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Which HW RAID card will work with my system??

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May 25, 2009 1:41:51 AM

Built a new system and am wanting to find the right Hardware RAID card to use. System has been up and running for a month or two and now I would like to do the RAID.

I've looked everywhere and it seems it's not as easy as I thought it would be.
I bought the 3Ware 9690SA-4i HW Raid Card (4 SATA) and after looking at their compatability chart my motherboard isn't supported,...from what I can tell.
Tell me I'm wrong, please! I have about 21 days left to return it to newegg though.

Hopefully someone can help me find the right one for my system? Don't want a cheap card but do want to keep it under $350.

True Hardware capable , 4 SATA drives at at RAID 10, 1TB Ea.

Thanks so much for your help.
Look forward to hearing back.

My System
CPU - i7 920
Motherboard - Gigabyte "GA-EX58-UD5"
RAM - 12gigs
OS - Windows Vista x64
Video Card - GeFource GTX 285 overclocked


Raid Card that I bought: (3Ware 9690SA-4i )
http://www.3ware.com/products/sas-9690SA.asp
Compatability Chart:
http://www.3ware.com/products/sys_compatibility.asp


Motherboard: (Gigabyte - GA-EX58-UD5)
http://www.gigabyte.us/Products/Motherboard/Products_Ov...

If I missed something, please let me know.
Thanks again.
Brian

More about : raid card work system

a c 234 V Motherboard
May 25, 2009 2:17:05 AM

The official compatibility list is basically limited to server/workstation motherboards. Did you try it in your system or are you assuming that it won't work based on the very short compatibility list? Since it has been tested on a X58 based motherboard (SuperMicro C7X58), I would presume that it will work and give it a try. You could contact 3Ware and ask them to confirm if it will work or not.
May 25, 2009 3:19:38 PM

Thanks,..Yes,..I've dropped it in and tried to use the install disk that came with it. It didn't work at first, so I went to 3Ware's website downloaded some drivers and installed them,..then did the install disk again. A window then came up,..with some buttons, Driver Disk Images (which vista wasn't listed), user guide, install tools, Run CLI & exit.

This just seems very complicated installing software and should be a lot easier. I'm not an IT guy so it makes thing 10x harder.

Also, does it matter which PCIe-x16 slot I use? Thought I read somewhere, graphics card should use the noted #1 slot and #2 for Raid,..don't know.

Another thing,..on the 3Ware site download page, they have CLI, 3DM2, etc,..heck,..I don't know what this stuff is and 3Ware doesn't explain it either,...I'll be calling them tomorrow too.

When I booted it said the Raid bios, firmware or something wasn't installed, does this make since to anyone?

I would think this process should be a lot easier, ya know.

Look forward to hearing from all of you.
Brian
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a c 234 V Motherboard
May 25, 2009 9:36:39 PM

This stuff is for IT people, not for home use. That's why the controller is tested with server motherboards.

1. You need to install it in a PCIe x8 or x16 slot.
2. The controller needs to be detected by the BIOS; otherwise it will never work.
3. You need to activate the controller's BIOS; otherwise you can't install the drivers.
4. Once the controller is recognized, you need to create your array before installing drivers or anything else.

Since you bought SATA instead of SAS drives, why not use Intel Matrix Raid which is much simpler for home use and performs quite well on such a powerful system?
May 26, 2009 2:53:58 PM

Thanks for all your help, the steps you listed get me going in the right direction.
One more thing,... I have a 500gig with my operating system on it and I was wanting to create a Raid 10 with four other 1TB drives, The raid can work this way, correct? I've just read everywhere that people put ther OS on their striped zero drive. I would think if all my video clips are on this Raid and my software is on the 500gig,..everything should still run really fast. Having my OS on a seperate drive shouldn't matter if were talking speed right?
Not familiar with the matrix raid,.but went this route because I've read that using a true HW Raid card would not tap your CPU and I plan on having this system for a long time doing 3D animation\Rendering + Video Editing.
Thanks again for your help
Brian
a c 234 V Motherboard
May 26, 2009 11:00:12 PM

Quote:
One more thing,... I have a 500gig with my operating system on it and I was wanting to create a Raid 10 with four other 1TB drives, The raid can work this way, correct? I've just read everywhere that people put ther OS on their striped zero drive. I would think if all my video clips are on this Raid and my software is on the 500gig,..everything should still run really fast. Having my OS on a seperate drive shouldn't matter if were talking speed right?
You can create a RAID 10 with 4, 6 or 8 drives. Even with RAID 10 you should backup your data on a regular basis. While RAID 10 is relatively secure, it doesn't prevent human errors, etc.

Quote:
Not familiar with the matrix raid,.but went this route because I've read that using a true HW Raid card would not tap your CPU and I plan on having this system for a long time doing 3D animation\Rendering + Video Editing.
RAID 10 with 4 hard disks shouldn't use more than 1-2% of that CPU. Will that make a real performance difference? Probably not. If your RAID controller fails, will you be able to quickly get a replacement (or did you buy a spare just in case)?
May 27, 2009 3:00:04 PM

Wow,..thought it would be more than 1-2%. No,..didn't buy a spare.
I do however have onboard RAID on this Motherboard, but again,..I thought it would tap the cpu a whole lot more than 1-2%. This machine is mainly for Rendering and editing,..so it has to be fast,...just didn't want any type of lag between editing and 3D/rendering software. From what I could tell,..people in this industry from what I read go for the RAID controller card and not the software and that's why I went this route,..but maybe I should rethink,.....hmmm? Just don't know.
Brian
a c 234 V Motherboard
May 27, 2009 6:11:27 PM

Let's assume that it uses 8 percent on an E8500 (http://www.extremetech.com/article2/0,2845,2334984,00.a...). That still leaves a lot of CPU resources for other tasks on an i7. Your system definitely won't be reading and writing 100% of the time. If you check their tests, you'll notice that they also have rather high CPU usage for RAID 0 (between 4 and 12%), but I've never seen it that high.

This test is interesting as well:
http://www.tweaktown.com/reviews/1485/areca_arc_1231ml_...

A good hardware RAID controller always is faster. The only question is "Is the extra performance worth the extra cost?". Since you can afford it, go with a hardware RAID controller. Your controller supports RAID 6 (I don't know if it's fast or not); have you considered using it for its added safety over RAID 1+0?
June 26, 2009 3:30:52 AM

Thanks for all the info.
I've sent the raid card back and am currently looking for another that will work.

If anyone has any suggestions on raid cards that are compatable with my motherboard,..please let me know.

Thanks GhislainG for all your help. I've just come to a block in the road,...I can't seem to find a raid card. Thought it would of been easier than this.

Brian
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