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Rys Asks: How Do I Setup My Disks?

by Ryszard Sommefeldt on 23 November 2006, 08:41

Quick Link: HEXUS.net/qagrw

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The Quandry™

'k, so the setup is thus:

Disk Controllers

Intel D975XBX mainboard. ICH7R means I have four SATA2 ports with AHCI and the possibility of RAID (0, 1, 0+1 and 5 are possible, plus JBOD). The board also sports a Silicon Image Sil3114, which gives me 4 ports again, just SATA this time but RAIDable again (0, 1 and 0+1, plus JBOD). It connects to the ICH7R via the PCI bus, and the RAID implementation uses some of the CPU.

To sum up:

Intel Matrix Storage - 4 x SATA2 with AHCI and NCQ; RAID 0, 1, 0+1 and 5; JBOD; Inside ICH7R
Silicon Image - 4 x SATA; RAID 0, 1, 0+1; JBOD; hanging off the ICH7R via plain ol' PCI


Two 74GB WD Raptors with SATA and TCQ support (but not supported by either ICH7R or Sil3114). Two 150GB WD Raptors with SATA2 and AHCI NCQ support (and support for that in the ICH7R). Two 300GB Maxtor DM10s. One's the old SATA version with NCQ, one's the newer SATA2 version with NCQ, which the ICH7R supports on both disks (correct me if I'm wrong!).

The two 150GB Raptors are unused, unpartitioned and ready for whatever I choose, as is one of the 74GB Raptors. That's the three I bought last week. Then in use right now are the 300GB Maxtors, one with a bunch of data on I cannot lose and one with my OS installs and my scratch space, and the other 74GB Raptor which is full with a Linux install (Ubuntu, very nice) which I use for current dev work, but could erase and use for something else if pushed, reinstalling Linux somewhere down the line.

To sum up:

2 x WD Raptor 150GB - SATA2 with AHCI NCQ support - nothing on them
1 x WD Raptor 74GB - SATA with TCQ - nothing on it
1 x WD Raptor 74GB - SATA with TCQ - all 74GB taken up with Ubuntu install, could be removed
1 x Maxtor DM10 300GB - SATA with NCQ - data on it that can't be lost
1 x Maxtor DM10 300GB - SATA2 with NCQ - OS install and scratch data on it that can be lost

Partition tables of disks in use

Click for a bigger one

Start with disk0, partitions 0, 1 and 2 are for OS installs. I usually maintain XP 32-bit, XP x64 and Vista, but as you can see XP x64 isn't around just now, but I'd like to keep that triplet of Windows OS partitions in any future setup (they're my three development targets for 3D work). Partition 3 is scratch space, for intermediate and temporary data, shared across all three Windows installs. I put pagefiles there, Photoshop's cache directory is always there, output from large MSBuild runs, etc, etc.

disk1 is the other Maxtor (older SATA one), where previously I've put Linux in the unallocated space marked 0, a FAT32 utility partition (marked 1) where I keep all my tools and a couple of OS install images, should things go horribly wrong, and two data partitions (marked 2 and 3) where I keep all the data files I cannot afford to lose, including backups of various binaries, installers, all my HEXUS work from over the years, and also the odd game install which I could delete but would rather not.

disk2 is the first 74GB Raptor which I got a few months back and now use for the Linux install that used to be in disk1, partition 0.

The sum total of data on disk1, in partitions 2 and 3, that I need to keep but could relocate to another volume, whatever that may be, is just shy of 220GB.


.....what do I do? I've got 220GB of data I cannot lose, but as you can see I'm pretty much flexible in the rest. OSes can be reinstalled, scratch space is scratch space and can be recreated, and I have six disks with which to do it with, across two on-board controllers, with RAID.

If you think you know how I should set the disks up on the controllers, knowing what you now know about my current setup and mainboard, I'd love to hear it. To that end, there's a thread in the HEXUS.community where you can lay down your thoughts, advice and configuration inspiration. To come up with a good configuration you'll need to ponder RAID support in the 4 OSes I run, and the safe passage of my current store, should you think it needs moving elsewhere, and that I've got zero desire to increase the possibilty I'll lose it.

Hope you can help!

HEXUS Forums :: 26 Comments

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Buy a tape drive, back the whole bloody lot up, configure everything how you want to, restore the data back..


Buy a tape drive, back the whole bloody lot up, configure everything how you want to, restore the data back..
Yes, or borrow a huge hard drive for an evening.

I have recently decided to upgrade the HD in my PVR box from the OEM 160Gb unit to a 400Gb samsung. The new drive arrives today. Before I fit it into the PVR, I will be using it to rationalise the partion layout in my Linux server, as I can easly format the drive as ext3, and then copy everything to it, re-organise partions, and then copy everything back.

In your case, perhaps there are some large drives arround the office you could borrow overnight? I seam to recal a review a few months ago that fetured several 750Gb drives in a RAID setup. Alternatively have the Thecus NAS boxes gone back yet after the revew Hexus did earler in the week?
By the way the discuss in forums link doesn't link here but the forums as a whole :)
By the way the discuss in forums link doesn't link here but the forums as a whole :)

Fixed :)
Buy a dedicated RAID 5 card (4 or 8 port) stick it into the PCI slot. Run one raptor outside the RAID 5 and stick the rest in RAID 5. Plenty of good cards out there - I use a Broadcomm 8 port card which works a treat and can expand the RAID volume on the fly if you want to add yet more discs to it.