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Is it possible to easily setup Raid-1 on this system ?

Last response: in Motherboards
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December 13, 2011 12:53:08 AM

Hi,
I am buying Dell T5500 workstation from Dell with 500 GB HDD.
They want extra $250.00 if I select Raid-1 which requires only one extra 500 GB HDD because that motherboard has built in Raid Controller if I am correct. In the quote they sent me it says following :

“ Integrated Intel® SATA 3.0Gb/s controller with support for RAID “

In the specs of the motherboard it says following :

Drive Controllers :

The T5500 uses an integrated SATA 3.0Gb/s host controller (part of the Intel chipset) and the optional PCI-e SAS 6/ir controller supports SAS drives with host based RAID 0 or 1.

The optional PERC 6/i PCI-e SAS/SATA hardware RAID card supports RAID 0, 1, 5 (RAID 5 in mini-tower orientation only). Single RAID 0 GPT DATA volumes greater than 2TB are available as factory installed option with the integrated controller and optional PERC 6/i RAID adapter under Windows XP64, Windows Vista 32Bit/ 64Bit operating systems.

Network Controller :

Integrated Broadcom® 5754 Gigabit Ethernet controller
2nd Gigabit port is available with the optional PCI-e Broadcom Gigabit controller card

Questions :

(1) Is there a built in Raid Controller OR it requires something else besides second 500 GB HDD to setup Raid-1 ?
(2) Are they asking too much for Raid- 1 & should I pay extra $ 250.00 for Raid-1 ?
(3)I am not a techy at all so how hard would it be to setup Raid-1 on my own or with the help of you guys & what else would I need besides an extra 500 GB HDD ?
(4) This motherboard has 4 PCIe x16 slots. If I go with Raid-1, would it take up one of those 4 slots ? I need all those 4 slots for Video Cards.
(5) Do I need 10/100/1000 Ethernet card for connecting to Internet or home network OR Integrated 5754 Gigabit Ethernet controller does the job ?
(6) I have never used Raid-1 so Is it possible to disable Raid-1 if for some reason I don't like it ib future ?

Thank You
a b V Motherboard
December 13, 2011 1:15:00 AM

1) the RAID controller is on the motherboard and is what is known as 'software RAID'. It is not as good as hardware raid, but there will be a small CPU penalty if running in 0, 1, or 10. Do not run RAID5 on software RAID as it will slow the computer down, and not get the full speed that the RAID should offer... plus recover would take forever!

2) Check the price for a 2nd HDD, the rest is what they are charging you for going into BIOS and selecting 'RAID' under the HDD management section. Also keep in mind that if you set the RAID up yourself you will have to reformat and reinstall your computer, so pay the extra $3 or whatever it is for the install discs. If that sounds too complicated then pay them the money to set it up for you.

3) It is really easy, plus there are white papers on Dells website for how to set it up yourself. You need 2 identical HDDs, go into BIOS (F2 on Dells I believe), select RAID, and then go through the Intel RAID setup utility which will launch when you exit BIOS. Then reinstall the OS/Software, and you are good to go.

4) No, RAID is on the motherboard. You can get a RAID card, but to get one that is better than the onboard RAID controller you would have to lay down a few hundred dollars, and the onboard RAID is fine for most applications.

5) 1000 Ethernet is known as Gigabit, so your onboard will do the job, and will be backwards compatible to 10 and 100 speeds. The 2nd card is for if you will be serving information to a network that has multiple users so that 2 users can have the full 120MB/s bandwidth of gigabit ethernet at the same time. You do not need this.

6) Yes, you can disable it, but changes to a RAID configuration means reinstalling, so again, be sure to buy the install CDs. But in all likelihood you would not want to change unless you were switching over to an SSD, but you would still want the RAID even then for your storage drives.
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December 13, 2011 2:33:10 AM

Exellent explanation. Really appreciate it.

I already have extra hard drives. Currently I clone my HDD every night & have 7 HDDs.

I thought this will reduce that work.

If I had Raid-1 & if one of the two drives crashes, would I be able to easily start with new drive or does it involve some tech knowledge ? Also how difficult would it be if one HDD crashes & I have to get second new HD & start the Raid-1 process ?

I am not much of a techi.

Thanks



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