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creating RAID-1 array

smig

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#1
I want to create a RAID-1 array for backups.
just before you jump and shout at me "RAID is not a backup". I know :D
HD are not expensive these days and buying another one is not the big issue.
this will be abetter backup then not having back up at all, agree ?
the machine is not working 24 hours a day, and mostly turned on when I use it. I don't want long back up process to run automaticely in the background at this time. other then that I mostly forget to do backups. for now I can only burn the data on DVD, but even a huge external HD won't help me remembering to back up ;)
so automatic backup in the form of RAID-1 is the best option for me. even in case of system crash I can use the drive as a second one (not bootable) to take read the data from it.

now back to topic -
I read WinXP does not support RAID-1, though I fread it possible to make it to support it.
my mobo (MSI K9N6SGM-V) support 2 SATA drives and say it support RAID-0 and RAID-1. does this mean an hardware RAID, rather then software ?

I have WinXP installed on my drive (Seagate 250gb SATAII). I don't want to reinstall the system.
can it be done by buying another identical drive, and cloning the current disk to it (with something like ghost) ?
 

t_ski

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#2
WinXP does support raid. Most of the time you are talking about hardware, but WinXP can create a software mirror as well. If you are doing this in a controller setup for the motherboard (as opposed to the Disk Management console in XP), you are talking about hardware raid.

Read up on your manual about setting up a raid-1 array and if you can do it with a drive that already contains data. TBH, I have only created raid 0 and 5 arrays from drives that had no data on them. I'm thinking there may be a way to set up the raid 1 array and have it create the mirror disk, but I can't speak from experience.

And yes, you should have another identical drive. It is possible to do it with different drives, but performance and reliability can be affected.
 

smig

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#3
the MSI manual is a sad joke :(
 

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#4
Would'nt raid 0 be better ?.. Were as raid 1 and a disk fails you lose every thing. Either that or raid 5 which is 3+ HDD's.

EDIT:
Oops.. Think i got it wrong way around LMAO..

My NF4 mobo supports it i would think yours would too.. I used nLite to add the drivers to the install so all HDD's showed up when going to install.
 
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#5
Bear in mind, raid 1 is also slower than a single harddrive.... becuase it has to duplicate everything on 2 drives...
 

smig

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#6
RAID-1 is slower on write but faster on read because it can read from two different drives ;)
as other posted before it loads maps much faster for games.
 

evil bill

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#7
Bear in mind, raid 1 is also slower than a single harddrive.... becuase it has to duplicate everything on 2 drives...
PCFormat in the UK had an article on this in the latest issue (PCF 214) which does not support this theory. The test in which RAID1 was slower than a Single Drive was the HD Tune Pro benchmark and it was marginal (70.1MB/s v 65.77MB/S)

In the other tests, RAID 1 beat the single drives for loading times for CoH and STALKER, and they were identical to single drives for WiC and Crysis.

So even if write times are marginally slower, a reasonable person can assume that there is no significant no real world performance hit from using RAID 1, in fact it might even be slightly better.
 

smig

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#8
the importent issue for me now is HOW do I create the RAID-1 array.
I have the SATA/RAID drivers already installed (This is must for the machine to boot from SATA HD).
Question now is how make the RAID array to work from the bios.
the question if to go to RAID-1 or not is over ;)
 

t_ski

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#9
If at all possible, the first thing you should do is make backups of important data, just in case. Then power down the PC, attach both drives to the raid controller and power up. Go into the BIOS for the motherboard and make sure the SATA function is set to raid. Save and exit, then go into the controller setup. You need to configure the drives as a mirror raid, then reboot again.

However, there is a chance that the process of setting up the drives may clear the contents, which is why I suggested backing up all the data. You may also try to "rebuild" the mirror array if it lets you, but again there's always a chance that it could mess up what's already on the drive. If everything was set up the for raid 1 originally, then rebuilding with a new mirror drive wouldn't be a problem.
 

smig

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#10
If at all possible, the first thing you should do is make backups of important data, just in case.
No problem
I can make images of all data to another drives on the home network.

Then power down the PC, attach both drives to the raid controller and power up.
absulutely

Go into the BIOS for the motherboard and make sure the SATA function is set to raid. Save and exit
Found this one

then go into the controller setup. You need to configure the drives as a mirror raid, then reboot again.
WHERE :respect:
HOW :respect:
The manual is a sad joke :cry: nothing said in it how to create a RAID :banghead:
 

t_ski

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#11
When booting the PC, after the BIOS screen, you should see another screen for the controller. For my Intel mobo, I need to press Ctrl+I to get into it. Yours is probably different, but it will say on the screen to press "XXXXXX" to enter setup. That's what you need to do.

Is this your board:

http://www.msicomputer.com/product/p_spec.asp?model=K9N6SGM-V&class=mb

It's listed wrong in your System Specs if it is (missing the "s").

EDIT: I downloaded the manual. You are right - it is a joke :( My best guess (from my NF4 board days) would be Ctrl+F4, but that's only a guess.
 
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smig

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#12
yes, this is the board.

I found it to be F10.
in the BIOS setting I should enable RAID and select which drives (I must set them both, doh' :p)
Still it's some kind of guessing how to build the array. I might be better creating the array on an Asus mobo.
 

t_ski

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#13
Ok, this is a different board and probably a different chipset, but most of the basics are there:

http://www.angrygames.com/nf4raid-1.htm

Just follow along and change the stuff that applies to your board.
 

smig

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#14
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t_ski

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#15
Cool. Let us know how it works out for you.
 

smig

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#16
I have a great success :rockout:
I write this post now while the array is created.

thanks to LairdDrambeg - read it here - http://forums.nvidia.com/index.php?showtopic=52856

the trick is to create a single HD striping (RAID-0) array and to migrate it to double HD mirror (RAID-1) array.

here are the steps one by one:
1. back up your valuable data ;)
2. connect your new HD to the system.
3. Enable RAID in your BIOS, and add RAID support for the new HD only. reboot.
4. you'll be prompted to go into the RAID setup (F-10) - do it, and add the new blank HD into a new RAID-0 array (Striping). when asked to clear the disk hit N, though the disk is new and empty.
leave your old HD (the one with the data on it) out of any array
this is importent to load the RAID drivers into windows.
if you simply try to install the RAID drivers and the NVIDIA MediaShield they won't be installed since there is no RAID hardware.
Save and exit.
5. when Windows reload it will find the new hardware (your new RAID array). this is the time to reinstall the nVidia chipset drivers and MediaShield.
6. after all driver installed you'll ask to reboot. do it and make sure the system is loading correctly. Look in the device manager for the nVidia nForce RAID controler and nVidia nForce serial ATA control, under the SCSI and RAID controlers.
7. Restart your system, go back into the BIOS and enable RAID for the old drive too. Save and reboot.
8. Go into the RAID setup (F-10), remove the new HD from the RAID array and leave it unessigned.
create a new RAID-0 (striping) array, this time with the old HD. When asked to clear the disk hit N doh' :p. Save and reboot.
9. When Windows load you'll see the media shield Wizard saying you have an unessigned HD. Close the wizard and open the media shield (nVidia control panel - Storage).
10. select the Migrate ption, and migrate the existing RAID-0 into RAID-1, adding the new unessigned HD.

Good luck :toast:
 

t_ski

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#17
Cool, glad it worked out for you. :toast:
 

smig

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#18
can someone make this post/guide sticky ?
 

smig

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#19
I couldn't resist myself doing some tests :roll:

First I completely disabled RAID in BIOS.
computer booted normaly :) only now I had two identical HD and twice as drives (partitions).

Next I enabled RAID for the prinary dirve only.
I had a Disgraded RAID flashing error from BIOS. Machine booted normaly. no other errors. again two identical drives.

Last step was to enable RAID to both drives as before.
again, computer booted normaly with no error mesages at all. again two identical drives.
the nVidia MediaShield showed Disgraded RAID array. the RAID aray was broken. no more RAID.
Fix was very simple - going back to the BIOS' RAID setup (F-10) and deleting the 2nd. drive from the array (This makes it unassigned).
Once the computer was booted again, the nVidia took control of the drive and immidietly started rebuilding the broken RAID array. I saw only one HD now.


This makes me conclude that creating a RAID (at least for RAID-1) done in the BIOS/controler level only and write nothing to the HD, nor change it's way of working.


The last test I did, and the way it was fixed makes me think in step 8 of the previous messgae I could set the old HD as Mirror RAID array. this will makes the system think it's a broken mirror RAID and rebuild it.


regarding performance -
I doubt there will be any noticeable negative effect for writing into the two disks, since these are two different disks using two different controlers.
as many other said before there is performance gain while reading data from the two disks, since different blocks of data are read from the disks.


back to the backup issue -
these tests makes me consider the RAID-1 as backup more then before. even in a case of bad system files (system not loading) the drive can be moved to another computer to recover the valuable data.
other then having a backup stored 1,000 km away there is no way to prevent any katastrophy.
any phisical damage to the machine, including electrical one, will cause the same damage to any device connected to the machine.
any virus will be ported to the backups too.
I don't want to be the machine daily slave :respect: spending time every day creating backups on external devices and puting the stored media away.
 
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