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  #1 (permalink)  
Old 08-05-2011, 01:53 PM
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Economical RAID 5 > 2TB - 3Ware

While a little on the older side, 3Ware seems to have the best, economical SATA RAID 5 card on the market with its 9500s series. Easily obtained on eBay for about $50 for 4 port. The reason I say this is that I have tried other economical cards such as LSI (Who owns 3Ware now) 150 and 300 series, and Adaptec and have had nothing but problems. First, I hate Adaptec's RAID for a number of reasons. The interface they give you is ridiculous to a professional. It MAKES you initialize any RAID volume you create. What does this mean? If you happen to lose what its called your NVRAM coniguration, yet you remember exactly how it was set, you essentially have to erase the volume to create it. Not so with LSI, where they use MagaRAID which allows you to re-establish the configuration without initialization. Same with 3Ware, but it doesn't use MegaRAID, it uses it's own interface. The problem with LSI products is that they will not allow you to instantiate a volume over 2TB. That is way too small nowadays. 3Ware, I have not seen a limit, although I am using them on a PCI-X 64Bit slot. I have had no problem creating RAIDs up to 8TB. The largest physical drive, however, can only be 2TB, as 3TB reads as 768GB. BUT, they have an 8 port and a 12 port available so do the math and you can possibly be almost up to ~22TB RAID 5. (12 X 2TB - 2) Anything from Vista on up to Win 7 along with Server 2008 R1 and R2 have the drivers that download from Microsoft once you install it. The only problem is that the way the drivers are set up on their page is a little cludgy to find everything that you need. What you want is the FULL CD ISO, called "Complete <newest version> CodeSet Release ISO" from:

:: 3ware ::

This has everything you need to mount the online management interface, and also update drivers and firmware. The main problem I find with Adaptec and especially LSI 150 and 300 series, is that they start bursting once they start copying large amounts of data. When I mean bursting, I cant even explain to you how painful it is to copy a 5GB file from one volume to your RAID volume. It slows almost to a halt, then back up for a couple of seconds. In the end copying a 5GB file from one drive to your RAID volume could take as long as 40 minutes. I have tried every setting such as read ahead, etc, and have not been able to solve it. I have reproduced the problem with LSI tech support and they have no answer for it. 3Ware cards on the other hand are fast all the way through, even copying 3TB worth of large or small files. These cards are excellent for home servers and media servers. A word of note, GPT file system is needed to allocate volumes over 2TB, so remember to select GPT when Windows imports the volume to make it usable otherwise Windows will split the volume up into 2TB chunks.
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Last edited by Kaiser; 08-05-2011 at 02:13 PM.
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  #2 (permalink)  
Old 08-05-2011, 11:52 PM
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I just saw that the 9550 series goes up to 16 ports. Thats about 30TB worth of RAID5 storage, minus allocation table.
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SYNTHETEK - Best hardcore bodybuilding products
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SYNTHEROL - Number 1 best selling SEO (Synthol) in the world
STERILESYRINGES.COM - Get your Needles and Syringes from here
PRO WRIST STRAPS - Simply the best straps in the world
DISCUSSWORLDISSUES.COM - Socio-economic and political free speech
HOW TO DO INJECTIONS - Full Pictorial Injection Guide
ANASCI - One of BigA's alternate bodybuilding forums
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  #3 (permalink)  
Old 09-04-2011, 05:48 AM
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Hello Kaiser,

Can you recommend a RAID card for a system with W7? The MB has no RAID control built in, so I need to add a card. It's very basic, RAID 1. I just need it for redundancy. Also, is it possible to add a RAID card and extra drive, without re-installing everything? Most of the stuff that I have seen, requires that the drives be wiped. Obviously, it would be much easier to eliminate this process. Is it possible to add an external configuration that will function as RAID 1? It would be ideal to add the controller and drive and just have the controller duplicate the existing drive and continue to mirror it from here on out. Another concern though, as you know, in a conventional RAID 1 configuration, if one drive fails, you can simply reboot and it will roll over to the functioning drive and you have no down time. Then, you just replace the defective drive and it will mirror itself again. Would an add in card or external setup function this way, or do I need to run the existing HD through the add in card as well as the backup drive?

Thanks
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Old 09-06-2011, 01:58 AM
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First, there are no constants in functionality of RAID cards. They all react slightly different. As I stated above, anything controlled by the MegaRAID at boot post is very able in some of the questions you have above, but I dont remember MegaRAID controller for RAID0 and 1 only. They usually support RAID 5 or better. Now, on to your needs. I am assuming since you have a newer PC with Windows 7 that you do indeed have a PCI-E (PCIe) slot instead of just normal legacy PCI slots. PCI-X slots are also different, but mainly in server and engineering workstation motherboards, so you probably do not have one of those. You will not want to use a RAID volume for boot and operating system if the only card supported is the legacy PCI listed above. You will simply bee running to slow, since the bus transfer rates are extremely slow compared to PCIe add-in cards and what a normal onboard SATA non-RAID controller. Here are what the slots look like:

PCI Express - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Here is one that will work fine for your needs if you have PCIe:

SATA II Raid eSATA Silicon Image PCI-E Card Win 7 New | eBay

Back up your data.

Now, the problem you may run into is that you may need to reload your operating system from scratch if the system boots and gives you a BSOD due to incompatibility of controller drivers which will give you Inaccessible Boot Device. Now, keep this in mind, Windows 7 is much, much more forgiving in this aspect, as it loads a number of alternate compatibility drivers for controllers. Still no guarantee. If you do have to do a complete reload, then you are simply going to install the two drives, create the RAID 1 volume, and reload your operating system.

When first attempting to boot with the new card and with your current operating system not reloaded for the first time, simply connect the drive WITHOUT the extra, redundant drive connected. Try to boot. If it does allow for a full boot, log into the operating system and wait for it to mount drivers. Once it is finished it will ask you to reboot. Reboot. When it comes back up, go out to the vender's site, such as Silicone Image in the the ebay listing above, and download the newest drivers AND application console for 64 or 32 bit Win7. Install the newest drivers then, reboot. I would say install the application at this time but in the old days I have seen installing the application before the newest drivers are mounted, can cause a system to crash. Hence, your newer drivers will not be active until your reboot is complete, so stay on the safe side. Then install the application once it reboots and do a shutdown. Add the new redundant drive to your system while it is shut down. Boot the system and pay close attention to any notifications that you may see from your RAID application. Some will actually notify you that another drive has been found mounted on the card and would you like to configure it as a redundant drive (RAID1) or a spanned drive. (RAID0). There is your queue to open the console and configure it. If it doesn't notify you, then simply run the console application try to change the RAID level. They may call it something different in the console as all venders use different wording, but will usually specify in parenthesis RAID0 or RAID1 for distinction.

A word of mention. If you buy a card such as above, and they are that cheap, buy 2 cards. Keep the extra card in case one burns out due to power surge, or defect. Just tape the extra card inside the case of the computer, and leave it there for a rainy day. This will allow for a simple fix in the future as not all cards are the same, even from the same vender.

Once your final configuration is complete, mark the hard drives 0 and 1 for first and second drive mounted to the first and second port. The ports may be numbered 0 and 1, which they should be, or 1 and 2, which is how they list them sometimes to be more user friendly.

Lastly, one of the main things when purchasing a card is the chipset manufacturer name brand, such as the ebay listing above being Silicone Image, which is a good company. No NOT purchase a non-name brand RAID chipset, as you will have support nightmares and compatibility issues. Let alone the price of one with a good chipset is still very affordable.

Once you have this set up, incidentally, you would in theory be able to move this RAID card and drives to a completely different computer system, and boot from it with no problems as the controller drivers on boot up will obviouosly remain the same no matter what. But I have seen some slight exceptions over the years. You would only need to Activate Windows with a new serial at that point.

For Technical Knowledge:
Incidentally, a word of note, RAID0 is simply a term and really does not fit in the RAID parameters. RAID0 is simply spanning of multiple drives into a single volume, and does not offer redundancy which is the first letter in the acronym. RAID - Redundant Array of Independent Disks. As for why they chose to call it RAID0, I have no idea, but it is moreso probably because of the RAID10 and RAID50 configurations. RAID10 and 50 use multiple layers, so take for instance RAID10; For sheer speed, an example would be to take 4 160GB drives total. RAID0 2 drives to 320GB, then RAID0 the 2 other drives to 320. At that point you would have 2 320GB volumes. THEN, RAID those two volumes with RAID1 which nets ~320GB. This allows for a super fast speed as you will have read and write speeds of 4 drives in unison, roughly divided by the 2 volumes. So theoretically it is faster than normal RAID0 for most specifications because you have the combined spindle speed and transfer rate of the 4 drives instead of 2, and yet still gives redundancy. This is how higher end enterprise storage systems, such as EMC use to allow for extreme amounts of speed, and redundancy reliability. EMC will utilize multiple layers of RAID10 or RAID50, or both combined to boost read/write transfer rates, but they financially never under six figures.
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Last edited by Kaiser; 09-06-2011 at 02:30 AM.
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  #5 (permalink)  
Old 09-06-2011, 01:26 PM
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Sorry about that, I thought I mentioned that it had PCI-e slots.

Excellent info Kaiser. Thank you for taking the time to write the detailed post. You laid it out perfectly.
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  #6 (permalink)  
Old 09-06-2011, 10:17 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BSM E65 View Post
Sorry about that, I thought I mentioned that it had PCI-e slots.

Excellent info Kaiser. Thank you for taking the time to write the detailed post. You laid it out perfectly.

Do yourself a favor and buy 2 cards, especially for $15 each.
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SYNTHETEK - Best hardcore bodybuilding products
INTERNETCASHEMPIRES - Instant Cash for Life
SYNTHEROL - Number 1 best selling SEO (Synthol) in the world
STERILESYRINGES.COM - Get your Needles and Syringes from here
PRO WRIST STRAPS - Simply the best straps in the world
DISCUSSWORLDISSUES.COM - Socio-economic and political free speech
HOW TO DO INJECTIONS - Full Pictorial Injection Guide
ANASCI - One of BigA's alternate bodybuilding forums
PURE SUPPLEMENT POWDERS - All lab certified
ALLIANCE RAWS - Warehouses WorldWide

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  #7 (permalink)  
Old 09-07-2011, 09:08 AM
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Will do, I will probably get a few at that price. Thanks again!
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