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Internal SATA disks

Last response: in Storage
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July 29, 2008 1:04:40 PM


Hi,

I currently have a desktop computer with 4 internal SATA II hard disks. I can turn the machine on, but the RAID controller is not working anymore. Therefore, I am unable to boot my machine, since the hard disks are not recognized.

I would like to know whether there is any possibility of connecting these 4 hard disks to a laptop through a PCMCIA card or something similar. Or is there any other (better) alternative?

Thanks.
Mike

More about : internal sata disks

July 29, 2008 2:07:28 PM

Qs:
- Are you trying to recover the data, or just to use the disks?
- Were the disks configured in a RAID array, JBOD, or a mix of both?
- What MB? Specifically, what southbridge chip, if you know it? Or if your disks were connected to a peripheral card controller (e.g. PCI, PCIe or PCI-X), then what model controller card was it?
- Where was your O/S installed?
- How large are the disks? How old?

Data Recovery
JBOD: You should be able to purchase an affordable external disk enclosure for a single 3.5" disk that you can plug into your laptop w/ e.g. USB or Firewire (1394). You can purchase these online or at e.g. Best Buy. Just make sure to get a 3.5", not a 2.5" enclosure.
RAID 0 or 5: If your disks are in a driver-controlled (as opposed to Windows-controlled) RAID array (e.g. RAID 5 or RAID 0), then your laptop won't be able to pull the data out in a usable way. Your best bet is to get a new MB with the same or similar southbridge, and try to get Windows to run with the new MB. Sometimes this works straight away, and sometimes it requires a "Repair Windows". See the THG article about RAID Migration for more info. But before you head down this path, you should be very sure that your current RAID controller is in fact dead

Continued Use
As noted above, you could use a USB-based external controller to get to your disks. But this won't deliver very good performance compared to a well-implemented RAID 0 or RAID 5 array. If you had a 4-disk RAID array to begin with, chances are you want that performance again. Your laptop won't be able to do much with it, however, since you can't easily connect a laptop to an external RAID array except through 1394, USB or Ethernet. Gb Ethernet will give you the highest throughput (1 Gbps), followed by 1394b (800 Mbps), USB 2.0 (480 Mbps), 1394a (400 Mbps), Fast Ethernet (100 Mbps) and USB 1.1 (12 Mbps?). None of these approach the performance of a RAID card on a PCIeX4 connection which can achieve up to 1 GBps, or about 8 times as fast as gigabit ethernet. Of course, 4 good drives won't be able to achieve more than ~ 400 MBps unless they're hitting cache.

It would help if you said more about what you are trying to do.

[edit]Quick note about HD performance limited by disks[/edit]
July 29, 2008 2:22:01 PM

Hi,

- Are you trying to recover the data, or just to use the disks?
--> I am trying to use the disks.

- Were the disks configured in a RAID array, JBOD, or a mix of both?
--> The disks were configure with two RAID 0s.

- What MB? Specifically, what southbridge chip, if you know it? Or if your disks were connected to a peripheral card controller (e.g. PCI, PCIe or PCI-X), then what model controller card was it?
--> The disks were connected to a full hardware RAID controller. It is an old Intel RAID controller, but don't currently have the details.

- Where was your O/S installed?
--> I installed openSUSE 10.3.

- How large are the disks? How old?
--> 2 brand new disks (500GB each) and 2 a bit older (1 year ago, maybe less) 150GB each.

I think that the controller is dead, since during the boot (POST?) it tells that it cannot find the controller at address (or interrupt). I tried changing the PCI slot, with no luck.

What I am trying to do is at least get the data (I had some data) out of these disks.

Thanks.
Mike

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