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Do all drives have to be in a raid array?

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  • Hard Drives
  • NAS / RAID
  • Storage
Last response: in Storage
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November 1, 2010 11:05:55 AM

I am told that all drives have to be in a raid array? I have 4 drives plus the OS. A source drive, storage 1 and 2 plus a render drive. I am told that all these drives have to be part of the raid. Can I just do two drives instead of all four? Is it possible to keep 1 storage and 1 render by themselves and NOT be part of the Raid setup? Thanks

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a c 102 G Storage
November 1, 2010 11:47:38 AM

The short answer is YES to both of your questions. You certainly do not have to put all of your HDDs into the RAID. Not a big deal. Good luck!!!
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a c 391 G Storage
November 1, 2010 12:59:13 PM

You didn't specify what type of RAID. RAID 1 and RAID 0 only require 2 drives minimum. In this case, you can have two drives in an array and the other two non-raided.

RAID 5 requires 3 drives minimum.
RAID 10 & RAID 0+1 require 4 drives.
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a c 366 G Storage
November 2, 2010 4:23:05 PM

In RAID systems I've seen, you must specify which HDD units (if any) are part of a RAID array, and any you do NOT specify are, by default, NOT in any RAID array. So yes, you have total control.

However, IF you plan on using ANY drives in a RAID array, you will have to install the RAID drivers in Windows. Further, there could be a bit of confusion in setting up the SATA ports in your BIOS. In the BIOS near where you enable and configure the SATA ports, there is a place you set the SATA Port Mode. In some BIOS's you set each port separately; in others all SATA ports are set together to one setting. In those latter cases, in order for you to use ANY drives in RAID mode, you have to set ALL SATA ports to RAID mode. Then you must ensure the RAID driver also is installed in Windows.

However, this does NOT mean all your drives are in RAID arrays. It only means that you will have an opportunity to hit a designated key during boot-up to enter the RAID configuration utilities. Within that you can create a RAID array and assign particular HDD units to a particular array. (You can even create more than one array and specify which HDD's belong to which.) But again, any drive that you do NOT assign here to a RAID array is kept as a separate stand-alone unit.

In the SATA Port Mode settings you often have choices like "IDE (or PATA) Emulation", "Native SATA", "AHCI", and "RAID". However, some BIOS's do not make AHCI or SATA modes available separately, and combine all the non-IDE modes under the heading of "RAID" and thus require that you set this way and install the RAID driver (that also happens to contain the other drivers). I find that confusing, but it's OK if you understand that this does not force you to use RAID.
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