I have a P8Z68-V Pro Motherboard and two 500GB 7200rpm hard drives that I used to have in a RAID0 configuration using the Z68 bios level raid. However, I've run into trouble in the past trying to multiboot, as some OSes see through the bios level raid. Because of all the trouble I'm thinking of investing in a RAID controller rather than continuing to struggle with fakeraid and such. That said, I have 3 questions concerning a controller.

  1. Althought not my primary motive for getting one, would a RAID controller add any performance over the bios level RAID0?

  2. If I connect the controller to the motherboard and the two 500GB drives to the controller, will all operating systems see only a 1TB drive (ie. Windows sees a 1TB drive and the array appears in linux as simple /dev/sdx and not /dev/mdx or /dev/mapper/)?

  3. Finally, I know nothing about different types of controllers, but from a glance, if I were to get a simple controller like this (http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16816104015) would it work fine or is it worth investing in a more expensive controller? I'd also appreciate if anyone had any suggestions as far as brands or models if it makes much of a difference.

  • Cheap RAID controllers are still fakeraid, so you won't gain anything from buying one. More often than not, your chances to make everything work will decrease if you use one of those. May I ask what you need the RAID array for? An SSD will beat two striped HDDs when it comes to performance, and it's cheaper a decent RAID controller (not counting the HDDs). If storage capacity is more important than speedr, an SSD is not the way to go, but keep in mind that RAID 0 doubles the chances of losing all your data at once. – Dennis Aug 26 '12 at 16:26
  • I don't really want to invest in an SSD right now. I have the two 500GB HDs already and like the convenience of the little bit of performance and only dealing with one drive. Plus I have everything backed up elsewhere so the data lose isn't a concern. You've both talked me out of the RAID Controller though. Thanks. – fedora Aug 26 '12 at 21:08

A RAID controller might add performance, but this depends on the RAID controller and the RAID levels. A cheap controller might do worse. Vice versa I expect that a good controller with BBU and RAID6 level will do better.

If you use striping (RAID 0) then yes, the OS should see a single 1TB drive. Depending on drivers and OS you might also see the separate drives.

Before buying a RAID card, sit down and think of what you want:

  • Do you intend to stay with 2 drives? Or will you add more at a later date?
  • Do you ever intend to buy a SSD (in which case SATA III or SAS 6GB/sec might be nice)
  • Which RAID levels do you want? Striping? Mirroring? RAID5 so you can survive a single disk failure while loosing only a single disks worth of space? (Check out this page for a nice clear description of RAID levels).
  • Do you intend to install a second OS later on? (e.g. I bought a 3ware card because they had a good reputation in supporting FreeBSD).

NB: The card you linked to is not a RAID card. It just adds a few SATA III ports.

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  • Oops, had a bunch of cards open and linked to the wrong tab. You've talked me out of the controller though. Thanks for the help. – fedora Aug 26 '12 at 21:13

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