a tale of 2 raptors... to raid or not to raid

Got my hands on a couple of raptors... WD360GD-00FNA0 (older versions but still fun) http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Western_Digital_Raptor

Do any of you have two of these set up in a RAID 0 config? Wondering if you've experience them as independent drives and as raided drives and what your thoughts are.

I'm thinking I'm going to set these up RAID 0. Run my operating system (XP) and selected apps like games, or maybe some programs I use alot on the combined 72 gigs

the alternative is to NOT raid and set up windowsXP on one drive and fast apps on the other

What's your opinion? Raid or Not Raid

note: I have other drives for storage and additional apps

P5N32-E-SLI, e4300, ddr2 800 2x1gig tracers, 8800gts-320, antec 850w psu, antec 900 case
Win XP pro
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  1. I got 2 of them
    tried RAID and seperate.
    Honestly, can barely tell the difference. Maybee slight faster loads in Battlefield, and Windows itself boots like a hair faster i think, but that might just be the placebo effect.

    I do seem to notice a big jump in speed when I'm copying something BIG to the drives in RAID setup.
    I say RAID them, it doesn't seem to hurt performance, just make sure you have disaster recovery in place.
  2. Supreme... wow lot of info there... thank you for that

    Summary: I used to think that C: on a RAID 0
    would be the "cat's meow", but subsequent
    analysis has caused me to change my mind
    about the most cost-effective ways of
    optimizing disk I/O.

    Your Summary - problem is I already have the drives.... two 36 gig... to raid or not to raid is/was the question
    cost effectiveness not an issue here

    thank you also to the first poster who has the two drives and has tried both raid and single
  3. I have two of the 36GB raptors in raid0 on WinXp Pro. Screaming fast but not all that much faster than when I just had the one 36GB raptor. I've got a single 74GB raptor on my workstation at work and really can't tell the difference between the two. I think this agrees well with some benchmarks I've seen in the past regarding this very issue (can't remember the link...its been a while). It has been said that the subsequent generations of raptors are faster than the previous (i.e. 150GB faster than 74GB, 74GB faster than 36GB) and this seems to be true from my observation. Anyway, to answer your question...I'd go ahead and raid0 them simply because a 36GB drive for Windows and games can get a little cramped pretty quick. Additionally, what the heck else would you do with a seperate fast 36GB disk (scratch for Photoshop maybe?) You do run the risk of being slightly more vulnerable to disk problems as either of the drives dying is a problem in raid0, but I've had my oldest raptor for almost 3 or 4 years and still no problems (except for breaking off the sata connector...nothing a little electrical tape can't fix though).
  4. ill just add 2 cents, since the thread has already been addressed. even when i used 4 WD360GDs in raid 0 before (let alone 2) they didnt offer much practical improvement at all over a single hdd, except in specific instances (such as a large file transfers, which windows boot times would even be catagorized as), as was pointed out. for the improvement of battlefield 2 though, or most other current FPS games, there just isnt, to be honest, at least when youre concerning raid 0 over a single hdd... for instance, i recently had a single WD360GD hosted as an external usb 2.0 hdd. even though the transfer rates were limited to 30MB/s max, everything loaded almost completely as fast as on my WD740ADFD, which gets STRs 3 times the bandwidth of USB 2.0. i think thats strongly due to the random access read times (4.6ms compared to 5.2ms, ~8ms actual)... because there was a huge difference in the actual transfer rates that they were capable of in those instances. but for most applications and situations, having the higher STRs just does not matter for actual performance. (though it does help in some instances, again, just not all, or most)

    if you know for a fact that your specific uses would benefit directly from having raid 0 (if youre dealing heavily with media editing and large transfers and such), then by all means, it can only help. but if youre unsure, and just hoping, then itll most likely only be a placebo effect providing most of the appearant boost and improvement (as was suggested in previous post too).
  5. Definitely leaning towards two separate drives now as suggested.

    DRIVE 1: Windows XP and Games

    DRIVE 2: Swap File and additional apps

    I've read about moving swap file before.
    Does this sound like a smart way to set up?
    Should the swap file be on a partition on Drive 2 or not?

    remember I have additional hard drives...
    - an old sata 120 gig
    - and a new sata3G 200 gig

    so less intensive apps and storage can go on those drives
  6. though you will gain some performance by moving the swap file to a non os hdd, windows itself doesnt like that very much (itll tend to accumulate problems over time if it doesnt have a pagefile on the main hdd). even when you have a multi GB pagefile available, windows still wants at least 'some' of it on the main hdd, at least 16MB whenever ive seen. if you have multiple pagefiles (1 per hdd for example), windows will access the faster hdd more frequently anyhow (from what ive read). so aside from the slight boost in performance, seperating windows from its pagefile might not be the best idea for stability over time.

    edit: this might just be the case when trying to decide between using a pagefile or not, as far as windows stability goes, and not so much just moving the pagefile between hdds... memory is a little fuzzy.
  7. i say two single drives, no raid, you already have enough speed (because they are raptors) but you'd now want the other things too, like data security and data manageability, these you get from 2 seperate drives.
  8. RAID 0 introduces many new ways of permanently losing all your data, and usually doesn't deliver the performance boost that people anticipate. Usually they think it will make game levels load faster or some such nonsense.

    Spreading your OS over multiple drives/partitions also needlessly complicates things without any noticeable benefit.

    My favorite solution is to use a Raptor for the OS and installed software and two WD RE2 in RAID 1 config for everything else.

    With one drive I just create an OS partition and a Data Partition.

    I keep my software and my Data as separate as possible, keeping my web/email profiles, desktop, my documents... all on a separate partition.

    I then True Image 9 to backup my OS partition. Because I keep my data separate I can restore my OS at any time without having to worry about what files might be erased.

    So when I want to see if that new Vista driver will help or hurt, I backup, install, then if screws everything up simply restore :)
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