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RAID 0 Questions

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May 26, 2010 7:16:55 AM

Hello, I have a Alienware Aurora i7 920 quad core, i58x chip set with a ICH10R Controller. It came with a 1tb Seagate HD ST310000528AS. That is my only hdd with contains all my info and os on it. I recently bought the same exact drive as the one that was installed from alienware(dell). I am very interested in doing RAID 0 then late configuring it to be RAID 0+1. But since I only have two drives when I RAID them all the info will be erased. I have a WD 1TB external HD, can I use that to put all the info onto my RAID 0? I am new at this and I would like to thank you for your time!

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May 26, 2010 1:19:53 PM

Sure you can park your informations on the external hard drive.

I do recommend you fresh installing windows though.
a b G Storage
May 26, 2010 3:35:28 PM

Yes, Backup to the external. Use acronis image or ghost or something if you wish. However, as Rofl said it is recommended to reinstall windows.

If you have win7 I assume your bios hd setting is ahci? During the conversion this will change to RAID. However, win7 (and vista I believe) will automatically have the ahci drivers set up but NOT the RAID drivers. You would need to make some changes in your registry and then the bios and setup win7 properly BEFORE the conversion or it just won't work after. If you want to do this and boot win7 from this stripe you should research the change. I think the registry setting you can Google is msahci.

However, you have a beautiful alienware machine. Why not use an SSD for boot drive? Few spinning RAID 0's will perform as well as a cheap SSD. And none will access as fast. Use the RAID 0 / future Raid 0+1 for work, games, files, etc.
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May 26, 2010 8:55:16 PM

I am not familiar with SSD Drvies but I will look into them for sure. I am a little nervous about messing up my computer during the RAID 0 Transfer. And yes I do have Win 7.
a b G Storage
May 26, 2010 9:05:05 PM

Yes look into SSD drives. There is a forum. Also, Tom's has plenty of reviews and benchmarks. Also, there are youtube vids of guys showing bootup from ssd vs spinning disks.

Again ... reinstall win7 on the ssd rather than using an image.
May 26, 2010 9:50:15 PM

The thing that I am thinking of is that I have 4 hd slots in my computer, and my goal is raid 0+1 and that would take up 4 hds, I wouldnt have room for an ssd drive.
a b G Storage
May 27, 2010 2:06:34 AM

You have an alienware x58/ich10r and only 4 sata?.. or 4 physical drive slots for 3.5" drives? SSD drives (at least the ones we are talking about) are 2.5" and don't give off much heat. Maybe you could mount one somewhere else?

Anyway, back to the RAID. What do you think about a 3 disk RAID 5? Or best of all a 2 or 3 disk RAID 0 and a separate NAS for backup.

In the mean time. You need to decide whether to:
a) buy good imaging software such as acronis and use this to take an image of your MBR disk which you place on the WD 1tb backip. Then project the image onto the striped array or
b) copy everything to the WD backup, set up the stripe (RAID 0), and load a fresh copy of win7 onto it (recommended). For this you need an original win7 disk with the key. Maybe Dell can help you with this.

May 27, 2010 2:48:55 AM

I have 6 SATA, 4 physical slots and the other SATA are in the drive bays but the SATA cord is labeled ODD SATA insted of HDD SATA. Not sure if you can plug a hdd in the ODD SATA port. I would probably do Option B as I dont have much money these days. I am not very familiar with RAID at all but I know the most about the simple raid 1 and 0. I am not sure what NAS is, sorry I am definitly new to the advanced computer world.
May 27, 2010 2:52:36 AM

I was reading that SSD drives are slower over time, is that true?
a b G Storage
May 27, 2010 4:45:37 AM

I think the ODD sata cable is labeled as such because dell uses that to connect your optical (cd/dvd/blu-ray) drive. However, it's the same as any other sata cable. And the port is too.

Good, Option B is best. If you do not have a win7 disk or activation key just ask Dell support how that works and let us know. Besides, I use acronis and I'm always concerned about the huge files it creates. Easily corruptible in my mind. So I 'backup' raw copies of my family photos and videos as well as any important work type stuff rather than trust the acronis image.

SSD drives used to (and potentially do still) have problems re-writing on a particular sector. The problem is that even though the sector had no 'data' in it, if it had been written to previously the drive would 'write' 0's to that sector before writing the new data. This caused huge slow downs with writes to older drives. Now we have TRIM which tells the drive that empty sectors are actually empty. Newer drives and newer operating systems (win7) allow TRIM commands to keep the SSD 'clean'.

Prices on SSD's are plummeting. Wait for it or set a price/performance point and jump in. You won't regret it. NCIX's sale (here in Canada) just came out and there are a couple of GREAT 60 or 64gb SSDs for less than $150 CAD (about $140 US). Use it for a boot disk and one or two important games. Use the spinners for storage on a RAID 1, 5, 10. OR a RAID 0 with a NAS for storage.

NAS stands for 'network attached storage'. It's not new but the home application is new. There are a number of packaged models out there from dlink (dns 232 etc.), qnap, to the hp models (like the hp (something)495 which I really like). I just built a box using FreeNAS which is a UNIX based free operating system. Windows sells a comparable OS called Windows Home Server. Basically a NAS device is a computer with a LAN port (hopefully gigabit LAN). That computer runs a dedicated operating system which 'serves' files to your gigabit switch and then to any computers in your house. By the way NCIX has a dlink 8 port dgs-1008d switch from sale $55.
May 27, 2010 4:45:15 PM

I was thinking that the labeled ports would work just fine. I have the installation disk but not the activation key. Time to call dell I guess. I will wait for prices to go down on the SSD drives, because I just spent most of my money on some new guns. =) I am wanting to build a Home Server but money is an issue these days since my computer put a big dent in my pocket. Haha. Do you know any good threads on setting up a Raid 0? Thanks a bunch man.
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