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Thread: To RAID or not to RAID...

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    Senior Member Smudger's Avatar
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    To RAID or not to RAID...

    I've just bought a second 200gb disk to use as backup for my main one. Is it worth setting up a RAID so that the second one is a direct copy of the first, or should I just backup non-program files on a timely basis?

    If I should RAID, do I need any special drivers, or can I just press f6 during bootup?

  2. #2
    Ah, Mrs. Peel! mike_w's Avatar
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    If you want to RAID, I believe that you'll need either to have a RAID card or motherboard support for RAID (or use an OS that has support for software RAID, although that is pretty much what some motherboard RAID implementations are). You'll then have to reformat your drives as a RAID array, and reinstall everything. To make sure that your computer can use the RAID array, you'll have to hit a function key (F6?) during the installation of Windows (assuming you're using Windows).

    Now, I've never actually done RAID, but I'm fairly confident about what I've just said!

    Personally, I just dump my files somewhere every now and again. RAID is too much effort for too little gain.
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    nope raid is a waste of time imo unless its for a business.

    what you want to do is put your new hard drive in (back up) and format it in windows

    then go to google and search "casper xp" this will cope EVERYTHING to the new (back up disk) including the operating system. so if anything goes wrong you have an exact image of what was on the original

    this is what i do.

    raid would be good because it could contiune to replace older files etc, casper xp you just need to do it when you feel like it needs doing


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    Dark side super agent
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    What you're talking about is RAID 1 (mirroring) which does as it says on the tin. The idea is that the main disk is mirrored onto a second one. Read speeds are supposed to increase as you can read from two disks at once. As a backup feature I don't think it'll work as I was discussing this on another forum and any corruption on the main disk will be reflected on the second disk as well. So to answer your question if you want a backup you should back up your files about once a week at least onto the second disk.

    And if you do go for RAID then you'll need drivers to load after you've pressed F6 (AFAIK as I've never done it) which I assume you'd get with your mobo or RAID card.
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  5. #5
    awm
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    That would only protect you in the event of hard drive failure. It would not protect against a virus destroying files or any grey matter failures which could cause you to accidently delete files.

    [quote]should I just backup non-program files on a timely basis?[\quote]
    Exactly! We all should [look around guiltily and ponders when he last did a backup].

  6. #6
    Senior Member Smudger's Avatar
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    The Mobo does have RAID support, I think, but it sounds like I'd be better off just putting the other one in and using it as a dump.

    Thanks for the advice guys!

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    Senior Member charleski's Avatar
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    RAID 1 (mirroring) won't increase your disk speed but does protect you from physical failure of either HD. It doesn't protect you from 'soft' faults such as something screwing up your Windows installation though.

    TBH, if you want to use the drive for backups, you might be better-off installing it as a normal disk and then scheduling a disk imager like Ghost to backup your main drive to it overnight. This means that if anything happens to your main disk you can always boot with the Ghost CD and simply restore the disc back to an image that works. It also means you avoid any potential RAID hassles - I recently installed Ubuntu on my RAID0 (striping, which does increase disk speed, but doesn't offer any backup) array and it was a royal PITA.

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    Senior Member Smudger's Avatar
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    Ok, now the next problem. I installed the new drive on SATA2, and now the computer won't boot unless I unplug the new drive. I've tried getting into setup, but it just goes straight to the bootup sequence. Do I need to install my SATA drivers again? I'm hoping not, cos it was a pain the first time!

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    Dark side super agent
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    Quote Originally Posted by charleski
    RAID 1 (mirroring) won't increase your disk speed
    It will increase read speed AFAIK because the both drives can be used to read the data.
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  10. #10
    Senior Member charleski's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bluecube
    It will increase read speed AFAIK because the both drives can be used to read the data.
    True enough, you should get mirrored reads, I stand corrected.
    Actually, there are many who say that RAID0 does nothing for desktop application speed and can even slow it down. Here's one post showing the results from some tests.

    My current system uses a RAID0 array as I wanted to try it out (never bothered with RAID before). TBH I think I'd have been far better-off just buying a single large disc.

  11. #11
    The King of Vague Steve B's Avatar
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    ive got two maxtors that i was thinking of putting in mirrored. there isn't really much point though, as i wont want to have a backup of all 160 gigs of the stuff, just the stuff that i need to duplicate for redundancy.

  12. #12
    Senior Member Smudger's Avatar
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    Are yours SATA, Steve? Did you have any problems getting the machine to boot up once you had the second one in?

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    The King of Vague Steve B's Avatar
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    ive not actually set it up yet bear in mind that iv already got xp running on a 40gig sata drive. the 160gigs are also sata, but ive not got them set up in raid sorry!

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    Smudger, it would help if you set up a signature so that we can see what your specs are & give more effective help.

    I just added 2xhitachi sata 2 80gb drives to my rig & am running raid 0. Running great much faster than previously (using hitachi sata 2 250gb).

    luck

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    RAID 0 is a bad idea for desktop systems unless it is used as a second drive for transitory data. The reason is because if one drive fails, you lose all the data, so if (as an example) one drive has a mtbf of (say) 100,000 hours, then using two drives decreases the total mtbf to 50,000 hous - in other words the reliabilty of the array is halved.

    RAID 1 removes the single point of failure for data loss from hardware failure in that if one drive fails, it can be replaced and the array rebuilt from the existing drive. However, as someone pointed out, it doesn't recuce the rsik of data loss from finger trouble, or malware.

    Best solution might be to replace the main drive with RAID 1, the use the old drive in a USB enclosure and back up data to that. To make life easier, sub partitioning the main array into OS, application and data partitions makes life easier - just baxck up the data partition. However if you are serious about backing up, you should devise a grandfather/father/son regime of full and incremental backups, in which case you may find a single disk wouldn't be big enough) and again becomes a single point of failure for the bacxkup strategy. It all comes down to how valuable/irreplaceable the data is, and the inconvenience of re-building the system when (as it surely will) the hard disk dies.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Smudger
    Ok, now the next problem. I installed the new drive on SATA2, and now the computer won't boot unless I unplug the new drive. I've tried getting into setup, but it just goes straight to the bootup sequence. Do I need to install my SATA drivers again? I'm hoping not, cos it was a pain the first time!
    Go into BIOS, change the boot device order -> hard disk drives, put your old drive to the top of list.
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