How to setup 4 consumerlevel harddrives with in a raid with redundancy

Let me start with the fact that this is my first journey into the world of RAID.

I recently purchased an Adaptec 3805 and 4 WD 2TB drives with the crazy idea that I was going to be able to RAID 5 them all together and make one big ol drive. I wanted to go with RAID 5 so that if I loose a drive, I wont loose my whole array (I know what people say about RAID 5 blah blah - It's better than no redundancy at all) Well after speaking with WD and Adaptec support, both have informed me that what I SHOULD have done is spend twice as much and gotten the WD RE series drives if I wanted to RAID drives together (unless I wanted to use RAID 0 or 1... which I dont - WD says their consumer level drives will work on those configurations.) I want to have some form of redundancy so RAID 0 is out and I need all the drives to be one volume so RAID 1 is out. Neither of those work with card I bought anyway.

Anyway, I tried slowing the drives by jumpering them down. I tried RAID 10. Nothing seems to work. The array keeps degrading. I would simply use windows 7 raid 1 but it only allows for 2 drives per volume.

Im racking my brain here trying to figure out how to make all 4 drives one volume with some redundancy. I am willing to go with a 3rd party software RAID, even mirroring is ok. I dont mind loosing 2 drives to parity, just as long as all 4 drives are in the equation. I am also fine with sending my current Adaptec card back and using something else that doesnt have as crazy of error checking methods as this one. The error checking is what causes the problem with the consumer level drives. They arent built to error check as fast as the RAID card wants them to, so the card drops the drive from the array.

LONG STORY SHORT: I have 4 consumer level WD 2TB hard drives (WD2002FAEX) and an Adaptec 3805 raid card. With or without the card, using or not using software RAID, how do I group all of the drives into one volume with some kind of redundancy. I am ok with loosing 2 drives to parity just as long as all 4 drives are part of the equation.

OS: Microsoft Windows 7 Professional
Motherboard: MSI 890GXM-G65
CPU: AMD Phenom II X4 970 Deneb 3.5GHz
Memory: G.SKILL Ripjaws Series 16GB
OS Hard Drive: OCZ Vertex 3 VTX3-25SAT3-120G 2.5" SSD - Run from Motherboard SATA
RAID Hard Drives: 4x WD Caviar Black WD2002FAEX 2TB
RAID Card: Adaptec 3805

Thanks for reading!
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  1. I do not see why this would not work..

    I have the same drives but in 1tb versions in raid on 3 diff motherboards now (onboard raid 0) and they work well.

    so you have tried them in a raid 5 and the array constantly shows as degraded.

    have you installed the adaptec storage manager software. it has the ability that while windows is running and the software is open to rebuild degraded arrays.
  2. It sounds like you have eliminated all of the raid options so I am at a loss as to what you expect. You have talked to WD and Adaptec and now you are here looking for a magic pill.
    Is exchanging the 4 hdd's that you have out of the question?
    Is making a raid 0 with three of the drives and getting a backup software program to run and use the fourth drive as your backup drive?
  3. When using hard drives with a card from Adaptec, or any other raid card MFG, you need to pay attention to the hard drives they recommend, the same as purchasing memory for a mobo. I did support for one of the major raid mfg's & many harddrives would cause issues w/ different cards. We (and other companies) always had lists of HD's that we had tested w/ our equipment.
    Your best bet may be a mobo that supports raid.

  4. May I suggest a DIFFERENT APPROACH.

    Ignore RAID entirely and learn how to make backup IMAGES using Acronis True Image.

    Once you learn how to use the latest version of Acronis TI you can easily automate the backup producedure.

    There are several options. Since you have plenty of drives, one option is to dedicate a single 2TB drive for backing up. You can tell Acronis TI to make a full backup say, once per week and keep doing it until it runs out of space, then delete the OLDEST one.

    There are several options.

    RAID adds a lot of drive NOISE and other issues (where'd my RAID setup go. Aaaah!) and the above method is fairly simple to learn. You can just look at a SINGLE FILE on your 2TB drive and know that it represents a backup of your full drive. You can even copy it to a USB thumb drive if small enough or span to DVD.
  5. Allen!

    Wow that raid card that you have it's pretty good!
    It's a high end stuff, intent for server... so they never care about money or cost for that matter

    Base on my experience, to built raid for DESKTOP or SOHO server I always use SPM393 or SPM394

    It's SO EASY TO use and DOES NOT COMPLAINT about the HDD whether it's TLER enable or not.
    Plug the drives
    Configure the raid
    Connect to a SATA port...
    There is is RAID5.

    No drivers to load. It even offers Hot Spare feature.

    These is what I use to create four RAID5 and combine it to have a RAID50
    ALL USE WD GREEN drive, where everyone told me It wont work...

    So keep it a shot and save some money... send me a beer if you will
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