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SSD vs. HDD RAID 0 or 5 - Gaming/Editing

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December 28, 2013 8:59:16 PM

Hey Guys!

I built a machine recently with an 840 EVO 120GB as the C: drive, and now I'm out of room. I literally have, like, 1 GB left. So, since this is a rather high end machine, I'd like to know what the best option for me is: Just another, probably 250 GB SSD, or fast HDDs in RAID? I'd like to stay around $100-250 for whichever option I go for. I'm gaming and video editing. I'd like as much capacity for the above price point as possible.

My motherboard is the EVGA X79 Dark. It has support for RAID 0,1,5,10, and JBOD (though I don't know what JBOD is). If the RAID option is what I go with, I'd probably use the built-in RAID.

I might be able to get away with RAID 0 because I have a NAS I could back everything up on. I'm only editing personal videos, so losing hours/days of time after a disk fails to replace it can't be that big a problem, but I thought perhaps a RAID 5 array wouldn't hurt to have some internal redundancy.

I'd rather go with the above or any other fast option, not just a single Hard Drive.

Thanks! Any help/advice is appreciated!
December 28, 2013 9:58:01 PM

JBOD - Just a Bunch Of Disks, no raid involved. It writes data to a disk, when that disk is full it moves to the next disk. Performance is only whatever the drive being accessed can deliver.

Whoever suggested a 120GB SSD as the sole disk in your gaming/editing computer needs to be shot. Personally, I go for a fast SSD for the OS and main programs and a large hard drive (or hard drive array) for data storage. I'm suggesting the same for you. I will say though, depending on the capacity of your selected hard drives the on-board raid controller may not be able to handle them in raid 5. You may also run into a similar problem with Windows as the desktop versions of Windows do not support raid 5 (server does but not desktop). Both should be fine for raid 0.
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December 29, 2013 11:06:17 AM

So a JBOD is basically like an extended partition in Windows? That makes sense.

Well, the plan was to just back everything up on a NAS server and upgrade fast, internal storage as I went... Will hard drives in a RAID 0 or 5 array provide similar improvements in performance as an SSD? I mean like will you still get faster load times and such?

If it comes down to it, I'll invest in a RAID controller card. The motherboard is supposed to be able to handle RAID arrays up to RAID 10...
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December 29, 2013 7:02:33 PM

RAID 10 is a composite of RAID 1 (drive mirroring) and RAID 0 (data striping). The RAID levels which really tax your system are the ones which need to do calculations to write data to your drives or verify data when a drive goes down, this is called data parity and is present in RAID levels such as 3, 4, 5 and 6. RAID 0 doesn't need this because it is simply splits the data between drives and RAID 1 is simply one drive copying another. You'll find all the basic raid levels are single digit and the double digital, or greater, raid level are composites of the base raid levels.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Standard_RAID_levels
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/RAID

SSD vs HDD performance - you can build a hard drive array which will beat an SSD for large file data throughput, and it will take a reasonably large array to do this. However, when it comes to small file access the SSD cannot be beaten, and this benefits the operating system which reads, creates and edits many small files.

The reason I was sceptical about the on-board RAID controller not supporting large drives in RAID 5 is because it's not a proper hardware raid controller. It's what's called a fake raid as the cpu has to take a hand in it's running. I've also had previous experience with an on-board raid controller not supporting large drive for raid 5 but is fine with other raid levels. It should be more than fine for RAID 1 and/or RAID 0 with large drives as these raid levels hardly need and cpu overhead.

As you're using the NAS box for data storage/backup I don't think you need to worry about data security as much on your hard drive array.

I suggest running a couple of 1TB+ hard drives in RAID 0 for your data drives. While this has no data parity/security and the array is lost if one of the drives goes down, it requires almost no overhead from your processor and it is much higher throughput than RAID 5 with the same amount of hard drives. It won't be as quick than using a large SSD but it will be cheaper and it will still saturate your LAN connection when you upload/download to you NAS.
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