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Everything posted by blaz

  1. I'm considering buying the EX8350 and setting up a RAID5 array with 8 WD4000YR drives. There are however a couple of points where I have doubts after reading the posts: 1. If I have an nForce4 SLI motherboard with 2 PCIe x16 slots but no x4 slots, can I plug the controller on one of those x16 slots? Has anyone tried this? I don't know if the nVidia drivers like having something other than graphics cards on those slots. 2. I'm considering buying just the minimum of 3 drives at first and then adding new drives as needed. The EX8350 supposedly supports growing the arrays, and under Linux it seems one can grow an XFS filesystem with xfs_growfs. My main concern is whether this is too risky and if I should go for the full 8 drives right away, as I really don't want to risk losing data. Is it safe to grow the array like this? Is there any way to recover the data should the operation fail for some reason?
  2. Hi, I've been considering a long-term project to build a 3TB+ RAID array to store my Anime collection. As I have never built a RAID array and as it's going to be so expensive I need every bit of information I can get, especially opinions and comments from people who have built or are maintaining a similarily sized array. Now to the facts: - My target capacity is 3TB, for starters. - I'm considering building a SATA array from day one, perhaps even waiting a bit for BTX motherboards and PCI Express RAID controllers to avoid the bottleneck of the PCI bus. - I'm considering using 250GB drives and RAID-5 (no idea on how many drives per array, though). - I'm going to use the array for backup purposes only, so I don't necessarily need high performance, but I do need some degree of fault tolerance. I want to minimize the probability of losing data without building an overly expensive array. - Backing up the data to CD-R/DVD-R is not an option, that's why I need the array. And now the questions: 1. Is it wise to build a SATA array? I know the prices on PATA disks and controllers are lower, but as this is going to be a long-term project (I will be adding a disk every 2 or 3 months) I think there's going to be enough time for SATA prices to drop to or below current PATA prices. I don't mind paying a bit more for SATA if it means it's going to be easier to route all the cables, etc. 2. Is RAID level 5 a good choice for my expected usage of the array? How many disks should I use per array? Using RAID-5 means you lose the equivalent to one disk of capacity per array (a loss of 25% on a 4-disk array, compared to 12.5% on an 8-disk array), but of course 8-port controllers are much more expensive than 4-port ones, and on 8 disk arrays it's much more likely than two drives fail at the same time (although I seriously hope it never happens). And I must also consider the expected number of PCI Express slots on the upcoming BTX motherboards, if I go for this bus. All prototypes I've seen have only two 1x PCI Express slots, which means I could have at most 2 physical arrays. Two 6-disk arrays at 250GB per disk add up to a total of 2.5TB, half a terabyte below my initial target capacity. 3. As I mentioned I'm planning to build the array progressively, adding one disk every few months. The whole process could take more than two years; is it possible that I will face problems trying to find the exact disk model say two years from now? are current SATA drive models going to stay with us for a long time? does it really matter that much that drives on an array are exactly the same brand and model? 4. Of course I won't be able to fit this many disks in my current midi-tower case. I have no idea what kind of cases (and power supplies) are good for arrays like this. I'd like the case to have at least hot-swapping capability and be prepared for extra drive cooling. Any suggestions on a relatively cheap case for this? 5. Just out of curiosity, what OS is everyone managing their RAID array on? 6. Any advice on which drives to use? 7. Any other comments or opinions? What kind of array are you using? Thanks a lot for every bit of info you can supply
  3. Thanks again for the responses. Hmm, that's going to be a real problem if it's true. There's no way I can afford buying 6 disks at once. Is there no other way to add a new disk but to rebuild the array? (which means erasing all the data, right?) Furthermore, is there any way to initially build an array on a group of disks without removing the data they contain? or do I have to backup the data before doing this? is there any controller out there that lets you do it without reformatting? If I have to backup the data before initially building the array and every time I add a new disk it's gonna be impractical. I need to use the disks progressively as I buy them to store the new stuff I get. Any ideas on how to do it?
  4. That's very interesting. Perhaps I don't need an prohibitely expensive case after all. I have a couple of questions: 1. What exactly is needed to make the SATA drives hot-swappable? I just read this on the article on the Maxtor MaxLine Plus II: Does it mean I don't need any kind of special bay to safely hot-swap the drives? 2. I found the "fitting 3 drives in two 5.25 bays" thing very interesting (it seems you can also fit 5 drives in 3 5.25 bays), but is that compatible with hot-swapping? It would be great to have both hot-swapping functionality and decent drive cooling, but looking at this site's products it seems you have to choose one thing or the other (I might be wrong, but I don't see any fan in these drive carriers) I could live without hot-swapping though. 3. How many power supplies should a, say, 12 drive RAID array be powered with? Any ideas on how much power 12 7200rpm drives dissipate?
  5. Thanks for the replies so far. Some of you mentioned the 3Ware Escalade controllers. If I were to build the array now I'd probably go for those, but I have quite some time before I buy the first controller (I first have to buy a couple of disks; and btw, do you need to fill all the ports on the controller for RAID to work? or can I use 4 drives on a 12-port controller until I buy the rest of the drives?) I suppose it's a bit too early to know, but do you think it would be best to go for PCI Express controllers instead of PCI? 8 or more disks can definitely saturate the 133MiB/s PCI bus, and I don't have any 64bit/64MHz PCI slots. On the other hand, I'm going to use the array for backup purposes; should I be concerned about bus speeds? I don't want to spend so much money on an outdated bus or protocol (i.e. PCI and PATA) and have support for them removed from hardware in a few years time, that's why I'm trying to use the newer standards whenever possible.
  6. That's a nice idea, but as I mentioned I value fault tolerance more than speed. Two separate RAID-5s means I can have two drives die on me at the same time, as long as they belong to different physical arrays. I'm not particularly interested in the added performance of RAID-0 in this case