By Mike Clements posted Aug 17th 2010
I recently posted an article on how to configure a RAID array, with Corsair solid-state drives, for the most common Intel® controllers. In the true spirit of fair play, I will now do the same thing for AMD! Note that readers of the Intel article will find some of the background information suspiciously familiar, as I cribbed a bit to save time. Anyhow, this post will provide a simple guide to setting up a RAID array for AMD chipsets.
RAID is an acronym for Redundant Array of Independent Disks. We won’t go into the many different types of RAID configurations here. The basic concept is that users can utilize a disk controller to combine multiple storage drives in an array to gain performance, fault tolerance, or a combination of these. One SSD is great, so two SSDs must be incredible, right? Right!
This article will focus on RAID-0, which is the most common RAID configuration for performance. Many enthusiast and desktop motherboards come equipped with onboard RAID controllers. These can be built into the chipset such as the AMD south bridge, Intel ICH or PCH controller hubs, or the NVIDIA® MCP. Motherboard makers can also add a second disk controller to the board. Users can also add RAID functionality with a PCI or PCI-e RAID card.
Regardless of the controller used, the basic steps to set up a RAID array in the BIOS and configure the controller are very similar across these different brands and different implementations of controllers. Each motherboard BIOS and RAID configuration utility will vary slightly so familiarizing yourself with the motherboard manual and the BIOS layout is always a good start. You may also want to familiarize yourself with basic RAID terminology as that will be helpful when navigating the RAID setup utilities. Once you have done that, you’ll need to find the section of your BIOS that allows you to set up the disk controller modes.
Select SATA Type, RAID
Our example uses the AMD SB600 controller. The newer AMD chipsets use an almost identical RAID manager so the set up is very similar. First, you'll need to enter the Onchip Devices section of the BIOS. Here, you'll need to select your SATA Type and select the RAID option.
Once you select the RAID function, save your changes and reboot. During the POST process, you'll be prompted to press CTRL-F to enter the RAID configuration utility.
The ATI utility does not use the terms array or volume. LD is the acronym for logical disk so, on this first page you need to select option 2, Define LD.
The ATI utility numbers the arrays numerically. This is the first multi drive array on this system so select LD-1. If you have a single disk attached like I do here, it may show up in the LD menu. This is normal.
Select RAID Mode and Stripe Block Size
Next, the utility will prompt you to select the RAID mode and stripe block size.
Select the Drives
Next, you'll need to select the drives you want to include in the array.
Next you'll be asked if you want to erase the master boot record, or MBR. Select yes. Remember that this can potentially erase all of the data on your drive so have your data backed up if these disks contain any data.
Drive Capacity Prompt
After erasing the MBR, upon exiting the utility, you'll be prompted regarding how much of the drive capacity you want use. We selected the maximum capacity option.
You will be returned to the main screen and your LD-1 should show a functional status with all the parameters you have just set.
Reboot After Completing the Array
Once you complete the array and exit the utility, you'll need to reboot the system.
Set the Proper Drive Priority
At this time, your BIOS will see a new drive in the boot order. If you want to boot from your RAID-0 array, you'll need to set the proper drive priority. Once the RAID-0 array is the first priority drive, you can set the boot order.
Delete the Array
If you plan to use these drives as single drives, or move them to another system, be sure to use the ATI configuration utility to delete the array and set the drives back to non RAID drives.
In a recent SSD tech article from Anandtech, we found the following statement: "For the past several months I’ve been calling SSDs the single most noticeable upgrade you can do to your computer. Whether desktop or laptop, stick a good SSD in there and you’ll notice the difference." As you configure your Corsair SSD RAID, you will not just "notice" the upgrade; rather, it will blow you away! The performance gain over old rotational drives is simply astonishing and eliminates a long standing system performance bottleneck. So, raid your nearest retailer and get into the RAID-0 business with Corsair solid-state drives!