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2 Drives in Raid 0 ..VS 1 Large Drive

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September 7, 2006 4:49:40 PM

Questions from a newbie: :oops: 

1. Which one is better for gaming?
a) 2 smaller drives in Raid 0 ex. 7200.9 Seagate 120 GB
b) 1 larger drive ex. 7200.10 Seagate 320 GB
c) other alternatives???

2. Does the Seagate 7200.10 really give an advantage over the 7200.9?

3. How should I partition my drives if I want windows to load quickly at startup? How much space should be allocated for Windows?

Thanks in advance for answering.
September 7, 2006 5:17:02 PM

Two smaller drives in RAID0 will be faster. Unless you are running more than one OS, partition the whole thing for Windows. As far as the difference betweern *.9 and *.10 - beats me.

Personally, I'm using two 74GB raptors in RAID0 and they're scary-fast.
September 7, 2006 6:30:24 PM

what about backing up....what happens if one of the HD's dies on you??
Related resources
September 7, 2006 6:44:16 PM

Quote:
what about backing up....what happens if one of the HD's dies on you??


You're screwed. You need to have a good backup/recovery strategy
September 7, 2006 6:53:48 PM

so then whats your backup strategy? Just wondering because I am trying to figure out what to do with my HDD's

Thanks
Kyle
September 7, 2006 7:08:49 PM

Quote:
so then whats your backup strategy? Just wondering because I am trying to figure out what to do with my HDD's

Thanks
Kyle


My personal backup strategy?

I run ntbackup (full, including System State) every Sunday to an external drive then ntbackup (differential) every day. If I have to rebuild my system, I install Windows, restore from last Sunday's full backup and apply last night's differential.

I wrote a C# front end to ntbackup which allows me to run it from the windows task scheduler automatically in the middle of the night. At 0200 every morning, the computer comes out of sleep mode, runs its backup, emails me the result, then goes back to sleep.

But it will still work if you run ntbaqckup interactively. Its just that its hard (for me anyway) to have the discipline to do that every day.
September 7, 2006 7:11:13 PM

I use a pencil and a piece of paper to backup.

1) Remove platters
2) Put paper over platter.
3) Run pencil over the paper while pressed firmly on the platters creating an image of the drive surface.

Note: Your on your own for restoring the image!

lol

I run RAID 0 as well... I have a small script I wrote to compress (WinRar commad line) all my important files (I keep in My Documents) and FTP it to my work PC. This is safe enough for me. I can re-install the OS and applications w/out much of a hassal.

Another easy alternative is to use MS backup and burn the backup to a DVD, or have it move it to a third harddisk.

In any case you have to be prepared to reinstall your applications if a crash occurs. The most important thing is keeping a copy of your important documetns off those drives.
September 7, 2006 7:13:56 PM

cool thanks for the tips
September 7, 2006 7:15:22 PM

Quote:
Questions from a newbie: :oops: 

1. Which one is better for gaming?
a) 2 smaller drives in Raid 0 ex. 7200.9 Seagate 120 GB
b) 1 larger drive ex. 7200.10 Seagate 320 GB
c) other alternatives???

2. Does the Seagate 7200.10 really give an advantage over the 7200.9?

3. How should I partition my drives if I want windows to load quickly at startup? How much space should be allocated for Windows?

Thanks in advance for answering.

1) I'd say it depends on what you're considering 'better'. Faster load times? That's about all you're going to get really.

2) Yes,
Quote:
The Barracuda 7200.10 clearly is the fastest 7200 RPM drive currently available.

http://www.tomshardware.com/2006/06/29/seagate_750_gb_b...
Read the review. Its for the 750GB version, but it can be applied down to the other ones I think.

3) Windows won't really load faster depending on your partitions. Partitions are very personal, so its hard to say. If you have a system partition, it should be at least 20GB. Personally I'd do 30-40GB.

Personally I'm kind of lazy backing up, so I just backup the important pictures and documents to an external 200GB drive. Everything else I can just reinstall... and if I don't remember a program, I probably don't need it. :p 
September 7, 2006 7:55:06 PM

Time and time again I am amazed at the answer to this question presented on these boards.

My advice would be to do some research regarding the ever so popular RAID 0:

Read this article:
http://www.anandtech.com/storage/showdoc.aspx?i=2101&p=...

The article specifically states, and I quote:
Quote:
We were hoping to see some sort of performance increase in the game loading tests, but the RAID array didn't give us that. While the scores put the RAID-0 array slightly slower than the single drive Raptor II, you should also remember that these scores are timed by hand and thus, we're dealing within normal variations in the "benchmark".


This would suggest that there is no observable (material) benefit to RAID 0 arrays for an average gamer. There are other articles available (as well as the remainder of the one referenced above) that suggest that there are no material benefits to an average user, as a whole.

Essentially, RAID 0 provides most notable benefits when transferring large amounts of data, and for that reason could be beneficial to, say, a video editing junkie, as a work drive.

That last qualification was included in the statement because there ARE some material detriments to having a RAID array as your primary drive - specifically, the halved fault tolerance (for a two drive array). I have experienced it first-hand, and I can tell you, it is disappointing to lose a significant amount of data.

Overall, unless you are planning to use your machine in a way that you know would derive benefits from a RAID0 setup, I would suggest that it is just not worth it.
September 7, 2006 7:58:07 PM

Quote:
Two smaller drives in RAID0 will be faster. Unless you are running more than one OS, partition the whole thing for Windows. As far as the difference betweern *.9 and *.10 - beats me.

Personally, I'm using two 74GB raptors in RAID0 and they're scary-fast.


Could you please cite a source for this statement? Because there is evidence to the contrary.
September 7, 2006 9:25:36 PM

Quote:
Two smaller drives in RAID0 will be faster. Unless you are running more than one OS, partition the whole thing for Windows. As far as the difference betweern *.9 and *.10 - beats me.

Personally, I'm using two 74GB raptors in RAID0 and they're scary-fast.


Could you please cite a source for this statement? Because there is evidence to the contrary.

http://www.pcguide.com/ref/hdd/perf/raid/levels/singleL...

http://www.pcguide.com/ref/hdd/perf/raid/levels/singleL...
September 7, 2006 11:58:28 PM

I'll only answer question 3 because all other replys are mostly opinions or benchmarks that never reflect real user environments.

Anyway, no matter what you do, you'll always have a problem with 'What ifs'. So once you've selected your drives a Raid 0 for anyone who is new to Raid would be improve your over all computing than just straight disks. Which brings in my comment about Partitions. You can improve your Windows start up times and gaming(slightly) on just the raid alone. However, with multiple disks, as in business practice, move the pagefile off the logical OS drive to better performance in the striping of data. Not really advice per say, but one more thing you should study while you researching your potential raid setup.
September 8, 2006 12:19:50 AM

Quote:
Two smaller drives in RAID0 will be faster. Unless you are running more than one OS, partition the whole thing for Windows. As far as the difference betweern *.9 and *.10 - beats me.

Personally, I'm using two 74GB raptors in RAID0 and they're scary-fast.


Could you please cite a source for this statement? Because there is evidence to the contrary.

http://www.pcguide.com/ref/hdd/perf/raid/levels/singleL...

http://www.pcguide.com/ref/hdd/perf/raid/levels/singleL...

Your reply addresses theoretical throughput that, although indeed greatly improved, does not reflect any real life scenarios. And please, not server-level benchmarks (anyways, those are probably more advanced RAID levels than the simple stripe, since serves need to be relatively fault tolerant).

Here's another link for you, sruane. Please educate yourself so that you can support your practical advice with practical applications. Otherwise, it's just bad and uninformed advice.

http://faq.storagereview.com/SingleDriveVsRaid0
September 8, 2006 12:22:41 AM

Quote:
Two smaller drives in RAID0 will be faster. Unless you are running more than one OS, partition the whole thing for Windows. As far as the difference betweern *.9 and *.10 - beats me.

Personally, I'm using two 74GB raptors in RAID0 and they're scary-fast.


Could you please cite a source for this statement? Because there is evidence to the contrary.

http://www.pcguide.com/ref/hdd/perf/raid/levels/singleL...

http://www.pcguide.com/ref/hdd/perf/raid/levels/singleL...

Your reply addresses theoretical throughput that, although indeed greatly improved, does not reflect any real life scenarios. And please, not server-level benchmarks (anyways, those are probably more advanced RAID levels than the simple stripe, since serves need to be relatively fault tolerant).

Your turn. Cite your source.
September 8, 2006 12:30:10 AM

See BOTH links above - one in my first post, but I suggest you start with the second, directly above, since some argue that the first applies only to Raptors, which does not appear to be the case. (Sorry, I edited my post above before you responded...)
September 8, 2006 2:07:13 AM

Thanks to all who helped reply. I was just asking because i'm on a limited budget. I wasn't sure if going for 2 smaller, cheaper drives would be better than getting one larger, more expensive one.

Is there any "disadvantage" or "danger" with going RAID 0? like loss of data?

At the moment I'm using only one drive. Would I be more likely to lose data with RAID 0 compared to using only one drive?

Is the smallest 7200.10 drive 250 GB? or less?

By the way...respect for each other guys! Peace! Thanks to ALL of you!

:wink:
September 8, 2006 4:37:43 AM

RAID 0 uses 2 drives which share out the data between them, giving you an advantage over a vanilla drive (that is one not on a RAID array) in read and write speeds (should be 1/2 of vanilla). If you lose 1 drive you lose all of the data on both drives as the other drive only contains half of the information contained in the array. Now how big an issue this is depends on how much you worry about drive failure and what kind of data you have on the array and if you do back-ups.

I've only experienced drive failure twice on all of the pc's I've had over the years, and that took a couple years to happen each time - but that doesn't mean your drive couldn't fail. If you are just using the array for running your games, its probably not a big deal if you have a failure. If your OS is there too, that's a bigger deal but you could rebuild, especially if you backup your data onto something else (like another HDD).

RAID 1 uses 2 drives with the same information, so if you lose 1 you still have all of your information. RAID 1 should take twice as long to write as a comparable RAID 0 (the same time as just a vanilla drive) but you do get the RAID 0 read advantage plus data safety with no real penalty to write time but no advantage either.


edit:seems I was misunderstood, so a minor chang for clarity and some tidying - but it's nice people are reading my posts
September 8, 2006 4:56:33 AM

Quote:
Thanks to all who helped reply. I was just asking because i'm on a limited budget. I wasn't sure if going for 2 smaller, cheaper drives would be better than getting one larger, more expensive one.

Is there any "disadvantage" or "danger" with going RAID 0? like loss of data?

At the moment I'm using only one drive. Would I be more likely to lose data with RAID 0 compared to using only one drive?

Is the smallest 7200.10 drive 250 GB? or less?

By the way...respect for each other guys! Peace! Thanks to ALL of you!

:wink:


Do read the article I linked to, they cover your first two questions in detail, with various angles. If you feel that discussion is a little over your head, either scan through the information sruane linked to in "support" of his point, that describe the underlying mechanics (in the non-literal sense), and should give you enough knowledge in order to fully understand the anandtech's and StorageReview's articles.

PS. I would refute Robovski's point that there's great performance degradation in a RAID 1 set-up. IIRC its performance, generally speaking, is very similar to that of a single drive. Advantage: redundancy (i.e. data protection); Disadvantage: double the cost with no capacity increase.
September 8, 2006 6:04:33 PM

Quote:
Thanks to all who helped reply. I was just asking because i'm on a limited budget. I wasn't sure if going for 2 smaller, cheaper drives would be better than getting one larger, more expensive one.

Is there any "disadvantage" or "danger" with going RAID 0? like loss of data?

At the moment I'm using only one drive. Would I be more likely to lose data with RAID 0 compared to using only one drive?

Is the smallest 7200.10 drive 250 GB? or less?

By the way...respect for each other guys! Peace! Thanks to ALL of you!

:wink:

The danger of RAID 0 is that its not redundant. So if one drive fails, then you're pretty screwed. I would say that the only "danger" is that if you don't back things up. And that "danger" comes with any setup you have. If you back things up, RAID 0's dangers isn't a problem, right? :) 

People say that you have 2x the chance of failure. Which is theoretically true, but in real life, who knows, right? Can't predict the future. Some unlucky person's gonna get a failure in the 1st 2 weeks. While others go 5 yrs w/o a problem. That's why you have backups.

I usually only say go RAID 0 only if you do video editing. In video editing, the extra bandwidth makes the most sense because you need it! Gaming load times MAY decrease, but its been shown to be a few seconds faster at most (that's what I've gathered from reading endless RAID 0 vs raptor threads). If that's what you're looking for, then so be it.

Also note that RAID performance differs alot depending on what controller you have. onboard's always less powerful than a hardware controller.

The 7200.10 spec sheet says it comes from 200GB to 750GB. So 200GB should be out there... somewhere...
September 8, 2006 6:27:19 PM

Quote:

The danger of RAID 0 is that its not redundant. So if one drive fails, then you're pretty screwed. I would say that the only "danger" is that if you don't back things up. And that "danger" comes with any setup you have. If you back things up, RAID 0's dangers isn't a problem, right? :) 

People say that you have 2x the chance of failure. Which is theoretically true, but in real life, who knows, right? Can't predict the future. Some unlucky person's gonna get a failure in the 1st 2 weeks. While others go 5 yrs w/o a problem. That's why you have backups.

I disagree with nobly on this, in the sense that it is exactly true that the chance of failure of a RAID 0 array is N times that of the single drive comprising the array, where N is the number of the drives (assuming all drives are the same). What nobly's referring to is the fact that chanes of failure of the single drive are rather low, so doubling that is still rather low. Which is true, but RAID0's do crash, and the biggest downside is that there is a good chance you will lose data on the entire array.

Quote:

I usually only say go RAID 0 only if you do video editing. In video editing, the extra bandwidth makes the most sense because you need it! Gaming load times MAY decrease, but its been shown to be a few seconds faster at most (that's what I've gathered from reading endless RAID 0 vs raptor threads). If that's what you're looking for, then so be it.

I agree with nobly on this matter. I would say any heavily multi-media task in general vs. just video editing, but that's semantics

Quote:

Also note that RAID performance differs alot depending on what controller you have. onboard's always less powerful than a hardware controller.

I would clarify that nobly here likely means an add-on controller card, because the onboard's controller is already hardware (vs. software RAID available through, say, WinXP, that utilizes the power of your CPU)
September 8, 2006 6:54:09 PM

Quote:

I disagree with nobly on this, in the sense that it is exactly true that the chance of failure of a RAID 0 array is N times that of the single drive comprising the array, where N is the number of the drives (assuming all drives are the same). What nobly's referring to is the fact that chanes of failure of the single drive are rather low, so doubling that is still rather low. Which is true, but RAID0's do crash, and the biggest downside is that there is a good chance you will lose data on the entire array.

True true i forgot that we're beyond the 2 drives. It is N times(# of HDDs in your array). But regardless, BACKUP your data!!!
September 8, 2006 7:07:12 PM

speaking from personal experience (and not from source citing)... there are no realistic downsides to using raid 0 in a desktop environment... your two biggest concerns are heat generation, and risk of failure... ...if you put 2 or more drives close together, with no form of cooling, youre more likely to experience failure (as they do generate a substantial amount of heat)... ...theres also the issue with onboard raid controllers being more likely to cause data corruption, (though only that ive read from other posters)...

the concern over slower seek times in a raid configuration, is only about 1-2ms slower than compared to a single drive, yet the throughput performance nearly doubles, because raid 0 does scale fairly well, depending on the controller used... in any situation where hdd performance is the limiting factor, (which is typically the case, as its the slowest component in your whole system thats used regularly)... theres really no reason to not go with raid 0...

ideally the drives in raid should be identical (both in speed and capacity)... otherwise your performance wont be optical (being held back by the least capable drive in the array), your additional capacity will be unused on the larger drive too... eg, 40gb and 60gb hdd in raid 0 = 80gb, not 100gb

raid array stripe sizes are of concern too... you would set them according to your typical file size usage to acheive the best performance... lots of large files = large stripe size... lots of small files = small stripe size... windows partition = small to medium stripe size... gaming partition = large stripe size...

i believe the difference between 7200.9 and 7200.10, is that the 7200.10 uses perpendicular recording to improve capacity (and possibly performance maybe, though increased capacity inherantly improves throughput performance anyhow)...

any situation that accesses your hdd, would do well to be on a raid 0 array, even with just 2 drives, compared to a single drive setup (unless the drives themselves are rediculously outdated to begin with, ie, 4200, 5400 rpm... whichcase, yeah)... because even with small files being loaded and accessed, theres still an improvement... even if it is small.
September 8, 2006 7:40:31 PM

Quote:
PS. I would refute Robovski's point that there's great performance degradation in a RAID 1 set-up. IIRC its performance, generally speaking, is very similar to that of a single drive. Advantage: redundancy (i.e. data protection); Disadvantage: double the cost with no capacity increase.


Your performance hit comes in having to write the same data twice in order to maintain redundancy. There is a small performance drop although I don't believe it is big enough for concern.
September 8, 2006 7:42:40 PM

Quote:
I would clarify that nobly here likely means an add-on controller card, because the onboard's controller is already hardware (vs. software RAID available through, say, WinXP, that utilizes the power of your CPU)


I have heard that some onboard array controllers in lower-end motherboards are just as bad as software RAID.

If I were going the RAID route, you're best bet is to get an add-on controller that is designed to do just RAID. Motherboard manufacturers for desktop systems seem to throw in cheap RAID controllers in order to keep costs down.
September 8, 2006 8:16:26 PM

I disagree with your assessment. Hard drives do fail. I have had IBMs (back when they were well regarded) fail with good cooling - as a portion of the RAID array (and no, not installed next to each other - quite the opposite), and not.

I have had Maxtors fail after about 1 - 1.5 years of use. That's why I have stayed away from them for a while now.

Raptors have higher standard and better warranty, and Segates, I think are very decent nowadays.

That's personal experience.

In terms of performance improvement, not to beat on the dead horse, but even If there are gains, in most real life scenarios they are negligible, because the real benefit is derived from large sequential transfers - which does not often happen in real life. That's the point behind all the various numbers. Now, decreased fault tolerance is very real, I also felt invincible until it happened to me. And then the funny thing happened - I converted from a RAID 0 to just a plain drive used for the array, and there was no performance decline. Point is, often the noticed performance increase is due to the higher quality drives used to build the array compared to what people are upgrading from.

And once you lose your data, say, you need to rebuild. Does the loss of that time exceed any potential time savings you got from fast level load times? I doubt it.

Now, if you do a ton of encoding, video / audio editing, etc. - that's when RAID0 shines. And still, in that set-up, particularly, maybe, in that set-up, I would recommend that the system and permanent storage is done off RAID 0 (maybe even a 1, if it's sensitive, or go out and get something redundant like a 5, since that's a cheap [performance wise] XOR and you can find decent cheap add-ons that can do it), with RAID 0 used as the working partition.

Most people here don't do that. And they get caught up in the marketing hype of RAID0, that's all there is to it.
September 8, 2006 8:19:52 PM

Quote:
PS. I would refute Robovski's point that there's great performance degradation in a RAID 1 set-up. IIRC its performance, generally speaking, is very similar to that of a single drive. Advantage: redundancy (i.e. data protection); Disadvantage: double the cost with no capacity increase.


Your performance hit comes in having to write the same data twice in order to maintain redundancy. There is a small performance drop although I don't believe it is big enough for concern.

My point precisely. He was claiming the performance was halved. Not true. Besides, theoretically, if the controller does things right, there should be very minimal performance hit as noone said you have to write to the two (or more) drives sequentially - you could do it in parallel (and they do). Practically speaking, there's generally a minimal hit.
September 8, 2006 8:24:34 PM

Quote:

If I were going the RAID route, you're best bet is to get an add-on controller that is designed to do just RAID. Motherboard manufacturers for desktop systems seem to throw in cheap RAID controllers in order to keep costs down.


I think he would use Intel's or nV northbridge for RAID. If 3rd party, I think most use HighPoint (last I was interested enough to check), which is one of the add-on makers. Not the best one, by far, but who's counting.
September 8, 2006 8:57:29 PM

The best solution is getting 2 x 320gb 7200.10 :lol: 
September 9, 2006 2:23:16 AM

Quote:
PS. I would refute Robovski's point that there's great performance degradation in a RAID 1 set-up. IIRC its performance, generally speaking, is very similar to that of a single drive. Advantage: redundancy (i.e. data protection); Disadvantage: double the cost with no capacity increase.


Your performance hit comes in having to write the same data twice in order to maintain redundancy. There is a small performance drop although I don't believe it is big enough for concern.

My point precisely. He was claiming the performance was halved. Not true. Besides, theoretically, if the controller does things right, there should be very minimal performance hit as noone said you have to write to the two (or more) drives sequentially - you could do it in parallel (and they do). Practically speaking, there's generally a minimal hit.

OK folks, maybe I wasn't clear. Writing on RAID 1 isn't 1/2 of vanilla but should be the same as vanilla, which is 1/2 of RAID 0. There should be some small (tiny) performance hit from using the controller but I'm not being that detailed in my description, just big round thoughts out of my head.

Personally, I like RAID 1 and RAID 0. I'm considering a RAID 1 to boot from and game on for my next build, mainly because a re-install of the ops is a pain and I don't want 2 RAID systems in my case (trying to keep it on my desk).
September 9, 2006 10:45:55 PM

Quote:
OK folks, maybe I wasn't clear. Writing on RAID 1 isn't 1/2 of vanilla but should be the same as vanilla, which is 1/2 of RAID 0. There should be some small (tiny) performance hit from using the controller but I'm not being that detailed in my description, just big round thoughts out of my head.

Personally, I like RAID 1 and RAID 0. I'm considering a RAID 1 to boot from and game on for my next build, mainly because a re-install of the ops is a pain and I don't want 2 RAID systems in my case (trying to keep it on my desk).


Not sure how high-end you want to go, but if you get a controller to do RAID 0+1 (preferred, but 1+0 will do the trick), you get the best of both worlds. Downsides are cost and heat, since you'll need a minimum of four drives and a controller.
September 11, 2006 1:32:16 PM

If I plan to go with a E6600 build ....which mainboard would offer me a good onboard RAID controller for RAID 0?

Could you please clarify again?

RAID 0: considering games
1) gives faster load times when compared to a single drive?
2) gives slower load times when compared to a single drive?

RAID 0: considering windows loadup and shutdown
1) loads and shutsdown faster? when compared to a single drive?
2) no effect

RAID 0: considering copying of files
1) faster? when compared to single drive
2) no effect
3) slower? when compared to single drive

Thanks for being patient with me! :?
September 11, 2006 5:41:57 PM

Quote:
Could you please clarify again?

RAID 0: considering games
1) gives faster load times when compared to a single drive?
2) gives slower load times when compared to a single drive?

Seriously all you'll see (at most) is a few seconds faster. For me that's not worth it. For you it might be.

Quote:

RAID 0: considering windows loadup and shutdown
1) loads and shutsdown faster? when compared to a single drive?
2) no effect

Probably faster, but again, we're talking single digit seconds here, most likely.

Quote:

RAID 0: considering copying of files
1) faster? when compared to single drive
2) no effect
3) slower? when compared to single drive

Thanks for being patient with me! :?

Depends on how big the files are.

Overall, it sounds like you're not really doing anything high-bandwidth intensive that would really give you the RAID benefits.
September 11, 2006 8:37:10 PM

Quote:
Could you please clarify again?

RAID 0: considering games
1) gives faster load times when compared to a single drive?
2) gives slower load times when compared to a single drive?

Seriously all you'll see (at most) is a few seconds faster. For me that's not worth it. For you it might be.

Quote:

RAID 0: considering windows loadup and shutdown
1) loads and shutsdown faster? when compared to a single drive?
2) no effect

Probably faster, but again, we're talking single digit seconds here, most likely.

Quote:

RAID 0: considering copying of files
1) faster? when compared to single drive
2) no effect
3) slower? when compared to single drive

Thanks for being patient with me! :?

Depends on how big the files are.

Overall, it sounds like you're not really doing anything high-bandwidth intensive that would really give you the RAID benefits.

Hear hear. I would say not even seconds, but single digit percentage improvement - whatever the case might happen to be from the three above.
!