Im new to the RAID systems and I've been educating myself on how SATA RAID works. I have a pretty good knowledge on computers as i have built many systems in my time but most of them being BACK IN THE DAY when there was just IDE drives and Pentium 4s. "Guess I've been out the loop for a min." I do know how the rules of the levels of RAID work well, at least through 0,1-5-10 anyway. Don't know about anything past that... Moving on, I've heard fron diffrent sorces that RAID can inprove your performance even if you only have one HDD instaled. I've read, at least from two different people that RAID 0 gave them better read speeds and overall performance on their systems with just 1 HDD.
Is this true?
I recently Installed Windows 7 Ultimate x64 on my XPS 410 so I could get full use of 4 GB of RAM and upgraded my processor to a Q6700 Core 2 Quad but I didn't install RAID drivers cause I didn't think I needed it with one drive. I don't even remember but I think my original Dell system came with RAID installed with Vista but I'm not sure cause I had not been educated about such a thing at the time. All I know is that RAID is ON by defult in the BIOS so I am assuming that it came with RAID drivers from Dell. Now that I have learned a little more about it I'm wondering if I should do a fresh install with RAID drivers this time.
Dell XPS 410
Operating System: Windows 7 Ultimate x64
Processor: Q7600 Core 2 Quad
Memory: 4 GBs 800Mhz PC2-6400
Hard Drive: 1 Western Digital Caviar Black 1-TB running as SATA II in RAID to enable the AHCI controller
Video / Display: 1 XFX ATI Radeon HD 5770 XXX 1 GB DDR5 with display port, HDMI, and Dual DVI ports. PCI- E X16 2.0 Card
1 Hauppauge HD hybrid dual TV Tuner MPEG encoder with FM, Clear QAM, Analog, and Digital reciver PCI-E X4 Card
Intergrated intel10/100/1000 Ethernet Controller
intergrated Realtek 7.1 Audio Controler
Keithg2 knows more about this than I do, but a couple things to add as a 410 owner playing "catch-up" myself:"RAID On" in the 410 turns on both RAID and AHCI capability. With RAID On, but only one drive, it's in just AHCI mode. True RAID (including RAID 0) requires at least 2 drives. "RAID Off" is legacy IDE/ATA drive compatibility - all OS's can run on legacy with no drivers required. Kind of annoying to me there's no "middle" option in the 410 BIOS for AHCI only, but such is life.
As for whether AHCI is really a big advantage - supposedly it allows for faster drive access due to native command queuing, but whether it's noticeable in anything but benchmarking, I don't know. Some interesting information here - though it's only for XP. Win7 could well be a whole other animal.http://expertester.wordpress.com/2008/07/24/ahci-vs-ide-%E2%80%93-benchmark-advantage/Wikipedia has some good articles too on AHCI and RAID, but it's down at the moment.....
Windows 7 will install RAID drivers for you. However, to be able to configure RAID or view RAID status after Windows is installed, you need to install the Intel Matrix Storage Manager application. The XPS 410 Drivers and Downloads page has an older version. So, I wouldn't use those. You will want to browse Intel's site for v126.96.36.1993. The application also includes the latest RAID drivers for the Intel RAID controller. So, when you install the app, you are also installing the latest drivers.
Studio XPS 435T/9000 (His)Inspiron 1720 (Hers)Inspiron 530s (Server)
Thanks Alexandra and Keithg2,
That's just what i needed to know. AHCI with one HDD. NOT RAID 0. Well I went into the BIOS and enabled the RAID ON selection and did the reinstall of Windows 7 Ultimate 64-bit ( I also was looking for an excuse to install Ubuntu Linux in another partition as well ) and win 7 automatically installed the latest intel driver for the storage controller. Just like you said Keith... didn't have to press f6 at all!! Yay!
for future reference, I did notice a pretty good increase in read speeds and system performance under a slight load. I also find that the system has a more stable feel to it especially when I'm gaming.
I would definitely recommend installing the AHCI driver to anyone reading this thread or wondering the same thing as I was...