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MB shot, ho to handle RAID 0?


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My Mother Board (MB) is damaged, meaning that the memory lanes are not reading the memory correctly resulting in all kinds of BSOD's. I need to replace my MB but I have two 250 GB SATA disks in a RAID 0 config. It is not really possible for me to backup the data because I don't have room for it anywhere. What are my options?

thx in advance.

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Well RAID 0 is volatile to begin with so that wasn't the best move if those 2 HD's hold all your stuff. If you are using the mb's on-board raid, I doubt you are really utilizing whatever the RAID 0 might be speeding up (if anything at all).

Assuming your system is on your RAID setup...

Easy way would be to swap the mobo with a new (better if you want...) mobo that has the same type of RAID controller your current one has.

There are several software solutions that can recognize, migrate and rebuild a RAID config. Most will require an equal amount of space as your current config to work with though.

Some disk image prog's (I believe Acronis and Paragon) can backup an arbitrary (but intact) RAID array and convert the contents to a simple disk image.

Actually there are a lot more ways to attack this but it would help if you clarify what is on the RAID exactly, what type of RAID controller used, why you went with RAID 0 in the 1st place since you should always be prepared to lose it at any given time.

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Thanks for your reply. I'll try to give you as much amount of info as possible and I really appriciate you taking your time. This problem probably started when I built the computer originally. My mobo is an ASUS A8N-E and the two drives are a couple of 250 GB seagates SATA drives. They are split into two partitions. One roughly 70 GB and the other roughly 400GB. The smaller one holds my OS (nLited WinXP) and essential apps. The other holds ALL my files, music, movies, games, you name it. Things I don't wanna loose.

At the time I was building the machine I somehow thought that I needed DDR2 memory. This being a socket 939 amd system I obviously didn't but before I RTFM I had forced the DDR2 ram into the memory lanes and was scratching my head as to why things wasn't working. After I finally realized my mistake I sent back the DDR2 ram and got hold of a pair of good old OCZ DDR modules. Since then the computer's been working pretty good until recently (a few months) when I was getting more and more frequent BSOD's. I re-installed the OS but it only provided a temporary fix of sorts and then after running a mem test it became obvious that this have to have been the source of the error. Obviously the DDR2 memory much have somehow stretched the contacts in the memory lanes and though ware they have now become so degraded that I get frequent errors.

The mobo has a built in RAID controller and at the time it seemed like a good idea to squeeze some extra performance out of the machine. The array is working just perfectly, in fact, the machine works nicely as long as I don't fill up the memory enough for it to hit that bad spot.

My main problem is that I have about a 0 budget. Even buying back the same mobo is a stretch.

Here's my complete list of system specs:

Asus A8N-E

1 GB OCZ DDR

X-Fi sound card

amd 3800+ X2 cpu

2 - 250 GB seagate SATA drives in RAID 0

I appriciate any suggestions that will save my situation, and it would be better to spend some money then to loose my files.

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Did you put the DDR sticks into the same slots that you forced the DDR2 into? If so, and I'm assuming that you only had two sticks, then try moving them to the other two available slots. This may clear up your issue long enough to backup your important data (DVD, external drive, etc).

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Well RAID 0 is volatile to begin with so that wasn't the best move if those 2 HD's hold all your stuff. If you are using the mb's on-board raid, I doubt you are really utilizing whatever the RAID 0 might be speeding up (if anything at all).

sorry to go a little off topic, are you saying that raid 0 on a mb will give no speed increase? but with a raid controller it will?

also if so why?

thanks

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All my memory lanes are equally shot cause at the time I tried all of the lanes to see if that would help. (Cause the machine wasn't starting with ddr2 mem). I should also tell you that the machine can run fine for days without any BSOD. The thing is that as long as I don't run any memory intensive apps I don't have problems. In fact I'm using the machine to type this message right now. My main problem is that I don't really have anywhere to backup the data as there is 400 GB of it. What I'd really like to know is if there is a way to migrate the RAID array to a new mobo without loosing any data?

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This is crazy. I removed my memory modules from my machine and put them into another. Then I ran MemTest from hcidesign (included in Kel's packs over at RyanVM). It found some errors on the memory. I wrote down three of the reported ones and re ran the app. It found more errors but not the same ones. Sensing foul play I then ran Memtest86+ for two passes. It found no errors. Then to be sure I ran GoldMemory. It found 2 errors. So, what's up with that?

I then took the memory from the other computer and put into mine. It is also 2x512 mb and I made sure to use the same two memory lanes on the mobo that I'd used with my own ram. I've completed one pass of Memtest86+ with no errors and are currently running Gold Memory on it. At 57% so far it's found nothing.

What do you guys think about this?

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I was never a fan of running benchmark programs or holding memtest to the holy grail of performance tests. When you put the different ram in and it seems to be testing fine, run some memory intensive software or games if you have them. Regardless of how stable some software tells you your system is, real world tests are far better.

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Well RAID 0 is volatile to begin with so that wasn't the best move if those 2 HD's hold all your stuff. If you are using the mb's on-board raid, I doubt you are really utilizing whatever the RAID 0 might be speeding up (if anything at all).

sorry to go a little off topic, are you saying that raid 0 on a mb will give no speed increase? but with a raid controller it will?

also if so why?

thanks

Most onboard RAID controllers are software driven. This means they use the system's CPU to handle the RAID calculations. This is negligable with RAID0 since the calculations are just "write nKB to the first drive, then nKB to the second drive, then nKB to the first drive, etc, etc". RAID5 calculations are much more intense which is why you haven't seen onboard RAID controllers with RAID5 until recently.

Low-end add-in RAID controllers (the cheaper ones) are also software driven. They also use the system's CPU to handle RAID calculations. To get true hardware RAID will cost you some bucks, but it's well worth it if you're after speed and redundancy. This is what I consider a low-end true hardware (it has it's own processor instead of using the system CPU) RAID controller:

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx...N82E16816116041

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adding on to nmX.Memnoch's reply...

Proper planning before even creating the array so a optimal block size is chosen is just the beginning of RAID madness. This requires an involved knowledge of the kind of activity and size of files the array will be handling to obtain the best performance possible while not burdening the CPU more than needed. There is a lot more to it after that as well when you consider partitions still need to be created, cluster sizes need to be chosen, future scalability and backup/recovery solutions need to be considered. The list goes on and on.

For most companies I have done on-call tech support for, this is not a big deal since they set up RAID mainly with database files, huge CAD files, etc in mind. The data files tend to be similar in size so it's not terribly difficult to choose what would be appropriate. The financial resources certainly help as high quality gear makes it possible to see the performance gains that all those nice shiny boxes in the store tell you can be achieved.

Fr33m4n, I'm sorry that I'm going to use you as an example of where you can go wrong.

Try to take comfort in the fact that I'm no stranger to bitter lessons learned.

Now on to RAID really saturating the mainstream consumer market....

Most home users with good intentions at heart, want the machine to be as fast as possible (I know I do). In this case, it's RAID. The mobo manual even gives you a quick walk through in setting up the array which is 10pg's of pictures and half a page of written instructions. Quick and easy to do. This leads us to....

The mobo has a built in RAID controller and at the time it seemed like a good idea to squeeze some extra performance out of the machine.

Okay... sounds good. However Fr33m4n then went on to creating 2 partitions.... a system partition of 70gig and another at 400gig for personal use which is accessed quite heavily for the games and movies etc.

This basically is no different than setting up 2 partitions on 1 HD without considering the impact it will have on the drive's performance.

A 2nd partition can be really useful for holding personal items or when your OS has a disaster. The drawback is that the HD now spends considerably more time traveling from one partition to the other to access data. However, since the person is using more than 1 physical HD to set up an array, this situation is often overlooked.

So in this case eyeball, I would argue that the improvement one would expect RAID to provide, is marginal at best.

In fact, Fr33m4n probably would have had a faster system had he skipped RAID and used 1 HD for personal stuff and the other HD for his OS (while making an effort to keep his system partition tidy since he has so much stuff...). More importantly, he wouldn't be stressing his situation nearly as much.

Too bad dedicated arrays require more HD's and the money to buy them doesn't grow on trees.

Fr33m4n....getting a temporary HD to use is really the only safe way to protect your data in this situation. All the little tricks that I could thinks of would be time consuming and very risky. Perhaps if you free up more space and get rid of things you honestly don't need or can reinstall (delete the games while keeping the save data or burn some of those movies to DVD), we could try a few things to move everything else.

As to your DDR dilemma, try this...

1. Get a can of air and attach the straw to it.

2. Unplug your PC.

3.. Blast your slots to make sure there isn't any gunk or some mangled plastic bits if you really forced the RAM in the slots. Might as well quickly clean the inside as well....

4. Plug the DDR modules firmly in the slots and then remove them. Do that 3-4 more times to all memory and slots.

5. Get a lint free cloth and use some denatured alcohol (or Caig DeoxIT & ProGold if you have it) to clean the contacts on the DDR modules. (Use rubbing alcohol is you have a hard time finding denatured.)

6. Let dry. Plug in the DDR and then the power cord.

7. Go into BIOS and disable any overclocking or special turbo memory settings that you may have enabled.

8. See how it goes for a while and tell us if it worked

Good luck!

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