Dell XPS 8500 desktop - Full Instructions for setting up Raid 1 needed

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Dell XPS 8500 desktop - Full Instructions for setting up Raid 1 needed

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Hi, I will be getting this system soon and it consists the 256GB ssd for the OS, etc and a 2GB sata drive for the data. The ssd has it's own connection on the board and this leaves 2No 6GB/s & 2No 3GB/s sata ports on the board. The OS is windows 7 ult but i don't want to use the software raid.

I have bought a 2nd identical sata hard drive and want to set up hardware raid 1 for the data. I am assuming they will be connected to the 6GB/s ports as there will be 2 optical drives which i intend to have connected to the 3GB/s ports

Can anyone provide a step by step set of instructions as to setting up the raid 1 as soon as I get the computer. It will be unused until I have set the raid up. If you can try and make it idiot proof that would be great (e.g do i need to disconnect the ssd before setting up the raid, does the new sata drive need to be formatted first, etc?)

I'm sure Dell support can instruct me on how to do it, but I'm generally capable of doing minor hardware upgrades and have done things like OS reinstalls before so I'm sure with a clear set of instructions it should not be too difficult!

Thanks for any help you can give

Verified Answer
  • There are two processes that can be used to set up a RAID.  The Intel Rapid Storage Technology console and the Intel Option ROM RAID setup utility.  Intel recommends that the RST console be used on a system that already has Windows installed and running, but I don't know why the RAID setup utility could not be used provided the system drive is not to be included in the RAID.

    If the RAID setup utility is used, you wind up with a blank RAID volume that must be partitioned and formatted like any hard drive you add to the computer.  This is done by using the Disk Management application.  If the RST console is used to migrate to RAID from a drive having data on it, the RAID that is created will have the same structure as found on the drive used for the migration, so no partitioning and formatting would be required.

    To use the RST console, study this:  Intel Rapid Storage Technology Users Guide.  Section 8 contains information specific to your stated goal.  The document also covers the RAID setup utility, however, so it would be a good idea to check out the entire guide.  The computer must have RAID mode enabled before attempting to set up a RAID.  The guide gives you a "how to", but remember that the screens shown are for Intel motherboards which differ slightly from the Dell version.  The guide also provides information on using the RAID setup utility.  The most significant difference between using the RST console and the RAID setup utility is that the setup utility will not allow you to migrate from an existing disk.

    Dell Forum member since 2005

  • The earlier versions of Intel Rapid Storage Technology, such as the Intel Matrix Storage Manager, show all drives attached to the SATA ports.  On my computers that includes the hard drives and the DVD/CD ROM drives.  Although your SSD is attached to a SATA port, I have no experience with computers that have mSATA drives, so I can't answer your question.  However, you should have no trouble selecting the correct drives because you are looking for two drives having the same specifications, especially with regard to capacity.  This will be shown on the setup screen.

    Dell Forum member since 2005

All Replies
  • Hi missymaxxx,

    I assume you want to set up mirroring for your data drive?

  • Hi, yes I want them mirrored as I have alot of data that I cannot afford to lose. I will also be doing a weekly backup on an external drive, along with creating disk copies.

  • There are two processes that can be used to set up a RAID.  The Intel Rapid Storage Technology console and the Intel Option ROM RAID setup utility.  Intel recommends that the RST console be used on a system that already has Windows installed and running, but I don't know why the RAID setup utility could not be used provided the system drive is not to be included in the RAID.

    If the RAID setup utility is used, you wind up with a blank RAID volume that must be partitioned and formatted like any hard drive you add to the computer.  This is done by using the Disk Management application.  If the RST console is used to migrate to RAID from a drive having data on it, the RAID that is created will have the same structure as found on the drive used for the migration, so no partitioning and formatting would be required.

    To use the RST console, study this:  Intel Rapid Storage Technology Users Guide.  Section 8 contains information specific to your stated goal.  The document also covers the RAID setup utility, however, so it would be a good idea to check out the entire guide.  The computer must have RAID mode enabled before attempting to set up a RAID.  The guide gives you a "how to", but remember that the screens shown are for Intel motherboards which differ slightly from the Dell version.  The guide also provides information on using the RAID setup utility.  The most significant difference between using the RST console and the RAID setup utility is that the setup utility will not allow you to migrate from an existing disk.

    Dell Forum member since 2005

  • Thats great, thanks Jackshak.

    Could you just clarify as I've heard of hardware raid & windows raid and I am led to believe the hardware raid is the much better option.

    Are the IRST & Rom raid setup utilty you speak about both hardware raid setups?

    Also what is the OS raid called so i dont do this by mistake?

    Thanks

  • Hi missymaxx,

    Hardware RAID means your controller supports RAID, which is what you have in your Dell desktop.

  • Thanks for the great help everyone.

    It looks like I'll be using the IRST to setup my raid 1 on the 2 sata data drives (I think this is the preferred method!)

    I have another question. My system has the 256GB SSD on the msata board connector which has the OS and programmes. Will this drive show up in the IRST setup utility and if so are the 2TB sata drives easily identifiable?

    The reason I ask is that I do not want to make a mistake and try and raid 1 this drive (IRST documentation does not mention if an SSD is installed)

    Thanks for your assistance

  • The earlier versions of Intel Rapid Storage Technology, such as the Intel Matrix Storage Manager, show all drives attached to the SATA ports.  On my computers that includes the hard drives and the DVD/CD ROM drives.  Although your SSD is attached to a SATA port, I have no experience with computers that have mSATA drives, so I can't answer your question.  However, you should have no trouble selecting the correct drives because you are looking for two drives having the same specifications, especially with regard to capacity.  This will be shown on the setup screen.

    Dell Forum member since 2005

  • Did this ever get resolved?  How did the install go?

    I'm interested in doing the same thing.

    I'm not sure why Dell chose not to include this by default like the earlier XPSs had.

    Thanks!

  • Hi,
    Yes I got the Raid 1 set up and it was very straight forward thanks to the forum's help. The reply from JackShack helped me the most as it referred me to the Intel Rapid Storage Utility Guide. The link is in the forum under JackShacks reply to my query.
    Give the guide a full read through. It should help you to easily install the raid as it did me. Setting the Bios is straight forward and if you have the 8500 the Intel Rapid Storage Utility should be pre-installed. Look for the Intel folder in the start/programs.
    My system has the operating system loaded on the 256GB SSD and it had a 2GB sata drive (Model Seagate ST2000DM001) for the data. I added an identical 2GB drive and raid 1 connected them to protect the data.
    Please note the original documents said the 8500 had 2 sata 3 ports to get the faster 6GB/s speed. The single drive installed is connected to a sat 3 port and I thought connecting the second drive to the second sata 3 port would continue to ensure I got the 6GB/s speed for the raid. However I have since found out that there was no second sata 3 port and so my raid is operating at the slower sata 2 (3GB/s speed). I still find the raid drives operate fast enough though so this shouldn't really pose a problem to you but I felt you should be aware.
    I hope the above helps you. You should find it fairly straight forward and pain free!
    Thanks
  • Hi all,

    I've been trying to set up RAID 1 on my new XPS 8500 just like missymaxxx has.  My system came preloaded with Win 8 on a single 2TB HDD.  I installed a 128GB Plextor mSATA SSD and loaded Win 7 Home Premium onto that drive, then repartitioned the existing HDD and connected it into one of the 3GB/s SATA ports and added a second 2TB HDD and connected it to the remaining 3.0 GB/s SATA port (so nothing is connected to SATA0).  The system boots and runs fine when set to AHCI mode in BIOS, but when I switch the BIOS from AHCI to RAID to try to set up the RAID1 the system won't boot and wants to start up the OS repair utility.  Any ideas on what could possibly be wrong?

    Thanks! 

  • Am I correct in understanding that you are not running a dual boot system, but a Windows 7 system having an SSD as the system drive with a plan to use a RAID 1 as the data drive?  You might want to make an image of your system drive just in case of a problem, but I see no reason you should not run the OS repair utility.  A slightly different driver is required to use the RAID option ROM, which the OS repair utility should fix.  I normally run the Windows 7 system disk itself to do this, choosing to repair the existing installation rather than performing a full install.

    Dell Forum member since 2005

  • Thanks for the reply, JackShack!  Yes, you are correct - single boot system with the OS on the mSATA SSD.  When I make the change to RAID in the BIOS the Win7 boot fails about halfway through, then sends me to the OS repair.  When I try to run the OS repair, it initially wants to restore the OS to a previously saved stable point, and if I cancel that it doesn't make any corrections, but instead just suggests that if any peripheral devices have been connected that they be disconnected before booting.  Seems like restoring to a previous stable point wouldn't help me out here.

  • I think you need to run a repair from the Windows installation DVD.  That procedure has saved me more than once.

    Dell Forum member since 2005