1. This site uses cookies. By continuing to use this site, you are agreeing to our use of cookies. Learn More.

Setting up RAID ARRAY with 2 SSD's for additional storage

Discussion in 'Storage Drives' started by Miten, 8 Apr 2019.

  1. Miten

    Associate

    Joined: 8 Apr 2019

    Posts: 4

    Hi everyone,

    I am in need for extra storage and I have two laptops that I have pulled the hard drives out. They are 250GB Crucial SSD's, identical models. The laptops themselves were throwaways, I will not be buying additional storage. I'd like to set them up as RAID 0 as I do not need the redundancy, just fast access to the max capacity of the volumes.

    My motherboard is the [Asus M5A99X EVO R2.0] - manual link below
    https://images10.newegg.com/UploadF...nce/ASUS/E7428_M5A99X_EVO_R21452966656285.pdf

    [Current SATA Configuration]
    SATA1: 500GB SSD (OS)
    SATA2: -----------
    SATA3: 1TB HD (Secondary Storage)
    SATA4: -----------
    SATA5: -----------
    SATA6: -----------

    I also have a 500GB NVMe m.2 plugged into my PCI-E port using an adapter and 4TB USB External HD as my primary backup device.

    I have never configured a RAID array before and would like to set one up on my machine however theres a few things I am confused about. It says in my manual that ports 1-4 and 5-6 are grouped together. Currently they are both set to AHCI. The groups can be confiured as follows
    • if [Port1-4 -> AHCI] -> [Port5-6 -> AHCI or IDE]
    • if [Port1-4 -> RAID] -> [Port5-6 -> RAID or IDE]
    • if [Port1-4 -> IDE] -> [Port5-6 -> IDE]
    I dont want to change where the OS is, just add a RAID array to the current config but it im not sure if I can do that.

    q1) If I change ports 1-4 to RAID do all 4 drives need to be set up as RAID devices?
    q2) Can I move my 1TB to say port 2 and have ports 3 & 4 set up as RAID?
    q3) Can i set ports1-4 to raid, have my raid set up on 1&2, and have my OS and Secondary as 5-6 on IDE? - Is IDE going to give me any disadvantages to how it currently operates on AHCI?
    q4) Will moving a hard drive to a new SATA port change the drive letters and consequently cause problems with anything that has paths set up between my drives (SATA and PCI-E)?

    I did try to change all ports to RAID type and load my OS but it got into a boot loop and didnt work. WHen i changed it back to AHCI it gave me some startup repair messages that gave me a little scare but its working fine now.

    When I initialized the ports to RAID it did give me a RAID config option during boot but I did not know what I should be looking for to allow the OS SSD to load properly. I did read that RAID has the same benefits as AHCI so thought i was able to run the PC in that config fine.

    Thanks for reading, any help is appreciated.
     
    Last edited: 8 Apr 2019
  2. JR1

    Associate

    Joined: 5 Feb 2008

    Posts: 39

    Location: West Sussex, England

    Hi Miten,

    Having had a quick look at your MOBO manual I think you can only build an array using ports 1-4. So you need to set this group to RAID. You should then plug the two SSDs into ports 1-4 (it doesnt matter, which ones). You can then use the other two ports for individual disks if you wish, they dont all need to be members of a RAID array. If you have an optical drive I think you must plug it into port 5 or 6 and set the second group as AHCI (or IDE if you have a very old legacy device).

    Then during the boot sequence get into the RAID config functionality (probably by pressing CTRL and I). This allows you to select the drives upon which you wish to create an Array. Select the two SSDs and select RAID 0. Select a block size of 32K or 64K if you have a choice (I have found that this gives a good balance between sequential performance and small file random IO, there is lots of advice on this subject via Google).

    Once you have booted up you will need to go into Disk Manager and initialise your new volume.

    Booting from your PCIe drive will be unaffected by your new SATA array. You wont have a problem with logical assignment letters if you move disks around on the SATA ports. I would put your secondary 1TB HDD into the same group, i.e. one of ports 1 - 4, as the new array.

    Also, if your mobo allows it I would install the appropriate version of Intel Rapid Storage Technology as this generally performs better than the MS driver.

    Regds, JR
     
    Last edited: 8 Apr 2019
  3. Miten

    Associate

    Joined: 8 Apr 2019

    Posts: 4

    Hi JR1, thanks for the response and taking the time to read the mobo manual.

    I set both the groups to RAID and my machine got into a boot loop again. I managed to get Windows to load in safe mode, and then after another restart it seemed to fix itself.
    So far everything seems ok on my machine, there was a log file that was created during the bootloop but I cant remember where it said the filepath was.

    So it looks like the machine is ready for me to connect the two SSD's to ports 2+4 on the raid array however there is one thing that worried me.
    When my machine was in the bootloop, when i entered the RAID config (Ctrl+f) and my drives appeared as normal however when I entered the BIOS, they showed up in the boot priority list but when i checked the SATA config no drives appeared in any of the 6 ports.
    Now that the machine loads again, when I enter the BIOS and check the SATA config the entire list of ports has dissappeared, im not sure if this is the correct way it should look when they are configured as RAID arrays.

    I would change it back to AHCI to check if the list only appears when its in that mode was but I don't want to keep switching it back and forth just in case something goes wrong.

    Do you think there is any cause for concern here?
     
  4. JR1

    Associate

    Joined: 5 Feb 2008

    Posts: 39

    Location: West Sussex, England

    Hi Miten,

    I dont understand why you had an initial boot problem. Switching SATA ports to RAID mode should not have upset anything. Puzzling.

    I dont think switching the SATA ports to RAID should cause drives to be not seen in the SATA config but if they are being seen in the RAID config I dont feel you should be overly concerned and perhaps this is the way your BIOS works. You shouldn't be concerned about switching back to AHCI, especially before you have actually configured an array. The only risk is that once you have configured an array switching back to AHCI will cause the array to be seen as two separate drives in Disk Manager (but the RAID array would reappear if you switch the ports back to RAID mode).

    Note that disks are not running as arrays just because you have switched the ports to RAID. You need to actually configure the drives into a RAID first.

    I would press on and set up the new array.

    regds, JR
     
  5. Miten

    Associate

    Joined: 8 Apr 2019

    Posts: 4

    Hey JR1, RAID is up and running. I saw a video of someone else creating a raid with the same BIOS as me and the SATA Port configurations are meant to dissapear when you set that group to RAID, only AHCI and IDE groups show up in the BIOS.

    Something thats pretty messed up though is when i ran CrystalDiskMark to just see how the raid compares to my other drive performances it freezes my computer on the Random Read test, i tried it twice and had the same problem each time.. i also read later than I shouldnt be running tests on SSD's because it can create "bad blocks" on it.

    Anywho it seems like the drives are working and they'll do fine for the time being, ill use them till they die on me.

    Thanks for the help!
     
  6. JR1

    Associate

    Joined: 5 Feb 2008

    Posts: 39

    Location: West Sussex, England

    Hi Miten,

    Pleased to hear your up and running.

    Running CDM (or other benchmarks) wont create bad blocks - this sounds like an old fish wives tale to me. It doesn't make sense to run benchmarks too frequently as it will use up the life of your SSD needlessly but that's the only risk really.

    More importantly, I wonder why CDM is freezing on random reads - it certainly shouldn't. Some questions - which storage driver are you using? have you tried another benchmark, e.g. AS SSD or Anvils or Atto? to see if the same/similar thing happens

    Regds, JR