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RAID 1 set needs rebuild every time Windows shuts down improperly

Posted on 2011-05-12
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A few months ago I put a 4-port SATA RAID card by Silicon Image in my Windows Vista desktop.

I set it up with to RAID 1 sets, the first for C:, the other for a D: data drive.

I find, though, that when Windows runs into a problem bad enough that it shuts down improperly, the RAID 1 set for C: needs to be rebuilt.  It will boot and try to rebuild as it runs, but that leaves Windows running quite slowly with freeze-ups that drive me batty.

A rebuild using the RAID utility that loads just after the BIOS takes about 4 hours.  This being my #1 line-of-business machine, I'm not happy with that.

Is there a RAID solution that is not so susceptible to improper shutdowns?  Perhaps a more expensive card?  If so, what feature would I look for?  My new motherboard (Asus M4A785-M) does offer RAID capabilities.  Would I do better to use it instead of the add-in card?

Thanks!
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Question by:Daniel Wilson
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David earned 1332 total points
ID: 35749635
get a raid ctrl with a battery backed up cache, or one without (but you have to disable write cache which will kill performance)

also, chances are good your disks won't be qualified unless they are enterprise class.  so read  up on specs.  goto lsi.com and find a controller with this option that meets  your budget
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by:lewisg
lewisg earned 668 total points
ID: 35749815
RAID ain't all it's cracked up to be these days...

In a word - fakeRAID

http://linuxmafia.com/faq/Hardware/sata.html
http://www.clintoneast.com/articles/linux-sata-raid.php
http://cgi.ebay.com/Adaptec-2420SA-256MB-SATA-II-RAID-Controller-BRAND-NEW-/260633144697

The Adaptec 2420SA is the card to use if you want to do HW
RAID. Especially at the eBay price. The backup battery is to avoid data
corruption by being sure the R/W buffers flush in the event of a power
failure during a R/W operation. Nice feature.

Stay away from any RAID controller you can't find an exact replacement in case of failure. You could loose all your data...
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by:David
ID: 35750070
Most of the adaptec controllers require enterprise storage drives, so make darned sure your disk is on the qualified list that they publish online also.  
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by:lewisg
ID: 35750214
I've hooked up a 2420SA to some 500G Seagate drives before and it worked fine. Is there something I'm missing?
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by:Daniel Wilson
ID: 35750348
The battery backup idea makes sense.  Does the Adaptec support a battery backup?

If RAID isn't all it's cracked up to be ... is there a better alternative?  Without spending $1000's?

I'll have to check the appropriate mfg's list ... I'm running WD Caviar Black for my primary set.
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by:Daniel Wilson
ID: 35750682
OK, the Adaptec *does* accept a battery backup: http://www.adaptec.com/en-us/support/raid/sataii/aar-2420sa/

Accessories

    Adaptec Battery Module ABM-500 (2213700-R)

Working on figuring out what will fit my expansion slots. The Adaptec wants

Bus System Interface Type
      PCI-X 64-bit/133 MHz host interface (3.3v only)

Now, I have a PCI-Express x1 slot available.

The 3ware cards mostly want PCI-Express x8 -- of which I have none on this board.  I have one x16, but it is in use by my video card.
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by:David
ID: 35751171
You can pick up an older 3ware for next to nothing.  I have an old PCI-X133 3WARE 9500S in one of my 32-bit systems that supports 4 SATA disks, but other models support up to 12 drives. I wouldn't be surprised if you could get one for $20 or less  (heck, I've seen used equipment dealers just throw them in the trash.    I'm pretty sure that those controllers also work ok with consumer/desktop class drives, but you need to confirm for yourself).  
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by:Daniel Wilson
ID: 35754162
So is PCI-X 64-bit/133 MHz the same as PCI-Express x1?

Sorry, I'm a software guy ...
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by:David
ID: 35754397
No, different pinouts entirely.  
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by:Daniel Wilson
ID: 35754669
Is anything we've mentioned the older PCI slot?
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by:David
David earned 1332 total points
ID: 35754732
you really need to look up the specs online, or view a picture. YOu dont want to buy something that is incompatible.   Check this out

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/PCI-X
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by:Daniel Wilson
ID: 35755579
Thanks!

Looks like I need a new motherboard ... and my current one I put in just last week.  Anyway, I've learned a lot, so thank you!
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by:David
ID: 35755677
Not necessarily, just get a 3WARE controller that is compatible with your current motherboard.  Plenty of good online dealers who can walk you through compatibility issues.  The later generation 96xx family of 3ware is PCI-e (also called PCI express), using a more modern bus.
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by:lewisg
ID: 35760419
Before I went the new MB route I'd check out a 2420SA. $80 (or less) on eBay. It appears to be in the same price point as the 3WARE 9500S so I have a hard time believing that there are substantial differences in functionality.

I do however defer to dlethe's obviously greater experience in this area. If dlethe has experience with this particular Adaptec card and is sure it requires special drives then it likely does. In my experience the 2420SA worked fine with $50 Seagate 550G drives. I didn't use a battery and I didn't have rebuild messages. It wouldn't be the first time I've been wrong...

On another matter Win7 is enough of an improvement to make an upgrade worthwhile.
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