RAID 1 Setup using 2 500GB Black Caviars?


#1

Happy New Year!

My wife’s main hard drive in her computer failed.  Someone mentioned to
me that doing a RAID 1 set up on her computer would be ideal because
whatever she writes to the C: drive would get mirrored to the D: drive.

If the C: drive fails, all I have to do is replace it with the same size or bigger
hard drive and it will rebuild itself.  I was thinking of buying 2 WD 500GB
Black Caviar’s for this purpose.

This set up sounds too good to pass up however I had some questions about
setting it up. 

Should I set this up using the bios only or getting an adapter card? And if I set it up
through the bios only, would the system run slower than if it was configured using
an adapter?  And if I use an adapter instead of bios only, do you anticipate any
possible conflicts or challenges such as hang ups or BSOD?  I am a novice and
really don’t want any complications. 

I am hoping that setting up a RAID 1 will be very beneficial as far mirroring the data
and being able to rebuild it automatically should the main hard drive fail.  However
I just don’t want it to end up being more of a hassle than it’s worth?  I am just afraid
of future possible computer hangs or blue screens of death or other conflicts that can
or may arise from a set up like this?

My wife’s computer according to the Service Tag info is a Dell XPS400 Pentium D,
4GB RAM Motherboard Intel® 945P chipset, Prescott. Windows XP Media
Center Edition 2005.  The Dell Service Tag details lists a: Card, Controller, 1394A,
PC Interface, Loop, Adaptech.   I don’t know if this a controller card for the drives? 
Computer was purchased in 1/24/2006

Thanks in advance for any help you can provide.  I would really appreciate it.

Mike in Miami


#2

Your computer sounds a little older.  So, you might want to think about what you’re doing.  Couple things to consider:

  • Caviar Black drives are not designed for raid configurations, so there is a great possibilty that you will have them dropping out of the array every so often, if not right away.
  • If your mother board is designed to do raid, then you need to just get two raid drives, and you can set up a mirrored array. 
  • If your mother board doesn’t do raid, then you need to get a raid card and 2 raid drives. 

The only other real alternative is to buy the 2 Caviar drives, set one up for the C drive, and the other up for a secondary backup drive.   Then you will just back up the C drive’s data daily, weekly or monthly depending how critical it is to back up.  If you’re using xp or later, the os comes with a backup utility that you should be able to schedule.


#3

I just assembled a new PC (GigaByte GA-P55-UD3 MB, Intel i7, 2 x WD Caviar Black 1TB, Win 7)… I set the drives in RAID 1 via the MB BIOS.  All seemed to be working, but now I’ve had one of the drives drop out of RAID twice in about 4 hours of use.  I don’t really NEED the RAID configuration; I just thought it would be an easy way to have some redundancy.  Am I trying to do something which just isn’t going to work, or are there some settings I can use which will help?

Alternatively, I can just set the second drive as a D: drive and (hopefully) remember to run a backup of data files from C: (Windows drive) once in awhile.   I’d like to limit my Windows 7 installation experience to 3 times for this PC, if possible.

Thanks for your advice!

Steven


#4

Those drives are not supported in RAID configurations, as you found out.  What you can do is use one as the system drive, and the other as a backup drive.  Windows 7 comes with a backup utility that you can configure to do weekly backups.  That way you don’t have to remember to do your backups.