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Onboard RAID

Hi guys,

I'm thinking of getting this gigabyte motherboard (GA-7vrxp) which has onboard RAID controller (RAID 0 and mirroring RAID 1 ).  I have a little knowledge on RAID but I want to set one up.  Ok I'll hit you guys with my questions.

1. Which RAID is better between RAID 0 and RAID 1?

2. There are 2 IDE and 2 RAID controllers on the board, does this mean I can use all of them at the same time?
3. How many HDDs are required to set up RAID 0?

4. How would I set up RAID 0 in this case?

5. Would I be able to run RAID in windows xp pro?

6. Is onboard RAID better than PCI RAID controller card?

7. If I had 2 identical HDDs (10gig) and was to set up RAID 0, do the HDDs have to have only 1 partition on each drives?  Can I set them up so that the drives have 2 partitions each and set the primary partition on both drives to use RAID?

Here's how I want to set my system up.  I want to have 5 gig partition running on any RAID which will be used for storing OS and programs only.  Then have another 20-30 gig for games, movie editing,etc. Not too sure if this is possible.  I also have a cd-writer and a dvd rom.  This is what I can think of so far. I'll add some more questions later on if I come across one.
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1 Solution
Here's some good information to look at:
Good information and info about advantages and disadvantages of various forms of raid.

Links to some Raid documents

This one also explains in short the different forms of raid.  Pretty simple and quick.

Ok, to answer your questions:

1.  Depends on if you need fault tolerance or not.  Read the advantages disadvantages of each from my first Link.  To help you decide.  Or the simple and quick Last link.  

2.  You can hook up 8 IDE drives total.  I have all my IDE slots full, 8 drives!  6 hard drives and a CDRW and DVD rom.

3.  At least two HDD's for either one.

4.  Here is what you need:
For your motherboard and setting up raid from Hardware to Bios then to Win XP....Hope you will be using Win XP?

5.  Ahh sounds like you will be using XP.  Read the link I provided in #4.

6.  Depends.  Generally they are equivelant.  Onboard will save you a slot.  

7.  I've never tried to partition my drives.  But maybe this could help?

Start with that information first....Let me know if I can answer anything else.

There is a good hardware-based review at http://www.tweak3d.net/reviews/gigabyte/7vrxp/

It states that the two extra controllers can be used as RAID or IDE3 and 4 by flipping a DIP switch.  That answers #2

This seems to also describe the integrated RAID

RAID Features:
- RAID 0 (striping) interleaves data across multiple hard disk drives, which increases disk system performance dramatically
- RAID 1 (mirroring) ensures data integrity by making an exact duplicate of an existing drive
- RAID 0+1 (mirror+striping) the best of both worlds! Ensures data integrity and increases disk performance dramatically
- Acts as a conventional (non-RAID) controller when not configured for RAID

RAID0+1 is better if this can do it, otherwise it is a choice between hard drive performance and data security.

RAID and Windows XP?  Yes.  Take a look at http://www.viaarena.com/?PageID=83
It (and the enclosed links) will probably answer many questions.
cooljam23Author Commented:
Ok I've got more questions to ask.

After I went to all the links, my conclusion has it that RAID 0 is faster than RAID 1 mirroring?  BUT there's not much gain in performance to read/write small files in RAID 0?

I don't really care about fault tolerence much all I care is performance.  BUT what are the chances of losing files or corrupted files in RAID 0?

I'm still confused about the controllers, I know that RAID 1 duplexing uses 2 seperate IDE channel but I don't know how RAID 0 is setup.  I know that RAID 1 mirroring uses 1 controller, both drives are on the same IDE cable (master and slave)?

If RAID 0 uses both controllers (IDE3, IDE4) and I connnect another drive into IDE1 and set the bios to boot off IDE3 first, would this boot the RAID drives first?

The RAID 0 that the guy from the link setup wasn't used as primary device (didn't have OS on it).  Is it possible if I install winxp on the RAID 0 drives, and would this increase the read or write performance? since there are many small files in OS.

that's all for now
thanks again.
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cooljam23Author Commented:
oh 1 more question.  If I had 1 hdd on 1 controller and another 1 hdd on the other controller running RAID 0. How would I set RAID 0 + RAID mirroring.  Let's say the controller supports it.  What do I need to add to this?
You should be able to raid all 4 drives on the raid channels depending on your setup (IE if you stripe the drives you can stripe all four or three drives together utilizing both controllers.  IF you wanted to.  Losing files I dont think is much of an issue or corrupt data, other than the normal.  However if one of your drives goes bad in a Raid 0, you lose all data on both drives.  Because it is writing to both drives at the same time (the data is basically written half and half for speed.)
If you set your bios (and it is capable of) to boot off the raid or IDE 3, it should boot off the raid.  If your motherboard is incapable of setting itself to boot to raid, then you would have to boot off the first IDE device hard drive.
If you put your OS on the raid drive it is possible it could be faster but for certain things, but you most likely wont gain much because of the small files and if it is just your OS drive, are you going to be downloading or installing or putting alot of files on those drives?  Probably not...well I dunno you have to ask yourself that.  Basically if you set up a RAID 0, you will want to use that for files that are constantly being saved or downloaded on to that drive.  Like if you do video editing you would want to use a RAID 0, since it will store the video's faster.  In otherwords if you dont use the drives often enough the speed factor is not gained.  Do you understand?

I am not sure I understand what you want to do with your Raid 0 + Raid mirroring.  But I believe that you can jump into your Bios for your Raid, and tell it which drives to raid to, so you should be able to put one drive ont each controller and still raid.  If and only if your controller can do striping and mirroring at the same time you may need 4 drives....two to stripe and two to mirror the stripe...that is my guess.  Stripping is only good for two or more drives.  And if you wanted to mirror that you'd have to have the double equipment.

In fact here:
that explains Raid 0+1
cooljam23Author Commented:
Ok all my questions are almost answered.  Just 1 more thing, you didn't really tell me how to set up RAID 0, or how is RAID 0 set up interms of controllers.  Each drive has to be on seperate controller? or they can be on 1 controller but on master and slave?

I think I will run OS on the RAID 0 setup if this is possible, since I'm gonna be downloading files and storing games.  I don't want to lose my files and games in case soemthing goes wrong.  And I'll be doing video editing on the OS partition.  If possible can you pleae find out if I could boot off RAID drives and setup OS on them.  thanks.

The link I posted explained how to configure the drives how to hook up the cables and set up the jumpers.  Here is the link again (And according to the site, this is for your exact motherboard!):

At the bottom of the page is the word NEXT.  Click it and it will take you to the next page Which is this:
And your information on the jumpers is there.

According to the site it says for your setup the drives need to be setup Master/Master.  

Hmmm....Actually all you need to do to see if you can boot up via RAID, is to go into your bios and the setting for boot device or variation there of where it asks which drives do you want to boot first (IE: Floppy, CDRom HDD0, HDD1, HDD, it may also say RAID; If it does then yes you can boot RAID)you can try and select raid.
Notice that cooljam went to all of the links.  It doesn't say they were read completely, though.  I believe the links I posted explained that pretty well, also.
cooljam23Author Commented:
Ok I guess since the drives have to be set as master/master, 2 controllers are used for RAID 0.  I haven't got the MB yet, but I'm planning to get one.  I guess I'll have to find out whether I can boot off the RAID drives so that the OS can be installed on them or not.  Apart from that everything is answered.  
Thanks guys. I'm sorry slink9 but wakeup provided me with good links and info.  And he was the first to provide them. thanks
Yep.  He beat me by 8 minutes.

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