Vostro 260 doesn't provide setup prompt for highpoint 640l raid card

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Vostro 260 doesn't provide setup prompt for highpoint 640l raid card

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Hi anyone

I have  vexing problem.  I have put a Highpoint Rocket 640L PCI-Express RAID SATA card in my vostro 260 and I am not getting the boot up prompt to enter the cards BIOS and set up RAID.

Card is here 

http://www.highpoint-tech.com/USA_new/series_r640L.htm

What happens is that the card appears to be defaulting to a JBOD setup, so the pc sees 2 hard drives and I can install windows on one.

Then I install the GUI confiig but can't create a RAID 1 as there is already an OS on 1 disk.

I need to set up the RAID1 in the bios before boot but am not getting this option.

I have a horrible fear this is a limitation of  the Vostro 260 BIOS (it is up to day at A06).  

Any suggestions welcome.

Thanks

Anthony

Verified Answer
  • Well here are 2 possible work arounds for  this problem.  

    1.  CONFIRMED SUCCESSFUL

    The card defaults to JBOD.  if you install it and attach drives they appear to the PC BIOS and are usable.  

    It  comes with software to configure RAID volumes from the OS itself.  So you can use the software to configure RAIDs on HDDs attached to the card.  It will not let you mess with the drive hosting the OS though.  So do this:

    1. Install the RAID card
    2. Connect the drives you want PLUS one extra drive (if you connect it to the mainboard it will be more obvious which one is which later)
    3. Install an OS  to the extra drive
    4. install the controller drivers and RAID config utility
    5. Configure the RAID you want
    6. Turn off
    7. Remove extra drive
    8. Reboot
    The RAID volume will now appear and you can clone to it or install an OS.
    I used Windows 7 for this but I think there is a config utility for Linux too, in fact I recall reading that some Linux distros don't need anything extra, they include a command line utility to configure the card by default.
    The only other tip I would give is that if you make sure the extra drive is smaller than the RAID you are creating, you can clone it onto the RAID after your've finished, resize the partitions and save yourself another OS install.  If it is the same size it won't work because the RAID config is stored on the drives so the final RAID ends up smaller.  I.e. if you put a RAID 1 on 2 1TB drives, you end up with a slightly smaller RAID volume.  If you then install the OS to a 1TB drive you can't clone it back to the RAID as it is marginally bigger.  
    There's heaps of ways around that but just so you know up front what is going to happen.

    2 - NOT TESTED but I think will work

    The 640L cards write the raid config info to the drives themselves.  So you should be able to put the card and drives into another computer, set up the RAID volumes in the 640L BIOS then move them back to the vostro before installing an OS.  

All Replies
  • atkellyx,

    The Rocket 64xL is only compatible in PCIe x4, x8, and x16 slots. Your Vostro 260 has one PCIe x16 slot reserved for the video card and three PCIe x1 slots. So the card cannot work in those x1 slots. See their User Manual page 3.

    (Liaison for Desktops, Alienware, Monitors)
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  • Hi Chris

    That's why I put the card in the PCIe X16 slot.  Am I missing something?

    As I said, the card is working, I just can't get into it's bios to setup a raid to put the OS on.

    Thanks

    Anthony

  • I see. So you removed our video card from the PCIe x16 slot and then inserted the raid card. I think you should contact their support and ask if they have seen this issue of not getting to the card bios screen.

    (Liaison for Desktops, Alienware, Monitors)
    Drivers
    Order Status

  • Hi Chris

    The system does not ship with a video card so the slot was empty.  I will be contacting their support but as far as I can see 1 of 2 things is happening:

    1.  The vostro bios is not displaying the prompt on boot; or

    2.  The prompt is shown but is hidden by the Dell logo

    In short, I don't think this is their problem, I think it is a Dell problem.

    I can't think of any valid reason to not allow users to view the post outputs and most manufacturers (in my experience) provide the ability to switch off the logo in BIOS so that you can see them.

    Is there a way with a jumper or something to turn off the logo?

    While you're at it, can you point me to a mainboard manual?  I can't find one anywhere.

    Thanks

    Anthony

  • Well here are 2 possible work arounds for  this problem.  

    1.  CONFIRMED SUCCESSFUL

    The card defaults to JBOD.  if you install it and attach drives they appear to the PC BIOS and are usable.  

    It  comes with software to configure RAID volumes from the OS itself.  So you can use the software to configure RAIDs on HDDs attached to the card.  It will not let you mess with the drive hosting the OS though.  So do this:

    1. Install the RAID card
    2. Connect the drives you want PLUS one extra drive (if you connect it to the mainboard it will be more obvious which one is which later)
    3. Install an OS  to the extra drive
    4. install the controller drivers and RAID config utility
    5. Configure the RAID you want
    6. Turn off
    7. Remove extra drive
    8. Reboot
    The RAID volume will now appear and you can clone to it or install an OS.
    I used Windows 7 for this but I think there is a config utility for Linux too, in fact I recall reading that some Linux distros don't need anything extra, they include a command line utility to configure the card by default.
    The only other tip I would give is that if you make sure the extra drive is smaller than the RAID you are creating, you can clone it onto the RAID after your've finished, resize the partitions and save yourself another OS install.  If it is the same size it won't work because the RAID config is stored on the drives so the final RAID ends up smaller.  I.e. if you put a RAID 1 on 2 1TB drives, you end up with a slightly smaller RAID volume.  If you then install the OS to a 1TB drive you can't clone it back to the RAID as it is marginally bigger.  
    There's heaps of ways around that but just so you know up front what is going to happen.

    2 - NOT TESTED but I think will work

    The 640L cards write the raid config info to the drives themselves.  So you should be able to put the card and drives into another computer, set up the RAID volumes in the 640L BIOS then move them back to the vostro before installing an OS.  

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