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is RAID 0 really that much better??

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December 27, 2006 2:26:36 AM

I'm contemplating a system upgrade. I'm wondering if it would really be worth it to do a RAID 0. Forget about backup concerns, I'm talking performance here.

Gear: Let's say two of the latest SATA seagate 7200.10 16mb buffer in RAID 0 vs. one such drive. Or what about two WD 7200 80GB (older and slower) vs. one of the above seagates.

is RAID 0 in either of these situations going to be that much better for working with 10mb photoshop files and oblivion and BF2 game loading times? What about windows startup?

Will the difference be worth it? I'm not doing any video editing. Maybe a little home recording, but nothing huge.

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December 27, 2006 2:35:51 AM

yes there will be an increase especially in read speeds.
loading games and starting windows will definitely benefit.
December 27, 2006 2:56:37 AM

Okay, so then if RAID 0 really IS that much better, which of these options would be the best?

2xseagate 250GB 7200.10 16mb SATA in RAID 0 ~$150

or...

1 WD 74 GB Raptor ~$150


A few threads below people were arguing about which is better, RAID 0 or the 10k drives. After reading all the posts it seems like it would depend upon what you are doing. What I got out of it was for working with large files a lot, go with RAID 0, when working with things I've mentioned in my initial post, go with the raptor.

Is this a correct assumption?

Of course with the RAID 0 I'd have almost 500gb of space. The raptor, for the same price, only 74gb. So then I wonder, well is the reduced space really worth the extra performance from the raptor? I did read tom's article about the big raptor vs. RAID 0 and it did look like it beat RAID 0 out most of the time. But specifically what about the drives I'm talking about here- anyone have experience.

I'm not hardcore here, I just want to do the smartest thing with my money. So if you had ~$150 to put into hard drives, and were putting them on a gigabyte DS3 mobo (P965 chipset), what would you do with the money?
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December 27, 2006 3:13:52 AM

two 7200.10 drives should put you on par with the 74 gb raptor performance wise. they will still lose in a few tests like access times but should pull even in the data throughput tests.

i would seriously consider the 2x 250gb 7200.10
December 27, 2006 3:31:53 AM

10 meg photoshop files & games, well I would say NO.

I'm running 2x74 Gig 10K raptors in raid Zero and it has not been without complications. The sata connectors are a bit weak and I had some hiccups before supporting them with a cable tie. Also when/if your system goes down it will be more of a challange to get the Raid BIOS up, the drive prioirty and boot sequence all setup in BIOS - this can be a stressfull time if in production or caught between backups.

Now when I'm editing 2 or 3 hundred meg photoshop files or a large 3DS Max dataset, the raid striping does show its strengths.

So if performance is really that important and you are not intimidated by messages like 'no boot drive found'.. then go for it. On the other hand if you prefer not to play sys opp and like a simple configuration I would suggest keeping it simple.

BTW - I noticed some newer SATA connectors take advantage of the additional drive connections (physical only) to provide more connection integrity, so if you do go raid zero I would strongly recommend these cable sets. Good Luck!

-Shea
December 27, 2006 3:35:14 AM

Cool thanks.

After reading more reviews it really seems like performance is all over the place with hard drives. It makes it very hard to make an educated decision (hence relying on the forumz).

I'll go with the RAID 0 config. Even if the raptor is faster, I'm guessing it would save me seconds on a few things and not tens of seconds.
December 27, 2006 3:45:05 AM

Quote:
10 meg photoshop files & games, well I would say NO.

I'm running 2x74 Gig 10K raptors in raid Zero and it has not been without complications. The sata connectors are a bit weak and I had some hiccups before supporting them with a cable tie. Also when/if your system goes down it will be more of a challange to get the Raid BIOS up, the drive prioirty and boot sequence all setup in BIOS - this can be a stressfull time if in production or caught between backups.


I'm not intimidated by messing with the BIOS- of course I would not want to lose data, but I have a backup source in case anything happens. I have dealt with hard drive troubles before.


Quote:
Now when I'm editing 2 or 3 hundred meg photoshop files or a large 3DS Max dataset, the raid striping does show its strengths.


yes my files are rarely that large. Mostly importing digicam files and working with them. Sometimes file sizes get to be 50 or 60 megs. The other thing would be audio editing, but I haven't done it yet so I don't know what sizes I will be dealing with.

Games like BF2 and Oblivion have longish load times on my current set up. An increase in speed here would be nice to have if it is significant.

Quote:
So if performance is really that important and you are not intimidated by messages like 'no boot drive found'.. then go for it. On the other hand if you prefer not to play sys opp and like a simple configuration I would suggest keeping it simple.


That is good advice, but I am stubborn and want to play with stuff and tweak things.

Quote:
BTW - I noticed some newer SATA connectors take advantage of the additional drive connections (physical only) to provide more connection integrity, so if you do go raid zero I would strongly recommend these cable sets. Good Luck!


I'm not 100% sure what you are referring to. You say the physical connections on your drive are weak? I can see how if a cable slips out while you are working that would really mess up a RAID 0 config. However I have 2 SATA drives now and no problems with the cables. Can you provide a picture of the additional drive connection you speak of? I'm curious.

And thanks for your response :) 
a c 180 G Storage
December 27, 2006 3:46:41 AM

check out storagereview.com. The net of it is that for a single user system, raid 0 gives marginal benefits at best. For simplicity and speed you can't beat the 150gig raptor for your high performance files. Put your other stuff on amore economical($/gig) drive of suitable size.
December 27, 2006 4:01:40 AM

Quote:
10 meg photoshop files & games, well I would say NO.

I'm running 2x74 Gig 10K raptors in raid Zero and it has not been without complications. The sata connectors are a bit weak and I had some hiccups before supporting them with a cable tie. Also when/if your system goes down it will be more of a challange to get the Raid BIOS up, the drive prioirty and boot sequence all setup in BIOS - this can be a stressfull time if in production or caught between backups.

Now when I'm editing 2 or 3 hundred meg photoshop files or a large 3DS Max dataset, the raid striping does show its strengths.

So if performance is really that important and you are not intimidated by messages like 'no boot drive found'.. then go for it. On the other hand if you prefer not to play sys opp and like a simple configuration I would suggest keeping it simple.

BTW - I noticed some newer SATA connectors take advantage of the additional drive connections (physical only) to provide more connection integrity, so if you do go raid zero I would strongly recommend these cable sets. Good Luck!

-Shea


you can get the new connectors for the raptors or any other sata drive. my last 36gb raptor came with the new connectors.

generally the "no boot drive found" is caused by impatient people using the power button when windows is slow to power down.

i have several raid arrays that have been in operation since 1999 without incident. i have had a few "no boot drive found" but its nothing a disaster recovery disk cant handle. if you actually remember to make one of those after you complete your setup.
December 27, 2006 4:06:39 AM

Quote:
check out storagereview.com. The net of it is that for a single user system, raid 0 gives marginal benefits at best. For simplicity and speed you can't beat the 150gig raptor for your high performance files. Put your other stuff on amore economical($/gig) drive of suitable size.


perhaps if you could find a 150gb raptor for $150 then maybe so. otherwise it appears to be out of budget.
December 27, 2006 4:13:16 AM

Check this out

This question continues to come up. It has been answered an inordinate amount of times.

50-60MB files won't benefit from RAID 0

Game loading times, won't benefit from RAID 0

4Gb files will benefit from RAID 0

Windows boot time is longer if you take into consideration you have to pass through the RAID BIOS boot too, actual load time after detection is faster, but you add detection time on top.

Normal user gets very very few benefits from RAID 0, but all the risk. Like Geo said, a Raptor will give you more performance advantages in everyday use as compared to a RAID 0 system.

I'm sorry if I sound annoyed, but I have answered this thread probably 4 times in the past month alone.
December 27, 2006 4:17:55 AM

depends on the game. half the games i own eat up a gig of space when loaded to memory. and they wont be getting any smaller in the future.

remember we are talking about 74gb versus 500gb. similar performance versus additional storage.

also, most people will reformat their system several times before these drives come anywhere near the end of their life.

personally i would go with a single 500gb drive, which are in the same price range, but that wasnt one of the options the OP was looking at.

and one final note, 2 year old hard drive reviews are pretty worthless. the addition of NCQ, 16mb cache, improved read/writing techniques, and better/more reliable hardware, have already made those comparisons obsolete.
December 27, 2006 4:32:07 AM

FYI - There a small pic of the cable at ZipZoomPoop:

http://www.zipzoomfly.com/jsp/ProductDetail.jsp?Product...

The 'no boot drive found' I was referring to was when the BIOS reset. Just a few more settings to remember or look up when repairing the system.

What a pack of dogs up here!

-Shea
December 27, 2006 4:32:13 AM

Quote:
Check this out

This question continues to come up. It has been answered an inordinate amount of times.

50-60MB files won't benefit from RAID 0

Game loading times, won't benefit from RAID 0

4Gb files will benefit from RAID 0

Windows boot time is longer if you take into consideration you have to pass through the RAID BIOS boot too, actual load time after detection is faster, but you add detection time on top.

Normal user gets very very few benefits from RAID 0, but all the risk. Like Geo said, a Raptor will give you more performance advantages in everyday use as compared to a RAID 0 system.

I'm sorry if I sound annoyed, but I have answered this thread probably 4 times in the past month alone.


The thing is that no one seems to agree....

I just read this: http://faq.storagereview.com/tiki-index.php?page=Single...

says RAID 0 won't help me.
December 27, 2006 4:35:31 AM

Quote:
FYI - There a small pic of the cable at ZipZoomPoop:

http://www.zipzoomfly.com/jsp/ProductDetail.jsp?Product...

The 'no boot drive found' I was referring to was when the BIOS reset. Just a few more settings to remember or look up when repairing the system.

What a pack of dogs up here!

-Shea


i hope you realize that you can get the drive without the cable and use standard sata connectors. you seem to be making a big deal out of nothing.
December 27, 2006 4:50:20 AM

Quote:
and one final note, 2 year old hard drive reviews are pretty worthless. the addition of NCQ, 16mb cache, improved read/writing techniques, and better/more reliable hardware, have already made those comparisons obsolete.


My Samsung Spintpoint 250GB disagrees, the 8mb cache drive spanks nearly every HDD on THG's HDD charts except for the Raptor and 10 series from Seagate, not too shabby. :wink:
December 27, 2006 5:28:00 AM

I Run A 36GB 15,000RPM, 8MB Cache, Ultra SCSI320 Boot Drive (2 Partitions 1x 18GB Storage And 1x 18GB Virtual RAID 1 Mirror (To Back Up My Highly Customized And Speed-Tweaked Windows XP x64 Install And All My Important Personal Data And Configuration Files) Connected To A PCI-E 4x SCSI Card And Two Western Digital UATA/100 Special Editions, 8MB Cache, 7200RPM In RAID 0 (One Is From The PC I Built In 2002 Before I Had This One And My Bro Swiped The Other From Wal-Mart About 3 Months Ago... Dont Ask

And I Get Extremely Good File Loads And Fast Windows Boots (Windows Boots In Around 32 Seconds From The Splash Screen To The Desktop)
a c 180 G Storage
December 27, 2006 2:03:28 PM

For fast boot times, go to windows Vista. I have been playing with RC1, on a small machine, and my windows boot times are exactly half that of my main machine.
As to the value of NCQ, it will actually slow down the usual single user environment. A new raptor with 16mb cache will be primed with data for the next read from the same track without losing the track rotation time. Inserting an out of sequence read can make this take longer. NCQ is designed for the server environment where many small random reads get queued up.
December 27, 2006 3:11:50 PM

I just upgraded to raid 0 yesterday...

Here are the Si Sandra benchmarks before and after:

The w/o raid benchmarks are in italics... the with raid benchmarks are in bold.

Drive Index: 52 MB/s, 97 MB/s
Random Access Time: 7ms, 7ms

Buffered Read: 159 MB/, 286 MB/s
Sequential Read: 59 MB/s, 117 MB/s
Random Read: 41 MB/s, 65 MB/s
Buffered Write: 121 MB/s, 173 MB/s
Sequential Write: 59 MB/s, 115 MB/s
Random Write: 42 MB/s, 78 MB/s

The improvement is notable... better than I was expecting.
December 27, 2006 3:49:13 PM

Quote:
you seem to be making a big deal out of nothing.


Even if I am the only person in the World who experienced sagging weak SATA connectors and the resulting hiccups this does not invalidate my suggestion to use a better cable.

In my perception it is YOU who are making a big deal out of nothing by feeling the need to postulate that your experience is the more valid one.

IMO - Sata connectors need a clip like the power connectors, if they were so well engineered would the cable in question even exist?

-Shea
December 27, 2006 3:52:34 PM

Quote:
I just upgraded to raid 0 yesterday...

Here are the Si Sandra benchmarks before and after:

The w/o raid benchmarks are in italics... the with raid benchmarks are in bold.

Drive Index: 52 MB/s, 97 MB/s
Random Access Time: 7ms, 7ms

Buffered Read: 159 MB/, 286 MB/s
Sequential Read: 59 MB/s, 117 MB/s
Random Read: 41 MB/s, 65 MB/s
Buffered Write: 121 MB/s, 173 MB/s
Sequential Write: 59 MB/s, 115 MB/s
Random Write: 42 MB/s, 78 MB/s

The improvement is notable... better than I was expecting.


And all of this is theoretical. None of the SiSandra benchmarks translate into real world benefits.
December 27, 2006 3:54:48 PM

If raw performance is your priority then may I suggest that you consider a hybrid solution? Keep your applications and frequently-accessed data on SCSI drives spinning at 15k RPM, with some cheap SATA drives for "bulk" storage of infrequently-accessed files (eg, photos).

As compared with IDE and SATA drives, for what it's worth and without having conducted any tests, my own experience has been that RAID 0 makes (at best) a marginal difference in a handful of situations, but SCSI drives spinning at 15k RPM make an appreciable difference in all situations. They bring a degree of spriteliness and responsiveness to computers that I have not witnessed with IDE or SATA systems.

If you go down this route, I can assure you that you won't have to examine comparison tables to comfort yourself that you're getting better performance. You will notice it at once.

SCSI drives are of course costly which is I why I recommend a hybrid solution. But they are also more of a long-term investment than (say) a graphics card. There is no foreseeable reason why SCSI kit bought now should not transfer easily to successive "generations" of new computers with new processors etc. So it should deliver the same performance advantage to any computer you buy in the foreseeable future.
December 27, 2006 8:03:09 PM

Quote:
And all of this is theoretical. None of the SiSandra benchmarks translate into real world benefits.


hehe. Interesting... I'll continue to enjoy my "theoretically" faster storage medium, regardless.
December 27, 2006 8:30:10 PM

Either go with 2 raptors in raid 0 or 1 7200 hd. Just from my personal experience, I have test both two 300Gb 7200rpm HD against 2 74Gb Raptor in raid 0. Gaming loads on the 7200 setup is not much faster at all but the 74Gb Raptor did have faster loading as giving me 10-15 seconds faster loading.
December 27, 2006 8:32:32 PM

Quote:
And all of this is theoretical. None of the SiSandra benchmarks translate into real world benefits.


hehe. Interesting... I'll continue to enjoy my "theoretically" faster storage medium, regardless.

If you like it and are happy with it then keep it. :D  I will not try and persuade you to drop it. I was just clarifying that SiSandra isn't indicative of what a real user actually sees.
December 28, 2006 12:12:50 AM

Yeah If You Look At My Post Above, That Should Make A Good Example
December 28, 2006 2:36:01 AM

Quote:
you seem to be making a big deal out of nothing.


Even if I am the only person in the World who experienced sagging weak SATA connectors and the resulting hiccups this does not invalidate my suggestion to use a better cable.

In my perception it is YOU who are making a big deal out of nothing by feeling the need to postulate that your experience is the more valid one.

IMO - Sata connectors need a clip like the power connectors, if they were so well engineered would the cable in question even exist?

-Shea

I've had a crappy cable too that was loose. Pain in my butt is what it was...
December 28, 2006 2:39:09 AM

Quote:
If raw performance is your priority then may I suggest that you consider a hybrid solution? Keep your applications and frequently-accessed data on SCSI drives spinning at 15k RPM, with some cheap SATA drives for "bulk" storage of infrequently-accessed files (eg, photos).


My priority, as stated above, is to get the best value for my money and not spend more than $150 on a hard drive solution.

At this point I'm probably going to end up with a single modern hd.
!