8knxp raid setup

jon_west_uk

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Okay i have managed to get myself really confused and am hoping that someone maybe able to point me in the right direaction.

I have the following drives / system specs:
2xsata seagate 120gb 7200rpm
1xsata west digital 250gb 7200rpm
1xIDE west digital 120gb 7200rpm (which is currently dying see my previous post, but i will be getting a new one from warrenty)
3ghz 800fsb intel cpu
gigabyte 8knxp motherboard
1gb ddr ram
etc. etc.

I do a lot of video editing and want to set up a raid0 array using my on board raid controller and the two sata 120gb drives. However i believe i have 3 controllers and 4 sata slots. This has confused me!!

I reckon that the gigaraid controller is only for the 2 extra ide slots - so i dont need that.

That leaves me with 2 controllers (silicon image satalink and intel ich5r controller) it seems that 2 sata slots run from the silicon image controller and the other from the ich5r contoller.

My question is how should i configure the drives?

I dont really know if i should run xp pro from the array - as all my important data gets written to another drive and i reinstall xp every 3 months on principal.

Also how do i set the bios up to enable the array. I tried doing it with the silicon controller but after running xp installer cd and pointing it to the silicon raid controller on my floppy disk 3 identical hard disks showed up on the xp installer screen. 2 seemed to be my disks and the other looked like it had been generated from the raid array which is weird.

I have the driver floppy disks for both the intel raid and silicon raid but which one do i use for the raid 0 set up and which do i use for my other regular drive?

If you think i should set up xp on the array how do i set up the array so that the xp installer will recognise it?

Please help me sort this out. Apologies if the message sounds really confused but that is probably due to the fact that i am really confused!!

cheers for your help

Jon

Someone please unwire me...the gadgets are taking over!
 

grafixmonkey

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You should probably leave XP on a single disk and use the Raid for video only. When you render frames, it would be most efficient to have the source files on one drive and the destination file and preview files on the other, and if you want to be able to quickly reformat your XP disk without having to move a whole bunch of video around, having XP on a single disk makes the most sense. Having the OS on a normal IDE channel also makes the system more fault tolerant. A Raid controller requires special drivers and is in general more complicated for XP to work with than a plain normal drive. So, if XP is on a Raid controller and you ever have a driver issue, all of a sudden your system can't boot. Whereas, with XP on a single disk, a driver issue would temporarily take your video data offline, leaving XP running, and you'd be able to play with settings until you got the array back up again.

One thing to be careful of - you're going to have 240GB of storage on a Raid drive. If you fill that up, it's going to be difficult to back it up unless the files are expendable, and a Raid-0 drive is twice as likely to fail as a single drive. It might be a good idea to arrange for yourself to have enough spare storage to hold everything, should you ever suddenly need to get all your stuff off the Raid-0 and replace a disk. Hopefully that won't be an issue for at least a year, so it's just something to keep in mind for the future.

As far as getting the controller running, here's what I have to do for both of my cards:
1. attach drives to Raid controller's channels. I've been told not to use Cable Select, but sjonnie would probably know for sure whether this is really an issue or not. (heard it from Promise tech support, and I don't trust those guys much no more.)
2. Use a hot-key during the Raid controller's bios post to enter its configuration utility. This might be part of your motherboard Bios, since your controller is integrated. (mine are PCI cards.)
3. Define an array to be raid level 0 and specify its stripe block size. Use a large value for video, something like 64KB - not much reason to go larger than that. Larger stripe block sizes make it a little slower to access small files or read/write randomly to the disk like a swap file does.
4. add the drives to the array using the utility.
5. Start windows setup, pressing F6 and inserting the controller's floppy full of drivers, repeating if you have more than one controller requiring drivers.

It should be just like any other windows install from there. Again, if you install windows on the normal standalone drive, it gives you the freedom to play with detecting and configuring the array after you already have windows running. You could even download and install your raid card's drivers from within windows, ignoring the floppy disk entirely. (floppies are pretty unreliable, especially when you really need them.)


And, sounds like you got everything off that other drive that started dying, but should you ever have trouble with that kind of thing a tool called R-Studio is good at recovering data from a failing drive, as long as the platters are still spinning.
 

jon_west_uk

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Thanks for your help. With regard to storage i was hoping that my new 250gb west digital sata drive would play the role of a back up drive for all really important stuff. then i would have the other 120 gb for other bits and bobs and xp.

My final question must now be:
What raid chip / controller do i use for which drives.

For the moment until i have a replacement ide drive sent to me i only have sata drives.

2 therefore must be set up on one raid chip and 1 on the other. At the moment i cant get the system to boot from the intel ich5r chip (yes i have the driver to install windows but i cant set it as my 1st boot device in windows) but there must be a way cause that is the one controller that i wasnt given a manual for! Think i may try updating the bios.

Any ideas?

And which controller is best out of the ich5r and silicon image satalink for
A) a regular drive
B) a raid 0

Someone please unwire me...the gadgets are taking over!
 

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