How To Should I trust chipset-controlled RAID 1 array on Gigabyte mobo?

Bobsy

Member
Jan 5, 2010
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I would like to stop having to make backups all the time and just add a second hard drive to my PC. I already run a RAID 1 array in a Synology NAS, but I've never done it in my PC. Will it just work and is it reliable?

Motherboard is Gigabyte B550 AORUS Pro AC. Details of this PC are not in my signature... HHD #1 is a 2 TB WD Black that is now eight years old. I'll probably get a 6 TB WD Black as the second drive. I understand that I will lose the remaining 4 TB, but it will be nice to have down the road if I upgrade the first drive.

Thank you!
 

Billy Tallis

Senior member
Aug 4, 2015
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Let's start off by repeating the most important fact about RAID: RAID is not a backup. If you're already storing regularly-scheduled backups on your NAS and are just looking to increase the fault-tolerance of your desktop so that you don't have to spend as much time restoring from backup when the drive in your desktop dies, then RAID 1 might make sense here. But if you don't already have automated backups set up, then fixing that would be a much better use of your time and extra drives.

The B550 chipset does not include a RAID controller. Basically no PC chipsets are actually RAID controllers. All the RAID functionality you see advertised for consumer motherboards is software RAID. The only reason that motherboards have anything to do with it is that the motherboard's UEFI includes a compatible implementation of the software RAID (probably read-only), so that the motherboard firmware can find and boot Windows when it's installed to a software RAID volume.

So what you really need to ask is if you trust the Windows software RAID drivers provided by AMD for use with the B550 chipset, and whether the RAID volumes created by that will be usable on other machines in the event your motherboard dies. The current version of AMD's RAIDXpert2 software should be compatible across most of their recent consumer hardware platforms, and they're probably not going to make another compatibility-breaking change like they did not too long ago with StoreMI when they stopped licensing and re-branding Enmotus FuzeDrive.

Rather than buy another hard drive and locking yourself into a RAID configuration that might make most of its capacity inaccessible, you should probably spend the money on a decent 1TB SSD that will be more reliable than any hard drive, and continue using your current 2TB drive to store any infrequently-used data that won't fit on the SSD. That should get you better performance than your current configuration or your proposed RAID configuration, and better reliability than at least your current configuration. By not messing around with RAID at all, you might even get better reliability from one good SSD than two hard drives in RAID 1.
 

Insert_Nickname

Diamond Member
May 6, 2012
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So what you really need to ask is if you trust the Windows software RAID drivers provided by AMD for use with the B550 chipset, and whether the RAID volumes created by that will be usable on other machines in the event your motherboard dies. The current version of AMD's RAIDXpert2 software should be compatible across most of their recent consumer hardware platforms, and they're probably not going to make another compatibility-breaking change like they did not too long ago with StoreMI when they stopped licensing and re-branding Enmotus FuzeDrive.
If you're going Windows, there is the option to use Storage Spaces instead of mainboard SW RAID. That'll take care of any compatibility issues since the volume will work on any Windows box you plug the drives into.
 

alex.t

Junior Member
Dec 8, 2021
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If you want to keep your data protected, don't stop doing backups because RAID isn't backup. And in most cases, it isn't even needed. Of course, it can be a good addition to your backup plan but not as one of the components of the 3-2-1 approach because RAID doesn't offer several critical functions that backups should provide:

1. Identical copies

When your drives are working in RAID 1, they are mirrored. It means that all of the disks are identical. So if a file gets corrupted or infected, you can't retrieve it. On the contrary, backup copies are not created equally. That's why a 3-2-1 backup strategy will help you restore your files easily.

2. Malware
If you are using RAID and a cyberattack hits, the malware will spread through all disk rays. However, a reliable backup solution (NAKIVO Backup & Replication, Commvault, etc.) won't let that happen.

3. Human error
If someone accidentally or maybe even on purpose deletes your data, it will be deleted from all the disks irreversibly without a proper backup.

4. Natural disaster
Any disaster that can affect your server will destroy your data completely. That's why you need an offsite backup destination for smooth and fast data recovery.

Can RAID be helpful? Yes, for two reasons:
- To protect against disk failure.
- To increase performance.

The best is to pair RAID with backup. In this case, RAID will prevent physical disk failures, while backups will address all of the other threats.
 

igor_kavinski

Diamond Member
Jul 27, 2020
3,096
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Just use some software to sync the data automatically between the two drives. I wouldn't pair up two wildly dissimilar capacity drives in RAID 1. If you need the extra space tomorrow, you will have to format the 6TB drive. You can't just extend its partition.
 

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