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  1. #1
    Uranium Lounger
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    SATA RAID Problems

    Anyone have experience with Silicon Image (3114) raid controllers? I'm trying to get RAID 0 working properly on a friend's new workstation with three identical Seagate drives and setup crashed towards the end... now, it hangs at the end of the text portion of Server 2003 setup when it displays "Starting Windows..."

    Nothing seems to help. New BIOS, old BIOS, deleting and re-creating the RAID set... and I'm loathe to low-level format any of the drives without good reason. Suggestions? The speed increase makes it a battle worth fighting if I can get Windows setup to work.
    -Mark

  2. #2
    5 Star Lounger
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    Re: SATA RAID Problems

    i tried but never got it to work <img src=/S/sad.gif border=0 alt=sad width=15 height=15>

    i spent a week trying everything i could think of. i ended up using it as an extra hard drive for my 3D design programs that could use the speed boost.

    i tried downloading the drivers from their website... crashed
    i tried updating BIOS... crashed
    i tried changing the setups of the hard drives (boot order)... crashed
    i tried some other random hardware settings.............................. crashed

    if you happen to get it to work, PLEASE post how you did it <img src=/S/grovel.gif border=0 alt=grovel width=31 height=23>
    <img src=/w3timages/blueline.gif width=33% height=2>
    <big>John</big>

  3. #3
    Uranium Lounger
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    Re: SATA RAID Problems

    I managed to solve the problem. It was actually a combination of a few things that were giving me grief - for one, I had ECC memory and the mainboard in fact DID care which slots it was installed in. Oops. But in the process, I also learned a great trick to slipstream third party drivers into a Server/XP installation CD. If you've never created a boot CD, there are a ton of references on the web. To slipstream the RAID drivers....

    1. <LI>Locate the TXTSETUP.SIF file in the i386 directory.
      <LI>Open it in Notepad or your favorite text editor
      <LI>Copy the following text into the TXTSETUP.SIF file, at the end of the file, just before the (sometimes invisible) end of file marker:
      CODE

      [SourceDisksFiles]
      si3114r.sys = 1,,,,,,3_,4,1

      [HardwareIdsDatabase]
      PCIVEN_1095&DEV_3112&SUBSYS_31121095 = "Si3114"
      PCIVEN_1095&DEV_3112&SUBSYS_34238086 = "Si3114"
      PCIVEN_1095&DEV_3112&SUBSYS_311215D9 = "Si3114"
      PCIVEN_1095&DEV_3112&SUBSYS_B0021458 = "Si3114"
      PCIVEN_1095&DEV_3112&SUBSYS_01661028 = "Si3114"
      PCIVEN_1095&DEV_3112&SUBSYS_82141033 = "Si3114"
      PCIVEN_1095&DEV_3512&SUBSYS_35121095 = "Si3114"
      PCIVEN_1095&DEV_3512&SUBSYS_01661028 = "Si3114"

      [SCSI.load]
      si3112 = si3114r.sys,4

      [SCSI]
      si3112 = "Silicon Image SiI 3114 SATALink Controller"
      <LI> Add your SATA drivers to the appropriate XP Distribution Directory. In this example the directory $OEM$$1DRIVERS006SI3114 is used.

      Directory Listing

      Directory of E:WXPVOL_EN$OEM$$1DRIVERS006SI3114

      23.09.2003 11:05 10,236 si3114r.cat
      16.09.2003 10:43 11,094 SI3114r.inf
      04.09.2003 12:45 55,144 Si3114r.mpd
      04.09.2003 12:45 55,144 Si3114r.sys
      30.04.2003 08:35 20,560 SiiSupp.vxd
      31.07.2003 09:01 69,120 SilSupp.cpl
      09.06.2003 17:56 10,112 SiWinAcc.sys
      7 File(s) 231,410 bytes

      <LI>Add information to TXTSETUP.SIF

      Your TXTSETUP.SIF file must contain the at least the following information:

      [Unattended]
      OemPreinstall=Yes
      OemPnPDriversPath="Drivers006SI3114"
      <LI>Compress Driver to the I386 directory

      In order to make the driver available in the text based portion of setup, we must add it to the I386 directory. Open the command prompt and enter

      MAKECAB E:WXPVOL_EN$OEM$$1DRIVERS006SI3112SI3112.SYS E:WXPVOL_ENi386SI3114.SY_
    Most of this information can be derived from the .INF file name of your driver. Replace Si3114 with the name (less the extension) in the example above. The remaining information, the PCI strings and the driver name, can be found in your TXTSETUP.OEM file.

    Confusing... yes. Complicated... indeed. Worth it? Absolutely!!
    -Mark

  4. #4
    Uranium Lounger
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    Re: SATA RAID Problems

    OK, although this worked I am back to report that maybe it didn't. I say "maybe" because Windows is unstable after a period, particularly installing software... and although I don't know that it's the RAID array I have my suspicions.

    At this point I have removed one of the disks from the three-disk array and am using it via an SATA port. If Windows is stable installing this way... I presume flaky RAID drivers and flaming emails to the manufacturer will follow. If not... then I will be pulling my hairs out in an exponentially increasing rate as I try to solve the core problem.

    If I could get Windows to remain stable for longer than a few hours, then I would be extremely happy. The speed increase was well worth fighting for (and still is).
    -Mark

  5. #5
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    Re: SATA RAID Problems

    Mark, please continue to post your progress here - I am following the thread with new hope for my SATA drive.

    BTW, that is an interesting idea including the drivers in the boot disk itself. so now i'm assuming that its available in the drivers selection screen during installation of XP so you never actually need to insert the floppy with the silicon drivers on it? ...unfortunately it is indeed a bit complicated, but as you said, well worth the effort for the end product. also the higher price you paid for the hard drive(s) in the first place is well worth fighting for!
    <img src=/w3timages/blueline.gif width=33% height=2>
    <big>John</big>

  6. #6
    Uranium Lounger
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    Re: SATA RAID Problems

    Latest update: I nixed the Silicon Image RAID controller and went with the onboard nVidia NVRAID controller. Nary a hiccup since doing so, which leads me to believe that the Silicon Image product is less than perfect. In the process I had also tried a HighPoint RocketRaid controller as well, with dismal results. This project had me wondering whether I had a bum drive, which is apparently not the case.

    I also used the Seagate DiscWizard software to create and format the partitions. It works better than XP's setup functionality and saved a lot of time (this rig has 1.5 TB of disk space). Formatting was super-quick and painless.

    To answer your question about integrating the drivers, it eliminates the need to insert a floppy or press F6. The RAID drivers simply load along with everything else during the text portion of setup. I must have had too much time on my hands because I also went a step further and knocked out the drivers I knew I didn't need in an attempt to speed up the initial loading phase. It worked... and Windows is screamingly fast now, and stable so far as I can tell.
    -Mark

  7. #7
    Platinum Lounger
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    Re: SATA RAID Problems

    My Dell has a Promise RAID controller, which seems to have been fine except for one occasion when the boot sector appears to have become deleted. Bit of a snag on RAID-1!

    Dell "technical support" said that the drives were broken, and replaced the 2 x 120 GB SATA disks by 2 x 400 GB disks (= 370 GB formatted)! Fine, but for the fact that I'm using only 17 GB!

    John
    <font face="Script MT Bold"><font color=blue><big><big>John</big></big></font color=blue></font face=script>

    Ita, esto, quidcumque...

  8. #8
    Uranium Lounger
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    Re: SATA RAID Problems

    They upgraded your drive space? Not shabby, now you just need to find a way to use it up. <img src=/S/smile.gif border=0 alt=smile width=15 height=15>

    I've been pleased so far with the NVRAID controller. The other controller on the motherboard and the add-in HighPoint controller just did not work well in this particular setup, but in the end I wound up with one 50GB partition for Windows and program files, and two 650GB partitions for video work. Sounds like a lot (and it is) but video editing chews up space at an exponential rate.

    The only sad part at this point is that I have to let the workstation go to its rightful owner... leaving me with a severe desire for a massively overpowered dual Opteron machine!
    -Mark

  9. #9
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    Re: SATA RAID Problems

    thanks for the info mark!

    after checking out the amount of junk i have installed on my SATA drive, i think i'll wait till my next computer to try this out... which i don't think is too far off <img src=/S/evilgrin.gif border=0 alt=evilgrin width=15 height=15>
    <img src=/w3timages/blueline.gif width=33% height=2>
    <big>John</big>

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