Which motherboard is this?
Keep in mind that you need one SATA port on the Intel controller for a DVD/BR burner and you can't mix Intel ports and Marvell ports in one array.
A dedicated raid controller is better for parity raids, but if you are talking about a 1155 motherboard, you will reduce the video card connection from PCIe-16x to PCIe-8x, giving you a performance reduction of around 10-15%.
This is the mobo that I was looking at: http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16813131801
I guess I have to start from the beginning to understand RAID and RAID controllers.
I am assuming that if I had this mobo I could setup a RAID system without a RAID controller.
I could add a RAID controller and it would increase the speed of the data transfer between the drives.
If I install a RAID controller are the drives still connected to the mobo sata ports?
This mobo has:
2 x SATA 6G ports on the Intel controller
4 x SATA 3G ports on the Intel controller
2 x SATA 6G ports on the Marvell controller
One of the 4 SATA 3G Intel ports is normally used for a DVD/BR burner.
One of the 2 SATA 6G Intel ports is normally used for the boot disk for OS & programs & pagefile, be it a SSD or a HDD.
If you do not have a dedicated controller card, it is common to have 2 or 3 disks in a raid0 on the remaining Intel SATA 3G ports and 2 disks on the Marvell ports in raid0. If you have a dedicated raid controller the ports on the mobo remain free and the disks are attached directly to the controller card.
The X79 mobo does not suffer the performance degradation from a dedicated raid controller 1155 mobo's have, because it has sufficient PCIe lanes to continue using the video card at 16x.
Be aware that if you want to use raid on the Intel controller, you first have to use the F6 option offered when booting from the Windows DVD to install raid drivers for the Intel controller, before you proceed with the rest of the Windows installation. It is the first question asked when booting from the Windows DVD. This is your only chance to have the choice of using a raid array on the Intel controller. You can not add the option later after Windows has installed. Installing the driver does not mean you HAVE to use a raid, it merely gives you the option.
With this mobo and with a dedicated raid controller I could have up to 8 drives running in raid 5 and I would not have to be concerned about project, media, and scratch drives.
C: SSD - OS & Programs
D: DVD Burner
E: 6 x 2TB - Everything Else
Is this a system that you would recommend?
Definitely. You know, the sky is the limit. You could mimic my system with 24 disks in raid30 or 50 or beyond that if the need arises. See http://ppbm7.com/index.php/intro-part-1 but I'm only starting.
But seriously, with 6 disks in a raid5 you can expect sustained transfer rates of around 600 MB/s or better and you are not susceptible to fill rate degradation.
Thank-you very much for your patients.
I have to ask for some more basic info.
Your system has 2 raid arrays where the system I am describing, 1 raid array does everything.
Is there an advantage to using 2?
I am assuming that the raid controller below can support 8 x 2TB drives:
Could you go over the process of setting up a system with a raid controller?
I would connect he mobo stata ports to the SSD drive and the DVD burners.
I would install the raid controller and connect it to the 6 or 8 hard drives that I was able to fit in the case.
Then I fire up the PC and configure the bios.
That the extent of my knowledge on the subject.
Luckily most of my patients have some patience.
I have two distinct systems, one the old 920 Beast with 2 raid arrays, one a 2 disk raid0 and the other a 12 disk raid30 and then the new system, the 3930K Monster with a single raid, a 24 disk raid30.
On the Monster I have opted for a very simple setup with only 4 volumes, 2 single SSD's, a single HDD and the ridiculous raid array. mainly for administrative purposes. Using a limited number of volumes makes life easier with regards to what to store where.
Luckily setting up a raid system is pretty simple. Once you have setup your system (without a raid controller) you simply insert the raid controller into a PCIe slot, connect the disks to the controller and restart the system, (install the required drivers from the supplied DVD and after another restart in some cases, depending on the raid card) and enter the raid BIOS. Then you setup the array and format the array. It really is pretty straightforward. Then in Windows go to Disk Management and format the array, as it starts out as unallocated, but just format it as a basic volume with GPT and not MBR. See http://forums.adobe.com/thread/584857
That is all there is to it. Simple. but if you want to have more info, look here: http://ppbm7.com/index.php/intro-part-1