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Using IDE and SATA RAIDs on the same ASUS P4P800 motherboard

Posted on 2005-05-03
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I have ASUS P4P800 Deluxe mobo, and I currently have (a) a single Maxtor 80 gb IDE hard drive as the boot drive and (b) a pair of Barracuda SATA 80 GB drives configured as RAID1 (storing data only) using the onboard Intel ICH5R chip.

I'd like to add a second IDE hard drive and configure the pair of IDE drives as an IDE RAID1 or RAID1+0 (if possible) to help recover from boot drive failure (the mobo includes the VIA VT6410 controller) Is this possible? Can I have both IDE and SATA RAIDs running at the same time? Is this the best way to do it? My goal is to (reasonably) have the least possible downtime upon boot disk failure. I'm backing up my data to a external USB drive, but I recently experienced boot disk problems and am having to reinstall everything on that disk ... quite a pain, and one I'd like to avoid in the future, if possible.

Would a more preferable setup be to use the IDE as ONLY the boot drive, and install all progs, etc on the RAID drive? I could then Ghost the boot drive and be up and running more quickly, although I'm not all that familiar with Ghost or similar programs.
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by:rindi
ID: 13916883
You'll have to check the Asus documentation, but I don't think there should be a problem using 2 raid arrays (I don't know this board and at the moment the asus download sites don't seem to work). Generaly I'd just suggest you try it out...

Still, use your ghost or whatever to first make an image, that allways makes sense before you change system settings or manipulate drives and partitions.

I normally do separate my Partitions, one for the OS and those apps which are absolutely necessary for the OS to work, another for the other Apps, one for data, yet another for the pagefile and a further one for the temporary data. Having the OS on a separate partition first allows me to make image files of the OS which don't get too large (I prefer Acronis trueimage server, because that isn't a symantec product and it is cheaper). Another reason is that I can make the OS Partition relatively small and won't have to bother about it if it runs out of space by adding apps at later times.
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by:Callandor
ID: 13918659
Asus' site doesn't mention an IDE RAID array http://usa.asus.com/products/mb/socket478/p4p800/overview.htm, and even if it had one, you would still need to synchronize the two arrays in real-time, somehow.

Ghost 9 and Acronis True Image 8 will both handle RAID arrays and allow incremental backups.  You can create bootable floppies that can be used to restore from an image, so this seems like a workable solution.
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by:mjmat
ID: 13919113
The most economical way to set up a separate raid configuration without interfering with your present situation would be to purchase a raid controller card such as from Promise Technology and set up any desired array that you wish -- you can use up to 4 sata drives.
With respect to mixing sata and IDE, I would refrain from that. I have tried that and did not like it for speed and I felt that to try a swap would be difficult because you are changing Mobo's config.
Additionally, you can purchase hot swap cages for your raid 1 situation in the event of failure and always make sure you update the raid manufacturer's software.
Bottom line, I would get rid of IDE boot drive, boot from SATA, have a raid 1 mirror, and, if you want, use your IDE drive to store Ghost images as a precaution. Booting from Sata will decrease any down time because you can always hot swap a drive especially a caged one. Also, if you use a controller card, you can put on other sata drives and use for Ghostin or back up without slowing down your system. A raid 0, is by far not the greatest way to go, because, for example, if you were trying to store the word RAID on you system and one of the drives went out, all you would have left from the striping would be either RA or ID. Leave striping for the huge corporations that have multi-disk servers.
Hope that I have helped.
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by:chuckrox
ID: 13921169

I have this exact motherboard and have in the past run RAID on both the ICH5 and Via6410 controllers with no problems (I've even been able to use a Ghost bootdisk to ghost the RAID partitions). If you're looking for as much redundancy as possible, then I can think of no reason not to do what you have suggested. Just make sure that your boot selection in the BIOS is configured correctly. If you have any other questions don't hesistate to ask.
-Chuck
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LVL 85
ID: 13921317
Hi rindi, thanks for your response, I'll certainly consider your advice. I thought about doing that - just try it - but I don't have another IDE drive, and if the best advice was to use a separate controller with 4 SATA drives I didn't want to spend money unnecessarily.

Hi Callendor: I believe your link pointed to the P4P800 ... I'm running the P4P800 Deluxe: http://usa.asus.com/prog/spec.asp?m=P4P800%20Deluxe&langs=09, which has both SATA and IDE raid. I'm not sure what you mean by "synchronize" the two raids ... as you can tell, I'm new to this and want to set this up correctly. My main focus is to have a system where, should I lose my boot drive OR a data drive, I could be back up and running as quickly as possible, which is why I'd like to run a RAID for both my boot and data drives. Is this the best solution? Or would I be better off going another route? My boot drive failed this weekend, I had a current backup so I didn't really lose anything but it would take me several days to to reinstall, update, etc etc and get back to the point where I could begin work again (I'm working off my laptop right now). I'm a programmer, have a ton of utilities, controls, libraries, client projects etc which have to be configured and such ... I was concerned mostly with avoiding, if possible, this scenario again.

mjmat: thanks for the advice, I've considered a separate RAID controller (I've heard Promise is a good source). FWIW, I'd be glad to start completely over at this point, I recently had a drive failure and have had to install this temporary IDE boot drive, therefore I'm open to all suggestions and would really like to do this correctly from the start. I don't mind spending a little money to get a good solution, but of course funds aren't unlimited. . If you could start from a clean slate with the mobo and hardware I've got (listed below), what would be the best option? 4 SATA drives, two for my boot, 2 for my data, and the IDE to store Ghost/Acronis images? 2 IDE for boot with 2 SATA for data (or the other way around)? Is the only real issue with using IDE and SATA raids together speed?

Thanks again all for your time and patience with my boneheaded questions ... I'm a software guy, I know just enough about hardware to get me into trouble (as you can tell).
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LVL 85
ID: 13921977
Thanks chuckrox ... I've been scouring the newsgroups regarding this and this appears to be a somewhat common setup, and the vast majority have said the same thing as you.

I'm assuming I can partition my bootdrive, even if I set it up as a RAID? Or a better question would be should I partition my bootdrive? For example, use 20gb or so for the OS, another 30 - 40 for progs, whatever's left over for something (not sure what) ... if I did this, I'd then have to Ghost or TrueImage those partitions independently? Is imaging the drive necessary with a mirrored RAID? I see no reason not to image it (I can store the images on a network drive that's not often used, but is it necessary? Once my apps are setup I don't have much in the way of changes ... only changes to the OS portion would be updates and such, I could image after doing this (or setup to image every week or so). What's a good prog to use for partitioning?

As I mentioned I'm not extremely familiar with RAID ... I assume that if I setup my IDEs as RAID 1 or RAID1+0 (which I believe the mobo chip supports), and make those the boot disks, then if one disk fails the other would continue to function and allow me time to replace the dead disk? After I replace the disk, will the RAID hardware/software then "rebuild" that new disk? You can respond to these here if you'd like, I'm going to post a separate question regarding RAID in the Storage area, since I'm just not all that sure about these things.
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by:rindi
rindi earned 400 total points
ID: 13922067
Sure you can partition a drive that is raided. It is up to you if you want to do so and how, that is mainly personal preferance.

Raid is a system to take care of malfunctioning harddrives, but it is no backup, and backups are certainly necessary. By making an image of your partitions (you can make ghost or acronis do all at once or one at a time, it again depends on how you prefer it), you'd be doing something like a backup, or snapshot of your current drive, and I certainly advise you to do that, either on a regular basis, or at least before and after you have applied a major change to your system.

If a drive stops working in a raid 1 system, the system should keep on working and you should also be able to replace the defective drive. Normally once you have changed the drive the raid hardware should automatically rebuild the array. This can sometimes not be the case, particularly with cheap built in raid controllers like yours might be. In those cases the raid software will require you to "kick-off" the rebuilding process (sometimes you have to add the new disk to the broken array, and then the rebuilding process should start).
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mjmat earned 1200 total points
ID: 13922412
I have set up Raid1 on many customer 's stations. Here is the way I have mine set up and I recommend:
1. Either a controller card (inexpensive) or your onboard controller with 2 SATA drives. Do not partition -- I don't know what your yearly usage is for data (might be a consideration) -- place OS and apps and data on 1 drive.(The benefit of using a PCI controller other than the one on MOBO is that if you ever have a fried MOBO, you still have a controller card to swap in to a new system.)
2. Set up Raid 1 and you will have an exact duplicate of your drive which will cause no downtime as i've said because you can usually hot swap a new drive and rebuild the array (always keep a blank unformatted new drive of same size or bigger on hand).
3. If you think you are filling your 80GB drives at a rapid pace Seagate makes 130 GB which is what I use, but that's your call.
4. Dependaing on the size of your daily data, check out Iomega. I use an auto back up system from Iomega which is software driven and backs up new data as it is created on a separate disk -- this is where you can utilize your IDE disk.
5. Get another disk either IDE or SATA and use it for ghosting -- I use Symantec Ghost, the latest version I believe is 9. This will give you another option of redundancy. (If you wish, you may even use an external USB 2 disk that can be ghosted to another machine if necessary.)
6. Lastly, make sure your systems are protected. I use APC BackUPS for power and trade in my old systems every 3 years. It's well worth it.

Using this method, I haven't had many data loss scenarios other than human error. Choices are numerous and depend on your specific situation. I, too, am a consultant in systems and networks and know that all businesses differ in the amount of data stored. So, good luck and make the best decision based on your circumstances.

Lastly, if possible, don't mix IDE and SATA on the same controller, I have had circumstances where it worked and others were terrible. It's not worth the effort and with the cost of HDD today it doesn't pay. such, RAID-Random Array of Inexpensive Disks.

Hope this helps, Good Luck!
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LVL 85
ID: 13922660
mjmat: I hadn't thought of that - just using the one RAID to do this, instead of trying to separate bootdisk and programs. Sounds like a good solution - implement a SATA RAID array and use my IDE drive to hold Ghost images, and use my WD 160 GB USB external drive to store backups. Thanks for the tip on the controller card - I hadn't thought of that. Any recommendations on controller cards? I've got the SATA drives (one is a 120, other an 80) and an IDE drive, so my only additional expense would be the controller. Thanks again.

What Iomega prog are you using?
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by:Callandor
ID: 13923296
I agree with one RAID array and a regular IDE drive for archives, which would avoid the whole issue of keeping a second array updated with the contents of the first.  Here's an inexpensive card: http://www2.newegg.com/Product/Product.asp?Item=N82E16815124006
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by:mjmat
ID: 13923430
I personally use a Promise Fast Trak S150TX2 plus card which has IDE capability which I do not use and the card is relatively inexpensive about $100.
The only reason for partitioning a drive with an OS and Apps is if you are doing serving -- many stations. If you are not into this, Keep It Simple.

On the SATA drives use the same size or else wasted GB. I'd get another 120 of the same type and use them for RAID. Again, you will know your needs best. I always get bigger, get both the same (no compatibility issues) and keep an extra one for emergency ( which, if I ever go over limit, I throw it in as a ghoster).
I use the program Iomega Automatic Backup software. You program it as to what files you wish to back up and it is an automatic backup. Check the Iomega site for the latest backup solutions.

Remember, REDUNDANCY SAVES FILES, SAVES HEART ATTACKS!!!!
Good Luck ! Hope I helped.
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LVL 85
ID: 13924843
Thanks again ... I do believe that is the way I'll go. I've been using the 80 gb drive for a year+ and have only used about 25gb, so I'm thinking I'll keep the 80 gb setup. Both my drives are Barracuda, and I've confirmed they are compatible with the card I've selected below. I use Genie Backup now, but i'll certainly look in to Iomega. My final setup will then consist of:

Asus p4p800 Deluxe mobo
2 gb ddr ram
Promise TX2200 RAID controller card
One 80 GB Seagate Barracude drive, one 120 GB Seagate Barracude drive (these will be the RAID drives)
One 80 GB Maxtor IDE drive to hold images (and whatever else)

I'm looking at this card:
http://www2.newegg.com/Product/ProductList.asp?Submit=Go&DEPA=0&type=&description=tx2200&Category=0&minPrice=&maxPrice=&Go.x=0&Go.y=0
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by:mjmat
ID: 13926199
Seems like a plan. It should present no problem and be easily manageable. The card seems fine for your purposes and the HDDs will be sufficient for the usage you have described. Don't forget order another SATA drive to keep on hand as a spare and make sure it is at least as big as the Seagate 120GB to alwasy be prepared and eliminate your down time. New Egg usually has a good price for these items. You can also check this link and compare prices for the items you are looking at: http://www.provantage.com/
Good Luck
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by:Callandor
Callandor earned 400 total points
ID: 13926249
Hmm...did you know that if you combine the 80 and 120 drives in a RAID array, you will waste 40GB of the 120?  RAID is designed to work with same-size drives, and if you don't, the excess on one will be inaccessible.

Another note - the PCI-X card with 66MHz bus speed requires a special slot for it on the motherboard.  Most motherboards have ordinary PCI 33MHz slots, and I don't see a PCI-X slot on your motherboard.
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by:rindi
ID: 13926333
I think the PCI-X card should also work in a normal PCI slot (they are usually downward compatible), you just loose performance. But I agree that you should check the promise site for more details.
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LVL 85
ID: 13926471
Yes, I realize that I'll be losing 40 GB ... if I install the 80 and 120 drives now (thus losing the 40 GB) could I later swap out the 80 for a new, matched 120? Would I lose any data by doing this?

Not sure what you mean by the 66 mhz bus speed ... do you mean that my mobo would only run the card at 33 mhz instead of 66? Will this cause noticeable performance (or other) issues? I don't do any gaming, video/graphics editing, etc etc that would require extreme performance, I'm mostly writing code in VB classic or .NET or MSAccess, handling SQL Server (on a separate machine via Enterprise Mgr) or MySQL (web) databases, reading/responding to email, etc. Long as my browser is fairly peppy and I can get my email, I'm pretty happy.

Once again, thanks for all your help ...
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by:mjmat
ID: 13926615
The PCI X card will drop to 33 which is that MOBO's speed without any problem. No performance lost because you dont have 66 -- you can pick another card if you like look at the Promise site and see what's good for you.
As far as the HDD, That is why I originally said that big is better, you will never regain that lost 40. If you mate the 80 w/ 120, they will both be 80 and, if down the road you put in a 120, it will drop to an 80. So, if you can, you are better off going higher now. Check the prices, you might see that it is worth it to start with bigger, newer drives.
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by:Callandor
ID: 13927317
I think you can use a tool like Partition Magic to expand the drive later, if you go with 80 now and increase to 120 later.  Of course, you may find that you can afford a pair of 250's when you are ready to upgrade.
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by:mjmat
ID: 13931667
Powerquest no longer owns partition magic. It has been taken over by Symantec. I havent tried it recently, but the old PartitionMagic worked well but never tried them on SATA drives.
I did Beta testing for Symeantec Ghost and definitely recommend, but have had no experience with the new PowerQuest by Symantec.
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by:Callandor
ID: 13931804
I used Partition Magic 8.0 to resize and split an SATA RAID-0 array with WD Raptors into two logical drives, so it should work.
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by:rindi
ID: 13931837
I don't like Symantec products, so I allways recommend acronis programs (http://acronis.com). Disk director suite will do the same as pqmagic but cheaper. Trueimageserver is the equivalent to ghost (or driveimage, which also belongs to symantec) and also cheaper.

I don't think the main problem here is something that can be resolved by either of those tools (or not directly). The main problem to resolve is that first you need to expand the raid itself from a 80GB size to a 120GB size, and that you'd need the array utility programm to do which comes with the raid card. I don't know if those cheap cards also have the capability to expand an array on the fly...
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LVL 85
ID: 13934538
I tried using Ghost on my temporary setup, just to see how it worked ... I couldn't make it work, but to be honest I didn't put much time in it. I found a couple of tutorials on the web, I'm going to read through them. I'll also review the Acronis prog to see if it is easier for me to understand. My main focus is reliability, and Ghost does seem to have a large following.

My RAID controller is on the way!! I'm sure I'll have some more setup questions - I'm posting another one now regarding the steps necessary to setup the RAID array correctly.

Thanks all, I'll award points shortly.
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by:rindi
ID: 13937119
Thanx too, and good luck with your raid.
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