i'm looking to set up a raid 5 array with 2tb drives. The plan is to start out with 2 drives then expand if/when necessary. I haven't used raid 1 so I can expand later. It will be used for backups etc so I don't mind a performance hit in the meantime.
is this going to work?
I have heard horror stories all over the internet about maximum disk sizes and formatting problems and I just don't wanna fork out $200 odd for something that's not going to work.
what will be the maximum size (tb) that i can make the array before running into problems with windows or anything else for that matter.
I have win 7 64bit and would like to use the onboard raid controller on my http://www.asus.com/product.aspx?p_id=nlwyri9wlniyhaaa.
so basically...... will it work? or am I barking up the wrong trees. basically I want a cheap-per-tb redundant disk without having to split it into several partitions.
If you want reliable RAID for long term data backup then you really need a RAID card. On board RAID just isn't that great and lacks many features. If you use something like a 3ware 9650 you CAN do online RAID level migration and capacity expansion. You pay for it, but if your computer dies you can move the card and drives to another system and keep the array intact. The other option would be a small NAS like a QNAP or something with the same RAID migration features. The nice thing about a NAS is they do a lot of other things for your home network.
I currently run a 4 TiB (1.5 TB x 4 in RAID 5) array on an AMD chipset as a single partition. I used GPT instead of MBR partition style (MBR does not support > 2 TiB partitions) to allow the entire 4 TiB to be accessible from a single partition.
Some onboard RAID systems support migration from e.g. RAID 0 or 1 to RAID 5. AMD's "RAIDXpert" does, and I believe Intel's "Rapid Storage Technology" (RST, f.k.a. Matrix Storage Technology) does as well. I'm not sure where Emerald got his information. That said, there are risks to migrating, not the least of which being complete data loss. I lost my data once during a migration, and try to avoid it whenever possible. If you know you are going to use or 4 disks, I would recommend buying them now (if possible) and just having a lot of empty space. Yes, you'll be spending more than necessary, but you also won't run the risk of data loss during a migration. And as Emerald notes, you must buy at least one more disk anyway to create a RAID 5 array.
Another option is to use Windows 7's RAID 5 feature. You can create a software RAID array (dynamic disk) that is entirely independent of the controller used. It can be slower (you said you don't care about performance), but it is more portable than a controller-based array and so less prone to data inaccessibility from hardware failure.
ok i like the sound of a gpt software array. that will be fine if I reinstall windows eh? i'm assuming you can do whatever you want to the software as long as you tell the new windows that 'those disks over there are a raid 5 array' right?