Sunday, October 16, 2011

16GB of ram and How to Migrate Raid0 from one system to another (different chipsets/controllers)

DISCLAIMER: This guide is specific to newer motherboards that include  raid chipset in some or most of the sata ports, from both brands of AMD and NVIDIA, the success rate depends on many variables mainly the  hard drive interface controller and how well the operating system can deal with the swtich to another one (this resuslts in blue screens of death in few ocations, always have a back up of your data!)

I NEED MORE RAM! (8 is not enough!)
As you may remember on a previous post (double your speed with raid0) i told the tale of how i doubled the speed of my computer by adding together 2 hard drives and form a RAID 0 array, dividing the write times in half and increasing the read performance by two, i slapped 8 gigs of DDR2 ram to that computer and i was gold! resources available at all times... but having many open projects and a game by the side, really slowed down my system!

 need more ram!

The Wonders of DDR3 - Get past the 8GB Barrier!
Standard Memory modules for DDR2 top at 2GB per stick, there do exist 4GB modules but are  very expensive and rare, also not all motherboard can really support properly more than 2GB per slot, since it never became a standard, luckly for me and all of you DDR3 came to save us, Starting from 1GB the modules can go all the way up to 4GB each, and just recently as of september 2011 brands like Kingston have now started to sell 8GB DDR3 memory sticks, certified to the standard, and all current motherboard should be able to support such modules!

Finding an AMD motherboard with 4 slots for DDR3 memory and raid sata support is easy today, there are many brands to choose from, and all current chipsets from both Nvidia and AMD support RAID 0 or 1, i was all set 4 ram modules 4gigs each, my new motherboard and the will to succeed!

THE PROBLEM -Nvidia Raid wont work on AMD (and vice versa)
So i faced a big hurdle, my current RAID0 array, works and functions on my current motherboard wich is Nvidia Based.. but if i move the disks over to the new Motherboard, the amd chipset just doesnt know what to do with them and i REALLY wanted to move my operating system without having to remake the array reinstall and set up all of my work programs again!

The Normal easy solution (but you have to reinstall everything from scratch!)
Assuming there exists a current backup of all my files, the usual procedure would consist of  re creating the RAID 0 array on the new motherboard , and install the operating system a new, this means i would have to copy over my backups and work files.. as well to install ALL the needed programs, which in reality for me is a hassle, and  would rather avoid.. i want to  MOVE OVER to the new 16GB system as if nothing happened!!

The Hento solution - cloning back and forth between systems (might be slower /might not work on all systems)
In order to have my current OS and configuration on the new motherboard  we are gonna exploit the use of disk cloning.. this means you will need a cloning program  and a hard drive as big as your current RAID 0 setup (1TB in my case)

STEP 1-Clone Back up
I already have a steady progressive backup of my current Raid0 system in a third hard drive that i plug around every 2 weeks, and right before moving to the new system i create a progressive clone once more, since i have been doing periodically,  the clone program (casper 4.0 in my case) does not have to copy over ALL the data, it just updates the target drive with any changes made to the soruce (new files/modifiedones get copied over and deleted ones in soruce get deteled on the clone backup as well) creating a perfect carbon copy of your current raid 0 into a single hard drive, if this is your first time, it will take a while!!! make sure that the new cloned drive os/boot partition is set to ACTIVE.

check that the cloned drive has its os/boot partition marked as ACTIVE

PROTIP: My Raid0 system is split into 2 partitions the OS one and the Data, in such case you can opt to just clone the OS one (the first one) and carry on to the next step, if it works, you can go back to cloning the additional partitions then, this is to save time and learn earlier if the migration is a go.

STEP 2  - Boot the Cloned single drive in your new system (raid disabled) - reactivate windows

Plug in the cloned backup into the new motherboard with the ports configured as default sata/ide normal mode, do not enable RAID mode yet, hopefully it boots up into your desktop and starts configuring the new hardware, let it make friends with the motherboard and restart to make sure it works you can install additional drivers for network, windows will probably ask you to re activate itself, since the motherboard is a new one, you can do this trough internet or with a free phone call, just have your serial key ready, if all went well go into the next step.

PROTIP: This is where you will know if the migration is viable or not, because even if the cloned drive is a working boot able version of your RAID0 on your current motherboard, it might fail to boot at all in another motherboard, this has to do with the ability of the operating system to boot and configure itself in the new hardware,if you get a blue screen of death prior to the desktop, this is surely the case, what you can do to help is to put your cloned drive back into your old system and boot up, inside you will have to uninstall all and any drivers of your video card, network adapters and most importantly you have to set up your hard disk controllers to Standard pci controllers, you must have your devices as compatible and as default as possible.

STEP 3 - Enabling Raid on the motherboard and booting off the NON Raid Sata/Ide port
It is important to know that most mainstream RAID able chipsets provide at least  two  non RAID ports even after you enable it in the bios, both of my motherboards have 6 sata ports, of which 4 switch over to raid mode, leaving only 2 in non raid mode, these ports are usually the last two (port 5 and 6 for me) this is where you will plug in your cloned drive AFTER enabling RAID mode, in the event that ALL sata ports are converted into RAID mode and your cloned drive no longer boots up, then you have the alternative to retry the whole process from step one, but utilizing an IDE hard drive, hopefully you will be right at home on port 5 or 6, After booting into windows it should DETECT the new RAID controller.. install all necessary drivers YOU ARE ALMOST THERE!.

often sata ports are in different colors to indicate the ones that swtich to RAID mode and the ones that dont, as always check your motherboard manual to be sure!

STEP 4 - Create the new RAID0 / Check that your Clone has everything!
It is important that you check  that the CLONED, BOOTABLE single drive on the NON RAID controller , has all of your data, is up to date  and recognizes the new motherboards RAID controller (from step 3) because,  you will have to move over your RAID drives into the new systems Ports 1 and 2, and recreate a new RAID 0 array, nuking whatever information they hold, remember that you are now relying on your CLONED drive, you can opt to disconnect it BEFORE creating the array, leaving only the RAID drives in, configuration is often done in POST, the system will ask to press CTRL+F or F11 (or any other it displays) to enter the RAID controller configuration, inside grab the two drives and create the new RAID0 with the default stripe size.

how to create a raid 0 video guide, but if you are followign this guide, you already know how to! XD

STEP 5 - Boot Back into your cloned drive / Clone Back!
Plug your cloned drive back in to its non RAID port, and boot into it, you might have to fiddle with the bios boot settings as it will see 2 drives (the cloned and the empty  raid0) , most new motherboards swtich over to whatever hard drive has an active boot partition, and since the raid one has nothing at this point, you should have no trouble, you will be prompted of the discovery of a new hard drive and NOW you have to CLONE your way   from the Cloned drive, BACK into the NEW RAID0 one. let the program do its job and remember to check that the new cloned drive has its os/boot partition marked as ACTIVE like in step one.

STEP 6 - Booting with your new RAID / unplug the cloned single drive
As the title says, unplug the single cloned drive after its done cloning back, your computer should NOW boot into the RAID 0, which is a clone of the cloned single drive that had the RAID 0 controller driver installed already  ENJOY! :D!

EVERYTHING IS FASTER AND BETTER - 16 GIGS of ram and better RAID controller!
Well here i am sitting on my new system, with all my program and work files just as they where on my old drive,it is all as if nothing had changed or happened,  but with the difference that now i have 16 gigs of memory wooohoo!! and as a side effect my new RAID 0 controller is as fast and a lil FASTER than the old one.. all is cool beans :D!

look at all that ram and i am using 12 gigs already! its never enough!

 also side to side comparation of old Nvidia VS new AMD RAID0 performance about the same 
burst rate does seem to have gone up.. it does feel faster to me :O

Next time when i will give you a run down on how windows uses all of this available ram and then how to improve it a little bit! thank you :D


  1. wow, very informational! Thanks for this!

  2. I swear I couldn't find this kind of info by searching for it! Glad I follow your blog!

  3. Wow, great info on raid. I always wondered how to do this.

  4. Good Intel thx bro, keep up the good work
    following =D

  5. Very informational post, guy!
    Nice blog.

  6. 8gb is not enough? Damn ^^
    Thank you for this post! Just found what i was looking for!

  7. Wow, wtf do you use your PC for? never known anyone who could max out more than about 6GB of ram.

  8. I recently upgraded from 4 to 8gb of RAM , and it is enough for me..

  9. That's a neat guide. I may have to use it someday, since I've been thinking about upgrading my computer's memory.

  10. Nice post and blog... following you now.. check mine out too,

    will LC daily =)

  11. 16 GB... It sure is a lot! I'm stuck at the moment with 'only' 4 GB which seems ok at the moment. I don't really think that I could possibly expand with my DDR2 setup. Anyway, we'll see. I'm sadly in a point when I have less and less time for some proper gaming anyway. Thanks for the informative and entertaining (as always) post : )

  12. to all the upper comments, im replying as a gamer, RAM is never enough guys :P

  13. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

  14. Eight gigabytes of RAM not enough? Haha!

  15. I need moar ram as well :/

  16. I'm looking forward to next post :D

  17. Very nice tutorial, hope you got more of these in the next posts!

  18. Wow long post but very interesting ! well done ! +1 followed =)

  19. That's very interesting! Thanks for the share =D

  20. I had a similar setup on one of my servers, but it was an incompatibility with a VIA chipset and the SATA interface that gave me headaches :P

  21. Nice post, I have 4gb RAM DDR3 and it's been awesome.

  22. Ooh great info.... I've been in a bit tech-lazy mood past couple months tho >.<

    Though I do agree. I need more than 8gb RAM. Well I probably don't need it. But I would like it. (Wouldn't we all....)


  23. Dam im still with 2gb Ram :S

  24. I can't imagine how it would be to have a PC with 16GB of RAM... :O

  25. Haha and I thought 4GB would be enough!

  26. c'mooon 4gb is more than enough for now

  27. One of the best tutorials I have seen in a webpage.

  28. You explain this things very well, congrats! Great blog!