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  1. #1
    Junior Onion
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    Setting up RAID *after* OS install (on new drives)...?

    I don't this has been covered specifically in the guide to RAID-0 so I will post a topic here, and perhaps if there is a solution, it might be integrated into the guide:

    I have set up XP on my computer without using the chipset RAID controller to begin with (as I don't want Windows to be on a RAID drive).

    So currently me setup is as follows:

    1 X 74 GB Raptor: XP (OS installed, non RAID)
    1 X 74 GB Raptor: Vista (OS to be installed later... non RAID)
    1 X 150 GB Raptor: Software (non RAID)

    Now I want to hardware RAID-0 the following two new drives so that they can be read by XP, and Vista when I install it:

    2 X 500 GB WD-Caviar

    Now keep note than when Installing XP I did not have my RAID controller switched on becuase I was under the impression that I didn't have to do this unless I wanted to slipstream the RAID drivers into the XP installation for installing the OS on a RAID volume. So what I essentially have are all non-RAID volumes, and am waiting to RAID-0 two new drives not related to the OS.

    So, here are my main questions:
    1. Now that XP is installed on a non-RAID drive, can I get these two new drives in RAID-0 via the hardware RAID setup
    2. If so, how do I go about doing this?...
    • Do I switch on my RAID controller on next reboot to format the new drives in the striped array from the RAID boot menu?
    • Will switching my RAID controller on make my existing non-RAID drivers dissapear (like they did when attempting to install the OS without the slipstrem driver)? Keep in mind that I installed the raid controller that came with the chipset driver set when I installed XP
    Lastly, I am assuming that by setting up these extra drives via hardware RAID, they will be recognised by both XP and Vista when it is installed.

    If anyone can provide me with the right advice that would be great! [thumbup]

    Thanks!


    Edit > FYI: Mobo = Gigabyte GA-EP35-DSR with ICH9R Sata & Ggiabyte GSata controllers
    Last edited by _Cubase_; February 19, 2008 at 01:19.

  2. #2

    Re: Setting up RAID *after* OS install (on new drives)...?

    Nice setup you got going there.

    Ok for starters, If you can, preinstall the drivers into windows, that way when you startup the array is recognized right off the bat.

    1.) There should be no problem with windows xp or vista recognizing. You may have to set the boot order in your BIOS to boot from the drive that has the OS on it.

    2.) You have to switch the raid controller on, build the array when the raid controller prompts you after your computer POST's. Then you can just format it like any other drive in windows.

    It should be pretty straight forward. Connect the 2 drives to the ports on the motherboard that the SATA raid controller is connected to (refer to motherboard manual). When you start up the computer, you may have to build the array, and usually you press like F6 or F2 or something, it will prompt you. Then you have some choices, will you be using the drive for large file sizes, or for small files or a random mix? If you select the stripe to be larger, then I believe it speeds up large file performance, and vice versa.

    Ok i just read you motherboard manual. As far as where I would plug the port into, here it goes.

    All 74gig drives, plug them into the gigabyte SATA ports, or the bottom left set of plugs. Then i would enable the ICH9 raid device, and keep the gigabyte raid disabled. Then i would plug the 2 drives you want in the array into the first couple ports, then the other raptor into anything left. I have a feeling the ICH controller will be the better of the two.

    Remember, "Hardware" raid that is integrated onto a motherboard IS NOT a true hardware raid setup! It uses cpu cycles to control the controller. Kinda weird to describe, but in the age of quad core cpu's you wouldn't probably notice. Watch your processor load, when you go to transfer a huge file from one drive to the raid array, one of your cores will go up to like 25%. Not a big deal, but if you really wanted to squeeze out a little more performance you could jump on a dedicated add-in card.



    TBH, if you just enable your chip of choice, it probably won't matter, and both windows should detect them just fine.

  3. #3
    Junior Onion
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    Re: Setting up RAID *after* OS install (on new drives)...?

    Firstly thanks for taking the time to look into this for me.

    I installed Windows XP without the RAID controllers switched on, and all drives have been recognised fine, becuase for some reason not even BIOS (under standard CMOS settings) was picking them up with the controller switched on.

    Anyway, XP is installed, everything is running peachy, all that remains is getting RAID switched on an applied to these two 500gig drives, and so I attempted your solution:

    I tried switching on the RAID controllers to test if I can still boot into Windows (before setting up the striped array on the 2 extra drives vis the extra RAID boot menu), but after the VDMI Pool Detection (or whatever it says) it says it fails to find NTLDR and tells me to reboot, and once in standard CMOS all drives are no longer there! It's only when I switch off the RAID controllers that I get them back and can proceed to load Windows.

    So what do you think the problem there is? Do I need to boot into the RAID menu and fix things there before my drives can be recognised properly again, despite being installed without the RAID controllers in the first place?

    Secondly, I might try switching the SATA ports as you said. By changing which SATA plugs my curent HDDs are in, will that cause issues or do I just have to re-arrange the boot order again once I move them around?

  4. #4
    Firefly
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    Re: Setting up RAID *after* OS install (on new drives)...?

    Quote Originally posted by _Cubase_ View Post
    it says it fails to find NTLDR and tells me to reboot
    Sounds like when you have them plugged in , the bios is then set to try and boot off the drives with no OS in them, which of course isn't going to work.
    put all the drives in , turn the raid controller on, make sure that you have sata 1,2,3,4 turned ON, i know i had to go in and turn on sata 3,4 when i got new drives., then while still in your bios screen, check the boot settings and your probably going to have to tell it , which hard drive to boot from first. which is why i believe your getting the ntldr error, because its set to boot off the other drive.

  5. #5
    Junior Onion
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    Re: Setting up RAID *after* OS install (on new drives)...?

    Okay, will try that when I get home... but it still does not fully explain the drives dropping out of BIOS completely (all of them) when switching the controllers on.

    EDIT >

    I did a bit more research (my god this particular topis is HARD to find info on, as everyone seems to want to RAID their OS drives, and not introduce new drives without touching the OS)...

    ...Now apparently it is a simple matter of enabling the RAID controller, and going into the RAID setup and selecting which ones are striped or not. However, as stated above, every time I try and enable my RAID controller (the one based on the Intel ICH9R Southbridge) ALL drives drop off completely and I cannot do anything. This is probably becuase all my drives are on the same ICH9R controller...

    So, based on the solution you gave me with switching the two extra drives onto the Gigabyte Raid controller instead, people have been able to solve the issue becuase this preserves the drives on the Non RAID ICH9R southbridge (which is what I want), and only puts the RAID controller on the drives you actually want to RAID.

    Is this what you meant?

    (my apologies, I am at work at the moment so all I can do is research and discuss, until I can try it).

    So, if I keep my 2 OS drives and my program files drives (the ones I want untouched) on the Intel Southbridge, and move the 2 extra drives to the Gigabyte controller, I should be able to switch on only the gigabyte raid controller, and RAID those drives without having my other drives dissapear (being on a completely different controller all together). *whew* Fingers crossed.
    Last edited by _Cubase_; February 19, 2008 at 23:51.

  6. #6
    Junior Onion
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    Re: Setting up RAID *after* OS install (on new drives)...?

    MY RAID LIVES!!

    Here is what I did:

    Installed the two extra drives onto the saparate RAID controller to the main one (the Gigabyte one instead of the Intel one like you suggested). This enabled me to switch on the RAID controller without causing conflict with my existing non RAID OS drives.

    Then I booted into the Gigabyte RAID BIOS utility and set up the array on the drives. Then once in Windows, I installed the Gigabyte RAID drivers (the latest from the internet).

    And then Voila! My RAID-0 striped array is recognised and working in Windows without a hitch!

    Thanks for the tips, much appreciated. It looks like it was possible after all. [thumbup]

    Edit>

    Wow! It's hella fast too!

    Last edited by _Cubase_; February 20, 2008 at 10:01.

  7. #7

    Re: Setting up RAID *after* OS install (on new drives)...?

    Awesome! Yeah i was giving you the way i would set it up, but i guess it wouldn't work that way. I'm glad you got it all working.

    I have a good theory on why it wouldn't boot from the other, but it would be a page long itself so i'll just hold off.

    Can you test something out for me, when you do a HDtach or test like that, can you by any chance log the cpuload on a non raid drive versus a raid drive? I'm curious on how much resources the raid controller eats up versus the non raid.

  8. #8
    Junior Onion
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    Re: Setting up RAID *after* OS install (on new drives)...?

    Quote Originally posted by lewie06a4 View Post
    Can you test something out for me, when you do a HDtach or test like that, can you by any chance log the cpuload on a non raid drive versus a raid drive? I'm curious on how much resources the raid controller eats up versus the non raid.
    Sure thing. Will do it when I get home from work.

  9. #9
    Junior Onion
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    Re: Setting up RAID *after* OS install (on new drives)...?

    Okay here is the comparison for you:


    1x WD Raptor 74gb - 10,000rpm (non-RAID):




    2X WD Caviar 500GB - 7200rpm (RAID-0):





    As you can see there is literally double the burst speed!

    As for the average sequential read speed, not quite double, but significantly better. Especially considering the RAID ones are no 10,000 rpm.

    CPU speed is not an issue either, uring only 1% more to process the RAID.

    Does that help?

  10. #10
    Firefly
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    Re: Setting up RAID *after* OS install (on new drives)...?

    Glad to see you got everything running, just curious though, why didnt you put your 2x raptors in raid 0? thats where the performance is at, it would have blown the caviar away.

    Then just partition them out for XP install / Vista install, and dual boot.


    raptors in raid 0 = sick amazing goodness

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