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Help configuring 3 drives

Tags:
  • Hard Drives
  • Western Digital
  • Caviar
  • Storage
  • Product
Last response: in Storage
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November 3, 2009 3:42:35 AM

I currently have Windows 7 64 professional running on my WD 640 Caviar Black. I also have a WD 640 Caviar Blue which I've been using as storage. I recently purchased a second WD 640 Caviar Black along with a Rosewill x358 SATA to USB enclosure. My computer is super fast and I believe that the biggest area of improvement is my hard drive performance. I dont know how much stock I can put into these numbers but my windows experience index is as follows:

Processor: 7.4
Memory: 7.5
Graphics: 7.6
Gaming: 7.6
Primary hard disk: 5.9

My PC:

Core i7 920
Asus p6t mobo
OCZ 6GB DDR3 1600
Sapphire Radeon 4890
NXZT Tempest case

I'm trying to figure out what the best way to configure my 3 drives is going to be. I've thought about using both Caviar Black drives in a RAID 0 configuration with a 280 GB partition for Windows 7 and the rest of the space for storage. Then I can use my Caviar Blue with my external enclosure. I was thinking about RAID 0 because I'm really just looking to boost performance, data protection is not a huge concern right now. All I really keep on my PC are some photo's, a little music and my games of course. I figured I will just make sure I have a recent backup and image incase of hardware failure. I think that running RAID 1 would be a waste of space and money.

I can't quite figure out how to configure the HDD that has my OS on it into a RAID configuration. Will I have to clone Win7 from my Caviar Black drive to the Caviar Blue in order to set up RAID 0 and then put my OS back onto my two Caviar Black drives? Or will I have to just reinstall win 7? Once I get my OS back to the RAID drives, would it be benificial for me partition 280 gb to run my OS and use the rest for storage or should I just leave it as just 1 partition? Also, I've read a little about ASUS drive expert and it seems to be the same thing as RAID, is this just software RAID? If so, what are the benifits, should I set up ASUS drive expert or just RAID?

Thank you for any help or opinions. I've been going over this for a few days now and I can't decied how to go about it. I'm fairly knowledgable about computers, I built my pc myself but my knowledge is limited what I've read on google when I can't sleep at night. I get a lot of help from forums and from people like you who take they're time reading long winded post and promptly posting an informed reply. Thank you again.

More about : configuring drives

a c 127 G Storage
November 3, 2009 4:18:24 AM

Without going in-depth to your thread.. with such a fast system why haven't you included a fast SSD as well, like Intel X25-M G2?
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November 3, 2009 4:36:33 AM

I've though about a SSD and would really like one but right now the price is what's keeping me from going that route. I could justified my 640 gb for but i couldn't bring myself to pay ~$300 for 80 gb. One day I will definately have a SSD, either after prices come down a bit or after I save up. I just built my pc in august and spent a little over a grand, I don't think I could explain a $300 upgrade just yet.
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November 3, 2009 4:30:02 PM

Can anyone exlpain the difference between a RAID configuration and ASUS Drive Expert Super Speed?

Also, it says in my Asus p6t user guide that I will have to create a RAID driver disk using the support dvd. Well the support dvd doesn't work with Windows 7 64bit. I guess I'll have to find another way to create a RAID driver disk
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a c 127 G Storage
November 4, 2009 3:09:32 AM

Appears that "ASUS Drive Expert Super Speed" in reality is a Silicon Image SiI-5723 chip. Silicon Image is a budget RAID chip and doesn't have a good reputation. I would not trust my data to their drivers.

Its up to you, but i think its a shame you are using such bad storage setup while the rest of your system is so high-end. That's like having a Ferrari with bad tyres. Then again, it may be a simple solution and it may work for you. But generally i recommend against it.
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November 4, 2009 5:38:22 AM

Yeah, I think I'm going to stay away from ASUS Drive Expert. I think I'm going to try to do both a RAID 0 and RAID 1 with two drives using Intell's Matrix Storage utility. I can't figure out how to do it without reinstalling windows though. Now I have to wait to recieve my Win 7 backup DVD to come because I dont think I can do this with the downloaded installer. I got my windows 7 through the student discount program and I ordered the backup DVD but they still haven't charged my card for it and I haven't heard anything about when I'll recieve the DVD. I hope it wont be too long.

Also, I can't figure out how to get a RAID drive disk because my asus p6t support dvd does not work in windows 7.
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a c 127 G Storage
November 4, 2009 6:03:53 AM

Well from others i've heard that Windows 7 install medium already includes drivers for Intel onboard RAID, so you may not need any additional drivers. If you do, you can put them on USB stick as Vista/Win7 allows you to get them off USB stick instead off floppy. Drivers can be downloaded from the Intel website i presume.
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November 11, 2009 2:50:10 AM

I was able to configure my RAID configuration the other day. I couldn't ever find a definative answer as to how to go about it but I worked my way through it. I did have to reinstall windows though, on a side note, I'm still waiting for digital river to send me my backup DVD for Win7. I had to figure out how to extract the iso from the .exe installation file that I downloaded through digital river.

So after extracting an iso of Win7, What i did was actually pretty simple. I unplugged everything from my SATA ports and just plugged in my two HDD. Booted into the BIOS, configured drives as RAID, rebooted. Hit ctl+i at the RAID screen and configured my RAID 0, then installed Windows. I didn't have to install any additional RAID drivers during installation like on other OS contrary to what I've read on numerous boards. For me, Windows 7 required no additional raid drivers. I have both HDD in a RAID 0 configuration and I set up a 200 GB partition to run OS and left the remaining 1000 GB as a RAID 0 for storage purposes.

I'm not seeing as big of a performance boost as I was anticipating. My Windows experience index for my primary hard drive only went from a 5.9 to 6.1. I haven't done any other benchmarks to detect a difference. I would be curious to see if anyone else had a better performance increase while moving to RAID on a similar system. Let me know how your system did.

Thanks for the input sub mesa. Not exactly what I was looking for but I was able to work it out on my own. One of these days I'm going to go for a SSD, maybe christmas or something. I know I'll notice a vast improvement then. As I already had the two identical drives, i figured I might as well be getting a performance boost instead of just running them as additional storage.

If there is anyone trying to do this on they're system and you just can't find exactly how to do it, let me know. I will do what I can to help you through the process. It was very easy.
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November 13, 2010 4:46:07 PM

crewsro said:
Can anyone exlpain the difference between a RAID configuration and ASUS Drive Expert Super Speed?

Also, it says in my Asus p6t user guide that I will have to create a RAID driver disk using the support dvd. Well the support dvd doesn't work with Windows 7 64bit. I guess I'll have to find another way to create a RAID driver disk

Win7 includes Raid drivers unlike WinXP. Win7 disc ratings rate more than read speed. I don't know for a fact, but my impression is the rating seems to be skewed towards writing and search. A 1T capacity drive will rate higher than a 75G WD Raptor for instance but I don't know whether it'll play games faster. My final thought is that the Win7 disc rating is geared to writing and multitasking.
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