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Onboard RAID or Add-in Card?

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February 28, 2009 7:02:10 PM

Hello,

I'm kinda new to RAID but to building a computer. Assuming a basic budget am I better to stick with onboard RAID on the motherboard or use an add-in card (Eg PCI-E RAID card) if I want to have two drives as RAID 0 (for system OS and two as RAID1 (for data, docs, images etc.). Any and all advice welcome.

Thanks

More about : onboard raid add card

March 1, 2009 7:54:14 AM

takenra said:
Hello,

I'm kinda new to RAID but to building a computer. Assuming a basic budget am I better to stick with onboard RAID on the motherboard or use an add-in card (Eg PCI-E RAID card) if I want to have two drives as RAID 0 (for system OS and two as RAID1 (for data, docs, images etc.). Any and all advice welcome.

Thanks


Hi.
Im setting up 2 x 300gb velociraptor (raid 0) & 4 x WD 1tb black (raid 10).i also want to put xp,vista 32 & vista 64 multiboot on the raid 0 velociraptors.

After days of searching the internet i did get some real nuggets of advice which i would be happy to pass on.

Give a lot of thought before attaching a raid to your motherboard because if you upgrade your motherboard in the future you almost certainly will lose the contents of the raid(s). this is usually an intel chipset issue and it plainly says raids cannot be relocated if the chipset changes. Unless of course you buy an entire set of duplicate drives, format them as basic/ntfs and use those backup onto. (i have been there and its not a happy place...also too expensive for most people including myself).

Dont assume the onboard raid will still work if you install a seperate raid card. often they do work, but, if they dont then its 'either or' decision time.
My scenario is worse than yours i suspect because i already have 2 installed esata raid cards attached to 16 x 1tb HDDs, but im not using the motherboard raid yet so will probably have to install a 3rd raid controller (bootable) to handle the 6 drives in my tower.

I would advise attaching all the drives to the raid card if possible as that will avoid any compatibility issues AND mean you can relocated all the drives if you need to.

Im going to be starting mine this month (march) so if you care to share your experiences i would be happy to share mine.
March 1, 2009 8:49:05 AM

With IDE cards, you could add as many as you want, with SATA, you need to make sure every card uses a different chip set. Unless specified otherwise like RR2320.

eg. 2x silicon image SIL3114's will not work together.

Like stated above, it is best to buy a card if you can, the card you buy depends on how important it is to you and how many drives you want.

For mirror, and you don't need many drives, a cheap 3114 or similar does the job.

Myself i prefer to use Highpoint cards due to the monitoring and reporting, also if your card dies, the RAID is still there, just need to get another RR card in the same series.... eg, RR23XX

I am unsure how to confirm this, but some RAID's structure are stored on the drive, others are on the card, I would advise strongly against ANY from of software RAID

I currently prefer RAID 5 as it is a good balance between redundancy and space.
eg, 4x 1TB = 3TB, 2.7TB Formatted (32Bit OS will not support over 1.99TB)
Minimum of 3 drives, but this will allow you to loose 1 drive and recover your data.

I should also point out that a lot of RAID failures are a result of an under-rated or crap power supply's, If your not too sure, get a bigger one.....
Another great point for selecting drives, avoid getting drives in the same batch, if the batch is faulty, you loose everything anyways....... no one ever thinks of this....
I always go via the date code.....
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March 1, 2009 9:52:55 AM

Incorporat3d said:
With IDE cards, you could add as many as you want, with SATA, you need to make sure every card uses a different chip set. Unless specified otherwise like RR2320.

eg. 2x silicon image SIL3114's will not work together.

Like stated above, it is best to buy a card if you can, the card you buy depends on how important it is to you and how many drives you want.

For mirror, and you don't need many drives, a cheap 3114 or similar does the job.

Myself i prefer to use Highpoint cards due to the monitoring and reporting, also if your card dies, the RAID is still there, just need to get another RR card in the same series.... eg, RR23XX

I am unsure how to confirm this, but some RAID's structure are stored on the drive, others are on the card, I would advise strongly against ANY from of software RAID

I currently prefer RAID 5 as it is a good balance between redundancy and space.
eg, 4x 1TB = 3TB, 2.7TB Formatted (32Bit OS will not support over 1.99TB)
Minimum of 3 drives, but this will allow you to loose 1 drive and recover your data.

I should also point out that a lot of RAID failures are a result of an under-rated or crap power supply's, If your not too sure, get a bigger one.....
Another great point for selecting drives, avoid getting drives in the same batch, if the batch is faulty, you loose everything anyways....... no one ever thinks of this....
I always go via the date code.....


Hi.

I know this isnt strictly on thread but i do have multiple SiI3132R5 RAID cards running happily side by side. There are other cards out there that do support multiples of the same card, and i do appreciate this card isnt appropriate for this machine.

To address your question about raid structures.. in 99.9% of cases the structure is stored on the HDDs. I am all to aware that i can move a Silicon Image or adaptec raid from port to port and it will show up fully intact, with data, i can even move from controller to controller and it shows up correctly at its new location. another way to see where the strcture is stored is if your raid 5 loses a drive and refuses to rebuild. In such an instance i convert the raid drives into pass-thru mode and use Zero Tolerance Recovery to recover all data. So far its always been 100%.

My point being that ZTR can read those HDDS with them attached to anything (motherboard non raid, esata, usb...) and in any order! It can recreate the entire structure, and even the dead drive image, entirely from the HDDs even with no raid controller in the machine.

TAKENRA : I dont know if you already have the drives or not so im guessing a little here. you are correct to use raid 1 for your data if you only have 2 HDDs, but If you get a third then consider raid 5. its slower (25-50%) but you do get more disk space for your buck. I have had a number of each and the only reason i quit using raid 5 was the long rebuild times which in my cases also happened if i just turned off the machine without lettting windows shutdown, flush the cache and disconnect the raid. many controllers offer a way to handle such 'dirty shutdowns' for you but it slows the raid down by 5-10% in most (not all) cases.
a b G Storage
March 1, 2009 11:27:03 AM

My game machine is setup with a 250GB 32MB Drive for the OS only, 5 250GB 32MB in raid 5 for 1TB, and external eSATA 1TB backup drive for the raid set, all off the motherboard and I have no performance problems.
March 1, 2009 6:52:40 PM

baddad said:
My game machine is setup with a 250GB 32MB Drive for the OS only, 5 250GB 32MB in raid 5 for 1TB, and external eSATA 1TB backup drive for the raid set, all off the motherboard and I have no performance problems.


Also, as stated above, if you need it, back it up.
March 2, 2009 6:34:04 PM

Thanks to all for their posts. Some really good useful info there.

My main reason for asking was that the RAID on my current mobo is dodgy as I have it set for a 2 drive RAID0 for the OS and used to have a RAID1 for data until it died. I've checked the drives and they're fine. No problems with them at all, but I can't keep the RAID 1 intact. Everytime the machine got turned off, the next time it was on, I was told the RAID 1 array was degraded.
I want to upgrade the mobo anyway for one with more SATA ports (currently only have 4) and given my last experience wanted some recomendations.

Current config is:
Asus P5E-N SLI, 4Gb OCR 800MHz, 2x80Gb Maxtor (RAID0), 2x250Gb Seagate (RAID1), 8800GT graphics, ASUS/ViXS Tv Tuner, Creative Audigy 2ZS,

Thinking about a P5Q-E as a repalcement. Also, anyone have thoughts on NVRAID vs Intel etc for onboard RAID?

Thanks again
!