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How to set up Intel Matrix Storage?

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October 29, 2009 4:57:02 PM

I just built my computer and am trying to set up an Intel Matrix with two arrays on two hdds, raid 0 and raid 1. I have zero experience with raid however.

I have two questions: First should windows be installed on the raid 0 or 1?

Second: How do you create the Matrix array. I currently have the full two hdds set to raid 1. Do I partition them and set the other partition to raid 0 somehow? I'm just having trouble figuring out the intel matrix storage manager.
a b G Storage
October 30, 2009 1:06:22 PM

If you have only 2 hard disks you cannot combine RAID0 and RAID1.
You need 4 hard disks to have both RAIDs.
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October 30, 2009 3:29:11 PM

No, this is the whole point of intel's matrix raid. You can have matching partitions of two hdds set to raid 1, then the rest as raid 0. I just cant figure out how to set it up. Anyone have experience with matrix raid?


http://www.intel.com/design/chipsets/matrixstorage_sb.h...

"When using two hard drives, matrix RAID allows RAID 0 and RAID 1 functions to be combined, where critical files can be stored on RAID 1, and RAID 0 can be used for non-critical items such as software."
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a c 127 G Storage
November 3, 2009 12:08:18 AM

You need 4 harddisks for RAID0+1 or RAID1+0, but you want to have RAID1 on the first partition and RAID0 on the second partition; that's possible with Intel MatrixRAID and is a sleek feature not offered by other onboard RAIDs as far as i know.

I don't have personal experience setting this up though, but can't you enter the RAID BIOS setup utility and configure this?
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November 3, 2009 12:40:43 AM

I just figured it out actually. You have to press Ctrl + i during boot to go into the intel matrix raid bios. Its frustrating because that is not listed as an option on the splash screen during boot, nor is it anywhere in my MB manual, I had to read about it in a forum I came across. I have the Asrock x58 Extreme.
Another bit of advice for anyone messing with intel matrix raid is to get it set up before installing your OS. I was planning on using macrium reflect to backup my install, create the raid volumes, then restore windows on to the raid volume. Found out the hard way that macruim (at least the free edition) doesn't support restoring to raid. I was really lucky the hard drives still booted after I eliminated the raid volume and did a windows repair installation to get all my files back.

More annoyance ensued after I got the raid to work, windows 7 wouldn't let me use my upgrade key to install onto the raid volume because after being converted to raid 0 it no longer detected a previous windows install. Luckily the registry hack worked.

After about a week of frustration I finally have my $30 741 copy of Win7 Pro installed on a 1tb raid 0 volume with a ~200gb raid 1 volume to back up my important stuff. Intel Matrix Storage is really great and easy to set up once I figured out how to get into the separate bios for it.
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a c 127 G Storage
November 3, 2009 12:59:45 AM

Do not use non-windows utilitites to mess with your RAID; if it tries to do things it might corrupt your data. Only use in-windows based utilities. Generally the less third-party applications you use that bypass windows, the better.

Glad you found how to setup the MatrixRAID though; good luck!
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November 3, 2009 5:53:54 PM

Jetsamrover,
What you've described sound exactly like what i'm trying to do. I currently have win7 64bit running on a WD 640 Caviar Black drive with a WD 640 Caviar Blue drive as storage. I've just purchased another WD 640 Black in hopes of running a RAID configuration. I have no experience in setting up multiple drives in RAID so I'm kinda stuck. If you wouldn't mind, it'd help me out a lot if you could answer some of my questions. It sounds like you were able use two drives to setup 1 partition as RAID 1 to run your windows 7 from and you have a second partition set as RAID 0 for additional storage, is that correct?

If I do this, am I going to have to reinstall windows or is there a way to clone my OS drive to the new configuration. I purchased the microsoft student discount Win7 64 professional and I installed using the downloaded installation. I've ordered backup media but it hasn't arrived yet.

If you could point me in the right direction with this, that would be awesome. I'm glad you were able to get it to work. Thanks bud
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November 10, 2009 8:18:04 AM

I have two 750gb drives on which I created a 1tb raid 0 volume that windows is installed on, and one ~200gb raid 1 volume for backup.

Yes you will have to reinstall windows, or invest in the paid version of macrium reflect or similar product to do a restore within a windows environment, as only windows will recognize the firmware raid volumes.

First step, find out if your motherboard supports Intel matrix raid. If it does, find out how to get into the raid bios (the hardest part for me, as I didn't see it mentioned anywhere in my MB manual.) From there you want to select the drives you will be using to raid, then create your raid 0 volume. You want to create the raid 0 first because whichever volume is created first will reside on the inner portion of HDD platters, which has a slightly faster read/write speed than the outer portion, and speed is the goal of raid 0. Then create a raid 1 volume and select whatever space is left on the two drives your using.

Then install windows on the raid 0 volume. You want it on the raid 0 if you want to see any performance increase. Then keep your important stuff on the raid 1 volume, pleasantly easy to do with Win7's libraries. Then setup a system backup to the raid 1 volume so you can restore if your raid 0 fails.

I hope this helps. Let me know if you have any more questions, I'm far from an expert, but your situation sounds almost identical to mine a few weeks ago.
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November 12, 2009 1:57:37 AM

sub mesa said:
Do not use non-windows utilitites to mess with your RAID; if it tries to do things it might corrupt your data. Only use in-windows based utilities. Generally the less third-party applications you use that bypass windows, the better.

Glad you found how to setup the MatrixRAID though; good luck!



Can you please explain what you mean by that? Do you mean disk utilities like defraggers? Does that change between HW and SW RAIDs?
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November 12, 2009 5:05:13 AM

It means don't use anything outside of a windows environment to do anything to the drives. If its a program that runs in windows, thats fine. But if its a program like macrium reflect or gparted that boots into a linux environment to more freely make changes to the hdd, keep it away from your intel matrix volumes. Intel matrix raid is a firmware raid actually, it lives in the southbridge of enabled motherboards, and as such, only window properly recognizes it.

There is a linux driver for intel matrix raid, but as far as I know, the distros used for third party hdd management programs dont use it. http://www.intel.com/support/chipsets/imsm/sb/cs-020663...

Yes it does change if you use hw raids because its the raid card that accesses the hard drives, so if the OS doesnt recognize it, nothing will show up. With intel matrix raid an environment that doesnt have the right drivers may not recognize the raid volumes, but still see the drives are there and use them as regular drives, pretty much destroying your raid 0 volume, or making you really glad you used raid 1.
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