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Best setup for reliability - no more tinkering

Last response: in Systems
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September 16, 2012 3:36:16 AM

This is a divorce of sorts. I built my last system in 2007. That was after almost a decade of immersion in hardcore (for me anyway) IT. I taught classes in hardware and Cisco routing and switching. I got into gaming a bit and so built what was, at the time, a pretty good gaming tower. I installed RAID1+0 on a Gigabyte 965P-DQ6 motherboard. I used the Intel RAID drivers (Intel(R) ICH8R/ICH9R SATA RAID Controller) and SATA drives. System was pretty fast with an Intel Core 2 660 2.4 GHz processor. I added an NVIDIA GeForce 8800 GTS and was ready to go.

Everything was great in the first few years. But now, five years in, the RAID array is starting to eat drives on port 5 of the SATA bus. It's always only that drive and it only started happening in the last year or so. The drive lasts about 1 to 3 months. Then, if I've got too many programs open, it just kind of locks up for a few minutes, and that's when I know the Intel Matrix Storage Manager is about to tell me the drive on port 5 is about to fail again. I got 4 warranty claims on the drives so I had some spares, but my last new drive has lasted only about 2 weeks before crapping out again.

I'm tired of fooling with it all. I installed a RAID array so that I could have all of my data safe. It's been great for that. I now have a 1 TB backup drive that has all of my data backed up to it. I'm ready to rebuild, but I don't want to mess with a custom setup.

If I don't do a RAID array on the next computer, how best to ensure data and installed programs are going to be safe and recoverable? Do drives really fail at the rate I've been experiencing in the last year or so? What if that was my only drive and not a RAID array?

I've been out of the IT shops for awhile now. My career took me in a different direction. I just want a system that works that I can easily get back up and running if something bad happened. I'm primarily a business user and not a gamer anymore. Thanks for your advice.
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