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Old 03-09-2008, 08:22 AM   #1
einr
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Question RAID support for nForce3-250Gb based motherboard?


Hello all,

I am considering setting up a pair of SATA disks in RAID 1 on my MSI K8N-Neo2FX motherboard (nForce3-250Gb based) but from what I can find on Google Linux support seems sketchy at best. I am aware that software RAID might be a better idea anyway on Linux but the problem here is I want to run Windows 2000 off this same disk and I'd like both operating systems to recognize and work with the RAID configuration.

I'd just like definite confirmation from anyone who's tried this -- does my motherboard RAID work in Linux or not? Linux version doesn't matter; I'd be willing to switch to any kernel as long as I get it working. Thanks in advance!
 
Old 03-09-2008, 08:33 AM   #2
Simon Bridge
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Quote:
I am aware that software RAID might be a better idea anyway on Linux but the problem here is I want to run Windows 2000 off this same disk and I'd like both operating systems to recognize and work with the RAID configuration.
This is unlikely to happen - the board uses fake raid. Check the nvidia site for if they have linux drivers and some means to load them at installation time.

If you want RAID good for everybody, you have to shell out for full HW RAID. Sorry.

HCL has related mobos:
http://www.linuxquestions.org/hcl/sh...ct/3503/cat/53
... no RAID - drat.

http://www.linuxquestions.org/hcl/sh...ct/3568/cat/53
... indicates NV RAID but no comments on it.

There are others, go look. But with NV RAID, you install linux to a regular drive (you gotta have /boot there anyway) and use the nvidia proprietary drivers.
 
Old 03-09-2008, 09:04 AM   #3
einr
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Thanks, that's some useful info. I found no relevant drivers on the nVidia nor MSI sites. I did, however, just find this guide which is mostly Gentoo-specific but seems to say that nForce3-250Gb should work fine with "dmraid", so that looks positive and this link should be helpful to others with similar questions... Guess I will do as it says and try a Gentoo LiveCD to see if it recognizes the controller.

While I'm at it though, here's a quick stupid question: I don't suppose it's possible to use software RAID in Linux and the "hardware" drivers in Windows on the same disk, and have it work? Some part of me says that RAID 1 is RAID 1 and should do the same thing to the disks regardless of what driver is used, but I'm also pretty sure that will prove to be wrong in practice...
 
Old 03-09-2008, 09:58 AM   #4
Simon Bridge
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Well, dmdoraid worked perfect for the device (2 WD80JDB RAID0) to be visible on the livecd. When i tried to make the installation using the installer (by defining manually the partitions, skipping the partitions creation part), i always got a failure message during grub install. I had to go with the installer all the way until kernel install, then reinstall using the guide here, chroot, install devicemapper, compile, install grub etc. Perhaps using the installer is not recommended. Anyhow this guide worked like a charm )
The RAID controller on their board was MBFastTrack 133 PDC20276 chip. Is this the same as yours?

Not all onboard raid controllers are so amenable, and the howto does not specify a mobo.

I still think you'll have to install to a regular sata drive, install the nvidia drivers, then set up the RAID so linux sees it properly, partition (for /home say) and move your files over - editing fstab to reflect this.

Also rethink what you need RAID for...
 
Old 03-09-2008, 10:16 AM   #5
einr
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Simon Bridge View Post
The RAID controller on their board was MBFastTrack 133 PDC20276 chip. Is this the same as yours?

Not all onboard raid controllers are so amenable, and the howto does not specify a mobo.
Well, if you look closer at the list there are several positive results from people with nForce3-250Gb chipsets. This is the one I have and the dmraid man page reinforces its support by saying it supports "nForce" so hopefully there shouldn't be a problem.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Simon Bridge View Post
I still think you'll have to install to a regular sata drive, install the nvidia drivers, then set up the RAID so linux sees it properly, partition (for /home say) and move your files over - editing fstab to reflect this.
Unfortunately there are no proprietary nVidia drivers anywhere that I can find. Which is just fine if dmraid works. But other than that, you're correct; there needs to be a boot partition outside the RAID set, but this can be made irrelevantly small (50M or so) so that's fine. As I still have other IDE and SATA drives I could use I probably don't even need to do anything to the actual RAID drives before I have the chance to install and configure dmraid.

I found guides for Ubuntu and Slackware too after investigating dmraid further so at this point I'm pretty confident I can make this work. Thanks for your help!

Quote:
Originally Posted by Simon Bridge View Post
Also rethink what you need RAID for...
Well, one of my hard drives just died, and I'm horribly tired of this happening. Fortunately nothing really important was lost that I can think of (primarily around 60 gigabytes of music, most of which I can re-rip from CD -- tedious as hell but not much has been LOST as such) However, there is some stuff on my other drives that I MUST not lose, which brings me to RAID 1...

Last edited by einr; 03-09-2008 at 10:18 AM.
 
Old 03-09-2008, 10:58 AM   #6
Simon Bridge
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RAID1 is no replacement for backups. Anything you "must not lose" should be stored in multiple geographical locations.

However, if you have a history of drives which tend to fail too soon, then sure, I see why you'd want to boost that reliability. With new drives, though, it is usually more cost effective to buy a decent one. RAID comes into its own when you are using lots of second-hand drives.

IIRC: the nvidia chipset drivers are included in the video-driver package.

May I suggest you make that /boot a bit more generous - makes it more scaleable. 100-200MiB is usually roomy enough to allow for some distros "upgrade" approaches too. Also gives you room to manouver in the kernel department.

Good luck and happy hacking. Let us know how it went...
 
  


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