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SSD boot drive + RAID-1 array

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January 22, 2013 4:46:19 AM

Hi Tom's community,

I am in over my head and seeking help.

I had an 80 gb SSD set up with a 1 TB WD Green data drive. Both crashed. The data was backed up online but it is still a PITA getting it back. Remorsefully decided to do a larger SSD + RAID-1 array next time.

NEW SETUP:
Mobo = ASRock M3A785GMH/128M AM3 AMD Motherboard with 5 identical SATA-2 ports
240 GB Intel 520 SSD
2 x 1 TB WD Caviar Black HDD labeled as OK for consumer RAID use

1. I set the BIOS to AHCI and installed Win 7 Ultimate and various office software on it. So far so good (pretty fast)

2. Found and loaded RAID drivers from mobo manufacturer. Shut down. Disconnected the SSD just to avoid mistakes. On bootup, the BIOS saw the two HDDs. I enabled RAID instead of AHCI and rebooted.

4. I went into the RAID utility and set up the two HDDs as RAID-1 with no partitions. The BIOS then saw them as two linked disks. Shut down. Reconnected the SSD.

5. On bootup, the RAID utility saw the SSD as a a JBOD and the two HDDs as a RAID array, but the BIOS did not see the SSD at all and would not let me set the SSD as the boot drive. Windows would not start. Then reset the BIOS to AHCI and Windows still would not start (it went into startup repair and got stuck). Disconnected the 2 HDDs and Windows boots fine.

Do you have any advice? Is there any way to set up a RAID-1 array with two new HDDs and an existing SSD? What am I not doing right?

thank you very much!
a c 523 G Storage
January 22, 2013 9:21:34 PM

Start over fresh:

1.) Disconnect all drives and clear your motherboard's CMOS (see page 25 of your motherboard manual).
2.) Connect your SSD to port SATAII_1 (Port 0). See page 13 for the location of the port.
3.) Change your SATA mode to RAID (page 53). Your SSD will automatically default to AHCI mode since it is not a member of a RAID array.
4.) Install Windows on your SSD. You can select your previous Windows partition; Windows will delete it and all data and begin a fresh install. Let Windows install its own default RAID drivers.
5.) After Windows installation is complete shut down and connect your 2 HDDs.
6.) Boot into RAID BIOS and create your RAID-1 array. As you know you have to manually select the drives that will be part of your array, so as long as you don't select your SSD you shouldn't have any problems.
7.) After you create your RAID array reboot into BIOS and verify that your 1st boot device is your SSD.
8.) Boot into Windows and install your motherboard RAID drivers, which will usually have better performance than Windows' default drivers.
9.) When you boot into Windows, if your RAID array is not visible in Explorer then go into Windows Disk Management, initialize the array, assign it a drive letter, and Quick format it. It should then be ready to use.
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October 23, 2013 6:08:19 AM

I want to do the same but I have win 7 already installed on my raid 1 and ssd is in the mail. Do I need to kill the raid first, or can I just add the ssd, and use the cd's formatting to delete partitions and re-format the raid 1, then install windows on the ssd?
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October 25, 2013 9:40:56 AM

I've done as you said but having the mb 990-fx-ud3 set up in raid mode will not load windows from the ssd without changing back to achi mode thus loosing the raid. Looks like i may be forced to software raid :( 
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