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RAID 0 questions

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August 21, 2006 10:56:55 PM

I have a few scenarios here. First and foremost, I have the following drives:

2 - 200gb WD2000 (SATA, 8mb)
1 - 250gb WD2500 (SATA, 16mb)
1 - 500gb WD5000 (SATA, 16mb)

All of the drives are SATA 1.5, due to my motherboard's limitations.

So, here are my questions:

If I put the 2 200gb drives on RAID 0, is it going to be a noticeable performance increase? The data on those drives will be my Windows partition, and all of my applications. Specifically, games. Will there be a noticeable improvement for games?

Or, is it better to use the 250gb instead? Does the 16mb cache make that large of a difference?

Assuming I do stripe the 2 200gbs, which is better, hardware or software? My motherboard (Asus P5GDC-D) can support RAID0 and RAID1, however, I have no idea which one is more efficient.

As for the 500gb, I just use that for storage.

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August 22, 2006 4:14:37 PM

Some argues that RAID0 doesn't increase performance because it doesn't help seek time, only transfer rate. So Raptor will help better. Anandtech has a review on this years ago. For myself I do notice the improve at least during Windows bootup and like it. Much cheaper than Raptor solution in view of price per GB.

16mb cache will always help theoretically I do not have number. Ensure you have SATA_II and enable it.

RAID0 gives performance boost and your 2 200gb will become a volume of 400gb. But it increase rate of failure as one disk fails the whole volume fail.

RAID1 gives NO performance boost but provide redundancy. Your two 200gb become one volume of 200gb.
August 22, 2006 5:07:34 PM

Quote:
I have a few scenarios here. First and foremost, I have the following drives:

2 - 200gb WD2000 (SATA, 8mb)
1 - 250gb WD2500 (SATA, 16mb)
1 - 500gb WD5000 (SATA, 16mb)

All of the drives are SATA 1.5, due to my motherboard's limitations.

So, here are my questions:

If I put the 2 200gb drives on RAID 0, is it going to be a noticeable performance increase? The data on those drives will be my Windows partition, and all of my applications. Specifically, games. Will there be a noticeable improvement for games?

Or, is it better to use the 250gb instead? Does the 16mb cache make that large of a difference?

Assuming I do stripe the 2 200gbs, which is better, hardware or software? My motherboard (Asus P5GDC-D) can support RAID0 and RAID1, however, I have no idea which one is more efficient.

As for the 500gb, I just use that for storage.


As far as speed boost this is what i would do.

1. Buy a raptor 36 ot 75GB (150GB is way to expensive still) and install the os on it.

2. stripe the 200 and 250gb and install your games on it.

3. put your data on the 500GB drive, also backup the 36 and 500 since the striped array only has games and can be reinstalled if the array fails.

As far as hardware vs software for raid levels 0 and 1 software is more than sufficient. Normally when doing Raid 5 and up (Raid6, Raid 10, etc) is where hardware comes in handy, especially when calculating parity or rebuilding an array.

thats my opinons you can take it or leave it.
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August 22, 2006 5:15:13 PM

Quote:
Some argues that RAID0 doesn't increase performance because it doesn't help seek time, only transfer rate.


I understand you're saying "Some argue", but still, it is rather a contradiction. My opinion is that people notice things like games loading and large files copying in half the time rather more than a 4ms quicker seek time.
Synergy6
August 22, 2006 5:17:16 PM

Quote:
If I put the 2 200gb drives on RAID 0, is it going to be a noticeable performance increase?


yes

Quote:
The data on those drives will be my Windows partition, and all of my applications. Specifically, games. Will there be a noticeable improvement for games?


Windows boot, in all likelyhood, depends how fast you boot now. Games, maybe. Depends on the game. I got the most performance from video conversion. Reduced my times by two thirds.

Quote:
Or, is it better to use the 250gb instead? Does the 16mb cache make that large of a difference?


You can't configure a single drive as RAID. ;) 
No. *I* don't think it makes a big enough difference to out perform a RAID 0.

Quote:
Assuming I do stripe the 2 200gbs, which is better, hardware or software? My motherboard (Asus P5GDC-D) can support RAID0 and RAID1, however, I have no idea which one is more efficient.


Hardware is always bigger, better, faster.
August 22, 2006 5:26:18 PM

Quote:

Assuming I do stripe the 2 200gbs, which is better, hardware or software? My motherboard (Asus P5GDC-D) can support RAID0 and RAID1, however, I have no idea which one is more efficient.


Hardware is always bigger, better, faster.

If by "hardware" the OP means an add-in PCI card, I disagree. Hardware is definitely better for RAID5/6/10 etc, but the overheads on RAID0/1 are pretty low as it is, and I believe the fact that the data has a far shorter distance to travel more than outweighs the disadvantages.
Synergy6
August 22, 2006 8:15:27 PM

Thanks for the replies.

Quote:
Ensure you have SATA_II and enable it.

As I said, I don't have SATA2.

Quote:

1. Buy a raptor 36 ot 75GB (150GB is way to expensive still) and install the os on it.

Well, I thought about that, however: I don't want to spend the money, and I'm out of SATA connections and 3.5 slots. Could use a larger slot, yes, but, I don't are to spend the money.

Quote:

You can't configure a single drive as RAID.

You misread, or I wasn't clear enough. As I said, "is it better to use a 250gb instead," meaning instead of my two 200gbs on RAID0. I asked because the former is 16mb, and the latter 8mb.

Still not sure what the general consensus is here yet. Think I might just need to give it a shot. Oh, and another note: I don't care about losing data on the mirror, so I have no need for RAID1. All important data will be on the 500gb, which will be backed up to a remote drive. And the Windows partition is Ghosted, anyhow.
August 22, 2006 8:38:37 PM

RAID0'd 200GBs is much faster than a single 250GB. It doesn't matter if the 250GB has 2mb or 16mb cache, the RAID0 option will still be quicker.
Synergy6
August 22, 2006 8:49:42 PM

Personally I have been on both sides of the track, using RAID 0 and not and I have come to one inevitable conclusion: unless you are working with large files, RAID 0 doesn't do a whole lot for you.

MaximumPC did a test right after Doom III came out on the diffrence in load time between RAID 0 and Non-RAID and in 3 of 4 cases the RAID array came out slower and the one it did win it won by a mere second or two. The deterimnation was that CPU is much more of a bottleneck on load times due to decompression then hard disk speed.

About loading windows:

Overall it should take longer because the computer has to read the RAID controller bios, detect the array, then read the array. However, if you compare shere load times (i.e. from the point the computer begins reading the array v. when the computer reads a single disk) then of course the RAID array will boot faster. It is akin to spending $75 to save $50 when you could have saved $75 by just doing nothing.

My suggestion:

Unless you need all that space, drop some drives. If you need the space, fine just create a filing system. I prefer to put my OS, Games, Apps on my Samsung 250GB drive (damn that sucker is quick) and I stick my documents and music on 1 Maxtor DM10 300GB and stick program installers and everything I download on my 2nd Maxtor DM10 300GB.

Then once a month or so (or whenever it floats my boat) I transfer everything from my Maxtors to a 4th hard drive thats in a seperate computer, just for back up purposes.

So in your case:

250GB = OS
1) 200GB = Video/Audio
2) 200GB = Documents, program installers, downloads pron etc.
500GB = back up for everything on the other drives (assuming you have room, if not just prioritize)

Feel free to disagree, thats just my 2 cents based on my experiance.
August 22, 2006 9:18:28 PM

i would say, hands down to at least have a 2 hdd raid 0 array... ...i made a switch back to a single 36gb raptor from a 4 raptor array less than a week ago (due to heating reasons, poor air circulation in my case in general)... ...and things take soooo much longer to load now... ...sure, access times are quickest with a single drive... but once the hdd finds the files, you are stuck waiting for them to load, noticably longer even

seriously, go with raid 0... i lost so much performance just using a single drive, now its annoying having to wait for things to load, very annoying lol... things are supposed to be instantaneous lol :p ... but, oh well

theres very little risk of losing data with a raid 0 array (even though thats its main gripe with people)... but the benefits easily far outweight the pitfalls (especially if you back up things even semi-regularly anyhow, which is something you should do anyhow)

as far as stripe size... small stripe size for lots of small files... ...large stripe size for lots of large file... ...and an inbetween stripe size for a combination of lots of both

for a windows partition, medium to smaller is better

for a gaming partition/large file size partition, larger is better

as far as capacity... as you can tell by my only having 36GB in use right now (with a 40GB external backup)... that space wasnt my primary concern... ...sure, a 4 raptor array is almost 150GB total... but ive seldom even used more than 40-50GB on average (i tend to get bored with an installation after 1-2 months, and spend about 9 minutes reinstalling XP for the fun of it, lol)
August 22, 2006 9:22:07 PM

I do notice a speed increase with my Raid 0 setup. The only bad thing about Raid 0 might be the risk of drive failure which will double. However, a simple 3rd drive for backups will solve this problem and it will give you additional storage space.

My current setup has 2 HDs in Raid 0 and one HD as a backup unit. I also have an external HD which is great for extra backuping (it's important) and of course mobility.
August 22, 2006 9:49:45 PM

LMAO. I just love it.

DO NOT USE RAID 0 IN A DESKTOP - THAT IS DUMB. You will regret it, I guarantee it.

RAID 1 is a much better alternative: double the data safety and much faster seek times, coupled with higher transfer rates. The idiot who said RAID 1 doesn't provide performance increase is a card-carrying, know-nothing dumbass(tm).

The thing is - there IS NO NEED for the write times RAID 0 can provide - I mean NONE.

REPEAT AFTER ME: DON'T USE RAID 0 IN A DESKTOP. IT IS FOOLISH TO DO SO.
August 22, 2006 10:05:50 PM

I wish you'd stop saying that, RAID0 is great. I use the higher write times everytime I move data off one of my data servers, it's much quicker dumping a couple seasons of X-Files to my 500GB RAID0 than to any of my other drives. And I can still burn to all three of my burners at full speed off the array. Best of both worlds.

Now:

REPEAT AFTER ME: RAID0 HAS NO RELIABILITY PROBLEMS IF YOU TREAT YOUR DRIVES RIGHT. Some chocolates, a bunch of flowers occasionally, like a fine woman, she'll treat you right.

Oh, and I don't think these guys are going to give up half their space to improve read speeds, if they can get both with RAID0. It takes me a whole 10 minutes to replace a drive (if one ever actually failed) and re-ghost, not a big deal.
August 22, 2006 10:07:10 PM

youre correct... IF you dont back up files... ...its like, intentionally choosing not to go raid 0 due to fear of hdd failure, isnt entirely a viable reason even... its more scaring people into not using it... if you back files up (or schedule regular backups even), you have nothing to worry about... ...its similar to saying its better to use a 4200 or 5400 rpm hdd over a 7200 or 10000 rpm hdd, because the higher rpms will increase the likelyhood that the drive will fail or something... that speed really doesnt matter in the sense of hdds, even though theyre the slowest component in your whole system, that youre almost always waiting on... ...you lose nothing by choosing to go with raid 0 (except 1-2 ms or so of access time), data loss is not a concern (if you back up your data, as you SHOULD do anyhow)... it makes less sense to do raid 0 for a server (or something with vital and extremely important data)... cuz there can obviously be very severe consequences in that case

for a desktop... in most cases, i doubt theres mission critical data stored on it... and losing your data, again, as you pointed out, is of no consequence, IF you back your data up even semi regularly (to even multiple hdd locations), as you should with any hdd anyhow... so all you would need to do then, is reinstall windows, retrieve your data, and youre good to go
August 22, 2006 10:13:23 PM

Great comparison with the rpm's! I think I should keep my old 486 for my main machines, it's slower so there's less chance of data corruption as the bits zoom by. :twisted:
August 22, 2006 10:14:22 PM

lol :p 
August 22, 2006 10:25:30 PM

Quote:
LMAO. I just love it.

DO NOT USE RAID 0 IN A DESKTOP - THAT IS DUMB. You will regret it, I guarantee it.

RAID 1 is a much better alternative: double the data safety and much faster seek times, coupled with higher transfer rates. The idiot who said RAID 1 doesn't provide performance increase is a card-carrying, know-nothing dumbass(tm).

The thing is - there IS NO NEED for the write times RAID 0 can provide - I mean NONE.

REPEAT AFTER ME: DON'T USE RAID 0 IN A DESKTOP. IT IS FOOLISH TO DO SO.


The number of capital letters merely proves that this poster really, really wanted *somebody* to believe him. Though admittedly, it is a hard point to get across; that the ability to write files in half the time is useless.
Synergy6
August 22, 2006 10:46:23 PM

Quote:
The idiot who said RAID 1 doesn't provide performance increase is a card-carrying, know-nothing dumbass(tm).


I was considering a RAID 1 array for the reason you mention - namely that read performance can be improved. However, I couldn't find any benchmarks that actually showed an increase in read performance. I then asked about this on another forum, and everyone said that RAID 1 doesn't increase performance, due to how the heads are positioned on the drives.

Since you are saying that people who say that RAID 1 doesn't increase performance are dumbasses, can you give a link to benchmarks showing the improved performance in RAID 1 you are claiming?
August 22, 2006 10:49:36 PM

My comments made it clear, it's not useless, just not a lot of people have the need for it.
August 22, 2006 10:51:31 PM

Hi
Im thinking of abandoning my Raid0 array on my next upgrade.
This is because, as I understand it I cant just change the MB and CPU to the existing raid0 without backing up everything, upgrading the MB/CPU; re-creating the array; restoring the data and reinstalling all the applications. Too much pain so in future ill stick to simply 3 hard drives C, D and E even if its a bit slower.
Kev
August 22, 2006 11:02:18 PM

Quote:

You can't configure a single drive as RAID.

You misread, or I wasn't clear enough. As I said, "is it better to use a 250gb instead," meaning instead of my two 200gbs on RAID0. I asked because the former is 16mb, and the latter 8mb.

My smiley must not have had the effect I intended. But you *did* give me an idea for a tag line ... :D 
!