questionshow can i tell if a harddrive supports raid?

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I don't believe the hard drive has any idea what configuration it's being used in - you need a RAID controller, either on your motherboard or as an expansion card. That splits (or duplicates) the data as needed.

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@dcalotta is correct. It isn't the hard drive that supports the RAID, it's the thing controlling the hard drive. That could be your motherboard, a third party controller card, or even the operating system.

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Generally speaking, you should use the same hard drive (make & model) for all the disks in your RAID.

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@jyelle: Not entirely correct. Some drives have features enabled that are beneficial for RAID operation. (Other drives are deliberately crippled by manufacturers so that you will pay more...)

Not all drives will have Time-Limited Error Recovery enabled by default if you buy a Western Digital drive. I think Seagate is the same. The lack of TLER could potentially lead to disks being dropped from the array. Some discussion can be found here:

http://www.tomshardware.com/forum/251076-32-raid-issues-western-digital-hard-disk

According to that, Linux won't care.

I bought Hitachi drives for my (currently unused!) array simply because Hitachi wasn't forcing you to pay a premium for "Raid Edition" HDDs. AFAIK, they support TLER by default.

Not sure what the real-world impact of this (not having TLER) would be, someone with firsthand experience using a drive w/o TLER (such as a GreenDrive) in a RAID array under reasonable use might be the best person to shed some more light on this.

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I've used a HUGE variety of disks in arrays, and I've never had a single drive get dropped from an array. I've had them crash, and I've had the controller drop the array, but never just a single drive drop.

I'm currently using two WD Green drives in my home server in a RAID array, and I haven't had any issues.

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I just use standard hard drives in RAIDs with no issues. I have read that if you want to use SSD drives in a RAID configuration, it is best if they support a function called TRIM. Other than that, I don't know of any restrictions on hard drives for RAID. I'm not familiar with TLER but I'm sure that others have done the research, so Google it. :)

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I also use Green drives in two seperate RAID arrays, and no problems. However, I have had issues with Seagate drives in a RAID array, though, I believe that one was actually dying. One Green array is a 3x1TB 2TB RAID 5 array under Windows 7 on the nVidia controller, and the other is a 3x2TB 4TB RAID 5 array under Linux. The Linux array took way to much to get running, and I'm going to change it up to use one SSD as the system drive and the array for data only. Linux is running this array under mdadm, not the motherboard for security issues.

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As long as your mobo is less than ten years old and has two or more, ide/sata ports then it should support raid. Oh, and with newer formats you don't neccessarily need to have the exact same drives.