate drive letter I would imagine this is possible, however has anyone tried this and does it work?
It would save me buying a new mainboard with a RAID controller and new memory, video card etc.

Your help is appreciated.


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November 8, 2006 8:25:25 AM

Yes, it's theoretically possible. I wouldn't really want to do it, it's far too vulnerable, but it's theoretically possible.
November 8, 2006 9:02:58 AM

You'd have to get some sort of software to manage the drives and prevent them from showing up in Windows as separate drives, but rather appear as one drive. Software RAID 5 will take up a lot of CPU time.
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November 8, 2006 9:19:33 AM

The drives appear in the Disk Management section of Computer Management - you should be able to set them up there without too much trouble.

You're right about the CPU time, though! :) 
November 8, 2006 9:19:38 AM

Why not just get an external NAS solution? I use the readynas 600, but there are many others.

Pros: Transferable from one system to another. (I can carry it to work and back up a Solaris /HPUX/ whatever box...)

Cons: Somewhat more expensive. Need to install software (in my case Raidar) on the system you are installing into.
November 8, 2006 9:31:33 AM

Hard to find a reasonably priced one that'll do RAID 5...
November 8, 2006 9:43:50 AM

600 and under US for a hardware raid controller, a GB ethernet, and the internal connections for 4 (or 5) drives in sata 300, using raid 0, raid 0+1, raid 1, or raid 5, and all enclosed, complete with PSU? Seems reasonable to me....
November 8, 2006 9:52:34 AM

As opposed to maybe 60US for 3 USB2 SATA adaptors?
November 8, 2006 10:02:15 AM

you will be getting what you pay for though... your overall system will be bogged down with the raid5 and then USB isnt all that fast... you would be much better with a Gb NAS system.

But if you want it cheap...
November 8, 2006 10:03:37 AM

No, as opposed to "I can carry it to work and back up a Solaris /HPUX/ whatever box..." Or, I can replace my whole system and still have the same raid... Or, I can lose a drive and have weeks to replace it.

You, on the other hand, lose your MB (or in some cases just your bios) and your data's done for. Me, I'll still be using the same enclosure (and maybe the same drives) many years from now, and won't have lost a byte. Penny wise and pound foolish comes to mind...

But then again, maybe you have no data that's really necessary to keep?
November 8, 2006 11:13:20 AM

trying to get some attention by using color tag for the subject? :twisted:
November 8, 2006 12:41:50 PM

Look, hush!

The question asked was "Is it possible to set up RAID 5 under Windows XP pro / Windows XP Mediacentre Edition with external USB2.0 drives? "

The answer is "yes, it is"

End of story!

If he wants to do something a bit crazy, let him!
November 8, 2006 6:20:53 PM

It doesn't hurt to let him know that it IS wacko, though, and to suggest some alternatives that he might not have though of.

To the OP: there's also the Tom's Networking article on building your own el cheapo RAID 5 NAS using an older computer (~1 GHz Athlon) and a $90 hardware RAID 5 controller from eBay (MegaRAID i4).