Where should I setup my SATA drives?

The motherboard I'm on is this: http://www.intel.com/design/motherbd/bz/index.htm

As you can see from my motherboard specs, I have two SATA connections on my current motherboard. Although, the problem is that my BIOS does not allow for RAID configuration.. it only enables/disables those SATA connections.. hence I am using the PCI card for my RAID configuration.

I have this PCI RAID Controller card: FASTTRAKS150TX2+ (Here are the specs: http://www.ciao.com/Promise_FastTrak_S150_TX2plus__10125689#productdetail)

I used to have two 250GB drives.. I thought I was running Raid 0.. but even though one drive failed/died.. the other is still full of all the data. So I don't think I was even in Raid 0 mode.. since if one drive failed.. isn't all data supposed to gone? Anyway...

I'm in the process of receiving two brand new 640 GB drives now (http://www.wdc.com/en/products/products.asp?driveid=394).

I am not sure if I should set these up on my motherboard simply as SATA drives or if I should set these up on my PCI RAID Controller in RAID 0 mode.. could anyone offer their input? Which option would allow me to utilize these drives at their maximum potential?

The reason I ask is because a single PCI is limited to 133 MB/s (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Peripheral_Component_Interconnect): and since I have two harddrives on this PCI controller.. the speed will actually be cut in half to 66.5 MB/s.
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  1. Your motherboard supports RAID 1 and 0.
    Sounds to me like you need to do some in depth reading on RAID, I don't think you completely understand the function or how to build a RAID array correctly. Thus, in all probability, you don't really even need it.


    If you have 2 drives in RAID 0, they will transfer at 133MB/s, IF they can indeed even move data that fast. (most 2 drive RAID 0 array's will top out 90-115 MB/s, so you really need not worry about the PCI's "limited" bandwidth.
    2 drives in RAID 0 split all the data in half, so each drive is only reading/writing half of theoretical total throughput.
  2. Thanks for the reply jit!

    Perhaps I should link you to an unofficial FAQ of my PC.. it's a Dell 400SC.. which doesn't have *exactly* that motherboard (but it's the closest).


    Hmmm.. I think I have a pretty good understanding of RAID. Like I said, I "supposedly" had a RAID 0 array on my previous hard drives (2 X 250GB).

    "RAID 0 (striped disks) distributes data across several disks in a way which gives improved speed and full capacity, but all data on all disks will be lost if any one disk fails."

    I am wondering why if I truley had a RAID 0 setup.. and one of my drives failed previously.. how is it that my other drive is completely full? I honestly don't think I was running in RAID 0 before.

    You mentioned "most 2 drive RAID 0 array's will top out 90-115 MB/s"... so then why does each hard drive have a data transfer rate of 300 MBps?

    Basically what you are saying is that it doesn't matter if I connect these two drives to my PCI controller via SATA (RAID 0).. "each drive is only reading/writing half of theoretical total throughput".. meaning that each drive will only be transfering 45 Mbps-57.5 Mps.

    If this it the case.. why is the average read/write speed on these drives in the lower 90MBps then? http://www.extremetech.com/article2/0,2845,2282240,00.asp

    How do I best utilize these to their max performance?

    Thanks for the feedback.

    ~ Im2bz2p345
  3. If your original drives had been in RAID0 you would see a single 500Gb drive in Disk Manager. SATA drives do NOT have a read speed of 150/300 Mb/s, that is the max speed of the interface. The sustained transfer speed is limited by the rotation of the platter past the head and the density of the data on the platter. Onboard controllers are still on the PCI bus.

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