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Combining RAID and non-RAID

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September 21, 2009 4:02:19 PM

I've searched through the forums and this has come up a couple of times but I'm slightly confused over the best way to manage the controllers.

I have a Gigabyte GA-EX58-DS4 mobo, this has an Intel ICH10R controller and a Gigabyte SATA2 controller. At the moment I'm looking to run a single non-RAID HD for the OS (still Win XP atm) and then a RAID 1 pair of 500gb Seagate Barracudas for my data, at some point in the future I may want to put the OS on a RAID 0 pair.

What is the best way to set up the controllers? I've read that it's best to put the non-RAID drive on a different controller to the RAID pair.

I've also read here that the JMicron chip (not sure if this is the Gigabyte SATA controller?) can lag sometimes on reading (I know this post is quite old). Would I be best off putting the RAID 1 data on the intel controller and the OS on the gigabyte or vice-versa? How complex would it be to make the OS RAID 0 in the future (If I took an image of it say)? and what would be the correct order to install everything with for XP? Another thread that I can't locate now said it was worth preloading both SATA drivers anyway even if you don't use them.

Cheers,
Alex

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September 22, 2009 8:53:12 AM

I don't understand, why do you need to preload the SATA drivers? Aren't they already built into the OS?
September 22, 2009 10:01:21 AM

Sorry, I probably meant RAID drivers.

You know when you install XP, on the blue startup screen there's the option 'Press F6 to install a third party SCSI or RAID driver'. I believe if you set your harddrives in the BIOS to be either RAID or AHCI then you need to setup the drivers for the SATA controllers before install as they are not included in Windows (XP or Vista, don't know about 7) otherwise it won't recognise your drives. If you are using SATA drives in IDE mode then it doesn't matter as your motherboard pretends they're IDE drives and Windows will see them.

Any ideas on the correct install sequence or which SATA controller to use though?
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September 22, 2009 10:13:59 AM

alexprokop said:
Sorry, I probably meant RAID drivers.

You know when you install XP, on the blue startup screen there's the option 'Press F6 to install a third party SCSI or RAID driver'. I believe if you set your harddrives in the BIOS to be either RAID or AHCI then you need to setup the drivers for the SATA controllers before install as they are not included in Windows (XP or Vista, don't know about 7) otherwise it won't recognise your drives. If you are using SATA drives in IDE mode then it doesn't matter as your motherboard pretends they're IDE drives and Windows will see them.

Any ideas on the correct install sequence or which SATA controller to use though?


Yes, AHCI or RAID requires a driver FLOPPY for setting up XP. You'll want to set your onboard (Intel) controller to RAID mode and ignore the "GSATA" controller entirely. Then, you'll want to put the Intel XP boot drivers on a floppy and hit "F6" when requested.

Intel has "RAID READY" mode, which requires you to install your OS with the controller in RAID mode and the drive set as "Single". Using it allows "RAID Level Migration" when you get around to adding more ddrives.
September 23, 2009 12:32:59 AM

Crashman, your comment about "raid ready" mode interests me. I'm not sure if I'll every raid my os drive, but if there was no consequence to establishing "raid ready" status for it, perhaps I should.

Is there any consequence to setting a single drive up this way?

Best,
Bob
September 23, 2009 12:34:43 AM

And more to the point....if you do add the second drive to modify the raid volume from a single drive into a raid 0 pair, is this done without wiping out the data on the initial drive, so the registry remains intact?
September 23, 2009 2:02:52 AM

bob5568 said:
Crashman, your comment about "raid ready" mode interests me. I'm not sure if I'll every raid my os drive, but if there was no consequence to establishing "raid ready" status for it, perhaps I should.

Is there any consequence to setting a single drive up this way?

Best,
Bob


The only consequences are that you must use the driver during XP settup, and that you probably shouldn't power off the machine while the Intel Matrix Storage Manager is converting your drive from single to RAID 0. Matrix storage manager handles the conversion so you don't lose anything, when you add a drive to an array you do it through software rather than RAID BIOS. The software will make the RAID BIOS setting change at the appropriate moment in the conversion process.
September 24, 2009 7:25:04 AM

And... does anyone know about any DOWNSIDES (upsides are already being mentioned), of using Matrix RAID, instead of BIOS RAID ???
September 24, 2009 7:58:49 AM

doctor lo said:
And... does anyone know about any DOWNSIDES (upsides are already being mentioned), of using Matrix RAID, instead of BIOS RAID ???


It's the same thing. Matrix Storage Manager is a program for managing BIOS RAID on Intel chipsets. Unless you're talking about the mixed mode of multiple arrays per drive set, which was also called Matrix but nobody uses.
September 24, 2009 8:04:36 AM

Thank you so much ! believe it or not it has taken me a while to figure that exact (simple) thing !! I´ve asked that or something similar in more than one place.
I have ICH10R and I don´t need the multiple array per drive set feature... so thats my answer :) 
September 24, 2009 8:20:52 AM

doctor lo said:
Thank you so much ! believe it or not it has taken me a while to figure that exact (simple) thing !! I´ve asked that or something similar in more than one place.
I have ICH10R and I don´t need the multiple array per drive set feature... so thats my answer :) 


Right, you don't even have to LOAD the program Matrix Storage Manager if you don't want to. You can set up a RAID array in RAID BIOS before installing the OS. But Matrix Storage Manager does allow you to alter an array (change RAID level or add a drive to an array) when the existing drive(s) already have data on them (it). So, you need to load the software before you can make big changes to loaded drive, but if youre drives are empty you can make the changes through RAID BIOS instead.

1.) Say you have a drive set as "RAID READY". That just means the controller is set to RAID mode when you loaded the OS, but the drive was set to "Single" in RAID BIOS.

2.) Then, say you want to add a drive and make it RAID 0 or 1. Or, add two drives and make it RAID 5. RAID BIOS doesn't have the programs necessary to convert the array and keep the data, so you need to do it through Windows using the Matrix Storage Manager.

3.) So, you go into Windows, if you haven't loaded Matrix Storage Mager yet you can do it now, then you can change RAID level without losing any data. You can add drives to an array without losing data. The program extracts the data to a buffer (probably RAM), moves it around, and puts it in the right configuration for the new array.

4.) When Matrix Storage Manager has finished altering your configuration, it will set RAID BIOS to the right mode. Then, you don't need Matrix Storage Manager any longer!

5.) Most people will leave Matrix Storage Manager loaded anyway, so they can keep track of progress whenever a system crash has put the controller into "rebuild" or "verification" modes.
September 29, 2009 3:25:17 PM

Crashman said:
Right, you don't even have to LOAD the program Matrix Storage Manager if you don't want to. You can set up a RAID array in RAID BIOS before installing the OS. But Matrix Storage Manager does allow you to alter an array (change RAID level or add a drive to an array) when the existing drive(s) already have data on them (it). So, you need to load the software before you can make big changes to loaded drive, but if youre drives are empty you can make the changes through RAID BIOS instead.

1.) Say you have a drive set as "RAID READY". That just means the controller is set to RAID mode when you loaded the OS, but the drive was set to "Single" in RAID BIOS.

2.) Then, say you want to add a drive and make it RAID 0 or 1. Or, add two drives and make it RAID 5. RAID BIOS doesn't have the programs necessary to convert the array and keep the data, so you need to do it through Windows using the Matrix Storage Manager.

3.) So, you go into Windows, if you haven't loaded Matrix Storage Mager yet you can do it now, then you can change RAID level without losing any data. You can add drives to an array without losing data. The program extracts the data to a buffer (probably RAM), moves it around, and puts it in the right configuration for the new array.

4.) When Matrix Storage Manager has finished altering your configuration, it will set RAID BIOS to the right mode. Then, you don't need Matrix Storage Manager any longer!

5.) Most people will leave Matrix Storage Manager loaded anyway, so they can keep track of progress whenever a system crash has put the controller into "rebuild" or "verification" modes.





Thanks once again !! I finally instaled the RAID 0 from BIOS, and as you said I installed the Matrix manager later on. Now its working flawlessly:

I have 2 WD 640 GB Caviar Black drives... with one 120GB slice that works really fast. and a bigger one with the rest (I can upload screenshots if anyone is interested).



!