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Windows 7: Empty Card Reader appears as four drives?

01 Jan 2014   #11
Lady Fitzgerald

Win 7 Ultimate 64 bit
 
 

I normally do not advocate RAID for most people but you seem to be an exception to the rule. While I get why you want to keep each type of data on their own drives (I am the same way), it's not the most efficient utilization of your drive space. SSDs are one heck of a lot faster than HDDs for large file transfers but they are not the most cost effective storage medium for large amounts of data; HDDs are the best for that. Also, if you are repeatedly rewriting large chunks of data to an SSD, you could significantly reduce the life of the SSD whereas HDDs are far, far less susceptible to life reduction due to large rewrites.

Using folders in a large single volume (such as can be achieved with RAID 5 or 6 or even JBOD) to keep your various types of files separated instead of using individual drives would reduce the amount of overhead you are now having to allow for each drive since the individual folders can share the same overhead space on the larger volume. Since, right at the moment, 4TB is the largest HDD that is practical right now, you would need a RAID to achieve larger volumes on a single drive letter.

The big issue with RAIDs 5 and 6 or JBOD (spanned drives) is backing them up. While RAID 5 can recover itself when one disk goes down and RAID 6 can survive two disks failing, they are not a true backup because they are still subject to hardware failure (PSU failure, fire, flood, theft, etc.) or file corruption from malware or user error (such as accidental deletion), something many pros have trouble understanding. RAID 0 (mirroring) is also susceptible to the same issues. For a backup to be a true backup, one must have their data stored in two or more completely different places. And 'tis there that RAID creates problems.

Since the volume of a RAID is so large, it would take another RAID to achieve the same volume if one wanted to do a single backup of the entire volume. A NAS would be the easiest way to accomplish that as long as it was actually connected and turned on only during the backup itself.

You hinted at a concern that a failure could occur during a backup (hence, your use of SDDs to reduce the time a backup needs), which is an extremely valid concern. The way to deal with that, of course, is to run more than one consecutive backup. That gets a bit complicated with RAID since all the drives in a RAID have to be kept together but it is doable; just have two or more sets of RAIDed drives and swap them in and out of the NAS when running the backup. You could even keep a set offsite for even more protection from loss.

An even easier way to backup a RAID would be to do file and folder backups with a syncing program. I'm just learning how to do that myself so I can't offer much in the way of details...yet. In a nutshell, however, you would pair up a folder or folders on your computer with an identical folder or folders on a backup drive. You wouldn't have to pair up all the folders on your main volume; only those that will fit on the backup drive. You could then split the entire RAIDed volume amongst multiple smaller drives.

A syncing program, in this case, works by comparing the origin folder with the paired destination folder. Then, it will copy over any new folder/files and replace any changed ones. What you will end up with is essentially an identical copy of the original folder. Since only the new and changed data is being written to the backup drive, fewer writes and rewrites are needed, making the backup much faster (and will reduce SSD degradation). Making multiple backups will be much easier. Also, a syncing program would allow you to use your existing backup drives (RAID sets should always have matched drives). I always recommend a minimum of two backups, one offsite and one onsite, and to update those backups frequently (I'm anal and keep four backup HDDs for each HDD in my computer; that saved my bacon...er...data once).

Something else that would streamline your backups would be to use a dock that connects via e-SATA. While, theoretically, USB 3.0 is almost as fast as SATA III, in actual practice, even SATA II can give USB 3.0 a good run for the money. If your machine doesn't already have an e-SATA port, as long as you have an unused SATA port, you can get PCI covers for the back of the machine that have an e-SATA socket on them and connect the cable from the socket to the unused SATA port.


My System SpecsSystem Spec
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02 Jan 2014   #12
garuda

Windows 7 Ultimate x64
 
 

Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by Britton30 View Post
Jeez o'criminy that's a load of drives to keep track of and cataloged.
Tell me about it! Now you know the root cause of my passive-aggressive schizophrenic behavior with features of acute paranoia and delusions of grandeur.


Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by Lady Fitzgerald View Post
…. it's not the most efficient utilization of your drive space…. Using folders in a large single volume (such as can be achieved with Raid 5 or 6 or even JBOD) to keep your various types of files separated…. you would need a RAID to achieve larger volumes on a single drive letter…… The way to deal with that, of course, is to run more than one consecutive backup. That gets a bit complicated with RAID since….
Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by Lady Fitzgerald View Post
An even easier way to backup a RAID would be to do file and folder backups with a syncing program…..
A syncing program…. fewer writes and rewrites are needed, making the backup much faster (and will reduce SSD degradation) Making multiple backups will be much easier…. I always recommend a minimum of two backups, one offsite and one onsite, and to update those backups frequently (I'm anal and keep four backup HDDs for each HDD in my computer although that saved my bacon...er...data once)…..

Something else that would streamline your backups would be to use a dock that connects via e-SATA.…..
With all this good advice in trying to help my situation, you guys (and girl) are pushing me to the wall. Thus forcing me to disclose my real secret and air my dirty laundry. Though I hate whining about problems. However, my little embarrassing little secret begins with: Based on experts’ opinions (the most seasoned video pros), in order to expedite my workload processing, I became convinced to built a vid editing/3D modeling rig with LOTS of core, ram (for ramdrives), SSDs, and cudas, and with double-precision compute GPUs (Titans or Teslas) . Tesla too expensive, so Titan. This combo would theoretically eliminate bottlenecks and streamline rendering/transcoding. My old i7-975 rig simply took years to render/transcode/compile large multi-stream files with complex FXs from AfterEffects. I needed speed, and ability to work on 4-5 projects simultaneously with long rendering, hence more core -- Adobe leverages up to 16 cores/32 threads. So twin Xeons made sense.

But... but the rude problem that eventually surfaced was, that I had made the wrong choice of mobos. On paper, the numbers strongly suggested ASUS Z9PE-D8 WS for the job — both speed, processing agility, expansion, and stability. (Razor-edge OC rigs go fast, but aren’t always stable). However, I discovered later that this board is riddled with issues and buggy drivers, which some might have predicted with having too many features like: a brand-new C602 chipset, high-end Marvell Raids, 4-SLI support, advanced ASUS SSD caching, quad-memory, QuickPath Interconnect, Quick Gate, 7-slot PCIe 3.0, two Xeons, a kitchen sink, two grenade launchers, and one surface-to-air missile. — all complete with an antiquated pre-Civil War BIOS watching over the troops. If it has all these new cutting edge features, then why not put in a newer BIOS???? All this setup likely would have been fine on Z79 board (except for no dual sockets).

All this new technology coupled with an antique BIOS, makes all the boys not want to play well together. I cite this fact because I specifically don’t trust the Marvell RAID with THIS older BIOS along with buggy drivers that make this board unpredictable. This is why I’m reluctant to risk RAID at this time; one more potential brush fire. When I run using only the basic features (with no onboard cache, raid, etc — the board flies thru the work load. When I add too many goodies, the fireworks begin. My chosen niche is artistic creativity/production, not high-tech troubleshooter/firefighter.

Tons of hours on the phone with ASUS trying to put out brush fires. I know every single person in the ASUS motherboard support division by their first name and political bent. Bottom line… I don’t want to risk more smoke (trying RAID or others) until Asus has their drivers de-bugged and updated for this board. Other forums reveal that other Z9PE-D8 users are having the same problems. My recent BSOD stemmed from simply adding a new PCIe SATA card. Part of the reason for doing some of these seemingly irrational things (resisting raid, etc) stem from trying to keep the lid on things until ASUS drivers shape up. Some driver updates have fixed one issue, but also created two new issues. I did one BIOS update, then had to back it out to the older one; the new one created more problems. But enough whining for now, you get the picture.

Britton is familiar with some of these issues I allude to here. ie: when I run large and small sized RAMdisk drives on the ASUS board, I get unexplainable error msgs from the AS-SSD bench — yet the RAMdisk still runs fine and fast (especially at 4K READ/WRITE which is real world stuff). I put the same RAMdisk config on my i7-975 rig and NO errors msg or weird stuff during benches. This ASUS board needs better ASUS drivers. So I wait it out (for better drivers) before opting for cruise altitude. Once things smooth out, RAID will likely be adopted, because it makes sense as you and others point out.

Sorry for this long dissertation. But since you all raised these excellent suggestions, I didn’t want to appear as a TOTAL idiot by not following your rational advice without a reason. I can live with being a moderate idiot, but seeming to be a total idiot was too much to bear. ..... So I had to explain here the real reason in some detail for resisting RAID at this time.

P.S. — Jeannie, your RAID solutions and logic and suggestions are not wasted; I have copied them and will refer to it later when RAID becomes more plausible with an eventual stable system. Also, others reading your post who are not so familiar with RAIDs will also find your words valuable, as do I. Thanks to all who voiced.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
02 Jan 2014   #13
HoneycombAG

Microsoft Windows 7 Home Premium 64-bit Service Pack 1
 
 

This be your board right here? I suspect you don't have your drives connected in their right spots either. There's a difference between being connected on a 3.0 Gbps bus and a 6.0 Gbps bus, by looking at the image of it. You can't RAID if your drives are connected on a different-speed bus.

You also might want to take note, a drive may be certified for SATA-III but will plug into a SATA-II bus and still work, but runs slower. However, as with SATA-II drives, it will not work on a SATA-I bus unless you put something across a jumper block of some kind.
CD/DVD-ROM drives always operate at SATA-I speed. Bluray drives will require a SATA-II bus.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
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02 Jan 2014   #14
Lady Fitzgerald

Win 7 Ultimate 64 bit
 
 

WOW! That's a lot of machine! I took a look at the reviews on your board over at NewEgg and saw many similar complaints: faulty bios, unstable RAID, bad user's manual, doesn't always play well with other components, such as GPU cards. etc. Reading Those reviews before buying would have been more than enough to scare me away from that board.

One thing that jumped out at me when I checked you System Specs: 128GB RAM. That's an awful lot of RAM (and I thought I went nuts with 32GB RAM)! The specs on the board at NewEgg also says the board only supports up to 64GB. I checked at ASUS' website and they also said the board supports only 64GB RAM (256GB registered memory—i.e. RDIMM—you don't list a part number for your RAM so I can't check it out). Even with heavy video editing , etc. I have trouble envisioning a need for 128GB of RAM. Have you tried cutting back to 64GB of RAM to see if stability has improved. Also, are you trying to overclock your CPUS and your RAM? Both can contribute to instability. In the case of RAM, overclocking can actually slow a machine down even if the benches look good (benchmarking is good for seeing if system performance has deteriorated over time bit; other than that, it's mostly only good for bragging rights). Very little benefit is gained running RAM much faster than 1600MHz.

Moving on to a different tack, what kind of a backup scheme are you using?
My System SpecsSystem Spec
02 Jan 2014   #15
HoneycombAG

Microsoft Windows 7 Home Premium 64-bit Service Pack 1
 
 
Oversight

Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by Lady Fitzgerald View Post
The specs on the board at NewEgg also says the board only supports up to 64GB.
If you haven't noticed, each CPU has its own RAM bank. It's a dual-processor board. Each one of his cores has 64 GB loaded into it. That makes the grand total amount to 128 GB.
Never heard of "quad-channel" before.

The OP did not make clear about what kind of memory, registered or not, is loaded in there. That part he needs to fix on his own.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
02 Jan 2014   #16
Lady Fitzgerald

Win 7 Ultimate 64 bit
 
 

Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by HoneycombAG View Post
Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by Lady Fitzgerald View Post
The specs on the board at NewEgg also says the board only supports up to 64GB.
If you haven't noticed, each CPU has its own RAM bank. It's a dual-processor board. Each one of his cores has 64 GB loaded into it. That makes the grand total amount to 128 GB.
Never heard of "quad-channel" before.
It's physically laid out that way but I'm not so sure that's how the RAM is allocated. Also, I saw nothing in the specs at NewEgg or Asus to indicate the RAM rating is for each CPU. The way it is listed strongly suggests it is the total for the board. This is quote from the specs on the Asus site:

8 x DIMM, Max. 64GB, DDR3 2133(O.C.)/2000(O.C.)/1866/1600/1333/1066 MHz ECC, Non-ECC, Un-buffered Memory

It says a max of 64GB for 8 DIMM, not for 4 DIMM. I tried to download a manual from Asus but, apparently, it's not available anymore.

Most, if not all, X79 boards have quad-channel RAM. My board does.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
02 Jan 2014   #17
Britton30
Microsoft MVP

Windows 7 Ultimate X64 SP1
 
 

Also core don't have any RAM "loaded into it".

I can't seem to find 16GB RAM DIMMs?
My System SpecsSystem Spec
02 Jan 2014   #18
Lady Fitzgerald

Win 7 Ultimate 64 bit
 
 

Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by Britton30 View Post
...I can't seem to find 16GB RAM DIMMs?
Look under server memory.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
02 Jan 2014   #19
Britton30
Microsoft MVP

Windows 7 Ultimate X64 SP1
 
 

Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by Lady Fitzgerald View Post
Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by Britton30 View Post
...I can't seem to find 16GB RAM DIMMs?
Look under server memory.
Thanks, that ECC RAM is a bit spendy.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
02 Jan 2014   #20
Lady Fitzgerald

Win 7 Ultimate 64 bit
 
 

Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by Britton30 View Post
Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by Lady Fitzgerald View Post
Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by Britton30 View Post
...I can't seem to find 16GB RAM DIMMs?
Look under server memory.
Thanks, that ECC RAM is a bit spendy.
No kidding!
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 Empty Card Reader appears as four drives?




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