RAID Installation Guide

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Reliable storage of data is extremely important in the world of computers. Whether in the corporate world or an at home business, data is everything. For this reason motherboard manufacturers have designed a system to use multiple hard drives in your computer to save data and in case one drive fails, you still have access to all your data. The term for using multiple hard drives to save data is called RAID (Redundant Array of Independent Disks). It has been around for several years in the corporate world but more recently it has found its way to personal computers. It is very easy to set up and all that is required is a motherboard that supports a RAID setup and two hard drives of similar storage size. This guide will show you how to set up a RAID on your home computer.

Types of RAID

Before we jump right in to the setup portion, we need to determine what type of RAID to set up. There are several different types of RAID. A RAID 0 setup is used to split the information amongst the two drives. Rather than the data being written in a big chunk on one of the drives, a data block is split over the two drives in an effort to speed up the system. However, if one of the drives fail, all the data is lost. This is not very useful if you are concerned about your data and want a solid backup.

A much more practical application is the RAID 1 configuration. Here the two drives each receive an exact copy of the data. Although it takes a little bit more time to write the information to both drives, if one of the drives fail, you still have all the data available from the other drive. This is the most practical application of data backup and security.

Setting Up a RAID

Begin by installing the two hard drives in the computer (see the hard drive installation guide here if you need help). If the drives are the IDE interface, set the two drives with the appropriate jumper settings on the back, one as Master the other as Slave. If you are using SATA hard drives there are no jumper settings to configure, all you have to do is plug the drives in. Next, open your motherboard manual to the section regarding BIOS settings and look for a RAID setup instruction. The manual will specify what settings are needed in the BIOS to set the drives up in a RAID configuration of your choosing. This often involves a certain data controller designed to handle a RAID setup. I recommend using the RAID 1 configuration because this ensures quality data backup. However, it is a matter of personal choice. In the context of a gaming computer, some users have claimed that a RAID 0 setup has resulted in improved performance during gameplay. Most newer games, including the Call of Duty series, save the player's data to an online server so backing up the data on your computer is not as important. You can experiment with the different types of RAID configuration settings and see what works best for you.

Conclusion

Setting up a RAID is an easy task and can save a lot of frustration from a hard drive failure or a virus that wipes out a drive. The only requirements being two hard drives of similar storage capacity and a motherboard that supports a RAID setup.



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