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RAID 1, IBM 75gxp hd.

Posted on 2002-06-26
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Last Modified: 2012-05-04
My current system has a 45gb IBM 75gxp hard disk which I've been quite happy with.  There were a few issues at first but I've not had significant problems and the performance is great.

However, I've recently learned of a class action lawsuit filed against IBM with regards to the reliability of the drive.  There also seems to be an overwhelming amount of anecdotal evidence which indicates that the drive is unreliable.  This makes me at least mildly concerned.

For more info on this lawsuit, see:
http://www.sheller.com/ibmclassaction.htm

So, I am considering adding a second hard disk, also 45gb, and setting up a RAID level 1 configuration.  I am not sure if I should buy a second 45gb 75gxp or something else.

The question is: What hard disk should I buy to mirror with the 75gxp I already have, and what RAID controller should I get?

One other related question is the power supply.  I have a P3-866, 384mb RAM, a 30gb Seagate Barracuda II, the 75gxp, GeForce 256 DDR video, network, sound, modem, a second usb "modem" for our satellite internet service, and so forth, but the power supply is only 200 watt.  I am concerned that adding a RAID controller and a third hard disk will make this PSU explode (or at least not work well).  Any thoughts?

Please do not lock this question.  I will award points to whomever offers the most insight / information.
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Question by:helpmealot
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by:pjknibbs
ID: 7112893
Well, if you're that worried about the reliability of the drive, why not just buy a new hard drive? It seems a bit pointless buying a new hard drive AND a RAID controller just because you think your drive might fail!

To be honest, you'd be better off getting a good backup strategy worked out and operating than trying to setup RAID 1, especially since the additional overhead of writing to two drives makes RAID 1 slightly slower than a standalone drive.
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by:1175089
ID: 7112974
It is not so bad idea to make RAID1 with one more HDD. You must bay additional IDE RAID controller and one more disk. The disk may be different size/maker/speed but your RAID volume will be with size equal to the smallest HDD /if they are different/. IBM HDD's are quick and good but they are hot and needed from cooling, so dont put them so close.
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by:frache
ID: 7113959
In you want install a raid1 configuration you must backup and reinstall everything (Os,applications and data ... ).
This operation is "not" simple ... it is not a simple addition of hardware pieces ...

---
Cheap and simple way :
Make a backup of your precious data on a CD with a CD burner.

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magarity earned 50 total points
ID: 7114266
"In you want install a raid1 configuration you must backup and reinstall everything"

Incorrect.

Any RAID controller worth buying from Promise's "FastTrak":
http://www.promise.com/product/subsys_detail_eng.asp?pid=8&fid=2
(an excellent model I recommend for basic RAID-1 needs) on up, will have an option: "Build RAID-1 using existing data on disk x".  All you have to do is be sure to add the drivers for the RAID card BEFORE installing it and creating the RAID.  For example: boot WinNT normally, insert RAID card's CD or floppy, install drivers, shut down system, install RAID card, build RAID using RAID card's built in utility, boot WinNT.

Using Win2000 or XP, this is a simple operation using software.  Not only is an external RAID controller unneeded but a system reboot isn't even needed.  And even if a RAID controller is needed because you want extra performance, the procedure is the same as I gave above for the WinNT example.  I could give a rambling discourse on Win2k/XP software RAID, but won't unless absolutely necessary...  Suffice to say that RAIDs 0 and 1 in software are a perfectly acceptably solution.

As for the IBM drives, well, I used to have this model myself.  It was replaced by IBM when it died.  They gave me a 60GB one to replace it!  However, I think all this fuss about that model is just a vocal minority.  I will still continue to buy IBM drives.  The question for me is how well they stand behind the warranty.  If your data is mission critical, then there is NO brand of drive you should trust absolutely.  Always use some sort of backup, or if you need nonstop uptime, a RAID-1 at least.  

I think you are on the right track with getting RAID set up.  Here's an idea:  As long as the two drives on a RAID-1 are of comparable size they don't need to be the same brand.  Get a Maxtor or Western Digital 45GB drive (make sure the spindle speed is the same, the IBM is a 7,200) and use it as the second drive in your RAID-1.  You can do your own miniature test of what brand lasts longer (although a sample size of 1 is not at all a comprehensive test).

Finally, I think the 200 watt power supply is reaching its limits quickly.  Upgrade to a 300.  Not running a power supply at its limit will increase its operating lifespan by a large percentage.  And if you add another 7,200 rpm drive this 200 is going to be up against the wall.

regards,
magarity
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by:frache
ID: 7115727
Ok, Magarity , good point ...
But many "professionnal" raid controllers can't do that ...
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by:mikecr
ID: 7116062
Helpmealot, if you are running Windows 2000 or XP Professional you could, without the overhead of buying a raid card, use the built in raid one feature of the OS. Just purchase a drive from any other manufacturer other than IBM, connect it to your system, then just do a software raid to it. You will not lose any data, just keep a Windows 2000 or XP boot disk with copy of the boot ini on it that reflects the mirrored drive, then you can just boot from the floppy to the other disk if the IBM fails. The only additional cost would be for the hard drive, and a floppy of course if you don't have one.
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by:helpmealot
ID: 7116493
Thank you everyone for your input.  magarity has offered the most insight into my situtation and for that reason I have decided to award him with all 50 points :)

I will probably buy a separate RAID controller even though I have XP for several reasons.  The main one is that I am dual booting with Linux, and would prefer to keep things as non-OS specific as possible.
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by:magarity
ID: 7117176
Good idea to get the card - they start at $79 mailorder.  Just check www.pricewatch.com or inquire with your favorite vendor.  The card has the ability to mirror entire drives so when the mirror is out of sync, it does the refresh acoss the drive.  Win2000/XP and Linux software mirrors only do partitions, so if you have more than one partition mirrored on a given drive pair, they really thrash when resyncing...  but otherwise it works well.

Don't succum to performance temptation and make a stripe instead of a mirror.  We get people on EE weekly crying about one dead drive on a stripe with all their life's work lost and not backed up.
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