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Need advice on sticky RAID 5 situation

Last response: in Storage
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July 23, 2010 2:59:52 AM

mobo: eVGA 780i SLI
CPU: intel C2D E8400
RAM: OCZ 2x2GB SLI
PSU: ULTRA 550w modular
GPU: Sapphire Vapor-X HD 5770
OS: Windows 7 64bit
HDD: three 1TB Samsung Spinpoint F3
SSD: Intel X-25M (boot drive)



Here's my situation: I've got 3 1TB Samsung Spinpoint F3 HDD's. One of them has a lot of important data on it. The other two are empty. I want to put them in a RAID 5 array (still new to setting up RAID arrays). Now if I understand RAID 5 correctly, this should leave me with two partitions striped over two drives, with the third physical drive used to check parity (instead of being an actual mirror). I have no idea how to do this though, even after plenty of reading and research. So far I have the two blank drives in a RAID striped array on a single partition, but that's as far as I got.

Now another important factor is that some time later this year, I'll be converting over to an AMD -based platform. So the motherboard will be an ASUS M4A89GTD AMD 890GX paired with a Phenom II 1055T (that's the plan anyways).

So here's what I need to know:

1) for now, how do I set up the RAID array without erasing the drive that has data on it?
2) am I going to run into problems moving my RAID setup to a new mobo/processor later on?

Thanks for any help you can offer. Oh, and, when it comes to RAID I'm in noob mode, so please word replies like you would for a complete dummy. :) 

-Ethan
a b G Storage
July 23, 2010 12:54:42 PM

just to clarify - raid 5 distributes the data and parity across all 3 drives.

I know that if you have an existing raid drive, with some controllers you can expand it non-destructively. I would expect that the creation of the raid array would erase the existing data.
I'm also fairly certain that motherboard RAID is chipset specific. Not basing this on actual experience, but just my best guess.
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July 23, 2010 7:15:18 PM

So are you saying I should (a) back up my data then create the RAID array, and (b) wait until after I migrate to my new mobo?
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July 24, 2010 1:42:18 PM

Some Intel boards allow you to create the RAID on the fly but it's best practice to back up your date, make the raid, and then transfer your data back.
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July 24, 2010 3:42:03 PM

thanks for the tips gentlemen. I think I'm going to back up data, make my RAID array, then transfer. Then just repeat the process when I migrate to the new mobo.

so that just leaves me with the other part of my original question: any ideas where I can find a how-to RAID 5 for noobs?
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July 24, 2010 7:35:43 PM

It should be in your motherboard manual.
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a b G Storage
July 24, 2010 8:27:53 PM

as long as you have at least 3 drives, you can create a raid 5 array. A few things to note - it gives you good redundancy, and value (usable space per drive in the array), but it can be a little slower for writes. Also RAID does not replace backup, you still need to do that (preferably to an external device or CD-R or DVD-R, or to an internet site).
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