Setting up new computer

Dell / Precision 370
April 4, 2009 at 09:34:34
Specs: Windows XP, 1.5gb
I have just bought a used dell precision 370 to upgrade our home computer.
It came with a 1 year warranty from a refurbish company.
It was a business network unit and appears to be in very good shape.
It currently has 1.5gb of memory and 3-80 gb WD Raptor HD's (240GB total).
I wish to use this unit as our main household unit, and set up a network from it.
We currently have a Linksys wireless network in the house which works fine, but I would like all computers to be able to print to our existing printer.

I am a Photo-Video semi-pro and would like as much storage as possible.

Can or should I add or rearrange the hard drives for more capacity? OR Can I just add-a-drive in the future if I need it??

What is the RAID system in this??
Should I be running SCSI drives??

Thanks in Advance,

Dean in IL

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April 18, 2009 at 04:15:04
I wouldn't run SCSI drive in a home setup. The cost would be enormous when you start filling them with Music, pictures, videos.

I have had a quick look and it appears that your PC may have a SATA raid card built in. Raid is mainly designed for fault tollerance. How much does the data mean to you? Could you cope if you lost it.

Raid can also provide faster read/write when used in stripping mode.
And can also be used to join Disks together to create larger volumes.
I personally would use one of the drives to install the O/S onto(call this C drive for example). And have the other two configured as a Mirror(call these D drive).

This means that every file you save onto the D: Drive, is actually saved twice. Once onto Disk 2 and once onto Disk 3.
If a hardrive fails you can replace it a tell the computer to rebuild the mirror set again. If both hardrives fail at the same time, then data is lost.
If anything happens to the C: drive, then you replace and reinstall the O/S knowing that your personal files are all on the other drive.

Heres a brief list of options:
Raid 0: Striped, data is split equally between all disks.(Meaning 1st half of a file is on disk 1, second half is on disk 2) If either disk breaks. ALL data is lost.
Raid 1: Mirrored, data is saved twice(once on each disk)
Raid 5: Requires 3 or more disks to operate.(3*80gb disks would proved 160gb of storage, the other 80gb is for redundancy)

There are other types, but consumer raid devices tend to only support the ones listed above.

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April 18, 2009 at 13:54:43
Wow Gavin, excellent answer!!

Many thanks!!

I would like to expand the memory capabilities, but I do not know if the "raptors" are friendly with other types of drives?

Here is what I have to work with as far as ideas and current resources.

My Dell box has the following card in it:::: 4E361 System Integration, Card, Adapter, S, 29160N, PC Interface

I believe this is a drive controller??

I have a small batch of hard drives I can use in this or any of our new/used computers. However I do not know what kind of drives I may use in the same system.
I have "added a hard drive" to other systems I have had without a problem ever, but I am a bit shy to attempt the same kind of addition to a system like this.
I also have an external 250GB drive that I now use for making a duplicate of my complete system in case it crashes.
I do have 5-18GB Seagate Cheetahs (st118202lc) & 1- 9GB Cheetah (st102fc) that I bought in a lot auction a few months ago. Also included were a bunch (15) of other hard drives ATA/IDE types, ranging from 10-300GB in size. They have all been wiped and tested.

I would like to run a mirrored system, just in case I lose something, and would not be opposed to setting up a system that would do this in link with what the Precision 370 now has, even if I need to get a bit of additional material.

I have a nice laptop which I use for work and my in-the-field picture transfers, but I want to use this as the base for all of the home work.

We have 12MB/Sec cable internet service here and I would like to take advantage of it as well.

Thank You again for the assistance.


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