one of my raid controllers just died. is there a way to hook the drives upto another raid controller (going from via to silcon image) with no data loss? Is there any danger that if i try a different controller, my data will be lost?
In most cases you can't switch RAID arrays between controllers from different manufacturers. They each use different codes and patterns for the blocks which won't be recognized correctly on a different controller. You can plug in your drives to another controller and see if it recognizes the array, but it probably won't.
Even when you switch an array between identical controllers it is often necessary to rebuild the array and recover the partition using software like Active Partition Recovery. With a different controller you risk loosing data if you rebuild an array over a previous one and later find out it has changed the drive access patterns.
More often than not if your drives are in a RAID 0 or RAID 5 configuration, or some variation of that configuration, then you cannot swap drives from one controller to another. (There are cases where you can, but its likely best just to accept a "can't".) You will need to obtain a matching replacement controller.
If your drives are in a RAID 1 configuration then with MOST RAID controllers you will be able to put one of the drives from the mirrored array onto an alternate controller, and remirror and rebuild the array.
NOTE: If the drives in question are "BOOT/SYSTEM" drives then you are going to have additional issues since you would need to install a new/replacement RAID driver for a different controller.
The vast MAJORITY of low/medium end RAID cards do not do anything to a hard drive used in a RAID 1 configuration that is all too much different from the standard drive format as long as you the basic default RAID 1 configuration was used for the previous and new controller.
If your drives are in a RAID 1 configuration I would do the following:
1 - Install a new RAID card into your system and boot
with Windows on that card.
2 - Install one of the drives you are concerned with
into the new configuration and see if it can be
3 - If you can read it then you can copy the data
or use it where it is.
Also you said "one of my RAID controllers"? Do you have another identical controller to the one that failed?
no there not identical. i just went down to best buy buy 2 300gbs copy all of my stuff over to the new drives. switch the controller and coppied everything back. and then returned the drives. what a hassle.
But now my problem is. everything is so slow. When i access anything on my drives that use a pci controller card (theres 3), all of the drives loose throughput. drastically! This didn't happen before. Is there a way of arranging them or something to get around this? After all the whole point of using my raid setup was to burn dvds at 16x. Now i can even watch a movie or surf the net with out it dropping below 4x.
Often if you let windows chose a driver for your controller cards, it will chose a low performance drive or in the case of m y Promise ATA 100 one that corrupts data on drives larger than 127 GB. (promises own drivers are not signed so XP keeps replacing them with their own crap drivers after certain windows updates)
Also when I had the wrong driver for a highpoint controller in my system, every other drive would lag. Since the only drive connected to that controller was fine it took me awhile to determine the source of the problem.
Thats why I use HD Tach to benchmark my drives. It reads sector by sector so it isn't influenced by the file system, fragmentation ect.
I save my results and latter if I get lowwer numbers then I know something is wrong.