Help me RAID my pc!

Discussion in 'Technology' started by knowname, Jul 14, 2011.

  1. So I bought this 320 gig WD Caviar Black to go with my current Caviar Black in my PC like 9 months ago :( and I've never got the chance to put it in! My intention is to RAID it obviously, but do I have to fully back up my old HD before I install this new one?

    See my prob is Steam keeps tempting me with these new games ie I bought close to 300 in December and only got to like 20 of them since!! I don't like the idea of redownloading the many 10gig games I managed to shove down my incredibly thin pipe back in the winter sale... is there some sort of mirroring program that will do all of this automagically if I just hook the other HD up?? I'm probably dreaming huh... :/
  2. Steam lets you backup game files. Take advantage!
  3. so what's the manual procedure anyway? you backup, you put the HD in there, you do this and that with the drivers.... than it asks you to reformat? Any tips from ppl who have done it before? My first time RAIDIN here. I'm strippin this bitch.
  4. Depends on your system. I had to enable raid on my mobo and then go into the raid controller's bios and setup the raid array. After you finish that, you should be familiar with the rest of the procedures.
  5. Mechanical HDDs are cheap. Why use such dinky drives?
  6. Are you using an onboard RAID controller, software or a PCI-E controller? Bare in mind that I am more used to doing this on servers than desktops so some steps may be different depending on the controller make.

    If onboard as Khaid says enable it, then boot your PC and you will probably see something at POST along the lines of press Ctrl-E to enter xxxx setup. Enter the setup program and configure the container however you want. I imagine you have 2 drives so it will either be RAID 0 (speed) or 1 (redundancy). Once it is configured reboot and start installing Windows, hopefully whatever version of Windows you have will had the controller drivers and you won't have to add these manually to see the new container.

    Once you create the container it will automatically blank any data on the existing drive. In future if a drive fails and you have a degraded array IF you have chosen RAID 1 you will simply have to put another drive in and it will rebuild the array. If you have chosen RAID 0 you will have lost everything and you will have to start again. If you have the cash then you can purchase a 3rd drive and make it a hot spare in the controller settings, this way if a drive fails it will automatically rebuild the array and you can swap out the faulty drive which will then become a new hot spare.

    Here is a snapshot of an array I have set up in a RAID 10 (1 + 0) configuration, as you can see I have 2 hot spares on this array so that 2 can fail before the array becomes degraded and hopefully by that point I will have noticed and swapped them out.


    Because this is a RAID 10 I only get the available space of 3 of the disks (about 1.2TB) but this gives me RAID 0 performance with the redundancy of RAID 1 on 15K SAS disks. 3.3TB of disk space available over the 8 disks it may seem like a waste to only be able to use 1.2TB of it but both performance and redundancy are very important as this array contains a lot of our server VM's so if it fails VMware will lose communication with them and all of them will go offline. The way the systems talk to this array is slightly different as it is an independent unit and uses iSCSI but the theory behind the RAID array stays the same no matter what system you are doing it on.
  7. Well 1 they're WD Black HDs and 2 640gigs is quite enough for me, for now :) I am thinking about buying a 640gig drive for complete redundancy (you can RAID 10 with 3 drives right??)
    It's onboard coming from my mobo, and RAID 0 (in the US we call this Stripping...). Thanks for all the info! I suppose there is no automated way than :/ maybe with a slightly inferior software solution?

    I'm borrowing my bro's 360 and concentrating on that right now (catching up on games I want to play...)... but in August I might have to start backing up junk :/
  8. I know what Stripping is and its not exclusive to RAID 0, RAID 5 does this for example but also has redundancy built in.

    No you need 4. RAID 1 + 0 in basic terms with 4 disks is 2 RAID 1 mirrors stripped accross multiple volumes.

  9. :( don't think my controller handles 4 :/ but it might do 5. What was 5 again?
  10. RAID 5 with 3 drives will stripe the data but you can have 1 drive fail and it will continue to run albeit with degraded performance, put in a new drive and the array will be rebuilt. You will get the space of 2 drives in a RAID 5 array so if you have 3 x 1TB drives you will have 2TB available.

    If your PC can't handle more than 3 drives and you would rather do RAID 10 (which would give you better performance) then purchase a PCI-E SAS RAID controller and get a 4 lane SAS to SATA cable. Usually these cards come with 2x 32pin SAS ports so each one could handle 8 SATA drives.


    If you really care about performance then buy yourself a couple of 15K SAS drives and just RAID 1 them. They would probably be a lot faster than 4 SATA drives in RAID 10.
  11. So you can fit 2TB of data into a 1TB drive?? or does that backup 1TB drive atomagically just take the place of the part of the array that's busted (presuming that only one of the two drives failed...), but if so why would you face any degraded performance?

    I might go the SAS route next... but simply fitting a sas controller onto my atx mobo might be difficult... I'd have to either part with my sound or video capture card :/ I was just gonna get hybrid drives... or a full blown SSD, and probly by the end of the year. or just after.