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I haven't been able to find a good answer, so I figure if I can find someone who has a raid setup maybe this person could help.
I've recently thought about setting up a raid with two extra drives so I can mirror them both, and have a good back up system. My motherboard supports it, however I found an external drive bay that'll run the raid I want over USB2.0 or serial ata. The only reason I'm considering the external one is if say down the road I have to get a new motherboard, is it a pain to put the new drives on the mother board and get a raid going again without losing data? That is my only concern that it seems I wouldn't have with the external setup. I just plug it in like an external drive.
If setting it up on the motherboard isn't a big deal, and if taking two drives that are mirrored and setting them up on a new motherboard later isn't either, I would go with that.
My motherboard is asus if that helps, however I don't know if it would.
Either way, whether it's internal connected to the motherboard, or external connected to a firewire/usb plug, if you get a new computer you'll have to set it up all over again. If you have the space, it may be better to go internal... the connections are standaridized so you wouldn't need to worry about your drives attaching to one MB and not another. Also you can get better/faster internal drives a lot cheaper than external drives. The only reason I would go with external is if you forsee having to move the data around, or connect it to more than one computer at a time.
You really don't want an external drive, especially ones thats USB/Firewire to be in a raid array. Your only going to get a 30mb/s write speed from something like that which will really bottleneck you.
When I was talking about external I was thinking of this
It'll take normal internal drives. I don't see why I'd have to set it up again moving it to a new system or redoing my own with it being a hardware raid. If that's the case, then yeah I'd just slap them inside and deal with it that way. However I'm only wondering if there is a good chance of losing data on mirrored raid 1 drives if having to put them on a new system later on if I had to.
The only real concern that I have held with ESATA is there is no shielding (unless they have addressed this in the past couple of years). Although with most cases this shouldn't be a major concern, when it comes to a RAID setup or data backup I would hate to see it fail due to a system problem internally, and lack of shielding externally.
Just my two cents though!
I agree with Chingwa, I doubt an external setup would make changing computer setups any easier on you, plus I doubt that the external could compare with the speed of internal raid setups.
Besides all that, if you're doing mirroring you should be fine. It's the striping that'll screw you over when switching.
Concept Artist, Tencent Boston