Silicon RAID on Asus A8N SLi Deluxe behaviour

Posted on 2006-06-01
Last Modified: 2008-02-01

I built a PC based on an Asus A8N SLi Deluxe motherboard and an AMD Athlon 3500 CPU and running XP Professional. Recently I replaced the 160gb standalone SATA data disk with 2 x Maxtor Maxline 300Gb SATA disks which I made into a mirrored RAID array using the Silicon RAID rather than the Nvidia on the motherboard.

This all worked fine for a couple of months. My Documents, Desktop, Favourites etc were moved onto this array so it contains my data rather than the system. Last week I left the PC on continuously for several days, which is something I don't usually do. I shut the PC down after this time, and the following day on startup, XP failed to recognise the RAID array and hence couldn't find Desktop etc.

After checking the power and data cables to no avail, I went into the RAID BIOS and checked out the logical volume details. It reported the first disks as "Current" and the second disk as "Rebuild". So I rebuilt the array and now all is well again.

I have no idea why the array went wrong like this with brand new disks - and that worries me. But I thought mirrored RAID arrays were supposed to continue functioning when one disk went down. So how come this one didn't show any errors on boot up, and just failed to be recognised?

Thanks, Phil
Question by:chksdev
    LVL 69

    Accepted Solution

    RAID controllers differ as to features, and integrated motherboard RAID controllers are the cheapest, so if you want true realtime availability, you will have to spend more for a standalone RAID controller.  Most servers that have to be up 24/7 will have a good quality controller for this reason.

    Author Comment

    Thanks Callandor - there are plenty of RAID controllers to chose from - do you have any recommendations?  Phil
    LVL 69

    Expert Comment

    Is this a critical function?  If so, I would recommend Areca 1220, 3Ware Escalade 9550SX-LP, or Adaptec 2810SA.  If it isn't and you don't want to spend so much, some less expensive SATA RAID manufacturers are Promise and HighPoint.  Note that these require PCI-X slots to maximize performance, or you can get a PCI-e version.

    Author Comment

    Well it's pretty critical to me, since it stores my photographs, website development and general "My Documents" type data, but I don't need speed, and I'm not keen on spending a fortune. I was looking for a solution that was smarter than just having 2 x 300Gb disks and backing one up on the other.

    The onboard RAID works as I'd hoped, but last night's failure made me wonder how reliable the solution really is.

    If I went for one of those solutions, would they any of them recognise the array already present on these 2 disks, or would I need to find a way of streaming the data off to start again?

    Cheers, Phil
    LVL 69

    Expert Comment

    They would not recognize the array, because that is tied to the controller that created them.  Get a drive to copy the data off, and then copy it back when the array is configured as desired.

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