I've bought a Gigabyte GA-M55plus-S3G board, with nVidia Geforce 6100 northbrigde, and MCP 430 south. It supports RAID5 function. I had two older 80G Seagate PATA disks, bought two new 80G Hitachi SATA disks for a 4 disks RAID5 array, because I saw and heard that nVidia southbridges support span across SATA AND PATA function.
My new board doesn't want to use any IDE devices for any RAID level.
My questions are :
1. Is this lack of functionality a mobo or BIOS limitation or is it chipset limitation ?
2. Does anyone have a complete feature matrix of nVidia southbridges' RAID functions ?
3. What solution do you suggest (I want 4 disks in RAID5) ?
The PATA ports aren't wired into the RAID controller. Even before SATA, if you wanted to run an array, you had to use separate IDE connectors on the mb that were wired into the raid controller. Why would you want to do that anyway? You loose all the speed advantages of the SATA transfer rates in a raid 5 array, and it would just create a resource bottleneck. Put your two SATA drives in a raid 0 and run your OS and games from it, and use the other two drives on the IDE channel for storage.
Before I bought the Seagate disks, I had an IBM 60G one (which is now Hitachi), it was dying 3 months after purchase. I was very lucky that I have good ears and heard the first clicks early and was able to save my data. The only thing that I got this brand again was that I managed to get them at about half the normal street price AND I was sure I will create a fault-tolerant array out of them. Otherwise I would never use such disks even if I had been given one free. The Seagate disks are the opposite. Never ever had any problems with them - fluid and stable performance for more than 3 years in everyday usage (8-10 hours/day average). So I like the Seagate disks - they operate perfectly, and I don't wanna throw them just because they're IDE.
But thanks for your thoughts :-)
I believe that only the older generations of the nVIDIA chipsets allowed mixing PATA and SATA drives for RAID -- newer chipsets only allow them on SATA. At least some of the older chipsets don't support RAID 5 as well, so you might be stuck.
In addition, it might be that only 3-drive RAID 5 configurations (32K stripe size) have really good write performance with nVIDIA RAID 5. So the optimal configuration here might be: 1 PATA drive for OS and misc. stuff, 2 SATA drives + 1 PATA drive with a PATA to SATA adapter in RAID 5 with 32k stripe size, 1 >=250 GB drive for external backup.