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Help with Choosing Correct Ports for Multiple Drives

Last response: in Storage
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August 11, 2011 5:06:24 PM

I need some help in figuring out the best situation for plugging in my multiple hard drives and optical drive. This is my first build and here are the parts I am struggling with.

I currently have one Crucial M4 128gb SATA III 6GB/s SSD which will be for my OS and a few programs. For my storage, I have a Hitachi 1.5tb SATA III 7200 prm 6gb/s HDD, and have ordered one more for a RAID 1 mirror array (I think I have concluded this speed was a bit unnecessary, but they were the same price as any other). And finally I have a basic Asus DVD burner. My motherboard is the MSI Z68a-GD65 (B3).

-SSD: http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

-HDD: http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

-DVD Burner: http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

-Motherboard: http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

I'm not sure the best way to plug in the multiple drives to get the most out of what I have purchased. For one, I really didnt know about Intel vs Marvell controllers. I am planning on plugging in the SSD to the Intel 6GB/s, but I am unsure on the others.

Should the RAID 1 array go into the Marvell 6gb/s or into the Intel 3GB/s?

Should the optical drive go into the Marvell 6Gb/s or into the Intel 3GB/s?

Looking for advice on the best possible configuration.

Thank you!
a c 311 G Storage
August 11, 2011 6:29:56 PM

The only difference that I have ever found among the SATA slots that are driven by the chipset it this: Put your boot drive in port one. This is because my boot order changes every time I add or remove a hot-plug drive, and by default the lowest-number port gets booted. So I put the system drive in port 1, and never worry about my boot order changing.

For the other drives, in my experience one port is as good as another. (On the drives being SATA III, they all are these days, it's cheaper than making two kinds of interface chips!)

Finally, the RAID1 question, which is more significant: I would use the chipset RAID, but that's just a personal preference.

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Hey, I just noticed! Your chipset ports are SATA II, and the Marvell ports are SATA III. Can you boot off the Marvell ports? The SSD is the only device you have that might take advantage of an SATA III controller. I'm going to download the manual and take a peek.
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August 11, 2011 7:38:23 PM

I should have specified the ports I had available on the Motherboard. There are two SATA III 6GB/s "Chipset" ports (is this the right terminology?), and four SATA II 3GB/s Chipset Ports. Then there are two SATA III 6GB/s Marvell ports.

I have read that the Chipset ports are faster than Marvell so I was going to plug in my SSD as a boot drive into the SATA III Chipset instead of the Marvell.

Then it sounds like I should use the SATA II Chipset ports for my RAID 1 setup.

Still not sure about the optical drive though, but I am guessing it doesnt really matter, still could use some advice.
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a c 542 G Storage
August 11, 2011 9:58:20 PM

You are correct. Connect your SSD to the Intel SATA III port.

It doesn't matter if you connect your RAID-1 to the Intel SATA II or the Marvell SATA III port since 2 HDDs in RAID-1 will not saturate either port, however, I personally would connect it to the Intel controller and use Intel's latest RST drivers.

Then connect the optical drive to the Marvell controller.

P.S. - Don't forget to set the SATA mode of the Intel SATA III to AHCI
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August 11, 2011 10:51:56 PM

So I can connect optical drive to the Marvell. I think I will go that route and set up my RAID array on the SATA II ports.

I didn't know about the AHCI, (pretty new to all of this) but I read up a little and it looks like I want to set the controller that my SSD will be on to AHCI BEFORE I install the OS? And should I set both SATA III Intel Ports to AHCI or just the one I will be using with my SSD?

Thank you for both for your help, everything is clearing up!
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a c 542 G Storage
August 11, 2011 11:33:04 PM

Yes, the port your SSD is connected to should be in AHCI mode before installing the OS.

In your BIOS settings there are not separate SATA mode settings for Intel SATA II (ports 3-6) & Intel SATA III (ports 1-2). There is just one SATA mode setting (page 3-17 of your motherboard manual) for those 6 six ports so set the mode to RAID.

Any drives on those 6 ports that are not part of a RAID array will automatically default to AHCI mode so your SSD will be ok.

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August 17, 2011 3:48:23 PM

Best answer selected by oobe_banoobe.
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