Dell PowerEdge 2900 - Disabling Raid & Risking Data

DELL PERC 5/i Integraded
DELL SAS 5iR Adapter Controller
(Neither have been updated)

I’ll begin this right off, i have little experience using RAID, i never saw the point of it on a personal system and even with the server now any interest is academic, not something i want to implement.

Work gave me a Dell PowerEdge 2900 and for the most part it worked when i played with it in my lab at the office, but i never had any spare drives to load into the front slots.

Now that i have it home I’ve begun playing with it, and I’ve noticed a few things.

  1. The raid has to load everything through it. To make it so Windows recognize the hard drives, I have to use the raid controls and setup each drive as raid 0, then boot into Win10 on the SSD drive I have plugged into the system board SATA port. -Question: Is there anyway to disable this raid card but still use it because the backplane is what it’s connected to and the backplane is SAS/SATA so it could still be viable if the raid wasn’t interfering.

  2. When i add the drives to the raid, the raid is only able to see 2TB max, irrelevant of the size of the drive. However what makes this interesting is that even though the raid card will only see 2TB, windows sees the full size of the drive and all the data. - Question: What I’m concerned about is if something odd happens with the raid card, am I risking the data by having a variance in how the raid card sees things and how windows sees things?

  3. I loaded one 3TB drive and windows loaded no issues. I loaded one 6TB (plus the 3TB) and again windows loaded and had no issues. I added two 8TB drives and windows loaded but as soon as I tried to open windows explorer and see the drives, windows explorer crashed every time i even turned it on. As soon as i pulled the two 8TB out, windows file explorer worked again. - I’m open to thoughts as to why this is.

I’m open to any thoughts on how to proceed. If there is a SATA card, that uses the same connections that the dell raid controller uses, and does not use raid, i’d be open to that. The whole point of this was a long term file server and then what ever else i wanted it to do, but if the system can’t handle 8, 10, or bigger TB drives, then it’s not going to be any good to me.