Smart choice for performance and storage? Please advise.

I'm trying to figure out the best option for data storage as well as performance in my current system which I will carry over when I upgrade/rebuild. I'm just waiting to see how the new Intels work out and the next line of graphics cards fare.

I am a heavy downloader; and now with my 10Mb/s connection and extra free time on my hands, my storage is quickly filling up. I have three 400GB Western Digital drives already, no raid, in my system right now and already am about filled to the brim (well, a good 1TB anyway) I also do video work, music work, and just about anything that hogs up storage. I'm also a gamer and enjoy quick loading times. (And quick startups if possible)

It seems my WD drives are mediocre in the disk chart lineup, with hitachi coming up top in the few benchmarks I've looked at.

I also have a 80GB Raptor which I slapped in this comp a couple days ago considering maybe setting up my OS(s) on it. Problem there is my Program Files DIR alone is bordering 200GB. If I installed my OS(s) to my Raptor, wouldn't I have to install my programs to each respective OS partition? Because of registry crap I mean. Correct me if I'm wrong. If not, what would be an optimal configuration?

I also have two 250 GB Western Digital drives that I'd probably hook up (and RAID if I knew how) but only 5 SATA slots on my Asus P5WD2 and one is tied by my optical drive. Now I am in the market for a new MB and would like to find a top notch overclockable MB with a good 8 SATA slots, but I'm kinda holding off to see what happens with Intel's next batch, and also the ATI R600. But regardless, I'm open to suggestions.

Depending on factors like performance, data security, I've considered maybe 3x 750GB drives in a RAID 5 (But I really dont quite understand raid that well yet, but that would equal 1.5TB of storage with higher performance and redundancy/backup right?) Or 4x 500GB drives also in Raid 5 which would give similar results, no? I'd love it if someone could confirm/dispute this. But what about raid controllers I read about, it sounds like I need to spend some extra dough on that and a free a PCI slot .... which wouldn't really be possible with a dual crossfire or sli setup (depending which route I go-I'm just have a 1800XT Plat solo card atm)

I'm trying not to break the bank but I dont want to second rate it either. I mean, I'm not gonna buy a bunch of Raptor 150s or anything but I do want some performance and I need some massive storage. Honestly 1.5TB wont last me long if I'm liberal with my downloads & video editing, especially since I've upgraded to HD and got a fun new camera to play with.

So I dunno, maybe you fine folks can suggest some setups for me, preferably with ball park price range : )

Thanks in advance for any advice!
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More about smart choice performance storage advise
  1. You do not want your applications on the RAID5 arrays, use a single large capacity drive for that.

    A raid 5 arrays capacity is roughly calculated by the total - 1 drive, with a minimum of 3 and max 7. So 4 x 500 = 3 x 750's. Raid5 requires a lot of cpu time to calculate parity during writes.

    Another option is to purchase some NAS boxes like a Snap4500 if you have the need for speed. Or the newer 550's then expand as you need more space.
  2. Not sure what the Snap4500 things are but I'll look into it.

    I think I was a bit long-winded in my questions and I'd like to simplify it a bit.

    I Have 1.3TB storage and am running out. This time when I upgrade, I really want to do it right (not pinching pennies but not going broke)

    What I would like to see is:
    Increase in startup speed
    Increase in game load time
    Quicker loading/saving for video editing
    Data Security

    This is what I currently have to work with:
    80GB WD Raptor X1 Installed
    400GB WD Caviar X3 Installed (no raid)
    250GB WD Caviar X2 Not installed but available
    (5) SATA slots on my MB (-1 for ROM), but open to upgrade recommendations for a hardcore board that will be good for future high end upgrades

    I need massive space though so, though costly, I figured maybe 3x of the 750 GB drives if they perform well. Though I don't know much about setting up RAID

    Question 1: If I installed a new OS on a separate drive right now, would I be able to run programs or games currently installed on this OS?

    Question 2: This one goes to Blue: You said I should put my apps on a RAID 5. Why is this? I'm confused because I thought everything performed better and had security with 5?

    Question 3: What percentage of the boot up time is based on the HDD? I guess I'm asking if a faster drive or better performing RAID makes for a quicker boot up cuz my current boot up seems way slow.

    Question 4: Will a PCI Raid Controller (Which sounds necessiary for proper config) fit with dual SLI/Crossfire and sound card?

    Question 5: Any recommendation on HDD Brands/models? 750GB or 500GB Definitely looking for performance primarily (basing your judgment on my usage habits as I explained them)

    Q6: Any Motherboard recommendations (probably going Intel route)

    Ultimately, what would you do if you were me? Would you install your OS(s) on the Raptor and do a big raid for everything else? or maybe Raid the two 250GB drives as to Raid 0 for the OS and Apps, and then have multiple separate big drives for storage? or what?

    TIA again ; )
  3. My brother does video work professionally, you may be interested in his setup. He has a raid 5 setup in his editing PC, 64bit windows, 6gig ram?. Then he uses Network storage for storing jobs as they come in. He has a total of about 12T he can bring online, his normal is around 5T.

    If you elect to try to store all of your download and video on a single PC, it will be a loosing battle.

    A Snap4500 is a SMB NAS unit, oem cap to 1.6T. Users have found that these will accept the latest 750gig IDE drives. The problem with these drives is that they are not rated for servers, meaning does not have min seak times. The newer models (500's) of NAS support SATA drives which are made in server Drives. These are capable of 280mbps read speeds, support up to 50 users.

    You can probably build your own NAS and save some money. The big advantage of commercial NAS is the Firmware/software. But not needing all of the Users Security you my find a basic unix nas box acceptable. FreeNAS is a nice package but not quite ready for prime time. Built of FreeBSD v6.2 so any hardware must meet the freebsd hardware list.

    Your ideal setup would be 2 250+gig HD's in RAID 0 for OS and Applications. Then setup 3-4 500-750gig drive is RAID 5 for data, needing fast access with redundancy. But before you do any heavy work with the raid 5 you need to fail a drive. You need to know what you have to do to recover from a drive failure. Panic mode is not the time to learn, 1 goof and you loose it all. Raid 5 arrays can operate in degraded mode. It will be slower than normal but should have access to your data.

    I tried to answer all of you questions, if I missed something or need more info post your questions.
  4. Cool thanks, that helps a lot.

    Good thing you said the 2x 250GB drives would be the optimal choice since the SATA connector in my Raptor just broke off yesterday while I was relocating stuffs. Sux : ( Maybe WD will warranty it.

    With Raid 0, will I need a hardware or PCI controller? I assume I will definitely need one for Raid 5, and this would take up a PCI slot, yeah? Wouldn't really work out too well with Dual SLI or Crossfire and my pro/prosumer audio card, would it? In this case I suppose I would be better off making one of those things you mentioned.

    Hmmmm Assuming I can do RAID 0 without tying up a slot, and I do the Double 250 on Raid 0, which would give me 500 extra GB right there plus the 12,000 from my 3x separate 400GB Drives, thats 1.7 TB in data... though no security, but it'll certainly tide me over storage wise till I can go the next step up and just hope I don't loose one of my disks.... err though I only have 4 SATA slots atm lol So I'd have to go ahead with a MB purchase if I go that route...

    Wonder if I should just build a new machine from the ground up and sell this one, looks like I'm gonna end up replacing about all my main parts anyway.
  5. Quote:
    A raid 5 arrays capacity is roughly calculated by the total - 1 drive, with a minimum of 3 and max 7. So 4 x 500 = 3 x 750's. Raid5 requires a lot of cpu time to calculate parity during writes.

    Not roughly calculated... That is the amount. If you are looking to RAID, do it in hardware. With hardware, you can have way more than 7 drives in any array config.
  6. Thats a lot of pr0n. What kind of files are you storing, if its video, maybe reencode the files so they take up less space, or burn them to DVD or BD. The best option beyond that is using a hardware raid setup, but that will start getting expensive fast, hardware raid controller, lots of large drive the 1TB drives would be good. The NAS option would be good or using direct attached storage.

    or here if you want to make your own
  7. hmmm... very cool, and probably what I need above all else.... but 'spensive... I'm thinking at this point I'm going to build a new pc and sell this current one and see what I get for it.

    I do have a DVD burner so I -could- back up all 50 Million complete anime series on to DVDR. Its not like I watch them all regularly or anything anyhow.

    Not quite sure what I wanna do right now, maybe I could find a used storage box on ebay with drives already in it.

    With this new comp I'm pretty sure I will go dual 8800 GTX and do water cooling; this should make the cards only occupy 1 slot width right? Which would then allow for a raid controller card, yeah?
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