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AHCI to RAID

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September 15, 2012 3:24:30 AM

I've got 2 1TB SATA II HDD's in my system, and one 2 TB ESATA external (which has all my music [almost 1.5TB] so I don't plan to mess with it). For the two intenals I am currently running one as my main system drive, and the other is a primary partition.
It's set in bios to AHCI. I'm thinking about switching to RAID 0 to take advantage of striping. Can I do this without a complete reinstall? I'm running Win7 64bit btw. the rest of my system specs are in my profile.

Thanks in advance.

More about : ahci raid

a c 88 G Storage
September 15, 2012 3:27:27 AM

You can enable RAID mode in the system setup without causing any problems. Intel's RAID is a firmware RAID, it's nothing more than AHCI with an OPROM that allows for a RAID volume to be booted from.

What you cannot do is transform your existing two 1TB disks into a RAID without destroying all of the data. You can install a 2TB drive, backup whatever you need, put the two 1TB drives into RAID, and then recover whatever you need from the 2TB drive.
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September 15, 2012 3:36:21 AM

That's kind of what I figured. But I wanted to verify my thought pattern.

If I format the two internals, set them as RAID, and reinstall windows. Will I still be able to attach my external and have it read, or will the system try to use it as a RAID volume as well?


For that matter is it really worth switching to RAID for daily use i.e. gaming, music, internet, Office etc.
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a c 88 G Storage
September 15, 2012 3:50:57 AM

morbious81 said:
That's kind of what I figured. But I wanted to verify my thought pattern.

If I format the two internals, set them as RAID, and reinstall windows. Will I still be able to attach my external and have it read, or will the system try to use it as a RAID volume as well?


For that matter is it really worth switching to RAID for daily use i.e. gaming, music, internet, Office etc.


Yes of course you can use your external. Most motherboard manufacturers use an add-in chip to add an additional 2 SATA-III ports as well as eSATA ports. These chips are usually sourced from JMicron, Promise, ASMedia, Marvell, etc... It's rare for a manufacturer to draw eSATA directly from the Intel southbridge as that would mean removing one of the ports from the motherboard. Windows usually has native driver support for some of these devices.

Even so, the Intel controller makes a distinction between disks that are members of a RAID volume, and disks that are not members of a RAID volume. RAID volumes and non-RAID volumes are presented the same way to the OS. One of the nice aspects of Windows 7, the Intel southbridge, and AHCI is that disks and volumes are exposed separately. Windows will see and be able to analyse the individual disks that are members of a RAID for health purposes, even if those two disks present one or more RAID volumes.
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September 15, 2012 6:07:42 AM

I'm Running AMD hardware but all of the same rules seem to apply. I didn't think about the chip set. and southbridge, you woke up some brain cells for me Thank you for letting me pick your brain. You have helped me wrap my head around how RAID functions in a PC setting. I feel more confident moving forward.
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September 15, 2012 6:08:02 AM

Best answer selected by morbious81.
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September 15, 2012 6:22:36 AM


BTW Pinhedd. I just noticed the specs on your machine. I've gotta admit, that's a sick build!
Way out of my price range, but impressive non the less. One day I'll be able to break free from budget building and build a monster :lol: 
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a c 88 G Storage
September 15, 2012 2:34:33 PM

morbious81 said:
BTW Pinhedd. I just noticed the specs on your machine. I've gotta admit, that's a sick build!
Way out of my price range, but impressive non the less. One day I'll be able to break free from budget building and build a monster :lol: 


Thanks :)  It's a bit of a space heater though

As always, consult your motherboard manual to see exactly what you do and do not have. Have fun and feel free to PM me if you need anything
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September 16, 2012 1:26:15 AM

Pinhedd said:
Thanks :)  It's a bit of a space heater though

As always, consult your motherboard manual to see exactly what you do and do not have. Have fun and feel free to PM me if you need anything



I'd imagine so. I know my build is like a space heater, and I have nowhere near as mush gear squeezed in the case. I will definitely drop you a line if I run into any issues or have any questions. I probably won't attempt the change until the beginning of the week. I work swing shift in a server farm, and am a full time student on top of that, so my tweaking time is a bit limited. Thanks again for the advice. All the specs on my board are a go. Just gotta sit down and do the thing.
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