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I built a new PC this weekend, and one of the joys I had was to transfer my RAID 1 array to the new system with a different mobo. The disks were not recognized at all, by either the mobo (no surprise) or Windows XP.

Now with the disks running on the new system, out of curiosity I switched the BIOS from "RAID" to "AHCI" and booted into Windows. Much to my surprise, Computer Management showed the two HDDs as separate drives partitioned into 279 GB and 84 MB, and both as being healthy NTFS formatted disks. Neither were assigned a letter or mounted, and I didn't mount them because I didn't want to screw anything up.

So my question is... is it possible that RAID 1 support on my new motherboard is formatting the primary partition on each HDD in a stock standard way, and storing any RAID specific data in the separate small partition? Can anyone say with any certainty?

Mobo hardware is an MSI 790GX-G65, which is an AMD SB750 RAID chipset.

PS: This matters to me because I was planning on upgrading to Windows 7 and switching to software RAID to avoid problems with loosing my data if my mobo fails and my backups are not completely up to date.

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I think, I will rebuild my old system with a spare HDD I have lying around, and once I have it up, pull one of the RAID drives and see what it looks like in the old system. –  Lawrence Dol Jan 19 '10 at 9:44

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is it possible that RAID 1 support on my new motherboard is formatting the primary partition on each HDD in a stock standard way, and storing any RAID specific data in the separate small partition?

For RAID1, yes.

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On a scale of 1 to 10, 10 being most sure, how sure are you of this? –  Lawrence Dol Jan 19 '10 at 6:51
    
I'm just saying it's possible. I have seen this twice in the wild. –  ta.speot.is Jan 19 '10 at 6:57
    
It's very common for this to be the case with RAID 1, I can only think of one time where I've seen it not work. –  phoebus Jan 19 '10 at 7:05
    
When I transferred my array to the new system last weekend, it showed both disks as type "unknown". I had to format and rebuild them - but that was coming from a 3-5 year old mobo. My new mobo was released Jan 2009. –  Lawrence Dol Jan 20 '10 at 4:46
    
This worked for me on my Dell XPS motherboard but not on my old no-name SATA RAID card. –  Chris Nava Feb 18 '10 at 19:00

I've always been told if you want compatibility or portability between systems or OSs, you need an external RAID card. The RAID cards are easier to replace or easier to find compatible chip sets.

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nope. software raid for portability; with hardware raid you have to match chipsets. the advantage for add-on hardware raid cards is that a) if the motherboard dies, you can migrate the card with the drives; b) if the card dies, you stand a chance of getting another card with the same chipset (& firmware) for array recovery; and c) assuming you spend enough, you might get a real hardware raid chipset instead of the not-really-hardware-raid chipsets they tend to integrate into consumer motherboards. –  quack quixote Jan 19 '10 at 6:53

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