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How to Configure Intel Based RAID on a Dell Computer

Summary: This article is a guide to configuring RAID on a Dell computer using the Intel Matrix Storage software.

This article may have been automatically translated. If you have any feedback regarding its quality, please let us know using the form at the bottom of this page.

Article Content


Symptoms

Cause

Configuring RAID correctly is important to ensure that the computer can identify the hard drives in the RAID pool and boot into the operating system.

RAID-related issues can occur if the computer does not support RAID feature, incorrect RAID configuration, and hard drive failure.

Resolution

Are you looking to configure RAID on your Dell computer?

Here are some steps that enable you to identify if a Redundant Array of Independent Disks (RAID) solution is possible on your computer. Here are some steps taking you through how to accomplish setting RAID up, if your computer supports it.

NOTE: Remember that RAID as discussed in this article does not survive the removal or replacement of the CMOS battery.

Follow the guides below.

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Can your computer support a RAID Configuration?

Most Desktops and some laptops shipping can support a RAID configuration.

You must have two Hard Drives of equal size and capacity that are installed in your computer.

This type of RAID does not involve a hardware RAID card. Instead it uses the BIOS along with the Intel Chipset and matrix storage software on older computers. Intel Rapid Storage Technology is used on our newer models. It creates a type of Software-controlled RAID. This type of RAID configuration only supports RAID 0 and RAID 1.

Mirrored and Striped.
  1. Is your computer capable of having more than 1 Hard Drive installed?

    1. No, then I am afraid RAID is not going to be possible on your computer?

    2. Yes, then go to the next step.

  2. In your BIOS is RAID an option against the SATA Operation Mode?

    You can get to the BIOS on a Dell computer by tapping the F2 key at the Dell splash screen.

    1. No, then I am afraid RAID is not going to be possible on your computer without purchasing additional hardware.

    2. Yes, then go to the next step.

  3. Go to the Dell Support Site and enter you Service Tag. Go to the Drivers and Downloads for your computer. (On older computers you can see the Intel Matrix Storage software under the Chipset category. On newer computers, it is under the Serial ATA or Storage category that you can see the Intel Rapid Storage Technology software listed.)

    1. No, then I am afraid RAID is not going to be possible on your computer without purchasing additional hardware.

    2. Yes, then go to the next step to be taken through the configuration process.

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How to configure RAID on your System

You must have two Hard Drives of equal size and capacity. You must have decided if you want to use RAID 0 or RAID 1. We recommend RAID 1.

RAID 0
Striped Disk Array with no Fault Tolerance - Provides data striping - spreading out blocks of each file across multiple disks, but no redundancy. This improves performance but puts all data at risk if you suffer a disk failure. The drawback to this method is if one drive fails, then all data in the array - both disks are lost. The only benefit to this method is that it speeds up write times to the drive. This makes your computer run quicker and it keeps the full size of the disks.
RAID 1

Mirrored Disk Array - Provides redundancy in case one of the two drives fails. This allows for all data to be duplicated, but is not as fast as a RAID 0. If a disk fails, the data can be recovered from the second disk. The drawback is you half the size of your total capacity, and it is slower to write and it does it to both drives. The benefit is if one disk fails you still have all your data and can rebuild from the surviving disk.

  RAID 0 (Striping) RAID 1 (Data Mirror)
Description: Offers performance benefits over a single hard drive configuration. This is ideal for users who work with large files or require fast data access. Offers backup integrity by having the same data on two drives. If one drive fails, the data is still intact on the other hard drive. This is ideal for applications where data integrity is of utmost importance. The identical data is housed on both drives. That means that the storage capacity for the entire array is equivalent to the size of the smallest drive in the array.
System: SLN155274_en_US__2RAID0 SLN155274_en_US__3RAID1
Computer
Sees:
2 x 320 GB = 640 GB 320 GB
Characteristics: RAID controller breaks the data into blocks and distributes the pieces to both drives simultaneously. RAID controller writes the same data to both drives.
Customer
Benefit:
RAID 0 offers performance benefits over a single hard drive configuration. This bundle is ideal for early adopters and power users that manipulate large files or require fast data access. RAID 1 offers data integrity by having the same data on two drives. If one drive fails, the data is still intact on the other hard drive. This bundle is ideal for applications where the data integrity is of utmost importance. This should not be considered a data backup however.
Benefits:
  • High performance and capacity for storage-intensive applications:
  • Digital Video and Audio
  • Photoshop and photo-editing applications
  • Publishing and graphics
  • Gaming applications
  • Multitasking
  • Gets the most out of the computer's performance.
  • Create fail-safe storage for important data:
  • Secure Data
  • Easiest computer recovery
  • Any application where data is important and the storage system is at risk of failure.
  • Data Protection
  • Protect the data that is important such financial records, small business records, or medical files.
  • Provides the easiest means of data redundancy.
  1. Enter System Setup or BIOS by tapping the F2 key at the Dell splash screen.

  2. Go to the category that contains the SATA Operation mode.

  3. Select the SATA Operation Mode.

  4. Change the mode to RAID On if it was not already set and apply or click yes.

If the setting was changed from RAID Autodetect/ACHI or RAID Autodetect/ATA to RAID On. If it was not, then leave it as set.

SLN155274_en_US__41372949617120.sata_operation

  1. Press Esc to bring up the exit from BIOS screen.

  2. Select Save and Exit, to exit System Setup and resume the boot process.

  3. When the SATA Operation field in System Setup has been set to RAID On, the computer displays a RAID BIOS message. The message is seen after the Dell splash screen shows during POST - but before Windows starts. The message below is what is displayed if no RAID volume is created.

  • Intel(R) Matrix Storage Manager option ROM v5.0.0.1032 ICHx
    Copyright(C) 2003-05 Intel Corporation. All Rights Reserved.

  • RAID Volumes:
    None defined.
  • Physical Disks:
    Port Drive Model Serial # Size Type/Status(Vol ID)
    0 TOSHIBA MK5061GS 80JDT04XT 465.7 GB Non-RAID Disk
    1 TOSHIBA MK5061GS 80JDT04WT 465.7 GB Non-RAID Disk
  • Press CTRL + I to enter the Configuration Utility.

  1. Enter System Setup or BIOS by tapping the F2 key at the Dell splash screen.

  2. Go to the System Configuration.

  3. Select the SATA Operation Mode.

  4. Change the mode to RAID On if it was not already set and apply.

SLN155274_en_US__5RAID_BIOS_BK_01

  1. Select Exit, to exit System Setup and resume the boot process.

  2. When the SATA Operation field in System Setup has been set to RAID On, the computer displays a RAID BIOS message. This message is seen after the Dell splash screen shows during POST - but before Windows starts. The message below is what is displayed if no RAID volume is created.

  • Intel(R) Rapid Storage Technology - option ROM - 10.5.0.1034
    Copyright(C) 2003-11 Intel Corporation. All Rights Reserved.

  • RAID Volumes:
    None defined.
  • Physical Disks:
    Port Drive Model Serial # Size Type/Status(Vol ID)
    2 WDC WD1600AAJS-7 WD-WMAP9D045721 149.0 GB Non-RAID Disk
    3 WDC WD1600AAJS-7 WD-WMAP9D046479 149.0 GB Non-RAID Disk
  • Press CTRL + I to enter Configuration Utility.

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Use this method when you reinstall the Operating system

  1. On Start Up you must press the Ctrl + I keys to enter the Intel RAID Option ROM utility.

SLN155274_en_US__61372949718012.raid1_rom

NOTE: Drives of any size may be used to create a RAID configuration using the Intel RAID Option ROM utility. Ideally the drives should be of equal size. You can calculate the size of the configuration in RAID 0. The size of the configuration is the size of the smallest drive that is multiplied by the number of drives that are used in the configuration. (only 2 possible here.) In a RAID 1 configuration, the size of the configuration is limited to size of the smaller of the two drives used.

Creating a RAID 0 or a RAID 1 Configuration

NOTE: Any data on either hard drive is lost when creating a RAID configuration using the following procedure. Back up all data to another storage device before continuing.
NOTE: Use the following procedure only if reinstalling the operating system. Do not use the following procedure to migrate an existing storage configuration to a RAID 0 configuration.
  1. Select Create RAID Volume and press ENTER.

  2. Enter a RAID volume name or accept the default and press ENTER.

  3. For RAID 0, select RAID 0 (Stripe) and press ENTER or for RAID 1 select RAID 1 (Mirror) and press ENTER.

  4. Select the two drives that constitute the RAID configuration and press ENTER.

    1. For RAID 0, change the stripe size and press ENTER.

    2. For RAID 1, skip this step.

NOTE: For RAID 0, select the stripe size closest to the size of the average file to be stored on the RAID volume. If this is not known, then choose 128 KB as the default stripe size.
  1. Select the wanted capacity for the volume and press ENTER.

    Normally you would go with the default size as the maximum available size.

  2. Press ENTER to create the volume.

  3. Press the Y key to confirm creating the RAID volume.

  4. Check that the correct volume configuration is displayed on the main Intel RAID Option ROM utility screen.

  5. Select Exit and press ENTER.

  6. Install the operating system.

WARNING: Any data on either hard drive is lost when creating a RAID configuration using the following procedure. Back up all data to another storage device before continuing.
NOTE: Use the following procedure only if reinstalling the operating system. Do not use the following procedure to migrate an existing storage configuration to a RAID 0 configuration.
  1. Power on your computer and repeatedly press F12 at the Dell Logo to open the boot menu

  2. Select device configuration using the arrow keys (See figure 1).

    SLN155274_en_US__12bootmenu

    Figure 1: Boot menu

  3. Select Create RAID in the Intel RAID menu (See figure 2).

    SLN155274_en_US__13raid-menu

    Figure 2: Intel RAID menu

  4. Choose a Name for your RAID volume. Select the next entry with the arrow keys (See figure 3).

    SLN155274_en_US__14create-raid

    Figure 3: Create RAID menu.

  5. Select the RAID Level that you want to create (See figure 4).

    SLN155274_en_US__15raid-level

    Figure 4: Select RAID level.

  6. You can select a disk for your RAID volume by highlighting it and pressing spacebar or enter and selecting X (See figure 5)

    SLN155274_en_US__16raid-disk

    Figure 5: Select RAID member disks

  7. Choose the volume and stripe size and select Create Volume to finish. The RAID Volume is now shown in the Main screen. (See figure 6)

    NOTE: For RAID 0, select the stripe size closest to the size of the average file to be stored on the RAID volume. If this is not known, then choose 128 KB as the default stripe size.

    SLN155274_en_US__18raid-created

    Figure 6: RAID-Volume created

  8. You can now install the operating system

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This method is when you want to migrate your existing operating system

The computer has already got one hard drive with the operating system installed on it and you want to fit a second drive. You want to configure them both as RAID without losing the existing data. You can use the migrating option in the Intel Matrix Storage Manager in your Operating System.

  1. Click the Start button and go to All Programs\Intel Matrix Storage Manager\Intel Matrix Storage Console to launch the Intel Storage Console.

  2. On the Actions menu, you want to select Create RAID Volume From Existing Hard Drive to launch the Migration Wizard.

NOTE: If an Actions menu option is not displayed, the computer is not set to RAID-enabled mode.
  1. Click Next on the Migration Wizard screen.

  2. Enter a RAID volume name or accept the default.

  3. Choose from the following options:

    1. For RAID 0, select RAID 0 as the RAID level from the drop-down box, select the appropriate stripe size from the drop-down box and click Next.

    2. For RAID 1, select RAID 1 as the RAID level from the drop-down box, go on to the next step.

  4. On the Select Source Hard Drive screen, double-click the hard drive from which to migrate your data and click Next.

NOTE: Select the hard drive that is to be used as the source drive. (it should be the hard drive containing the data or operating system files that are to be migrated to the RAID volume)
  1. On the Select Member Hard Drive screen, double-click the hard drive to select the member drive on which to span the array and click Next.

    1. For RAID 0, on the Specify Volume Size screen, select the wanted volume size, and click Next.

    2. For RAID 1, go on to the next step.

NOTE: In the following step, all data that is contained on the member drive is lost.
  1. Click Finish to start migrating or click Back to make changes.

The computer can be used normally during the migration process.

If you are having any issues with this, I would recommend contacting your Technical Support. If you already have RAID configured and are looking for a Troubleshooting guide, then check out the article that is linked below.

The computer has already got one hard drive that already has the operating system installed on it and you want to fit a second drive. You want to configure them both as RAID without losing the existing data. Use the migrating option in the Intel Rapid Storage Technology in your Operating System.

  1. Click the Start button and go to All Programs\Intel Rapid Storage Technology\Intel Rapid Storage Console to launch the Intel Rapid Storage Console.

  2. Select the Create button from the top menu.

  3. Click Select and choose from the following options then click Next:

    1. For RAID 1, select Real-time data protection (RAID 1).

    2. For RAID 0, select Optimized disk performance (RAID 0).

  4. Click Configure and:

    1. Enter a Volume Name.

    2. Select the disks to create RAID on.

    3. Select the drive that you want to migrate the operating system from.

    4. Then click Next.

NOTE: The hard drive marked (system) is the one to be used as the source drive. (That is the hard drive containing the data or operating system files that are to be migrated to the RAID volume)
  1. Click Confirm and if everything checks correct select Create Volume.

NOTE: It advises you at this stage that this may take some time and you can continue working while this works in the background. I would recommend you wait until it is finished instead.
  1. A message box appears to say that the volume was created successfully. Click OK to continue.

  2. A status screen shows the status of your new volume.

If you are having any issues with this, I would recommend contacting your Technical Support. If you already have RAID configured and are looking for a Troubleshooting guide, then check out the article that is linked below.

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Additional Information


 

Out of Warranty support Out of warranty? No problem. Browse the Dell.com/support website and enter your Dell Service Tag and view our offers.

NOTE: Offers are only available for US, Canada, UK, France, Germany, and China personal computer customers. Server and Storage not applicable.

Article Properties


Affected Product

Chromebox, Alienware, Inspiron, Retired Models, OptiPlex, Vostro, XPS, G Series, Fixed Workstations

Last Published Date

22 Jul 2022

Version

8

Article Type

Solution