Okay, building a new computer. My old one's finally ready to kick it, and with prices dropping so dramatically on mid-high range components, I figure now's a much better time than a year ago when I first started looking at it.
Decided to go with a Gigabyte mobo and an Intel i5-750, but for this new box, I really wanted to do a RAID 0.
I know, I know. "RAID 0 is a bad idea." "If one drive fails, you're screwed." "With HD's over a TB now, it's not worth it." Well, I do a lot of video editing and image compiling, so I think that the speed increase (however slight) option is attractive, but more than that, I just really wanna have 1 large drive. Right now I'm running 4 HD's in my current box, and after 3 years, it's almost impossible to find anything. I realize this is partially my own fault, but that's what happens when you add HD's to increase storage because you're *out* of space.
The real question is, how's the Gigabyte's RAID controller? Am I setting myself up for failure? Should I use a different mobo?
a) I wanna keep my install of XP (call me old fashioned), and I know that RAID drivers are a pain to install in XP. I did some research, and some people reccomended nLite to put RAID drivers on the XP install disc. Anyone have success with this route?
b) Thinking about doing a single HD (as small as I can get) for the OS install, and then RAID 0-ing two others to be the real storage space. Good idea, bad idea?
c) If I do a single HD OS install, can I just install the RAID drivers after Windows is already on there, in a more pain-free manner?
d) Thinking about dual-booting XP and 7 on the *single* HD, still using the RAID 0 as the main storage component. Win7 supports RAID out-of-box, right? Should I install Win7 first (RAID non-withstanding), then throw XP in it once the Win7 RAID stuff is already done?
So many options, don't know what to do! Any help would be mucho appreciated!
b) Depending on budget, an SSD is the way to go these days for OS/apps drive
c) It depends if your OS drive is on the same controller that you plan to have the RAID drives. You can play it safe and just have the BIOS set to RAID and install on the single drive without issues and then set up the RAID later if they share the same controller.
d) Win7 should have built in drivers for RAID. I suggest you drop XP and just go with Win7. Why do you want to stick to XP?
Ok so to start off with what I did myself this is a P45 gigabyte mobo I have 5 drive raid 0 and love it don't care what people say about it first one in every map online all you do is change drive settings from IDE to RAID and then the bootup will give you a new raid options on boot. Hit whatever key it says to configure raid and tadaa setup is quite easy. I boot off mine and Windows Vista and 7 install all raid drivers with nothing needed from you yay. The mobo comes with a disk that has raid drivers for XP but for real its about time to ditch XP use compatibility mode or in a jam xp mode no need for real XP install anymore just limits you. I know that is a personal view so understand if you disagree.
Have fun it's worth it and I would not boot off single drive unless it is raptor or SSD the raid will make boots quite fast also.
Edit (got beat to most of my post but at least there is consensus)
Budget isn't *really* a big deal. I'm buying'n'building piece-by-piece, so it basically a new component every so often. I'm trying to stick to mid range, nothing too expensive. I'm not that hardcore, just want a system that doesn't make me grumble.
Yea, the XP dual-boot thing is kinda a point of contention. I'm gonna throw it in, just because, but I really want it as a back-up in case Win7 drives me to drink. I understand that XP mode in 7 is getting good, but ya still can't rely on it 100%. Or maybe I'm just a slave to the past. I think I cried when I found out that real DOS was fully removed from XP.
You think that I should toss the extra HD, eh? Do the RAID array, partition for the dual boot, and run it with as few extra gadgets as possible?
Oh, one other question, even though I'm sure it's been answered a million times. 32/64-bit OS. I'm probably just gonna throw 4 GB of RAM in it, should I bother with a 64-bit OS? The future-proofing is attractive, but again, the loss of backwards compatibility could make me crazy.
1) Intel X25-M 160GB SSD for OS & apps. Partion it as 64GB for Win 7, 64GB for WinXP, leaving 32GB open/unallocated for SSD optimization (a whole other topic in forums).
2) 2-500GB or even 2-1TB Hard Drives. Seagate (my choice) or Western Digital, 7200rpm, 3.0Gb/sec. SATA drives. Set them up in RAID 0, and use them for your media. Easy to set up as data/media drives in Windows 7: Drag and Drop all the folders from the "C:\Users" folder to the root of your data/media drives. (i.e. Documents, Downloads, Music, Pictures, Videos.)
3) 1-TB or 2TB Hard drive, as a back up. Since the media drives will be in RAID 0 for quick access, this is your safety net for all your data/media. Let Windows 7 do the back ups regularly. I let Norton Security Suite do mine. It'll do it what the computer is idle for a while.
That being said, only do dual boot if you know how, and sure you'll really need it. It not, get a 80GB SSD for OS/Apps (and parttion it as 64GB, leaving 16GB unallocated). Read articles about setting up a dual boot (especially 7 and XP, as XP install will mess up 7, but it is fixable).
Only do RAID if you know how. And yes, setting it up in XP can be frustrating, if you don't already have the drivers needed to install the OS. Get them first, before installing. Burn a CD, or copy to a floppy (USB Drives won't work in XP install). Of course, this is only applicable if you set up RAID drives for the OS disks. If you set up RAID for data/media disks, you may be able to set up RAID post-OS, and install the drivers when Windows asks for them. I don't know if XP has them, SP3 might. But certainly the motherboard disk does. But if you do have the drivers for RAID, setting it up is as easy as the other guy says.
And finally, 64-bit OS whenever possible! Too many reasons to list. Biggest one being able to use over 3GB of RAM. Get Windows 7 Professional, as it has the "XP" mode, but make sure the motherboard supports it (a whole other post in forums). I've never used it. Only read about it.
Else, a few suggestions:
a) Intel Core i7 920
b) Asus P6T, or similar (Gigabyte is good, too) Read the "System Builder Marathon(s)" to see what "Tom picked."
c) As much RAM as you can afford - at least 6GB (3x2GB DDR3). You can get away while 3GB (3x1GBDDR3) , but harder to find these days.
d) Sound, LAN are ususally on the motherboard, and just fine.
e) Radeon 4870 or 5770. Look at the "Best Graphics Card for the Money" articles, and compare the "Hierarchy Chart" with your desires.
Hey, wait a minute, that look like my system...
Anyway, I don't see how my suggestions could be done piece-by-piece, as you won't be able to use the CPU in any other board, nor RAM, but an old video card might work in a new board, until you can get a new one.
Finally, keep in mind the Case and Power Supply:
- Case should be big enough to hold the new system (i.e. Big enough for an added CPU heatsink/fan ass'y) This is a good place to start, and everything youy currently have should fit into a new case. Don't forget about fans, add all that the case can hold.
- Power Supply should be able to handle the ungrades thrown at it, especially video. Hard drive interface is important, too (IDE or SATA plugs). You can fins a "Power Supply Calculator" on Newegg, Asus, or "bing" it.
a note on Gigabyte, i've had both brands of motherboards and i like the feature where you can select any hd to boot from, it comes native on gigabyte mb. on my personal experience i was worried with sata/raid drivers and nlite made an excellent job, in integrating drivers, but it's a trial and error thing, if you have the time and the extra drives to test, customize your nlite install and give it a shot on another hard drive, and then once you had the perfect output, do the raid thing.
Now i use win xp 64 bit, and it came already with raid/sata drivers so you don't have the headache, on a personal note i can run under xp 64 bit, downloaded programs that won't run under windows 7 64 bits, (there must be a way that i don't know of) but i can't install solidworks 2008 32 bit, or solidworks 2010 64 bit on the windows 7 OS...big question??? most programs that run under xp 32 bit run under xp64 bit, so right now i boot from windows 7 64 bit for media integration and xp 64 bit for other programs games and anything else, the only thing you would have to download is the live messenger version for the xp 64 bit which is the 8.5. version it's easy to torrent.
i would agree that if there's no issue with budget, SSD is the way to go, if you raid them both 0 that would be the fastest, under windows 7 64 bit i can compress a video once it is in the hard drive and burn it in a dvd under 5 min with nero, and my system is only an old 4gb ddr2 with a phenom x4.
if you are going to do video edit/after effects/3d modeling, i would totally suggest nvidea over ati, it works better under open gl, wich most demanding applications work under and a gaming video cards do not go in that area. it would not handle multiple light sources as well as a quadro or cuda videocard would do.