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Hardware Installation

How to set up RAID on MSI K8N Neo2 Platinum? by torandson
Posted: 22 Apr 05

There are two different approaches to a 2x RAID 0 array on the K8N Neo2: using SATA controllers 1 & 2 or using SATA controllers 3 & 4.

If you are using or planning to use SATA RAID on this board, make sure that your BIOS version is at least as recent as version 1.5. (Current version as of this writing.) Earlier versions of the BIOS for this mobo may have problems with SATA RAID 0 during large file copies.

SATA controllers 3 & 4 interface with the PCI bus, but SATA controllers 1 & 2 do not. To know which of these pairs of controllers to use, read the details below.

If you are overclocking for gaming applications, use controllers 3 & 4 and lock the SATA controllers with the PCI lock. Many overclockers have reported data errors when using SATA controllers 1 & 2 when overclocking.

IF YOU ARE USING THIS MOBO FOR AN AUDIO OR VIDEO APPLICATION THAT REQUIRES HEAVY DRIVE USAGE WITH FAST ACCESS AND HIGH THROUGHPUT USING 64K FILE SYSTEM CLUSTERS (AS RECOMMENDED IN MANY AUDIO AND VIDEO APPLICATION FORUMS), DO NOT USE SATA CONTROLLERS 3 & 4. USE SATA CONTROLLERS 1 & 2 AND DO NOT OVERCLOCK.

Audio applications make demanding use of both the PCI bus and the File System, and conflicts that may arise between these two systems can cause system instability and BSODs. For this reason, it is best to keep a RAID array used for audio applications completely independent of the PCI bus.

The use of 64K clusters on NTFS partitions used for audio or video data can free the CPU from having to send I/O commands to the drive as frequently as it does when using the XP default 4K clusters, but this places additional strain on the memory system, making memory timings more critical.

Tests with SiSoft Sandra reveal that the Windows write-caching feature that is enabled/disabled in the Device Mangager ATA and SATA controller Properties tabs effects  the efficiency of both read and write operations. In combination with the above mentioned demands on a system optimized for audio, disabling the write-caching can substantially slow down even the sustained data transfers that take place in recording live audio or in moving large files, causing system instability and BSODs.

IT IS STRONGLY RECOMMENDED THAT SYSTEMS MATCHING THE ABOVE PROFILE LEAVE WRITE-CACHING ENABLED ON ALL DRIVES.

In addition, having a dynamically allocated pagefile causes the system to spend time and resources resizing the pagefile periodically to meet changing system requirements, which can contribute to system instability when pushing the limits of the file system.

IT IS RECOMMENDED THAT THE PAGEFILE BE PLACED ON A DEDICATED, SEPARATE PARTITION FROM THE OPERATING SYSTEM TO ISOLATE IT FROM THE FRAGMENTATION THAT TAKES PLACE ON THE OS PARTITION (This is a complex subject, and conflicting opinions abound. It is best to put this on another physical drive, but using a separate partition close to the OS partition on the same drive may still be better than leaving the pagefile on the OS partition in many cases. Two issues to consider are fragmentation of the partition on which the pagefile is located, which is avoided if the pagefile is on its own partition, and proximity of the pagefile to the files most frequently accessed for fast read/write-head seek times, which, is optimal if the pagefile is on it's own physical drive. If the pagefile has its own partition on the system drive, don't put that partition in a location that is at some physical distance from the OS partition because that increases head motion and seek times. Put it just before or just after the OS partition. Notwithstanding any of the above, in any case do not put the pagefile on a drive used primarily for recording audio.)

IT IS ALSO RECOMMENDED THAT THE PAGEFILE BE SET TO A FIXED SIZE THE TOTAL OF WHICH ON ALL DRIVES IS EQUAL TO 3 TIMES THE SIZE OF INSTALLED RAM OR TO THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN 4GB AND THE SIZE OF INSTALLED RAM WHICHEVER IS LESS. (RAM + pagefile = Total virtual memory. Many technically savvy people believe that Total virtual memory should not exceed 4GB which is the maximum addressable space of a 32bit CPU, despite the recommendations in the MS knowledge base which were evidently developed before XP systems exceeding 1GB RAM were commonplace.) FOR A SYSTEM WITH 1GB RAM, THIS WOULD BE 3072 MB. FOR A SYSTEM WITH 2 GB RAM, THIS WOULD BE 2048 MB.  IF THE PAGEFILE IS ON A DEDICATED PARTITION, KEEP A SMALL PAGEFILE ON THE OS PARTITION AND PUT THE BALANCE ON THE DEDICATED PARTITION, say 72 MB on the OS partition and 3000 MB on the pagefile partition. (The size of the portion of the pagefile that should remain on the OS partition in any event depends on the kind of error reporting the OS is set to provide in the event of a memory dump. See the error reporting section of the Advanced tab of the System icon in the Control Panel for details.)

--torandson


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