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Looking for some advice....

Discussion in 'System Builder's Advice' started by stevednmc, Feb 19, 2010.

  1. stevednmc

    stevednmc New Member

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    So, I am finally gonna be rebuiding my system soon, and this will be the first time i have tried some new to me stuff, so i am asking for some opinions and help.

    My system specs as far as the mobo, cpu, memory, psu etc.. will be as listed, but my case video card, hard drive set up and operating system will be upgraded thusly:

    2x 300GB Vraptors in raid 0 array (this is where im mostly looking for help) used for OS and general gaming etc..

    1 750GB WD caviar black, mostly used for back-up.

    1 Sapphire hd5870 Vapor-X grafx card (self explanitory...i hope)

    I am looking for opinions on how to do the HDD set-up, ie, do i set up the raid through my bios first, then hook up the caviar black?

    What are some opinions on setting stripe size?

    Should I partition the raid drives? Should i have a seperate partition for the os?

    These are mainly the questions i have, but if anyone has any other advise, things i might look out for etc.. that would be helpful. I want to do this the right way and not jack it all up, this is my first attempt at a raid, and doing things essentially from scratch.

    When i am done i will be sure to post some pix, i think i will be proud of this once its said and done.

    Also..The os will be win7 64bit (home) and the case is a silverstone FT01B.

    And...is there any kind of optimization guide for win7 as there is for xp? or is it too soon? Alot of questions i know...

    Thanks in advance!
  2. Carl2 New Member

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    I've got a Gateway FX6801, just put in 2 Samsung 500 Gb drives in a raid 0 array using the Intel Matrix. The OS is win 7 64 b. I put the two new drives in the bays and I had to go into bios and in advanced settings change the mode to Raid from HCI or watever the name is. Changing to Raid allows the Intel Matrix to work. The drives had to be formatted, I went into the intel Matrix and created a volume, I partitioned it by putting in a smaller number and the remainder is the second volume. I created an image of the original hard drive and transfered the image to the volume.
    In Win 7 I get a performance of 5.9 before and after the Raid. I used HD tune pro to test the raid and get 270Mb read and 230Mb writes. Boot time is about the same. Things seem to be working right which the tests proves but to be honest I can't see a difference. I've ordered a SSD.
    As far as stripe size there are several options depending on usage, I used a smaller size.
    Partationing is something I do in case I have to reformat the os drive. You have the WD drive you could use for the same purpose but this is my frist raid array in which I've seen a single drive and the volumes in raid, usualy ican only see the raided volumes. Not sure if it's the bios or Win 7 that allows this.
    Optimization, really can't answer this, looking into it for the SSD in which I know it is necessary.
    I'm thinking you're os install will be different from mine, I had to use an Image because my recovery software has to be installed on the original HD, so I booted to the original Hd Made an image, set up the new hd's as raid using Intel, then copied the image to the Raid volume. Booted to the volume and it works. I'm guessing you can put in the Hard drives, in the normal mode, do the OS install, make sure you have the Intel matrix and if not download it. Restart in the Raid mode, go into the Intel matrix and create the volume.
    Carl2
  3. stevednmc

    stevednmc New Member

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    Hmm..do i really need the intel matrix? i thought the mobo would support it by itself, without any external software?
  4. mlee49

    mlee49

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    Well nice choice for your raid array, it will be very fast. You'll want to connect both drives and boot into your BIOS to set to RAID. After you save, you'll need to get into your raid manager. I have to press ctl+I but it may be different, it will usually be prompted to you after your normal boot up screen.
    In your raid manager setup a new array with the drives, I assume you will use RAID0 for a speedy setup. Set your stripe size to 128kb, the higher the stripe the less of the array you can use BUT it will allow the array to function faster.

    After you establish your array you may need a raid disc when you install your OS, not sur if win7 will pick up on it automatically, but I would think the IRCH9/10 chips are pretty common. Anyways, install your OS to your array, you could partition but since you have a 750GB back up its not that important.

    Win7 is pretty optomized so aside from UAC you shouldn't have to do much, maybe adjust startup apps/processes.

    Did I miss anything? Any other questions?
  5. mlee49

    mlee49

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    Gigabyte's manual for the EP45 shows a step by step guide for setting up a raid configuration:

    http://europe.giga-byte.com/FileList/Manual/motherboard_manual_ga-ep45-ds3(r)_e.pdf

    It's always good for reference if you dont have the paper copy. Also, I'm 99% sure you wont need a raid driver disc to install Win7, Vista installed it just fine on my old P45 board which had a IRCH9 chipset and no problem with the IRCH10(X58/P55 boards). I wouldn't make a disc until after I tried installing the OS.

    Oh and the Intel Storage Manager is software to manage the array after you set it up. Basically monitors the array and tells you if theres a failure or whatever. Highly recommended after you install the OS.
  6. stevednmc

    stevednmc New Member

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    Great!! That all makes sense. I am not familiar with UAC..Also, would it be advisable to set up the 2 raid drives and then add the back up drive after?
  7. mlee49

    mlee49

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    Its fine, but you'll add which drives you want in the array so if you want to be extra careful then leave it unplugged during raid setup/OS install.

    UAC stands for User Account Control. UAC will prompt you EVERY time you click a program to run it. Basically when you run GPUz or CPUZ it darkens the screen and makes you choose Allow this program to run. It's lame to say the least.
  8. stevednmc

    stevednmc New Member

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    Oh, i get it, same nanny program thats on Vista. I im still currently running XP so i dont have that issue..shame that carried to Win7.

    Thank you for all the insights! hopefully it wont take too long to do all my back-ups, then im gonna get to buildin this sucka!




    So this driver disk...is this something i can create now and put on a cd rom and use it when installing the os? the manual is sayinf a floppy or usb drive, and i have neither...I was following things fine until the create driver disk stuff, then it got a bit confusing..
    Last edited: Feb 20, 2010
  9. mlee49

    mlee49

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    Seriously dont worry about it unless you absolutely have to. Did your mobo come with a floppy disc already w/raid drivers?

    Dude I'm literally 99.999999% sure your you wont need one since Vista recognizes the South Bridge(ICH10R chipset) automatically during your OS install. It should recognize the array just like a single drive and allow the install to go through very, very easily.
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  10. stevednmc

    stevednmc New Member

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    oh, ok. I read the manual and it said it was required with xp and vista. My mobo only came with a driver cd, no disk. So whats the worst that can happen, i try and install the os..it doesnt work then i have to start over and make the disk. And if i do, im sure doing it on a cd rom would be ok. i cant see why it wouldnt be. Doesnt seem like a biggy, i have a laptop available to me, so no sweat eh?



    i just looked at your specs, looks like you have a similar set up to what i want to do! Just an observation....
  11. stevednmc

    stevednmc New Member

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    so just out of curiosity, when im in the raid set up, and it asks for the raid size, should i put in 600GB if i AM RUNNING 2 300gb drives in raid 0?
  12. mlee49

    mlee49

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    It will calculate that automatically based on two things: 1st what Raid you choose and 2nd the drive capacity's.

    Example:
    Timmy wants epic backupness so he buys two identical 250GB drives. He sets up a Raid array 1 for redundancy. His new array's capacity is only 250GB(since it's storing the same data on both drives).

    [​IMG]

    Jimmy is all about preformance, he buys two identical 250GB drives and establishes a Raid array 0. His new array capacity is 500GB(since it is using both drives as one storage space, thus using both accesses for faster transfer).


    [​IMG]
    Granted your 2x300GB drives will be close to 600GB but you will loose some to the stripe and and then also since Windows sees a GB as 1024MB not 1000MB(as usually advertised).
    Last edited: Feb 21, 2010
  13. stevednmc

    stevednmc New Member

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    Right! Thats what i thought, i was curious though because in the manual it says to enter the raid size after the raid type is entered, Thought it would be odd if it wasnt automatically calculated. And the above example is exactly why i questioned that, because i wouldnt be sure exactly how to calculate it myself, ie if i missed some variable etc..

    Nice graphic depiction tho, Sweet stuff. You have been a big big help.
  14. DirectorC

    DirectorC New Member

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    Don't matrix two separate arrays across the same set of drives. That is pointless and effects performance in a negative way. Do what I plan to do, a small separate RAID0 array or single drive for OS & Apps, and a larger separate RAID1/1+0/5 array or single drive for data storage. A+ to this config. This way none of the data operations on one logical drive affect the speed of another logical drive.
  15. stevednmc

    stevednmc New Member

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    My plan is one raid 0 array with 2 identical drives and a seperate stand alone back-up drive. I only have room for 3 drives as i had to remove part of the drive cage to make room for the gpu.
  16. mlee49

    mlee49

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    You sound like your good to go. :toast:
  17. stevednmc

    stevednmc New Member

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    Thanks, i feel like i am well armed now,learned alot over the last 24 hours!
  18. DirectorC

    DirectorC New Member

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    Yeah I like your plan :D Have fun.
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  19. stevednmc

    stevednmc New Member

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    Thank you thank you! Im quite excited. When i get to it i will post pics and get some numbers out there! Working on doing back-ups atm, then its on!

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