kling

RAID 5 on Dimension 8400?

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I have a question... I am thinking of putting a RAID 5 hardware controller in a Dimension 8400 system. Several questions come to mind:

1. Has anybody done this before? Any experiences?

2. Will the PSU be strong enough to support 3-4 harddrives? (1 80 GB WD SATA bootdrive and 3 160 GB SATA in RAID 5)

3. Will there be sufficient space in the case to fit 3-4 SATA drives?

4. Heat issues?

5. Are there sufficient voltage connectors in the case? (sorry, can't remember the proper term)

Any feedback will be appreciated. Thanks in advance...

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I don't know about RAID 5 controller but I am running 3 SATA 160GB drives (and 2 optical drives) in 8400 right now (2 in RAID 0 and 1 separate). 3-rd is installed under the floppy drive, fits just fine. PSU is strong enough. There is only 2 SATA power connectors, but you can get a converter for ATA power connector. If you want to put 4-th drive you'd have to put it in 1 of 2 5.25 bays. I don't know if proper rails are available for this. I don't think it would fit instead of floppy.

I have not experienced heat issues. Keep in mind I've been running it like that only for 2 weeks and it's not on 24x7, but it does run for a day just fine.

I really think 4 drives would be pushing it considering that there is no dedicated case fans. For this you need larger case/more fans.

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I don't know about RAID 5 controller but I am running 3 SATA 160GB drives (and 2 optical drives) in 8400 right now (2 in RAID 0 and 1 separate). 3-rd is installed under the floppy drive, fits just fine.  PSU is strong enough. There is only 2 SATA power connectors, but you can get a converter for ATA power connector. If you want to put 4-th drive you'd have to put it in 1 of 2 5.25 bays. I don't know if proper rails are available for this. I don't think it would fit instead of floppy.

I have not experienced heat issues. Keep in mind I've been running it like that only for 2 weeks and it's not on 24x7, but it does run for a day just fine.

I really think 4 drives would be pushing it considering that there is no dedicated case fans. For this you need larger case/more fans.

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Thanks JoeSchmoe008... I also had the impression that 4 drives would be somewhat too much, particularly in terms of heat. Would it make sense to leave out the 80 GB bootdrive and boot from the RAID 5 setup? I have not had experience with RAID 5 before. By the way, do you use a special controller for the RAID 0 setup? Does it also do RAID 1... I am concerned about data security.

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I think RAID 5 is overkill for desktop. I never used it myself. For RAID 0 I use onboard controller, it also does RAID 1. If you are concerned about data security - use RAID 1. But nothing replaces regular backups.

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The Dimension 8400 has a RAID 0/1 built in? I did not know that. How is performance in RAID 1? How do you backup 200 or 250 GB of data? I just bought the system, but have not yet received it, since it was sent to my in-laws' place... so I do not have physical access yet to look it over. In my current machine I have a 120 GB drive and clone it once a week with Norton Ghost to an identical 120 GB drive sitting in a firewore enclosure. It takes about 70 min. for about 70-80 GB. Does anybody have a better idea about securing the data on a much larger HDD? Also, I will most probably use two disks in the 8400. An 80 GB disk as a boot drive with all the program files and a 200 GB drive for data. What I liked in my current setup is the fact that if my drive fails I can just physically pull it, and install the cloned drive and it will go on as before. No reinstallation of Win XP plus dozens of programs. In the new setup with two drives totalling some 280 GB I will not be able to do this (it seems to me). Any ideas will be appreciated.

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I didn't use RAID 1. I would imagine the performance would be the same as single drive.

I can't recommend backup strategy. I don't backup my OS - only my own data like IE bookmarks, Outlook .PST file and documents/source code.

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I didn't use RAID 1. I would imagine the performance would be the same as single drive.

I can't recommend backup strategy. I don't backup my OS - only my own data like IE bookmarks, Outlook .PST file and documents/source code.

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Joe, seems to develop into a dialogue... which is fine with me. By the way I saw your name in some posts in the Dell HDD forum as well... same person?

I have been doing some more research and it seems that the 8400 with the Intel 925 chipset includes the Intel Matrix RAID controller, which allows to have two distinct RAID systems (RAID 1 and RAID 0) on only 2 physical drives. Anybody has had some experience with this?

Also, I am still looking for a good backup research... ideally I would just like to change a drive and go on working - not having to reinstall everything... thanks for any feedback.

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Hello again Kling.

Can I clarify with you this statement.

I have been doing some more research and it seems that the 8400 with the Intel 925 chipset includes the Intel Matrix RAID controller, which allows to have two distinct RAID systems (RAID 1 and RAID 0) on only 2 physical drives. Anybody has had some experience with this?

Is your question, can you have 2 raid types with 2 drives total.???

If it is, the answer is no.

If you mean something else, I have misunderstood.

Andy

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Well that is an interesting bit of technology.

I withdraw my statement claiming that more than one RAID type on only 2 drives is not possible.

As the review said, it's quite amazing that this feature hasent has much press coverage, I havent even heard of it, and I keep my ear close to the ground.

Andy

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As the review said, it's quite amazing that this feature hasent has much press coverage, I havent even heard of it, and I keep my ear close to the ground.

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That's probably because that functionality has been built into windows (and availible for free) since NT4, so it doesn't offer any advantages. Window's built-in RAID functions are also more compatible, as it can be used with pretty much any windows supported hard drives (excl. USB/Firewire devices). Plus transferring volume sets between different PC's is a breeze, while with Intel's solution, its only possible to another PC with a suitable motherboard and identical RAID controller.

Oh... And the windows' solution can be read by Linux (albeit with a third-party "plug-in")

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As the review said, it's quite amazing that this feature hasent has much press coverage, I havent even heard of it, and I keep my ear close to the ground.

194631[/snapback]

That's probably because that functionality has been built into windows (and availible for free) since NT4, so it doesn't offer any advantages. Window's built-in RAID functions are also more compatible, as it can be used with pretty much any windows supported hard drives (excl. USB/Firewire devices). Plus transferring volume sets between different PC's is a breeze, while with Intel's solution, its only possible to another PC with a suitable motherboard and identical RAID controller.

Oh... And the windows' solution can be read by Linux (albeit with a third-party "plug-in")

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qasdfdsaq

I am aware that Win beginning with NT4 has built-in software RAID capabilities, however, I do not believe (though I do no claim to be the ultimate authority here, that's why I am asking) that the Windows software solution let you use two physical drives and build two different RAID arrays on it -- one RAID 0 for speed and another RAID 1 for redundancy. If it is possible, how does windows do it? I believe you can only decide for one or the other. In this sense the Matrix RAID technology seems to me an advance (though I am not generally an Intel fan)

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No, my point is in fact you can use many different RAID configurations on only two disks - exactly how Matrix RAID claims to do it. In fact, i speculate that the method used for both happens to be 90% the same. However, I believe windows RAID is more advanced because you can also use more than two drives, and also use RAID-5 (only availible with server though) and JBOD.

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I think RAID 5 is overkill for desktop. I never used it myself. For RAID 0 I use onboard controller, it also does RAID 1. If you are concerned about data security - use RAID 1. But nothing replaces regular backups.

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For me Raid 5 is NEVER overkill. As for "nothing replaces regulare backups", you must be joking.

Look at it like this:

Raid 5 is protecting you when ONE drive (only ONE) fails. Backup is nice when a second drive fails.

When restoring after a failure (without Raid protection) you can only restore your system....BACK to the back-up which can be 1 week old, 1 month old or from yesterday. But even if from yesterday, you can loose important data.

So yes, if you have the possibility to use Raid 5 for protecting, just DO IT.

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I agree, I would pay a premium for security that would allow me to just keep working if a drive dies on me. However, I am not too sure if it can be done in the confined space of Dimension 8400 desktop case. That's why I thought the Intel Matrix RAID option doing both a RAID 1 and RAID 0 on only two drives (where you put stuff that is not critical and easily replaced, e.g., large databases that usually reside on a CD/DVD or video files that are also kept on a CD or DVD, etc.). I am not a gamer, so games won't find their way on that harddrive. the RAID 1 would have the programs, important data (word files, local databases, pictures, e-mail, etc.) that needs to be protected)... does that make sense. Anybody out there who has tried this.

If you think that three drives (3x160 SATA) and a RAID 5 card would work in the case of the Dimension 8400 without creating too much heat, I may consider this. Obviously, costs are an issue, but I would first like to think about the technical options and pros and cons

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Extra drives, RAID controller, and extra complexity introduce several additional points of failure.

If the cost of the equipment and downtime exceeds the value of a day (or weeks worth depending on your backup schedule) of data then it is unwise to use RAID.

Which is why for home use RAID 5 often doesn't make sense. Because the loss of data often carries little value.

I use it on my home server, but would never dream of putting it on my desktops.

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There is also the issue that RAID (no matter what level) does not protect you from user error, viruses, file-system corruption, etc. Personally I would prefer backups to a RAID-5 configuration, if it weren't for the relative expense associated with backing up 600GB of data for me as a money-less student. RAID is good for availibility (e.g. if you need the system to be running continously).

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