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Is anyone using a RAID motherboard in their HTPC? Im thinking of using a motherboard with onboard IDE RAID with a pair of 120GB drives in a RAID-0 (stripe array). I've got RAID in my regular desktop, and I'm wondering if anyone applies this technology to their HTPC. It shoud be able to handle the bandwidth of recording and playing a OTA HD transport stream.


Bob
 

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I am currently running a pair of WD 120 GB JB's in stripe array under Windows 2000 (no Raid card, just software). It works fine. I now am building a P4 with a P4PE mobo, which has on board Raid 0 or 1 with either IDE or Serial ATA drives. This makes the board capable of 6 drives. I only plan for 4 since I want to keep the boot drive and the DVD as masters or solo drives on seperate channels.
 

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I'm using an Escalade PCI Raid controler in my HTPC. I have 8 120gb drives running in a RAID 5 configuration. Excellent performance. 840gb usable space.
 

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Running a Giga-Byte GA-8PE667 Ultra with a P4 2.8Ghz, 2 x Maxtor 80gb ATA 133 drives in a RAID 0, ATI 9700 Pro. 1GB PC333 - Works great! I use my HTPC for audio engineering as well with an Audigy 2 Platinum.
 

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I never thought about using a PCI card... that would let me run more drives than a motherboard-based RAID controller. What I really want is the 2TB worth of Avid NewsCutter Fibrechannel drives we have in work. :)


Bob
 

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Quote:
Originally posted by jkaiser
I now am building a P4 with a P4PE mobo, which has on board Raid 0 or 1 with either IDE or Serial ATA drives.
J,


Did you have any luck with the P4PE?
 

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I am currently building an HTPC with a P4PE GBL/SATA/1394 mobo. I am putting in 2 120 gb hard drives and considered using the RAID controller. My interpretation of the manual indicates that the RAID controller will only support one (1) IDE drive. The documentation is not the clearest, but it certainly seems to me it says you can use 1 IDE with one SATA or 2 SATA drives.


So, I am planning on putting the 2 drives on the regular IDE controllers along with a DVD burner and a CD burner.


I'll leave the RAID for later when SATA drives are available and I want to add more space (have an ADTV HD card :) I have seen adapters that will adapt an IDE drive for SATA connection, but I think I'll pass for now.


One thing I will try is to add a 40 gig hard drive I have lying around on the IDE connector on the RAID controller. The doc says that you can have one and only one drive as master on this controller but I'm not 100% sure I can use it as a single drive without RADI config. I also cannot in any way derive from the doc whether I can use this as the boot drive, which is what I would really want to do with the OS, etc. installed on this and the 2 120 gig drives for media.


Just waiting for the processor and memory to arrive now to fire the whole thing up and see what works and what doesn't.


If anyone know more about what works regarding the RAID configurations, etc. on this board please post here and let us all know.


Thanks,


Bob
 

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Does anyone see an improvement in performance with HD recording/playing over regular non-RAID set up?
 

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Quote:
Originally posted by BGPGuy
Does anyone see an improvement in performance with HD recording/playing over regular non-RAID set up?
For just recording and playing, the RAID modes that increase speed (like RAID 0) aren't necessary.


Full-bandwidth ATSC is about 20Mbps, which is 2.5MB/sec. Even figuring in horrible overhead, any decent ATA/33 drive can do 5MB/sec, and ATA/100 drives can handle 20MB/sec.


On the other hand, for copying/editing giant HD transport streams, it could help. I have software RAID 0 on a 66MHz/64-bit PCI IDE card running on a much slower PC than my HTPC and I can easily handle 40MB/sec reads and writes to the array, with bursts as high as 70MB/sec.
 

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I' m not using RAID and see no real benefit from striping for my applications. However, a huge benefit is that RAID HW allows 2 additional IDE channels. This allows me to have 2 HDs, 1 CDRW and 1 DVD all on seperate channels (i.e. they are all "masters"). This means concurrent operation on all four drives. This is particularly noticable when copying from one drive to another (or, er. backing up a CD to a CDR.
 

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I've had good success with RAID 0 on a new HTPC based on the ASUS A7V333 motherboard and Athlon XP 1700+. The motherboard is somewhat 'overendowed' in that it has two ATA 133 Promise IDE channels with RAID built in, as well as two 'ordinary' ATA 133 channels. I have two of the Maxtor 5400 rpm 160Gb drives set up as RAID 0 to use as my primary recording drive for my HiPix HDTV card. Way more than enough bandwidth to record and multitask. I went RAID not for speed, but to have XP and the HiPix app see one big 320Gb drive.


I do know from my documentation that you need two identical capacity drives each set up as 'master' on the RAID controllers.


Not sure about the boot question, because I use another 160Gb Maxtor on the regular IDE channel for boot and jukebox duties. BTW, I can record from HiPix and play music from the jukebox simultaneously with no glitches.
 

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Not having used raid yet (planning to w/ new MB), my curiosity is how does drive lettering go? Suppose I have one IDE HDD on the Primary with three partitiions (1-primary, 2-logical) and two SATA drives using Raid 0 (on-board MB hardware raid) . Is "D" drive still going to hop over to the Raid drives than back to "E" and "F" for the logical partitions on the first drive? Or does this also depend on the Window's OS and the format type; FAT16, FAT32, NTFS? It's been a while since I've used multiple drives let alone RAID and not sure if the rules have changed.


I've been using mixed formats (FAT16 for "C" where the System files reside, FAT16 or FAT32 for "D," the Applications partition and NTFS for "E", the Files partition. I like being able to boot from DOS to work on the OS files if necessary.

NTFS is for larger partition and file protection, hopefully.


Speaking of formats, any opinions on comparitive speed performance and / or dependability?


Regards,

DFA
 

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NTFS is going to make more efficient use of larger hard drives, and in my experience has been reliable in circumstances that would have trashed FAT (unexpected power disconnect). Don't know about speed, because I haven't found an app (or two or three) yet that came up against the speed limit of my drives.


The downside, as you mentioned, is that standard DOS tools won't work on NTFS. I don't know about the drive letter issue, since I use one big C drive and one really big D drive- the RAID array. Partitions get unstable when almost filled, so I find I can use more of the disk by keeping it in one piece- at least for HTPC stuff.
 
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