How To Build A 1-Terabyte Desktop PC

There's a new wave of fast, affordable, and super-high-capacity drives. Here's how to make the most of them.

InformationWeek Staff, Contributor

January 23, 2006

3 Min Read

Nine Post-Installation Steps

These are the final steps to take.

  1. The SATA RAID may be disabled by default. Press Del to enter BIOS setup. In Integrated Peripherals, SATA-II RAID CONFIG, ensure that Serial-ATA-II locations 1 and 2 are turned on. Next, ensure that the SATA-II RAID function is enabled. Set SATA-II 1 Primary and 1 Secondary RAID to Enabled. When done, save, then exit the BIOS. After the initial POST screen, the RAID controller screen will appear. Press F10 at this second boot screen to enter the MediaShield RAID utility. To pair our drives as a one-terabyte stripe, change the RAID mode to Striping by pressing the down arrow. Still in MediaShield, press Tab to advance to Striping Block. Ensure that this is set to Optimal. Tab again to see the drives listed; they should be listed as model ST3500641AS, 465.76 GB capacity each. Use the right arrow key to move both drives from the Free Disks side to the Array Disks side. Press F7 to Finish and say Yes to clear drive data. The status screen should show indicating a Healthy RAID, Vendor NVIDIA, Array type STRIPE and total capacity of 931.52 gigs (the true capacity of the drives). Press B to make this array bootable. Press CTRL-X to commit to these changes and reboot. Before proceeding to the Windows install, you must make the RAID driver disk. Using the secondary PC, run the program bootdrv\menu.exe. A long list of drivers will be presented. You want NVIDIA C51 Series (the internal code name for the Nforce 4 configuration we're using) for XP. Press the corresponding key and insert the blank floppy when prompted. The drivers will write to disk. Back on your terabyte machine, insert the Windows XP Professional install CD and boot up. Press F6 when the Windows Setup blue screen first appears to install the RAID driver. The included floppy must be loaded, and both the NVIDIA RAID CLASS DRIVER and NVIDIA Nforce Storage Controller (WinXP) must be loaded for installation to continue. Once the RAID drivers are in place and Windows XP installation continues, the installer should report Unpartitioned Space: 953876 MB on a single (virtual) disk. You may create multiple partitions, but honestly, it will be far more impressive to just format the single, near-terabyte drive as one enormous partition. Select NTFS formatting, and install Windows XP Pro as usual. When Windows XP Pro finishes installation, it's time to install the chipset drivers and support utilities. Fortunately, Gigabyte's automated driver install process is one of the best in the business. Simply insert the driver CD, and the driver install menu should automatically load. All relevant drivers will be selected and prepared for installation, as you can see in the image below.
    Click Go, and the software will be installed without further intervention. A few reboots during the process are normal. The local disk properties screen should look like this:
    This base system installed with no chaff or unnecessary hardware takes up less than 2 GB of the drive pair's awesome capacity.

That's it. Congratulations, your one-terabyte PC is ready for delivery!

JASON COMPTON is a technology writer who has covered topics ranging from 8-bit entertainment to supercomputing for more than a decade.

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