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Speed Demon Needs Advice Please. 1 SSD vs 2 or 3 in RAID0?

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August 29, 2013 1:22:17 PM

Hello everone,

I am looking to upgrade my OS/App partition and I do not have much experience with single drive usage. Since about 2000 or so I have been using Raid0 as my main OS partition (Mostly utilizing raid cards until SATA II). When OCZ first put out the Vertex drives I removed all my mechanical drives (Seagate Cheetas and WD Raptors of course) and populated the computer with just SSD's. Last year I pulled all the Vertex's and installed some Crucial C300's 3 of them to be exact and put them in Raid0. This was 3x128gb, however I did not use all the space because I read over provisioning was a good thing so I only created a 200gb partition and installed Windows 7. Now I would like to retire these as my OS drive and replace with some of these fantastic Samsung 840 Pros. However, I read that these drives are so fast that raid is no longer necessary for a speed demon like myself. SO, I need to figure out what to do please and my budget is less than $300, less is better. So either two 128'x in Raid0 or one 256 in AHCI (I read on SATAIII only one is necessary because 4k is better in AHCI). I can probably do as much as $350 but ONLY if I am guaranteed absolute OS boot and app/game loading speeds. I thought about the Asus RAIDR Express 240Gb, but after reading all the tech specs I am not sure it would do anything for me, sure my PCIe 2.0 specs can do 500MB/s per lane but at only two lanes it just seems over priced at this stage, not to mention I am less concerned with absolute transfer and more concerned with 4k OS performance. I want the fastest possible game loading, app launching and Windows boot that one, two or three drives can give me.

Anyway, the three C300's already saturate my SATAII bus but the 4k is low imo. But I also read that Raid is not ideal for OS performance anyway and that the 4k reads can drop using Raid (Raid0 made all the difference in the world with my 4 Raptors). I tried one C300 in AHCI mode last year and I was greatly disappointed, even two in raid felt slower than these three in Raid0 (yes, contrary to what most people claim I can very easily sense the differences). My system info and current AS SSD results are below. These results are on a one year old heavily used OS install with about 16 apps currently running in the background.



Asus Rampage III Extreme x58
Intel I7 930 @ 4ghz
24GB G.Skill Ripjaws

Any help or info sharing would be greatly appreciated. I have determined I have to keep using this system longer than I had anticipated, I just can not afford to custom build another system again. However I am willing to spend more to try and increase the storage performance which is where I think I am still lacking, 4k performance anyway lol... SATA or PCIe, I do not care as I only have one Video card so I can go either way, plenty of PCIe slots free as well as SATA ports.

Thanks peeps...

EDIT: I just found a new in box LSI 8211-8i 6Gbps Raid card for only $109. Its an old model now but had some of the best Random speeds around and its a PCIe 2.0 x4 card which means a 4th C300 could really scream. My max transfers in benchmarks might not change but the random OS speeds would most likely improve over Intel Raid, no? Just thinking out loud, lol... I have a feeling a single Samsung 840 Pro would still feel snappier?

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a b G Storage
August 29, 2013 2:01:46 PM

what do you want to do with your machine?

a single samsung 840 pro can easily get 500MB's seq red and writes on its own let alone in raid.

also when you do use raid 0 its far better to use even numbers of drives for performance as most file sizes and stripe sizes more easily divide by an even number than an odd number.

and from the as ssd results below outperforms your 3 ssd raid 0 by quite a lot.

http://www.servethehome.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/11/...
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August 29, 2013 5:13:14 PM

mauller07 said:
what do you want to do with your machine?

a single samsung 840 pro can easily get 500MB's seq red and writes on its own let alone in raid.

also when you do use raid 0 its far better to use even numbers of drives for performance as most file sizes and stripe sizes more easily divide by an even number than an odd number.

and from the as ssd results below outperforms your 3 ssd raid 0 by quite a lot.

http://www.servethehome.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/11/...


Yes I agree, your results are about a 30% improvement on the random reads, and over double on the writes. The seq read is lower but I am not that concerned. I run a business off this machine, and about 3 different games, internet, email, encoding, bluray ripping, etc. I have three other machines all side by side for business, email internet etc but this machine is my speed project. Its my custom built water cooled monster that I can no longer splurge on. Its fast and feels fast as well but I have a feeling it can do slightly better where snappiness is concerned. I maxed out the memory just so I could use a RAMdisk for Internet and gaming files, but I want the OS on the fastest possible that I can afford 4k QD1 IOps device. I do NOT store data on it as all downloads are transferred to the server. Anyway, not concerned with what I do with it, I just want it to feel as fast as possible when launching apps, closing apps and loading games. I also want the fastest possible windows boot that this machine can provide.

Have you seen any reviews on say TWO Samsung 840 Pros in Raid0 on a x58 by chance? I would like to see comparisons of these drives not on a SATA III port but on Intel ICH10R. I am curious if the 4k random falls off any? Oh, by the way this setup of mine almost hits 700 mbps when the system is freshly installed and no background apps are running. So its no seq slouch...

Thanks for your reply and the screenshot of your 840

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August 29, 2013 9:02:53 PM

Ok, doing mad research and I realize trying to get better 4k performance than I have now on this aging system is going to be hit a miss luck of the draw.

I am thinking along the lines of either getting ONE 256gb 840 Pro and putting it into AHCI mode and hoping for the best.
Or, two 128's and hoping for the same 4k with the benefit of maxed out sequentials on Intel ports. OR, getting a LSI 9266-4i and adding one more C300 with the hope that 4k will still be as good and benefit from the very mature LSI card and SSD maxed sequentials. Assuming that card will even work on my mobo. All three options should be under or around $350 total. However, going with the raid card idea will dump more heat into the system. BUT, I can add 840 Pros in the future and get full 6Gbps SSD benefits for years to come until Sata Express releases, haha. I hate the idea of going back to a dedicated raid card but if I cant upgrade my mobo, memory and cpu I see no other choice.

Anyone have any more thoughts on this please?
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a b G Storage
August 30, 2013 2:04:53 AM

You will most likely see benefits on a dedicated raid card with equal numbers of drives, like I mentioned raid 0 prefers even numbers.

You also missed that the random access times are 10x faster on the 840 but this will probably improve with a dedicated raid card on your drives.
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August 30, 2013 8:57:36 AM

mauller07 said:

You also missed that the random access times are 10x faster on the 840 but this will probably improve with a dedicated raid card on your drives.

I did not miss this, I just have not seen any evidence of that yet. I am getting 26 MB/s 4k random reads now, ten times that would be at Ramdisk levels and would put a huge smile on my face for sure, but without proof or screen shots showing its ten times faster at randoms on my sata II ports, I am reluctant. In fact, I think the only way to go is with a dedicated raid card with 1GB of DDR3 cache. Its just hard to make that jump knowing I cant afford to buy the new SSD's for it, I would have to keep my C300's and possibly get a 4th and be done with it for another year or so. Then maybe upgrade to two new SSD's in mid 2014.

Wish I could borrow a 840 Pro for about a week, lol just to see and feel with my own senses how fast it is and how my system works with it. But thats never going to happen...

EDIT: I think I have made my decision. I think upgrading my SATA ports to SATA III using a LSI 9266-4i or 9271-4i is the only way to go (or even a Adaptec 7805). These have Raid-on-chip processing and should offload some of the work from the CPU, not to mention on board cache. I should immediately see benefits from even my C300's and in 2014 I can again upgrade my SSD's to what ever is best at that time, maybe 850 Pros? lol. Thanks for all your help mauller, it was really appreciated. Peace
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