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Old February 2, 2010, 02:55 AM
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Default Best way to configure RAID 1 for my computer?

I'm going to be using a 3 drive setup for my new computer. Currently the VRaptor will be used as a boot drive and in the future a SSD. I decided to use a dual drive RAID 1 setup to guard against the loss of my important data. I intend to use the onboard Intel RAID controller. I'm assuming this isn't true hardware RAID, but it's the best that I can do for now. The two hard drives are the Hitach 2TB 7200 RPM drives. I'm just wondering how do I setup RAID 1 on the Gigabyte P55-A UD3P motherboard?

Often I read that RAID 1 is slow, but is it slower than a single drive when it comes to read and write speeds? What's the best way to configure a RAID 1 setup? Are there any negatives for using the onboard controller for RAID instead of buying a dedicated RAID card like say from Highpoint or Arreca?
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Old February 2, 2010, 05:26 AM
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My System Specs

Arrow RAID 1

The on board controller is what's called "FakeRAID". That isn't very important with RAID 1. RAID 1 is just a mirror; the same information is copied to both drives. The computer does not need to calculate checksums (like in RAID 5) or deal with chunking the data (like in RAID 0) so there is very little overhead. FakeRAID systems make the computer do all that work in drivers where hardware RAID does it in purpose built ASICs on the card. General purpose computers can do all RAID functions but purpose built hardware can do it much faster. For the same reason RAID 1 is not slow. I am sure there have been badly designed systems but modern controllers have basically no perceptible slowdown. RAID 1 is "slow" in so much as it does not provide the performance improvement that RAID 0 gives you. If you have contradictory information link me up because I would like to read the articles.

I don't know how to configure your Intel chipset but the manual probaby explains it. It's not going to be complicated: reboot, enter the bios, find the RAID settings, somehow add your two drives to a container, set that container to type RAID 1, reboot, maybe install drivers in windows, format, off you go. I doubt you will be able to create the RAID container and keep the data on the drives but, like I said, I don't know how your particular chipset works. The "best way" to configure the system is going to be the only way; there is not a lot of choice when putting two drives in a mirror.

RAID 1 is some redundancy. It will not protect you if someone breaks into your house and steals your computer, or if you house burns down, or if your power supply dies and zaps all your components, or if you delete an important file. None of those things are likely but redundancy is not a backup. Your critical data should be backed up properly. Due to the high reliability of hard drives I don't bother with mirrors but that's just my personal situation and there are good reasons for the redundancy.

FakeRAID systems generally do not have good ways of reporting faults to the user. There is no special light to indicate failure and e-mail notifications. You will probably get little more than a notification in the system logs and who reads those? Make sure you know how to monitor your system to ensure it remains healthy.

Also, the system will not be hot swappable. For a personal computer that is not a big issue. If a drive goes are you going to have a spare ready?
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Old February 2, 2010, 06:19 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jack Rabbit View Post
The on board controller is what's called "FakeRAID". That isn't very important with RAID 1. RAID 1 is just a mirror; the same information is copied to both drives. The computer does not need to calculate checksums (like in RAID 5) or deal with chunking the data (like in RAID 0) so there is very little overhead. FakeRAID systems make the computer do all that work in drivers where hardware RAID does it in purpose built ASICs on the card. General purpose computers can do all RAID functions but purpose built hardware can do it much faster. For the same reason RAID 1 is not slow. I am sure there have been badly designed systems but modern controllers have basically no perceptible slowdown. RAID 1 is "slow" in so much as it does not provide the performance improvement that RAID 0 gives you. If you have contradictory information link me up because I would like to read the articles.

I don't know how to configure your Intel chipset but the manual probaby explains it. It's not going to be complicated: reboot, enter the bios, find the RAID settings, somehow add your two drives to a container, set that container to type RAID 1, reboot, maybe install drivers in windows, format, off you go. I doubt you will be able to create the RAID container and keep the data on the drives but, like I said, I don't know how your particular chipset works. The "best way" to configure the system is going to be the only way; there is not a lot of choice when putting two drives in a mirror.

RAID 1 is some redundancy. It will not protect you if someone breaks into your house and steals your computer, or if you house burns down, or if your power supply dies and zaps all your components, or if you delete an important file. None of those things are likely but redundancy is not a backup. Your critical data should be backed up properly. Due to the high reliability of hard drives I don't bother with mirrors but that's just my personal situation and there are good reasons for the redundancy.

FakeRAID systems generally do not have good ways of reporting faults to the user. There is no special light to indicate failure and e-mail notifications. You will probably get little more than a notification in the system logs and who reads those? Make sure you know how to monitor your system to ensure it remains healthy.

Also, the system will not be hot swappable. For a personal computer that is not a big issue. If a drive goes are you going to have a spare ready?
You've made some very valid points and no I won't have a spare ready. This is just going to be my workstation and not so much as a file server. Yes, I definitely will have backups placed in an offsite location. As soon as I get this up, I intend to put them on DVDs with parity files as well.

When you say fake RAID 1 isn't slow, you're saying that it'll probably be as fast as if I was using one of the drive right?
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