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I've recently got two 2TB disks for home storage as my 500GB is nearly full. I am wondering whether there are any recommendations to setting them up?

My motherboard is an older Intel model, with 4 SATA ports. An 80GB boot disk is plugged into one, and the 500GB data is plugged into another. I've also got a PCI card which supports RAID 0 and 1. The OS is Windows XP, and the board does not support Vista or 7.

My options are:

  • Use the RAID Card to Mirror the disks. While this is probably my best bet if I lose the card then I lose the mirror (although the data will be backed up to a USB HD).
  • Use the RAID Card to Stripe the disks. Not really a fan of this, even though the disks are new I just don't want to risk it. Although 4TB would be nice.
  • Use XP to Stripe/Span the disks. AFAIK Both ways I'd end up with 4TB but at the risk of losing everything if one of the disks go.
  • Do nothing, and have 2x 2TB disks. Possibly write a script with robocopy /MIR to copy everything across, or use one for videos and music, and the other for other files.

I've got a lot of mixed data types, movies, videos, photos, documents. While I wouldn't be devastated to lose it I've got the means and patience to work out a way to avoid anything going.

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Please see my long comment here: superuser.com/questions/208671/…. I would strongly recommend NOT using any h/w RAID solution because of the increased risk of data loss in the event of a RAID controller failure. For XP there is a patch if you google it which will enable s/w RAID. I have used that to then move the exact same disk pair to Win7 with no trouble, and then moved the pair into a new h/w box on a new mobo, again with no trouble. –  quickly_now Nov 28 '10 at 2:36

3 Answers 3

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Well with a standalone RAID card you can do nothing wrong. Software is good, too, but not as fast as a hardware solution and it costs cpu time.. embedded RAID into mainboard is the unsaviest way in my opinion: if you update it, or it fails, you can trash your data.

Which RAID type you wan't to use is simply your opinion if you want space, speed or reliability.

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if you do use the card to mirror the drives it is not a given that if the card goes you lose all the data. I had an external enclosure that handled raid mirroring for me and when it died i discovered that the drives and data were fine and perfectly mirrored, right down to the UID that Windows assigned the drive/volume when it was set up (resolving that, while not difficult, was a new experience for me).

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The problem with proprietary RAID is, if it doesn't use very standard methods you have to buy the exact same brand of card as a replacement should it fail, or risk data corruption.

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