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Help deciding what to do with my 4 hdds.

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May 5, 2012 9:12:07 AM

I just bought some new ram, and want to upgrade from windows 7 32 bit to windows 7 64 bit. I do some gaming (Starcraft 2, Diablo 3), and I browse about a hundred firefox tabs at once. I figure the ram upgrade will stop firefox from crashing so frequently. I also watch a lot of youtube videos.

Right now, I have 4 500gb hdds in a raid 0. I don't use much HDD space (500gb is more than I would ever use). So I was wondering, what practical differences would I notice from going from a 4 disc raid 0 to a 4 disc raid 1? (I don't have a controller other than the onboard raid). I ask this, as the drives are about 1-2 years old, and I'd like to have some type of a backup of my files/notes.
Or should I use 3 disks in the raid 1 and 1 disk as another drive and us it to backup my data like once a week? Or is that stupid and a waste of time because the raid 1 is like an automatic backup? I'm open to suggestions on what to do with the disks :??: 


Here are my specs, I'm also open to critiques on them:

GA-P55-USB3 (rev. 1.0)
4x4GB DDR3 1866 Gskill Ares RAM
x4 3gb/s 500gb WD Black HDDs in RAID 0
Intel i5 750
GeForce N250GTS 512DDR3 256bit

More about : deciding hdds

a b $ Windows 7
a b G Storage
May 5, 2012 10:25:55 AM

There's really no point in setting up a RAID 1 array with more than 2 drives unless you really, really have important data that you need to have 4 copies of in case 3 of the 4 drive fails simultaneously.

There's RAID 10 where you have 2 drives in a RAID 0 array and are mirrored onto another 2 drive RAID 0 array. That essentially gives you a 1TB RAID mirror array.

Or you can donate one or two hard drives to me since I've been meaning to replace an old 320GB hard drive.

:)  :)  :) 
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a b $ Windows 7
a c 342 G Storage
May 5, 2012 2:35:43 PM

You've almost stumbled into a common mistake. RAID1 is NOT a Backup System! If you want a proper backup system (a VERY good practice!), build that, and don't use RAID1 for it.

RAID1 can protect against a failure of one HDD - mechanical failure, electrical, or corrupted data / bad sector on one HDD in the array. It cannot protect against other problems. For example, a software error writes faulty info to the HDD - it will get written to BOTH parts of the RAID1 array, so both have the same error. Similarly, if malware (virus, etc.) writes bad stuff or deletes things, it will happen to both. If a power surge burns out computer components, both drives are in the same case and equally at risk. Etc, etc.

A good backup system makes copies of everything (and subsequent incremental backups of anything that has changed since the last full backup) to a completely separate medium that can be disconnected and physically moved to store in another location.It cannot be changed until you reconnect it and work with the medium again. RAID1 can't do any of that.
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Related resources
May 5, 2012 6:11:45 PM

Quote:
Chipset:
6 x SATA 3Gb/s connectors (SATA2_0, SATA2_1, SATA2_2, SATA2_3, SATA2_4, SATA2_5) supporting up to 6 SATA 3Gb/s devices
Support for SATA RAID 0, RAID 1, RAID 5, and RAID 10
GIGABYTE SATA2 chip:
1 x IDE connector supporting ATA-133/100/66/33 and up to 2 IDE devices
2 x SATA 3Gb/s connectors (GSATA2_6, GSATA2_7) supporting up to 2 SATA 3Gb/s devices
Support for SATA RAID 0, RAID 1, and JBOD


I quoted this from the Gigabite website about my mobo. Does this mean that with my mobo, I can run a raid 10? I was under the impression that I wouldn't be able to run a raid 10 without buying a controller (the ones I've seen are very expensive... :o  )

So my mobo can run raid 10 with its built in controller?

What differences do you think I'll see from switching from a 4 disk raid 0 to a raid 10?

Also, is there a 'how to' for creating a raid 10 somewhere?
When I made the raid 0, people told me to partition the first 80gb of each drive as its the 'inner disk' and has better performance. And then partition the other 400gb on each into 'slow' section for things like movies etc.
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a b $ Windows 7
a c 342 G Storage
May 6, 2012 3:52:08 AM

Yes, your mobo specs say clearly that you can run a RAID10 if you connect all 4 of your HDD's to the main SATA2_n ports. Look on the CD that came with your mobo for a long manual on the RAID system itself, usually separate from the mobo main manual. Those ports are run by the Intel P55 Express chipset, so if you can't find such a manual on the CD, check the Gigabyte or Intel websites for the RAID manual for this chipset.
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