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RAID 0 on my P5W DH Deluxe, need some pointers

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  • Motherboards
  • NAS / RAID
  • Backup
  • Performance
  • Overclocking
Last response: in Overclocking
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June 18, 2007 5:26:42 PM

I'm working on a Linux project using my second 320GB Seagate Barracuda (identical to my main HD). The project is mission impossible and may not even come to fruition. In the meantime, I was curious to find out what the performance benefits of RAID 0 would be over my existing setup.

I can't seem to find my mobo manual, but can someone give me some basic pointers for setting up RAID 0 on the P5W DH?



I have 2 X 320GB Seagates, and one IDE HD for backup. I want to config my 2 Seagates in RAID 0 (fastest performance), and then copy across my data from the IDE backup.

1) Do I use the 2 easy RAID ports on the mobo (see pic), or use the standard SATA ports I'm using now (the red and black SATA ports just to the right of the EZ-Backup chip in the pic)?
2) How do I config the BIOS to get the RAID 0 going?
3) Does the WindowsXP installer recognize the RAID 0 from bootup, and partition the drives automatically?
4) Whats the best performance settings in the BIOS (AHCI and all those other settings etc)?
5) Are there any know issues with RAID 0 and the JMicon controller? I need to be able to get access to the IDE drive (my backup data). It was a mission to get this working when I first built the PC (JMicron sucks ass).

Thanks guys.

Edit: I have a DVD drive on the main IDE adapter on the mobo. I have to use the JMicon adapter to use the IDE. The master/slave option doesnt work on the main IDE for some reason (tried in past).

More about : raid p5w deluxe pointers

June 18, 2007 6:09:07 PM

PS. Anyone comment on the increase of performance? Is it worth it for me to try it out.

Thanks,
June 18, 2007 7:03:54 PM

You have to let us know what you are going to use your system for primarily, as the benefits of RAID 0 are task specific. In general, the performance issue has been beaten to death on these forums, just search RAID0 and read to your heart's content.

In terms of how, well, read your mobo manual, the answers are all in there somewhere...
Related resources
June 18, 2007 8:22:36 PM

I downloaded the manual - all set. Will try it out tonight. I was curious to open a general discussion about performance too. Someone mentioned that you shouldnt use the EZ backup RAID setup (actually one Sata port split in two, bandwidth issues). Not sure if this is true. Stuff like that. If anyone has comments, plz post.

THanks.
June 18, 2007 8:24:55 PM

Oh yes, uses = gaming. Does RAID 0 improve speeds in games (load up times, FPS etc). What about day to day ops such as loading into Windows itself, opening files etc.
June 18, 2007 8:31:27 PM

BTW - the main reason for getting this RAID setup is to see if startup times in Windows are better. I have a mammoth system, check my sig. Windows still takes fricken forever to load up, Im talking a few minutes. Its a joke, and its the way the software is built (with its libraries etc). I wish Linux had better driver support. Anyway, does RAID 0 improve startup performance?
June 19, 2007 1:09:43 AM

This is some good light reading.

http://www.anandtech.com/storage/showdoc.aspx?i=2969

http://www.anandtech.com/storage/showdoc.aspx?i=2974

I haven't re-read them too attentively just now, but IIRC, there is a pretty small benefit to a consumer level RAID0 setup on a desktop. To say that there is no benefit would be lying, but most reasonable people agree that it is not sufficient to justify the extra cost / risk.

At this point, make your own judgements...Hopefully, you'll be a little better informed.

And remember, the forum Search button does work magic. It's surreal, really.
a c 133 V Motherboard
a b K Overclocking
June 19, 2007 8:39:27 PM

Alright. lets see if i can clear things up a bit.

First off this board has 3 raid 0 controllers(more or less)

EZ back-up is a hardware controller(called SiI 4723 Steelvine made my silicon image, this sucker is normally used in external boxes to give driverless raid with only one sata port to the pc. There are internal versions of this too) that links into the Intel ICH7(yeah its 7 right :)  ) as a normal sata port. This is why there is a missing port. Asus just took one port and sent it to this hardware raid device(i hate to call it a controller as its driverless). The device needs NO Drivers if you set the bios to IDE mode

To use easy back-up you set the jumpers on the board. The manual and small writing on the board tell you how. Asus uses the names Fast(raid 0), Safe(raid 1) and Big(JBOD)

So you are looking for fast

Now on we go

ICH(r)7 and Intel Matrix raid. Intel has there own software raid system. You may think well software is slower then hardware, but the performance is similar in this case, i tried both. To set this up go into the bios and make sure under ide settings your set to raid. then you will see an intel matrix storage manager on the next boot. You can enter that to make the array(Ctrl+i or something, it says it). You need a driver disk for this one.

You can also use the jmicron one, but it would need one external and one internal drive. You can use a cable to run it inside if needed. This is the least probable option. Just figured i would mention it. You don't need a driver if you run ide. but for other modes you do.

Now on to the suggestion. I did some testing. on a low level(hdtach) the EZ back-up and Intel raid perform almost the same, however in the real world Sandra and other benchmarks that use actual files on the drive the Intel raid comes out on top. Why? I don't know. I assume Intel has optimized the software very well.

So at the end of the day if you want th most out of your system with raid use the Intel Matrix Storage. This is not to say the EZ backup is bad. Intel is just a little better.



Now after a quick skim.

The sata port split into 2 will not be an issue if you use ezbackup as the port(on the Intel side) is sata 300 even 4 drives would not max that in most cases. But 4 320gig seagates(with pmr, and raptors would push it too) would push it over just a little(bout 20 megs at the top end), but they just use 2 so its all good

Now for raid performance.
Systems can only go as fast as the slowest component. So 2x(more like 1-8 times :)  ) time hard drive speed is a good thing. In some cases the performance will kick ass(if the rest of the system keeps up).

Things that are better in raid 0

Streaming large amounts of data to the hard drive - video and audio editing.
Game load times - As long as the games files are not compressed to the point that your cpu can not decompress as fast as the hard drive can deliver the file, then the cpu is the bottleneck.
Page file/Swap file/Scratch area - In general raid gives a boost here as windows can read and write to the page file faster. Photoshop can also read and write to the scratch disk faster too.
Application load times - Apps that are not heavily compressed will get loaded into ram quicker as a result of the extra data bandwidth.

Things that raid will not help

Everyday file use(low bandwidth) - Lets face it you dont need bandwidth to listen to your favorite mp3 files and watch divx/xvid/mpeg movies or work with average text/html/xml/ect files.
Game load times - games that are compressed to the nuts will take longer for the cpu to decompress, then the cpu will be the bottleneck and no amount of hard drive speed will help when the cpu is choked up on data already.
Application load times - As said above App's with lots of compression will choke the cpu and the extra drive speed will not help you
Access Times - In general access times can go up 1 or 2ms with raid 0. So drive fragmentation will be slower(some people can not see the extra 1-2ms). So keep it defragged as its sequential reads are where raid shines.

Notes:
All mentions of "raid" mean raid 0 unless specified.
I can spell however I want!!!
Grammar Sucks.....
June 20, 2007 3:12:26 PM

Nukemaster,

Dude - thanks for putting this together. Real informative and will help my cause. I really appreciate it. Kudos.

2nd - the links the OP provided from Anandtech put a real dampener on my performance expectations. I love Anandtech, and their word is nearly as good as gold. They say that RAID 0 isnt all its hyped up to be, and you'll probably be better off saving the life of your 2nd HD and only using it when you need to for storage etc.

I dont really encode big files and read/write alot. Mostly day-to-day uses (email, internet, movies etc), and a lot of gaming. I was more hoping that Windows startup times would improve, game load up times would get better etc. It takes my OS about 4 min to stop running the blue LED on my case, from when the Welcome screen pops up. Stinks big time. I've got all the anti-spyware stuff setup etc. Advanced OS user here (although amatuer builder).

Anyway, thanks again. Appreciate your input. I think I might stick to just having 2 separate HDs, maybe format the one, and only put an OS on that. Maybe use my 2nd for /Program files & games. Will that maybe be better?

Chat soon!

PS. I tried to backup one of my DVDs and make an .avi file. It took forever (over and hour) so eventually I gave up. What % time decrease would result from a RAID 0 setup? (if you had to guess?). Thanks.
a c 133 V Motherboard
a b K Overclocking
June 20, 2007 4:08:40 PM

Quote:

PS. I tried to backup one of my DVDs and make an .avi file. It took forever (over and hour) so eventually I gave up. What % time decrease would result from a RAID 0 setup? (if you had to guess?). Thanks.


To convert a DVD to an AVI you are converting an MPEG2 file to AVI(i assume divx/xvid or similar and not full uncompressed as it would be hundreds of times bigger that way). Both are low bandwidth videos. Dvd's tend to average 6 - 8(and lower then 1 when in a still pose or credits) megabits per second on a good movie as such you are running at a blistering 1 megabyte per second. so the 60-80 megabytes per second you get from your hard drive will more then take this :) 

You compressing the movie to avi(divx/xvid) so you making it something like 1-2megabits per second if ure picky, so all your time is waiting on the CPU to compress it. If you want more speed make sure your software is using all cores. Check the task manager it should be maxed out or else the software cant use your system to its fullest.


just under 1megabit per second so 1/8th of a megabyte per second :) 
June 21, 2007 2:06:45 PM

FishBoi -

Sorry I didn't bother going through what Nukemaster has done, and thanks to him for compiling the info. I guess referring you to the manual is a bit of a cop out, but then again, I think I would prefer that you read it and asked questions re: what you didn't understand. I think the forums, in general, are a good resource but no substitute for solid research. I can't say I am familiar with the particular board, and I am certainly too lazy to lookup.

In terms of RAID0, though, yes, the benches are, overall, disappointing, particularly in the media encoding scenario, where these things are supposed to shine (according to everyone). In reality, as nukemaster pointed out, RAID0 serves to increase the data throughput if you are using large sequential transfers. These scenarios are pretty rare, for a typical desktop use. It really pays to know the software you're using to determine the potential benefit (e.g. LAME - no RAID 0 - vs. Nero Recode - about 30% benefit so maybe).

But if you do decide to go with RAID 0, do fire up Sandra and marvel at you doubling the single drive. Too bad that's all synthetic.

Some people will tell you that even the smallest benefit is worth the cost. To me, they are 'tards, but that's just me.

Anyway, using two drives is fine, I would not do JBOD, I would probably just have two partitions. My personal preference. Or you could do RAID 1, if you're paranoid. I was, kind of, after I lost my old harddrive. But the reality is that it could be overkill for a home user.

Good luck. As long as you make an informed decision, it will likely be a good one.
June 21, 2007 2:10:00 PM

And re: your comment about Anandtech. Well, that's the sad state of affairs today. Tom's articles actually used to be better research and more independent. Now the tables have flipped. I mean, look at that hackjob of an article on DX 10 (Lost Planet). What a shame...But I digress.
a c 133 V Motherboard
a b K Overclocking
June 22, 2007 1:40:30 AM

I'll save you that

yours would be faster since those drives are faster then my old WDC 250's
Since i am partitioned upto 200gigs thats some nice speed :) 

For the record i DO like my raid, but i have my files on single drives and an external for backups(it only runs once a week or so, so it will last a long time)
!