Nvidia “Fake” RAID0 identical in speed to Fedora 12 Soft RAID.

Test Results
I have often read that Fedora Logical RAID has better performance characteristics than a “BIOS” or “FAKE” RAID. That may be true in some cases. Today I dispelled that myth in regards to Nvidia BIOS RAID0 versus Fedora Logical RAID0. The test results were identical. Results were obtained with the latest Fedora 12 updates applied, and EXT4 was the format of the file systems. Note that in all but one test of the series, the Nvidia C55 based ASUS P5N-E SLi E8400 system using a standard WDC 5000AAKS running Fedora 11 with an EXT3 partition outperformed an Evga 780i FTW QX9650 system using two WDC 5000AAKS in RAID0 AND using an Intel X25M SSD. Check the results at the link at the top of this article.

Howto: Fedora 11 “SoftRAID”

There is now a way to install F11 x64 or i686 on a Nvidia or Intel ICH10R RAID that was initially created using Windows. Install Fedora 9 x64 or i686 from the Full install DVD. Partition as needed. Once that is complete, use a minimal install set for Fedora 9. We do this for the ability to slice the partitions safely. Next use a F11 DVD to install on the existing partition and select format the existing partition. Do NOT delete the existing partition or you will end up with a segmentation fault in Anaconda. It has been a long time coming and this is not an elegant solution but you can now have F11 installed on an NVIDIA C55 chip set RAID or INTEL ICH10R chip set RAID that was originally formatted or configured using Windows. The change is dramatic. F11 boots on my E8400 Core 2 Duo 20 seconds faster with F11 than with F10.    Fedora 10 will never get fixed for this issue.   Fedora 13 is doing a fair job without workarounds.

Fedora 10 X86_64 Install on an existing RAID0 ICH10.

It’s not clean and it definitely is not pretty. I was able to get F9 64 bit installed on my Gigabyte GA-EP45-DS3r ICH10r based system on an existing “FakeRAID”. I initially installed XP, used the floppy driver method and created a 2X500G WDC SATA II RAID0 array. Next I partitioned it and installed Vista Ultra 64 bit to the 2nd partition. I created a 3rd partition for storage, All NTFS.

I’ll give the cliff notes version.

Install F8 using the FULL DVD, not a live image. For some reason F8 correctly identifies the “FakeRAID” and even allows you to resize partitions and such. Once F8 is online and operational, use yum or your favorite package manager to update all of your software to the latest F8 versions. Helped me to remove the packages I do not use before that.

Insert F9 FULL DVD installer. Boot to it. I was fortunate. F9 recognized the EXT3 partitions on the “FakeRAID”.
Install was smooth. The boot after was a bit nerve racking. X did NOT start. Fortunately network services did start. Yum worked. I updated the packages by letter groups to keep the buffer from overflowing on Yum.
As so:
yum -y update a*
yum -y update b*…

And so on. Lots of library and dependency errors, but as I installed the updates the issues became fewer.
Now the system is Online and operational with the latest 64 bit F9 updates. Compiz and Emerald themes are working wonderfully well, and I can boot this beast to WIndows XP SP3 32bit, Windows Vista Ultimate 64 bit, or F9 64bit as I desire.

Worth it?

When my “FakeRAID” allows data reads and writes in Vista at 187MB/s, I find there is definitely some benefit.
Your mileage may vary.

I’m not feeling Foolhardy enough to try F9 to F10 yet with this. That may be a good long time away in the future.