Can I add more SATA drives?

Hello experts,

I have recently built a computer around the Asus P4P800-E Deluxe motherboard.  This computer has two non-RAID SATA ports and two SATA ports for use in a RAID configuration.  I currently have two drives of different sizes which are not in a RAID array.  My question is whether or not I can add aditional drives to the RAID controller and have them function properly.  I suppose they would need to be configured in as an array.  If this would work, could someone please describe the solution?

Thank you!
Yohan
LVL 11
YohanShmingeAsked:
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wack_izzyCommented:
G'day,

You will not have to create an array for these to work properly, they should detect as normal drives (though i've heard mixed reports about detection with onboard SATA controllers).

Your motherboard as i know it, should be able to support up to any mix (SATA/PATA) of 4 harddrives in a non-raid (ATA mode) config (but no opticals). Hope this helps...
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wack_izzyCommented:
Sorry i should add that if you do run into problems then make sure you have the lastest bios for your motherboard, check http://www.asus.com for the lastest bios and instructions on how to install, check for new SATA drviers too.

Also the only real way your going to know if this works is if you try it. Try putting the extra SATA drive that you already have in there in one of the other ports, if it works fine then you should be right.
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blacksteelCommented:
The RAID configuration has to be the same drive, speed, and size to get the best performance out of RAID. I haven't tried to setup two different size drives for RAID, but what I hear it's not advised to do it. It's really best to get the same brand of drive if you do want a RAID setup. You shouldn't have a problem with adding two addition non-Raid drive to the extra SATA controllers. The only problem you will have is setup of drivers and thats about it.
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XSINUXCommented:
You can add additional SATA HDDs in the Raid SATA Ports and configure Raid 0 or Raid 1. But You should enure that the HDDs are in RAID array. Else it would not work. If you looking for More space then Raid 0 is better but on the other hand if you are looking for maximum data Redundancy, then RAID 1 ( Mirroring ) is better. If this looks complicated , probably you can go for 2 Parallel - ATA Drives.

The Motherboard supports TBs ( 1000s of GB ) but your Operating System has a Barrier Limit on 137GB but this can be resolved by updating the Service pack. The Next barries comes in TB. Could be 1.2TB but I am not sure.

The Max HDD Configuration

2 X P-IDE HDD on IDE 0 ( 2 Drops available on the IDE chain )
2 X PIDE HDD on IDE 1 - ( you may sacrifice one drop for the Optical Drive )
1 X SATA Drive on SATA port 1
1 X SATA Drive on SATA port 2
2 X SATA on SATA RAID Ports 1 & 2. ( These HDDs must be in Raid )

Hope this info Helps

Cheers
Sinu.


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Cyber-DudeCommented:
No probs... as long as you do not activate the RAID controller, you can add up to four drives without any worry...

Cyber
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YohanShmingeAuthor Commented:
Thanks for the quick responses, guys!  I'll try to swap the extra HD to one of the RAID ports and see what happens per wack_izzy's suggestion.
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crazijoeCommented:
You could also set up a JBOD (or Just a Bunch Of Drives) on the RAID controller.

http://searchstorage.techtarget.com/sDefinition/0,,sid5_gci343350,00.html
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Panther713Commented:
Ahem...

Hi Yohan. Your mobo has two RAID capable SATA controllers. The SATA ports that are marked on the P4P800e dlx simply as SATA connections are also RAID capable, but NOT RAID _required_... Those are controlled by the on-board ICH5R (Southbridge) chip and connect directly to the CPU bus. The two SATA ports that are marked as SATA_RAID are controlled by an on-board Promise Fasttrak RAID controller and only work as RAID. The Promise RAID controller, even though it is on-board goes through the PCI bus which is shared with the other PCI devices in your system. While you can use the Southbridge controller in a non-RAID fashion, you can not easily do the same with the Promise controller. The easiest thing to do for adding additional SATA HDDs is to put them into a RAID 0/1/0+1 configuration on the Promise controller. RAID drives should be the same size (and preferably the same make/model) for the best usage. If you put different sized drives in a RAID array, the extra space in the larger drive will not be used. Since you have two different sized SATA drives already on the Southbridge, and it sounds like you have yourself set on sticking with SATA drives, your probably stuck with getting two drives and putting them in a RAID array. Different array types have their pros & cons, so you'd have to decide what you need/want out of it. Alternatively, you COULD buy a single drive that matches one of your existing drives, do some creative data moving and put the two identical drives on the Promise controller. Finally, you have the option of going with additional IDE drives that can be put on the IDE ports of the Southbridge without having to put them in a RAID array. If you have optical drives on the IDE primary and secondary ports, you can put IDE HDDs on as slaves. One of my machines has one of the HDDs as a slave on the IDE port with one of the two optical drives and it shows no real data transfer speed reduction unless going from that particular optical drive to that particular HDD. Both of my main machines are ASUS mobos that have the Promise RAID controller with one mobo having the ICH5R (RAID verison) and the other having the ICH5 (non-RAID version) Southbridge chips. On both systems the OS drives are mirrored (RAID1) on the Promise controller. On one system the data drives are mirrored (RAID1) on the ICH5R with separate optical drives on the two IDE ports. On the other system there is a single IDE data drive with one of the two IDE optical drives on the IDE ports and a single SATA data drive on the ICH5 controller. On the second system the two additional HDDs are not in RAID (not possible), but they are on the first system. Also, since the ICH5R Southbridge connects directly to the CPU bus and the Promise controller shares the PCI bus, the SATA drives on the Southbridge will (at least theoretically) have much better access than the ones on the Promise controller. That's another reason for considering going with a IDE ATA133 HDD put on the Southbridge if you don't want a RAID configuration. Also, the latest BIOS for your mobo is 10.02... I don't know what OS you are using, but if it's WinXP, then it will see large drives. Also, the P4P800e dlx mobo will support (on the ICH5R controller) 2 SATA HDDs (Raid or non-RAID), upto 4 IDE HDDs (if you didn't want or need IDE optical drives on the primary & secondary IDE ports, say if you wanted to build a server) AND (on the Promise controller) 2 SATA HDDs (RAID configurations only), 2 PATA HDDs (RAID configurations only) which can be combined into various RAID configurations as RAID 0/1/0+1... So, there IS the possibility of having 10 HDDs running off that mobo. Maybe not likely, but it's possible. As already stated, I have 4 HDDs in both of my main machines currently along with two optical drives in each.

Good Luck.

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MilenkoCajkovicCommented:
well actually, he can add only one HDD to promise RAID controller, OK drives connected to promise controller, needs to be organized into raid array, so what, he can connect that one HDD, and make a raid array consisting out of single HDD, I don't see problem in that, and as the mater of fact, I tried it out my self.
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Panther713Commented:

As I wrote... it isn't the easiest or most elegant way. I know that CAN be done, but the Promise controller isn't meant to work that way. I know of a couple of different ways to make a single drive work on the Promise controller and don't recommend any of them. In one case, things looked like they were working just fine for about 4-5 months and then a persistent "RAID ARRAY CRITICAL" message kept occuring. When the person attempted to "add" another drive and "rebuild the array", he lost his data and was only saved by the best and last resort of having been good and done frequent backups. You seem to have had a successful use of that method. Yohan can certainly go that route if he wishes...

Good Luck.
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YohanShmingeAuthor Commented:
Hi guys,

We decided to buy two hard drives and configure them in a RAID 0 configuration.  It worked beautifully! Haha, 500 Gigs for 500 points!

Thanks,
Yohan
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Panther713Commented:
Yohan,

Sounds good. However, just be sure that you realize the pros & cons of RAID0 (striping) as opposed to RAID1 (mirroring) or some other flavor of RAID. In RAID0, if _either_ drive fails, you will lose the data, but when they're running they run fast. ;^)   My only suggestion (good for anyone, but especially important if you're running RAID0) is to do consistent and frequent backups to other media (CD, DVD, external HDD), etc), especially of any data that is critical or crucial for you.

Good Luck.

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