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Z77 - SSD w OS + 2 HDDs in RAID 1, which ports?

Tags:
  • NAS / RAID
  • SSD
  • Storage
Last response: in Storage
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November 24, 2012 2:25:51 PM

new build / 1st build:
ASRock Z77 Extreme4 mobo
OCZ Vertex4 SATA3 SSD
(2) WD Green 2TB HDDs

I intend to setup SSD w Win7 + 2 HDDs in RAID 1. I have 4 SATA3 ports on mobo, so I placed the SSD in SATA3_0, and HDDs in SATA3_A0 & A1 (skipped SATA3_1).

Also, I have my CD/DVD drive connected to the first SATA2 port (SATA2_2).

On 1st bootup, I entered the ASRock UEFI setup utility and under "Advanced" menu I changed "SATA Mode Selection" from ACHI to RAID.

The "ASMedia SATA3 Mode" option has three options (Disabled, IDE, and ACHI), but no RAID so I left this on default ACHI. "SATA Boot ROM" is disabled by default.

Here's a wrinkle to my story: On rebooting, I went directly to the Win7 installation, identified the SSD drive as the boot drive, and completed the installation -- not realizing I needed to install the RAID drivers first.

I have gone back and installed the RAID drivers from the ASRock CD by booting from that CD and generating drivers on a USB stick. Then I reran Windows Setup to the point it allows me to load drivers, which I did. Not certain if I should re-install the whole OS at that point I canceled the install.

On reboot, I think I'm supposed to see "Press CRTL-I to configure RAID" or something similar, but nothing like that shows up -- just goes straight into Windows setup (if Win CD in drive) or "Generate Serial ATA Driver diskette? [Y/N]" (if ASRock CD in drive).

1) I can't figure out how to get into a setup menu to allow configuration of my RAID 1 drives.

2) Not certain if I should reinstall Windows on SSD -- first experience w/ SSD, but I know too much read/write/delete activity is not good.

3) As the title suggests I also am uncertain if the ports I have selected are appropriate. This mobo has 4 SATA3 ports numbered SATA3_0, SATA3_1, SATA3_A0, SATA3_A1. I skipped SATA3_1.

4) I notice on the F11 boot menu that the CD/DVD drive and SDD are listed as RAID devices and 2 HDDs are listed as ACHI. Can that be right?

5) Installation of OS onto SSD created a recovery partition on the first HDD. Once I get all my other issues sorted, how can I direct that the recovery partition be created on the SSD itself, or is that inappropriate?

Need expert advice, please!

More about : z77 ssd hdds raid ports

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a c 404 G Storage
November 24, 2012 3:32:03 PM

I would not use the ASMedia controller at all, you don't need it and it will just slow boot time, so just disable that controller in the bios and go with the Intel ports until you have too many drives for the 6 Intel ports. Connect the SSD to one of the Intel SATA 6Gb/s ports and the two HDDs on 2 of the Intel SATA 3Gb/s ports (also the DVD drive to one of those) and set up the RAID for them there.

Here is a detailed guide on how to set it up on your motherboard, read it all before starting and do a fresh install from the beginning: ftp://174.142.97.10/manual/raid/Z77%20Extreme4/English....
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November 24, 2012 4:44:01 PM

Thanks for the quick response! My HDDs are SATA3 -- why should I place them on SATA2 ports?
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a c 353 G Storage
November 24, 2012 5:28:45 PM

Realbeast is correct.
Sata III HDDs is a marketing tool. Mechanical HDDs can NOT fully use the SATA II Bandwidth. THE only advantage of SATA III HDD on SATA III is the Very Short Burst speed.

2nd WD "green" drives are a very poor choice for Raid. Also for true BACK-UP, you would be better off with one drive internal and the 2nd drive as an External drive.
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a c 404 G Storage
November 24, 2012 7:15:14 PM

I totally agree with RetiredChief that the Green drives are not good for RAID. You would be much better off doing as he says and installing one for storage and using the other for off-line backup of the storage drive.

Either an inexpensive external dock or the very handy IcyDock, which is like an external dock but built in and connected to a SATA controller, would work well.
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November 24, 2012 10:07:11 PM

Best answer selected by frogbottom.
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November 24, 2012 10:08:53 PM

Realbeast's answer got me where I wanted to go! Solved my problems #1 & 4

Re: #2 -- decided there was no way around re-installing Windows on SSD, ended up reinstalling 2-3 times.

Re: #3 -- appears skipping ports has no effect

Re: #5 -- during one reinstall I had the HDDs unplugged from their SATA ports, so only SSD active; recovery partition built on SSD -- then I added the HDDs and have entire RAID disk available for data
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a c 404 G Storage
November 24, 2012 10:19:05 PM

frogbottom said:
Realbeast's answer got me where I wanted to go! Solved my problems #1 & 4

Re: #2 -- decided there was no way around re-installing Windows on SSD, ended up reinstalling 2-3 times.

Re: #3 -- appears skipping ports has no effect

Re: #5 -- during one reinstall I had the HDDs unplugged from their SATA ports, so only SSD active; recovery partition built on SSD -- then I added the HDDs and have entire RAID disk available for data
Nice work, it can take a few installs to get a more complex install, like with RAID, running properly. It is well worth the effort though, as patching and sliding by will bite you in the@ss later. Like with anything, the more you do this stuff, the easier it gets. Enjoy.
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