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Installing, Configuring and Using the Promise TX2300 SATA RAID controller

UPDATE 8/2006 - I installed another Promise TX2300 today in a system I'm building for someone else. Here's what I've learned.

Notes from previous Promise TX2300 episode.

I had one bootable drive that I wanted to build into a RAID 1 configuration. I paired it with an identical drive and looked forward to a painless exercise. Boy, was I wrong. When will I ever learn to not approach a computer thinking that this won't take long.

When I attempted to use the BIOS to create my array, both drives were listed as JBOD. When shown as JBOD, no array can be created. The manual said nothing about this. I suggest that you not update the BIOS or drivers. I tried this, but it DOES NOT help with the JBOD problem and you CANNOT uninstall the new drivers and re-install the old ones. The new BIOS is absolutely worthless. I can't believe they figure someone could use it to create their array.

When I visited the website, here's the only thing I could find:

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Question - How do I create an array in Fastbuild when drives are seen as JBOD?

Answer - By default all brand new drives are recognized as JBOD by Fastbuild (Promise bios setup utility). To get around this the drives must first be set to SPARE in Fastbuild.

Here how to do this - Go to option "View Drive Assignments" and highlight the drive you wish to set to SPARE and hit the space bar key. This will then prompt user to set the drive to SPARE. Once all drives are set to SPARE exit "View Drive Assignments" and select option "Define Array" to setup the desire raid setup and drive should now be available in list to setup the RAID.

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When I started the process of changing a JBOD drive to a Spare drive, I was warned about the loss of data. I was so fearful of losing all my prep work, that I didn't dare go through with it. I tried EVERYTHING else instead. As it turned out, there wasn't anything else to try. I E-mailed Promise Tech Support, but I didn't hear from them within 24 hours, and I could not wait. So, with full confidence in the image I made of the drive, I made both drives spare and and built the array for RAID1, copying the contents of the working drive to the other. I fully expected to lose the data on the drive, but much to my surprise it worked . I didn't lose my data. A very happy man was I.

After the array was built and the drive copied, I booted the machine and everything was fine. However, the machine would not boot unless I pressed Escape after the Promise BIOS loaded. After some experimentation, I learned that all unused SATA and PATA interfaces had to be disabled in the Dell BIOS in order for the boot to happen without an index finger intervention.

I then installed the Promise Array Management (PAM) software and set it up to E-mail me when problems occur. This software wasn't the most intuitive thing. You have to poke around to learn it. Good luck.