Need HELP with RAID

I need an EXACT HOW-TO STEP-BY-STEP on Raid setup.

I have an XFX 680I LT Mobo.

I just ordered 2 WD Cav Black 1TB drives for new installation on Raid along with Windows 7, and 4 more gigs of ram.

I need to know what I need to install it as Raid 1. Is that my best option for failure resistance?
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    Here's a step by step guide to it.....
    Although I'd suggest having smaller sized discs for the OS and having these big ones for the data stuff, but still raiding them is going to be time taking....
  2. 1st, THANK YOU VERY MUCH for the excellent info you posted.

    Please explain why you'd use smaller size drives.

    I thought that the bigger the drive for the OS the better since the drive like to have "room to breathe" or a place where it can jsut throw info anywhere on the drive and move it later like when you do a defrag.

    Also please explain why RAID is goign to take time?

    Is RAID not my best option then? Should I just go with a program that will mirror my drive?
  3. Raid works at the DOS level....... so the bigger the disk the larger the time.... and as we know when we used to format a 10GB Drive in DOS the time it took was pretty high and nowadays if we need to format a 1.5TB or 2TB HDD in DOS it's going to take ages....... and this is just formatting...... not mirroring of data.....
    So building the Array is going to take time, if it messes up it's going to take longer rebuilding the array. But once it's made and setup.... you won't even know that it's time consuming.....
    For mirroring I still prefer RAID option...... no software can do it like RAID does.....

    I'd use smaller drives for the OS only..... keeping in mind the free space option, I would not cut it too close to the size of the HDD...... a good 50-100GB on the OS drive as free space is enough.

    I'm presently using a Intel 80GB SSD non raid....... and have around 24GB free keeping in mind the 15% minimum free space..... no page file, no defrag. And I still sometimes feel I might run out of space.....
    So 50 to 100GB extra after installation of all essential programs and service packs is fine, nothing higher needed.

    The working is a lot more faster in a RAID0 array for the OS if the drive size is about 200Gb....... that way the excessive space required is there and yet not too much of free room to just clutter data here and there...... thereby not increasing the seek time too.....
    It's like scattering x number of things in your room or scattering the same x number of things on the football field..... where would you find and collect the things first.....
    The bigger the playground, the harder it is to find your stuff.....

    Here's another interesting article from Tom's if you'd like to see a few results..... :),9.html
  4. I am installing windows 7 which is pretty big already.

    Would it be better to do 4 500GB WD Caviar Blue SE drives in RAID 0+1?

    Correct me if i'm wrong but I believe that with 0+1 the info is split between the 1st 2 drives and the 3rd gets the parity bit info and the fourth gets an exact copy.

    Also, you're just saying that it would take a long time to do a hardware Raid off the board because of the drive size but ONLY in the beginning or if I lost a drive and had to replace one and re-build array?
  5. Yes, for all the questions.
    500GB is perfectly fine....... I'd go for 300 If possible.....
    Yes, you're right on the parity bit info too....
    And yes, ONLY is the right word.....
  6. So what good really is RAID then?
    I don't get a performance boost.
    I really can't use my large hard drives to their full potential.
    It's a pain in the ass to setup and manage.

    I guess i'm missing the point now. The more I learn about RAID the more pointless I see it as.

    If I can just remember to do imaging each time i'm on the PC I shouldn't have a problem. Unless both drives mysteriously fail at the same time.

    I have a 1TB external hard drive that I could just image my drive on. Wont I be able to boot from that if OS hard drive fails?
  7. Of course you will be able to boot from the external HDD if everything else fails....
    These are the reasons why the usual day to day computer users don't use RAID, it's concept was for commercial use, large databases and stuff like that.

    Although if you get the hang of it, the performance boost in a RAID0+1 setup is amazing if the HDD in the array aren't too big.... so some people (the enthusiasts) do use them.....

    If you're a geek you'd love to experiment with RAID setups.... it's fun and it's cool to have the bragging rights for quick boot up times.....

    It's only bad when setups fail and we can't complain of crib to anyone about it.....:)
  8. Do RAID arrays commonly fail?

    If they do fail, how do you recover? How do you know they actually failed?

    What tools should I have around then if it does fail? I dont mean one of the drives, I mean the array itself.
  9. alyoshka said:
    Yes, for all the questions.
    500GB is perfectly fine....... I'd go for 300 If possible.....
    Yes, you're right on the parity bit info too....
    And yes, ONLY is the right word.....

    Wow, completely incorrect.

    RAID 0+1 and RAID 10 do not use parity at all.

    Here's an intro to RAID:

    RAID 5 (and, of the other commonly used schemes, RAID 6) use parity. Dedicated parity disks haven't been used in a long time (that's RAID 2, 3, and 4).

    Rebuilding an array can be time-consuming as well. RAID 5 especially. I have seen online RAID 5 rebuilds take overnight.

    Also RAID doesn't work at the "DOS level". It's either driven by the OS (typically only used on Linux/UNIX), the motherboard (what will happen in this case) or a separate hardware RAID controller.

    Building the RAID array can take some time at first, but size of the drives doesn't matter nearly as much as where on the disk you place the OS. Traditionally, the quickest area of the disk is the middle, as the drive heads have to move the least amount of distance from any other point on the disk.

    paulbelk, what is your goal for using RAID? I don't think it provides a lot of use for most home users.

    RAID 0 will provide some additional speed loading programs, but not much else for the standard home user, and it introduces the possibility of losing all of your data. (Backups to an external drive is great to offset this problem, as long as the external drive has enough room. Newer motherboards should support booting from an external drive, older ones may not. In any case, it is likely to be quite slow.)
    RAID 1 is great for providing data redundancy, but it doesn't provide much of a performance boost.
    RAID 5 (3+ disks, any number) gives you some of the benefits of RAID 0 (fast reads) but also provides data redundancy. It is, however, slow to write.
    RAID 10 (4+ disks, in even numbers) is expensive, doesn't make good use of your total capacity, but provides both redundancy and speed.

    Chose 2 of the following 3: speed, data safety, cheap.
    RAID 0 = speed, cheap
    RAID 1 = data safety, cheap (relatively, no capacity benefit though)
    RAID 5= data safety, cheap
    RAID 10 = speed, data safety

    RAID arrays don't usually fail in and of themselves, it's usually a drive that fails or doesn't respond to the controller (or motherboard) in the expected timeframe (this has been a noted problem with some drives recently, particularly WD Caviar Greens). With RAID 1 or RAID 5 this isn't a huge problem. With RAID 0 it's catastrophic.

    Another reason for the standard home user not to use RAID is that the typical motherboard-based RAID is not portable...if you decide to move your drives to a new CPU/motherboard, the data is not going to come along for the ride.
  10. That was extremely informative coldsleep. Thank you VERY much for your post.

    My goal is to secure data. Unfortunately, as of late, I have not been able to be on my system. Instead it has been my girlfriend and her daughter playing Sims3 and whatever beacuse I have been busy with Engineering school. I know, i know, 35 yrs old is an odd time to start but at least I've started right.

    Anyway, my problem with that is that she is very bad about doing ANY kind of backups at all. She hasn't done one since June. I have it setup to automatically backup at about the time she would be on it but she said she just hits cancel on it. That's a whole other issue.

    So I figured if I setup RAID that it would keep a copy of all of my files and I wouldn't have to worry about trusting her to make the backups. I also hate re-installing everything when a hard drive fails. I use A LOT of different programs when I use the PC.

    BUT, so far what I have been reading is that RAID is better for business where down time means $. $ isnt the issue but the downtime sure is.

    B U T

    I have ran out of SATA ports though and thought about just going with a pocket RAID card.

    Correct me if i'm wrong but won't this card allow me to move my system (Win 7 X64) from one PC to another without any hassles at all? Even if it is new MOBO?
    This would also allow me to setup my OS system on 1 array and my programs on another. I have a 1TB external drive I use now for my backups.

    So my new setup would like like this.

    2 WD Caviar Blue 32mb cache 500 GB drives for my OS (1st Raid array) in Raid 1

    2 WD Caviar Blue 32mb cache 500 GB drives for my data (2nd Raid array) in Raid 1

    1 WD Black 32mb cache 1TB drive Internal for other data
    1 WD Black 32mb cache 1TB drive External for backups of all drives

    2 DVD-RW Combo drives taking up 2 SATA ports on there as well.

    Or would it be better to setup the RAID1 with the 1TB drives for the OS? OR just forget RAID all together and get a SATA card to handle the other drives or DVD-RW drives?

    My case only holds 5 3.5" hard drives so any others would have to be external until I can upgrade the Chasis (for more hard drives and liquid cooling) and the MOBO (support for Quad SLI and more hard drives).

    Obviously I am in need of a new power supply. Cooler Masters PSU calcualtor says I need at least an 855 watt PSU and I only have a 700W PSU. I'll be ordering a 1000-1200 watt one soon.

    Sorry for all the rambling.
  11. It's never too late to learn more. :)

    In theory, yes, a RAID card should allow the array to be portable. I think you'd still want to do backups before moving to a new system just in case.

    I think the 6 drive setup is overkill.

    If you don't already have the Caviar Blue drives, have you considered buying a 60 GB SSD for the OS, and using the 1 TB Caviar Blacks as a RAID 1 array for data? For a little more than the price of 2 Caviar Blues, you can get a Mushkin Callisto 60 GB that will be much faster. Admittedly, there's no data redundancy, but if you just keep the OS, web browser, and maybe a game on there, it shouldn't be a big deal. Furthermore, even in the event that it fails, it should still be readable, if not bootable.

    You might also consider buying some imaging software, like Norton Ghost or Acronis True Image, etc. for about $30-40. That would significantly reduce re-install time and reconfiguration in the event of a failure.

    If you don't feel like dealing with RAID, you could simply use one of the 1 TB drives for your data and run backups to the other drive (as long as your girlfriend doesn't cancel out of it). This is exactly what I'm doing right now (1 SSD + 2x 1 TB drives).

    (I'm going to be experimenting with a RAID 0 setup this weekend, as I got a 2 TB drive for cheap on Black Friday, but I don't recommend RAID 0 in general.)

    I'd be surprised if you really need 1000W+, hard drives use some, but not a ton of power. Your biggest draw is almost always going to be the GPU, followed by the CPU/mobo, then hard drives. I'd see how it goes on your current PSU, unless it's really old. I should point out I'm also not a fan of quad SLI/CF, as it's almost never necessary, except for bragging rights, as by the time most people can afford the 3rd or 4th GPU, there's something much better on the market. It's really only useful for maximum fps at build, and within a year or two, you've spent far too much on GPUs that are already obsolete. Just something to consider, don't let me talk you out of it if you're set on it.
  12. I'm definately not set on the quad SLI. I just want to be able to have 3 screens and good FPS. I currently do good with the 8800GT's in SLI so not something I have to have.

    I already have all the drives I mentioned. The WD blue 500GB are on sale right now for $39.99 so I figured those would be good cause' they'd be cheap to replace.

    I only paid $60ea for the 1TB drives on black friday.

    I just didn't want to have to have them be external cause' I have no other way to fit them on the MOBO.

    Is there a better card I should buy for the extra SATA ports? I only wanted the OPTION of RAID if I decide to do it.
  13. I don't have any experience with buying hardware RAID cards off of newegg, so I can't really say. I do think that buying a higher-end ($50+) is probably the right way to go, though.

    That card does also do JBOD, so if you don't feel like messing with RAID, you can just attach them and run it however you like.

    If you already have all 6 disks, then yes, 2 arrays of RAID 1 seems fine. You could also go with a 4 disk RAID 10 array, and potentially hook up the 2x 1 TB drives as a separate RAID 1 array for backup. Probably overkill, though.

    Time for me to head out, hopefully that answers most of your questions...I'll try to respond later if there's anything I missed.
  14. Thanks alot. I really appreciate all the help from you guys.
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