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RAID 0 improves writting speed, but not reading speed

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October 21, 2006 2:38:43 PM

My apologies for what must be a common question, but it is not in the relevant FAQ.
I am only concerned with gaming performance and loading times - not really bothered if file transfers, or installation times are improved. Hence,
1) Will RAID 0 improve performance while gaming in any way?
2) Will RAID 0 reduce loading times significantly when starting up a program or changing level?
Thanks for your patience. :lol:  :oops: 
October 21, 2006 2:51:01 PM

1. Depends. On some games yes, but some no.
2. Yes

Raid 0 has a great I/O performance on large blocks file size for example on editing movies.
October 22, 2006 4:39:35 AM

Its hard to justify the cost when the precious dolars could be otherwise sunk into a better GPU investment, my take on RAID and games.
Best vid card and one good SATA disk, youre golden.
Related resources
October 22, 2006 5:18:07 AM

for gaming, the actual boost raid offers is NOT significant... hovering around a 15% improvement in the best cases with 2 drives, instead of just 1... i dont understand the reasons for that myself... ...but, for gaming... if you want performance similar to raid, just get a fast single drive... ...i have raid 0 setup myself in my system, with 2*36GB raptors... games dont load much faster at all, though windows boots up in about than half the time, and defragging windows with these 2 drives in raid 0 gets about 32MB/s (i tend to reboot and defrag more than playing games to be honest, so i can definetly see a benefit, for me)... again, i dont understand entirely why it varies from usage to usage... but, thats just the case as it is...

so, my advice, just go with the fastest single drive youre willing to spend money on, and it should perform similar [to raid 0] for the usage youre wanting... drives that use perpendicular recording i hear are pretty fast, so, if you can find a 7200.10 of large capacity, you should be good to go, as the larger the drive is, the faster data can be read/written, ie, higher STR (sustained transfer rates)

a comment about raptors though, theyre an excellent OS drive, if anything, because there are often files that need to be accessed quickly, and its low access times greatly help with that
October 23, 2006 9:51:06 AM

Well, in my case, I've put as much money as I can on the GPU and CPU and a single HDD, so it comes down to whether or not it's worth getting a second drive for a RAID 0. This is for a laptop as well...
Good solid data about performance gains in games and loading times would be welcomed.
October 23, 2006 9:57:47 AM

well, i looked for about 10 seconds on google and found this http://www.overclockers.com/articles1063/ its one comparison between running a single raptor 36GB and a pair in raid 0, for game loading times and other tests ...im sure you can find many more articles though

i just typed in "raid 0 game loading time"
October 23, 2006 10:04:26 AM

RAID 0, unless you use a dedicated controller card with its own cache, has *no* benefits on the desktop. The additional overhead for doing the read/writes can result in increased loading times.

For certain games, where data is being streamed from disk and the CPU is doing no work on it at all - just data being spooled - then you may see a very slight improvement.

You're much better off with a single Raptor.
October 23, 2006 10:10:43 AM

Thank you choirbass and mkaibear. I wish there were Raptors for the notebook. 7200 will have to do!
Cheers.
October 23, 2006 10:29:25 AM

Some would argue that raid 0 is not worth the price, but it does reduce loading nonetheless.
October 23, 2006 10:49:58 AM

Quote:
RAID 0, unless you use a dedicated controller card with its own cache, has *no* benefits on the desktop. The additional overhead for doing the read/writes can result in increased loading times.

For certain games, where data is being streamed from disk and the CPU is doing no work on it at all - just data being spooled - then you may see a very slight improvement.

You're much better off with a single Raptor.


Has any of you actually ever used a RAID system on a desktop? The guy is not talking about video editing or something serious. And even in the simplest cases, yes RAID 0 can bring huge benefits. I will bring out the simple experience i had with my older system. Spellforce took about 1min 10secs to load a level. After RAIDing my 2 IDE drives it took less than 25secs for the same levels!! That is close to 3 times as fast. Of course other loading times did not have that significant impact, but still the whole experience is so positive, i can't go back to using a single drive, not even a Raptor. Get two cheap fast SATA drives, RAID them in 0 and off you go! The only downside of the situation is the parity and you have to remember to backup your important data!!! And for God's shake, cool the drivers properly! I can't stand listening to people whinning about how bad RAID 0 is because they lost all their data, but they couldn't be bothered cooling the drives not even with a single fan!
October 23, 2006 11:07:22 AM

lol, yes... i have, and i am currently... ive almost always used raid in my systems when the opportunity presented itself (have yet to experience a failure while using raid, though not because of raid by any means, obviously), also because i already had all of the essential data backed up, making regular backups anyhow... so in all cases [for me] there were only benefits to having it... but, going back to what was being discussed originally... game loading times do not substantially improve... maybe for older games there was an increase, for whatever reason... but, by no means will you find your load times cut in half, or even close, when playing current games...

you said at first that with a single drive, it took 1:10 seconds to load... and with 2 drives in raid 0, made it nearly 3 times faster... down to :25... ...TBH, with 2 drives, compared to 1, you can expect, at best, theoretically even, to have exactly double the performance, but triple the performance..
October 23, 2006 11:08:46 AM

Aaaaaaaand we're back to experiential evidence instead of actual science...

Seriously, darkguset, have a look at some of the articles out there talking about RAID on the desktop. They show, absolutely, that there is no performance benefit except in certain largely artificial situations for using RAID on the desktop.

And claiming that you get a "close to 3 times as fast" from RAIDing 2 hard drives, when even synthetic STR benchmarks will only ever show <2 times as fast, smacks of ridiculousness.
October 23, 2006 11:12:43 AM

well, you cant say there are no benefits... i can say right away, that there are... just one example though, boot times, those are close to cut in half compared to a single drive (when using 2 drives)... other than that though, i agree for the most part
October 23, 2006 11:28:44 AM

I'd class "boot times" in with the "certain largely artificial situations" - booting is as close to a synthetic Sequential Transfer Rate benchmark as you're ever going to get in the real world - it's basically just spooling stuff to memory.

Fair point, though - Windows will boot faster.
October 23, 2006 2:21:19 PM

RAID 0 is marginally useful in games, but thats not what it was designed for. You also have to deal with an increased seek time, even if throughput is faster, so if your moving many small files, that might also cause a hamper on performance, but either way, not by much.

I say, if you have 2 drives, RAID them together, but don't go out of your way to do so.

And I don't even want to know what darkguset is taking...
October 25, 2006 12:14:08 AM

Quote:
Aaaaaaaand we're back to experiential evidence instead of actual science...

Seriously, darkguset, have a look at some of the articles out there talking about RAID on the desktop. They show, absolutely, that there is no performance benefit except in certain largely artificial situations for using RAID on the desktop.

And claiming that you get a "close to 3 times as fast" from RAIDing 2 hard drives, when even synthetic STR benchmarks will only ever show <2 times as fast, smacks of ridiculousness.


Mate, what you are saying comes to the limits of ridiculousness. You are stating that you don't believe what you are experiencing because theory tells something else! That specific game behaved in that way on my specific system. It took the loading times almost 3 times down. Now regarding windows boot times as others mentioned, it only took them maybe 2 seconds down, no more. Why RAID affected that game so much, i don't know, i didn't investigate, but one thing is for sure. It happened and whatever you say or how many articles you read or whatever you may think, it HAPPENED! So get it in your small brains and digest it!
October 25, 2006 12:53:45 AM

Quote:

Aaaaaaaand we're back to experiential evidence instead of actual science...


So our actual experience from using our raided systems every day is outweighed just by what you theorize? yeah whatever...

Quote:

Seriously, darkguset, have a look at some of the articles out there talking about RAID on the desktop. They show, absolutely, that there is no performance benefit except in certain largely artificial situations for using RAID on the desktop.

And claiming that you get a "close to 3 times as fast" from RAIDing 2 hard drives, when even synthetic STR benchmarks will only ever show <2 times as fast, smacks of ridiculousness.


I agree with darkguset. I speak from experience because my system has two 150gb raptors raid 0. I've also used it with only one raptor. I KNOW the difference.

mkaibear even if you don't like the fact, raid 0 is noticeably faster than 1 drive even on the desktop. Maybe not necessarily for loading game levels, but for a whole lot of other tasks. I don't care what your theories say.

You talk about links, well here's one:
http://www.gamepc.com/labs/view_content.asp?id=raptor15...
It shows 2 raptors in raid 0 have significant performance advantage over a single raptor in all but seek time, and 8.1ms to 8.3ms is hardly significant.

E.g. from their figures 1 GB write speed test: 1 Drive: 46Mb/s 2 Drives 76 Mb/s

So if you do the math: To write a 1gb file takes 22 seconds single drive, 13 seconds on raid 0.

If you think thats not noticeable at all then I guess in your desktop world you don't ever copy isos around or anything.
October 25, 2006 1:00:07 AM

Quote:
Aaaaaaaand we're back to experiential evidence instead of actual science...

Seriously, darkguset, have a look at some of the articles out there talking about RAID on the desktop. They show, absolutely, that there is no performance benefit except in certain largely artificial situations for using RAID on the desktop.

And claiming that you get a "close to 3 times as fast" from RAIDing 2 hard drives, when even synthetic STR benchmarks will only ever show <2 times as fast, smacks of ridiculousness.


Mate, what you are saying comes to the limits of ridiculousness. You are stating that you don't believe what you are experiencing because theory tells something else! That specific game behaved in that way on my specific system. It took the loading times almost 3 times down. Now regarding windows boot times as others mentioned, it only took them maybe 2 seconds down, no more. Why RAID affected that game so much, i don't know, i didn't investigate, but one thing is for sure. It happened and whatever you say or how many articles you read or whatever you may think, it HAPPENED! So get it in your small brains and digest it!

the problem there, is it may have 'seemed' 3 times faster... but its 'physically impossible' for that to even be so, just from raiding 2 identical drives together... perhaps maybe the game had already been cached into your systems ram, after an initial load... having things stored in ram would definetly improve loading times honestly... ...but performance of a hdd will not triple, when youre only 'at best' doubling its potential performance from an additional hdd.

for performance to triple, assuming perfomance is scaling perfectly linearly... you would need 3 identical hdds, and enough bandwidth available to do so... same with 4 drives, 5 drives, and so on.

as far as boot times though... its dependant on much more than hdd performance... with an iRAM drive for instance, which is much faster than any standard drive... windows didnt boot instantaneously by any means... it still has to recognize and load drivers for hardware and such first too... alot more than just some software files... the less you have installed in your system however, the faster windows will boot... ...which is why a fresh installation of windows, right after an install, will typically boot faster, because theres no hardware to load really.
October 26, 2006 9:07:47 PM

wait... if Raid 0 has improvements, then which one improves better? Raid 0 or 1? (compare to JBOD)

(so we are working on a level playing field of perhaps say same number of drives)
October 26, 2006 9:11:41 PM

well... raid 0 and raid 1 have two distinctly different purposes...

with raid 1, youll be getting similar performance to a single hdd, but you have redundancy though too, incase a drive happens to go down

with raid 0, the aim is to simply improve performance, but there is no redundancy at all included... so more danger losing data then
October 26, 2006 9:55:43 PM

I love paper tech's, they send so much business my way.

"But it says right here you can't do that."
"Yeah, well the customer is going to be pretty pissed if you `fix' it."
October 26, 2006 10:37:46 PM

Having had many different RAID0 setups I can say that I have noticed a difference for the better in most circumstances. Games do load faster, some more than others. Currently I have a single 74 raptor for 0S(from 2 32gigs in 0) and 3x74gigs in 0 for games/apps. I also keep a 500 gig for storage/backup. Current HDDs are still the slowest major subsystem in any computer, an upgrade will be welcomed in most areas.

My suggestion to you is to watch your HDD lamp, if it's constantly on during loading, then RAID0 will likely be a decent upgrade for you.

If my XPS2 had an option for RAID, I would do it in a heartbeat but mainly for the extra space.
October 26, 2006 11:02:05 PM

well..

i must say that with my raid experiences im very suprised by most peoples responses..
i happen to believe that raid is 100% worth it!
i read that some of you have issues with the expense of raid.. figuring that its performance does not over step the cost... well.. i mean if you go for one of those raptor dealys im sure its more expensive. im not quite sure how much those drives cost but... i was very impressed with my setup...
i use 4x250gb SATAII drives and its great.. now keep in mind that i do alot of video work...photoshop and 3d design... but i also game like a rabid animal..

and i have noticed nice improvments.. though nothing ground breaking...
games like oblivion or other load on demand games. notice nice improvements!.. less stalls...

and games such as halflife 2 andfear i have noticed very nice load times..

so i figure it like this..

i set up my raid in a matter of minutes once i installed the drives.. so its no extra task to implement...

the price of purchasing drives for raid costs very similar to purchasing for a system with out raid.. such as where i live.. the cheapest price for 2x200gb sata drives is $172AU for both drives... but for one 400gb drive it costs $245AU. so im getting better performance for less cost.. .. thats not soo bad...!!

now if your contemplating getting raid youprobably have a mobo with a built in raid device such as a nforce4 there for u wont need to worry about the cost of a raid controller.

so to sum up,,

1. RAID does not take much extra time to set up.. than a normal drive..
2. 2x200gb drives for RAID is cheaper than 1x400gb drive for normal use..
3. For individual use there is most likely no need for extra hardware..

now there are some issues that might arrise for some setups.. such as..

in my system i have a antec P180Black that houses

x2 4600 @ 2.9
2x6800gs xxx's @ 520/1280
4gb ram
4x250gb SATAII
1X 30gb drive
1x optical drive

so as you can imagine heat may become an issue.. in my system i have the 4 drives at the very bottom in the removable drive block that my case has..
they are all spaced on their sides vertically with about 2cm+ between each drive.. and a big fan blowwing air out the case.. this section of my computer expells the most and generates the most heat from my entire setup..

if you have a not so exciting case.. this can pose a serious problem as sometimes i have been forgetfull and blocked the air from my case.. worried when i noticed the hot air later...


all the vibrations that the drives make may cause some noise disturbances.. i myself have not once heard my drives..my case has rubber mounting bracketty things that are like nice jelly suspension for my drives...

power can be an issues as not every system has enough power sockets for these drives..

i myself have a single 500w antec sp 2x12vrail PSU with one of the cable sockets going straight to all 4 of the drives. 2 going to the graphicss and 1 going to the optical and leftover bits..


truthfully i dont understand why so many think that raid is such a bad idea.. but i realise i have been going on for way too long and well..
i think it may be because its 7am and i havent slept for like 2days.. but;... i hope i helped out somewhat!!
October 26, 2006 11:38:21 PM

Quote:

I am only concerned with gaming performance and loading times - not really bothered if file transfers, or installation times are improved. Hence,
1) Will RAID 0 improve performance while gaming in any way?


My opinion on this is that yes, it will improve your gaming performance, but only under very specific circumstances.

These circumstances are where the games you are playing require extensive reading and writing to the page file (virtual memory). The best example of this is BF2 which requires about 2Gb of physical ram to run the best. If you have less than this, and run the page file from a RAID0 disk, you will benefit from the higher read/write speeds that RAID allows.

All in all, for gaming, under certain circumstance, I believe RAID0 is worth it.

Just back up your critical data regularly !!!!
October 27, 2006 12:09:23 AM

Quote:
Its hard to justify the cost when the precious dolars could be otherwise sunk into a better GPU investment, my take on RAID and games.
Best vid card and one good SATA disk, youre golden.


Why are you assuming he can't afford both?.. he hasn't mentioned cost at all. its only 1 or 2 hundred bucks for good drive anyway.
October 27, 2006 1:29:36 AM

In answer to the thread subject, RAID 0 does improve both reading and writing speed considerably.
Have a look at this:
http://www.xbitlabs.com/articles/storage/display/areca-...

OK its actually a review of a raid controller but check the performance graphs and you get the point...
October 27, 2006 2:15:37 AM

I think RAID is neat but if youre that into your games youre going to have twice the chance for problems striping 2 drives for performance.
If you want uninterrupted gameplay you should be mirroring :) 
Once you get into RAID 5 you can have more system stability and fast sustained reading speed, however cheap conttrollers for that drastically hurt writing performance.
October 27, 2006 2:23:27 AM

Ultimatley it might actually hurt gameplay because the RAID 0 performance is only apparent when youre doing larger sustained reads and writes. Games will be more apt to need quick access to small pieces of information scattered about the file system, and this is where RAID performace can be worse than a single drive.
If money is no object you can invest in a high performing card such as an Areca and then yes you can get better file system performance accross the board. You can also stripe a lot of HDDs with one of them.
Tell you what if youre only after good functionality and features i must give the Geforce 6150 a thumbs up in reliability and functionality for the price.
October 27, 2006 3:49:54 AM

Quote:


the problem there, is it may have 'seemed' 3 times faster... but its 'physically impossible' for that to even be so, just from raiding 2 identical drives together... perhaps maybe the game had already been cached into your systems ram, after an initial load... having things stored in ram would definetly improve loading times honestly... ...but performance of a hdd will not triple, when youre only 'at best' doubling its potential performance from an additional hdd.

for performance to triple, assuming perfomance is scaling perfectly linearly... you would need 3 identical hdds, and enough bandwidth available to do so... same with 4 drives, 5 drives, and so on.
on much more than hdd performance... with an iRAM drive for instance,


Good point.

Quote:
wait... if Raid 0 has improvements, then which one improves better? Raid 0 or 1? (compare to JBOD)

(so we are working on a level playing field of perhaps say same number of drives)


Obviously has no clue what Raid-1 or Raid-5 are...
October 28, 2006 12:06:03 AM

Quote:
I think RAID is neat but if youre that into your games youre going to have twice the chance for problems striping 2 drives for performance.
If you want uninterrupted gameplay you should be mirroring :) 
Once you get into RAID 5 you can have more system stability and fast sustained reading speed, however cheap conttrollers for that drastically hurt writing performance.


Mirroring is stupid for a desktop environment.

You get half the storage and a big performance hit over having the same drives in raid 0. (in fact mirrored drives are slower than even a single drive). The only thing you get is more safety, which if you used raid 5 you'd also get + better performance and more space.

Anyway as my raptors have a 1.2 million hour MTBF, drive problems are so unlikely to occur its a non-issue. Even if they do, I still have another drive I use just for occasional backups so even if my raid array got totally wiped out it still wouldn't be a problem.
October 28, 2006 1:18:41 AM

For those of you who are clueless. Raid-0 takes two hard drives and can read from at the same time as though it was one drive. Raid-1 takes two hard drives and makes them exact copies. In the event that one drive fails it simply reads off the other drive and informs you that your drive has failed during post. If you have Raid-0+1 (arguably the best) then you are using 4 drives total, two of sets of two. Go to wikipedia or a hard drive manufacturer website for more information. I believe Nvidia (as well as countless others) have information, as they create raid controllers and drivers.
October 28, 2006 1:38:29 AM

Quote:
Mirroring is stupid for a desktop environment.

You get half the storage and a big performance hit over having the same drives in raid 0. (in fact mirrored drives are slower than even a single drive). The only thing you get is more safety, which if you used raid 5 you'd also get + better performance and more space.


Not true.

1. IMO a backup drive should only be RAID 1. I think a backup drive should be completely reliable, i.e. once you put something on it, it is not lost. A single HD does not deliver this reliability as it has a real chance of crashing and/or loosing data at any given moment. RAID 5 is reliable, but requires many hard drives so is often impractical.

2. RAID 1 has approximately the same writing speed as a single HD (just a minor hit), but has the high reading speed of RAID 0 as the controller interleaves the reading process (every modern controller does). There is absolutely no "big performance hit" here if you use a reasonable controller.

3. RAID 0 is great for speeding up a desktop, but is not an option unless you have very good backup... which brings us back to RAID 1. I guess what I'm trying to say is that each RAID type is useful for a very different task, it just depends on what you are trying to achieve.

Cheers :) 


Quote:
Anyway as my raptors have a 1.2 million hour MTBF, drive problems are so unlikely to occur its a non-issue.


About this.. I've seen so many new hard drives (<1 year old) just die suddenly without any notice, that I really wouldn't put my money on those MTBF figures. That's just it that it is the *mean* time betwen failure, which implies that the actual time can vary. Not to mention that a drive can suffer damage by getting hit, power failures, or many other stuff that "MTBF" just doesn't protect against.
October 28, 2006 2:57:31 AM

Quote:
Quote:
Anyway as my raptors have a 1.2 million hour MTBF, drive problems are so unlikely to occur its a non-issue.


Mate, that 1.2 million hour MTBF is close to meaningless. Numerous other threads have pointed this out. None of the current drives show excellent reliability. Check out www.storagereview.com
October 28, 2006 7:58:43 PM

Quote:
Quote:
Anyway as my raptors have a 1.2 million hour MTBF, drive problems are so unlikely to occur its a non-issue.


Mate, that 1.2 million hour MTBF is close to meaningless. Numerous other threads have pointed this out. None of the current drives show excellent reliability. Check out www.storagereview.com

I DID NOT SAY THAT! YOU QUOTED THE WRONG PERSON!!!
October 29, 2006 1:48:24 AM

Quote:
Quote:
Anyway as my raptors have a 1.2 million hour MTBF, drive problems are so unlikely to occur its a non-issue.


Mate, that 1.2 million hour MTBF is close to meaningless. Numerous other threads have pointed this out. None of the current drives show excellent reliability. Check out www.storagereview.com

I don't see how you can say none of the drives have excellent reliability (presumably including raptors) when everyone else is syaing how relaible they are and there aren't enough postings of 150mb raptors to for the survey you referenced to even show a result. Mate.

Anyway, all the indicators are that raptors are incredibly reliable over long term from the older models. Also they're intended for enterprise applications so are made to be more reliable than desktop drives. They also get a 24 hour burn-in before they even leave the factory, and thats probably unique for sata drives.
October 29, 2006 1:57:31 AM

They run them for 24 hrs? That's hot! No seriously, those raptors put out a HELL of a lot of heat. Mine were way too hot to touch. I read this is normal. My aluminum X-Qpack is nearly melting. :-P
October 29, 2006 6:00:55 PM

Please mark8987, edit your post and remove my name from the quote i did not say. People are now re-quoting this INVALID quote of mine and thats not cool please change it. Thank you.
October 30, 2006 11:28:07 AM

Doesnt any of you guys care about noice? Two Samsung Spinpoints are barely audible but I can imagine the kind of sound that raptors emit. Any experinces of this?
And if you buy one raptor why not two...

Other than that I think Toms should do an article on raid 0 as it seems to be a lot of opinions about performance. Personally I trust (realistic*) scientific tests more than user opinions.

Buy a comp. book from amazon based on user reviews and see for yourself...

*NOT FX60 2GB SuperduperRAM Best videocard money can buy etc.
October 30, 2006 1:45:11 PM

Yes, Toms needs to do a review on raid controllers. Someone tell them. We want to know the truth about Raid-0 and Raid-1. Does Raid-0 help in game situations? Is it better to have one small 10,000rpm drive for windows and then put everything else on a 7200rpm drive? Does it work better to have 4 small drives, one for each major game, or is it better to have one big defragmented one? Will mirroring help your computer to access strewn information faster? Is 0+1 ideal in most situations? How much real increase is a raptor over a 7200 caviar? We demand the TRUTH! Forget about who f'n pays you off to say crap about their products. We KNOW that some reviews are for sale. We want unbiased reviews, we want to know which products are the best, we can figure out value on our own so save the stupid "average prices on pricegrabber" crap. Those averages aren't real-time, nor are they accurate since I've seen video cards for $1 for 15 minutes on pricegrabber. The products aren't even that well organized and the filters don't always work. Give us FACTS, not prices. Give us TRUTH, not opinion. We can figure out opinions and prices on our own. Accuracy is everything. We rely on the testers and engineers at Toms for information on products and that's ALL we want from the site other than news and this forum. We don't want you to sell us stuff. We don't mind advertising, a good deal posted next to what our reading is still a good deal. But don't try to talk us into anything. Just give us the facts.
October 30, 2006 5:32:44 PM

this toms artical about the 150gb raptor might be of some help. they tested a raptor single drive up a RAID 0 array of 7200 rpm disks.

Quote:
The Raptor-X's performance is even good enough to beat a RAID 0 array consisting of two modern 7,200 RPM drives, except in terms of pure throughput, of course.


Link
October 30, 2006 5:51:27 PM

"RAID 0 generally is the best choice if you require high data transfer rates; in fact, it is possible to almost double throughput numbers by deploying a RAID 0 configuration. However, access times do not improve, and sometimes you will even see an increase in access time. Your everyday life with Windows won't be accelerated much by using a RAID 0 array, even if many people tend to believe that! We have proof for this statement in the form of benchmark numbers that compare the WD1500 Raptor with a two-drive RAID 0 setup that consists of two 7,200 RPM drives."

This basically says that loading games will be faster in Raid-0, but nothing else. In fact you may see a slight decrease in access time for basic computing.

Makes me wonder if I should upgrade my CPU's in both of my AMD64 comps and just split my raptors as boot drives, one in each. Right now I have a Caviar 160gig 7200rpm raid-0 setup in one and a Raptor 150gig 10K rpm Raid-0 in the other. In my bigger system I have extra storage in the form of a 10gig 5400rpm drive, and an 80gig 7200rpm drive. The chips are a mere Athlon 3000+ (bought the cheapest with upgrading to FX-60 in mind) and a 4200+X2, to be put in my cheaper system. I want two good systems, one for a friend to use when they come over and for lan parties (mATX), and then my power system for my own gaming (SLI option but not currently used). I'm going to be rearranging my systems here soon to optimize power in one of them, and eventually kick this 3000+ chip over to my HTPC I'm starting to build.

I'm still a little split what to do with my drives. Anyone else have some suggestions?
October 30, 2006 6:08:51 PM

im kind of lost on what you want. you first say that you would like 2 good systems so your friend can use one for lans and such. then you say that your thinking about just combining the good stuff form both into one system.

If you need two good systmes, split the 10,000 rpm drives, if you want one power systme raid 0 the raptors then throw the other 2 in for backing up data.

An Idea I have been kicking around in my head has been to RAID 0 4 hdds and then add a 5th to do back ups to. I dont know if there is a point where adding more hdd's to a RAID 0 becomes usless but I would like to do it. If Im wrong I could simply then do a RAID 0+1 and an extra drive for more space, or a RAID 5. HDDs are so cheap now I dont see why not.
October 30, 2006 6:14:59 PM

I "think" you will see quite a benefeit from Raid 0 in the laptop.
HDDs are normally the bottleneck, but 7200RPM notebook drives are far slower than 7200 Desktop drives since they use 2.5 vs 3.5 platters.

Therefore the drives are more of a bottleneck than normal and hence show a better performance increase.

Personally, I would never run my systems in Raid 0 due increased chance of complete data loss in when configuring my disks as a non-redundant array of independant disks.
October 30, 2006 6:30:58 PM

No, I want my small X-Qpack 64 bit system for two uses; for lan parties, and for having friends over. It's STILL powerful enough for most games, even with just a 7200rpm drive and onboard 6150 GPU. I plan to upgrade though. Right now it has dual raptors in it. I'm thinking of putting those in my better gaming system, but think maybe I should just split the raptors (one in each system) and use them as single, system drives. My other raid-0 drives (7200rpm caviars) would then be used as single drives also, one in each system. Is this better than having the raptors together in Raid-0? My question is, would it be to have the 7200rpm drives in raid-0 in my secondary system and the raptors in my power system in raid-0? Or better to go ahead and split them? Will I appreciate the raptors more in Raid-0 or as two system drives?
October 30, 2006 6:34:25 PM

I'd have to agree raid does make a difference in many situations. It is a noticable difference in many cases.

I for one wouldn't give two cents for a synthetic benchmark. I've read many reviews where a synthetic was neck and neck and the real-world benchmarks told a different story.

I can cite one instance in particular; I used to play a particular MMO that I had terrible load times on. I broke down and tried raid 0 for the first time. It did indeed improve my loads into the game, from one area to another through portal systems etc. I went from arriving in a new town about 10-20 seconds after a friend of mine with a newer system to me arriving about 5-10 seconds ahead of him every time. Nothing else in system changed.

Of course some things show little to no "apparent" gain yet other times depending on the game or app the benefit can be obvious. Shrug ;) 
October 30, 2006 6:34:45 PM

Quote:

Personally, I would never run my systems in Raid 0 due increased chance of complete data loss in when configuring my disks as a non-redundant array of independant disks.

Raid-0 isn't that risky. LOL Besides, it's called OS reinstall. So a drive fails, you replace it and reinstall programs. If you can afford 2 drives you can probably afford 3. Get a big slower drive and just copy important crap over to it. That way you have it backed up. Putting all your important data on a single drive isn't safe either. Besides, if you ever want to move your array to another system, your raid's gonna get messed up anyway. Raid-0 is great for a gaming specific machine. Save games can always be placed on a shared drive.
October 30, 2006 6:35:32 PM

I see not that much of an increaces risk of my data being lost in a RAID 0 set up. I mean sure there is a little more risk but once you think about it, its worth it. HDD's go bad in one of 2 ways: 1 they just up and die 2 they go through a slow loud death.

if your hdd just up and dies the only way to save your data is if your running RAID 5 or 0+1. It seems that people want RAID 0 or nothing so not much can be done if a HDD up and dies.

however if your hdd starts making all kinds of noise you know its going down and you need to back up things asap. it doesnt matter if you got one disk or RAID 0 you should be able to back up the data before it goes kaput. so I see it as RAID 0 is not that much less safe than a one disk set up. basicly it doubles the chance of a hdd just dieing, but the chance of that is slim to nill so double slim to nill and still not that likely.

That being said this is still how I do things

There is no substitute for doing backups even if you run a RAID 5. I have my important data on 3 seperate drives, the hdd in my pc, a back up hdd that me and my brother both use and then my brothers hdd in his pc at his house. So even if my house burns to the ground with my backup hdd i can still get my data back.

Oh yeah I also keep the most important stuff in a 4th place my good ol 4gb pen drive that is always with me.
October 30, 2006 6:49:45 PM

Quote:
No, I want my small X-Qpack 64 bit system for two uses; for lan parties, and for having friends over. It's STILL powerful enough for most games, even with just a 7200rpm drive and onboard 6150 GPU. I plan to upgrade though. Right now it has dual raptors in it. I'm thinking of putting those in my better gaming system, but think maybe I should just split the raptors (one in each system) and use them as single, system drives. My other raid-0 drives (7200rpm caviars) would then be used as single drives also, one in each system. Is this better than having the raptors together in Raid-0? My question is, would it be to have the 7200rpm drives in raid-0 in my secondary system and the raptors in my power system in raid-0? Or better to go ahead and split them? Will I appreciate the raptors more in Raid-0 or as two system drives?


I would say that how you raid or not raid your 4 hdds depends on how you back up your data. if you have a good back up system like I do go on and raid 0 the 7200 in one system and raid 0 the 10,000 in another, you will like the perfomance of the raid 0 in both systems.

If however you dont have a good back up system like most people, I would then tell you to put your data(that is important like music pics ect) on at least 2 seperate drives. however you can do that is what I would say to do. I think you might be able to do this....raid 0 the raptors in one power pc then just put the other 2 in the other pc normal and back up the data on the raid 0 to this pc often

However, it seems to me that you are not too into games and bleeding performace so off of that assumption I would say split the raptors to both pc's to have 2 good pc's.

hey then maybe you could cluster them??? thats fun
October 30, 2006 6:54:15 PM

But each to his own. Some want the raw speed and I can see the need in LAN parties. Myself, I can live w/o that little extra and prefer the safety.

I just like pointing out that RAID-0 has no fault-tolerance since not all folks quite get that. Once you know, its up to you to decide on safe lazy day drive with your PC or a mind number friday night dragstrip.

I prefer my lazy day drives but don't begrudge the dragsters and know far few die than one would think if you measured a parents concern.
October 30, 2006 7:29:23 PM

How much perfromance you get out of a RAID 0 config has everything to do with how you set it up and use it.

The first thing you have to do is figure out what your optimal block size is. I will not go into an explanation here as there are a lot of real good resources on RAID configurations.

Typically, using a RAID 0 setup as your boot/system volume will not seem to do much at all for you in terms of performance because of all of the additional overhead that Windows puts on the volume.

You could instead setup a stand alone drive for windows, and the RAID to only install games -- but because so much of any program is stored within \windows\system32 -- you may not see much here either.

My happy medium was to install windows on the RAID and offload all user settings (my documents, etc.) and swapfile to another volume. The added benefit to this is *when* (not if) the RAID goes down I still have my document files/music/downloads/etc.

On my system, I use 2 WD 74G raptors in a RAID0 config as my system/boot/program volume. I also use a WD 320GB PMR drive as my data/pagefile volume.

As a result, Windows installed in about 6 minutes. Windows boots in about 6-8 seconds to desktop and games load much faster.

Here is what it all did for me:
1 WD Raptor by itself was typically 80-90MB/s data transfer
2 WDs in RAID0 is typically 120-130MB/s data transfer
The 320GB drive by itself is between 60-70MB/s

So for me it makes a big difference. This setup is, however, optimized for gaming. I have another system setup for audio/video... and it is completely different. Once again, it is all in how you set it up.
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