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Setting up an SATA RAID

Discussion in 'PC/Windows/Linux' started by Beezle, May 15, 2007.

  1. Anyone have experience setting up a RAID 5 with SATA drives? I figure this would require a dedicated PCI X card, etc.
  2. That's the setup I have in a few servers at the office. My drives are connected to a RAID controller card. I'd have to check but I believe certain motherboards can support Raid-5 with their onboard controller.
  3. Which card did you use?

    I was looking at the Highpoint PCI express x4 cards. Hard to figure which brand is reliable, etc.

    I am going to either set up a 5, or a 0 and others for backup. I'd rather have speed if there's much of a difference. And even with a 5 I will have another copy on another disk. I subscribe to the backup disk that isn't turned on most of time school of thought. Drives last a very long time if they are only turned on a few times per week.

    The motherboard on this machine is the A8N SLI premium, which has a 4x slot. I have the motherboard RAID controller turned off.
  4. genera


    Oct 6, 2005
    In th PC realm it's not required but you're probably a lot better off, at least from a performance standpoint, if you go with a dedicated hardware controller. All of the built-in controllers seem to have a very minimal amount of hardware and rely heavily on software to complete their tasks.

    I'm using a 3ware 9000 series controller with Western Digital Raptor drives in RAID 50 configuration and the performance is spectacular.
  5. mallaig


    Mar 12, 2006
    Ed, I still have a Promise SX4060 (PATA, PCI) which runs flawlessly to this day in RAID 5 configuration. At work we have a 3ware Escalade 7506-8 (PATA, PCI 66MHz) which handled the constant drive failures pretty well (someone decided to use desktop hard drives in an enterprise server...).

    As far as drivers go, I found the support horrendous. The hardware performs very good, but you won't find decent drivers apart from Windows. At least 3ware supports Linux well, but no Mac drivers either. I'm mentioning this because I know you're a Mac guy, if you're looking into getting a RAID controller for Windows only either of the two brands will be fine.

    If you're feeling a little adventurous have a look at RAID 3. It uses two (or more) drives to stripe data (like RAID 0 does) and a dedicated parity drive. You get the best of both worlds. Take that statement with a grain of salt, however. It has very good read and write performance, but it's not suited for high I/O demand as you'd typically see in a multi user environment or when dealing with small files (e.g. scratch disk). I bought a SATA RAID 3 controller for my home PC because it was fairly cheap and I absolutely love it. I get sustained transfer rates in excess of 60MB/s which I'm quite happy with. The other good thing is that it doesn't require any drivers at all as it operates on the BIOS level. It's available for both, PCs and Macs.

    Whatever you want to buy make sure its has an XOR chip, or your CPU will have to deal with the parity calculations (aka fake RAID). That can be quite the resource hog.

    Hope it helps.
  6. I've been using Adaptec controllers for a long time (first on SCSI drives and now SATA) and I've never had one fail on me. They've always been very reliable and hassle free.
  7. Thanks for the tips.

    This is primarily for my PC (dual Athlon 64), though I see that the Highpoint cards are also sold for OSX. The PC will also be going Core 2 dual at some point.
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