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How to set up RAID

How to set up a RAID configuration using the ICH*R chipset

Whether you’re looking for an increase in performance or you simply want your data to be more redundant, RAID is without question the way to go. There are a few different RAID configurations available. They consist of RAID 0, RAID 1, RAID 1+0 and sometimes a few others are offered but these tend to be the main ones. We will start off with a little bit of information about each to give you a rough idea of what is going on.

RAID 0

RAID 0 is also known as a striped array which is used for speed. It essentially splits up data on to the disks (two or more) to make the seeking of files quicker. It reads different sections of the data at the same time meaning it can compile it faster which reduces the time to load files. One significant issue with RAID 0 is that there is no redundancy and if one drive fails you will lose all of the data on both drives.

RAID 1

RAID 1 is also known as a mirrored array which is used for data redundancy rather than speed. This RAID option makes sure that two (or more) of your hard drives are “synced”. They both carry the exact same data. If you were to take one of the drives out, you would be able to use the remaining one with all of your data intact. If you slot in one (or more) drives in, provided they’re identical drives which are the same size; the data will copy on to the new drives and they will be identical as well.

RAID 1+0

RAID 1+0 is a mixture of the two. It requires a minimum of four hard drives. As well as increasing speed, it also gives your data redundancy which means you can benefit from both worlds. Two hard drives act as the stripe array and two act as the mirror so you only have one drive to fall back on if a drive fails. When it does, simply slot in a new one and it will rebuild the array and you will be ready to go once again.

Okay, that’s enough of an introduction to some of the available RAID options. We are now going to show you how to set it up using an ICH*R chipset.

First things first, in order to set up the RAID array; you’re going to have to start off in the BIOS. As BIOS’s are different, we are going to show you an example using the GIGABYTE GA-P55A-UD4 motherboard. Things should be fairly similar.

Above you can see the initial screen of the BIOS. Navigate to Integrated Peripherals.

When you get into this menu, look out for something called PCH SATA Control Mode or something similar if you’re using a different BIOS. If you’re on the older platforms like LGA775, look out for SATA Configuration or along those lines.



It should automatically be set to either ACHI or IDE. Navigate your way down to the PCH SATA Control Mode and press enter. Select RAID and press enter again. Now, save and exit from the BI
OS. Allow your system to restart.

This is where you set up your RAID configuration. Note that this comes directly after your splash screen if you’ve got it enabled. Be quick to press “Ctrl + i” as it only stays there for about two seconds. When you press Ctrl + i you will be faced with the on-board RAID configuration. On the top you have four options, Create RAID volume, DeleteRAID volume, Reset Disks to NON-RAID and Recovery Volume Options.

Hit enter on the one you wish to perform. When you enter the “Create RAID volume” you will be asked what space you wish to create the volume as and what drives (if you have more than two) you wish to select. Leave the stripe as 128kb (should be standard) and create the volume. When you’re finished, exit the RAID manager by pressing Ctrl + Alt + Del to reset your computer. When you reboot, you should see a “healthy” array such as we demonstrated above.

The way to create an array is identical, whether it be RAID 0, 1, 1 + 0 or any other type your motherboard supports. It doesn’t get any more difficult than this. This was a quick introduction on how to perform and set up a RAID array. If you have any further questions, please don’t hesitate to ask.

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