i would never ever in my life use integrated Raid solution
you become chipset/raid dependant, and when your mobo fails you need exactly the same mobo or similar.
i HAVE tested integrated nforce raids vs cheap sata raid pci cards, they seem to work / be realiable the same, but only this time you can swap it out and move it to any pc hardware you want, as long as it has pci interface
as for answering your question, well, im sorry but i would not be able to pin point exactly what would be faster, i hope you dont really go using that integrated raid 00
wait.... now that i re read trough and thought about it...
go for the raptor, and double up your ram, and change your vid card as well (if you havent got tops already)
asssuming you got 1gb of ram or 2, saving on the 4 hard disks and getting 2gb or 4gb of ram will be faster for over all and gaming, and if you dont already have a 7600 or x1800 series or better vid card, go for that
cause i think that would be about the cost of 4 drives Oo
well... personally i would actually go for the 2 x 250 GB HDDs, over 4 x 40 GB HDDs, because with 4 drives, youre going to be generating a substantial amount of heat, unless you have sufficient cooling, whichcase, youll probably have alot of fan noise going on then too... and theyre only older 40 GB 7200rpm HDDs anyhow, so, theyre not exactly notorious for having fast transfer rates
even a single 150GB raptor isnt capable of continually maxing out the 127MB/s 33MHz PCI limit, though its access times are certainly top notch, hovering about 7-8ms, compared to around 16-17ms for a standard 7200rpm drive, its also the most expensive option (and, from what ive seen, raptors have less of a tendency to fail, compared to other standard consumer HDDs)
with 2*250GB 7200rpm HDDs though, your continual data throughput will definetly be higher than compared to the 150 GB raptor, minimum, average, and maximum... unless you plan on purchasing a second 150 GB raptor to put in raid 0 too (whichcase, go for the raptors, thats alot of money though comparetively, for 2 of them, lol)
youre right though... in raid 0, the more identical drives you add, the more your data throughput performance will increase, compared a single drive (because raid 0 does scale fairly well)... the downside though, however small, lets say 1-2 ms at most, is that the more hdds you add, the more your access times will increase, either way though, nothing to worry about really, cuz again, if fast access times are what youre wanting, over increased data throughput, then the raptor would be the way to go
in any case, you definetly are going to want at least some form of active cooling on the hdds, nomatter which hdds you choose, quieter all around is always better though, IMO
interestingly enough ive seen several articles that show raid0 with lesser speeds or near identical speeds or at most 5% increease in game load times, so i wonder would the single raptor be the fastest but some of those reviews are old not sure about current onboard raid systems you would think four drives would be blazing fast in raid 0, but i see no benchmarks proving it.
truthfully, raid 0 does offer increased throughput performance over a single drive... lets say 110MB/s for 2 hdds compared to 75MB/s for a single drive... whether you would notice that or not in game loading times may even be questionable, cuz theres other factors like ram, cpu, network bandwidth, and all that to take into consideration too... but the increased raw data throughput is definetly there, above and beyond a single drive, benefitting both small and large files alike, not to mention your pagefile accessing times are reduced as well in game...
...if someone has never used a system with windows installed on raid 0, its probably trivial to tell them otherwise, or if it didnt give the boost they were hoping if they did happen to have it... but, there is definetly a benefit in everyday use even... things run smoother, no obvious bottlenecks, not nearly as much anyhow... similar to using dual core cpus for everyday windows usage.
and as such, stripe sizes matter too... choose a small stripe size for mostly small files on the array, large stripe size for mostly large files, small to medium stripe size for a windows partition, and a large stripe size for a gaming partition
performance does jump for loading and accessing files in general, whether the benefits are worth it or not to a person, is a different matter
compared to putting 2 or more current hdds in raid 0 (nothing less than ~100 GB each, more space is better in this instance, as the larger the drive, the faster it can read and write data, larger cache can help some too), a single raptor is just simply going to be slower for reading and writing data, even as much as noticably, and it easily costs more than the majority of 7200rpm hdds now anyhow... but, if youre not wondering which is faster, considering the benefits to simply game loading times... it may even be better to possibly invest in more ram, or even a better gpu, or both even (depending on what you have)... to make the gameplay in general more enjoyable. (like a poster said up above)
THW also has hdd charts you can refer to, to compare hdds to one another... it sucks that they dont have raid anywhere in there... but, you can add anywhere from a 50-80% performance boost compared to a single drive, on average (the raid controller impacts the performance some too in this case)
If data transfer performance is all you are looking for - video and audio editing in high quality would require high throughput - the RAID 0 array definitely beats the WD1500 Raptor. However, the amazing transfer performance is not enough to dominate in the application benchmarks.
...this is gonna like a really dumb question im sure... but, why is it that some things over raid 0 (compared to a single drive), do load noticably faster, compared to other things, regardless of where they are on the drive?... ...i mean, looking at windows boot times for example, or, logging into a user account... i mean, those things arent optimised for raid at all (that i know of), but they do load noticably faster, not just 15%... benchmarks i know can vary widely... gaining close to double, as i pointed out... and other things, not so much, like you pointed out... and some things barely at all... strange... hm... i guess it just depends on the specific use and application more than anything, i guess *shrug*...
You damn well know that doesn't sort of performance increase never exists for desktop users especially game loading time. I do not need to educate you on STR.
Wusy you must have been mad when you wrote that....lol
I'm not going to discuss any benefits here other than gaming since that is what the author is interested in.
Raknarius, please post your system specs. Knowing what CPU, Ram, video card will help us in determining if Raid would be a beneficial improvement for your system.
I have used Raid0 in my gaming systems since Raid was available on most consumer enthusiast mainboards. It has and currently still remains an enthusiasts’ hardware application for gaming performance. The price / performance is still better spent in other areas of your system for more significant gains.
Now, if you have a high-end rig and money to burn, Raid 0 or 5 can be viable solution. Just like in graphics Sli, the addition of increased hard drive STR output as Wusy mentioned will make things quicker. This will give you more performance and the ability to push your system beyond what any conventional single hard disk system could achieve.
It's hard to measure any "real world" performance. Most is biased and supported by claims that are substantiated without any verifiable synthetic trials. We've all heard claims, "my windows boots in 20 seconds and now after Raid it boots in 15 seconds!". My guess is that the author of this statement probably just did a "FDISK/FORMAT/REINSTALL". This could easily account for gains in his speed. There are a few synthetic benchmark programs out there (i.e HDtach, Sandra) that can give you some generalized ideas how fast your system is moving the data. Now, whether the user can detect a difference of 70Mb/s versus 120Mb/s on gaming applications are really the questionable "real world" results.
I have two decent gaming rigs currently running in my room. This is great because it does allow me to compare and contrast to somewhat of a degree. My main gaming rig is listed in my sig and my other is an AMD 165 Opty. The Opty has Mushkin DDR500, Evga 7900gt oc, and WD 500 GB hard drive. Both systems run Company of Heroes smoothly with high definition resolutions and good framerates. The only noticeably difference is my Intel can run all the highest graphical settings and pretty much kicks the crap out of my Opty rig in loading times. Both instances start to launch at exactly the same time. The Opty will be sitting at about half loading bar during LAN sessions while the E6400 is twiddling its binary thumbs waiting to start the match.
Raid is not a cheap solution and if your system has bottlenecks elsewhere there be little to no noticeable gains. This is why it's important to post your specs for the best advice. Raid is definitely not for every user.