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Discussion Starter #1
Hello, new to the forum and learned a lot from searching, but still feel need to post.

Bought a used Alienware with the ASUS P4C800-E Deluxe. Starting to think the prior owner had issues with it, but I'm stuck with it now (mobo had been replaced once previously). System has 2 Seagate 120gig SATA drives, however, I discovered that only 1 of these was actually connected (he claims he had no idea, but how do you not notice 120gig missing?), so I wanted to connect both to the Promise controller with Raid 0.

(I have read several times to not load the OS on Promise Raid, so I will probably install a new 3 drive just for XP. Or, just use the intel Raid. In any event, I am concerned that I could not get XP even loaded on Promise Raid 0.)

I followed all the instructions (ASUS and posts on this site, including clintfan's step by step) and attempted the install multiple times, all with the same results. I connected both SATA drives to the connetions for the Promise controller. The drives were recognized and the array was defined and created. XP installations starts fine, and I successfully load the Fast2k driver. XP recognizes the drive and assigns a new partition. It starts the copying of the files, but usually between 14% and 20% it just locks up and all I can do is power off the box.

I believe the drives to be fine. I have successfully loaded XP, individually, on both of them via the intel chip. I believe the bios for the Promise chip to be at 1.00.0.33 The drive version I believe is .37 (the latest). Off hand, I don't know the version of the mobo bios. Is it safe/wise to upgrade the mobo bios or should I stick with the original version as used by the PC manufacter?

Questions ...
1. Is the Promise controller bad or is it matter of fine tuning the various bios and drivers?
2. I would like to take advantage of the performance of Raid 0. Should I just do it with the 2 120gig drives on the intel controller, or use a 3rd drive on the intel just for the OS and use the 2 120's as data drives (Raid 0) on the Promise. Or, something else.

Last item of interest ... both the SATA cables in this system where the ones with right angle connections. This was fine for the drive side, but makes it physically impossible to connect both cables to the same controllers since the controller connections (for both Promise & Intel) are so close. Maybe that is why one was not connected? Would there be any reason to have 1 drive go to Promise and the other to Intel considering that Raid 0 on 1 drive is pretty useless?

Thanks in advance,
Bill
 

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Hello and welcome to TSF
First, I would get cables that will allow you to connect both drives to the same controller. Second, I would set the 2 drives on the intel controller for a RAID 0. I don't think you will see a noticable difference with a 3 drive RAID 0 array on the promise controller. Especially if you have a IDE drive with the 2 SATA drives. Plus the promise controller is connected through the PCI bus so you are limited by the bandwidth of the bus.
 

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I would advise against a RAID 0 array. Do some google'ing and you might find that RAID 0 isn't significantly faster than a single drive.
 

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Discussion Starter #4
Yes, I did get other cables to allow proper connecting. Am I missing something with these SATA connections? There are a total of 4 connections on the mobo, 2 for Intel & 2 for Promise. That limits me to 4 SATA drives, right? There isn't something comparable to the old-school HD cables with multiple connections where you could have, say, two HD and you Disc drive all on the same cable, right? Part of why I do something is for the learning experience ... so, maybe Raid 0 doesn't give a big boost, but I'll know how it's done and get to judge for myself in the end. Thanks Again.
 

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You can only connect a single drive to a single SATA connection. On SATA there is no Master or Slave. The only way you will be able to configure a RAID array with 2+ drives is on the Promise controller, Because the Promise controller and the Intel controller being separated.

Just a side note:
Advertised sustained transfer rate of a Raptor drive is 72MB/s.
I have benchmarked a single Raptor drive on my system @ 52MB/s sustained.
My RAID 0 array (configured of 4 Raptor drives) benchmarked @ 123MB/s.
3 drive array - 108MB/s

Another note:
The more drives you have in a striped array, the more chance of failure.
Been there. Done that.
Back up often.

You will see faster speeds on the Intel controller because it is directly on the southbridge. It does not share the bandwidth of the PCI bus, which the thereological speed is 133MB/s.
 
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