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I've got an old Intel D510MO Motherboard. I would like to use build myself a mini NAS (RAID level 1). The Problem is it only has 2 SATA Ports and I would like use, at least, 3 TB Disks. From my understanding it should be possible to put the /boot partition on an USB drive and BIOS boot to the USB drive and from there on load the / filesystem from the disks. GRUB must be installed on the USB drive.

A second question, with all the fuzz about 4k sectors and alignment, is there anything I can/must do in the installer or are the partitions going to be aligned automatically? I'm going to use the latest Ubuntu server 12.04 LTS version.

Third and last question, RAID stripe size, should I investigate further or just live with the defaults?

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1) Yes, it is possible to use 3 TB (or any drive larger than 2 TB) drives on a board which does not support booting from them. However you will have to boot from something which is supported, such as your suggested USB pendrive.

2) Most installers align themselves on multiples of 4k (often even on 1MB or 2MB boundaries). Unless you are manually entering start sectors you can ignore this. Having said that, it does not hurt to check the results.

3) RAID stripe size, should I investigate further or just live with the defaults?

These days I just go with the defaults, unless I use truly ancient drives (10-40 MB era) where disk performance really mattered. These days defaults are sane and disk caches are large.

I guess you can tweak it a bit for a specific case, but for generic NAS usage just keep the defaults.

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