What RAID controller to use?

As you might have read, I have some questions with the second array on my current RAID controller (onboard thingie). As I still have some Chaintech RAID controllers (HPT370) lying around, I’m thinking of using one of these cards to circumvent this problem.

My question:

  1. How much difference in performance can I expect when I switch my RAID 0 array consisting out of 2 Maxtor Diamond 9 plus (8mb cache 7200rpm) from my Promise TX2 plus to a HPT370 controller?

  2. Can Windows handle these two controllers at once?

Thanx for answering!

I forget which MB you are using, but it’s unlikely that you will be able to run a second RAID controller if you’re booting to one. There is a way around that though.

The biggest difference between Promise and all the others is write cache. Promise is the only one that implements write cache, which can be a noticable bump in desktop performance (small file speeds).

I’m using a MSI K7NG2-ILSR mainboard with a modded RAID controller (FastTrak 376 -> TX2 plus). I do boot from it, as my RAID 0 of Raptor drives is attached to it.

How can I overcome the problem you mention with two controllers?

The two other disks will only be used for file storage…

With most boards, when you are set to boot to RAID or SCSI, having 2 controller will freeze after POST as the board tries to boot them both. Sometimes you can get around it by putting the card in a lower PCI slot that gets scanned after the onboard, but usually it just will not boot.

The work-around is to have a HD on your MB IDE, set to boot, and make a small partition for boot files, then install your OS to the RAID. Only the boot.ini and associated files get placed on the IDE partition.
So your MB is set to boot to IDE instead of RAID/SCSI, and you can run as many controllers as you like.

Don’t forget that they will all be running on your PCI bus.

If it’s just for storage, why use RAID? OR is it RAID-1 you want?

Originally posted by rdgrimes
With most boards, when you are set to boot to RAID or SCSI, having 2 controller will freeze after POST as the board tries to boot them both. Sometimes you can get around it by putting the card in a lower PCI slot that gets scanned after the onboard, but usually it just will not boot.

Trial and error is such a beautiful thing :wink:

Originally posted by rdgrimes
The work-around is to have a HD on your MB IDE, set to boot, and make a small partition for boot files, then install your OS to the RAID. Only the boot.ini and associated files get placed on the IDE partition.
So your MB is set to boot to IDE instead of RAID/SCSI, and you can run as many controllers as you like.

Hmm I see. Problem is that I have 4 ODD´s, so I can´t add another drive to my onboard IDE controller.

Originally posted by rdgrimes
Don’t forget that they will all be running on your PCI bus.

I know, but that´s the case with an on board controller (current situation) as well. I know it’s a bottleneck, as an array to array transfer could outdo 180mb/sec on my setup. It’s the friggin’ PCI bus that…grrr

Originally posted by rdgrimes
If it’s just for storage, why use RAID? OR is it RAID-1 you want?

As I often transfer very very large files on my data partitions (dvds, DV video etc) and between arrays, RAID-0 is almost a must have… :wink:

Well if you’re booting to RAID, then you might wind up doing what I did, which is get a Promise TX4 RAID card and run 4 drives on it.
You can still ad a non-RAID card, or even use the onboard SATA controller in base mode.

Originally posted by rdgrimes
Well if you’re booting to RAID, then you might wind up doing what I did, which is get a Promise TX4 RAID card and run 4 drives on it.
You can still ad a non-RAID card, or even use the onboard SATA controller in base mode.

Yes I could, but somehow I am afraid that I’ll have the same problems with the TX4 as with the TX2 plus. Because there’s something wrong with either the BIOS or the Linux drivers of that card I just can’t use it. Promise doesn’t seem to care a deal, as they even don’t reply to an email…

I may look in to other cards, but I think I’ll give the HPT cards a try and hope that Promise will fix this stupid software issue…

My question:

  1. How much difference in performance can I expect when I switch my RAID 0 array consisting out of 2 Maxtor Diamond 9 plus (8mb cache 7200rpm) from my Promise TX2 plus to a HPT370 controller?

  2. Can Windows handle these two controllers at once?

Thanx for answering!

  1. About none since both are software raid controllers.
  2. Yes, although at least Promise have a few controllers that can’t co-exist with each other (driver issue).

You can probably have as many raid arrays as you want as long as you don’t have a dussin controllers trying to boot after POST. Using several IDE-controller cards without a bios should work perfectly fine and you can create an software raid array using Windows/Linux/*BSD etc.
Installing RAID on Desktop PCs (Windows)

Keep in mind that you might end up running out of IRQ addresses if your motherboard doesn’t support APIC unless you like sharing interrupts (usually a bad idea).

//Danne

Linux drivers

I didn’t realize you were one of those. :rolleyes:

Maybe this is stupid question but why not consider a switch? *BSD runs about any “Linux”-application and has builtin support for your TX2 (Plus?) supporting raid. Binary drivers generally sucks regardless of unix os/unix clone imo.
//Danne

@DiiZzY:
I know they are both are software RAID controllers and that kind of sucks. The performance may be equal to hardware RAID controllers, but the compatiblity sure is not. Can you advice me a good hardware RAID controller? I know that 3Ware makes good and well supported controllers, but they are pretty expensive.

Switching over to BSD? Well I may try to do that one day, but I don’t know if it works out for me. Maybe I’ll download ut tonight and have a look at it… it might just work out. I dunno… :wink:

@rdgrimes:
Yes I am a Linux user. I’ve been using this OS for about 8 years now and I really love it. I know that many ppl think it’s crap and I kind of disagree… I’m working on a “Why I want Linux” article right now, so watch the General software forum every once in a while :wink:

Originally posted by Dee-ehn
[B]@DiiZzY:
I know they are both are software RAID controllers and that kind of sucks. The performance may be equal to hardware RAID controllers, but the compatiblity sure is not. Can you advice me a good hardware RAID controller? I know that 3Ware makes good and well supported controllers, but they are pretty expensive.

Switching over to BSD? Well I may try to do that one day, but I don’t know if it works out for me. Maybe I’ll download ut tonight and have a look at it… it might just work out. I dunno… :wink:

@rdgrimes:
Yes I am a Linux user. I’ve been using this OS for about 8 years now and I really love it. I know that many ppl think it’s crap and I kind of disagree… I’m working on a “Why I want Linux” article right now, so watch the General software forum every once in a while :wink: [/B]

The problem with Linux is not that it’s crap (of course it’s not) but that it’s still too difficult to use for most first-time PC users. Whether Windows or Linux is better discussion is a wrong question I think as they were invented for very different goals. In the future, I don’t know. Windows seems to be evolving into more and more complicated and professional forms while Linux seems to become commercial software and more and more popular among desktop users every year.

Sounds great, I’ve only checked FreeBSD and both 4.X and 5.X will support your controller. If you give a fair chance you’ll end up falling in love with ports too :smiley:

If you’re only going to use raid 0 you might aswell get “cheap” raid cards or simple controller cards and run software raid on a os level. You wont gain anything by going with 3Ware stuff, that’s my personal opinion.
//Danne