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Home > Hardware Reviews > General Computing

Tuesday, April 09, 2002
Promise FastTrack TX2000

3. Installation

Promise FastTrack TX2000 - Page 3


After installing the FastTrack TX2000, WinXP will prompt for installing the necessery drivers and after rebooting you can see the drive under the system manager. At the boot process, you must access the FastTrack TX2000 Bios (Control+F) and create the necessery "Disk Arrays". After making any change in the "Disk Arrays" you have to reboot. The FastTrack BIOS is very simple and includes 6 options. The printed manual explains all settings in depth, so you should really check it before start using the card. There are some minor differences between the screenshots of manual and what we saw at our card, possibly due to newer Bios version. You cannot install any ATAPI devices at the FastTrack controller.

At the (1) setting, you can easily create Arrays with the FastTrack default settings. However at the (3) setting, you can define arrays yourself. At the RAID0,0+1 levels, you can select the "Stripe Block Size". Use spacebar to scroll through choices progressing as follows (1, 2, 4, 8, 16, ... 1024). The size selected affects how FastTrack TX2000 sends and retrieves data blocks from the drives. In general, a larger block size is better when handling large data transfers (such as A/V Editing or graphics) while a smaller block size is better handling email and other common server data. The default setting is 64Kb.

The Gigabyte Boundary feature is designed for mirrrored arrays (RAID 1 or RAID 0+1) in which a drive has failed and the user cannot replace the drive with the same capacity or larger. Instead, the Gigabyte Boundary feature permits the installation of a replacement drive that is slightly smaller (within 1gigabyte) than the remaining working drive (for example a 20.5GB drive would be rounded down to 20GB). This can be helpful in the event a drive fails and an exact replacement model is no longer available. Without this features enabled, FastTrack TX2000 will NOT permit the use of a replacement drive that is slightly smaller than the remaining working drive.

You can also install a "Hot" spare drive for mirrored arrays. That enabled automatic rebuilds of a mirrored array. Drives that are not assigned to an array and are the same size or larger than the original will be used for the automatic rebuild. This is performed in the background under all supported operating systems, except DOS. At a later time, the system can be turned off and the failed drive can be phusically removed.

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