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#125970 - 01/29/06 12:22 AM XP Pro Software Raid 5, any input?
SirQuack Offline
shareholder in the making

Registered: 01/29/04
Posts: 13311
Loc: Iowa
Hey techy guys, I came across many articles on Google regarding XP Pro and 2000's built in ability to support software Raid 5, with just a few edits of 3 files using a Hex editor. Below is one of the websites I found. I'm thinking about building a HTPC for DVD playback using TheaterTek software, a OTA HDTV tuner, PVR, etc... I also would like to place lots of music/videos on the array.

Sounds like for a basic file server environment, this option has some hope, and does not require a controller card, etc... as long as the mobo has enough HD plugin's you could be good to go and have a great data recovery solution if one drive failed. Everything else could regenerate your data.

Any thoughts after reading this article, or has anybody tried this solution?



http://www.tomshardware.com/2004/11/19/using_windowsxp_to_make_raid_5_happen/


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M80s-VP180-QS8s-EP600-2xEP350 Denon3808 Outlaw7700
M22-OWM22-VP100-Denon2805
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#125971 - 01/29/06 01:22 AM Re: XP Pro Software Raid 5, any input?
bridgman Offline
axiomite

Registered: 08/25/04
Posts: 5256
Loc: Bowmanville, Ontario, Canada
I haven't read the article yet so maybe things have improved, but there used to be real problems if you RAID-ed your boot disk then had a problem. As long as you are only RAID-ing your D: drive that should be OK.

Since we were mostly looking to save $$ on application servers with small drives, this didn't help us much, but for a straight file server it should be pretty good.

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#125972 - 01/29/06 07:54 AM Re: XP Pro Software Raid 5, any input?
SirQuack Offline
shareholder in the making

Registered: 01/29/04
Posts: 13311
Loc: Iowa
Thanks John

It is my understanding would still be on the 0 disk, and the data would be on 3 or more drives which are set to be dynamic. They even pulled one of the SATA drives and the other drives regenerated the data. They also simulated a controller failing and hooked up the array to a different controller, and everything came up on its own.
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M80s-VP180-QS8s-EP600-2xEP350 Denon3808 Outlaw7700
M22-OWM22-VP100-Denon2805
Audio Nirvana

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#125973 - 01/29/06 09:57 AM Re: XP Pro Software Raid 5, any input?
bridgman Offline
axiomite

Registered: 08/25/04
Posts: 5256
Loc: Bowmanville, Ontario, Canada
Sounds like I had better read the article. Either it has improved, or the TH folks have figured out how to make it dance...

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#125974 - 01/29/06 10:37 AM Re: XP Pro Software Raid 5, any input?
bridgman Offline
axiomite

Registered: 08/25/04
Posts: 5256
Loc: Bowmanville, Ontario, Canada
Ahh, I see. They're patching the files to enable the Server 2003 functionality in the disk subsystem. That should be pretty good then.

Remember that if this catches on Microsoft will probably "fix" the ability to make this patch via a "security update"

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#125975 - 01/29/06 10:50 AM Re: XP Pro Software Raid 5, any input?
SirQuack Offline
shareholder in the making

Registered: 01/29/04
Posts: 13311
Loc: Iowa
Actually making a Google search of "Software Raid XP" or similar search brings back ton's of websites/forumns discussing this with 2000 and XP. I think for a file/data server it would work fairly well. I think a controller based setup would work better for larger network or application based servers. Otherwise you would get lots of CPU utilization and it would slow down. For data storage for HTPC of movies/songs/etc... I'll have to check out motherboards and hard drives to see what it would cost to achieve this type of setup...
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M80s-VP180-QS8s-EP600-2xEP350 Denon3808 Outlaw7700
M22-OWM22-VP100-Denon2805
Audio Nirvana

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#125976 - 01/29/06 11:32 AM Re: XP Pro Software Raid 5, any input?
bridgman Offline
axiomite

Registered: 08/25/04
Posts: 5256
Loc: Bowmanville, Ontario, Canada
I just remember that on the Win2K version the recovery wasn't so reliable. Sounds like it works pretty well today though...

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#125977 - 01/29/06 12:58 PM Re: XP Pro Software Raid 5, any input?
Ken.C Offline
shareholder in the making

Registered: 05/03/03
Posts: 17697
Loc: NoVA
Now, without reading the article, I could be just plain wrong (shocker!) but doesn't RAID 5 use an awful lot of processor power? I mean, I love RAID 5, but I'd much rather do it with a dedicated coprocessor...
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#125978 - 01/29/06 01:11 PM Re: XP Pro Software Raid 5, any input?
bridgman Offline
axiomite

Registered: 08/25/04
Posts: 5256
Loc: Bowmanville, Ontario, Canada
It sure does, but (a) processors are insanely fast these days, and (b) it's a fileserver, dude, what else is it doing (other than admittedly dealing with the ever growing AntiVirus overhead)

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#125979 - 01/29/06 01:13 PM Re: XP Pro Software Raid 5, any input?
Ken.C Offline
shareholder in the making

Registered: 05/03/03
Posts: 17697
Loc: NoVA
Point, point...

I always hate selling my clients massively overpowered file servers, but it almost always comes out to their advantage later, if the machine gets repurposed (or more likely more services) or a new OS, etc, etc...
_________________________
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#125980 - 01/29/06 01:56 PM Re: XP Pro Software Raid 5, any input?
bridgman Offline
axiomite

Registered: 08/25/04
Posts: 5256
Loc: Bowmanville, Ontario, Canada
Agreed. It might also be relevent in this case if the box is going to be used for playback/capture/editing/burning as well as being a fileserver.

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#125981 - 01/30/06 12:32 AM Re: XP Pro Software Raid 5, any input?
LightninJoe Offline
aficionado

Registered: 10/28/05
Posts: 558
Loc: Portland, OR
I'm not a big fan of software raid because I just like the comfort level of a dedicated controller but for an HTPC at home it is certainly viable. Most newer motherboards have at least 4 SATA interfaces on board and I've seen up to 8. 4 x 320GB drives would give you nearly a TB of storage, which is really unbelievable to even think about. I think my Dad paid an extra $1500 to put a 5MB HDD in his original PC clone.
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#125982 - 01/30/06 08:58 AM Re: XP Pro Software Raid 5, any input?
SirQuack Offline
shareholder in the making

Registered: 01/29/04
Posts: 13311
Loc: Iowa
Thanks Joe,

Yes, my main goal is to us it for Data/Files. Basically Songs, Movies, etc... I would assume I would use the SATA for the Raid 5 array. One problem with software OS is that the OS has to be installed before you can set up the array, so you can't stipe your OS also. Not a biggy, I would assume I'll use a somewhat smaller drive using the IDE controller to put XP Pro and my DVD software Theatertek and a few other applications.

Not sure when this will get completed as I have to fork out about 4 grand to carpet part of our basement. Besides my wife does not understand the concept of a HTPC anyway..
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M80s-VP180-QS8s-EP600-2xEP350 Denon3808 Outlaw7700
M22-OWM22-VP100-Denon2805
Audio Nirvana

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#125983 - 01/30/06 12:55 PM Re: XP Pro Software Raid 5, any input?
LightninJoe Offline
aficionado

Registered: 10/28/05
Posts: 558
Loc: Portland, OR
There is actually a big advantage to having your OS on a different disk. A few, really. Your data drive won't be affected by all the disk activity caused by normal OS functions such as swapfile seeks and the like. Also if the OS needs to be rebuilt it will be much easier as far as connecting to the array. The disks in the array will have information about the array config on them, so the OS can see this and give you the option to reactivate the array. One problem though now that I think of it: I'm not sure XP can do raid 5, I think only 0 and 1. Matter of fact I'm certain this is true.
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#125984 - 01/30/06 01:38 PM Re: XP Pro Software Raid 5, any input?
skyhawk669 Offline
devotee

Registered: 01/23/06
Posts: 436
Loc: Austin, TX
As Sirquack has mentioned it's possible to get XP to setup a RAID 5 by using a registry hack.

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#125985 - 01/30/06 03:06 PM Re: XP Pro Software Raid 5, any input?
danmagicman7 Offline
connoisseur

Registered: 12/16/05
Posts: 1467
I would highly recommend using a controller card or using a built in RAID controller on the motherboard. Trust me, you don't want Windows managing more important things than it needs to. I forsee huge headaches in the future if Windows ever gets corrupted. And being quite the techy myself, I've seen too many bad things happen with windows like that. Do yourself a favor and get a controller card, have that manage it, and have Windows think it's just operating on a single hard drive.

It's going to be a nightmarish experience if Windows does go bad, and all/any of your data is innacessable. With a hardware controller, you don't have to worry about that.

I'm not entirely sure if the system will recognize the drives as a RAID5 again if you need to reinstall. That's a lot of data there.
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#125986 - 01/30/06 03:20 PM Re: XP Pro Software Raid 5, any input?
danmagicman7 Offline
connoisseur

Registered: 12/16/05
Posts: 1467
I did some searching for you.

Here's a micro-ATX motherboard with RAID5 included. An AMD, of course. AMD is the way to go now days.

Link

Since you are building an entirely new system anyways, this board costs you nothing "extra."

Other motherboars all with RAID 5 are Here

If you need any help building your PC...I've built around 1000 for customers. So, I might be of a little help. If I sounded rude at all I'm sorry, I'm just trying to help.

Edit: Also, I want you to realize that unless you want your HTPC doing the work of the receiver, your DVD playback software does not need any integrated decoders whatsoever. You specify the DVD software to use SPDIF out, and the receiver does the work with the digital signal. In my experience, PowerDVD is the best. Windows Media Player does a fine job as well, it has an option to use SPDIF out.

OH! Another Edit: Windows XP Media Center does a great job combining all of that onto an HTPC. Just thought I'd add that. DVD playback, recording, multi recording, playback, audio, everything.
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M22s|VP100|QS4s|HSU STF2

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#125987 - 01/30/06 05:28 PM Re: XP Pro Software Raid 5, any input?
SirQuack Offline
shareholder in the making

Registered: 01/29/04
Posts: 13311
Loc: Iowa
Joe, read my link when I started this thread, that was how to used Raid 5 with XP Pro.
_________________________
M80s-VP180-QS8s-EP600-2xEP350 Denon3808 Outlaw7700
M22-OWM22-VP100-Denon2805
Audio Nirvana

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#125988 - 01/30/06 05:34 PM Re: XP Pro Software Raid 5, any input?
SirQuack Offline
shareholder in the making

Registered: 01/29/04
Posts: 13311
Loc: Iowa
thanks Dan, I'm planning on using Theatertek DVD. Also I will be using SPDIF out to my Denon, not sure if I'll use the on-board motherboard or buy a seperate card. Have you read the article from Toms Hardware about XP Raid 5, pretty interesting when they pulled one of the SATA connections, and even used a different mother board with differant southbridge chipset.
_________________________
M80s-VP180-QS8s-EP600-2xEP350 Denon3808 Outlaw7700
M22-OWM22-VP100-Denon2805
Audio Nirvana

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#125989 - 01/30/06 09:34 PM Re: XP Pro Software Raid 5, any input?
danmagicman7 Offline
connoisseur

Registered: 12/16/05
Posts: 1467
Also, keep in mind that the Windows RAID 5 is slow, and look at the date on that review...2004...old.

That article was made before RAID 5 on motherboards was getting popular. You might find this article useful for motherboard RAID 5 applications.

Link
_________________________

M22s|VP100|QS4s|HSU STF2

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#125990 - 01/31/06 12:04 AM Re: XP Pro Software Raid 5, any input?
SirQuack Offline
shareholder in the making

Registered: 01/29/04
Posts: 13311
Loc: Iowa
Thanks Dan, yep I found that article the other day. I'm still tossing around my options, possibly just setting up a mirroring scenario. Again, I just plan to use this as a HTPC so I won't be running many applications other than TheaterTek DVD software and the OS itself, which would reside on my primary drive. I was planning on using the extra hard drives for ripping my CD's and possibly some of my DVD collection so I don't have to get up often to swap out the DVD's in the player. I also plan to add an HDTV tuner OTA card at some point. Not sure about adding a PVR card yet.

Maybe my best bet would be to use like a Raid 1/mirrored environment?

Thanks again.
_________________________
M80s-VP180-QS8s-EP600-2xEP350 Denon3808 Outlaw7700
M22-OWM22-VP100-Denon2805
Audio Nirvana

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#125991 - 01/31/06 12:57 AM Re: XP Pro Software Raid 5, any input?
bridgman Offline
axiomite

Registered: 08/25/04
Posts: 5256
Loc: Bowmanville, Ontario, Canada
Or just have two drives and periodically copy one to the other. Can you tell I have had to fix more than my share of mirrored / RAIDed systems in my days ?

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#125992 - 01/31/06 01:14 AM Re: XP Pro Software Raid 5, any input?
danmagicman7 Offline
connoisseur

Registered: 12/16/05
Posts: 1467
Um...sirquack. You don't need a PVR card. If I understand correctly, you are meaning a Personal Video Recorder card?

An HDTV card does that one and the same.

Windows XP Media Center has an integrated TV tuner program which can automatically record TV shows with a TV guide and has integrated DVD software as well as a music playback system. You're going to want that as the operating system instead of numerous other programs.

Also, you can get a program such as Norton Ghost to automatically back up your most important data onto a dedicated backup drive. That's what I do, and I can still use the extra space on the backup drive for other things too.

Hard drives don't just die all of the sudden anymore, they are becoming more and more reliable. They are much more likely to die in high stress environments, such as a server, which is why servers use RAID much more than desktops do.
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