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Raid: hardware or Software?

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July 9, 2013 7:44:03 AM

I've been looking into whether to do a software or hardware RAID on my home computer. I've got a few spare 1TB black WD drives, and I've noticed lately that when im playing games, that my dedicated Games drive has been hitting ~100% USAGE, which is reducing my frame rates and causing obscene load times. All the sites that I have found have been more for the server side of raiding... which is not as applicable to my situation in the fact that it keeps mentioning that software RAID can outperform hardware RAID if you have a higher end CPU. However, everything I'm finding is older then the last few years or so.

My MB is the EVGA P67 FTW, and it has RAID support for RAID 0, RAID 1, RAID 0+1, RAID5 and RAID 10. However, this would be my onboard raid controller, not a dedicated PCI card.
And my CPU is the i7-2600K @ 4.4 Ghz, which would lead me to believe that is is slightly (if not significantly) faster and more capable than your average server CPU.

So the question is:
*Would I get better performance from using my onboard RAID controller- or
*Using the built in Win 7 software RAID

And if I would be to use the Win 7 software RAID, What would the rough estimation be on the impact to my CPU and Ram usage? Noticable? negligable?



*NOTE: I am aware that using a dedicated Hardware RAID controller would provide better performance, but I do NOT have the space in my case, nor between my GPUs for one

** NOTE 2: This RAID would be 100% for gaming, and redundancy is not at all a worry, this is only for performance.


Link to MOBO manual: http://www.evga.com/support/manuals/files/160-SB-E679.p...

More about : raid hardware software

a b G Storage
July 9, 2013 7:53:03 AM

software raid will never be faster i believe since raid controllers have dedicated memory and a built in processor. In my opinion go with the software raid you will not notice the difference or need the added features of a dedicated raid controller. ive been running raid 0 for a while and i get massive speed from it but bf3 still takes forever to load.

im unsure what games your are playing but it shouldnt really be using tons of your hdd. have your defragged it lately and checked it for errors since if its heavily fragmented it will have to work way harder to find your files


you will not notice any impact on system performance whatsoever. make sure to remove/disable your paging file as well if you have enough memory.

i only use about 2.5gb while average use and 3.5 while gaming at most
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a b G Storage
July 9, 2013 8:42:09 AM

You can set up a RAID 0 array for nearly twice the throughput performance of a single hard drive, but this does put your data at twice the risk of failure. If you really want to get the best performance, instead of spending $300 or more on a decent performance RAID controller you could instead get a nice speed SSD that would outperform the RAID array anyways.
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July 9, 2013 12:55:38 PM

I already have a SSD, check my sig.
And costwise its not worth me getting an SSD for 750+ GB of games...

and yes, I KNOW that RAID 0 is better speed then a single drive, why do you think i asked HARDWARE OR SOFTWARE? because I know whats what, I wanted facts that I didnt already know.

FYI, dont treat me like I'm stupid, I've got S+ Certification under my belt, and understand the ins and outs of computers and servers. I asked a specific question, please stop providing useless answers that are off topic.

** and yes, I run Defrag weekly.

*** and before anyone asks, I run HD Sentinal whenever my computer is running, there are 0 issues with my drives. (No bad sectors, no broken sectors, no deteriorated sectors.)
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a b G Storage
July 9, 2013 1:43:55 PM

I apologize that my post came across as offensive Tidus, but your snide remarks will earn you no respect. Nowhere in my original post was I treating you as a child, but trying to simply state the basics which you can yourself extrapolate from. I do apologize that I didn't grasp your understanding of enterprise-level RAID concepts, but it is hard to tell what someone has experience with in a single post from a forum, and for that, I apologize.

You have stated that you don't have room for adding in a hardware RAID controller, so I believe you are left with only the other option which is software RAID.
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July 9, 2013 2:06:25 PM

"You can set up a RAID 0 array for nearly twice the throughput performance of a single hard drive, but this does put your data at twice the risk of failure."

Hence why I am planning to set up a RAID, because I am noticing that my single drive is under strain. I am obviously aware of the benefits of RAID, otherwise I wouldnt be looking into it.

"If you really want to get the best performance, instead of spending $300 or more on a decent performance RAID controller you could instead get a nice speed SSD that would outperform the RAID array anyways. "

If you took the time to even glance at my Sig, you would ahve seen that I already have an SSD, and that in the original post that I stated that I wouldnt be buying a Dedicated RAID card because I don't have the space.


***The question that I am asking is whether using the Windows 7 built in RAID software would provide better performance, or if it would be better for me to use the RAID software that came with my motherboard.
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a c 812 G Storage
July 9, 2013 3:25:35 PM

I would use your motherbds intel raid ports. Yes its still software raid but there are many tools out there that can work with intel raids vs working with a windows striped volume.
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a b G Storage
July 10, 2013 8:47:39 AM

no problems here with my windows striped volume so far. not sure if my board has dedicated raid ports on it or not tho so cant compare the two
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Best solution

a b G Storage
July 17, 2013 12:59:34 PM

Here is my rule of thumb for using RAID.

Software RAID
1_ less the four drive
2_ NOT raid5

Hardware:
1_ RAID5
2_ More than 4 drives

I'm currently using raid5 solution to my clients with SPM393/SMP394

It won't be a enterprise level raid, but more than enough for Media Server streaming multiple 1080p
Or SOHO, or upto 60 users Server
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