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  1. Member
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    Hi,
    Could anyone recommend a SATA card? I want to add two hard drives in RAID0 for backup on an old machine that is going to serve as a file server. The machine has an old motherboard (AMD 1800+) with EIDE only.

    I heard Rosewill ones are ok. Anything from newegg is fine, but obviously don't want to spend too much on the setup.

    Thanks!
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  2. Mod Neophyte Super Moderator redwudz's Avatar
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    I would recommend ones with the Silicon Image chipsets. This Rosewill one might suit you if you only need it for 2 drives: http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16816132001

    Rosewill is a economy brand, but the chips and card components seem to be made well enough. I have two of their 4 drive SATA II cards and they work fine.

    You might want to pick up a couple of SATA cables with clips as they tend to fall out easily without them.
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  3. Member
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    I was looking at the Rosewill, thanks. What other brands do you recommend?
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  4. Member
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    You might want to pick up a couple of SATA cables with clips as they tend to fall out easily without them.
    My brother had to buy a SATA card because he pulled the connector out his ASUS board when he unplugged the cable. Not sure what happened to it. We never did find it.

    Not sure what card he got (Promise ?) but it has 4 connections.
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  5. Member edDV's Avatar
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    I'm wondering why you need Raid 0 on a file server? What kind of network is that fast? If this is a multi-user network how does RAID zero help since all disks in the RAID need to seek together? Are you using two drives to max a SATA 300 direct connection or fibrechannel?
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  6. Mod Neophyte Super Moderator redwudz's Avatar
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    edDV has a good point. RAID0, especially on a older PC is still constrained by the motherboard bus speeds for passing data. I doubt you would see any gain. And RAID0 is not really very dependable for backups or transfers. If one drive fails, you lose all your data. I used it several years ago, but newer controllers with interfaces like SATA 300 are faster than I had with RAID0 then. And I lost my RAID array probably five or six times a year. That was fairly easy to fix, as you just rebuild it. But then one drive died and I lost everything and I had enough. RAID0 is only good for speed, and unless your motherboard bus is very fast, it's just a waste of resource, IMO.

    On SATA cards, I have used some Promise SATA II PCI controller cards when I needed more drives with a video server setup. No problems with them either. For what you have, it's not critical, especially if you don't use a RAID0 array for boot as then they can be a pain to set up. About the only ones I would shy away from are the VIA chipset cards. They seem to have more conflicts with on board SATA than other chipsets.

    Your brother may have had a SATA cable with a metal clip. That can pull the outside of the connector off if it's not released first, but it usually doesn't damage the motherboard. Without a clip, I've had them fall out on their own if the case is moved around much and the connector doesn't fit securely.

    It's a terrible design that never should have been adopted. On the hard drive end, it's fairly easy to break off the SATA connector if you are not careful. Then you have a dead drive. eSATA connectors are a much better design.
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  7. Member
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    I am sorry, I meant RAID1 - the one that does the backup. The file server would have all of the pictures, music, etc that is shared between 3 computers at home over a fixed LAN. I will probably do nightly/weekly backups to this drive as well.

    Are there any constraints to using a separate SATA card? In the medium-long run, I will probably built another inexpensive machine that will have gigabit controller, SATA interface, but I see no need now (the machine would only be responsible for hosting the shared drives).

    I have an EIDE 120gig hard that I am going to use to boot and just add the card and the two hard drives.
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  8. Mod Neophyte Super Moderator redwudz's Avatar
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    I've really never had any major problems with using a separate PCI SATA controller. I have about 5 at present. Just using it for the boot drive is a bit of a pain, but other than that, they work fine.

    Using a older motherboard may slow down the transfers a bit, but you will likely not notice. Try to add enough RAM, 512 - 1024MB helps. I use a gigabit LAN system, hard wired with CAT6 cables and a gigabit switch and router. I don't use RAID on my servers as I would need too many drives. I have 16 HDDs in two tower cases. But none of my data there is irreplaceable. If I lose a drive, I lose the data, but it's mostly backup video from DVDs.

    RAID1 is a reasonable setup. If you don't have a lot of data, there are other RAID levels that are a bit better for speed and security. But you would need at least 3 drives. Even when I used a 100MB/S LAN, I had no problems playing back video from the servers. The gigabit was only to speed up transfers to the servers.

    I also use Acronis True Image to make a backup of my more important data. With your RAID setup, it's something you might consider for another level of reliability and data protection.

    For the curious, a little more about RAID and RAID levels: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/RAID RAID5 is popular at present for better speed and redundancy, but requires 3 drives.
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  9. Member
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    The primary purpose of the RAID1 setup is to have a file/backup hard disk that is separate from the workstation machines. I would store irreplaceable pictures on this drive. As I understand RAID setup, this would provide redundancy with two disks, in case one disk failed the data would be retained.
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  10. Member
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    Also, it's a good point you made about backup software. I would like to have backup software that I can install on the backup/file server, where I can monitor and set up back ups to each workstation (versus having client software on each independent machine). Do you have any backup software that you recommend?

    Thanks!
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  11. Mod Neophyte Super Moderator redwudz's Avatar
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    I really like Acronis for backups. Ghost is also popular. You may still be able to get the earlier version of Acronis True Image for less than $20US, though the latest version is not expensive. It leads you through the setup, so easy to use. They have other versions that may be better suited to your exact setup or needs.

    I backup to DVD data discs most times. It also has a 'clone' feature where you can make an exact copy of a hard disk and use it when you replace a drive. And it will make an exact copy of your boot drive so if it dies or gets corrupted, you can replace the data in a short time. You can also set incremental backups if you want.

    RAID1 works fairly well. You need to monitor the drives. If one fails, you want to replace it quickly. I would keep a formatted drive handy, just in case. The RAID software should enable a quick setup to get your array up and working again.
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  12. Member
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    Originally Posted by redwudz
    I would recommend ones with the Silicon Image chipsets.
    This is a great recommendation for most mobos but for some reason these cards do not perform fast enough with IP35 based mobos. Personally I have experienced this with my Abit IP35 and at the time I was looking for a solution, I saw a few similar posts in this regard.

    This could be PCI latency issue. I will try to do some testing and post next weekend.
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