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Thread: Seek New Mobo but RAID - real or fake?

  1. #1
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    Question Seek New Mobo but RAID - real or fake?

    I am putting together a new ATX-tower size PC. After years of dual booting, I want to switch to pure Linux and run Windows only as WINE or virtualization.

    I want to use three SATA drives setup with one SATA drive as the OS drive and two more SATA drives as a RAID-1 data disk. I was evaluating ASUS and Gigabyte options of both Socket 775 and AM2 and then I hit a snag concerning RAID and Linux. When I was reading the manual for a Mobo (not ASUS or Gigabyte), the RAID setup stated in bold letters "For XP and Vista only". I realized that some on-boards, maybe all, are partially software driven, much like the WinModems. I have read that ASUS mobos are fake-Raid so this got me a bit worried about raid compatibility with Linux.

    Can anyone recommend or provide guidance on motherboards with integral RAID-1 that work will with Linux??
    ----
    Linux user since before Yggdrasil, Unix before that while with the real AT&T.

  2. #2
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    Ubuntu 8.04 Hardy Heron

    Re: Seek New Mobo but RAID - real or fake?

    unless you pay up for server hardware you arent going to get real hardware raid. The best thing to do is to make a software raid. That is what I have on my desktop. It has more over head on the CPU but with the multi core speed of todays CPUs you wont even notice it.
    Desktop: Q6600 OC: 343 x 9, 4 GB RAM, 8600 GTS Twinview (22",17"), 1.5 TB RAID 5
    Laptop: Lenovo T61 T7300 @ 2 GHz, 2GB RAM, Nvidia 140M Quadro, 160 GB harddrive
    Remember to mark posts as [SOLVED] when your problem is resolved

  3. #3
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    Ubuntu 11.10 Oneiric Ocelot

    Re: Seek New Mobo but RAID - real or fake?

    The motherboard RAID functionality cannot be utilized in Linux, as it isn't based on a real RAID controller.

  4. #4
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    Re: Seek New Mobo but RAID - real or fake?

    I found an interesting 1997 post on linuxmafia.com and pasted it below. It appears that work is being done on fakeraid support. Assuming that fakeraid is not available yet, I assume that I can always enable the Linux software RAID package.
    ----------------
    RAID issues (a separate wrinkle): (link)

    Most ATA RAID host adapters (except 3Ware Escalade, Adaptec 24x0, Areca, HP/Compaq, IBM ServeRAID, Intel SRC*/ICP Vortex, LSI Logic MegaRAID 150-4/150-6, and Tekram) turn out, upon examination, to not be real hardware RAID, but rather software/BIOS-dependent fakeraid. (I.e., missing hardware functionality is traditionally emulated inside idiosyncratic, undocumented, and proprietary software drivers, to hit low price points). Fakeraid is difficult to support in Linux — absent either reverse-engineering, special proprietary drivers, or (rare) manufacturer cooperation. (HighPoint, LSI Logic, Nvidia, Promise, and VIA provide proprietary drivers to support their respective fakeraids. I personally would steer clear.)

    Linux often cannot read existing fakeraid volumes on such host adapters, unless you're willing to use proprietary fakeraid drivers (where available). But unless you're dual-booting MS-Windows, you shouldn't care, because Linux's software RAID (kernel "md" driver) is much faster and more reliable. You're advised to blow away fakeraid volumes, use SATA drives as straight block devices, and enable Linux software RAID instead, during Linux installation.

    Kernel coders are slowly figuring out some fakeraid variants, and coding ataraid/dmraid modules.
    ----
    Linux user since before Yggdrasil, Unix before that while with the real AT&T.

  5. #5
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    [SOLVED]: Seek New Mobo but RAID - real or fake?

    Thanks!
    ----
    Linux user since before Yggdrasil, Unix before that while with the real AT&T.

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