Dynamic Disks, Striping and Raid-0

By monsm
May 9, 2005
  1. Hi,
    I have win XP SP2 installed on an Asus A7N8X delux mobo machine (with a si 3112 sata raid controller).
    I have an 120 Gb HD and have now just bought another one.

    I have been reading about using the bios tool to create a striped set (raid-0). But all threads I have seen seem to suggest both drives then need reformatting.
    I am hoping to avoid this, so I found some info on dynamic drives which allow you to set striped mode as well (from within windows xp).
    There are 2 questions I have then, that hopefully someone can answer:
    1. Will converting to dynamic disk and selecting striping in Windows XP allow me to avoid re-formatting and hence having to create huge backups?
    2. Will this be the same as if I had created the raid set with the bios tool (performance and as seen from the bios) ?

    Hope someone can help.

  2. Mictlantecuhtli

    Mictlantecuhtli TS Evangelist Posts: 4,345   +11

    1) Yes.

    2) No. As far as I know, striping dynamic disks doesn't take advantage of hardware RAID controllers, at least by default, so performance will be lower. To BIOS everything seems the same as with basic disks.
  3. monsm

    monsm TS Rookie Topic Starter

    Hi Mic,
    Looks like you are right. This is what MS says (on their server 2003 page on this, presumably it's valid for XP as well):
    "In general, hardware-based RAID offers performance advantages over software-based RAID because hardware-based RAID incurs no overhead on the system processor. For example, you can improve data throughput significantly by implementing RAID-5 through hardware that does not use system software resources. Read and write performance and total storage size can be further improved by using multiple disk controllers."

    So the dynamic disk striping is implemented using OS drivers that do not take advantage of the hardware support. Possible because that would require entries in the sata bios (?).

    So question I have to ask myself is if my curiosity is high enough to go through the trouble of arranging backup and reinstallation of the os after formatting a hardware raid-0....
  4. IronDuke

    IronDuke TS Rookie Posts: 856

    You know it is, Good Luck.
  5. monsm

    monsm TS Rookie Topic Starter

    All done

    Finally my blazing hardware striped disc is up and running after the second attempt.
    My first extra hd was faulty and developed bad sectors with the result of loosing it all, only hours after finishing reinstallation.
    I got the drive replaced by the shop and after testing the new drive as a second drive first, I set it up as a striped set yesterday.
    So now I have a maxtor sata in a stripe with a seagate sata. Windows only see 1 drive, 1 very fast drive :giddy:
    I have a A7N8X deluxe mobo with a Silicon Image 3112 raid chip. It's an early version, but so far it seems good. I use the latest bios from asus with the latest raid driver from silicon image (Asus haven't posted the latest drivers on their site for some reason).
    I'm crossing my fingers. I'll keep my backup up to date though....

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