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Thread: Best Raid setup both ssd and HDD for cad cam on Z87 plus ASUS




  1. #1
    psient1's Avatar
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    Exclamation Best Raid setup both ssd and HDD for cad cam on Z87 plus ASUS

    I just rejoined the community here after a 5 year hiatus (last time I built a new system raid installation required inserting a Floppy with the drivers on it. My new MB doesn't even have a floppy connector. Bye Bye Floppy

    I am about to build a new win8.1 64 bit system for my personal metal/wood shop's new CADCAM machine. The particulars of the intended build should be entered already. If not I'll get them into the post so everyone can see what I'm installing.

    The basics are:

    Motherboard- ASUS Z87-Plus
    CPU- Haswell 4771 (no overclock)
    Graphics Card- Nvidia QUADRO 4000K
    Memory- 32 gigs ddr3
    HDD- 4 Western Digital Black 1TB drives @ raid 10
    SSD- 1 ~500GB brand and specs TBD after discussion
    Sound- MB
    Optical Disc- LG Blu-Ray burner
    Case- Lian Li (right now I don't remember which model)
    Cooling- Air via Heatsink+fan

    OS- Win 8.1 Pro 64bit
    Software

    SW, BobCad, CS6 Master Suite, Office 2013

    I have downloaded the latest drivers for Intel's RST and saved them. I have also saved the latest Intel chipset drivers as well.


    Now I need to consider a learning cure. So I'm hoping you can help:

    Nowadays how does one install a new HDD raid 10 array utilizing 4 1-TB drives for the basic redundancy+striping in my system while using a SSD for win 8.1 OS boot and cache (I don't know how you configure a SSD to do this but I am assuming since I only am getting 1 drive it will not be raid)

    I was hoping there might be a specific guide somewheres. This would avoid a member laboring on this thread.

    I've already spent 2 hours of searching the web as well as doing several searches here. I can't find anything clearly written and specific enough to help my confidence level with a new clean install of Win8 64bit. Most of what I'm seeing is older and specifically is for Win7.

    I've been building computers (about 1 every 5 years) since intel released their 286 CPU and HDDs of 20 MB yes MB were state of the art. Also, back-in-the-day floppy drives were 800 bucks and used the ancient, almost antediluvian 5 1/4" technology.

    Anyway, even though it seems I've been messing with computers for a long time I am obviously not as with-it as most here.I am willing to pay attention to what you say with respect and admiration. BTW I already belong to ASUS's VIP forums for MB issues. In addressing how to install or the raid array I want to ask here!

    Thanks and if you have advice or know where there's a good guide for a new build/clean install with WIN 8.1pro 64bit please let me know.

    psient
    Last edited by psient1; 09-30-2013 at 06:22 PM. Reason: typo

  2. #2
    parsec's Avatar
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    Default Re: Best Raid setup both ssd and HDD for cad cam on Z87 plus ASUS

    You don't have much to worry about with your Windows 8.1 installation on your SSD, and creating your RAID 10 volume, given your experience, plus a few tips.

    Here's a link to a good guide: Clean Install - Windows 8

    1. When you install Windows on the SSD, ONLY have the SSD connected to the PC, in the Intel SATA port 0 or 1 (whatever is first). You can have your HDDs installed, but just don't have them powered up during the Windows installation. Otherwise Windows will put the MBR on a drive other than the SSD, a strange trait of Windows that will cause grief when you create your RAID volume. Simple to avoid this by just having the target drive active when you install Windows.

    If you are using a Windows installation disk, you must use a DVD drive, which is fine and won't be a problem. Be sure to have the DVD drive connected to an Intel SATA port too. I mention this because many boards have secondary add-on SATA controllers (ASMedia, Marvell) that are not as stable as the Intel SATA interface, and their performance is much lower than the Intel SATA interface. If you blindly connect your drives to whatever ports you find, you may be using those other interfaces, which is not a good idea.

    2. Be sure to set the SATA mode on the Intel SATA interface to RAID before you install Windows. Changing to RAID mode after a Windows installation requires a registry edit which can be avoided by setting things up right in the first place. Again, better to do it right now then later.

    3. Since you aren't installing Windows on a RAID volume, you don't need to install the "F6 Floppy" RAID driver during the Windows installation. You can install that driver from a USB flash drive, but it is not necessary. Windows has since version 7 included a basic Intel RAID driver that it uses during the installation. So even if you were using a RAID volume for Windows, you don't need to install the F6 RAID driver.

    After Windows is installed you then install the full IRST driver package, that includes a Windows UI to create and manage RAID volumes. You'll find an entry for that in the Windows Control Panel after you install the Intel RAID driver package. That UI has a Help "button" at the top of its display, that will open another window with extensive documentation about creating RAID volumes. That is your best reference on Intel's RAID capabilities.

    I just saw a floppy drive for about $5 at a PC store, so they are almost giving them away.

  3. #3
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    Default Re: Best Raid setup both ssd and HDD for cad cam on Z87 plus ASUS

    Quote Originally Posted by parsec View Post
    You don't have much to worry about with your Windows 8.1 installation on your SSD, and creating your RAID 10 volume, given your experience, plus a few tips.

    Here's a link to a good guide: Clean Install - Windows 8

    1. When you install Windows on the SSD, ONLY have the SSD connected to the PC, in the Intel SATA port 0 or 1 (whatever is first). You can have your HDDs installed, but just don't have them powered up during the Windows installation. Otherwise Windows will put the MBR on a drive other than the SSD, a strange trait of Windows that will cause grief when you create your RAID volume. Simple to avoid this by just having the target drive active when you install Windows.
    I am not sure what MBR means but I'll reference it with a search?


    Quote Originally Posted by parsec View Post
    If you are using a Windows installation disk, you must use a DVD drive, which is fine and won't be a problem. Be sure to have the DVD drive connected to an Intel SATA port too. I mention this because many boards have secondary add-on SATA controllers (ASMedia, Marvell) that are not as stable as the Intel SATA interface, and their performance is much lower than the Intel SATA interface. If you blindly connect your drives to whatever ports you find, you may be using those other interfaces, which is not a good idea.
    Marvel controllers are always causing headaches. I remember the last computer . . . the ASUS forums were filled with issues caused by the then current SATA Marvel chip. I try to use the Intel connectors first although I am sure there are many useful applications for the others.

    Quote Originally Posted by parsec View Post
    2. Be sure to set the SATA mode on the Intel SATA interface to RAID before you install Windows. Changing to RAID mode after a Windows installation requires a registry edit which can be avoided by setting things up right in the first place. Again, better to do it right now then later.
    Got it!

    Quote Originally Posted by parsec View Post
    3. Since you aren't installing Windows on a RAID volume, you don't need to install the "F6 Floppy" RAID driver during the Windows installation. You can install that driver from a USB flash drive, but it is not necessary. Windows has since version 7 included a basic Intel RAID driver that it uses during the installation. So even if you were using a RAID volume for Windows, you don't need to install the F6 RAID driver.

    After Windows is installed you then install the full IRST driver package, that includes a Windows UI to create and manage RAID volumes. You'll find an entry for that in the Windows Control Panel after you install the Intel RAID driver package. That UI has a Help "button" at the top of its display, that will open another window with extensive documentation about creating RAID volumes. That is your best reference on Intel's RAID capabilities.
    Yeah I am really glad that they did this. I remember that in WIN 95 and 98 (maybe not 98 I can't remember for sure) there was a file that you needed to place in the root directory in order to get the install from your disk. Thus you had to search your installation disk for this file and copy it with DOS onto a floppy for installation first. If you used a file that didn't come with the particular Windows CD it wouldn't work . . . so you just couldn't have one floppy to use for all your different copies of Windows. This might not be totally correct as I'm relying upon shreds of memory. However I DO remember what a relief it was when you didn't have to do this anymore.

    I can't remember what the file was called as my psychology dumped the experiences being as unpleasant as they were. For sure it had to be the correct file iteration not just the file name I think. That meant you really couldn't tell if you got it right until you tried your install and it failed, yeah?

    I had to figure this out on my own with the help of my buddies at the time as there was no real internet like today. It took us a lot of time to get it right as Bill Gates made it so proprietary only mavens knew and getting in touch with them wasn't a matter of email. We did have our University computer tech though.

    Quote Originally Posted by parsec View Post
    I just saw a floppy drive for about $5 at a PC store, so they are almost giving them away.
    USED CNC machines still have them so there is a niche.

    Thanks for the help Parsec.

    I wonder if anyone has found a guide that captures my question particularly?

    I'll do the reading on the installation.

    psient
    Last edited by psient1; 09-30-2013 at 06:24 PM.

  4. #4
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    Default Re: Best Raid setup both ssd and HDD for cad cam on Z87 plus ASUS

    MBR = Master Boot Record
    Check out Master boot record - Wikipedia

    A web search using win8.1 install guide will provide useful links.
    Also search using win8 forum
    http://www.blackviper.com/ has excellent information for current windows versions and as far back as winXP.

    Good luck with your win 8.1 installation.
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  5. #5
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    Default Re: Best Raid setup both ssd and HDD for cad cam on Z87 plus ASUS

    I missed what I think you are referring to in your first post, and later about a guide, which is this:

    Nowadays how does one install a new HDD raid 10 array utilizing 4 1-TB drives for the basic redundancy+striping in my system while using a SSD for win 8.1 OS boot and cache (I don't know how you configure a SSD to do this but I am assuming since I only am getting 1 drive it will not be raid)

    Using a SSD as both the OS drive and as a cache drive for your HDDs is difficult to do, and even if possible would require multiple installations of Windows, due to the nature of creating a SSD - HDD caching system. Frankly, I would not recommend that configuration for several reasons.

    An SSD - HDD caching system, which is based on Intel's RAID and a new addition to it called Smart Response Technology (SRT), is a new type or "flavor" of a RAID 0 array. The point of SRT is to use a small SSD as a cache for a HDD, where the OS is installed on the HDD. That is Intel's intended use of SRT. Files from the OS HDD that are used often are copied to the SSD, that is the caching aspect. The SRT software "learns" what those files are after several boots of the PC, and what the user does with their PC. The user does not have direct control over what is put into the SSD cache.

    I don't know what you intend to store on the HDD RAID 10 volume, but caching a HDD storage volume does not provide much benefit from the SSD caching system.

    The main problem with creating a system like you described is this: I imagine you know that when you create a RAID array of any kind, the target disks are formatted by the RAID creation software before the RAID volume is created, thus destroying any data on those drives. When an SRT SSD caching system is created, the SSD is formatted, but the HDD is not. Recall the point of this is to cache an OS on a HDD, so SRT does not need to format the HDD of course, which would be a mess.

    If you have your OS on the SSD, how can it be formatted by the RAID/SRT software? It can't, and the software won't let you do it in that situation.

    The only potential way of doing what you want is installing the OS on a RAID 10 of your HDDs, then create the caching system with a blank SSD, but partition it into two parts, which SRT does if the SSD is larger than ~60GB. Once complete, then try to install Windows again on the unused partition on the SSD, if that is even possible.

    Intel's support page for its RAID software is here: Support for the Intel® Rapid Storage Technology (Intel® RST)

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    Default Re: Best Raid setup both ssd and HDD for cad cam on Z87 plus ASUS

    Quote Originally Posted by parsec View Post
    I missed what I think you are referring to in your first post, and later about a guide, which is this:

    Nowadays how does one install a new HDD raid 10 array utilizing 4 1-TB drives for the basic redundancy+striping in my system while using a SSD for win 8.1 OS boot and cache (I don't know how you configure a SSD to do this but I am assuming since I only am getting 1 drive it will not be raid)

    Using a SSD as both the OS drive and as a cache drive for your HDDs is difficult to do, and even if possible would require multiple installations of Windows, due to the nature of creating a SSD - HDD caching system. Frankly, I would not recommend that configuration for several reasons.
    Not a problem then. I just abandoned the idea.

    Quote Originally Posted by parsec View Post
    An SSD - HDD caching system, which is based on Intel's RAID and a new addition to it called Smart Response Technology (SRT), is a new type or "flavor" of a RAID 0 array. The point of SRT is to use a small SSD as a cache for a HDD, where the OS is installed on the HDD. That is Intel's intended use of SRT. Files from the OS HDD that are used often are copied to the SSD, that is the caching aspect. The SRT software "learns" what those files are after several boots of the PC, and what the user does with their PC. The user does not have direct control over what is put into the SSD cache.
    System control isn't an issue. It sounds as if the point of the SSD is to make booting faster? The cache isn't allocated unless the boot partition is installed on the HDD raid array yes?

    Quote Originally Posted by parsec View Post
    I don't know what you intend to store on the HDD RAID 10 volume, but caching a HDD storage volume does not provide much benefit from the SSD caching system.
    My thought was to impact the CADCAM work. Maybe I was confusing cause I haven't done my homework on the Solidworks forum. The only problem with me posting there is my novice status as a designer. Responses seem to need a level of savvy I have not attained yet. I am doing tutorials but without my new system I have to use my laptop. This is not the best way to learn.

    Quote Originally Posted by parsec View Post
    The main problem with creating a system like you described is this: I imagine you know that when you create a RAID array of any kind, the target disks are formatted by the RAID creation software before the RAID volume is created, thus destroying any data on those drives. When an SRT SSD caching system is created, the SSD is formatted, but the HDD is not. Recall the point of this is to cache an OS on a HDD, so SRT does not need to format the HDD of course, which would be a mess.

    If you have your OS on the SSD, how can it be formatted by the RAID/SRT software? It can't, and the software won't let you do it in that situation.
    I see that now.

    Quote Originally Posted by parsec View Post
    The only potential way of doing what you want is installing the OS on a RAID 10 of your HDDs, then create the caching system with a blank SSD, but partition it into two parts, which SRT does if the SSD is larger than ~60GB. Once complete, then try to install Windows again on the unused partition on the SSD, if that is even possible.

    Intel's support page for its RAID software is here: Support for the Intel® Rapid Storage Technology (Intel® RST)
    This is looking impractical and not a way to increase the efficacy of my system as a CADCAM workstation. I sounds as if I don't really need a large SSD then, yes? Just one that's large enough to store the boot partition. ProfJim mentioned residual space but maybe that's just seen as another virtual drive by the OS?

    Thanks,

    psient
    New build, Mainstream computing SOHO:

    Motherboard- ASUS Z87-Deluxe
    CPU- Haswell i7 4770 3.4GHZ (no overclock)
    Cooling- Noctua NH-L12
    Graphics Card- Nvidia QUADRO 4000K
    Memory- 32 gigs GSkill ddr3 2400
    HDD- 4 Western Digital Black 1TB drives @ raid 10
    SSD- 1 Samsung 850 PRO 256gig
    USB 3.0 add-on card - Sedna 2 internal, 2 external
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  7. #7
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    Default Re: Best Raid setup both ssd and HDD for cad cam on Z87 plus ASUS

    Your CAD/CAM application Solidworks likely works with large, single files or several large files that together make up a display or rendering of an object. They are read into the software and then changed and manipulated, added to, and then saved, correct?

    If so, the RAID 10 of HDDs will provide good performance for reading design files into the Solidworks. If file load time is an issue, or if you're constantly loading many small files, a large SSD will be faster, but it is impractical for saving huge files, capacity vs price wise. How large is a single project or whatever entity is used by Solidworks for an object?

    Your questions are why I suggested that you install the IRST software and then use its help documentation to learn about the RAID and SSD caching options. You obviously have a PC now, a laptop I think? Does it have an Intel processor? If so, you could install the IRST software on that laptop and learn from it, depending upon how new it is.

    For example, the SSD caching partition used with a HDD has a max size of 64GB, and the SSD must be at least 18.6GB total capacity in order be a caching device. You could use a 128GB SSD and create a 64GB cache partition, and the remaining space will be available to format as a regular logical drive, the residual space Prof Jim is probably talking about.

    A Windows 7 or 8 installation varies in size depending upon the version and options used, but is usually ~20GB - 25GB. That is, before all the drivers and updates are installed. I would never use a SSD smaller than 64GB for an OS, and that is to small for other reasons.

    I could see a large SSD of ~500GB used for Windows, and for storing the working copy of a CAD/CAM project, that is then saved/archived on the RAID 10 array.

    Do users in the Solidworks forum use SSD caching systems for this software and projects?

  8. #8
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    Default Re: Best Raid setup both ssd and HDD for cad cam on Z87 plus ASUS

    Quote Originally Posted by parsec View Post
    Your CAD/CAM application Solidworks likely works with large, single files or several large files that together make up a display or rendering of an object. They are read into the software and then changed and manipulated, added to, and then saved, correct?
    I believe so. A lot of information must be processed in real time. I can't give an answer as to size and after searching still can't find enough current info to establish what a 'large' file size in SW is. I am sure files can be in excess of 50Mb.

    Quote Originally Posted by parsec View Post
    If so, the RAID 10 of HDDs will provide good performance for reading design files into the Solidworks. If file load time is an issue, or if you're constantly loading many small files, a large SSD will be faster, but it is impractical for saving huge files, capacity vs price wise. How large is a single project or whatever entity is used by Solidworks for an object?
    I don't have enough experience on the forums to answer. Sorry.

    Quote Originally Posted by parsec View Post
    Your questions are why I suggested that you install the IRST software and then use its help documentation to learn about the RAID and SSD caching options. You obviously have a PC now, a laptop I think? Does it have an Intel processor? If so, you could install the IRST software on that laptop and learn from it, depending upon how new it is.

    For example, the SSD caching partition used with a HDD has a max size of 64GB, and the SSD must be at least 18.6GB total capacity in order be a caching device. You could use a 128GB SSD and create a 64GB cache partition, and the remaining space will be available to format as a regular logical drive, the residual space Prof Jim is probably talking about.

    A Windows 7 or 8 installation varies in size depending upon the version and options used, but is usually ~20GB - 25GB. That is, before all the drivers and updates are installed. I would never use a SSD smaller than 64GB for an OS, and that is to small for other reasons.

    I could see a large SSD of ~500GB used for Windows, and for storing the working copy of a CAD/CAM project, that is then saved/archived on the RAID 10 array.
    Thanks for breaking this down. I thoroughly get this.

    Quote Originally Posted by parsec View Post
    Do users in the Solidworks forum use SSD caching systems for this software and projects?
    I don't know. The issue is; I just (last week) started using Solidworks. The system I intend to build comes from my knowledge of computers and machining.

    Therefore, at this stage the build is not so much from working with Solidworks as from working with windows-based programs. It is reasonable to assert that Solidworks must conform to Windows' way of managing IO operations. I went through the transition of both SPSS and SAS from dos to Windows and the redesign of those programs both took over a decade to arrive a a truly functional level in Windows (I think SAS still uses the 'cards' syntax). Not because they were incapable of working well but because the various workings of WINDOWS versions had problems. They both had to be very much alike in how they utilized the machine OS to handle stuff. Therefore, Solidworks must conform to some of the general issues that Windows uses to handle files i.e. disk caching and swapping out of RAM. I am using the maximum amount of RAM my dual channel board will accommodate. I am using a sufficiently large RAID for striping and redundancy. The stickler is the SSD. At this time it seems as though using it as a boot disk is the way to go. I'll install windows on the SSD and then install the HDDs configured as a RAID.

    Some of the jargon I use to describe this build comes from the CADCAM community designing and creating the part in 3D and transforming the file into Gcode or proprietary code to actually machine a part. I don't currently know any CADCAM purely-design experts. However, my experience is of the machining community being different from the one that programs and designs (generally). That is to say the machining community is inclusive of many areas concerning making something physical while the design community usually does not work on the actual CNC mills, lathes, and EDMs or the physical part.

    I suppose this gives the impression that I could have a relevant discussion on the Solidworks forums. After perusing it I find I am not familiar enough to understand the answers I see. Therefore, rather than waiting until I am familiar enough with the program to build my own machine to run it on, I'll build an excellent windows graphics station and deal with the insufficiency (if any) when I arrive at that point. For instance, one of the largest issues is (after waiting since 1993) desktops and their programs are beginning to fully work with native 64bit programming even though corporate has had them since the late 90s.

    Thank you for taking the time to share your insights. I added a Samsung 128GB SSD to my purchase stream yesterday as a boot disk. So far it seems as though 64bit OS, RAM, and the Graphics card are the way to go . . . both for the CADCAM requirements and my video productions.

    Happy Government Shutdown y'all.

    psient
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    Default Re: Best Raid setup both ssd and HDD for cad cam on Z87 plus ASUS

    Hi All:

    An update here.

    I have finally received the cards I required to fix the C1 step problem on my ASUS Z87 Deluxe MB. As there was no way to ascertain the revision number on the MB BEFORE it was purchased I decided to work around this issue using add-on USB3 cards. I ordered one that would allow me to install a front-panel card reader using that reader's external A type connectors and a 20 pin adapter for the add-on card I purchased. The card took 2 weeks to get here from Asia even though I ordered it from Newegg.

    So the short of it is that I now have all the components. It's a matter of finding a day when I can sit at my table and build the computer, install the OS, then install the software. Murphy will be my wingman no doubt so it could take more than a day. I'll post any troubles I have with the installation/configuration here.

    I will use this machine as a client/local NOT a microsoft account machine.

    Any comments would be appreciated.

    Thanks,

    Psient1
    New build, Mainstream computing SOHO:

    Motherboard- ASUS Z87-Deluxe
    CPU- Haswell i7 4770 3.4GHZ (no overclock)
    Cooling- Noctua NH-L12
    Graphics Card- Nvidia QUADRO 4000K
    Memory- 32 gigs GSkill ddr3 2400
    HDD- 4 Western Digital Black 1TB drives @ raid 10
    SSD- 1 Samsung 850 PRO 256gig
    USB 3.0 add-on card - Sedna 2 internal, 2 external
    USB 3.0 20 pin adapter - Sedna
    Sound- MB
    Sedna internal Card Reader
    ASUS EXII Thunderbolt card (dual)
    Optical Discs - 1 LG Blu-Ray burner and 1 ASUS Blu-Ray burner
    Case- Lian Li PC 9F
    PS- Corsair HX-750


    OS- Win 8.1 Pro 64bit upgradable to 8.1
    Software

    SW, BobCad, CS6 Master Suite, Office 2013

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