I've been juggling some big projects the last few months, all leading to Sprocket's next big makeover.
The biggest job was building a whole new room to house her...specifically, a room with windows that would afford access to cold, outside air.
So I enclosed/finished the lower deck/patio area and have moved the whole PC operation into it.
Harry Homeowner I'm not, but the end result is not as bad as I'd feared and Sprocket now sits less than 15" from a window.
Yes, there will be ducting.
But that's not today's subject- storeage and software is.
The current Nexus HDD caddy is going to become an external storage box, replaced by a Coolermaster 4-in-3 module.
First I have to know what temps are like with various drives installed. Can I really stuff four HDDs into this and keep them cool or (as I suspect) will I need to get another unit and just run two drives in each?
Why so many drives, anyway?
This time round Sprocket will be set up to dual boot.
The nLite'd XP Pro (x86) fits perfectly on the 4GB i-RAM (only 700MB installed) and uses my last baby Raptor as a pagefile/Program Files dumpspace.
Vista will go on a RAIDed set of Seagate 250 GBs.
Unfortunately, SMART info is not accessible from a RAID set so I needed to run the drives separately to gather temp data and decided the easiest way was to load an OS on each drive and then test them for performance. Accordingly, the two Seagates and the Raptor were stuffed into the CM module (the WD250 is in the Nexus caddy- almost impossible to remove with the waterloop in place, so it doesn't get to join the party).
I did a fresh install of XP Pro (32 bit) on the i-RAM.
The Seagates each got a version of Vista RC1 (32 and 64 bit) while the WD250 got x64 XP Pro.
All drivers in place and freshly defragged, I took each install through the PC Pitstop suite of tests.
OK, stop right there.
I know these are hardly state-of-the-art diagnostics but this avoids the issues involved finding benchmark apps that will install on all four operating systems.
Try it sometime...it ain't that easy.
Besides, this is only presented as info, not data per se.
Here are the four results.
First the gold standard, 32 bit XP Pro...
Then 64 bit Pro...
Now Vista x86...
Finally, Vista x64...
Clearly, 32-bit Vista was the way to go.
The WD is unplugged,the Raptor takes it's place and the XP Pro install is complete again.
A RAID0 array is created on the nF4 chipset, the DVD is loaded- let the install begin.
Vista won't recognize the drives as an array.
It does see them as two discrete drives and that's the problem.
It shouldn't see anything til I feed it drivers, yet it does.
Turns out (Google really is your friend!), this is a known issue and the easiest workaround is to start the install from within a working XP environment that includes the array.
Opening the Vista disk from XP did the trick...Vista now saw the drives as a Nvidia stripe and installed without issue.
Here's what Vista thinks of it's new home...
Not terribly impressed with my processor or RAM but content with the graphics and storage.
HD Tach run on the array (from within Vista)...
The striped Seagates outperform the Raptor easily and even best the i-RAM.
So, now the Raptor goes.
See, I'm working under a constraint here...I only have four SATA ports available on the nVidia chipset and I'd really like to avoid using the SI 3114 controller which has four more ports.
Anyway, the next plan is to clear out the RAID array and partition it to accept the XP's pagefile and programs.
10GB should do.
Then a new install of Vista.
This opens up a sata port for the WD250 which then becomes the backup for both installed OSs.