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Raid on a ASUS A8N-SLI Motherboard

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January 26, 2006 9:34:44 PM

Hi all,

Decided I want to mirror my boot drive. I have a ASUS A8N-SLI motherboard. Never used raid on a home pc before. Would appreciate some help.

1. In a mirror config, is there much difference in speed between an 2x Serial ATA150 drives as opposed to 2x SATA 3.0Gb/s?

2. To setup, I should connect both drives to the SATA ports on the motherboard? What settings are there on the drives to indicate which is primary/secondary? Is it like the standard ide drives?

3. Once the drives are connection, how do I create the mirror, is this done in the Bios?

Thanks!!
Duncan.
January 28, 2006 11:30:35 AM

"Decided I want to mirror my boot drive."

FYI, mirroring (RAID 1), offers no speed advantages over a single drive, but is more for data safety in that both drives hold "mirror" images, essentially wasting the space of one drive. (RAID 0, however, stripes the data across two or more drives for speed increases in reading/writing)

(As for some SATA150 drives, there are some that are in fact faster overall than other manufacturers' 3.0 gb/sec units.....read a few drive reviews at Anandtech.com for comparison)
Related resources
January 28, 2006 12:50:45 PM

Quote:


FYI, mirroring (RAID 1), offers no speed advantages over a single drive, but is more for data safety in that both drives hold "mirror" images, essentially wasting the space of one drive. (RAID 0, however, stripes the data across two or more drives for speed increases in reading/writing)



Wasting space? When you lose your primary HD, having that second copy is worth it's weight in gold. Data recovery can cost $1000+ .. so dedicating a $150 drive to backup is wasted space? I wholly disagree.

RAID 0 is a joke. It's not even RAID. RAID stands for "Redundant Array of Inexpensive Disks" and is used by server systems to protect data. RAID 0 has been sold the enthusiast crowd as a performance booster, when in reality, if you read any quality benchmark of RAID 0 vs Non-RAID 0, the only benefit is in synthetic benchmarks. Real world performance difference is nill. On top of that, when using RAID 0, if any drive in the RAID fails, you lose ALL your data! Quite ironic they call it RAID given the definition, don't you think?
January 30, 2006 8:57:05 PM

Quote:
RAID 0 has been sold the enthusiast crowd as a performance booster, when in reality, if you read any quality benchmark of RAID 0 vs Non-RAID 0, the only benefit is in synthetic benchmarks. Real world performance difference is nill. On top of that, when using RAID 0, if any drive in the RAID fails, you lose ALL your data! Quite ironic they call it RAID given the definition, don't you think?


Please show me your "quality benchmarks." I think you're full of crap. No wait, I know you're full of crap. I personally use RAID 0 and it's butt loads faster at doing things like loading games, Windows, and large applications. Additionally, it's a hell of a lot faster when writing large files to the disk. I do a LOT of UnRARing and RAID 0 has definitely improved WinRAR performance. It used to take me 42 seconds to unRAR a 700MB file... now it takes 21 seconds.

-mpjesse
January 30, 2006 10:45:17 PM

Agreed, maybe its not the technology thats crap, sounds to me it could be you. Raid0 boosted my boot, transfer, codeing, and gaming by 25% on u320 scsi's.
January 31, 2006 2:51:20 AM

Quote:
I personally use RAID 0 and it's butt loads faster at doing things like loading games, Windows, and large applications....It used to take me 42 seconds to unRAR a 700MB file... now it takes 21 seconds.


Butt loads faster, my that does clarify things, thank you. However, just because you think your machine is "butt loads faster" doesn't make it so, 2700 posts, bad a$$ avatar and all.

I'm sure when you run your benchmarks further they show you a 50% performance boost too, confirming your belief that by using RAID0 you really are getting that sweet speedup.

Well you aint. There is a slight performance gain to be had from RAID0, in real world it might be like 1-10%, but it's nowhere near the 50% you see the synthetic benchies and feel in your heart.

MADSHRIMPS

Overclockers.com

You scour the web, and read up on it. RAID is useful for protecting data, not making some magically fast disk. A 10% performance boost is an absurd price to pay for increasing the chances of losing all your data by a factor of 2. :roll:
January 31, 2006 1:46:10 PM

Thanks to all that replied.

Personally, I would not touch Raid0 with a barge poll.. but I do see where can be used and possible aid access times with the right board and disks.

After further thought, I have decided to ditch the idea of Raid on my home PC. I decided to go with the single 74GB 10k drive for my OS and application installation files. Raid1 is fine for total disk loss, but it does not help when you lose your OS due to bad updates, virus issues etc etc ..

So decided that I will implement a weekly (or monthly) ghost backup with normal incremental file backup for changed files.

I am so behind the news when it comes to home PC's that I did not realize that you can get home PC motherboards with Raid5. Had I known, I would probably have gone that route to stripe my data disks.
January 31, 2006 9:52:33 PM

I have used RAID 0 on my PC's for years... and never had a problem. It works great... and it MUCH FASTER!

I typically copy and past large files, back up DVD's and such... and when it comes to moving, writing, reading big chunks of date.... RAID 0 is just way faster. Period.

I never had a drive fail on me. My old PC had RAID 0 when before windows XP came out... and those drives are still working in RAID 0 today. (Two 40 gig WD drives ATA 100). I have a external drive I use for back up of important stuff. I never need it, so it just sits there.

RAID 0 RULES.

If your looking for security- RAID 1 is what you want.

RAID 0 is for those who care about performance.

RAID 1 is for those who care about security.

Based on your priorities.. either RAID can be great.
February 2, 2006 5:46:28 PM

Quote:
Butt loads faster, my that does clarify things, thank you. However, just because you think your machine is "butt loads faster" doesn't make it so, 2700 posts, bad a$$ avatar and all.

I'm sure when you run your benchmarks further they show you a 50% performance boost too, confirming your belief that by using RAID0 you really are getting that sweet speedup.

Well you aint. There is a slight performance gain to be had from RAID0, in real world it might be like 1-10%, but it's nowhere near the 50% you see the synthetic benchies and feel in your heart.

MADSHRIMPS

Overclockers.com

You scour the web, and read up on it. RAID is useful for protecting data, not making some magically fast disk. A 10% performance boost is an absurd price to pay for increasing the chances of losing all your data by a factor of 2. :roll:


First of all; the two tests you are using here are over a year old and one the guy uses a stopwatch for his scores, and the other was over 2 years old. I use 2 250 Gig drives in a RAID0 and 1 250 Gig drive for backup. I have done some tests with my computer after I initially set it up and both the RAID0 and the 1 250 Gig drive with Windows XP. When I boot with the RAID0 it boots in 45 Seconds, and the 1 250 Gig drive it takes 1:30. Games that are run from my RAID 0 load much faster than my 250 Gig Drive. If you want a real benchmark try this:

Taking A Test Spin : Western Digital’s Raptor 150 GB with RAID-0

Notice that the data transfers themselves with 2 drives in a raid are at least 45% faster, and some are almost 70%. mpjesse is right about his observations, and just about everyone "in the know" knows that 2 drives in a RAID0 are always faster than a single drive.

Viper
February 2, 2006 6:11:01 PM

The benchmarks you have posted are purely synthetic benchmarks, and I stand by my claim that they don't match real world performance benefits. There is obviously going to be some improvement from RAID0, just not as much as HDTach or IOmeter would lead you to believe.

Here is an article from Anandtech, posted Jan 31, 2006, testing the speed of a new Seagate. Notice how much running the drive in RAID 0 vs single drive impacts performance:

Anandtech Article

TEST / (w/RAID0) / (Single Drive)
======================
file zip: 58.7 sec 65.7 sec , one 300MB file -> 11% faster
file unzip: 14.3 sec 15.5 sec , one 300MB file -> 8% faster
DOOM3: 33.8 sec 32.6 sec, one level load -> 4% slower

...and the other real world timings, including game load times are just as unexciting.

If you saw such a significant boost in your windows boot time, were there any other factors involved? Are you sure? Changes to the amount/type device drivers loaded during windows boot can significantly change how long it takes windows to load. For a fair test, you would have to time both boots with the exact same windows configuration.

The Anandtech article shows my point. Yes, RAID0 gives you theoretically more bandwidth to your HD, and the synthetic benchmarks confirm this, but in real world testing the speed difference is much smaller.

This small gain, coupled with RAID0's significant risk for loss of data (you increase your chances by a factor of 2), is why IMHO it just ain't worth it. Kudos to all y'all who live on the edge with RAID0 though, I do hope you do weekly external backups.
February 12, 2006 10:53:20 PM

Kraster you really are some sort of fool. Have you ever tried raid 0?

In the real world try installing windows xp to a single formatted hard drive then try installing windows xp to 2 of them drives set up in raid 0. I think this will prove to you how wrong you are. Or maybe I just imagined this huge speed increase in the windows installation?

the speed increase is obvious to those who use it IN THE REAL WORLD.
February 12, 2006 10:58:17 PM

Yes, I have tried raid 0. In fact I have a 2.5TB LaCie RAID I use at work and my buddy build a machine last year with it. It's good for building one big disk and for benchmarks; bad for stability of your system.

I think the anandtech article I linked says it all, so I won't bother repeating myself for your sake, fool. :/ 
February 12, 2006 11:22:09 PM

Quote:
Yes, I have tried raid 0. In fact I have a 2.5TB LaCie RAID I use at work and my buddy build a machine last year with it. It's good for building one big disk and for benchmarks; bad for stability of your system.

I think the anandtech article I linked says it all, so I won't bother repeating myself for your sake, fool. :/ 


Articles dont really mean a thing, Its just someones opinion.
Its not bad for the stability of MY system but maybe its bad for you.
You cant ignore the fact that people that are using it can physically see that it runs alot faster(atleast twice as fast) not just a little bit faster.
Why do you dispute the benchmark results from the like of HD Tach? It reads files on your hard drives and gives you the results :/ 
and the speedy windows xp install on raid 0????????????????????
February 12, 2006 11:57:52 PM

opinon:

Quote:

You cant ignore the fact that people that are using it can physically see that it runs alot faster(atleast twice as fast) not just a little bit faster.


fact:
Quote:

Why do you dispute the benchmark results from the like of HD Tach? It reads files on your hard drives and gives you the results :/ 


Bcs its a synthetic test and doesn't represent how your computer actually works when you use it to do real things, like play games, surf the web, etc. Read the review. R-E-A-D it. Really soak it up.
February 13, 2006 7:45:56 PM

I'm a bit interested in this discussion as I have the same motherboard.

I was looking for information on the different raid performances RAID 0/1/5. I stumbled across this article and test RAID benchmark that would appear to back up what you are saying. Most of the "real world" benchmarks show RAID 0 to not have a significant advantage over Single disks or RAID 1.

The strange thing was how dismally RAID 5 appeared to perform. I'm wondering if this is partially due to the fact that the test was performed on a system that was using a CPU dependant parity calculation.

The confusing thing to me is what do you believe?

~Matt
February 15, 2006 6:43:42 PM

Mjuric,

There is a reason that top notch raid cards with their own XOR and XNOR engines cost real money. Because they offload the CPU need to determine the parity information for the arrays they manage.

This means that the CPU is free to do whatever it wants, and it performs much more closely to the Raid 0 levels.

Let's get honest though, if a person is concerned about a drive on their system failing, it only costs 20 bucks for an external USB enclosure, buy that 3rd drive and once a week back your whole computer up to a 400GB sata II. That way you can buy two 10K sata drives and live in Raid 0 performance luxury and have a place to help protect your information.
February 15, 2006 7:17:44 PM

striping 10k disks...meh

to whoever who was surprised you can get onboard raid 5, well, it sucks
February 26, 2006 1:46:00 AM

A real PC, well, an expensive one with no expence spared, has 15k rpm Ultra 320 SCSI drives and a 128 Meg Raid controller. It is very very fast, and Raid on a REAL Raid controller works. Please dont think that the 5 dollar contoller on you MB is the end. They do give some better performance over reg sata, but that sucks to begin with. SCSI is expensive so it is not popular with the masses, but it is FAST, way faster then any sata drive by a large margin. Damn 74 gig scsi 320 at 15K rpm costs about 280 a pop, see why they are not popular.
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