** I posted this on the Drive Forum but have not got a response so am re-posting here**
Getting ready to put together my new pieces and parts and have a question on what RAID setting I should use and why? [AMD A6-3650/ ASRock A55M/ 4GB RAM/ 2-1TB SATA HDD]
This is a family PC that is used for surfing the internet, uploading pictures, converting video from our camera to DVD's and the occasional work file if I don't have my laptop here.
I went with two 1TB Seagate Barracuda's as I have found over time that no matter how cautious "something" ends up on our computer OR the performance gets so poor that I have found it easier to have one drive for OS and Programs and the other for storage of files and such. [I know a 1TB drive is overkill for software but the price up from a smaller drive was not that great].
SO my question..... what are the logical choices for setting up the HDD's? I plan to partition the drive with the OS & Programs as a possible preventive step to the next time I need to reformat I can preload on the other partition and go from there, but maybe that is not smart or of no benefit?
For your planned use, I don't see why you would use RAID of any type. OS and apps on one HDD, data on the other - both are simply individual drives. Do not set anything to RAID. Of course, this does mean that if the boot drive craps out, you must install your OS AND all your apps again, but you don't lose the data files.
I assume you will be using Win 7 or Vista for your OS. If that is true - that is, if you are not using Win XP - you should set the SATA Port Mode in BIOS to AHCI mode, NOT IDE Emulation. If there's no AHCI mode, look for SATA mode or something like that.
A suggestion to avoid a future problem. When you assemble and go to install your OS, connect only ONE HDD to install. Wait until that is done before connecting the second unit. Then you will have to Partition and Format the second HDD using Windows' Disk Management tools.
Why? Well, Vista and Win 7 have this standard feature designed to save you trouble later when the C: drive is corrupted - more specifically, when some of the OS's files are corrupted. During the initial installation of the OS it looks around for a second HDD. If it finds one, it installs there a secret backup copy of most of the key OS files, THEN it installs the OS on the HDD you told it to use. The idea is that, if ever Windows can't boot because of a corrupt OS file, it will automatically go to the backup on the other drive and restore itself for you. Very handy idea. BUT what it does, then, is this: every time you boot, it looks at the second drive to be sure it is there as a safety measure. If it is not, it will refuse to boot! So, if you ever remove or change the second HDD, you have a big problem. On the other hand, if you install with only one HDD in the system, it will put the backup files on the same drive as that you boot from, and you are not limited to what you can do with the second drive that you install later.
Check your mobo manual, page 44, heading SATA Mode. You have four options, default is IDE Mode. This setting should only used when you are installing Win XP with no special installation of SATA (AHCI, really) device drivers. Since you are using Win 7, you should take advantage of it ability to use AHCI devices properly. So set this to AHCI Mode BEFORE installing Win 7.