New config: 2SSD + 3HDD

Hey Guys & Girls,

After the Haswell was released and my Q9550 beginning to struggle I've ordered myself a new PC. I use Linux & Windows so I need dual boot. I still have a working OCZ Vertex 2 120GB SSD from my old PC and bought Samsung 840 Pro 256GB for the new one + 3x WD30EZRX 3TB for the RAID5 config. Using the i7 4770K and Gigabyte Z87X-UD5H.

Now I'm wondering how I should set this up the best way ?
I was planning to install the operating systems on the different SSD's for the best speed performance, so Linux on the 120GB SSD and Windows 8 on the 256GB SSD while keeping the bulk of the data on the Raid5 array. However, when 1 of my SSD's dies my system is broken and I won't have much of a gain using Raid5. However is it possible to automatically fully backup the SSD's on the Raid array and if one gets broken I just swap another SSD in (perhaps even different type) and write the content of it back from the Raid array using a sort of LiveCD linux ?

So to sum op my questions:
- Is it a good setup or would you change some things?
- What do you propose for backing up the SSD's?
- Will my performance increase using the SSD's for the OS or should I just install everything on the RAID5? I've bought it already though.
- How should I handle the dual boot issue?
- How should I handle the partitioning of the RAID5 array ?
- Will it be possible to swap in another disk (even different type perhaps) and
restore my OS ?

This isn't the first PC I've put together, but mostly they have a much simpler configuration so your advice is appreciated.

Thanks in advance,
8 answers Last reply Best Answer
More about config 2ssd 3hdd
  1. Best answer
    1. Unless you have a dedicated (hardware!) RAID controller then RAID5 is not a good option. Your read/write performance will tank and you'l be putting a constant load on the CPU.

    2. Just backing them up.

    3. Far better performance on the SSD's.

    4. Most BIOS give you the option to hit some button during POST to select a boot device, if you dont hit it then it goes to whatever your default is set too. When you want to get in Linux, just hit that button and select the Vertex 2.

    5. To my knowledge, with that setup you should just get 6TB of usable capacity. How you split that up will depend on your preference, you could not partition it at all.

    6. By restoring a system image, yes. By reconstructing it from the RAID 5 (which you do not want to do, mixing SSD's and HDD's in RAID means you will only get the worst of both, capacity of an SSD and a HDD's speed)
  2. Yes I also found on the internet that it puts strain on the CPU when using the Intel Raid, and therefore lowers performance.
    I was thinking of getting the Highpoint RocketRaid 2310 which uses PCI-e x4 so much better than the RocketRaid 2300 version or the 640L? Or any other suggestions? I think this will be worth the extra cost but I must make sure that my hard drives are the bottleneck and not the controller.
    However I'm wondering if it will fit the Motherboard. I also got the ASUS HD7970-DC2T-3GD5 graphics card which is pretty big. I Think it will block the 2 slots below the PCE-e x16 slot. There is a slot above, so maybe it will fit there ?

    Putting the SSD's in RAID 5 with the HHD's would indeed be a stupid thing to do :)
  3. When it comes to RAID hardware I'l admit that I dont really know much, if you want a recommendation on particular controllers then you will need to loop elsewhere. All I can say is that the RocketRaid 2310 seems to have good reviews, which no doubt you will already know.

    Yup, that ASUS 7970 is a triple slot card, so expect it to block the two slots below its PCI-E slot.
    If theres a free 4x slot, then your good. You havent told me your motherboard, so whether there will be bandwidth issues I dont know.
  4. Motherboard is in the start post, it is the Gigabyte Z87X-UD5H. I think the RocketRaid 640L is some sort of a soft RAID controller also. So not a good option I guess.
  5. Ahh, didn't see that.
    You should be fine to use either the next PCI-E slot (5 slots from the top) or the one at the very bottom. Both of those will support a 4x card, all the others only have 1x bandwidth (except the one your graphics card is using).
  6. Quote:
    Software RAID has advanced significantly in the last few years (as of 2012). Hardware RAID still has the three key vulnerabilities it has always had: First, it is expensive. Second, if your RAID card fails, your RAID volume fails; it is a single point of failure. Third, if your RAID card fails, you must find an exact replacement for that card to recover your data.

    On the other hand, software RAID costs nothing, and if your controller card or motherboard fail, you can just move your disks to another machine and set up the appropriate software to read them.

    Yes, hardware RAID can be faster than software RAID, but that gap is closing, and the flexibility and reliabilty offered by software RAID outweighs that single advantage. The only case where hardware RAID is the right choice is when absolute speed is the only priority, and you’re willing to take risks with your data.


    Maybe i'm just better off with software raid then.
  7. That does depend on the level of RAID in use. RAID 0, 1 and 10 require no parity calculations, hence consume near zero CPU resources to figure out. RAID 5 and 6 however do, and you will see a performance difference.
  8. So another option for increased performance is to add another disk to eliminate the parity issue, as it would not add space but will increase reading and writing speeds. But as my OS is already on SSD's I doubt I will notice the performance from the OS standpoint ? However I think the bottleneck will be the speed of the hard drives. It will increase CPU load definitely but are we talking(1%,2% or 10%) I think I'll have a hard time keeping the 4 cores busy so I think there should be time left for parity calculations.

    EDIT: I've made up my mind and don't gonna risk any performance loss, so I ordered an extra 3TB disk and will go for RAID10. Now I'm wondering, my motherboard supports the Z87 chipset SATA controller but also has a seperate Marvell® 88SE9230 SATA Controller. In the datasheet it says that the chip supports hardware RAID10 so I think this is my best option ?

    EDIT2: Also changed my order of my Hard Disks last moment when I realized WD30EZRX Green is not suitable for RAID, so I went for 4xWD30EFRX. And will be putting these in Software RAID10.
Ask a new question

Read More

SSD Configuration Storage