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Discussion Starter #1
Ok,

Im planning to buy the following

P4 3GHZ 800mhz Bus
Geforce 9950ULTRA
2x512 Kingston Value Ram 3200
1XSATA Segate 80gb
1XSATA Segate 160GB
P4C800-E Deluxe Motherboard

I wish to know if Raid can be disabled on this board. I really do not wish to use raid but the 160gb will be used as a backup drive. If it can't be disabled what board do you recommend?
 

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You do not need to use RAID with the P4C800-E. You can separately turn off RAID for both the Southbridge ports and the Promise ports, setting them to IDE instead. I'm running mine without RAID in this way. You should turn this off in the BIOS Setup during your initial bringup, before installing the O/S.

I'll assume you'll be putting Windows XP on. Then plan on applying the Microsoft large-drives patch for your 160GB HDD. I've been led to believe it's a fix to Windows, not specific to a brand of drive, and that it's not already part of Windows, not even in XP-SP1a. I don't see the patch posted on the Seagate site, but Maxtor has it, Big Drive Enabler and I think WD has it also. All my drives are 160GB and I already put this on, no problems.

-clintfan
 

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Discussion Starter #3
Clint, thanks Im not technically minded (in the way of hardware) if the bios is set to IDE will my sata drives work & at full speed?
 

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if the bios is set to IDE will my sata drives work?
Yes. You have two+two SATA ports on this mobo. I think RAID might be the default, so the following changes would be required.
  • On the BIOS setup "Main" screen there will be a link called "IDE Configuration," and from there will be another screen with an item called "Configure S-ATA as RAID" which you would set to "No", this will cause the ICH5R chip's SATA ports to operate in IDE mode instead of RAID.
  • Then under the BIOS setup "Advanced" screen there will be a link called "Onboard Devices Configuration" and from there will be another screen with items called "Onboard Promise Controller" and "Operating Mode"; these you would set to "Enabled" and "IDE" respectively, this will cause the Promise chips to also operate in IDE mode instead of RAID.
FYI I am only about 80% sure you can use SATA for your main O/S drive, not 100%: I just didn't try it. But since I didn't need to install any ICH5R-specific SATA drivers initially, yet my SATA data-drive there worked, I really think it would work for you. You can't load O/S onto a drive attached to the Promose, AFAIK, but if desired you can try moving it there after first loading the O/S via an ICH5R port.

:confused: ??Maybe somebody else will reply that they successfully used SATA for their O/S install?
...at full speed?
Welllllll.... don't get misled by 150MB/s figures quoted for SATA-150... that's just an unrealistic burst rate. It takes SCSI and $1300 or more to reach 133MB/s, the theoretical 32-bit PCI limit.

Rather, for "full speed" you want to be thinking about sustained transfer rates. Some mfg.'s don't quote these rates, but based on reviews the fastest SATA's out there today are still the Maxtors, I believe, and Seagates are among the slowest. This won't last forever. Here I've measured 52-58 MByte/sec through my Maxtor SATA drives on your same mobo, almost 20x what I got on my old PC, so I'm pretty happy. New versions of SATA-300 etc. will come out over the next few years, but none exist today and no mobo today has chips to support them. Until then, a few ATA drives may still outperform SATA, so keep that in mind if performance is critical.

For best speed you also want to plug your machine so you can get the best rates possible internally. Using your two disks, I would put the 80GB on the "SATA1" port (which runs off the ICH5R chip), with the O/S there. Then I would put the 160GB on the "SATA RAID1" port (which runs off the Promise chip) and use it for data storage, being sure to install the patch I mentioned before. This configuration would give you the fastest transfer rates to and from your data store (instead of putting the 160GB on SATA2), since it eliminates the contention you'd have for ICH5R SATA controller bandwidth (i.e. if you were to hang both drives off the ICH5R). FYI SATA cables are thin which is really nice for routing and airflow.

Hope this helps,

-clintfan
 

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FYI I am only about 80% sure you can use SATA for your main O/S drive, not 100%: I just didn't try it. -clintfan
Correction, yes you CAN use SATA for your main O/S drive, if you use one of the SATA ports on the Southbridge, i.e. "SATA1" or "SATA2" on this mobo. I did a test install of XP Pro last night using "SATA1" as the only drive in the box, and it went smoothly.

-clintfan
 
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