I have been working on my new baby since I got home after watching Sweeney Todd this evening, trying to get it up and running. It’s been over a week since I bought the parts, that’s the longest it is has ever taken me to get a new computer up and running! Normally it’s done in a day, two at the most.
I seem to have gotten it running pretty stably now under 64 bit Windows Vista. I also have the majority of the hard drives moved over to it. There are two remaining, the two 320gb drives that are in RAID 0. I haven’t moved these two across yet as I will have to rebuild the RAID array when I move it over to the new computer and as with anything like that, there is no guarantee I won’t lose my data. This means I have to backup around 500gb of data first. I can’t quite do this sadly. I have about 320gb of free space between all of my other hard drives and I really don’t want to burn around 200gb of DVD’s. So what is the solution? Well, I’m thinking I will pickup another 500gb hard drive, the same as my other recently bought 500gb drive and backup the RAID array to this drive and the free space on my other drives. This takes care of the back up before rebuilding the RAID array. Then once that is done and the RAID is setup correctly on the new computer, pickup a third 500gb hard drive and setup a RAID 5 array between the three 500gb drives. This will give me a terrabyte of striped data with parity backup for all of the really important things, like my locally stored web work and related information.
This wouldn’t replace the RAID 0 configuration as it will still be faster than the RAID 5 configuration due to the parity in RAID 5. While it is not a huge speed gain, it’s amazing the difference that RAID 0 makes when working with many gigabytes of raw video files. Since I’m not working on any and not expecting to be working on any soon, it is not vital to get the RAID 0 over too soon, but it would be nice.
I have, of course, encountered a few problems with moving the hard drives over to the new computer. Surprisingly, not due to Vista. I know, it’s amazing hey?
No, the problem is purely in that my case is not quite as spacious as I had thought. Put simply, the power and SATA cable for one of the hard drives runs through the video card heat sink because they physically cannot plug into the hard drive any other way.
As you can see in the photo, all three of these hard drives are very close to the video card and yes, the PCI-e power cable is turning very nearly at a right angle in order to fit.
Yes, there are two spaces below the bottom hard drive where I could have put the middle 400gb drive, but I need those two spaces for the RAID 0 array, and those two drives generally run hotter, so the bottom two spaces should be cooler for them.
I also uncovered another, hopefully only temporary problem. The 400gb drive in the middle is very slow to access, and it does seem to be spinning up every now and again, even though it isn’t actually switched off. The cables seem to be connected fine, and it has been fine in the old computer and hadn’t shown any signs of problems, so being the drive in the middle I’m thinking it might be overheating.
One of the main reasons I’m thinking this is that the hard drives are actually getting very close to being the hottest components. For that matter, this is the first time I have ever had a CPU that is the coolest component in the computer. Just using the stock cooler, it is cooler than the north and south bridge heatsinks on the motherboard, cooler than the RAM, much cooler than the video card, and the hard drives are pretty much on par with the video card heat wise. You could burn yourself on them, especially the middle one, if you touch it for too long.
I’m currently putting a 120mm fan in the front bay in front of the hard drives. I’ve been meaning to do this since I put it together, I just haven’t gotten to it yet. This will hopefully help keep them a bit cooler, if not, than I guess I will have to find another solution.
You know what else is weird? I had my 5.1 channel surround sound speakers connected to the new computer, yet I could not seem to get it to output anything to the centre, sub, rear left, or rear right channels, only the front left and right. I could not figure out why though, there was no real reason. I ended up just unplugging them from the computer and plugging them straight back in. Didn’t switch off any power or make any other changes, and instantly all the speakers are working. I really don’t get that. I have no idea if it’s to do with any of the hardware or if it’s Vista or if it’s the drivers, but ah wells, at least it’s working now.