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Going From Single HDD ==> 3xHDD in RAID 5

Last response: in Systems
May 1, 2007 8:24:09 AM

Well, I've got a couple of boxes at the post office with a bunch of parts in for my new computer build, but I have a question. Initially, I only ordered one 320 Gb hard drive. The more I contemplate, the more I'm tempted to get two more of the same make/model and go with RAID 5. The MB is an ASUS P5N32-E SLI Plus with onboard RAID support (including 5), so I know the system will support it, but I have a more interesting question.

I'd like to start out with the new HDD and my two old ones (not in a RAID) so that I can easily copy over files that I want to keep. Once I'm done with that, I'd like to take out the two old drives, put in two identical new 320 Gb drives, then set up the RAID 5.

Is this possible? In other words, will setting up RAID 5 after installation of programs and copying files allow me to keep all my data from the original 320 Gb HDD? My Spider Senseā„¢ tells me that it will, but I'd like confirmation before I go through all the trouble. Thanks in advance for any advice.

More about : single hdd 3xhdd raid

May 1, 2007 8:32:34 AM

my limited knowledge of RAID tells me no it will not work. The RAID setup wipes all Drives. Best you could do is either do what you wanted and use the new drives in a RAID 0+1, Or wait and setup the RAID and then copy one drive at a time.
May 1, 2007 12:30:56 PM

Gonna get awful performance. It will probably be worse than a single HDD in terms of performance. Three drives is the minimum requirement for RAID 5 but I would recomend at LEAST four.
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May 1, 2007 2:18:30 PM

Thanks for the replies so far.

Hmm... RAID 0+1, you say? What I'm looking for is some sort of data redundancy so I don't lose files that would cause my wife to beat me (baby pictures :D  ). Yes, I know I could burn DVDs or do regular backups to other storage devices or _____, but I'm lazy and like the thought of near instant data redundancy provided by RAID.

@Proof -- awful performance if I try my idea as posted above, or just awful performance because 3 drives is not really enough for a good RAID 5?

@alcattle -- so if I can't wait for two more HDDs to arrive in the mail and I set this computer up with just one, are you recommending that I put in the two new drives in a RAID 0+1 when they arrive? That appeals to me in some ways, as I could keep the non-RAID drive as the OS/Programs drive, and use the array as the data drive. Backups of the OS/Programs drive can then also go onto the array. Due to the case I'm using, I don't think I have enough room to go with 4 or 5 HDDs.

For anyone -- if you had the choice between three drives in a RAID 5 or one normal drive plus two in a RAID 0+1 as described above, and your goal was simply redundant data storage (pics, vids, music), which would you choose?

Or would you go with a different RAID option?
May 1, 2007 2:20:29 PM

Three drives is just not enough for RAID 5.