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Raid on the cheap?

Last response: in Storage
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May 5, 2008 2:06:43 AM

Well this is the deal. I badly need to setup a PC that I can store large amounts of files on with some security. The PC I want to turn into a server is based on an ASUS K8N-E mobo, Athlon 64 2800, and 2 gigs of ram. The PC will use a 80 gig ATA drive to boot and run the PC. The RAID setup will be for file storage only. Not a super speedy beast, but more than adequate to serve MP3s, DVD rips, and store all the family photos and videos. PC are all sitting on gigabit network as well.

My problem is that the mobo will only support raid 0/1. I want to run 3 or 4 HDs in raid 5.
These are the controllers Im looking at which have to be a PCI interface:

HighPoint RocketRAID 1740 PCI SATA I & SATA II Controller Card RAID 0/1/5/10/JBOD
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

PROMISE FastTrak TX4310 PCI SATA II Controller Card RAID 0/1/5/10 JBOD
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Any other suggestions? Must PCI based, 4 SATA2 ports, and under $150

I am most likely looking at these for either a 3 or 4 HD raid 5 setup:

Seagate Barracuda 7200.11 ST3500320AS 500GB 7200 RPM 32MB Cache SATA 3.0Gb/s Hard Drive
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Ive always been partial to Seagate drives, but my mind is certainly open to other brands. Also if I lose a drive, and lets say I cant get the same model I had before, is it going to royally fubar my RAID setup?

Im looking at Windows Home Server for the OS. This a decent idea, or should I just use good old Win XP Pro and save my money? I want to be able to stream video and MP3s to my Xbox 360 on my big-screan LCD and honestly ef Vista unless its the best option. I may need to run some games on this PC from time to time, so a linux server distro is probably not an option, but I wont completely discount it if the reasons for using it are that much more compelling.

Last question. If I ditch the old ASUS mobo and step up to a mobo with an available PCI XPress slot, will this make a big difference in performance or will the performance gains be minimal?

More about : raid cheap

May 5, 2008 6:27:19 PM

Any thoughts at all? I know this is easy enough to setup, but want to hear where people think about using these cards , OS choice, and changing to a PCI Xpress version. Future proof is what Im looking at.
May 6, 2008 7:47:42 AM

Kaldor said:
Well this is the deal. I badly need to setup a PC that I can store large amounts of files on with some security. The PC I want to turn into a server is based on an ASUS K8N-E mobo, Athlon 64 2800, and 2 gigs of ram. The PC will use a 80 gig ATA drive to boot and run the PC. The RAID setup will be for file storage only. Not a super speedy beast, but more than adequate to serve MP3s, DVD rips, and store all the family photos and videos. PC are all sitting on gigabit network as well.

My problem is that the mobo will only support raid 0/1. I want to run 3 or 4 HDs in raid 5.
These are the controllers Im looking at which have to be a PCI interface:

HighPoint RocketRAID 1740 PCI SATA I & SATA II Controller Card RAID 0/1/5/10/JBOD
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

PROMISE FastTrak TX4310 PCI SATA II Controller Card RAID 0/1/5/10 JBOD
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Any other suggestions? Must PCI based, 4 SATA2 ports, and under $150

I am most likely looking at these for either a 3 or 4 HD raid 5 setup:

Seagate Barracuda 7200.11 ST3500320AS 500GB 7200 RPM 32MB Cache SATA 3.0Gb/s Hard Drive
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Ive always been partial to Seagate drives, but my mind is certainly open to other brands. Also if I lose a drive, and lets say I cant get the same model I had before, is it going to royally fubar my RAID setup?

Im looking at Windows Home Server for the OS. This a decent idea, or should I just use good old Win XP Pro and save my money? I want to be able to stream video and MP3s to my Xbox 360 on my big-screan LCD and honestly ef Vista unless its the best option. I may need to run some games on this PC from time to time, so a linux server distro is probably not an option, but I wont completely discount it if the reasons for using it are that much more compelling.

Last question. If I ditch the old ASUS mobo and step up to a mobo with an available PCI XPress slot, will this make a big difference in performance or will the performance gains be minimal?


Hopefully there are some thoughts in these threads that can help!

http://www.tomshardware.co.uk/forum/forum2.php?config=t...

http://www.tomshardware.co.uk/forum/forum2.php?config=t...

Regards

UD.
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May 6, 2008 3:57:08 PM

Thanks Dave. Im going to be putting this project off a little bit anyway. My primary concern is getting the right hardware from the get-go and not spending a ton of money.
May 6, 2008 3:58:32 PM

Kaldor said:
Thanks Dave. Im going to be putting this project off a little bit anyway. My primary concern is getting the right hardware from the get-go and not spending a ton of money.


Pleasure - I hope it helps.

Please let us know what you do and how it works out!

UD.
May 6, 2008 9:56:29 PM

If you're going to use Windows Home Server, you don't need a hardware RAID card. WHS is designed to pool all drive space together in software. All you will need is a sufficient number of SATA connections.
May 8, 2008 5:39:54 PM

I did not know that. How exactly does that work? Fake RAID in software? My biggest concern is moving the array at some point in time from PC to PC. Does Win Home Server allow that?

I know that if I use a hardware RAID card I can just plug card into different PC, install drivers, and plug in HDs and it works correct? Being able to move the array from PC to PC is very important to me with a minimum of hassle.
May 8, 2008 9:09:57 PM

The RAID in WHS is software-based, and proprietary to WHS. You could probably move the drives to another WHS server, but no ordinary computer is going to be able to read them.

By the same token, WHS is not designed to use hardware RAID systems. I think you can technically do it, but even then, if you moved the RAID I think you may not be able to access the files on the drive. If I remember correctly, the WHS file system is not really NTFS so you may not be able to see the files.

If you really want to use hardware RAID and have the RAID moveable from system to system, you need to use a hardware RAID card and a standard server operating system, e.g. Windows Server 2003.
May 8, 2008 9:43:00 PM

Looks like Ill be staying with WinXP or moving to Vista. I dont feel like paying 400 for Server 03 or getting WHS and dealing with a proprietary file system.

Thanks for the heads up Joe
May 9, 2008 2:32:56 AM

Kaldor said:
Looks like Ill be staying with WinXP or moving to Vista. I dont feel like paying 400 for Server 03 or getting WHS and dealing with a proprietary file system.

Thanks for the heads up Joe


No prob. You can do XP/Vista (remember there's a 10 user connection limit), or you could download and install Ubuntu (or any other Linux distro) and share things out with Samba.
May 9, 2008 5:59:00 PM

My primary concern is being able to stream stuff to my Xbox 360. I thought about an HTPC at one point in time, but throwing RAID in a older box, using the appropriate software and streaming to my 360 was just as good of a solution for alot less money, and I get a file server out of the deal too.

I want to my 4 yo son to be able to pick a movie on the Xbox and watch what he wants, without worrying about him messing up a disk. Same goes with me. Id just as soon box my DVDs and CDs up and just stream my content in.

Any HTPC may be something in the future, but right now, too much money for me.
!