How 2 configure ASUS P6T w/lone SSD + SATA RAID?

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stockstradr

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An obscure question, but Tom's Hardware forums is obviously filled with some of most experienced people that I've ever seen post on these topics, so I appreciate your very valuable advice!

Two questions, both related to setting up on storage on ASUS P6T (std, not the Deluxe version) motherboard on the homebuilt system I'm now building:

1) How to best configure the combination of single SSD (to hold OS and most programs) plus a separate RAID of SATA's when using the ASUS P6T, CPU: i7 920, w/Windows Vista?

Now the details. I bought the Intel X25-M 80GB Solid State Drive to hold Windows Vista Ultimate 64-bit and most of my programs. With the SSD I'm looking for SPEED both on starting up OS, and starting up programs and for fast local read/write: I'll edit HD video local to the SSD, and will move finished work onto the SATA RAID.

I only need 2 TB of SATA drive storage space. For fun, and for speed, I like to set up the SATA drives as a RAID. The question is where to attach the SSD to the P6T?

Here's where it gets complicated:

The P6T has:
A) 6 X SATA 3GB/s ICH10R Southbridge ports which (using Intel Matrix Storage) supports SATA RAID 0,1,5,10.

B) Plus it has the JMicron JMB322 2 X SATA 3 GB/s

Obviously the SATA RAID has to go onto the ICH10R Southbridge ports. However, multiple online forums / test reports are saying or implying the JMicron controller has issues that effectively limit the performance of SSD's. (Read http://www.anandtech.com/storage/showdoc.aspx?i=3531&p=1)

(Yes, I bought the wrong board. I should have bought the P6T DELUXE which doesn't use the JMicron as the second SATA controller.)

NOTE: I do not want to buy a $300 RAID controller card. (Financial controller also know as "wife" says PC cost ceiling has been hit).

QUESTION: so can and should I put the Intel X25-M SSD onto the first of the six ICH10R Southbridge ports, and then put my four WD Caviar Black 1 TB drives onto the next four ICH10R Southbridge ports and configure those SATA's as RAID?

2) Second question is simply: assuming I only need 2 TB RAID storage space, should I go RAID0 + 1 (RAID 10), or should I go RAID5 (which gives me 3 TBG using the four drives)??

Why do I ask? I had thought of doing RAID5 with 3 x 1 TB SATA = 2 TB of storage space. Then I read many online test reports indicating performance bottlenecks when trying to implement RAID5 using onboard RAID controller chips. Those articles didn't specifically use the P6T, but generally concluded you need a dedicated RAID controller card (Ex.: Adaptec) to do a RAID5 that meets performance expectations. In any case, the RAID0 +1 is always faster than RAID5 on all parameters.

So I thought, "Buying a forth 1TB drive is less expensive than buying a RAID controller card. RAID0 beats RAID5 on performance, so I might as well do a four-drive RAID0+1, to yield 2TB of very fast AND mirrored drives."

Any holes in that theory?

DETAILS ON MY SYSTEM:

CPU: i7 920
OS: WIndows Vista Ultimate 64-bit
MOBO: P6T (standard not the Deluxe or the V2)
Memory: OCZ 12 GB Gold 1600 MHz DDR3
Case: Cooler Master 932 HAF
PSU: Ultra 750 Watt
Video Card: GTX260


My goal is a system that edits reads/writes HD video very fast, locally on the SSD. Then I move completed video files over to the SATA RAID, but I also would like that SATA RAID to be fast.
 
Do you really want raid-1 or one of it's variants?
The value of raid-1 for protecting data is that you can recover from a hard drive failure quickly.
It is for servers that can't afford any down time.
Recovery from a hard drive failure is just moments.
Fortunately hard drives do not fail often.
Mean time to failure is claimed to be on the order of 1,000,000 hours.(100 years)
Raid-1 does not protect you from other types of losses such as viruses,
software errors,raid controller failure, operator error, or fire...etc.
For that, you need EXTERNAL backup.
If you have external backup, and can afford some recovery time, then you don't need raid-1.

My suggestion is to do the following:
Install the X25-m on the ich10R for the OS and work drive.

Set up a pair of raid-0 disk arrays of two drives each, also on the ich10R.
Raid-0 optimizes the use of these drives for sequential operations.
Try to have the source allocated to one array, and the target to the other. That way, there will be minimal arm stealing delays when transferring data frome one to the other.

If you had all 4 drives as a single array, then there is no telling where the files will be allocated, and any sequential operation will result in much interference.

If you do not need 4 data drives, consider using just two non-raid drives with source on one, and target on the other.

I think your performance will be limited by the mechanical transfer rate of the drives, and not the limitations of a single ich10r chip.

 

wathman

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I don't know the specifics on what exactly is different with RAID 0 +1 and RAID 10, but I've read posts that suggest that RAID 10 will essentially do the same thing, and be less likely to have issues. It's very simple to configure with 4 drives, and will have full redundancy with minimal throughput penalty. Just put that SSD on the same controller (one of the 6 associated SATA ports) and don't add it as a member to the array. In your HDD selection options (in BIOS), you should be able to specify the SSD over the 2TB array. Not sure if this is particular to ASUS boards like mine, but once you select a Primary HDD, the secondary HDD(s) will not show up in the Boot Order in the BIOS.
 

stockstradr

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I had been thinking earlier along the line of geofelt 's advice. I believe that's the best way to go here.

Wathman, I never asked about the difference between RAID0+1 and RAID10. In a way it doesn't matter because the P6T onboard controller implements RAID10 as an option (and their literature describes that as same as RAID0+1). Some forums claim their are subtle differences - in theory - between RAID0+1 and RAID10, but I'm not concerned with that because the P6T on-board controller only offers one of those two choices anyway. Wathman I believe you are probably correct about the way to setup the SSD and the RAID in the BIOS. I will try that.
 

stockstradr

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Answer: no. I never expressed interest in pure RAID1 configuration, more interest in the speed of the RAID0, and then mirror that as RAID1 for the data redundancy. For me the key issue is the cost of the dedicated controller card for the RAID5, makes it cost-ineffective for a home PC when you're talking just an array of three drives. That's why I realized it is more cost effective to do a 4 X SATA drive RAID10 instead of doing a 3 X SATA drive RAID5. The fourth drive is less expensive than buying the dedicated controller card for the RAID5. At least thosse are my theories, and I'm posting here to get advice, correct any errors in my theory.
 

wathman

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stockstradr, my comment on RAID0+1 and RAID 10 was more to convey that I'm not an expert on RAID arrays, and that I never found a good answer to this question myself, what you just said on the topic is probably as complete of an answer as I'll ever need.

The setup I described should work based on my experience with the older ASUS board I currently use, though I'm wondering if you will run into a performance hit by running both the SSD and 4 disk array off the same controller since it will be transferring data to both "Drives" at the same time. As you stated, your motherboard isn't ideal since it has the secondary JMicron so that's not an option.
 

jessica23

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I'm using the same Motherboard. I have 3 1.5 TB SATA hard drives and one 100 GB That I might use for the OS.

I'm curious to see how you ultimatley configured your system and how it's running for you.

Here is what I was hoping to do.

100GB HD SATA for the OS
Two internal 1.5 TB HD in Raid 0 to hold all files
One internal 1.5 TB HD to be used as a backup or to make periodic drive images.

I'm still putting things together but it's going pretty quick, so I gotta make some decisions soon.
 

stockstradr

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I'll post a more detailed status later, but for now can offer this reply. You have to hook up the SSD, and also the SATA RAID drives to the ICH10R Southbridge ports. In P6T BIOS those ICH10R Southbridge ports must be set to RAID status. Later in post you can set the SSD to non-RAID and the SATA drives can then be set up as a RAID array. This is the method that worked for me.
 

jessica23

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Stockstradr, thanks. I'll be looking forward to your detailed post. I have a question that I hope it answers: did you set the ssd to non-raid and sata drives to raid array on a different boot into bios or from the os?

I've never dealt with raid...heck, never really built my own pc, but I've upgraded existing ones enough that I thought I was a "know it all" and now here I am asking a million questions.
 

wathman

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I just redid my storage on my desktop, and it also ended up being similar to this discussion. I have the OS running on a 60GB SSD, and I have 2 500 GB drives set in RAID 0 as the secondary storage. The options in the ASUS bios should be set to RAID, this will not affect the SSD in non-RAID. The RAID array is built in the intel BIOS RAID configuration tool, Ctrl-I during boot up. When you set the members and RAID level, you should see all your drives currently connected to the SATA bus. Select the drives you want, and the RAID level. Once the array is defined, the regular BIOS will treat your hard drives as a single logical disk. Under "Hard Drives" make sure the SSD is selected first, and then back out to "Boot Order" and make sure the CD-ROM is first, SSD disk is second. the Intel RAID array shouldn't even show up since it isn't the primary disk.

 

dutchmen

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Hi, I had this same setup for a customer while a customer want a dual boot system on his existing vista installation.

I have 2 WD1001FALS in RAID 0 and one new WD10EADS connected. The intel RAID manager says this drive is NON-RAID.
However, the win XP won't install with mutiple errors. I took out the diskdrive, installed XP Pro on it through another motherboard. I then took it out and installed it back in the PT6 SE board.

If I set the disk config to IDE my XP will boot, if I turn it back to RAID XP will hang after loading MUP.sys. It seems like Windows XP is having problems with the SATA RAID config. Any thoughts on this issue?
 

stockstradr

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I'll now answer my own post to share the solution that worked great.

Remember this solution applies to my system which is ASUS P6T (not the deluxe ver) with i7 920 CPU, configured with OS (and other programs) on the SSD, then a 4X1TB RAID10, OS is Vista 64 bit

I can report the system works GREAT, and disk read/write speed is fantastic on both the SSD and the HDD. Startup is very fast. From a cold boot to Login screen is 45 sec, then from Vista login to Vista running full on takes only another 15 seconds. Apps load incredibly fast off the SSD. Photoshop CS3 used to take several minutes to load from HDD; now it loads from SSD in seconds.

SOLUTION FOR SETUP:

NOTE: with Vista and Windows 7, the setup is easy because those OS allow you to conveniently pause during OS install and load the driver for the ICH10R Intel Matrix Storage Manager AND don't force you to load only from the floppy A drive. IMPORTANT: know that the OS doesn't contain this driver by default. You must load it from the ASUS disks that came with the MoBo, or you can find the driver from the Intel website and put onto a flash stick.

NOTE: If you have XP then I believe that OS forces you to load drivers ONLY from the floppy drive. My advice? If your OS will be XP, I suggest you get a floppy, set that up as your A-drive, using the ASUS setup, from which to load the ICH10R driver. There are other routes but they are complicated.

1) Connect up your SSD to the first of the Intel ICH10R Southbride ports. Connect your SATA HDD's (that will be members of the RAID) to the remaining Southbride ports.

2) The ASUS manual also mentions hooking up optical drive to the Southbride ports. I don't know if there is a performance disadvantage to ignoring that and hooking the optical drive to the JMicron controller.

NOTE: Do not hook up either your SATA RAID HDD matrix, or the SSD, to the JMicron controller ports.

3) Start PC (no OS yet installed) and DEL key into ASUS setup. Under "MAIN" > "Storage Configuration" you should Configure the SATA as RAID. The 1st drive should be the SSD. The 2nd drive should be the Intel RAID, made of the HDD's.

Of course as Wathman mentioned: Under "Hard Drives" make sure the SSD is selected first, and then back out to "Boot Order" and make sure the CD-ROM is first, SSD disk is second. the Intel RAID array shouldn't even show up since it isn't the primary disk.

4) Then after you finished rest of unrelated settings in ASUS setup you save and exit into Post, where you ^I hotkey into the utility called something like "Configure RAID in Intel Matrix Storage Manager"

NOTE: prior to ^I, you should see the post screens find and list ALL the drives you hooked up. If you don't see your PC finding each drive, then something is very wrong with your connections and you need to stop and troubleshoot that.

OK so now you've ^I into "Configure RAID in Intel Matrix Storage Manager" utility, so now use this utility to Create the RAID volume where DISK 0 = SSD = Non-RAID Disk. Then next use this matrix to create a separate array of SATA's to create the RAID array. That is straight-forward; just follow the menus.

Then exit out of that utility. Now you are ready to load the OS

5) Load the OS and pause (it will give you the option during install) so you can load the ICH10R driver from the ASUS disk that came with the MoBo. Then continue installing your OS onto the SSD.

NOTE: remember, you must NOT setup that SSD as a standard drive in the ASUS setup; it has to be listed under the RAID configuration as a "Non-RAID Disk" then you'll install the OS onto that SSD.

6) We'll assume you got your OS loaded onto the SSD and your OS is now running. For Vista, you'll next want to Right-click on "Computer" and select "Manage"

7) This will bring up the "Computer Management" tool window. Now select "Storage" then select "Disk Management"

8) Cross your fingers for luck, you should see this utility displaying BOTH the C-drive which is your SSD containing the OS, and then the RAID array should show up (as a single unformatted drive).

9) Select the "box" shape graphic associated with the RAID array under Disk Management, and right-click on that rectangle shape and select "Format" then format NTFS and accept the defaults. Personally I prefer not to try and split my disks into multiple volumes; keep it simple and make the RAID one big volume.

10) Once you've formatted the RAID matrix it will show up as a disk you can store to. For me the RAID10 (RAID0+1) is working great because it is FAST on read/write plus gives the security of full data redundancy

11) VERY IMPORTANT: thank you to those who posted to this thread and taught me about the importance of setting TLER Enabled in a WD "desktop edition" hard drive that is used in a RAID array. Read on...

Western Digital Corp recommends you do NOT use their non-RAID "desktop edition" hard drives in a RAID array. They recommend only using their "RAID Edition Hard Drives" which are OF COURSE more expensive.

http://wdc.custhelp.com/cgi-bin/wdc....ted=1131638613

Western Digital manufactures desktop edition hard drives and RAID Edition hard drives. Each type of hard drive is designed to work specifically in either a desktop computer environment or a demanding enterprise environment. If you install and use a desktop edition hard drive connected to a RAID controller, the drive may not work correctly unless jointly qualified by an enterprise OEM. This is caused by the normal error recovery procedure that a desktop edition hard drive uses. When an error is found on a desktop edition hard drive, the drive will enter into a deep recovery cycle to attempt to repair the error, recover the data from the problematic area, and then reallocate a dedicated area to replace the problematic area. This process can take up to 2 minutes depending on the severity of the issue. Most RAID controllers allow a very short amount of time for a hard drive to recover from an error. If a hard drive takes too long to complete this process, the drive will be dropped from the RAID array. Most RAID controllers allow from 7 to 15 seconds for error recovery before dropping a hard drive from an array. Western Digital does not recommend installing desktop edition hard drives in an enterprise environment (on a RAID controller). Western Digital RAID edition hard drives have a feature called TLER (Time Limited Error Recovery) which stops the hard drive from entering into a deep recovery cycle. The hard drive will only spend 7 seconds to attempt to recover. This means that the hard drive will not be dropped from a RAID array. Though TLER is designed for RAID environments, it is fully compatible and will not be detrimental when used in non-RAID environments.

OK, now...
Many people ignore that WD advice (paragraph above) and use lower cost WD "desktop edition" (non-RAID edition) drives in a RAID array however, they always use the WDTLER utility to set TLER Enabled. I didn't know this when I first posted to this thread.

In setting up my PC, I didn't set TLER Enabled on my WD Caviar Black drives used in my RAID array, and within 30 days my RAID array twice dropped a WD disk as degraded due to this issue. Each dropped drive is a big headache because you need to replace the dropped drive with a fresh clean standby drive and rebuild the RAID, which can take half a day. If you lose a second drive prior to, or during this process, that is often a NON-recoverable error meaning you've LOST all your data in that RAID array.

NOTE: do NOT set TLER as Enabled in a WD drive that used conventionally in non-RAID use. In that case, you want to give the drive max time to deep cycle and recover from errors.

This link explains what is TLER:
http://www.hardforum.com/archive/ind...t-1285254.html

CONCLUSION: if you set up a RAID array using hard drives that are not explicitly recommended by the HD supplier for heavy-duty use in a RAID array, then PROCEED WITH CAUTION and at least read online forums about any risks in using that particular hard drive brand/model in a RAID array, to determine IF you're creating big RISKS, and specifically if your HD's have a deep recovery cycle that will need to be limited before you use those hard drives in any RAID.

One final helpful note: if your RAID array does drop a drive as "degraded" (due to bad sector or similar issue) you'll need to pull that drive and zero-write it to "clean up" the bad sectors, before you can again recycle that drive back into your RAID array. Let's assume you have a clean new spare drive on standby so you pull the degraded drive and you swap in that new standby drive, and then let your PC rebuild your RAID. At this point if you then connect your "degraded" drive back into the same PC (to zero-write it), then if your RAID is running, your RAID controller can get confused and try to connect that old disk as a RAID member because it sees RAID data on that disk. You had better disconnect all your RAID drives (assuming your PC will still boot into Windows), carefully noting the ports each is connected to, and then shut down and connect only the degraded drive (plus your original boot drive), then boot and zero-write that degraded drive. Then finish up by using some disk diagnostics utility to confirm that zero-written drive no longer has bad sectors. Finally, shutdown the PC and pull out that "refreshed" drive and reconnect again the RAID array drives. Now you have recycled your "degraded" drive into a standby drive that can be swapped in next time your RAID drops a drive. NOTE: when you secure erase (zero-write) that degraded drive, make DAMN SURE you don't accidentally secure erase the wrong drive such as your core boot drive! (I have never made that mistake, thankfully). To "zero-write" a drive, you have two options: 1) go to your hard drive supplier's web site and try to find their disk maintenance software utility download, which usually contains a zero-write function. Western Digital, for example, has the "Data LifeGuard Diagnostics - DLGDIAG for Windows" software utility for download. ; 2) OR you can use some generic secure erase shareware, such as the HDDErase utility.

RESULTS:

Recently I did a 0.5 TB file transfer from my SSD to the RAID10, and the write speed for that x-fer was 200+ MB/s. That's fast! File transfers that are internal to my C-drive, which is the SSD, are even far faster than that.

NOTE: if you install Windows 7, that OS will probably not recognize the ASUS utility apps (from the included ASUS disk) as suitable for installing onto Windows 7. To get around that you need to tell Windows 7 to treat those apps as suitable for Windows 7. There are many forums explain how to do that.

Finally, remember to read the forums on SSD maintenance to maintain your read/write speed. SSD's are NOT like HDD's, so are maintained differently.

I'll give you an example. Let's say that you installed your OS and some programs onto the SSD. Now you decide you configured it wrong so you want to re-install the OS onto the SSD again. So you figure then during that re-install you should allow the OS install to do a full format on the SSD.

That would be wrong (or at least not best practice). What you should do is use a utility like HDDErase 3.3. Youll back up any data from the SSD. Then you'll use HDDErase to SECURE ERASE the entire SSD. Next you'll re-install your OS, and during the OS install DO NOT select full format, but only select quick format. Some would argue you NEVER do a full format to an SSD, because the full format will slow your SSD, and if you are in situation where you can erase everything with a full format, then you'll want instead to use the SECURE ERASE which will refresh your SSD back to its original as-new read/write performance.

http://www.pcper.com/article.php?aid=669&type=expert&pid=6

If you are gonna put your OS onto a SSD then learn how to keep it running fast by periodically (like every year, or every six months, not every week!) backup then do a SECURE ERASE command on the SSD then re-install everything. That's why you only put things onto the SSD that are easy to simply re-install (and don't really need backing up)

Besides these days with all the layoffs it is good to keep HDDErase handy. If you get laid off and you have personal stuff on the company laptop, you can just SECURE ERASE your corporate laptop with that before you turn it into HR (as long as you don't also inadvertently erase valuable corporate information on your laptop)
 

stockstradr

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THat sounds like how XP behaves if you:

1) Configured your C-drive from BIOS setup as a standard SATA or IDE drive. If you did that, I believe you need to start over and re-install your OS where you have set up that drive as under your RAID configuration but listed as a Non-Member Disk.

OR

2) You are trying to run XP and see the RAID when you haven't gotten the RAID drive streamed in (added in) during the XP install. You have to install that RAID driver during a pause during your OS install.
 

geobrick

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In the post with the solution you chose, you said not to use the JMicron controller.

But... Would you use the JMicron in the case were you want a RAID 0 for the Operating System and RAID 10 for data.

In this case would you set up the RAID 10 Data on the ICHR10 and then use the JMicro for the RAID 0 system drive.

This is for video editing and I want performace and redundancy for the data drive. My assumption is that RAID 10 with 4 drives is better than RAID 5 with 4 drives. If that is not correct, I can do a RAID 5. But in addition, I'd like to get better performace for the system drive by using a RAID0.

The bottom line question: Is it better to have the opperating system on a RAID0 attached to the JMicron or to have the opperating system on a single non-raid attached to the ICHR10?

These would be standard SATA drives (4-Samsung 500GB and 2-WD 500GB)
 

stockstradr

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Geobrick,

I should mention I'm no pro at setting up computers. I'm in the category of geek engineer who has been playing around with computers all my life, but I'm not a PC administrator whose daily job involves knowing all these topics thoroughly.

About JMicron, I only decided to avoid that controller for use in connecting flash drives, because multiple online articles have conclusively shown that some flash drives got slower the more you filled them up, and there seemed to be link to use of JMicron controllers within the flash drives. The place to learn about the details of that is: http://www.anandtech.com/storage/

Now those online articles explain this SSD issue is deeper than just a matter of which SSD's are based upon the JMicron controller. And in this thread above we are talking about JMicron controllers on mobo's.

So it was a bit of a stretch for me to conclude that if SSD's based on the JMicron controllers typically have particularly performance problems, then hooking an SSD up to a mobo JMicron controller port might also cause problems. But I didn't want to take that risk. Plus there were some other online articles that suggested do not hook SSD's up to onboard JMicron contoller ports, but I have forgot the online locations of those articles.

>> In this case would you set up the RAID 10 Data on the ICHR10 and then use the JMicro for the RAID 0 system drive.

I could be wrong, but I think (when using the Intel Matrix Storage Manager to manage RAID) that you cannot create RAID off the JMicron controller, because the RAIDs are supported off the ICH10 Southbridge ports (for the Asus mobo)

>> Is it better to have the opperating system on a RAID0 attached to the JMicron or to have the opperating system on a single non-raid attached to the ICHR10?

I don't know but it is a moot question (or invalid question) if you cannot hang a RAID off the JMicron ports.
 

yrogerg77

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I am using Windows 7 and trying to install a RAID 5 on the P6T, but the same problem others mentioned has happened to me too, where after switching the SATA controller from IDE to RAID, the OS stopped loading. Do you know if there is a way to install the RAID driver without reinstalling the entire OS? I would love to get around this if possible... but ultimately I just want it to work. My main C drive is just a single 7200rpm SATA HDD (Seagate 500GB) and my RAID 5 is comprised of three 5900rpm 2TB HDDs (also Seagate). I was going to plug them all into the Intel ICH10R Southbride ports. I have never installed a RAID array before so any advice you guys can offer on this would be much appreciated!

EDIT: Also users of Win 7 please take note... I noticed that the autostart application on the Asus P6T Mobo Driver CD is *NOT* compatible with Windows 7 for some reason... so the Asus website is probably the only option for any Win 7 users looking for the Intel Matrix Storage Manager Driver...
 

Ultimaswc3

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I am having very similar problems as well. I already have windows 7 64b enterprise install on my SSD. I have a core i7 920 + Asus P6T Deluxe V2. I have three SATA WD HDs that I want to put into RAID 5 without reinstalling the OS. Whenever I change into RAID/AHCI mode instead of IDE under the BIOS storage options, the computer quickly 'blue screens' several seconds into the Windows 7 boot. I already set up the RAID 5 array by pressing CTRL+I during the boot process and setting it up. The SSD is my primary HD so that the OS can still boot when I go back to IDE storage mode.

A note to yrogerg77, the setup.exe on the MOBO CD should work in Vista compatibility mode. However, you can find a lot of the software (possibly never versions) on the intel site.
 

yrogerg77

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Indeed... Those are all the same steps I've taken with the same result. Intel and ASUS both have the drivers on their site, however everyone I've talked to who knows anything about computers seems to think that reinstalling is necessary in this case. Such a shame too since I just reformatted not more than 2 months ago. Oh well... I'm waiting for winter break to do the reinstall though since I've got ongoing projects and can't afford any computer downtime this week. Good luck with yours!
 

Ultimaswc3

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I did a quick-format on my OS drive and reinstalled windows 7 with raid setup enabled beforehand. This fixed the Blue screen on bootup problem.

I did find a post AFTER fixing the problem that I did not try out. Maybe this will work for you:

http://forums.overclockers.co.uk/showpost.php?p=13940673&postcount=3

It involves changing 1 registry value and supposedly it would allow boot on Windows 7 beta
 

stockstradr

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WARNING: any Western Digital "desktop" series hard drives shipping late 2009 (or later) CANNOT be used in RAID because the TLER read and write is now LOCKED as "disabled" on these drives, so you have no way of toggling TLER back to ENABLED as you need to do in order to use those desktop series drives in a any RAID array.

If you don't know what "TLER" is or how it relates to RAID arrays, you can search for it on Wikipedia which does have an entry on this topic: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/TLER
------------------
Modern hard drives feature an ability to recover from some read/write errors by internally remapping sectors and other forms of self test and recovery. The process for this can sometimes take several seconds or (under heavy usage) minutes, during which time the drive is unresponsive. RAID controllers are designed to recognize a drive which does not respond within a few seconds, and mark it as unreliable "FAILED", indicating that it should be withdrawn from use and the array rebuilt from parity data. This is a long process, degrades performance, and if a second drive should fail under the resulting additional workload, it can be catastrophic.
.
.
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Effectively, TLER and similar features limit the performance of on-drive error handling, to allow RAID controllers to handle the error if problematic. In a non-RAID environment, such features are unhelpful, and manufacturers do not recommend their use.

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OK, so what happens if you try to use one of those "desktop" series Western Digital hard drives in a RAID array without setting TLER to ENABLED?
=> Very bad things happen!


My RAID10 used four of these Western Digital "desktop" drives of the vintage that WD now ships with TLER locked read/write disabled. You see, I didn't know of this TLER locked issue when buying those drives. The bad result is that every single one of those WD drives has been flagged at least twice as "failed" forcing me each time to pull the drive and swap in a fresh one and rebuild the RAID, which takes a full day. Once I nearly lost the entire RAID due to double drive failure. So obviously this is not practical from reliability or maintenance standpoint, forcing me to buy completely new set of four RAID-certified hard drives and one-by-one swap them into my original RAID, to get the unsuitable drives (WD "desktop" series Caviar Black 1TB drives) permanently out of my RAID array. Western Digital will NOT let your return your desktop series drives due to the TLER locked reason, meaning your out-of-pocket costs can be hundreds of dollars (for you to try and get rid of those drives on Ebay or whatever)

Previously with the Western Digital "desktop" series hard drives, this was solved by using the WDTLER utility to set the TLER Read "Enabled" (7 seconds) and TLER Write "Disabled" (0 seconds)

However, sometime in late 2009, Western Digital modified the firmware on newly shipping "desktop" drives to prevent anyone from using the WDTLER utility to set TLER read and write to be enabled. I believe this change affected all the "desktop" series drives shipping from WD. Yes, effectively these drives are now WORTHLESS and totally unsuitable for use in RAID array.

The Western Digital "Enterprise" hard drives (such as Caviar RE2, RE2-GP) are different; they are certified by WD as suitable for use in RAID arrays and have TLER Read "Enabled" (7 seconds) and TLER Write "Disabled" (0 seconds). Obviously, they are much more expensive, and WD claims those drives have greater reliability and performance making them suitable for use in RAID arrays.

CONCLUSION: if you have any RAID array built from Western Digital "desktop" series drives (which I believe includes Caviar Black, Caviar Blue, Caviar Green, and others) then you must immediately check if you can use the WDTLER utility to set the TLER Read "Enabled" (7 seconds) and TLER Write "Disabled" (0 seconds). That utility can be found on the internet even though Western Digital has stopped providing it on their website. If the WDTLER utility cannot be used to reset the TLER on your drives, then you gotta get those drives out of your RAID.




 

ncmike

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Hi,

I read this hread with great interest. I am installing Win 7 on a fresh pair of X25-M 160 G2's on an ASUS P6T Mobo. The CD that came with the board had the ICH10R driver and a makedisk utility for creating the floppy to use during Vista install, but it doesn't have the Intel Matrix Storage Manager for Win7. I downloaded the Intel Matrix Storage Manager for Win7 from the ASUS support site, but how to I get the drive onto a floppy or flash drive to use during Win 7 install? It appears the downloaded Intel Matrix Storage Manager drivers are a bunch of executables that install directly into Windows and there is no stand-alone make disk utility.

Regards,
Mike
 

getho

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Just setting up p6td deluxe with identical setup (1 ssd, 4 WD greens in raid 10)

Does anyone know if its possible to setup a raid 0 first, and then add 2 extra drives to make raid 10. I'm having trouble juggling my data (I'm using existing drives that currently have data as part of the 4 drive setup).

thanks!
 

turnaway1

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