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Advice on new setup storage configuration

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February 27, 2007 3:23:05 PM

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
February 27, 2007 4:00:14 PM

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.
February 27, 2007 5:42:35 PM

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.
February 27, 2007 7:01:49 PM

I'll throw my 2 cents in.

Some facts and their corollaries:
[*:ba98142b9e]You're doing video and photo editing (2 of the few applications that benefit from a RAID 0)
[*:ba98142b9e]You also have some things you don't want to lose, thus they need backup, or at a minimum, some form of redundancy.
[*:ba98142b9e]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:
[*:ba98142b9e]One RAID 0 array using 2x of the 250GB drives, for a 500GB virtual volume.
[*:ba98142b9e]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):
[*:ba98142b9e]One 100GB partition on the RAID 0 for OS and applications.
[*:ba98142b9e]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).
[*:ba98142b9e]396GB partition on the RAID 0 for video & photo editing of temporary files.
[*:ba98142b9e]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.
!