Advice on new setup storage configuration

Ok, I am new to RAID and I have done research on my options, but I would like advice on my particular situation and how I should setup my drives on the new system I am building. It is a brand new home built system currently with blank drives. Here are my details:

Relevant HW and SW: MB = Asus P5N-E with onboard RAID support, CPU = e6600, RAM = 2GB, Drives = WD 250GB 7200 SATA2 (x4), Windows Vista Ultimate

My desired usage: Some gaming, but not as hardcore as most. Lots of video and picture editing, I plan on setting up Windows Media Center, many home movies and photos that are important and I don't want to lose (I do periodic backups to DVD), other than that, pretty standard usage.

Ok, so some of questions are:
1) Which RAID setup is best for me, 0/1/0+1/5?
2) Any special considerations for number of volumes or partitions
3) Should my system partition be isolated in some way?
4) Are there any potential pitfalls or roadbumps I will encounter?

Thanks,
Ty
3 answers Last reply
More about advice setup storage configuration
  1. Since you are storing personal information that is valuable to you then skip on the raid0.

    With 4 drives your options should be between raid 0+1 and 5. Since you dont have a dedicated controller then 0+1 would be easier on your system than Raid5.

    As far as partitions go you should have two. One for OS and another for the rest of the information.
  2. I suggest 1 drive for OS and misc rarely-used stuff; possibly a backup partition of important pictures, etc. Other 3 drives in RAID 5 with 32k stripes.

    Another big drive for an external backup.

    Potential pitfall with WD non-RE drives being used for RAID configuration. Lack of TLER can lead to drives being dropped unexpectedly from RAID. Search for more on this.
  3. I'll throw my 2 cents in.

    Some facts and their corollaries:
    You're doing video and photo editing (2 of the few applications that benefit from a RAID 0)
    You also have some things you don't want to lose, thus they need backup, or at a minimum, some form of redundancy.
    You'll be using a motherboard-based RAID controller, thus RAID 5 is probably not a good idea due to low performance.
    So, I recommend:
    One RAID 0 array using 2x of the 250GB drives, for a 500GB virtual volume.
    A second RAID 1 array using the other 2x of the 250GB drives, for a 250GB virtual volume.
    Partitioning (this is only rough, adjust it how you like it):
    One 100GB partition on the RAID 0 for OS and applications.
    One 4GB partition after that on the RAID 0 for the pagefile (won't speed it up any more than if it was on the 100GB partition, but will keep it from becoming fragmented).
    396GB partition on the RAID 0 for video & photo editing of temporary files.
    250GB partition on the RAID 1 for all finalized and important data.
    I like this setup better than the RAID 0+1 because you lose less total space (you have 750GB total space here instead of only 500GB), it doesn't bog the system down with RAID 5 that it can't handle, and it isolates OS & applications from data, which you should do anyway.

    And finally, remember that the RAID 1 is no substitute for backup. If malware eats your pictures on the RAID 1, the only thing that saves you is an external drive, tape, or DVD that has a copy of them.
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