xSAKx

(Setup cannot access this disk.)

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That's what I'm getting when I try to install WindexP Professional SP2 on my DFI LP UT P35-T2R's onboard ICH9R raid.

I'm running 4x Hitachi UltraStar A7K1000s 750GB setup as a raid 5 array on the onboard controller.

Here's the message I sent to DFI to seek a solution:

I am unable to install Windows XP Professional Service Pack 2 to my RAID array. The RAID array consists of 4 x Hitachi 750GB drives attached to the Intel controller (ports 1-4). I boot to the Windows install disc and hit F6 immediately. After it loads the initial files, I manually load the driver for the onboard Intel raid from a floppy. I choose the Intel Raid ICH8/ICH9 option -- this is the only one that works.

Installation continues, up until the point where you create/delete/install-to partitions. It shows the Raid array as being there, and displays the capacity (2097152 MB Disk 0 at Id 255 on bus 0 on Unknown). But it says "(Setup cannot access this disk.)"

This seems, to me, to be a driver issue. Could you please help me? I need to get this computer running. Thank you :)

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I didn't realize I had posted this. I haven't tried the floppy directly from Intel. Intel's driver support is pretty cryptic. It's hard to determine what the right driver for the job is. I came across some "Matrix Storage..." software for the chipset, and it referred to certain revisions of the chip...like I have any idea which revision DFI used here. I don't feel like ripping off the heatsink to find out.

Anyhow, I DID solve the problem. Apparently, if you create one large raid 5 array (single volume) the controller doesn't wish to allow you to boot from it. Once you create a smaller (I haven't played with it to see where the cutoff is) array, you can boot from it. Then I just created a second array (or pretty much a volume) from the remaining space -- which was forced.

It's still going through initialization right now. So in 15 hours or whatever I'll do some testing and let you guys know what kind of performance I'm able to squeeze from this. Then tomorrow, I will hopefully have my hardware array going on this machine as well. So we can do software vs. hardware on the same box. I'm guessing it's going to take a lot of tinkering to get decent performance from the ICH9R. Raid is so touchy when it comes to performance, and software raid seems to be the most touchy.

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Anyhow, I DID solve the problem. Apparently, if you create one large raid 5 array (single volume) the controller doesn't wish to allow you to boot from it. Once you create a smaller (I haven't played with it to see where the cutoff is) array, you can boot from it. Then I just created a second array (or pretty much a volume) from the remaining space -- which was forced.
You ran into the limitation of MS-DOS style partition tables.. You need GPT style for over 2 TB.. which i don't believe XP supports, and either way.. 3ware has a 2tb auto-carving feature, as do other raid controllers.

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Indeed, that's what happened. Also, after waiting through the long...long...terribly long...almost 24 hours of "Initialization"

I found that Windows XP will NOT read from the drive. I used a drive benchmarking program, and got a score of 55,000 MB/s (oh yeah :D) The line went literally off the chart -- it was pretty amusing. The working drive was reading at around 160MB/s which doesn't seem to be too bad with write-back off. I can handle those speeds I suppose -- hopefully be able to squeeze more on the other array volume with write-back on.

The disk will show up in device manager, but not in disk manager. In device manager it says "unreadable." This was obviously extremely disappointing and frustrating after waiting all of that initialization time.

Apparently the 2TB limit is on DISKS and not just partitions. I always thought it was just partitions...but you learn by doing it :) So I just scrapped the entire array, volumes, everything. Went back into the Intel ICH9V Raid bios, and created a new array with two volumes (even though intel calls is two arrays in their bios). The volumes show up at disks devices in windows -- naming is quite nice too by the way. I created one 100GB volume (which write-back will be disabled) and the remaining volume is a little under 2 TB. Installed windows (it was literally faster than backing everything up and restoring) again.

This time, my large array volume did NOT need to be initialized (still wondering why that is). Perhaps initialization is ONLY if you create the array in windows using the Intel Matrix Storage Manager? OK, so good. No initialization -- that's great. The disks are both in device manager, with proper remaining space, partitions, etc. I created a few partitions on the BIG array volume (they will be temporary partitions). I'm formatting one right now -- it's 1200GB in size. It's...20% done right now. It should be done in a couple hours. The remaining ~800GB partition I will start right before going to bed and they both should easily be done before I wake up.

Moral of the story: Don't create your ICH9R raid arrays in windows using the Matrix Storage Manager, or you may have to suffer endless initialization.

On the bright side of things: the performance seems to be quite good. I haven't tried it since the reformat -- but I will try it tomorrow and take a few screenshots for everyone. I'll be interested to see what write-back does to performance. I plan on having it ON (increases performance but decreases reliability, right?) for my big volume, and off for my boot volume. The big volume will be repartitioned, btw. Those two big partitions are just for some playing around and some data recovery.

So a little more testing tomorrow. If I can get the storage and data recovery straightened out, then I get to get into the fun stuff - OCing and stress testing the setup with some games :D Then the box goes into production as my main workstation and I probably won't be able to game much :(

Edited by xSAKx

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Just when I thought I was out, they brought me back in.

Playing with it some more last night...I tried to verify the volumes...and they could not be verified because they hadn't been initialized yet. :lol: So now I'm waiting for that again. Sigh.

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