Advice on RAID 5 setup

rivaldo

Standard Member
Hi everyone,

I was hopping to get some information on building a RAID 5 array for my HTPC, I already have the hard drives, five 1TB Samsung HD103UJ, and was planning on using the onboard AMD SB750 controller on my Biostar board (model TA790GX3 A2+) which has 6 SATA ports. The OS is windows Vista ultimate 32 bit.

Would it be a bad idea to install the OS on the RAID 5 array, say on a 100 GB partition, and if I do would I be able to boot the PC if one of the hard drives dies?
I’m guessing not, but would booting from a spare hard drive and then installing VISTA on that with the RAID driver allow me to rebuild the RAID array?

Thank you in advance for any advice..
 

Trollslayer

Outstanding Member
I tend to be boring with this stuff and put the OS on a small drive so it can be backed up and restored easily.
Depending on how the RAID controller works you might have to create a recovery disc with the RAID driver if you put the OS on the RAID array, might be worth trying this out before you commit.
 

stevelup

Distinguished Member
RAID5 will continue working with one drive failed - that's the whole point.

The difference between a dedicated RAID controller and the 'free' ones on motherboards is the array creation / rebuilding.

With a proper RAID controller, you could replace the faulty drive (possibly even with the system running) and it will rebuild in the background. Most motherboard controllers would require you to reboot into the RAID BIOS and then wait while the array rebuilds.

You certainly don't need a working OS to rebuild the array unless you built a software RAID under Windows.

With regard to installing the OS on a separate smaller drive - there are swings and roundabouts to that. Clearly the data is more important than the OS - but it would still be a whole load of hassle to reinstall everything and I'm not sure there is any point when you could protect your whole installation inside the RAID array?

One tip - make sure you clearly label all your drives so you are in no doubt as to which drive is which in the array - otherwise you may find that you may swap the wrong drive if you ever come to change one!
 

rivaldo

Standard Member
Thanks for the quick response, good to know the PC will still boot if one drive fails. Will probably install the OS on the RAID array as planned. There is a utility that works with this RAID controller, (AMD RAIDXpert), I used it briefly to Migrate an extra drive to a 3 disk array, and was able to still use the PC while it was building. There is also an option to create a spare drive, how would this work, would it be a straight replacement for a broken hard drive?
 

stevelup

Distinguished Member
If you add a spare drive, it will sit there not in use (and spun down).

If your array fails, that drive will be brought online and the array rebuilt onto that disk. You can then swap the faulty drive at your leisure.

It's not really relevant apart from in a hot-swap environment and personally I think it's a waste of a drive.

Steve
 

mjn

Outstanding Member
1. You will need vista 64 if you intend to run with partitions greater than 2gb.

Is that really the case? Does Vista 32-bit not support GPT?

I know Windows 2003 32-Bit support GPT.
 

mjn

Outstanding Member
Vista 32 can use it as an "additional" disk, but can't boot from it.

Mute point really, who the hell wants a boot drive bigger than 2TB? :rotfl::eek:
 

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