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Can RAID 0 be implemented after XP is installed?

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December 13, 2006 3:28:44 AM

1) I just installed xp pro and its many (80+) updates on a new build and was wondering if I could go back through now and start a RAID 0 set up on a duplicate model blank HD?

2)Is RAID 0 that much faster than normal operation, ie no RAID? Is it worth the trouble basically?

3)If RAID 0 is in effect, does that change my ability to back up files from it using Windows or any other image/file back up program? More importantly, will it mess with my ability to put that image back on if something goes wrong?

Thanks in advance :) 
December 13, 2006 3:50:45 AM

if you want to install raid-0 on the system you have to go back and wipe the hd, reinstall windows XP and updates.

raid-0 splits data between 2 hds.. if you only have the data on 1 hd the raid controller cant just cut down the middle and give one half to the other hd it has to be done on the fly. while the data is being processed half is sent one way and the other half is sent another way. therefore the final answer is no. :p 
December 13, 2006 4:00:05 AM

Quote:
2)Is RAID 0 that much faster than normal operation, ie no RAID? Is it worth the trouble basically?


you'll find heaps of debate about this on THWG forums. the benefits of raid0 depend on what you use your pc for. certain applications will benefit from the increased hdd read rate (video editing, moving large files), while others will suffer or have no benefit at all.

my recommendation is that if its not too much trouble to reinstall xp, try raid 0 for yourself, recognise its strengths and weaknesses, and back up your essential data to a stand-alone (non-raid) drive.

also, i've found from using silicon image on board controllers that it is beneficial to have identical hdds in a raid 0 array. i tried it with a seagate 7200.7 and 7200.9, and it gave me heaps of trouble. however, 2 X 7200.9's worked perfect.
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December 13, 2006 1:12:37 PM

Thanks for the thoughts, that completely covers the questions for me. I do some video editing so I will pursue a set up here soon.

That being said, can I just back up what I have off of one HD (onto a firewire external hd) and put that image onto a RAID 0 setup?

Thanks :!:
December 13, 2006 2:01:54 PM

I have an Asus M2R32-MVP mobo based on the ATI 3200 chipset, and I'm 99% sure that it's implementation of RAID let's you build a RAID 0 array after you've installed an O/S on your primary drive. I don't have the manual in front of me though....
December 13, 2006 4:17:19 PM

Quote:
I have an Asus M2R32-MVP mobo based on the ATI 3200 chipset, and I'm 99% sure that it's implementation of RAID let's you build a RAID 0 array after you've installed an O/S on your primary drive. I don't have the manual in front of me though....


i'm technically not sure about that one cause i know the that your talking about the A8R32-MVP which uses yes the express3200 chipset AND the ULI 1575 southbridge. that one has SATA 3.0. but unfortunately even that one doesnt let you build on the fly and even if it does let you build on the fly its not worth it because you would only get performance out of the new data you you put in after the raid is built. the windows xp installation still remains non-striped and i'm assuming if your going to do a stripe raid you want the windows xp to be striped cause thats the most important part.

best option is to just reformate both hds, set them in raid-0 and then reinstall windows XP. i'm assuming you have a fairly decent system if you want to do raid-0 so even if you destroy everything and start over it shouldnt take more than 1.5 hours to get your windows up and running and all the patches installed again.
December 13, 2006 4:28:55 PM

Sounds like a clean start is best for performance and overall use.

Currently I use a 10k rpm 36gb for XP, another 10k rpm 36gb for games and 2 320gb's for video and music storage.

Just wanted to push the envelope a little, if it was worth it.

Cheers.
December 13, 2006 5:03:49 PM

Quote:
...i know the that your talking about the A8R32-MVP which uses yes the express3200 chipset AND the ULI 1575 southbridge.


Just to clarify, the board I was referring to is an AM2 board and it uses ATI's own SB600 southbridge. ATI has some kind of funky RAID system.. I haven't tested my theory, but I like I said, it might let you build a RAID array after the fact... ?
a b G Storage
December 13, 2006 5:05:18 PM

You may be able to ghost your current image to a backup drive, but that requires making a bootable ghost disk that will recognize your RAID controller AND have Windows support for your RAID when you boot up which may prove to be a task and a half. You have to have your RAID drivers installed on Windows for it to boot from the disk. If not, that image of yours may not work at all.

I'd do RAID if I were you, but that means backing up your stuff and starting over from scratch. You will notice and appreciate the difference at the cost of a few hours of your time.
December 13, 2006 5:09:58 PM

In theory, raid0 will typically increase your transfer rate to a theoretical maximum of twice that of each drive. In most scenarios, the seek times will remain the same as with a single drive.

What this translates to (in my understanding) in the real world is that transfer of large, unfragmented files will be faster. Repeated reading/modifying of very small files will result in nearly the same performance as with a single HD.

In your situation, it would make sense to raid-0 the 2 raptors (those 36gig 10000'rpms are raptors, right?) since they already have a much shorter seek time, to get the best of both worlds (seek time and data transfer). Your loading-sensitive apps would likely benefit noticeably (games, OS files, most programs) if they were to be loaded on that dual raptor raid setup.

Don't forget that chances of data corruption increase exponentially with every drive you add to your raid-0 array. And you probably know that a failure of a single drive will result in the loss of all data.

my 2c

Cheers
December 13, 2006 5:25:04 PM

Leo,

I hear you. I use Norton Ghost to back up my files normally which has been extremely effective.

Here is the scenario I am trying to work out:

I delete the drives completely and start over on a RAID 0 setup, new xp install, updates and everything, then try back that up with a ghost file to an external firewire hard drive.

Some where, something goes whack and I need to come back to a stable system in less than 2+ hours.

Quote:
You have to have your RAID drivers installed on Windows for it to boot from the disk.


(1) Now could I just delete all the drives again, set up the array as it was in the bios and use the norton start up disk and have it recognize the array as the drive it took it from any way? (I have never been to this land with ghost before.)

(2) Could I maybe just use the less superior windows back up (in the first place instead of ghost) and using the win xp cd, mount that back up with system information to the same system? (My thinking there is that the mobo comes with raid drivers and some other things that I know it understands.)

That seems like a gray question but, I just want an easy way to back up and restore the RAID 0 array just as I do now with Norton Ghost.

Thanks.
December 13, 2006 5:33:56 PM

Redwing,

That is very helpful information. The games and OS speed up is desired. No doubt, things could go wrong. The more to a system, the more can go wrong.

Yes they are raptors.

It seems worth the risk of failure based on the fact that it is implemented regularly in Dell, Alienware etc. and does speed things up a bit.

We get spoiled. Its all a toy, I just want to get the most out of what I have and minimize the time loss.

Thanks again. :) 
a b G Storage
December 13, 2006 5:35:36 PM

Honestly, I think the only way to get a good Ghost image for you is to actually create an image from your particular RAID disk with all the drivers as part of the restore. That way you know that Windows has support for your RAID, but you'll need to have your controller drivers as part of the boot-disk for Ghost to see your RAID for you to restore it if you ever need to. Same thing goes for creating the Ghost image in the first place since it's a DOS-based program.

Something I'd like to mention too...make sure you have your RAID drivers ready on a floppy for when you install XP on the RAID. You need it for Windows Setup to see your RAID (after you create the RAID in your BIOS). That usually comes with your motherboard (don't know if you've seen the RAID floppy with new motherboards or not, but that's what it's for). The same files on the floppy will be the ones you'd use for the Ghost disk.

I don't know how to actually create the Ghost disk with support for a RAID controller, so that's something to research before you do this.
December 13, 2006 5:51:05 PM

Leo,

SOLID answer.

That is what I am looking for.

I am aware that the RAID drivers are on that mobo disk, but how to get them onto a ghost rescue disk will require that 'research'.

Thanks so much.
December 13, 2006 6:18:33 PM

In my expirience, the drivers you'll find on the mobo disk are not DOS type drivers. That is, you won't be able to load them via config.sys and autoexec.bat. They are typically *.inf files that are meant to be loaded during the Windows install.

My restores consist of reloading Windows to the point were I can see the network drive that holds the images. Load Ghost for Windows and restore the appropriate image.
December 13, 2006 6:27:36 PM

MISRy,

Case and point well taken. It does not take that long to get windows to that point and then ghost an image from there. It would let me also know that the array and all is right before moving the image.

Good to know a way that is done practically, and is successful.

Thanks.
a b G Storage
December 13, 2006 6:27:38 PM

You're probably right. I do recall seing the .inf extension, but I wasn't aware you couldn't use them in a DOS-based program like Ghost. I work with a bunch of guys who create disks like that with support for certain networking controllers and I believe those use .inf files as well. I can ask them how they do it.

Ok here's a link I found:

http://service1.symantec.com/SUPPORT/ghost.nsf/docid/19...

Talks about Ghost and RAID support (limited by a lot...unfortunately).
December 13, 2006 6:53:38 PM

Zooairz, there's no need to reload your OS. Here's a simple solution for your problem:

(1) Boot to Ghost, run a "clone" from your system drive to a backup drive, then shutdown.

(2) Disconnect the system drive and boot the backup clone to verify that the clone is good, then shutdown.

(3) Connect the new RAID0 set and stripe it in RAID BIOS, then boot to the backup clone. The OS will find the RAID0 hardware and prompt you to install the drivers.

(4) Reboot and verify the RAID0 set in device manager, partition and set active, then shutdown.

(5) Boot to Ghost, run a clone from the backup drive to the RAID0 set, then shutdown.

(6) Disconnect the backup drive and boot to the RAID0 set.

I've used this procedure many times. It's quick, easy, and reliable.

Hope this helps you out, and enjoy! :D 
December 13, 2006 7:05:42 PM

Well I kind of like that. That will go to print for trial. Thanks Comp.
December 13, 2006 7:12:20 PM

Feel free to PM me if you have any questions.
December 13, 2006 8:26:20 PM

Quote:

Don't forget that chances of data corruption increase exponentially with every drive you add to your raid-0 array. And you probably know that a failure of a single drive will result in the loss of all data.


It doesn't increase exponentially. Sheesh. It's just doubles. If it were to increase exponentially, having two drives would mean it's 4 times as likely to fail. Don't use big words if you don't know what they mean.

What this means is that if a drive has a MTBF of say 1 million hours, going to 2 drives in RAID 0 will have a MTBF of 500,000 hours. What's the MTBF of the drives you're thinking of using? Once you know that, then you'll have an idea of what kind of increased risk you're facing.
December 14, 2006 12:15:11 PM

Thanks to all for your advice and thoughts. I am reformatting the whole deal and will do the RAID 0 and clone it to a back up. That seems like the best way to go.

You guys are great.
!