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Cluster size + Stripe Size for Raid-0 2x74GB raptors

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December 14, 2005 1:23:34 PM

Hey everyone what's up?

I am about to get 2x74 wd740gd drives in a raid 0 array using my nforce 4 onboard raid controller. Here will be my basic setup:

A8N-SLI deluxe
2xWD740GD HOPEFULLY partitioned with A: FOR WINDOWS INSTALLATION (16GB) with 64 KB stripe size and 8KB cluster size --and-- B: (120 GB) with 128K stripe and a 12-16KB cluster size
2x7200 RPM Samsung SATA drives in RAID 0 for storage
AMD athlon 64 3200+ 90nm @ 2.0-2.3 GHz

Questions:
1. Can I make different cluster sizes and stripe sizes for different partitions on the same array?
2. Are my cluster sizes/stripe sizes set to good amounts? I am less concerned about total space vs performance, which is why I increased the cluster size. There will be less small files on partition D, mainly large loading games + uncompressed videos.


Thanks for your advice, but please only give information that you are pretty sure is correct. There are a lot of varying things so only give me advice if you know firsthand or have read...or just know.

Thank you very much, I am going to try to build a very nice system.
December 14, 2005 1:36:24 PM

Yes, you should be able to use a different stripe/cluster size, but I would not use RAID 0 for storage as you double your chances of HDD failure with the two discs being interleaved, I would use either a RAID 1, or regular HDD setup for storage.

If you put both a RAID 0 + 1 on the same drive, make the RAID 0 first so it uses the faster inner-most area of the disc.

Here is what my MB manual says:
The available stripe size values range from 8KB to 128KB. The default stripe size is 128KB. You must choose the stripe size value based on the projected drive usage. For low disk usage, select 8KB/16KB. For typical disk usage, select 64KB. Select 128KB for performance disk usage.
For server systems, use of a lower array block size is recommended. For multimedia computer systems used mainly for audio and vedio editing, a higher block size is recommended for optimum performance.
December 14, 2005 4:29:37 PM

Quote:
1. Can I make different cluster sizes and stripe sizes for different partitions on the same array?


I have the exact same setup that you're about to get. On the nVidia RAID controller, you can't set different stripe sizes on different partitions. (you have to pick 1 stripe size for the entire array) You can of course set cluster sizes since that's a windows thing.

I agree w/ Tuna on storage. If you plan to store valuable or semi-valuable info on the larger partition using RAID 0- you might want to reconsider. 10,000rpm drives fail more frequently than 5400 or 7200rpm drives. And having 2 raptors double your chances of failure.

Consider using 0+1 (which requires 4 identical drives) or RAID 5 (requires 3 drives).

I personally use RAID 0, but I don't store ANYTHING of value on the drives. Just WinXP, Office, games, progs, etc. All my photos, documents, music, pr0n, etc are stored on a different drive.

-mpjesse
December 14, 2005 6:54:10 PM

Ok thank you for the above information.


However, I have a backup harddrive big enough to store all valuable files...I could do this daily or weekly or whenever needed. I want my computer to be as quick as possible. Since hard disks are my biggest bottleneck, I've got to set them up very well.

You said I can only have one stripe size. Good news is that you said I can have different cluster sizes. Read this following information and see if you have any comments, suggestions, or ideas --thank you.

2x7200 RPM 160 GB 8mb samsungs
2x10000 RPM Raptors
BackupHarddiskdrive for backup storage (sorry i did not mention that before)

Ok...I need a windows installation on one. I bought the 10k RPM raptors for a reason, so I should probably def. install windows on those ones. I must now find the ideal cluster size but mainly stripe size for getting the real performance out of my setup. (this is in a few days) At the moment, I have Raid 0 2x160 7200 with a C: {windows} and D: drive...looks like 64KB stripe and 4KB cluster...I didnt even know what these did when I first set it up.
I need to select the best stripe size:

1. The way I look at it, the 10k rpm drives are so fast that I probably shouldn't try to use both drives unless the file is...say 128KB or larger. However, an absolute ton of windows files are way less than 128KB so I won't get the raid 0 performance out of those...but do I even need the raid 0 with those small files (10KB-128KB)? I'd say not..but it could help windows loading times for sure as long as the two drives were consistently having the same access time [with a smaller stripe size of like 64KB]
2. The second way to look at it is from applications' points of view. I have tons of FRAPS video, like 500MB-3 GB .avi files. Raid 0 definitely helps in video editing like this. Also, I really wanted faster loading times in games. Now that I think about it....BF2 for example takes way way way long to load, but I wonder if most of the file sizes are small or large. I wonder if I should stick with 64-128KB stripe size... but then I might be wasting a lot of speed for the huge huge files. (i wonder how much difference between 64KB stripe and a 1024KB stripe or even larger for huge files works)

Sorry if this is a lot of information to read/handle.

I have a little bit of experience with raid 0 so far and have been reading a lot more. I wish I could use more than one stripe size!!! that would really let me optimize performance for the windows drive and the partition with larger files


Advice? :) 
!