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Old May 5, 2008, 03:13 PM
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Default ESata dual raid enclosure = poor man's hardware raid?

Ok, just had a thought, and while it may not be original, I haven't seen it mentioned here yet as a viable solution.

Has anybody come across a dual bay enclosure with an eSATA interface as well as raid?

I'm thinking that since it does the raid within the unit that it should present a single drive to the Sata port it is plugged into thus allowing OS installation on the raided drives without requiring the dreaded F6 drivers.

Since eSATA throughput is theoretically close to normal SATA speeds, I'm thinking that this would give the speed benefits of Raided drives without the pain.

Anything wrong with the way I'm thinking? And, even more important... has anybody come across a decently priced enclosure which would fit the bill? (Hardware raid PCIe X1 cards run $300+ so it would have to run under that to be considered a "budget" solution).
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Old May 5, 2008, 03:26 PM
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Hmmmmmm...... :)

http://www.ncix.com/products/index.p...edia%20Systems

http://www.ncix.com/products/index.p...re=THERMALTAKE
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Old May 5, 2008, 03:44 PM
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Interesting goodies. I think you'd still have to load a raid driver though? I have a Raid related question too:

What is the performance gain of say 2x500mb drives in Raid 0 versus 1x1TB drive assuming access times and RPM are equal? Everyone says it's faster, but how much?

Don't mean to hijack the thread sswilson, but thought it would be an appropriate place to ask.
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Old May 5, 2008, 03:55 PM
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I have used RAID 0 off and on and TBH I dont bother anymore. My feeling is summed up nicely in the review at anand:

Quote:
Final Words
If you haven't gotten the hint by now, we'll spell it out for you: there is no place, and no need for a RAID-0 array on a desktop computer. The real world performance increases are negligible at best and the reduction in reliability, thanks to a halving of the mean time between failure, makes RAID-0 far from worth it on the desktop.

There are some exceptions, especially if you are running a particular application that itself benefits considerably from a striped array, and obviously, our comments do not apply to server-class IO of any sort. But for the vast majority of desktop users and gamers alike, save your money and stay away from RAID-0.

If you do insist on getting two drives, you are much better off putting them into a RAID-1 array to have a live backup of your data. The performance hit of RAID-1 is just as negligible as the performance gains of RAID-0, but the improvement in reliability is worthwhile...unless you're extremely unlucky and both of your drives die at the exact same time.

When Intel introduced ICH5, and now with ICH6, they effectively brought RAID to the mainstream, pushing many users finally to bite the bullet and buy two hard drives for "added performance". While we applaud Intel for bringing the technology to the mainstream, we'd caution users out there to think twice before buying two expensive Raptors or any other drive for performance reasons. Your system will most likely run just as fast with only one drive, but if you have the spare cash, a bit more reliability and peace of mind may be worth setting up a RAID-1 array.

Bottom line: RAID-0 arrays will win you just about any benchmark, but they'll deliver virtually nothing more than that for real world desktop performance. That's just the cold hard truth.
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Old May 5, 2008, 04:05 PM
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Only a limited number of mainboards come with eSATA connectors. If you do not have the connector then you would need a HBA and that would mean drivers. Do mainboards with eSATA support booting from eSATA?
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Old May 5, 2008, 04:13 PM
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Cheers Eldonko! That's exactly what I was thinking. Back in the dark ages of Netware 4.0, we set up servers with Raid 5? (striping with CRC, can't remember it's been so long) over 3 drives for data security. It wasn't fast, but it was safe. For some reason the head office wouldn't pay for 2 drives to mirror and lose 1/2 the space, but they'd pay for a damn expensive scsi card and 3 drives.

That article shows a 20% improvement in HDD benchmarks, but only 2.5-3.5% in real world applications. I'd probably see more improvement by running a small Raptor as a boot/exe drive. I'd be interested to see that article updated to the new ICH9/10, though, to see if there's been some improvement since then. Hint Hint.

Last edited by SugarJ; May 5, 2008 at 04:16 PM. Reason: typo
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Old May 5, 2008, 04:36 PM
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Sata and Esata are the same thing with a slightly more robust connector for the external type.

My E-sata enclosure came with a bracket to run the sata signal to my motherboard, for people who do not have Esata. So it really doesn't matter if you have an Esata port or not, as long as you have on-board sata you need only get the pci bracket and plug her in.

These days though, for the price of 2 high performance drives in RAID, you can get a single SSD drive. Although it won't store as much, it will absolutely shatter both benchmarks and real-world performance.
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Old May 5, 2008, 04:51 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by vinister View Post

These days though, for the price of 2 high performance drives in RAID, you can get a single SSD drive. Although it won't store as much, it will absolutely shatter both benchmarks and real-world performance.
Oh really? 2x 65 bucks for two WD SE16 single platter 320 drives vs $$$ for a FAST SSDDs . SSDD may be the wave of the future but for right now 120 bucks is nothing for a kick ass fast raid array.
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Old May 5, 2008, 05:17 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SugarJ View Post
Interesting goodies. I think you'd still have to load a raid driver though? I have a Raid related question too:

What is the performance gain of say 2x500mb drives in Raid 0 versus 1x1TB drive assuming access times and RPM are equal? Everyone says it's faster, but how much?

Don't mean to hijack the thread sswilson, but thought it would be an appropriate place to ask.
That's what I'm wondering. Does the enclosure present a single drive to the port natively, or would it require software to see two drives as one?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Jack Rabbit View Post
Only a limited number of mainboards come with eSATA connectors. If you do not have the connector then you would need a HBA and that would mean drivers. Do mainboards with eSATA support booting from eSATA?
I've been running the boot drive on my test bench out of an eSATA enclosure for several months now. The only real downside between using standard SATA connection vice eSATA for it is the loss of hot plug capabilities, so the drive must be plugged into the board during boot.

Anywise, thanks for the comments folks, it's not something I'm going to jump right into, but I thought it was an interesting concept worth considering. (Isn't everybody always looking for budget solutions which work??? :) ).
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Old May 5, 2008, 06:46 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sswilson View Post
That's what I'm wondering. Does the enclosure present a single drive to the port natively, or would it require software to see two drives as one?

I've been running the boot drive on my test bench out of an eSATA enclosure for several months now. The only real downside between using standard SATA connection vice eSATA for it is the loss of hot plug capabilities, so the drive must be plugged into the board during boot.

Anywise, thanks for the comments folks, it's not something I'm going to jump right into, but I thought it was an interesting concept worth considering. (Isn't everybody always looking for budget solutions which work??? :) ).
Well, looking at the back panel of the Thermaltake enclosure, it shows different settings. Check out the 2 on-off switches:



RAID may just be incorporated within the unit.
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