adding drive for RAID 1 using AMD RAIDXpert (SB750)

Discussion in 'Memory and Storage' started by jarsoffart, Jun 15, 2009.

  1. jarsoffart

    jarsoffart Golden Member

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    I want to add a second drive to my system and combine it with the original drive in a RAID 1. The original drive is the boot drive. With any normal RAID chip, I expect this would go something like entering the RAID bios and selecting the option to create a new Logical Drive. The RAID bios would ask me which is the source and which is the new drive. Then it would do the copying and I'd have a RAID 1 logical drive that is an exact copy of the original drive. However, I'm running a Biostar TA790GX A2+ with the SB750 southbridge. The RAID bios does not ask me which is the source/target drive and only warns me that the data will be deleted off the drives (which I don't think is actually true if you set initialization to "N"). In fact, the RAID bios is quite basic and most operations need to be completed through the Windows browser-based (who makes a browser-based RAID utility?!) RAIDXpert utility. Anyway, does anyone know how to add a drive and have it combined with the original drive using the RAID functions of the AMD SB750?

    digression: is it just me, or is the AMD RAID setup terribly designed?

    Thanks for any help.
     
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  3. MerlinRML

    MerlinRML Senior member

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    What you're asking is for is a very common request - to take a single drive with data on it and convert it to one drive of a RAID set while maintaining the data.

    Unfortunately, no RAID does this. It doesn't matter if it's true hardware based, driver based, or software. The reasons are numerous, but it probably boils down to a few simple key points.
    1) RAID will write some metadata to your disk first. You may not have left room for this with the existing partition and data layout.
    2) RAID usually intitializes disks to prepare them for data by checking the disk for errors and mapping out the drive to figure out data layout, as well as setting up parity information. Not doing this means the RAID cannot make valid assumptions about where the expected data is or verify that your source disk is actually in a current working state. It could mean problems as soon as the RAID starts doing anything.
    3) Doing the above means that the existing data would have to be moved around. If in the process, the RAID corrupts some data because of any number of reasons, the RAID company could be liable. They don't want a lawsuit because you didn't make a backup of your data before setting up your RAID.

    What you want is reasonable. As of now, it's not easily achievable for the RAID vendor. So start your backup process, which is really a good idea anyway...
     
  4. hamand42

    hamand42 Junior Member

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    That may be the case for most RAID types (0, 5, etc.), but every single RAID controller I've used over the past 7+ years, both onboard and expansion cards, allowed the creation of a RAID 1 mirror array from an existing source disk without wiping any data. The process was just as the original poster described.

    ==

    I landed here because I am in the same boat as OP. I just built a system with an ASUS M4A78T-E with the SB750 chip and intended to create a RAID 1 mirror with 2 500GB disks after doing a migration from an older system on 1 disk. I have that up and running and want to create the mirror now.

    I see the same problem in the BIOS regarding no mention of setting a source disk, and the warning about wiping all data. Definitely don't want that!

    I'm going to do some more research, and failing finding out anything definitive, I will setup a test install on a spare disk I have and see if I can create a RAID 1 mirror without wiping out the source data. I'll post here what happens either way -- unless of course the OP already found out the answer and lets me know :)
     
  5. jarsoffart

    jarsoffart Golden Member

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    So, I kind of got there, but not really. From what I remember, you have to set your source disk as a "RAID-ready" disk in the RAIDXpert utility and set your new disk as a "Spare." If your source disk is your boot disk, it's possible to change it to "RAID-ready" without losing your data, it's just a bit risky. I found that my system wouldn't boot after changing it to RAID-ready, but using a Windows XP install disk and repairing the installation would make it bootable again. Then you go back into the RAIDXpert utility and choose migrate and migrate the raid-ready to a RAID 1 (this takes an insane amount of time). I'm not sure if this was successful, and I doubt it was since my system is kind of out of commission currently, but I think it didn't work because my second drive has a ton of bad sectors, i.e. needs to be RMAed.

    On the RMA note, how come Samsung's HD103UJ drives don't show up on the Samsung warranty page under Spinpoint F models? Actually, none of the Spinpoint F models show up. Also, how come Samsung is seemingly the only manufacturer that doesn't let you check warranty by just putting in the serial number?

    By the way, I plan on leaving the RAID 1 model for backup. It doesn't prevent against user stupidity (of which there is a lot). Once I get my system back up, I'm going to use a combination of two drives and cwrsync. If anyone has some recommendations for a single-platter 500 gig drive, let me know. The only one I've read about is the Samsung, and I'm not really ready to give them another chance just yet. A two-platter 640 gig is another option I guess.
     
  6. jarsoffart

    jarsoffart Golden Member

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    Another kind of off-topic question, have you tried the HDMI or DVI output on a 1920x1200 monitor using the Windows XP drivers? I had absolute hell trying to get this to work. The DVI would flat out not work and the HDMI would flash on and off under "intense" (by intense, I mean a iTunes visualization) usage. Eventually, I just went for a discrete card. This ticked me off greatly since I specifically got a 790gx board for its high level of integration. I wanted a ridiculously simple system and instead got of world of headaches.
     
  7. hamand42

    hamand42 Junior Member

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    Thanks for the info on the RAID 1 issue. I'll post back what happens for me. I'm using WD Caviar Green 500GB disks (WD5000AADS). Building the mirror is usually about 2~3 GB per minute, so I am expecting a several hour wait for a 500 GB array -- if I get that far.

    I'm using DVI with a 1280x1024 Samsung LCD without problems so far.

    I've had so many problems with HDMI connections between TVs, cable boxes and DVD players, that I don't look forward to using one with my computer systems.
     
  8. RebateMonger

    RebateMonger Elite Member

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    I've only done this a few times, and only with two different IDE RAID cards (LSI MegaRAID and HighPoint RocketRAID), but both allowed the creation of a RAID 1 array, automatically creating a mirror of an existing disk to a second added disk.
     
  9. hamand42

    hamand42 Junior Member

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    I'm stuck. When I set the BIOS Storage Configuration to RAID, from either IDE or AHCI, Windows XP crashes early in the boot (no BSOD) and restarts the system.

    I set the /sos flag in boot.ini, so I see it reading files from disk for a few seconds, then the version and processor info screen displays for about another second, then it goes black, beep, reboot.

    I tried setting the single disk to "raid ready" in the ALT-F RAID setup, but still same thing.

    The "AMD AHCI Compatible RAID Controller" is listed under RAID controllers in Device Manager, and AHCI mode works fine.

    I've setup RAID 1 on six different systems before, both at install and after, and never run into this kind of grief.

    However, this is the first time I've migrated an existing Win XP install to new hardware using the in-place upgrade method, so maybe that's to blame (I really didn't want to do a fresh OS install and the same for all my applications and settings, with Win7 coming in a couple of months). I'll probably just skip the RAID 1 array for now and just do a clean install when Win7 comes out. In fact, I might try a quick test with the Win7 RC just to verify the RAID 1 works with a fresh install.
     
  10. hamand42

    hamand42 Junior Member

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    Just a follow-up on my last post, so no one gets the idea it's a hardware problem:

    I did a successful clean install of Win 7 RC 1 64-bit after setting a single disk to "Raid Ready" in RAID Bios. I then installed RAIDXpert and it looks like I should be able to migrate it to RAID 1 once I hookup the 2nd disk. So that's what I'll do in October when the release version comes out, and then use the new XP Mode thingy to run my XP stuff instead of dual booting like I was planning.

    So I suspect there's some driver(s) left over from my previous hardware in the XP install that is causing the RAID trouble on that installation. Either that and/or because I should have set the BIOS storage configuration setting to "RAID" from the default "IDE" before I re-commenced the upgrade install on the new hardware. I've never seen a SATA disk controller that let one select between IDE-AHCI-RAID before -- that was my gotcha. I had to do a bunch of registry hacks just to get AHCI working after that snafu...

    I use RAID 1 because it has saved me a lot of time and grief over the years on the rare occasion of a failed disk. I don't mind reinstalling OS's, but I HATE the long tedious process of reinstalling and configuring applications -- we're talking DAYS on end for all the crap I use for software development, etc. I of course do backups of important data as well. But for now, no RAID 1 unless I can find out what's hosing the boot.

    One last comment. The documentation for RAIDXpert is quite poor. As are the features of the software itself regarding how to preserve existing data.

    FYI, the hardware is:

    AMD Phenom II x3 720 BE
    ASUS M4A78T-E
    G.SKILL 2x 2GB DDR3 1333
    Western Digital Caviar Green WD5000AADS 500GB SATA2
     
  11. DoubleRam

    DoubleRam Junior Member

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    Hi Folks - New to this BB so I am saying hi!
    I would like to add my food for thought here and see if this helps anyone.

    However, I have a fix for the AMD RaidXpert issue which does not require you to delete your Raid setup.

    1) As posted, verify which drive is your data drive. It should be pretty easy because it will be the only drive in your raid view. Or follow the instructions above to find the drive you have your data on.
    2) Reboot and go into your raid bios (<CTRL>-F) for my board but your's may differ.
    3) Now I'm going from memory - should have written it down.
    4) Go to Raid view I believe this is Number 1.
    5) you should see your raid drive and your single drive
    6) Define a new raid (don't remember which control sequence it is but, it's at the bottom of your screen)
    7) Your single drive should appear as the only drive available.
    8) In the options make the drive "raid ready"
    9) Select it as assigned
    10) Give it a name
    11) Verify your settings
    13) Don't initialize the drive
    14) Reboot
    15) In Windoze open the Raidxpert page.
    16) Under Spare drives you will now have the "create" option available.
    17) Click Create
    18) Select the drive you marked as "raid-ready" (this should be the only drive)
    19) Click Go
    20) Your Raid 1 or Raid 5/10 should automatically see this drive as available and start rebuilding the drive system.
    21) if not you can hit rebuild under the logical drive view once you select your raid drive.

    The key is with a new system, the Raid Bios sees a new drive as a single drive which is not part of any raid system. This is kind of a safe guard, you don't want the system to take any drive you plug in as the new spare. So - as I said the key is to make your new drive "Raid-Ready" so that the raid system knows this drive is it's spare and can rebuild your Raid system.

    Let me know if you have any questions. This problem took me 2+ days to figure out running around BB- but This board gave me the right hint to go the "Raid-Ready" idea because I needed a spare drive not a single drive.

    DMT