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Dear Cliftan and others who I believe may be able to help me with my RAID:

I want to make use of the mixed RAID 0+1 feature that should be supported on the Promise FastTrak RAID controller. When reading the manual (yes - really did!) it does mention in the abstract that it is possible to build RAID 0, 1 and 0+1. But when reading the corresponding chapters only the RAID 0 and the RAID 1 howtos are described. RAID 0+1 really NOT possible or what?
 

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Too bad I don't have enough equipment to play around with RAID 0+1; given what I've learned today I'd be interested to see it work. :bandit:


THE ASSUMPTION: 0+1 IS SUPPORTED.
My working assumption has been that yes, RAID 0+1 is possible on the Promise 20378. The chip supports it, and plenty of documentation lists it as a feature. The Asus mobo manual says in many places that 0+1 is supported, such as section 2.8.4: "...you may create a RAID0, RAID1, RAID0+1, or multi-RAID configuration..." but that manual is seriously short on detail. In fact, all manuals semm to be terrible about this stuff in particular, and it's not just Asus.



WHAT IS RAID 0+1?
From the many scant descriptions I had trouble figuring out exactly what is needed: 3 drives? 4 drives? What?

For starters, I looked to the Tyan Trinity i875P which runs the same Promise chip. Their manual is not much better than Asus, but its overview had an interesting note about RAID 0+1, "...need to install two SATA hard drives and two ATA-133/100 IDE drives simultaneously." I checked MSI 875P Neo too, but all their manuals were too old to make mention of 0+1.

Next I hunted the general web with Yahoo, and found an Extremetech article confirming what Tyan had said, "...with four drives, you can get a RAID 0+1 where data is striped between two drives, and those two drives are both mirrored, providing both performance and protection." Now a picture was starting to form.

But the very best RAID 0+1 descriptions were found in this great PcGuide article which should be required reading for anyone getting into RAID. Unfortunately the discussion is generalized, so I cannot tell how well it applies to the Promise 20378 capabilities. Anyway on page 2 it said, "...RAID 0+1: we stripe together drives 1,2,3,4,5 into RAID 0 stripe set "A", and drives 6,7,8,9,10 into RAID 0 stripe set "B". We then mirror A and B using RAID 1."

This suggests for 0+1 you actually create two RAID 0 sets then create a third set which is RAID 1, using the RAID 0 sets... this is effectively the same thing the Extremetech article said. The article goes on to explain that after creating multiple arrays, you can apply a second RAID level to them, to create a higher-level "nested" array. And that,it appears, is how we get to 0+1.

Tonight I also found an article about using 0+1 arrays on FastTrak 2000. Regarding 0+1, this one said clearly, "A minimum of four drives needs to be installed. With a four-drive disk array, two pairs of drives are striped. Each pair mirrors the data on the other pair of striped drives." This was another good article with lots of detail and configuration/ performance data.



AND WHAT IS "MULTI-RAID"?
The Asus manual also talks about "Multi-RAID". My web hunt showed this is practically an Asus-specific marketing term. And it sounds a lot like 0+1.

For example two Asus datasheets here and here both stated, "...with unique Multi-RAID function, RAID 0 and RAID 1 array can co-exist".

A somewhat better description of Multi-RAID came in this Asus P4C800 Deluxe Review, "Multi-RAID enables users to build a RAID array with any 2, 3 or 4 of the ports. With this unique multi-RAID function, RAID 0 and RAID 1 array can co-exist at the same time." Better, but based on the earlier descriptions I don't see how it could work with 3 ports. :confused:

In summary, where previously I had assumed RAID 0+1 meant all disks present were involved in RAID, while Multi-RAID meant you could also have other disks which were just JBOD (and this might still be true, I can't tell), from statements like the above, I now can see little difference between "Multi-RAID" and "RAID 0+1". It tends to make me think they are basically two names for the same thing. Or maybe it's like a statement I saw for some MSI mobo, which suggested to me that Multi-RAID may just mean you are combining Ultra-DMA disks with Serial-ATA disks to create RAID sets.


SO HOW DO YOU DO IT?
As for the specifics of how you set all this up, I found out there's a Quick Start Guide on the mobo support CD which is slightly more involved than what's in the mobo manual. It still lacks any explanation of 0+1, and doesn't mention Asus' term "Multi-RAID". And it doesn't show how to use the "Define Array" option, only the "Auto Setup" option. Oops.

However this 28-page document is still quite important, since the Promise website makes no mention of embedded 20378 chips, their architecture or features, nor any mention of FastTrack 378 drivers or how to use them. Asus may be your only resource for this.


So here's my rough idea of a sequence:

1. Make yourself a disk with the latest FastTrak RAID driver on it from the Asus download site. Be sure to unzip the drivers to the disk.
2. Attach 4 drives on the Promise: two identical SATA and two identical IDE (ATA/133). All drives should be the same size in GB.
3. With so many drives you might even want to also consider swapping your power supply to something more powerful.
4. Boot the PC and hit DELETE to enter BIOS setup. Enable the Advanced- Onboard Devices Configuration- Onboard Promise Controller and set its Operating Mode to RAID. This enables access to the Promise BIOS-based FastBuild utility. Hit F10 to save & reboot.
5. On the next reboot, the system pauses where the Promise gets scanned. Hit Ctrl+F when prompted (or ESC to skip it this time). Ctrl+F opens the FastBuild.
6. Using the number keys at the top of the keyboard (not the number pad) choose <2> View Drive Assignments to see what you've got. It will probably be something like "1:Mas" and "2:Mas" which are your SATA's, and "3:Mas" and "3:Sla" which are your IDE's. With 4 drives the 1/2/3 might be in a different order, I couldn't tell. Now hit ESC to return to the main menu.
7. Try <1> Auto Setup. Another screen opens. Now hit the Spacebar a few times to toggle your choices in the field at the top to see what's available to you; the available options change depending on how many disks are present. With only 1 disk, "Performance" is your only option. With 2 disks, "Performance" or "Security" are your only two options. I don't know what you get with 4, but I assume a "Striping/Mirroring" option will also become available.

If someone else has experience from here on, please reply!

8. Where we go from here is unclear to me. If you want 0+1 think you would want to go ahead and choose the Striping/Mirroring option and let the utility crunch for however long that takes.

9. If instead you want to do things manually, you would choose the option <3> Define Array. Arrow-down to highlight which array 1-4 to define, then hit Enter. From there you will be on your own. One guess at a sequence for 0+1 would be:

a. Create array 2 using the two SATA ports, in Stripe mode (RAID 0).
b. Create array 3 using the two IDE ports, in Stripe mode (RAID 0).
c. Create array 1 using array 2 and array 3, in Mirror mode (RAID 1).

10. Some docs suggested there may be some DOS Fdisk/ Format steps after this, against the various arrays. I'm not sure how to specify arrays when doing this.

11. After all the offline work, you will need to boot XP. When you do, XP might discover the new Mass Storage arrays. An Add New Hardware wizard will run. Now use that disk that you made in step (1.) and let the drivers install.


If I were you I'd be tempted to email Promise support and explain the situation, and get them to walk you through how to do a typical 0+1 configuration in the FastTrak utility. If you do, please let us know the step-by-step too!

-clintfan
 

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Discussion Starter #3
Hi again,
i see that i was a little bit short in my discription. in fact i allready tried your suggestions without any success, unfortunately.

great overview of things regarding raid 0+1. what you write is also my understanding of this. i could add: raid 1+0 is the other way around, start with building two mirrored sets and stripe them together to a 1+0 set.

i THINK multi-raid might also mean that you could use 4 disks to create one (striped or mirrored) set. i managed to do this (i.e. a 320 gb striped set, using four 80 gb drives), but got more interested in the radi 0+1 feature.

i have exactly your suggested configuration: two seagate 80 gb ide (master + slave) and two seagate 80 gb sata (to the promise). promise-raid enabled in bios. i did tryed using all four drives, but could only chose security (raid 1) or performance (raid 0). then i built two striped sets, but there is no way to nest the sets as far as i can see.

i emailed asus support several times - but guess what: its like sending something into a black hole. think i'll try the promise support now. i'll post the result here if any.
 

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Whew! Guess I got my guesses mostly right, then! ;)

I guess I should have prefaced this with something about not knowing how far you'd gotten. Definitely let us all know what you find out.

There have been several BIOS updates too, the Promise was updated in 1008, 1009, and 1011. I don't know what version you're on, or whether 1+0 was enabled by any of these updates, but it might be worth an update if you're not on 1011 yet.

-clintfan
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Hmm, maybe we got something there. i am on the 1011 now, but i wasn't when i tested the first option you mentioned: using all four disks at once in the RAID-bios.

Lets await the answer from [email protected] and [email protected]. If this wont help, i'll rebuild from scratch to find out.

/Toby
 

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Discussion Starter #6
Hi cliftan and others who have followed our raid thread.

since as expected no answers came from promise and asus support, i broke my two separate rais sets and tried cliftans suggestion using four drives in the "promise raid bios" (CTRL-F at startup). with the new drivers it is in fact possible to create a raid 0+1 and it works perfectly well and, according to feel and touch, fast (no measurements of HD-data-speed done).

Conclusion:
To RAID 0+1 on ASUS P4C800(-E) you need:
2 SATA connected to the onboard Promise controller
2 PATA connected to the onboard Promise controller
ASUS BIOS 1011 or later
Enter CTRL-F and choose to build raid set. Toggle with spacebar until STRIPED/MIRRORED is selected, save&exit, off you go

Advantage of RAID 0+1 is speed from RAID 0 and security from RAID 1

Thanks cliftan for being a better support than the one from asus and promise

/Toby
 

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Extremely Interesting Thread

Hi I have read this with much interest. I have the same Mobo and currently have 2 x SATA 150 WD Raptors in a RAID 0 setup running Windows XP Pro (SP1a) on the Intel controller and 2 x SATA 150 Seagate Barracuda 7's in a RAID 0 setup on the Promise Controller.

I'm sure you know what's coming......................

Would it be possible to add two more PATA drives to the Promise controller and configure the 4 drives attached to it to run in a RAID 0+1 setup, without starting out all over again? AND is is conceivable that as well as mirroring the RAID 0 on the Promise controller, it could mirror the RAID 0 on the Intel as well?

Obviously it's taken time to get where I am OS and program installation-wise and wondered if I could add the two new drives, at this stage?

TIA
 

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Discussion Starter #10
Hi,
i dont think you'll be able to do this :(. the controllers are as i understand it totally separated and the only way i found to get to my wonderful raid 0+1 was really to use four disks from start to build a combined set all on the promise.

i had two sata to the promise in a raid 0 and tryed to add two pata afterwards. it was not possible in the promise raid bios (CTRL F at startup). i even played around a while with the raid management utility that came with the installation cd (i think its called PAM), but couldn't get to the raid 0+1. logically it seemed to me that building two raid 0 sets and then using them to mirror into a combined set should work, but it didn't (for me). sorry. let us know if you manage.

/Toby
 

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is it conceivable that as well as mirroring the RAID 0 on the Promise controller, it could mirror the RAID 0 on the Intel as well?
Sorry, no. The same controller [chip] has to manage all RAID volumes it knows about.

-clintfan
 

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You can't do that

Just so you all know... you will loose a LOT of speed if you are using 2 drives on the 3rd PATA RAID channel... the Controller can't access both drives on the channel simitanusly. I don't recommend it at all.... now for my problem which brought me here...
I NEED HELP..
I am running the P4C800 Deluxe with 1011 bios. I am using the Fasttrak 378 for two Raptor WD drives (RAID-0). Which has been a computer geek's dream for the last 6months... Its soooooo fast, if you have the means I highly recommend getting it setup this way! Here is every RAID-0 user's worst nightmare... Here i am playing along in a game (homeworld2) and Poof, I get the blue screen of death siting a file NSLIP.SYS has caused an exception, system has been halted to prevent coruption and will reboot.

System reboots... POST test completes then the Promise controller can not bring "Array 1" online. (I take a deep breath in fear) Promise BIOS ver is .37 (lastest Sep 4th BIOS)
It lists the First Drive which is Identical to the drive on the second channel as assigned to "Array 1" the Second Drive is listed as "Free" (as in "not assigned to an Array") When I plug Each drive one at a time to either channel it lists each drive by itself as "Array 1" however when Both drives are pluged in (even switched) the Channel 2 is always listed as "FREE" no matter which of the two drives plugged to channel 2... I have replaced SATA cables, reseated power plugs, checked both drives in the normal POST tests on the IDE SATA channels supplyed on the Motherboard. Tommorrow I will go get and try using the 40pin 3rd connecter with an SATA adapter for the second channel... There has got to be something I can do? Has the Second Channel on my Promise card gone out? it still detects the drive, just won't assign it to ARRAY 1... What could Cause a drive in RAID 0 to Lose its ARRAY Assignment ?? how can I tell it to use this drive for the other half of the ARRAY again ? It functed flawlessly since I set it up in June. I reflashed the Bios... I loaded Defaults... still same thing...

I sent this same description to ASUS support form seeing as the board is under warrenty, but I don't know if they even support Faithfull Asus buyer's...
Someone with Promise Bios knowage should know something about this.

I am open to ideas.... I havn't done anything to the drives... (write wise) and I am not going to give up...

I would rather eat my SATA cables then give up RAID-0 due to no more trust... I never though I would really loose a DRIVE, jesse and NTFS is pretty fault toalerate if I lost data, I never even had a bad sector. But in this case the conntroller won't bring up the other Drive or even try on the other channel (channel 2)

I think its Mobo. but I don't know. I may try the drives in another system and see what comes up...
 

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new information

After more testing its not the Channel... its one of the Drives....

One of the drives Assignment is "FREE" and not "Array 1" moving one of the drives around will cause the Channel to follow it in the VIEW Assigments" screen. HOWEVER pluging that Drive to the Array [BY ITSELF] the "VIEW ASSIGNMENTS" screen shows it "ARRAY 1" ..... so if I hook up one of the one... (Either one) by itself it shows "ARRAY 1" assignment.... however Both will Force one of the Drives to "FREE"

if that helps anyone on the theroys...
 

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Suspection

My best guess is the Promise controller for some reason can not tell the two drives apart? the show up SAME Model and every detail. i dunno but what would cause this all of a sudden?
 

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Sorry to hear about this. The SATA drives are supposed to be identical, so it's not surprising they would report the same, is it?

Maybe you could try swapping the bad drive's SATA cable, with one of the spares that came with your mobo... you should have gotten 4 in the package.

Here I've done a lot of plugging and unplugging of those flat SATA cables since I built the box: it's all this testing of stuff for you forum folks! ;) But the other day I noticed the cables were feeling loose, like they weren't making the best contact with the drive anymore.

So far so good, but I know I need to quit playing with these cables --they're not designed for frequent connects and disconnects. And if I start to have any trouble at all with offline SATA drives, I'll go straight for fresh cables. I'm thinking these were probably inexpensive SATA cables for Asus, and maybe there are better ones on the market. I haven't looked yet.

-clintfan
 

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yes i have tryed differnt cables.. that was the first thing I tryed... I said i tryed it too in my first post... I have a box of them.

(MORE TESTING LATER)
One of the drives Assignment is "FREE" and not "Array 1" moving one of the drives around will cause the Channel to follow it in the VIEW Assigments" screen. HOWEVER pluging that Drive to the Array [BY ITSELF] the "VIEW ASSIGNMENTS" screen shows it "ARRAY 1" ..... so if I hook up one of the one... (Either one) by itself it shows "ARRAY 1" assignment.... however Both will Force one of the Drives to "FREE"

if that helps anyone on the theroys...

Ok now I have downloaded a program to VIEW ONLY the MBRs of the to drives, which i can only look at in normal IDE mode... one MBR appears to be full of a bunch of HEX Code and words that say something to the effect of Missing Boot Files... (I asume this is a normal boot partition) and the other MBR on the other Drive is mostly Blank but for 2 chars between 000 and 400

Still no luck... I havn't seen any tools yet that would use my Fasttrak 378 chip.

Western Dig Forums have a simalar sounding problem
http://wdc.custhelp.com/cgi-bin/wdc.cfg/php/enduser/std_adp.php?p_admin=1&p_faqid=913&p_created=1047068027
but the program looked at my drives and said it didn't need to update them... I have posted this at 5 differnt Forums now... ASUS and WDC included

I have found one SHOT in the dark fix... but its expensive... i can order two NEW Raptors and set them up the same way then mirror the MBRs to the old drives ? but I am guessing... and its expensive but I may have to try it.
 

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OMG IT WAS SOOOO SIMPLE!!!

There i was, just about to cry... wondering what I am gona do... thinking how much crap I had on that system.... Software... Work... Games... Saved games... more games... and about 20gb stuff I can't mention here. Any ways... i am glazed EYED at what I think is a USELESS ASUS mobo manual thinking... I bet it doesn't even mention anything about the RAID control... and then I see it... in a One line sentence next to a picture of Mirror setup if you mess up.

"Delelte Array (4) this commanddeletes an array to reconfigure the system. Deleting an array does not remove information on the hard disks, if an array is deleted by mistake, recover it immediatley by redefining it as the deleted array."

and it hits me! I take a gamble and turn the ***** on, (what have I got to lose?) I delete the array from the "Array 1" assigned drive and re-create the array... POOF I get NO OPERATING SYSTEM FOUND, but the array was functional... I think the worst... then "Did I reverse my SATA Drives in my testing?" I reverse them, POOF NO OPERATING SYSTEM! dam... so I think... maybe switching them isn;t enough, it followed the unassigned drive before... so I delete it again, and re-do it... POOF WINDOWS XP BABBY!!!!

I was never so happy to see that microsoft XP logo... everything booted up fine... no problems... nothing... (I did a scan disk and defrag just to put it all behind me)

Dam i should get paid for this shizzy!!!

THANKS FOR THE SUPPORT!! I would have been much more said and "Giveup like" without this!
WHOO HOOO! Theres no data like my data! Theres no data like my data!!! (KANSAS)

Regards
Jason
 

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Thanks for the really GREAT tip about the delete function and the reversal. I think that will come in hand for others too.

No, go and enjoy your 20GB...

-clintfan
 

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Striped drive failure

Hello,

I had exactly the same problem with a p4c800 D. In fact the drive "failed" twice! I actually had to delete the array and start over again completely. Unfortunately rebuilding the array didn't work for me. I was using 2 WD 2500 drives. I was still early in the process of building my new system, but I did have all the operating system installed and many of the service pack upgrades installed as well as my email configured, all the drivers and software utilities on as well.

The system was quite unstable, in fact before the drive array actually failed completely it failed temporarily 2 or three times and would "come back" after a couble of reboots.

I tried all the things you mentioned, w/o success. When I rebuilt the array the third time I mirrored the drives (instead of striping them) and so far it's been far more stable.

But like others here I am confused about the 0+1 option. The manual definately says that 0+1 is an option, but I also don't see how, and I am worried about stability regardless.
 

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the WD 2500 drive ? thats a 250gb right ??? Its not recommended to Raid such large drives... I dont know why, but i know drives over 100 gig and more is not good raid for some reason. you are trying to make 1 single drive 500gb?!?! i dont know ...
But I don't honestly know why raid 0 wouldn't work either. explain your cable connections and jumpers on the Harddrives...

any anything else in that area as far as details... RPM rate of drives... Cache and such, connection type.. bios version...

ASUS did relese a revision to support large drives... I think... check that out...
 
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