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Windows 8 SSD Setup with Raid HD Array for File Storage

post #1 of 13
Thread Starter 


I have put together a new computer based on an X79 platform. I have a 128 GB SSD on which I would like to load Windows 8 as well as other programs and I have two 500 GB (mechanical) hard drives on which I would like to store my files in a RAID 1 array. I also have a blu-ray burner. All of these devices are SATA III capable. From the information I am able to gather, I should entirely avoid using the Marvel SATA controller and plug my devices in motherboard jacks that use the Intel SATA controller: I will plug my blu-ray burner and my SSD into the two available SATA III jacks, and my two (mechanical) hard drives into two of the three available SATA II jacks.

My question: Since I will be loading Windows 8 on the SSD, will I be able to set up my RAID 1 (file storage) array after I load Windows 8 or do I need to set it up before I load Windows 8 (or as a part of loading it)?

SN

Edited by Sine Nomine - 12/10/12 at 10:31am
post #2 of 13
I'd set it up afterwards.

Make sure the BIOS is in RAID mode, but don't even bother connecting the hard drives until Windows is installed on your SSD. Shutdown afterwards and connect everything.. fix the boot order in the BIOS if necessary, and then set up the RAID-1 array. Finally you go back into Windows and format it from Disk Management.

Hey, do you ever plan to get a second SSD? Might be worth it to toss the optical drive on a SATA2 port and save that SATA3 port for a drive that can fully utilize it. thumb.gif

And yes, avoid the Marvell ports.
     
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post #3 of 13
Thread Starter 
Thanks for your prompt answer. Looks, however, like I may have another problem running the RAID array. Evidently most RAID controllers don't support TRIM for the SSD, so even though I am using RAID for my mechanical hard drives I won't be able to use TRIM for my SSD if I enable RAID in the BIOS???
post #4 of 13
For most Intel chipsets RAID mode functions like AHCI mode for lone drives. As long as you don't put the SSD in a RAID array, TRIM should function.
     
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post #5 of 13
Thread Starter 
Interesting, and confirmed in a Wikipedia article on TRIM:

"For a short time in March 2010, users were led to believe that the Intel Rapid Storage Technology (RST) 9.6 drivers supported TRIM in RAID volumes, but Intel later clarified that TRIM was supported for the BIOS settings of AHCI mode and RAID mode, but not if the drive was part of a RAID volume."

I had come across a post in another forum (which I have not been able to relocate) where a person had added a RAID 1 HD array for file storage after having an SSD already set up for programs. He complained that his SSD performance gradually degenerated after he did so and someone explained (in great detail) that enabling RAID turned TRIM off and that was why his SSD performance had degenerated.

The matter has got me thinking about my original RAID plan. My HDs are Velocity Raptors (I know--a "waste" in RAID I--but I got them on sale from New Egg for $80.00 a piece!) and I am wondering if my needs might be better served by not putting them in RAID: using the SSD for Windows and other frequently accessed programs; using one HD for other, less frequently accessed, programs; and the other HD for document storage. (I already have a backup NAS that has two 1 TB HDs in RAID I.) What do you think?
post #6 of 13
I'd go for that. That's basically what I do right now, except with larger drives rather than velociraptors. I split my workload as much as possible so that each drive's IOPS contribute. smile.gif (RAID-0/5 scale sequential performance, but it doesn't scale your IOPS upward very much; with two separate drives, you instantly double it. wink.gif )

I've got a new 3TB Seagate for my Steam drive. (formerly a 2TB Hitachi - worked well for years, but now it'll be storing my media library, which is overflowing) I've also got a few WD Greens for downloads, documents, projects, etc., a WD Black (also for projects and things) and a bunch of other drives. None are in RAID. I try to split programs that I use simultaneously between them... I may do video encoding from the Hitachi, while gaming off the Seagate, and processing something for a project off my WD Black. smile.gif

If you have a music library, you can toss that on your Documents Velociraptor, then have games on another one, and all your apps and OS on your SSD. None will interfere with each other. thumb.gif Back it all up to your NAS.
     
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post #7 of 13
Thread Starter 
O.K., but if I enable RAID in the BIOS anyway before installing Windows on the SSD, I can always create a RAID array at a later date if I so decide (i.e., no harm done in doing so)?
post #8 of 13
Quote:
Originally Posted by Sine Nomine View Post

O.K., but if I enable RAID in the BIOS anyway before installing Windows on the SSD, I can always create a RAID array at a later date if I so decide (i.e., no harm done in doing so)?
For the HDDs? Yep. Just be aware that when you initialize a RAID array, it wipes the drives that are being used for it.
     
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post #9 of 13
Quote:
Originally Posted by Kramy View Post

Quote:
Originally Posted by Sine Nomine View Post

O.K., but if I enable RAID in the BIOS anyway before installing Windows on the SSD, I can always create a RAID array at a later date if I so decide (i.e., no harm done in doing so)?
For the HDDs? Yep. Just be aware that when you initialize a RAID array, it wipes the drives that are being used for it.

Unless you use RST center to migrate to a RAID stripe. Then you can keep the data on one of the drives. biggrin.gif
post #10 of 13
Thread Starter 
So . . . I set my BIOS SATA controller to "RAID," loaded Windows 8 to my SSD, updated my MB BIOS, and loaded some other programs to my SSD. I then connected my two mechanical HDs and went to create a RAID array with them, HOWEVER, I belatedly discovered that when I updated my motherboard BIOS all the BIOS settings got resent including my SATA controller (back to AHCI)! I tried changing the BIOS SATA controller setting back to RAID, but when I did Windows would not boot. Sigh (thanks a bunch ASUS and also New Egg for sending me an expensive motherboard that had been sitting on their shelf for nearly two years and, thus, had an old BIOS)!

So I discovered the software-based Storage Pool feature in Windows 8 and created a mirrored array there with my HDs.

And people ask me why my hair is gray!



By the way, Sean, your info on moving libraries does not seem to apply to Windows 8. Is there a way I can move my entire Windows 8 C library to my new D (HD array storage space) drive?
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