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Old December 18, 2009, 12:18 AM
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Default Some questions about RAID

Hey experts, I'm relatively new to RAID, but I've been doing a little bit of research lately. I've read my mobo manual and am relatively confident in setting up a software based RAID 0 (Asus P6T X58, specs in the drop-down).

I saw an article written last year that had some benchmarks showing little improvements in boot times of a RAID configuration, but showed good scaling results when installing or writing/reading. Has anything changed since then that may have optimized this?

In my manual, it says RAID 0 is for two disks, but I'm pretty sure one could RAID, say, three or four drives right (in RAID 0)? In theory, I should see a three-fold gain in read/write speeds over a single drive if I have three drives in RAID 0 right? Are there any gains in those other factors, such as random access time?

Does putting, say, three Western Digital Caviar Black 1TB drives in RAID 0 provide results near that of a low to mid end SSD? Even if it were close to the performance of an SSD, I would still have 3TB of storage over 80GB, in terms of money ($100 per 1TB HDD, ~$300 per 80GB Intel SSD).

Thanks in advance for any insight on this topic.
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Old December 18, 2009, 05:45 AM
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I've read a lot of articles over the years but haven't seen much lately with all the hype around SSD now. Yes you could do a RAID 0 configuration with more than two drive (assuming the controller supported it) but I don't know that the performance increase would be 3 or 4 times a two drive setup. In real world software tests RAID 0 doesn't show that much of an increase in performance although synthetic benchmark performance does increase.
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Old December 18, 2009, 06:10 AM
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ok well you can raid0 as many drives as you like but after 4 it's kinda pointless. and with ssd after 3 it's pointless with on-board raid controller. the only problem is with more then 2 in raid0 there a higher chance of failure and if 1 hd goes you'll lose all data. ssd hold up much better then hd do. just remember that your on-board raid is limited to about 650mb/s anything over and it's a waste
EDIT but trying to caompar an ssd to an hd fro speed you can't i ssd kills 2 hd in raid0. ( i have bench this between 2 hd vs 1 ssd.)
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Old December 18, 2009, 12:57 PM
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Thanks for the info.

My data isn't all that important so a failure won't be too problematic. I'm trying to get the drivers for RAID on an Asus P6T x58 board, but I'm having troubles.

I'm running Windows 7 Enterprise. The DVD provided says it's not supported in this OS and I have absolutely no idea what to download from the Asus site. Is it just a BIOS update that will help this DVD work with Win7?

Any help would be great. Thanks.
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Old December 20, 2009, 08:58 AM
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Your motherboard bios should be ready for raid.

Not sure what, if any, raid drivers are included in windows 7 so
Here's the latest Intel raid drivers:

Intel® Matrix Storage Manager*Intel(R) Matrix Storage Manager
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Old December 22, 2009, 09:52 PM
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I was talking to some IT guy and he said it's not a good idea to put such large drives in a raid array. Also, he said software raid has a relatively high failure rate compared to a hardware raid setup. He also said that he lost 3 raid arrays in a week including a raid 5 array.

I am okay if my raid fails due to a hard drive failure, but if the software messes up my data regardless of hard drive integrity, then I see no point in setting one up. It's more for a learning experience than for an actual need for it anyways.
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Old December 22, 2009, 11:30 PM
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I tend to agree with your feelings on this. Especially since RAID is almost universally used in a manner it was neither invented for or intended to be used for. On-board RAID-1 has worked flawlessly for me since introduction, and worked reliably exactly as advertised in three cases when I had maxtor drives fail. The on-board versus separate controller decision isn't really a problem for the redundant modes, where reliability is the intent. Strain on system resources is not all its cracked up to be. I've moved on to NAS RAID-1 since then with no regrets whatsoever. A monkey can rebuild A RAID-1 array in no time compared to RAID-0

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Old December 22, 2009, 11:45 PM
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Sorry I didn't see your thread earlier..

I am running a 2 drive RAID0 using the onboard RAID from almost the same board as you, and it has been flawless since day 1.

Follow the manual to setup your raid, it's quite simple, but you will have to re-install windows 7 to be able to use it (Assuming you're going to install onto the RAID). As far as drivers go, windows 7 includes them, so no need to worry, it will install right on the RAID. I am not sure about work arounds for installing a raid without installing windows again... but it's not that big of a deal to re-format..

The benefits are a pretty big improvement read/write speeds... however, your access times slightly raise.

Comparing the read/write speed to an SSD is realistic yes, however, where SSD's really shine is their pretty well instant access times, where no hard drive can come even close to matching them in. But like you said, way more storage for the price.. I can handle the access time difference for the money spent on other parts.

It is definitely worth setting up a simple 2 drive raid, since you get a pretty big boost in read/write times.

A single drive of mine would get around 95 MB/sec average read, the RAID pair gets around 160mb/sec, so it's a pretty big jump. Access times went up around 4ms if I remember correctly.. which isn't a huge hit from around 12ms for a single drive.

So hook up your raid 0, use a 64 or 128kb stripe depending on your choice.. install windows 7 on it, and enjoy.

EDIT: Huh... better than I thought I guess..
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Old December 23, 2009, 12:33 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jake_HT View Post
Sorry I didn't see your thread earlier..

I am running a 2 drive RAID0 using the onboard RAID from almost the same board as you, and it has been flawless since day 1.

Follow the manual to setup your raid, it's quite simple, but you will have to re-install windows 7 to be able to use it (Assuming you're going to install onto the RAID). As far as drivers go, windows 7 includes them, so no need to worry, it will install right on the RAID. I am not sure about work arounds for installing a raid without installing windows again... but it's not that big of a deal to re-format..

The benefits are a pretty big improvement read/write speeds... however, your access times slightly raise.

Comparing the read/write speed to an SSD is realistic yes, however, where SSD's really shine is their pretty well instant access times, where no hard drive can come even close to matching them in. But like you said, way more storage for the price.. I can handle the access time difference for the money spent on other parts.

It is definitely worth setting up a simple 2 drive raid, since you get a pretty big boost in read/write times.

A single drive of mine would get around 95 MB/sec average read, the RAID pair gets around 160mb/sec, so it's a pretty big jump. Access times went up around 4ms if I remember correctly.. which isn't a huge hit from around 12ms for a single drive.

So hook up your raid 0, use a 64 or 128kb stripe depending on your choice.. install windows 7 on it, and enjoy.

EDIT: Huh... better than I thought I guess..
Hello Jake, nice to meet you. What you have in HDTach there looks about right for a typical 7200 rpm drive with relatively slow access time. Looks ready to go once partitioned and formatted.

The only way to significantly improve it would be to replace the 7200 rpm drives with WD's VelociRaptors, which have MUCH faster seek and access time. Believe me, then do make a difference, and one you don't to benchmark to know that you got. You will likely gain a little more in STR speed as well but that is insignificant compared to the much faster seek and access time. They're not cheap though, and I still recommend them over SSD's because NO SSD has been fully standardized in terms of the entire industry. As much as I would like to have some, there no way I'll shell out any amount of money for a device that has no official standards certification within its product class. I'm still reading a few engineering documents containing a few items that I consider problems to be fixed before they're truly ready for prime time, however. That's the main reason why I'm not buying any of them yet.
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Old December 23, 2009, 05:37 PM
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Thanks a lot for these responses.

So in summary, RAID 0 will provide better read/write speeds, but increase the seeking time.

Does this mean that I can install a game faster, but to open it will take longer? Or perhaps windows media player on shuffle may lag when going to the next song?
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