RAIDers of the nVidia Board
January 20, 2008 2:27 AM   Subscribe

nvidia RAID: Can I just turn it off?

I got tired of the inevitable failure of the onboard nVidia RAID in my desktop, and a few months ago rather than futzing around with "fixing" it every time it happened I just started ignoring the RAID warning on startup. Instead of having one mirrored drive, I have had two separate drives as a result--it's been fine.

Can I just go into the RAID setup on startup and turn it off? Or will that take my broken-but-working c: and i: drives and turn them into soup?

I was going to ghost the current c: to a new drive and then use that new drive after turning off the RAID, but if I don't have to go through the hassle I'd rather not.
posted by maxwelton to Computers & Internet (5 answers total)

Is there a separate controller? Like a RAID controller that you can plug into (even onboard) and then a separate non-RAID controller? Because you could plug them into the non-raid controller if the array is failing to initialize anyway.

If it's failing, I think the only thing turning it "off" would do is suppress the error message, but I'm not 100% sure on how the onboard/BIOS-controlled RAID controller behaves or what sort of failure the array is reporting such that it's still able to use the drives but refuses to mirror them...
posted by disillusioned at 4:51 AM on January 20, 2008

Nvidia onboard raid is a fairly simple beast; the bulk of the work is done in the windows driver.

If it'd been a raid 5 or raid 0, turning off the raid on the drives in the BIOS would likely break the visibility of at least one of the drives. Given it's a broken RAID 1 mirror, there should be no ill effects from turning off the raid in the BIOS - in effect, you're already running as JBOD. The worst that could happen is that the master drive fail to boot, in which case turn it back on!

Make sure the boot drive is the right c: drive after you switch the RAID off though.
posted by ArkhanJG at 6:40 AM on January 20, 2008

Windows can sometimes mess up the drive letters when you switch off RAID. It may mis-identify the proper C: boot drive so the system no longer boots. You then have to boot from CD and change the C: drive back to the correct one. You can't do this with the usual Disk Manager because that only allows you to rename any drive except the C: drive.

You then have to go into the registry and rename the drives manually. See this Microsoft help note.
posted by JackFlash at 11:22 AM on January 20, 2008

Thank you, folks.

As an aside, the best I got was a month of it working before it would fail; since this machine is on all of the time, at one point it had failed without warning three weeks since my last reboot. On a software install restart, I was a bit surprised to be taken back in time three weeks as the non-mirrored drive took over. After the fourth such failure in the first three months of using it, I said screw it.

Neat idea; at least in my environment, horrible execution.
posted by maxwelton at 11:35 AM on January 20, 2008

As a follow-up for anyone who might be in the same situation, be sure you turn your RAID off in the bios and not just by deleting it from the nVIDIA raid controller. Caught me out for a bit, but otherwise it seems to have gone from broken RAID to two normal drives without any hassle.
posted by maxwelton at 12:57 AM on January 27, 2008

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