A8V Deluxe - To Raid or not to Raid, that is the question

Discussion in 'Asus' started by Donald Gray, Mar 4, 2005.

  1. Donald Gray

    Donald Gray Guest

    Current setup:
    A8V Deluxe with Athlon 63FX-35
    1Gb DDR 400mhz
    2 x 200 Gb SATA Maxtor DiamondMax Plus 9 in Raid 0 (Performance)
    XP Home

    Primary usage of machine:
    Photo imaging etc in Photoshop CS
    Web design - Macromedia suite
    Listening to my MP3 music whilst working
    machine also used in minor area for Words etc...

    It is a stand alone not networked..

    Questions:
    1) Am I wasting resources by using Raid 0 for my needs - would it be
    better to sacrifice file transfer speed for the security of Raid 1
    instead?

    2) Is it possible to run 3 internal 200Gb; 2 as Raid 0 and one drive
    as the mirror in Raid 1, or must I have 4 drives for that setup?

    3) I have done a huge amount of clearing out of old files and would
    normally defrag my drive - this is my first experience with Raid and
    am not sure if a Raid Pair can be defragged in the normal way or not.
    Is it OK to use the MS defrag that comes with XP Home?

    4) Noting the primary use of the machine, should I abandon Raid all
    together and reconfigure the two Raid 0 drives as, say C & D?

    If 4 above is the recommended option, to avoid the daunting task of
    reinstalling large selection of software and data, would it be
    possible to 'Ghost' the image of the existing drive pair to the
    external 120gb drive whilst reconfiguring and then 'Ghost' it back on
    to one of the (now separate) volumes.
    IE: SATA Drives = 200Gb with 46Gb progs, OS & data Ghosted on to a
    120b usb external

    (I have Norton Ghost 9 but not taken it out of box yet - scared stiff
    to install it incase I cock it all up again - I tried to install
    GoBack but discovered that GoBack doesn't with Raid! Hence treading
    carefully this time around!)

    Any help suggestions or advice will be very welcome. Thanks
    --
    Donald Gray
    Putting ODCOMBE on the Global Village Map!
    www.odcombe.demon.co.uk
    You do not have to email me, but if you wish to...
    Please remove the SafetyPin from my email address first
    Thanks
     
    Donald Gray, Mar 4, 2005
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  2. Donald Gray

    Paul Busby Guest

    Thus spake Donald Gray:
    IMO RAID 0 or 1 is overhyped for a standalone PC. RAID 0 will give you
    greater STR at the expense of latency but is good for any regular large file
    manipulation where RAID 1 gives you data availability which is great if
    running a database server for twice the cost of storage space. I'm happy to
    use 2 identical SATA discs off a RAID controller in non-RAID mode with my
    page file on the 2nd disc in its own dedicated partition. I use DI2002 for
    imaging & would consider True Image next time. If your imaging exercise
    fails, you could resort to doing a repair install. I'd go with 4. I presume
    Ghost can be run from either floppies or the CD without installing it.

    More on RAID 0:
    http://www.storagereview.com/php/cms/cms.php?loc=news_content&id=970&start=6&range=10
     
    Paul Busby, Mar 4, 2005
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  3. Donald Gray

    Wayne Fulton Guest

    I do, no problem, everything works fine. I have AV8 with two 80GB RAID
    0, and one 120GB for backup. I prefer MS defrag to Norton, it is greatly
    faster, does a good job, and doesnt move a bunch of stuff to the far end
    of the partition.
    I bought Ghost 9, but have not installed it. Instead I use Ghost 2003
    that came with 9, because I can boot on the Ghost CD and it can handle
    the Promise RAID, no problem. I use 2003 so I dont have to depend on the
    Windows installation being there before I can run restore. Ghost 2003
    works fine with the RAID and NTFS, and boots fast from CD. I dont think
    Ghost 2002 works with Raid or NTFS, but 2003 is great. I have not used
    the VIA Raid to know about it?

    You cannot of course restore a non-raid image onto raid drives, because
    that image wont contain the Raid drivers, so no point of trying to boot
    from it, it cant. But otherwise, no issue. I did fear RAID would be an
    issue for Ghost, but was pleasantly surprised to discover the AV8 Promise
    Raid is NOT any issue for Ghost 2003.

    The only "issue" I saw is that I put system disks as RAID on the Promise
    controller, and put the one backup disk on the VIA controller. I backup
    frequently to it, with the idea that everything doesnt fail at once. The
    VIA controller wants to be disk One, but there is a BIOS setting to
    switch the order, to be able to boot from the other disk, which is my
    system disks. This switch works fine normally, but if you might boot the
    XP floppy, like to install on another partition, or install XP64, etc, it
    doesnt see this BIOS swap. It still sees all drives (after F6 to load
    RAID from floppy), but sees a different drive order. Then I worry if
    installing onto G: will then work as F:? Dunno, so I just unplug power
    on the backup drive and reboot, and then no issue. However that means I
    have to reconnect and then go back into the BIOS and reverse order again
    at completion. This maybe only happens a couple of times in my life, but
    a minor nuisance anyway, extra steps.
     
    Wayne Fulton, Mar 4, 2005
    #3
  4. Donald Gray

    Donald Gray Guest

    []
    Thanks for the comments Paul and for the link.

    'Tis a steep learning curve...
    --
    Donald Gray
    Putting ODCOMBE on the Global Village Map!
    www.odcombe.demon.co.uk
    You do not have to email me, but if you wish to...
    Please remove the SafetyPin from my email address first
    Thanks
     
    Donald Gray, Mar 5, 2005
    #4
  5. Donald Gray

    Donald Gray Guest

    []
    Thank you for the effort put into the reply Wayne - given me much food
    for thought. You have given me son encouragement to dig deeper into
    this. Even though I have a 64 bit processor, I don't want to try beta
    stuff just yet - not until I feel comfortable with messing with raid.

    With my primary usage being photo manipulation with Photoshop CS,
    would I notice much difference in timing if I either change to raid 1
    or even change to non raid config and have 2 separate 200Gb drives "C
    & D"?

    Many regards...
    --
    Donald Gray
    Putting ODCOMBE on the Global Village Map!
    www.odcombe.demon.co.uk
    You do not have to email me, but if you wish to...
    Please remove the SafetyPin from my email address first
    Thanks
     
    Donald Gray, Mar 5, 2005
    #5
  6. Donald Gray

    Wayne Fulton Guest

    Yeah, I installed the XP64 beta, just to see it. Wasnt there long, but I
    dont notice much difference, except my old Dos stuff wont run now. :) I had
    no problem installing it, there are beta 64 bit Promise RAID drivers
    available (used at F6 key from floppy). But it still needs several other
    drivers, video, SCSI, scanners, printers, PCI parallel/serial cards, etc.
    When XP64 is released, I fear it will like early NT again, in regard to
    no third party drivers available.

    I dont know how to answer Paul. Raid 1 is probably very slightly slower
    than one drive, but you get the reliability of two copies. One disk can die
    and you can recover. If either disk dies in Raid 0, we're out of luck, but
    that's what Ghost backup is for, so restore shouldnt be any special problem.

    Raid 0 seems fast, but not awesome, I'm not really sure of any speed
    difference. I have not run any bench marks. With a AMD 3500+ CPU, I just
    now timed Photoshop opening a 48 bit TIF file - 90 MB in 3 seconds (until
    the profile boxes came up). That's not impressive, only about half of the WD
    Caviar WD800JB theoretical, I dont know where the rest went. Photoshop
    probably got some of it.

    My Raid was easy to install, but I really miss being able to boot on a
    floppy and use a small text editor to fix things. With either of RAID and
    NTFS, there are essentially no possiblities. I said I had no trouble
    installing XP64. Not quite true, but it was my fault. When I downloaded
    it, they sent an email with the long complex Product Code. Like a dummy, I
    forgot to print it. I got into the install and needed it to continue, but
    couldnt. I needed to boot to show the email text file, but at that point, I
    couldnt boot regularly with Dual Boot, as Boot.ini was modified to allow
    only the XP install to restart. Ghost can boot, and it can access RAID and
    NTFS, but only from Ghost to do what Ghost does, but not from the command
    line, so there are no edit/view capabilities. I tried the XP CD R restore
    mode, but only its limited command list can run, like DIR and TYPE. No
    editor. No other programs can run. And it will only access the disk root -
    it wouldnt allow me to access \Program Files where the email In Box was to
    even use TYPE. Intentionally made too stupid to use.

    So no go all around. I went to another computer to download it again, and
    they send a new email Product Code before the download started, so I could
    abort it, and that worked OK. Good thing. :)

    Maybe what I need is some way to boot a minimal real XP from a CD. I guess
    that might be possible, and I should investigate. Otherwise I think there
    is much to be said for non-Raid and FAT32, so a Dos floppy can do something.
    Not needed often, but really needed now and then. Wish now I had done it. I
    keep my fingers crossed.
     
    Wayne Fulton, Mar 5, 2005
    #6
  7. Donald Gray

    Donald Gray Guest

    []
    []

    Really appreciate the time you have taken with the response again
    Wayne. More food for thought... I guess, when you boil it all down, my
    main concern is data loss. In raid 0, two drives halves the MTBF and
    one failure all data is lost. Hence my backup worries

    Raid 1 cures that but at the cost of both drives being constantly
    under stress. No raid and 'Ghosting' the image seems to answer that
    and with Norton Ghost 9, it would appear incremental backup is
    possible - (I Need to read the Manual more closely for that!)

    Thanks again for your efforts Wayne.
    --
    Donald Gray
    Putting ODCOMBE on the Global Village Map!
    www.odcombe.demon.co.uk
    You do not have to email me, but if you wish to...
    Please remove the SafetyPin from my email address first
    Thanks
     
    Donald Gray, Mar 5, 2005
    #7
  8. Donald Gray

    Wayne Fulton Guest

    I did consider that briefly, but if only one disk, and it fails, that's
    exactly the same problem too. We've always lived with that, and it is
    the purpose of the Ghost backup, to solve that case. I guess I'm saying
    does it really matter if the failure occurs in 2 years, or 3 years, or 4
    years? We cant know when in any case, and we might have a new
    computer by then anyway. :) Regardless, we better have the backup.
    And if we have it, then failure is not such a big deal, a nuisance, but
    not a big problem, easily solved, when and if necessary. In every case,
    we still must buy a new disk.

    But yes, RAID 1 really excels then - stick in one new disk and restore it
    from the remaining good disk (I've never done that, but the CTRL F access
    to Promise RAID BIOS appears to have the tools for it).

    But what is really the difference in that, and restoring it from a Ghost
    image? The answer is a perhaps few days of data since last backup. I
    have a little batch file with several xcopy lines that I run every day,
    sometimes twice a day, to copy current data directories to the backup
    disk, anything halfway important in a daily way. It uses the /D switch
    to only copy if newer, so it is real fast. The batch includes some
    delete *.* lines for temp directories too. Then I run Ghost typically on
    weekends. So I think I have those couple of days well covered too.
    My little batch file above is pretty much an incremental backup . :)

    Incremental was important when we used slow tape drives, back when backup
    took hours, or overnight. Even incremental was a headache then. But
    Ghost saves the entire partition in a few minutes, so the time really
    doesnt seem much factor. Seems better to have the ability to boot on an
    empty new disk, to restore it.

    I only backup two partitions. One is XP and all program stuff, all the
    daily records, etc. I use the Maximum compression setting, and it takes
    15 or 20 minutes (but I do keep a tidy disk, I disable System Restore and
    other such clutter). The other partition is archived stuff, mostly zip
    or compressed images or compressed music or compressed PDF, mostly all
    that kind of stuff. Swap file is there too, it seems to help
    fragmentation. Since this partitions data is already compressed, I use
    the lesser "High" compression setting, and it flies, maybe 3 or 4 minutes
    (even though its twice as big).

    However, it is true that the way I infrequently access the disk hard,
    that RAID 0 doesnt really seem so helpful. Its fast, but so is one disk.
    With regard to emergency access, just the fact that it is any kind of
    RAID is still a nuisance for anything other than Ghost (however NTFS is
    very nearly the same problem too).
     
    Wayne Fulton, Mar 5, 2005
    #8
  9. Donald Gray

    Ben Pope Guest

    You'd be better off just using the two disks seperately. If you have any
    massive multi layer images, you would probably appreciate having the
    photoshop scratchdisk on another drive, as well as your windows swapfile.

    I doubt you need RAID1 if you do backups of whats important (and we all do
    that, right?)...
    No, you'd need 4 drives, but thats where RAID5 comes in...

    With RAID 5, you essentially have 1 drive performaing the redundancy and the
    others for space.
    Good point. I dunno. I highly suspect that it would be fine to use that
    defrag - the RAID controller should sort out any of the issues. Basically
    the beginning of the RAID partition is the beginning of both drives,
    interleaved.
    That would be my guess. With RAID 0 you lose some flexibilty and increase
    the risk of data loss (all data is lost if one drive fails), without
    significantly increasing... well, anything.

    http://www.anandtech.com/storage/showdoc.aspx?i=2101

    (link of the day)

    RAID 0 only really seems to gain you IOs per second, but you are not really
    going to exhibit that pattern of usage.
    Should be fine. But hopefully this is covered in the other replies as I;ve
    never tried it.

    Ben
     
    Ben Pope, Mar 5, 2005
    #9
  10. Donald Gray

    Ben Pope Guest

    Ben Pope, Mar 5, 2005
    #10
  11. Donald Gray

    Donald Gray Guest

    I do use layers quite extensively. Usually only about 5 - 10, but have
    done a couple where the layer count went up to 3 figs, especially
    creating maps and adding street names!


    Thought of that but discounted because of cost...
    That is what I suspected. The machine is a v hot machine and came
    with raid 0 as standard Soon discovered that I couldn't run GoBack on
    a raid 0 (or any raid for that matter)
    Ben, Thanks for the valuable input to my query. I have printed out
    yours and Wayne's replies and put them in the project file. I will not
    be doing any changes until I have collated the various thoughts and
    ideas AND that I fully comprehend what I need to do and in what
    sequence!

    Regards & thanks

    --
    Donald Gray
    Putting ODCOMBE on the Global Village Map!
    www.odcombe.demon.co.uk
    You do not have to email me, but if you wish to...
    Please remove the SafetyPin from my email address first
    Thanks
     
    Donald Gray, Mar 6, 2005
    #11
  12. Donald Gray

    Donald Gray Guest

    [solid gold snipped]

    Wayne, I have printed out your replies and have put your thoughts and
    guidance in the project file. I will pause for further thought and
    learn a bit more about Ghost and Raid before I cock it up big time!

    I am inclined to bite the bullet, do one last copy/past jobby on the
    'My Documents' then wipe both drives, unhook them from raid and set
    'em up as C & D and reinstall OS et al !!!!

    Thanks for you help


    --
    Donald Gray
    Putting ODCOMBE on the Global Village Map!
    www.odcombe.demon.co.uk
    You do not have to email me, but if you wish to...
    Please remove the SafetyPin from my email address first
    Thanks
     
    Donald Gray, Mar 6, 2005
    #12
  13. Donald Gray

    Donald Gray Guest

    []
    Wayne
    After giving serious thought and consideration to yours and Bens
    comments and advice, I have decided to ditch RAID 0 and opt for
    conventional drives C & D.

    All I want to do is to set up the two drives as C & D with XP Home
    sitting nicely on C

    I have followed the various links given in an attempt to learn a bit
    more about RAID etc - I think I understand the WHAT raid variants do
    BUT I am at a loss as to understanding the actual METHOD and HOW it
    works. ("Drivers in the raid disk image" etc)

    I have been doing a lot of reading and apart from a beaut headache, I
    seem to be more confused than ever.

    I am not sure of the meanings of all the terminology or methodology. I
    am thrown by some of the ambiguous wordings - most articles I have
    read assume that the reader is fully conversant with it!

    However, I don't think it really matters that I don't fully understand
    the actual method of setting up RAID if I am going to abandon it. That
    said I want to proceed with caution incase the raid 'images' on the
    disks need removing/deleting or otherwise sorting out before I can use
    the drives in the configuration I want.

    My two HDDs are Maxtor DiamondPlus9 200Gb SATA/150 drives currently in
    Raid 0 and with interleaved data thereon. I am backed up so I don't
    care about loosing data on those disks. I have made the driver floppy
    as per page 5-33 in Asus A8V manual. I am not sure if I will need it
    but it is on hand incase.

    Can I still use Promise 20837 sata_raid 1 & 2 connectors or should I
    use sata 1 & 2 with the Via asic?

    Do I need to 'delete' the raid 0 array? - Will this allow the computer
    then to see the drives as two separate entities where I can use the
    XP Home (sp2) disk to "format C/ S" and "Format D/"?
    OR can I just be brutish and force a Format C /S on it?

    I guess I am at a loss as to the method of getting the computer to
    'see' them as 2 conventional sata drives.

    What bios settings will I need to change?

    Any pointers will be valuably gobbled up. Appreciate your help.
    --
    Donald Gray
    Putting ODCOMBE on the Global Village Map!
    www.odcombe.demon.co.uk
    You do not have to email me, but if you wish to...
    Please remove the SafetyPin from my email address first
    Thanks
     
    Donald Gray, Mar 7, 2005
    #13
  14. Donald Gray

    KC Computers Guest

    After giving serious thought and consideration to yours and Bens
    You don't need to delete the RAID array if you move the
    drives to a different controller. I recommend moving them
    to the VIA SATA controller, boot off the Windows XP
    CD and press the F6 key when requested and then press the S
    key to install the VIA SATA drivers that you copied to a floppy
    disk. Windows will then let you choose which drives you
    would like to partition and format before installing.
    No BIOS changes are needed.

    Good luck.
     
    KC Computers, Mar 7, 2005
    #14
  15. Donald Gray

    Donald Gray Guest

    Hi Kevin - Thanks for the info. I omitted to mention that I was able
    ONLY to make a floppy of the Promise 378 disk as per 5-33 . I was
    unable to make a floppy for the Via Sata. (there was no CD Support
    disc all the 'drivers' were in a subdirectory on the hard drive from
    the machine's manufacturers - it is not a hand made machine but a
    ready made from Mesh Computers in the UK) There was no file
    Makedisk.exe for Viaraid.

    Unless I can get hold of a mobo support CD, I feel that I may have to
    stay on the 378 sata_raid 1 & 2 connectors.

    Can I achieve what I want by doing so?
    Thanks
    --
    Donald Gray
    Putting ODCOMBE on the Global Village Map!
    www.odcombe.demon.co.uk
    You do not have to email me, but if you wish to...
    Please remove the SafetyPin from my email address first
    Thanks
     
    Donald Gray, Mar 8, 2005
    #15
  16. Donald Gray

    Wayne Fulton Guest


    All the VIA drivers are online at http://www.viaarena.com
    so it shouldnt be any problem. There are also user forums there.
    ( This is a link from http://www.via.com.tw/en/ )
     
    Wayne Fulton, Mar 8, 2005
    #16
  17. Donald Gray

    Donald Gray Guest


    A truck load of thanks for that Wayne

    --
    Donald Gray
    Putting ODCOMBE on the Global Village Map!
    www.odcombe.demon.co.uk
    You do not have to email me, but if you wish to...
    Please remove the SafetyPin from my email address first
    Thanks
     
    Donald Gray, Mar 8, 2005
    #17
  18. Donald Gray

    Donald Gray Guest

    I have spent over an hour trawling this site - what a wealth of info.
    Thanks for pointing me there

    Not had time to visit yet!!!! Too busy downloading stuff from other
    site and printing out instructions, background info and history -
    fascinating....

    --
    Donald Gray
    Putting ODCOMBE on the Global Village Map!
    www.odcombe.demon.co.uk
    You do not have to email me, but if you wish to...
    Please remove the SafetyPin from my email address first
    Thanks
     
    Donald Gray, Mar 8, 2005
    #18
  19. Donald Gray

    Donald Gray Guest


    I had forgotten how potent (and fast) batch files can be. It is
    years since I wrote any batch files and had virtually forgotten them
    as not relevant to modern OS like XP etc. How wrong could I be!

    At your timely reminder, I have written a simple batch file to back up
    all 20Gb of "My Documents" to may hard drive.

    I have several corrupt file where the batch file locks up for 3 - 4
    minutes before giving an I/O error and halts. However it un backed up
    data copies at a rate of 1.4Gb in 80 seconds on my setup - more than
    acceptable...

    I have used /S /e /d switches
    I know Echo on will probably slow it down some but it is comforting to
    see the files stream by!

    Q: Have you managed to get the batch file to accept a space in the
    root file name? If so how?

    The batch file below assumes that dos is already in "My Documents"
    directory - hence the last line to put it back there after traveling
    through all the other subdirectories...

    ================
    Echo on
    xcopy *.* g:\MyDocuments\ /d /s /e
    cd c:\documents and settings\Donald Gray\My Documents\
    ===============

    In the middle line, I have had to remove the space between 'My' and
    'Documents' or else I get the dos 'too many parameters' error.

    Q: do you know how to alter the dos watchdog time-out timer that kick
    in the I/O error? (I have to wait 3 - 4 minutes whilst dos is thinking
    on what to do with a corrupt file it is trying to copy.)
    You are dead right about it being an incremental back up system.
    Perhaps we should patent or copyright the code and sell it at a vast
    over inflated cost and make a fortune... In our dreams....


    --
    Donald Gray
    Putting ODCOMBE on the Global Village Map!
    www.odcombe.demon.co.uk
    You do not have to email me, but if you wish to...
    Please remove the SafetyPin from my email address first
    Thanks
     
    Donald Gray, Mar 8, 2005
    #19
  20. Donald Gray

    Wayne Fulton Guest

    I use the /s /d /y switches. I think if you use /e, then /s is redundant,
    but wont hurt of course. Echo echoes the command line. The file names
    that are copied will be echoed anyway, without echo.

    I backup to multiple places, the backup disk, or to the 2nd computer with
    UNC name, etc. So I name my batches with names like copytog.bat to keep
    them straight.

    Yes, no problem, just put quotes around that path. Like:
    xcopy *.* "g:\My Documents\" /d /s /e

    The quotes tell "dos" that this is one parameter, instead of letting the
    blank begin an additional parameter as is normal.
    I'm sorry, I dont know about the I/O error.. I dont think I have ever seen
    that. That seems something that should be addressed. Maybe run
    Chkdsk/scandisk, or rewrite those files?
     
    Wayne Fulton, Mar 8, 2005
    #20
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